37 Must-Watch Scariest Horror Anime Series to Keep You on the Couch
Hey anime fans, “Horror anime” is a term that covers a wide range of genres. It’s not all monsters, vampires, gore, and jump-scares. There are various types of horror anime that can be both scary and entertaining.
With the release of anime series such as Tokyo Ghoul, When They Cry and so on, we are reminded that scary and suspenseful stories can be seen through different lenses. Yet, the best horror anime series keep us on the edge of our seats with their intriguing storylines and careful attention to detail.
In this list, we have gathered 37 different horror anime series that have been brought to life by some seriously talented Japanese Artists and Mangakas. Be it spooky adventures, psychological thrillers, or horror romances, these are just a few examples of what scary and hauntingly beautiful anime shows are out there.
38. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories
Yami Shibai is a series of suspenseful and often spine-chilling ghost stories with a horror theme. The first story features a bachelor who moves into an apartment and senses the pressure of an evil gaze. One talisman rests on his ceiling, but he had no way of knowing it was one of the few things that could save him from a bottomless pit of suffering. The stories are getting more and more terrifying, horrendous, and nauseating as the storyteller highlights the gruesome details of their harsh experience.
37. Junji Ito Collection
Itou Junji Collection is a 12 episodes horror anime series by Studio Deen and based on the works of Japanese manga artist Junji Itou. In his works, Ito typically employs a blend of both horror and comedy as a means to critique society and the human condition.
This scary horror anime series through every episode depicts a different story from Junji Ito’s body of work, all set in one strange wicked city.
Dorohedoro is an ongoing horror manga and anime series that has been produced by Studio MAPPA. The story revolves around Caiman, who after having his head bitten off, gains the ability to understand the language of demons and uses this ability in an ongoing quest.
This is a really good anime for horror fans, that follows the amnesiac reptilian-headed Caiman, working together with his friend Nikaido to recover his memories and survive in a strange violent world.
In this seinen horror anime, technology is both a blessing and a curse. It grants us the potential for great wealth & prosperity while also creating crime and raising the threat of being monstrous. Thankfully, we have heroes to take care of these problems!
This story follows ZET and ALPHAS, two sworn rivals, and then the show reveals their shared past. – Jin Kanzaki is a young man with a superpower to transform into a superhuman being known as ZET, and Kouga Amagi is an established fighter who relies on his tech to fight as ALPHAS. These two main protagonists’ fates will intertwine as they fight to protect mankind from monstrous abominations known as Players.
34. Meiruko Chan
In 2021, a lot of horror anime series were released and Mieruko-chan was one of those that truly stood out. It has a good balance of comedy and horror for those looking for more than just one genre.
Meiruko Chan follows The story of an anime girl who suddenly starts seeing monsters around her that no one else can, and to top it off she sees them every day. But rather than backing down and running away, she keeps up her courage and ignores them. Join in on the girl’s daily life as she tries to take it all while maintaining a poker face.
33. Blood +
Produced by Production IG studio, Blood+ is a horror-action anime that revolves around The Chiroptera, beings that feed off blood and can change their form and disguise themselves as humans. Red Shield has been trying to stop these creatures for years but needs help.
Okinawa is a place where Saya Otonashi lives and she has lost her memory and needs to find it back Because with her powers she can help The Red Shield. She is said to be destined for something controversial but we assume she will be successful after coming this far.
32. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
This show is set in an alternate history of Japan, when horrific creatures emerge from a mysterious virus, and where humans exist alongside steam-powered machines.
Kabaneri is an action horror-based anime where humans may become Kabaneries if they got bitten by one of them. The infection process differs from person to person and the only way to stop Kabaneries is by piercing their heart through an iron plate.
31. Happy Sugar Life
Happy Sugar Life is psychological horror anime that focus on people pushed to their limits. Stressful contrasts are found in every way throughout the show too.
The story focuses on Satou, a beautiful high school girl who is known for being promiscuous. This changes when she meets a young girl named Shio. Hence, Satou realizes this will be her first experience of true love.
Satou tells people that she lives with her aunt. But the truth is she lives with he beloved one and she keeps this a secret, and she’s willing to do anything in order not to let anyone ruin their “happy sugar life.”
30. Goblin Slayer
In a fantasy world, a lone hero makes his living by almost exterminating every goblin he meets. But one day he stumbles across a priestess, and his life begins to become more intense.
The Goblin Slayer is a highly qualified adventurer, and now the priestess has been given the honor of accompanying him on any Goblin-related matters.
Each group of heroes worked hard to protect the frontier lands, including making sure that goblins were wiped out. A battlefield of battles erupted, and the armored warrior along with his group will not stop until all goblins are killed for good.
29. Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
Haruka’s sophomore year is getting seriously scary. One of her friends turns into a possessed demon, another hangs herself and Haruka may be the next one to die. Her only way out of this potentially deadly dead-end is if she finds someone who’ll help her find out what’s going on…
Yakumo Saito is a student enrolled at the University, born with a mysterious eye that allows him to see and communicate with the dead. And after death, some of them seem to be more than ready to take another life of those who wanna reveal their secrets.
Haruka is good at not stopping looking for people’s secrets and she doesn’t stop there! She also unearths evidence of bodies being exhumed by both the police and a journalist looking for clues.
Can this paranormal pair solve the unexplained mysteries?
‘Ajin’ is a horror-action anime that takes place in a fictional universe where humanity stumbled upon the discovery of a new subspecies of beings dubbed “Ajin”.
The Ajins are thought to be immortal while having several supernatural abilities. And because of their rarity, they’re quickly considered superstitious beings.
This is a dark show with a lot going on in its story. It has a lot of character work and also has a number of twists and turns throughout about cruel experimentation, government conspiracies, and betrayals. it’s well worth watching.
27. Highschool of the Dead
Highschool of the Dead is a Japanese horror-comedy manga series written and illustrated by Daisuke Sato, that was adapted into an anime television series produced by Shuka, directed by Noriaki Akitaya.
The story features High school students in Japan who find themselves in the middle of the aftermath of an apocalyptic outbreak causing humans to turn into zombies. They’re forced to work together to stay alive and fight back.
Takashi Komuro and Rei journey together with other students to find their family members and discover what caused this apocalypse. But will the combined strength of these students be enough to conquer this crisis?
Kei and Masaru died and found themselves in a strange new place but they quickly learned they were part of something more sinister. Armed with futuristic weapons, these two along with others must find and kill the aliens. They’re playing this deadly game to get their next life. After they finish all of Gantz’s rules, it may or may not be possible for them to return to their normal lives.
The anime series Gantz is not for everyone as it is particularly horrific, gruesome, and disturbing at times. But it features some engaging scenes throughout, so it makes for a great time even on the edge of your seat.
Sankarea is an anime that spans genres of romance, horror, ecchi, and comedy. The story chronicles the life of high school student Chihiro Furuya with a keen interest in everything related to zombies.
When his pet cat died, he tried to revive it by reading an old manuscript. Then Rea appeared before him. In attempting to commit suicide, she drank a poisonous herb formula, that didn’t kill her.
After an argument with her dad, she fell from a cliff and died, but because of the potion, she was transformed into a zombie. Though she became undead she refuses to consume human flesh and prefers to survive by eating the poisonous herb.
Yuki Takeya loves her school so much as it is a unique and lively place where she enjoys her carefree life as a third-year high school student and member of the School Living Club.
The club, consisting of other students, prides itself on making the most of life at school. The members must live on the school grounds and eat meals together after classes.
The show has a few charming moments, but it often feels too good to be true–in a way that you can’t help but ask yourself if what you’re looking at is believable. This is probably why the show doesn’t feel like a typical slice of life with cute girls. As they have to deal with the dark force unleashed by this mysterious event. This story can be shocking and can leave you feeling heartbroken because of what you will see.
23. Ghost Hunt
Ghost Hunt is the perfect anime for those into that sort of horror genre. It is visually intense and features unpredictable characters. You might be totally in love with the series if you’re into terrifying anime, because this one may just give you that feeling that will leave you breathless. The series is not a typical fantasy/thriller horror.
The plot of the show revolves around Shibuya psychic powers Research Center, which focuses on cases that involve supernatural phenomena in Japan. The organization is good at using modern technology in its tasks of ‘ghost hunting’. While of course, the old chanting and purification methods are still included too.
Mushishi is one of the most popular animes in Japan. It is a series about the supernatural creatures in nature, with a focus on shape-shifting spirits, called Mushi, who are responsible for keeping the balance between humanity and nature.
So what are Mushis, and why do they exist? This is the question that Ginko constantly ponders. For centuries, Mushishis are those who researches Mushi in hopes of understanding their place in life’s hierarchy.
Ginko, spends all of his time looking for clues that are related to Mushis. Of course, these clues could even help him figure out the meaning of life itself.
21. Paranoia Agent
Lately, an unidentified assailant is terrorizing Musashino City. the attacker on regular-looking rollerblades is beating people down with a golden baseball bat. The assailant seems impossible to catch
The news about the Shonen with a golden bat is blinding attacks that are blinding more and more people, and detectives Mitsuhiro Maniwa and Keiichi Ikari are working to identify the criminal.
Paranoia Agent is an interesting detective mystery with a dark horror theme that will really keep you hooked. Will the two detectives be able to crack the case? or they will get swept up in paranoia?
20. Danganronpa: The Animation
“Danganronpa: The Animation” is a Japanese anime tv series by Studio Lerche that is based on the video game franchise of the same name. It aired in Japan in 2013.
This anime is a murder mystery with an interesting cast of characters with a great design and cool names too! It is a must-watch! As it has horror, suspense, comedy, and a video game sequel. I would absolutely recommend it.
Makoto Naegi along with 14 other students from different schools were all accepted into the elite Hope’s Peak High School. However, when they get there, they soon realize that it’s a trap designed to trick them into killing one another.
19. Deadman Wonderland
Japan’s Deadman Wonderland is a dark story about life in a Japanese prison. Imagine being sent to jail, stripped of all your rights, and given no chance of defending yourself.
The series centers around Ganta Igarashi was framed for the massacre he didn’t do but was sent to Deadman Wonderland nonetheless. There, the prisoners are forced to kill each other with useful powers and abilities to perform dangerous games in order to entertain the masses.
Every inmate Ganta encounters at the facility has an individual goal, but Ganta’s sole goal is trying to survive and prove his innocence.
18. Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
Seikyou Private Academy has been haunted by a ghost that has been there for decades. The ghost is called Yuuko and she doesn’t remember her life or how she was killed.
Yuuko finds herself in a new situation as she meets Teiichi. The two quickly become very close and he decides to help her. With Kirie Kanoe, Yuuko’s relative, and the oblivious second-year Momoe Okonogi, they delve deep into the seven mysteries of the academy.
This horror school visual anime tells a unique tale of students who work together to shed light on their school’s paranormal happenings, all the while inadvertently getting closer to the truth behind Yuuko’s death.
17. Devilman: Crybaby
Devilman Crybaby is an outstanding horror anime show! It has unique art, amazing characters, and it can be either entertaining or a serious tear-jerker.
the story portrays: Akira’s best friend tells him that ancient demons have returned to take back the world from humans and suggests that he unite with a demon. Akira successfully tries to do that, by transforming into his Devilman form.
Akira battles against the evil forces in order to save the world from demons that are slowly taking over. This sends Akira into a brutal, almost genocidal war against demons while trying his best to save demon-human hybrids like himself.
16. Boogiepop Phantom
Boogiepop is a horror anime series, along with other well-known tv shows like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Elfen Lied, They all have similarities in their content, being about blood, gory violence, disturbing, and having good art and animation quality, while portraying the human psyche.
The story depicts: Rumors about a grisly murderer have popped up once again in the city; So if you hear someone repeat Boogiepop’s name, be careful. If you happen to meet her one dark night, she might take your life.
People tell each other the horror stories and laugh: recent incidents have made them realize that strange things are going on and a form of evil they’ve never seen before is causing chaos. Are you safe from the evil ways?
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15. Angels of Death
Angels of Death is a good horror anime, focusing on Rachel, with dead and lifeless eyes, she wishes only to die. Waking from a nightmare in a basement, she has no idea how or why she’s there. Wondering through the building, she stumbles across a bandaged murderer named Zack who is trying to escape.
Zack promises to kill her as soon as he is free. Then, the two start moving from floor to floor in order to find a way out. As they progress upwards in the building, more and more people start showing up who are familiar to Rachel. However, all of these people seem weird and peculiar with each passing moment.
The building’s connection to Rachel is unknown, But, what she is doing there? Why meet bosses on each floor? Can Rachel and Zack both achieve their wishes?
14. Elfen Lied
What happens when you introduce a young girl with incredible strength and power into a society of other humans? The story of Elfen Lied takes place in the year 2036, where mutant humans live alongside regular ones, and it follows the life of Lucy, who is as strong as she is innocent.
Elfen Lied is a horror anime with a story about a young girl’s discovery of her special powers, that leads to an extraordinary journey, in which she discovers the truth about her identity and the origins of the war between Humans and the Aliens.
13. Jigoku Shoujo
Enma and her companions continue to offer their service of revenge against those who have done bad things to others, and the price is as steep as ever, for the culprit is sent to hell, while the person exacting vengeance is sent to the abyss. As the souls are being cast into the darkness, a new sinister force (the little girl named Kikuri) is watching them.
The peculiar boy named Takuma meets Enma while she is working on her duties. He is known as a devil boy because of the dark incidents that happen around him.
Because of Takuma’s reputation, the townspeople turn on him and think that he is guilty of all the people who have been sent to hell. When Enma finds out this high amount of violence is harming innocent people, she has no choice but to end it quickly.
12. Corpse Party
In this Horror Anime, Nine high school students gather to bid farewell to a friend. They perform a sort of ritual, where they make small paper charms shaped like dolls, to remain friends forever.
However, the students do not realize that these charms are connected to a school named Heavenly Host Elementary School, which was severely damaged after it underwent a series of brutal murders.
Trapped in an alternate dimension, the students must work together to escape or join the spirits of the damned forever.
Corpse Party Tortured Souls is a gory horror anime full of nuances. It offers gruesome deaths, disturbing scenes of tortures, satisfying plot twists, and hints for hope for those who keep on fighting.
11. The Promised Neverland
Well, this anime has the same vibe as death note, Known also in Japanese as The Yakusoku no Neverland, this is an ode to the psychological horror world of anime and manga series.
This horror series tells A group of young orphans who uncover dark secrets about the place they call home. Now they try their best to find a way to escape from their evil caretaker. To do so, they join forces with each other and struggle to find a way out of the dark orphanage they are trapped in.
Enma is one of these orphans. She has an incredible amount of good in her which is so inspiring to us. Her behavior without the drive for profit, revenge, or materialistic things surpasses any other human traits.
Shiki, an anime adaptation from the horror novel written by Fuyumi Ono, goes beyond the typical vampire stories. It tells the dark, tragic tale of survival in a morally ambiguous world where it’s hard to tell who the good guys are.
The Shiki (Vampires) used to be feared as merciless killers, but as they slowly start to integrate themselves amongst the villages, vampire hunters, and society won’t forgive nor welcome them. They struggle against those who resist and still fight passionately for what they believe in.
Shiki explores the two sides of humans, the evil and the good in man which often has us question the true nature that made us what we are. While the Shikis does not achieve this on many levels, it does explore the boundary that separates humans from monsters through a deep and emotional show.
9. Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul is a must-watch action-horror anime series that has been highly popular among animation enthusiasts since its debut in 2014, It has also received praise for its good characterization, excellent soundtrack, gruesome violence, tension-filled moments, dark humor, and tense atmosphere.
What makes Toky Ghoul stand out among the crowd is its amazing art, sound, and magnificent development of the conflict between humans and ghouls. where society lives in fear of Ghouls – creatures who look exactly like humans but have licentious tendencies.
One day, a mysterious man named Kishou Arima arrives and exposes the Ghouls to the world. In response, the government initiates a program to hunt down and capture all Ghouls.
The story of Tokyo Ghoul follows a college student named Ken Kaneki who after a failed date turns into a ghoul. Now, as a human-ghoul hybrid who refuses to feed on humans, goes on an adventure of finding out why he is despised by ghouls and humans alike, while also trying to learn more about the world of ghouls and what is his real identity.
Some people love Hellsing because it has violence, swearing, and blasphemous depiction of religious figures. For those fans, this anime is so cool.
Hellsing is an action-packed, darkly-themed anime that spans genres of horror, supernatural, action and takes place in a fictional alternate universe that follows the powerful vampire Alucard and Seras Victoria, two vampires employed by the vampire-extermination group of England, the Hellsing Organization.
Together they both took up their task with diligence and find new ways to fight for humanity as they go on active duty with each other.
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7. Future Diary
When it comes to horror anime series, The Future Diary stands out for having a strong cast of characters that are portrayed realistically. One of the main characters is a teenager named Yukiteru Amano. When his diary starts recording events before they happen, his life takes a weird turn.
Unbeknownst to him, Yuki has become part of a survival game in order to determine who will succeed The lord, competing with 11 others who also possess diaries that predict the future in various ways.
But Yukiteru has at least one strong ally, Yuno Gasai. As a fellow classmate, she sets her goal on protecting him from any danger. She’s also an obsessive and possibly crazy stalker who keeps tabs on Yuki in 10-minute intervals. The story goes from there!
6. Shinsekai Yori
Shinsekai Yori is a Japanese horror anime series. It starts off with our protagonist, Saki Watanabe, who awakens her powers and is relieved to join her friends at Sage Academy- a special school for psychics.
However, unease looms as Saki begins to question the fate of those unable to awaken to their powers, and get involved with secretive matters such as the rumored Tainted Cat said to abduct children.
Shinsekai tells the true story of Saki and her friends as they journey to grow into the roles to which they were born. Accepting these roles, however, might not come easy when faced with the dark and shocking truths as well as the havoc that the new world has to offer.
5. Parasyte The Maxim
If you like Tokyo Ghoul you will also love Parasyte, which is a good horror anime that revolves around a phenomenon called alien parasites, which can get into this earth by combining with a living body.
In the story, opportunistic parasites quickly infiltrated humanity’s brains and have been wreaking havoc on Earth! These entities are able to take control of their hosts and morph into different forms in order to feast on unsuspecting humans.
Shinichi Izumi, a 16-year-old high school student, was sleeping when one of these parasites decided to make his life difficult. Shinichi managed to beat the parasite and it ended up inside his hand instead. The parasite had nowhere else to go and so made its decision: trust in Shinichi and stay with him until taking full control of his brain.
Since the two species have been forced to coexist, they need to come up with a defense against these hostile parasites who hope to eliminate the new species.
The new Transfer Student Kouichi, soon discovers that Yomiyama North Academy had a strange, gloomy mood about it. And finds himself drawn to the mystic and somewhat mysterious student Mei Misaki; however, the rest of the class and the teachers don’t treat her like she’ doesn’t exist.
Despite warnings from everyone, including Mei herself, Kouichi takes an interest in Class 3-3 of Yomiyama North. Not only does he get close to the truth behind it, but he also begins to get closer to Mei herself.
Another is a spooky horror anime that follows Kouichi, Mei, and their classmates as they are pulled into the enigma surrounding a series of sudden death occurrences and inevitable tragic events. They unravel the horror inside the school building of Yomiyama but it just might cost them the ultimate price.
3. When They Cry
Keiichi Maebara has just moved to Hinamizawa, which is a quiet little village. He makes friends with some of his schoolmates, but it soon becomes apparent that there’s something sinister happening.
later, he realizes that there have been several crimes and disappearances in the area recently. They all seem to be connected to the town’s festival, which is over in a few months. Keiichi tries asking his new friends about these incidents and they refuse to answer.
As more crimes continue to occur, he wonders if his friends know more than they are telling him. Is he even willing to put his trust in them?
When madness and paranoia begin to take root in Keiichi’s heart, they will inevitably lead him to the mysteries that are set across multiple arcs.
Mononoke is one of the most artistic horror anime shows of all time, if not the most artful one out there. There are many anime adaptations around today. Some live on more than others, but there is one that stands out among the rest – Mononoke. It has bright-colored scenes and animations that come off as surreal most of the time.
Mononoke is an old Japanese folklore tale set in feudal Japan, where evil spirits are known as “Mononoke” are rampaging throughout the countryside. One special person called Oshō has the power to destroy them and put them where they stand.
Monster has received rave reviews because it is both entertaining and enlightening. Its art, writing, cast, and production are top-notch. and the sheer depth of this incredibly popular show has led to it being regarded as a modern classic for anime
This is a psychological horror anime series that takes place in a dystopian society in Germany. Kenzo Tenma is your typical doctor, living off the normal humdrum schedule consisting of blood tests and biopsies. One day he becomes involved with Johan Liebert, one of his former patients revealed to be a dangerous serial killer.