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If you have an itch for anime & a hankering for horror, we’ve got some wonderful shows for you. Here are our picks for the best horror animes.

Love anime and horror? You need to watch these immediately

If anyone makes the mistake of thinking that all anime is made for children – they’re in for a serious shock. Anime can be incredibly dark and gory – and that’s partially why we love it so very much. Get ready for your heart to race and your palms to sweat because anime horror is a whole new kind of thrill. 

If you have an itch for anime and a hankering for horror, we’ve got some wonderful shows waiting for you. Be warned – these animes could be relatively traumatizing for those faint of heart. Here are our top picks for the best horror anime shows out there. 

Parasyte

Easily one of the most well-made anime horrors of all time, Parasyte will make you shudder at its intense violence and body horror. When a strange alien race invades earth they take over human hosts in their pursuit of world domination. These sharp parasitic shapeshifters devour human flesh and tear through lives in an instant. 

Protagonist Shinichi has to grapple with the parasyte who manages to merge with his hand and fight off other hostile parasites who threaten him and his family. But he doesn’t just battle other parasites – he has to battle with himself as he merges with a parasite and experiences severe trauma.

Parasyte is more than just horror and gore – Parasyte is deeply emotional and psychological. Parasyte has phenomenal character development and humble romance. Parasyte is also surprisingly philosophical, asking big questions about a human’s role in the universe. 

Monster

Exceedingly overlooked, Monster is a fantastic psychological horror anime. Monster depicts a dangerous dance between a regretful doctor and a murderous psychopath. Monster is incredibly haunting – it’s slow yet thrilling pace makes for a heart-pounding ride. No other anime can fill you with impending dread and suspense the way Monster does. 

When Dr. Tenma chooses to operate on a young boy over the town’s mayor, he loses his social standing as an elite neurosurgeon. However, many years later Tenma witnesses how monstrous the boy turns out and seeks to correct his mistake and avenge those traumatized by his former patient.

Shiki

Vampires make for great horror series. Shiki is an underrated horror anime filled with vampires and mysteries. Much better than Twilight, Shiki takes vampires to the modern day. Very convincing characters are pushed into a dark world where the death count keeps rising.

The strange arrival of the Kirishiki family who lives in a huge, secluded mansion prompts townspeople to question their involvement in the bizarre new illness spreading in town. Shiki puts a cool spin on the undead – making for a stylish horror anime. Trigger warning – Shiki is filled with body horror, suicide, and death.  

Junji Ito Collection

Based off of the beautiful manga created by legendary Juni Ito, the anime anthology series Junji Ito Collection gets a crown for its excellent way of entertaining the genre of horror. The collection will feature frightening tales from multiple pieces of Junji’s work including Uzumaki, Tomie, and Fragments of Horror. 

The show explores many stories, venturing into a chilling town that is riddled with various curses, spiral obsessions, and sentient bacteria. The illustrations are vivid and harrowing – you’re not likely to fall asleep without Junji’s creations creeping up on you in your subconscious.

Death Note

One look at Death Note’s shinigami, aka death gods, and horror fans will be hooked. When shinigami Ryuk purposefully drops his formidable “Death Note” onto earth, it falls into the hands of genius high school student Light Yagami. Death Note is particularly terrifying because the Death Note gives the owner the power to kill anyone in the world by simply writing their name inside. 

The dangerous Death Note allows Light to transform into “Kira” – a murderous teen with a god-complex. The story develops into a cat-and-mouse thriller, when a brilliant detective starts pursuing Kira, seeking an end to his reign of terror as a mysterious serial killer. 

(Side note: don’t watch the horrible Netflix live adaptation of Death Note unless you’re looking for a laugh.) 

Castlevania

Did we mention that vampires make for stupendous horror series? Though Castlevania is not technically an anime (it is not based in Japan), it’s a series that anime fans will love nevertheless. Based on the popular video game series, Castlevania explores vampires and vampire hunters in the classic horror genre – its gothic style is endlessly appealing.

Initially following the story of infamous vampire lord Dracula and the monster-hunting mercenary Trevor Belmont, Castlevania has branched out to include a wide range of diverse and complex characters. 

The classic horror series follows many engaging storylines in an appealingly lugubrious setting. Castlevania’s plot has the perfect touch of action, adventure, and fascinating vampire politics. Glittering with charming flashes of humor, stylish character growth, and tasteful gore, it’s a must-watch for all animation fans. 

Devilman Crybaby

If you like your horror gross and gory, Devilman Crybaby is for you. Devilman Crybaby features some extremely inventive animation – its distinctive style augmenting the strange horror and violence of the show. 

In a world where demons are reviving and transforming humans into agents of sin, Akira the “Devilman Crybaby” grapples with his split identity – a demon with a human heart. The horror series explores questions about humanity and evil. Plus, the anime will hit you with some fun plot twists. 

While the animation is stunning and unique, the plot is a bit all over the place. We also have to warn you – beyond intense blood and violence there’s also a lot of explicit sexual content. If this kind of stuff rubs you the wrong way, Devilman Crybaby is not for you. 

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