So we are coming up to Halloween and I’d thought I’d talk about the different horror and supernatural animes that I’ve watched over the years. We will look at what made me like them as well as anything that put me off. Now, all of this is subjective at the end of the day but I’d love to hear different opinions as well as recommendations for new things to watch.
I watch a lot of anime and have been watching it for the majority of my life. In particular, I enjoy watching horror and fantasy animes but today I’ll be focusing on the former of the two. Horror is defined by something that invokes a feeling of fear, shock or disgust. I believe fear should be the main aspect with lots of mystery and suspense incorporated.
Probably my first experience with horror in anime would be Elfen Lied. Although, I don’t feel it fits comfortable in the horror genre, having some heavy action elements as well as some other bits mixed in. It is comparable to Doctor Jekyll an Mister Hyde with the Lucy/Nyu dynamic. What makes it different is that Nyu is innocent and acts like a child, she is the side that doesn’t harm anything, while Lucy is highly intelligent but sees it as okay to murder people include those who aren’t a threat. It isn’t the uneducated side that sees it as acceptable to attack, it’s Lucy who understands what she needs to do to survive which I feel falls in line with more modern ideals of killers. While I did enjoy it, I don’t feel it is the best horror anime and think it fits better into the action genre but that it incorporated some good horror elements.
Now sometimes a show could have a great premise and then fall flat. Even though we only have two episodes of King’s Game so far this season I feel as though some of the creative choices aren’t right. The set up is simple – You get text an instruction, if you don’t follow it you die. For myself I feel we needed a longer time of disbelief and the characters to react more appropriately with what they are presented with. Plus there is an issue with a character having drastic and unnatural personality change with no explanation. I am going to watch all this anime and see what happens with it, see if they do have a justification for what I am feeling at the moment, because right now I feel as though it is written badly.
On the other hand we have, Another, which is probably one of my favourite animes which I would count as a full, true horror anime. The first part is filled with mystery, you’re not entirely sure what is actually going on, what is real and what is imaginary. There is a great sense of history and trying to unravel what happened in the past as well. Also paired with some of the most over the top and intricate anime deaths it makes for great watching.
Another on of my top horror animes is Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni, or Higurashi When They Cry in English. If you aren’t a fan of time loops this probably won’t be something you’ll enjoy, same goes for Re:Zero which is my favourite anime of all time at the moment. It is a murder mystery with supernatural elements. It is also one of the first instances of the ‘Break the Cutie’ trope, where we repeatedly see cute little girls go insane and start killing each other.
Some honourable mentions to animes that I didn’t feel were horror enough to get a in-depth look but are definitely creepy in places such as Future Diaries, Tokyo Ghoul, Parasyte, and Deadman Wonderland. They are all very action based but are either filled with monsters such as Parasyte and Tokyo Ghoul. As for Deadman Wonderland and Future Diaries, they have a lot of crazy, creepy people in them.
Shiki is a vampire anime which takes a medical road at first, especially as one of the main characters is a doctor who takes it upon himself to help his villages vampire problem. It does have a very weird art style which puts some people off. However I think it has an interesting take on vampires and it isn’t one sided, so we do have sympathy for the humans and the vampires as well.
Finally, just Gakkou Gurashi. I won’t go into details but it rips your heart out. All I will say is that it is a horror even if the start doesn’t seem like it. Also it isn’t like School Days were you watch the full anime wondering why they had to delay the last episode and then everything goes from nought to ten in the final episode.
And remember, you can’t spell slaughter without laughter.