The best horror anime of all time

What are the best horror anime of all time? I think we can all agree that everyone loves a good old fright. In fact, horror is one of the most universally popular genres in media. But when you combine it with the endless visual possibilities of animation, few stories are as chilling as a well-crafted horror anime.

Horror anime pushes the boundaries of possibility, often outshining typical live-action horror films in terms of gore, psychological distress, and supernatural monsters. It’s a medium that isn’t afraid to use art to actualize our deepest and darkest fears, or rip the pants off anyone who dares to look at it. If you’re brave enough to delve into the twisted world of this subgenre, you’ve come to the right place.

In this list, we go through the scariest anime series and anime movies for all horror fans. From haunted high schools to body-contorting demons, we’ve left no terrifying anime stone unturned. So buckle up and get ready for some nightmares; Here are our top picks for that best horror anime any times.

What are the best horror anime of all time?

  • Perfect Blue
  • Other
  • Mononoke
  • shiki
  • evil city
  • hell girl
  • Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories
  • Parasyte – The Maxim
  • death notice
  • Wonderland of the Dead

Best Horror Anime: Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue (1997)

What happens when you can’t even trust your own reflection? Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Satoshi Kon, Perfect Blue is the ultimate psychological horror anime that will make you question reality and your own identity. After the young and beautiful idol Mima Kirigoe makes the transition from singing to professional acting, viewers are drawn into a startling mystery.

Throughout the anime film, we see the young woman take on a stalker and appear to be a version of herself out for her blood. Reality and fantasy are expertly blended here as Mima struggles to piece together the truth from the state of her fragile psyche before it’s too late.

Full of suspense and eerie imagery, Perfect Blue stands firmly as one of the most memorable horror anime you can find.

Best Horror Anime: Another

Another (2012)

Based on Yukito Ayatsuji’s novel of the same name, Another is one of the most well-known horror anime series and generally the first port of call for any fan looking to delve into the subgenre. And trust us, its popularity as a top prank pick is fully justified thanks to its disturbing plot and graphic deaths.

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“Another” tells the story of Kōichi Sakakibara, who transfers to Yomiyama Middle School, and throws viewers into a dark mystery as we see Sakakibara’s classmates drop like flies around him. Aside from its riveting storyline that features one of the best twist endings in media, Another also has some of the most iconic death scenes in anime (call to deadly umbrellas).

With its intuitive writing and violent imagery meant to keep us gorehounds happy, there’s little to complain about here. In short, Another is a horror anime that ticks all the horrifying criteria.

Best Horror Anime: Mononoke

Mononoke (2007)

Sorry Studio Ghibli fans, we’re not so much talking about princesses as dark stories and spooky ghosts. Mononoke is an anime revolving around a mysterious man named “Medicine Seller” who seeks out and destroys vengeful spirits called Mononoke that cling to troubled people.

A spin-off from another horror anime, Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, Mononoke is structured as a collection of individual stories. Each encounter the medicine seller faces plays out like a suspenseful crime thriller, focusing on the characters’ reactions and delving into the nightmarish surrealism of their psyches.

In addition to its clever writing, Mononoke also looks stunning with its designs and 17th-century Japanese hand-painting aesthetic. The stunning imagery and ever-moving art also conveys the feeling that you are watching a nightmare – allowing the terror of those affected by Mononoke to linger in your mind even after the series has ended.

Best Horror Anime: Shiki

Shiki (2010-2011)

Get ready to feel stunned because few horror anime are as nihilistic as the supernatural series Shiki. Set in 1990, Shiki is about a village where an epidemic breaks out after a mysterious family moves in. Too bad this disease is pretty much an incurable case of vampirism.

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Here’s a slow-burning anime that builds terror through its spooky art style and underlying commentary about what happens to your morale when you face the death threat. How far will you go to survive and at the end of the day, who are the monsters really?

The core conflict of Shiki arises from the question of who has the right to exist in the face of self-preservation. This storyline leads to bloodthirsty murders and mob violence that will chill you to the core as you witness the outright horror of what humanity is truly capable of.

Best Horror Anime: Wicked City

Bad City (1987)

The directorial debut of Yoshiaki Kawajiri, the mastermind behind legendary anime such as Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D, Wicked City is a truly chilling classic. Its premise is pretty simple. The human world and the demon dimension called the Black World secretly co-exist, and it’s up to Renzaburō Taki to ensure a peace treaty is signed.

Not everyone is aboard the “Peace Train” though, and Taki will soon have to face some of the scariest demons you’ll ever see in film, period. This horror anime is the perfect portrayal of the grotesque – in the most effective and gut-wrenching way.

From fast-paced action scenes to sexually charged and explicit body horror, Wicked City is guaranteed to keep you up at night. However, if you’re against tentacles, it can also just scar you, so be warned.

Best Horror Anime: Hell Girl

Hell Girl (2005-2006)

Revenge has never looked so good and humanity has never looked so sinister as here in the horror anime Hell Girl. A collection of one-shot stories that describe in depressing detail how bad people can really be.

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Throughout the three seasons, we see people being tormented by another person to the point of gaining access to a mysterious online service called Hell Correspondence. This website, as the name suggests, offers its users the opportunity to send to hell those who have wronged them. But for that they have to sacrifice their soul.

Though the show may seem repetitive in its formula, it is strangely rooted in reality, featuring scenes of bullying, isolation and how pain can turn a person into a literal soulless shell of a human being. If that isn’t scary then I don’t know what is.

Best Horror Anime: Yamishibai Japanese Ghost Stories

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (since 2013)

One of the highest reunion and digestibility horror animes on our list, Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories is the perfect choice for a quick horror fix. As each episode is only around four minutes long, the series is a short collection of stories based on Japanese folklore and urban legends.

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The animation is meant to emulate the Kamishibai method of storytelling, which is essentially street theater with a narrator telling a story while flipping through illustrated panels. This style gives the impression that watching yamishibai is like a child listening to a bedtime story, like flipping through the pages of a book.

However, this book is full of terrifying illustrations and spooky stories filled with monsters, killers, and ghosts. For longtime horror fans, Yamishibai feels nostalgic, reminiscent of urban legends from our childhood days, while still being spooky enough to feel fresh and instill a quick scare.

Best Horror Anime: Parasyte The Maxim

Parasyte – The Maxim (2014-2015)

If you haven’t noticed, we love some body horror here at The Digital Fix, so it’s not surprising that Kenichi Shimizu’s sci-fi anime made our top picks.

Shinichi Izumi is a typical high school student until a carnal alien parasitic creature tries to take over his brain. Luckily, our young protagonist stops the alien, who instead gains control of his hand. The two form a symbiotic relationship and set out to slay other deadly “parasites” before more innocent people fall victim to their murderous ways.

Parasyte: The Maxim is delightfully violent and fast-paced, but also offers a great narrative reward as we see Izumi’s character development throughout the series. Intertwined with gore and alien encounters, the young man embarks on a complex and existential journey that will make you question the nature of violence and who the parasites in this world really are.

Best Horror Anime: Death Note

Death Note (2006-2007)

As a horror anime that was the gateway to the spooky subgenre for many of us, you know we had to add Death Note to our list. Packed with murder, gods of death, and mind games, this anime is packed with tons of psychological horror tropes that will have you gasping in shock and clinging to the edge of your seat in excitement.

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Light Yagami finds a Death Note, a book written by Death Gods (Shinigami) that causes people to die when their names are written on it. Deciding to use the book to target criminals, Light becomes a supernatural vigilante slowly consumed by his twisted morals.

Though Death Note is anemic and heavy in its thriller subplot, it’s an anime that lashes out at nihilism and the unraveling of sanity in the face of ultimate power – and really, what’s more terrifying than the breaking of the human spirit?

Best Horror Anime: Deadman Wonderland

Wonderland of the Dead (2011)

Based on the manga series of the same name, Deadman Wonderland is a fun-filled anime. This horror anime is for you if you love blood splatter, gore and action-packed thrills.

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A seemingly ordinary student named Ganata is blamed for a massacre and sentenced to death. He is sent to a prison that doubles as a deadly amusement park, where he must fight to survive and clear his name – a feasible feat once he develops the ability to control his blood and wield it as a weapon.

As we mentioned above, the main selling point in this horror anime is the action. Sometimes you just want to switch off and enjoy the carnage before your eyes. There’s also some commentary on exploitative justice systems to get you thinking here – but let’s face it, we’re sticking with this anime mostly for the blood bullets. The best horror anime of all time

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