As the air grows crisp and leaves fall in a symphony of rustling whispers, the season of Halloween casts its enchanting spell. It’s a time when the boundaries between us and the supernatural blur, beckoning us to embrace the macabre, the eerie, and the downright spine-tingling.
While many may turn to classic horror films and tales of the supernatural, there’s a hidden treasure trove that offers a unique twist on the spooky season – Halloween anime!
Join us as we delve into a handpicked selection of Halloween anime that offers a spooky experience like no other. These series unravel narratives that range from whimsically eerie to downright terrifying, and their unique storytelling will leave you enchanted and unnerved in equal measure.
Handpicked Halloween anime for you:
Before we start though, please do note that the following list is in No Particular Order and this is a collection we sorted through for a hearty laugh, a good scare, and more importantly, a good Halloween. And with that, welcome to the realm of Halloween anime, where the unexpected is the norm, and a spooky experience awaits at every turn.
There’s nothing like a good classic to start off this list with. I’ve gushed about Mononoke before. It has a very unique art style that lends itself to the mysterious nature of the macabre. It associates itself with a surreal, almost dreamscape-ish feeling while keeping all its quirkiness.
Mononoke is a story about a mysterious “Medicine Seller”, a vagabond whose purpose in life is to hunt down malevolent spirits. But before he can do so, he must understand the form, the truth, and the reason for the spirit’s existence.
The nature of Mononoke is deep-rooted in human behavior and likewise can be quite disturbing. But Mononoke’s ability to convey the supernatural through the exploration of human nature is what makes it so amazing. Despite being so colorful and artsy, it has moments that are genuinely terrifying.
2. Junji Ito: Maniac
If you are a Junji Ito fan and want something more traditional, we’ve got you covered with Junji Ito: Maniac. Also, known as Japanese Tales of the Macabre, this is a 2023 anime that adapts 20 of Itou’s short stories including titles like Tomie, Souichi, and The Hanging Balloons.
Unfortunately, what works on paper, doesn’t necessarily work on the silver screen. While Junji Ito: Maniac is not a perfect adaptation, it more than does a job of being a fun yet twisted watch that stays quite on par with the original work.
Itou’s works aren’t particularly scary, but with the way he focuses on details, they can be really creepy and unsettling, and this adaptation manages to replicate that exact feeling, especially with the stronger episodes. Coupled with a great sound design, Junji Ito: Maniac manages to leave its mark on the world of horror anime.
As a bonus, if you love Junji Itou, please stay on the lookout for the upcoming anime adaptation of Uzumaki. It has been in production for a few years now, with a short trailer that was released very recently. And honestly, it looks amazing, it’s like the manga has been brought to life!
If you like your Junji Itou dosage to be in the manga, then what say you about some good vampire mystery horror? You know very well what I am talking about, it’s none other than the legendary Shiki. Shiki is an adaptation of a two-part novel series of the same name by Ono Fuyumi published in 1998.
The story is set in the small town of Sotoba in rural Japan, where a strange and incurable disease is rapidly spreading among the population, as the local doctors fear that it might be the start of an epidemic. Around the same time, a new family moved into the Kanemasa mansion.
Shiki heavily leans into the spine-tingling mysterious aspect of the show, it doesn’t shy away from delivering impactful gore when it needs to. The show is consorted by a wide variety of incidental music, that ranges from ominous tones to haunting melodies, making Shiki a chilling Halloween anime to watch!
If you do enjoy Shiki, or even if you feel like it wasn’t quite there, I will urge you to check out the novel. As is in most cases, a written format usually works much better with horror because you are letting your brain fill in with your imagination. And as we know, imagination has no limits.
Moving past our vampire horror, how about we delve into some classical horror next then? Like Shiki, Another is also an adaptation of a two-part novel series of the same name. Another is just one of those solid true and tested experiences in anime that you can never go wrong with.
The story of Another revolves around class 3-3 of Yomiyama North Junior High. When a transfer student, Kouichi Sakakibara returns back to his class after a sick leave, he is inexplicably drawn towards a mysterious girl with an eyepatch, but no one in their class acknowledges her existence.
As Kouichi tries to acquaint himself with the girl, he discovers a terrible mystery that engulfs their class, a curse that only causes tragedies. But uncovering this mystery will cost them terribly. Another delivers its story with a spine-tingling atmosphere that is drowned in the desolate air of mystery.
It’s tightly written, it’s horrifying and the mystery aspect of it is bloody brilliant! Another does suffer from some problems though, mainly with some filler episodes, and the last arc of the series feels rushed and, it kinda loses the horror aspect and feels final destination-ish.
Similar to what I said for Shiki, if you want a better experience, please read the novel Another. It’s such a good horror story, and even though I already knew all the ins and outs of the plot, I still found myself enthralled when reading the books. Another is a great watch and an even better read!
5. Higurashi When They Cry
Since the last entry was a classic tried and tested horror story, let’s go with another horror mystery next, but this time a more detailed one. Higurashi When They Cry is a 53 (?) episode adaptation of a 7-part visual novel. It’s a massive complicated story spanning multiple routes and arcs and it’s very detailed.
Higurashi is set in the quiet village of Hinamizawa, centered around Keiichi Maebara and his group of inseparable friends and how under their seemingly idyllic life, is a story of madness and paranoia that purges their entire village into a cycle of violence and destruction.
It’s a story told across multiple timelines and each time you feel like you are getting close to an answer, you end up having more questions. It’s a puzzle that quite never really fits, and it manages to keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
If you getting into Higurashi, I will say that stick with it. It might feel slow at times, and you might feel that you aren’t getting enough answers, but with enough time, Higurashi expands to cover all of its plot points and that is so worth it! It’s a phenomenal story with lots of amazing scares.
We’ve been talking about some serious horror stories so far, and that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. So, let’s bring up something on the lighter side, shall we? Mieruko-chan is a Fall 2021 anime that tries to combine the monstrous with the moe, two words I thought I’d never use in the same sentence.
This anime is centered around Miko Yotsuya, a girl with the ability to perceive the horrifying specters that roam the world. And she decides that she will never any attention to them, no matter how frightening they are. It’s a simple premise with delightful execution.
The specters in question are mortifying apparitions and have amazing designs. The episodes themselves feel like an anthology of sorts, but some stories are carried across episodes. Despite the premise of the show, it’s quite comedic in its nature and is a fun watch.
It’s not all horrifying monsters though, Mieruko-chan can sometimes narrate stories that tug on your heartstrings, and it’s this element of the show that I really admire – how it can occasionally take a paranormal premise and spin it to convey just a really wholesome story that brings a tear to your eyes.
7. Dark Gathering
Dark Gathering is the newest kid on the block who tries to impress with how cool they are. It started airing in July of 2023 and has a couple of episodes left as of the time of writing this article. And let me tell you, it has been great so far.
The story revolves around a group of individuals who find themselves connected by their encounters with the paranormal. As they navigate the mysteries of the occult, they uncover hidden secrets, confront malevolent spirits, and delve into the darkness lurking just beyond the surface of their reality.
What I like about Dark Gathering is how it deals with malevolent spirits, not using any rituals or holy items, not running or hiding, but with sheer physical violence (just as God intended). It’s not really creepy in the traditional sense, but it establishes a good uncomfortable atmosphere.
It’s the unsettling nature of the show that really drives it forward. With a chilling sound design and some great action and horror visuals, Dark Gathering is a show that sticks its landing and is great for a casual watch.
8. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls
So far, we have talked about a lot of different anime but something that we didn’t bring up yet is the Grotesque and Gore-filled type of horror in our list of unique Halloween anime to watch. And, what better candidate other than Corpse Party to illustrate that? The anime is based on Corpse Part Blood Covered: … Repeated Fear, the PSP remake of the 1996 PC survival horror video game.
Before going into the story, let me throw a trigger warning here, Corpse Party is very, very disturbing. The story follows a group of students trying to perform a ritual, which ends up trapping them in a nightmarish version of their school. The ghost stories they shared with each other have become real and the children have become their prey.
Corpse Party is literally all about kids getting murdered brutally. There’s quite a bit of story and mystery that it is trying to unravel, but it is all dwarfed by how much gore is filled in the 4 episodes. I’ll be honest, Corpse Party is a mediocre adaptation at best, but it does the job of being the equivalent of a slash horror.
If the story of Corpse Party in any way intrigues you, even a little bit, I will urge you to go play and play the video game because it is quite phenomenal. And good news for you, Corpse Party (2021) is a remastered version of the original that’s available to be purchased on Steam, with very positive reviews might I add.
9. Hell Girl
I don’t expect a lot of you to watch Corpse Party because stomaching that much gore is difficult. So instead, how about I offer you some revenge-themed horror? After all, revenge is a dish that’s best served cold, just like the corpses of your enemies after you are done with them.
Hell Girl is a show where grudge bearers can send their tormentors to hell, but only if they too consign themselves to damnation upon their death. The show is centered on the enigmatic Hell Girl, Ai Enma, as she carries out these supernatural vendettas.
You might ask, well Corvo, that doesn’t sound like horror at all. Hear me out, this is an anime, where you witness people succumbing to their worst, the lowest they have ever been, and their mental sanity breaks down slowly and painfully. It’s not supernatural horror, it’s psychological.
To change a man is to make him believe. To make him believe is to destroy his faith. Nothing can save such a lost soul. If you are a fan of psychological horror, I highly recommend Hell Girl, it can be repetitive with its structure, but it’s a solid show.
10. Yami Shibai
Hmmm, so far we’ve covered a lot of ground. How about a very niche genre of horror next? Yami Shibai, which translates to “Darkness Theater”, is an anime that presents a collection of short and eerie horror stories in the style of kamishibai (paper drama), a traditional form of storytelling in Japan.
Each episode unfolds like a chilling, supernatural tale told by a mysterious storyteller who uses a kamishibai theater to reveal stories of the paranormal and the macabre. Do you remember reading those 2 sentences of horror stories that float around the internet? Yami Shiba goes for that exact same feeling with how it’s presented.
It’s just a cool show for what it is. The anime knows how to set the mood and goes for a very traditional and artistic approach with its still image presentation. It’s something you won’t really find much of anywhere else and I think you should definitely give this a shot.
11. Boogiepop Phantom
How about we end this list with something that’s very underrated? Our pick for the contender is Boogiepop Phantom, an avante-garde and psychological show about unsettling paranormal events. Human Psyche and Dementia is a big focus of Boogiepop Phantom.
The story of Boogiepop revolves around a string of grisly murders that shook the city to its core. Rumors start spreading about a mysterious entity called Boogiepop, after meeting whom people disappear. But, is there really something that lurks in the curtain of the night that you should be wary of?
Boogiepop is quite literally inspired by the story of The Boogeyman, except, it’s a cryptic puzzle piece this time. This show features some amazing sound editing that you’ll ever hear in an anime and it’s a major part of the show. Boogiepop Phantom is a prime example of “Show, don’t tell” and I hope you’ll be able to appreciate it for what it is.
And with that, as the spectral winds blow and the world transforms into a playground for the supernatural, the season of Halloween eventually reaches its conclusion. In the midst of the dark and the eerie, you may just find a spark of fascination, a chill of anticipation, and an enduring love for the unconventional and the unexplained.
Happy Halloween, and may your journey into the uncanny be a captivating one.