Think you know anime? You haven't seen anything until you've viewed these five spine-tingling series. Get your Halloween on with these selections.
Anime is generally (and wrongfully) associated with giggling schoolgirls, naughty tentacle monsters, or, if you’re willfully ignorant, it’s all Dragon Ball Z. There couldn’t possibly be any deliciously disturbing anime for horror hounds, right? Wrong.
It’s a landscape chock-full of some of the creepiest tales this side of Western horror, we’ve rounded up five simple suggestions for your Halloween celebrations. But make sure you’re watching with a light on. We wouldn’t want anyone to get scared, you know.
Another is a more recent series, and it thankfully received an English dub and Blu-ray release. It needs to be viewed with perfect clarity, as it’s probably one of the closest things you can find in the anime realm that resembles the Final Destination movies in tone and grisly deaths. It’s also an excellent choice for anyone looking for a murder mystery with a slow burn. You won’t get to the heart of it unless you can get past the first three episodes that focus on character development, but once you do you’re rewarded with a labyrinthine tale that delights in serving up gory deaths, mysterious occurrences, and creepy girls with eyepatches. You can never have too many of those.
If you could save or extend your life by eliminating targets specified by some bizarre alien being, would you do it? How would you know if said target deserved to die, or would it matter? Gantz is a frenetic, gory journey through the psyche as it follows high school students killed in a subway accident as they hope to regain their mortality. Just be ready for copious amounts of gore, violence, and sex. And a story that’ll grip you until it’s run its course.
3. Hell Girl
How far would you go to take revenge on someone who has wronged you? Would you surrender your soul to Hell to burn for all eternity, as long as you got to live out the rest of your life? Hell Girl, or Jigoku Shoujo, explores these questions with surprising delicacy, highlighting a different situation with each episode. Whether it’s animal neglect, extreme bullying, extortion, or avenging someone’s death, there’s a new story to be unraveled across three different series. When you’ve been wronged, you’re granted access to Hell Girl’s website, where you’ll input your request for revenge. Enma Ai, the girl herself, delivers a straw doll with a ribbon around its neck with the implication that you’ll pull the string when you’re ready for her to deliver retribution, sealing the contract that robs you of your soul. It’s heartbreaking, but oh-so-satisfying as it speaks to those primal urges for revenge.
Shiki may seem slow-moving and meandering at times, but underneath the veneer of hyper-colorful, shiny animation and cheery voiceovers, there’s something decidedly sinister at play. The vampiric Shiki who are obviously preying on the people of Sotoba are psychotic in their own special ways, and it appears early on that the vampires themselves aren’t even the creepiest aspects of this unique series. High-octane nightmare fuel awaits you in the form of vamps hanging around bedrooms at night, some horrific facial expressions, and more. It truly channels acid-laced visions of Giallo fantasy and should not be missed.
Now, Berserk isn’t technically a horror series. It’s more of the perfect amalgam of equal parts action, fantasy, and horror instead. But it’s such a masterful blend it truly belongs at the top of our list. The tale of Guts, the Black Swordsman, and his journey throughout the land after his brush with the narcissistic and enigmatic Griffith is not one to be missed. Though it may appear to be a normal Western fantasy tale, it quickly devolves into something much more sinister near its climax. Demons, torturous journeys, and a cavalcade of arcane sights and sounds flow together to create a grim tale of revenge and redemption that can’t be missed.
Image credits: Gonzo, Daume, Studio Deen, P.A. Works, OLM