37 Must-Watch Scariest Horror Anime Series to Keep You on the Couch
Hello, anime fans! The term “Horror anime” refers to a wide variety of genres, including but not limited to monsters, vampires, gore, and jump scares. There are many different kinds of horror anime that can be both frightening and entertaining.
We are reminded that scary and suspenseful stories can be seen through different lenses with the release of anime series like Tokyo Ghoul and When They Cry, but the best horror anime series keep us on the edge of our seats with their intriguing storylines and careful attention to detail.
We have compiled a list of 37 different horror anime series that have been created by extremely talented Japanese artists and mangakas. These anime shows range from spooky adventures to psychological thrillers to horror romances, just a few examples of the terrifying and hauntingly beautiful anime shows that are available.
38. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories
The first story in Yami Shibai is about 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 idea it was one of the few things that could save him from a bottomless pit of suffering. As the storyteller highlights the gruesome details of their harsh experience, the stories become increasingly terrifying, horrendous, and nauseating.
37. Junji Ito Collection
Studio Deen’s Itou Junji Collection is a twelve-episode horror anime series based on the works of Japanese manga artist Junji Ito. In his works, Ito typically employs a combination of horror and comedy to criticize society and the human condition.
This terrifying horror anime series tells a different story from Junji Ito’s work in a different strange, wicked city in each episode.
Studio MAPPA is the creator of the ongoing horror manga and anime series Dorohedoro. The story follows Caiman, who uses his ability to understand the language of demons after having his head bitten off, in an ongoing quest.
This fantastic horror anime follows Caiman, an amnesiac reptilian with a head, as he works with his friend Nikaido to regain his memories and survive in a strange, violent world.
Technology is a blessing and a curse in this seinen horror anime. It gives us the potential for great wealth and prosperity but also causes crime and raises the threat of being monstrous. Fortunately, there are heroes to deal with these issues!
Jin Kanzaki, a young man with a superpower to transform into a superhuman being known as ZET, and Kouga Amagi, an established fighter who relies on his technology to fight as ALPHAS, are the two main protagonists in this story. Their fates will intertwine as they fight to protect humanity from monstrous abominations known as Players.
34. Meiruko Chan
There were a lot of horror anime series released in 2021, but Mieruko-chan was one of the best. It has a good mix of comedy and horror for people who want more than one genre.
Meiruko Chan tells the story of an anime girl who suddenly starts seeing monsters around her that no one else can, and to top it all off, she sees them every day. Instead of backing down and running away, the girl keeps up her courage and ignores them. Join the girl as she tries to take it all in while keeping a poker face.
33. Blood +
Blood+ is an action-horror anime produced by Production IG studio. It is about The Chiroptera, which feeds on blood and can take human form. Red Shield has been trying to stop these creatures for years but needs help.
Saya Otonashi is from Okinawa, where she lives. She has lost her memory, and she needs to get it back so that she can help The Red Shield with her powers. She is said to be destined for something controversial, but we believe she will succeed after getting this far.
32. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
This show takes place in a different version of Japan’s past, where humans and steam-powered machines coexist and horrifying creatures emerge from a mysterious virus.
In the action-horror anime Kabaneri, humans can become Kabaneries if they are bitten by one of them; the process of infection varies from person to person, and the only way to stop Kabaneries is to pierce their hearts with an iron plate.
Related: The 15 Best Zombies-Based Anime to Watch
31. Happy Sugar Life
Stressful contrasts are present in every aspect of Happy Sugar Life, which is a psychological horror anime about people who are pushed to their limits.
The main character in the story is Satou, a pretty high school girl who is known for being promiscuous. This changes when she meets Shio, a young girl, and Satou realizes that this will be her first real love.
Satou tells people that she lives with her aunt, but the truth is that she lives with her beloved, and she keeps it a secret. She is willing to do anything to keep their “happy sugar life” from being ruined by anyone.
30. Goblin Slayer
In a fantasy world, a single hero almost kills every goblin he meets to make a living, but when he meets a priestess one day, his life starts to get more intense.
The priestess has been honored to accompany the Goblin Slayer on all Goblin-related matters. The Goblin Slayer is a highly skilled adventurer.
A battlefield of battles erupted, and the armored warrior and his group will not stop until all goblins are killed for good. Each group of heroes worked hard to protect the frontier lands, including eliminating them.
29. Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
One of Haruka’s friends transforms into a possessed demon, another hangs herself, and Haruka may be the next to die in her sophomore year. The only way out of this potentially fatal dead-end is if she finds someone who will assist her in figuring out what’s going on…
Yakumo Saito is a university student who was born with an enigmatic eye that enables him to see the dead and communicate with them. After death, some of the dead appear to be more than ready to take another life from those who wish to reveal their secrets.
In addition to uncovering evidence of bodies being exhumed by both the police and a journalist looking for clues, Haruka is adept at never ceasing to look for people’s secrets.
Can this paranormal couple resolve the mysteries that remain unsolved?
The horror-action anime “Ajin” takes place in a fictitious universe where humans stumble upon discovering a new species of beings called “Ajin.”
Due to their rarity, the Ajins are quickly regarded as superstitious beings because they are believed to be immortal and possess a number of supernatural abilities.
It is well worth watching this dark show, which has a lot going on in its story, a lot of character development, and a lot of twists and turns about cruel experiments, government conspiracies, and betrayals.
27. Highschool of the Dead
Daisuke Sato wrote and illustrated the Japanese horror-comedy manga series Highschool of the Dead. Shuka produced the anime television series, which was directed by Noriaki Akitaya.
The plot involves high school students in Japan caught up in the aftermath of an apocalyptic outbreak that turned people into zombies and forces them to work together to survive and fight back.
Together with other students, Takashi Komuro and Rei go on a journey to find their family and learn what caused the apocalypse. But will the strength of these students be enough to overcome the crisis?
It may or may not be possible for Kei and Masaru to return to their normal lives after they complete all of Gantz’s rules. Armed with futuristic weapons, these two and others must find and kill the aliens in order to get their next life. They are playing this deadly game to get their next life. Kei and Masaru died and found themselves in a strange new location. However, they quickly learned that they were part of something more sinister.
Although the anime series Gantz has scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat and is at times particularly horrifying, gruesome, and disturbing, it is not recommended for everyone.
The story of high school student Chihiro Furuya, who has a keen interest in everything related to zombies, is told in the anime Sankarea, which spans the genres of romance, horror, ecchi, and comedy.
After his pet cat passed away, he tried to bring it back to life by reading an old manuscript. Then Rea showed up in front of him and tried to kill herself by drinking a poisonous herb formula that didn’t kill her.
She fell from a cliff and died after an argument with her father; however, the potion changed her into a zombie, refusing to eat human flesh and preferring to survive by eating the poisonous herb.
As a third-year high school student and member of the School Living Club, Yuki Takeya adores her school because it is a one-of-a-kind, lively location where she lives her carefree life.
The members of the club, which consists of other students, are required to live on the school grounds and eat meals together after classes. The club takes pride in making the most of life at school.
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 leave you feeling heartbroken because of what you see. 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.
23. Ghost Hunt
Ghost Hunt is the ideal anime for fans of the horror genre because it is visually intense and has characters who are unpredictable. If you like scary anime, you might fall in love with the series because it might just give you that feeling that will leave you breathless. The series is not your typical fantasy/thriller horror.
The Shibuya psychic powers Research Center, which investigates cases involving supernatural phenomena in Japan, is the focus of the show’s plot. The organization is skilled at employing cutting-edge technology in its “ghost hunting” endeavors, though traditional chanting and purification practices are still present.
One of Japan’s most popular anime is Mushishi, which is about supernatural creatures found in nature and focuses on shape-shifting spirits called Mushi who keep nature and humanity in balance.
Ginko constantly ponders the question of what Mushis are and why they exist. Mushishis have studied Mushi for centuries in an effort to comprehend their place in the hierarchy of life.
Ginko spends all of his time looking for information about Mushis, and these information might even help him figure out what life is all about.
21. Paranoia Agent
Musashino City has recently been terrorized by an unidentified assailant who is riding regular-looking rollerblades and striking people with a golden baseball bat.
Detectives Mitsuhiro Maniwa and Keiichi Ikari are attempting to identify the criminal in light of the news about the Shonen with a golden bat’s attacks, which are causing more and more people to become blind.
Will the two detectives be able to solve the case or will they become entangled in paranoia? Paranoia Agent is an intriguing detective mystery with a dark horror theme that will really keep you hooked.
20. Danganronpa: The Animation
Based on the same-named video game franchise, Studio Lerche produced the 2013 Japanese anime television series “Danganronpa: The Animation.”
This anime is a murder mystery with a cast of interesting characters, a great design, and cool names. It’s a must-watch because it has comedy, horror, and a video game sequel.
14 other students from various schools, including Makoto Naegi, were all accepted into the elite Hope’s Peak High School; however, upon arrival, they quickly discover that the school is a trap designed to trick them into killing one another.
19. Deadman Wonderland
Imagine being sent to jail, stripped of all your rights, and given no opportunity to defend yourself in Japan’s Deadman Wonderland, a dark tale about life in a Japanese prison.
The main character of the series is Ganta Igarashi, who was framed for a massacre he didn’t commit but was nonetheless sent to Deadman Wonderland, where prisoners are forced to kill each other with useful powers and abilities to play dangerous games to entertain the masses.
Every inmate Ganta meets at the facility has a unique objective, but Ganta’s only objective is to try to survive and demonstrate his innocence.
18. Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
Yuuko is the name of the ghost that has been haunting Seikyou Private Academy for decades. She doesn’t remember her life or how she was killed.
Yuuko meets Teiichi for the first time, and he decides to help her. Together with Yuuko’s relative Kirie Kanoe and the oblivious second-year Momoe Okonogi, they delve deeply into the seven mysteries of the academy.
This original horror school visual anime follows a group of students who collaborate to uncover the paranormal happenings at their school while accidentally getting closer to the truth about Yuuko’s death.
17. Devilman: Crybaby
Devilman Crybaby is a fantastic horror anime show with amazing characters, original artwork, and the ability to entertain or seriously move you to tears.
As the story depicts, Akira successfully attempts to unite with a demon by transforming into his Devilman form: Akira’s best friend informs him that ancient demons have returned to take back the world from humans and suggests that he do so.
Akira engages in a brutal, almost genocidal war against demons while attempting to save demon-human hybrids like himself as he fights against the evil forces to save the world from demons that are slowly taking over.
16. Boogiepop Phantom
Along with other well-known television shows like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Elfen Lied, Boogiepop is a horror anime series. Their content is similar in that they all depict the human psyche with blood, gory violence, and disturbing art and animation.
The plot of the story is as follows: There have been new rumors about a grisly murderer in the city; if you hear someone say Boogiepop’s name, be careful; if you meet her one dark night, she might kill you.
People laugh and tell horror stories to each other because recent events have made them realize that strange things are happening and that a new kind of evil is causing chaos. Are you safe from the evil ways?
15. Angels of Death
As Rachel wakes from a nightmare in a basement, she has no idea how or why she is there. As she wanders through the building, she comes across a bandaged murderer named Zack who is attempting to escape. Angels of Death is a good horror anime.
After Zack makes the promise that he will kill her as soon as he is free, the two of them begin to move from floor to floor in an effort to escape. As they move up the building, more and more people begin to appear, many of whom Rachel is familiar with; however, each of these individuals appears to be odd and strange with each passing moment.
Rachel’s connection to the building is unknown; however, what is she doing there, why does she meet with bosses on each floor, and can Rachel and Zack both achieve their goals?
14. Elfen Lied
The story of Elfen Lied takes place in the year 2036 and follows the life of Lucy, a young girl who is as innocent as she is strong and powerful. It takes place in a society where mutant and regular humans live side by side.
The horror anime Elfen Lied tells the story of a young girl who discovers her special powers and embarks on an extraordinary journey to learn more about her identity and the origins of the war between humans and aliens.
13. Jigoku Shoujo
As the souls are being cast into the abyss, a new evil force—a young girl by the name of Kikuri—is watching them as Enma and her companions continue to offer their services in the name of vengeance against those who have wronged others. The price is as high as ever, as the offender is sent to hell and the person seeking vengeance is sent to the abyss.
Enma meets Takuma, a strange boy who is known as a devil boy because of the bad things that happen to him. He meets Enma while she is doing her job.
When Enma learns that an excessive amount of violence is causing harm to innocent people, she is forced to put an immediate stop to it because the townspeople have turned against Takuma and believe that he is responsible for all of the people who have been sent to hell.
12. Corpse Party
Nine high school students gather to say goodbye to a friend in this horror anime. As part of the ritual, they make doll-shaped paper charms to stay friends forever.
The students, on the other hand, are unaware that these charms are associated with Heavenly Host Elementary School, a school that was severely damaged by a series of brutal murders.
The students are confined in a different dimension and must collaborate to either escape or forever join the spirits of the damned.
A gory horror anime with many nuances, Corpse Party Tortured Souls features gruesome deaths, disturbing scenes of torture, satisfying plot twists, and hints of hope for those who continue to fight.
11. The Promised Neverland
This anime, also known as The Yakusoku no Neverland in Japanese, is an ode to the psychological horror world of anime and manga series. It has the same vibe as Death Note.
This horror series follows a group of young orphans who discover dark secrets about the place they call home and now attempt to escape their evil caretaker by teaming up with one another and battling to escape the gloomy orphanage in which they are trapped.
Enma is one of these orphans. She has a lot of good in her, which is so inspiring to us. Her behavior is better than any other human trait because she doesn’t care about money, retribution, or material things.
The dark, tragic tale of survival in a morally ambiguous world where it’s hard to tell who the good guys are is told in Shiki, an anime adaptation of the horror novel written by Fuyumi Ono.
The Shiki (Vampires) were once feared as ruthless killers; however, as they gradually begin to integrate themselves into the villages, vampire hunters and society refuse to forgive or welcome them. Instead, they struggle against those who resist and continue to fight fervently for what they believe in.
Although 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. Shiki explores the two sides of humans—the evil side and the good side—which frequently causes us to question the true nature that made us what we are.
9. Tokyo Ghoul
Since its debut in 2014, the action-horror anime series Tokyo Ghoul has been praised for its strong characterization, excellent soundtrack, gruesome violence, moments of tension, dark humor, and tense atmosphere. It is a must-watch anime series.
Toky Ghoul stands out from the crowd thanks to its incredible artwork, music, and incredible progression of the conflict between humans and ghouls. In this world, society lives in fear of ghouls, which are creatures that resemble humans but have licentious tendencies.
When a mysterious man by the name of Kishou Arima shows up one day and tells everyone about the Ghouls, the government starts a program to find and capture all of them.
Ken Kaneki, a college student, transforms into a ghoul after a failed date. Now a human-ghoul hybrid who refuses to eat humans, he embarks on an adventure to discover why he is despised by both ghouls and humans, as well as to learn more about the ghoul world and Ken’s true identity.
Because of its violence, profanity, and blasphemous depictions of religious figures, Hellsing is adored by some viewers.
Hellsing is an action-packed, spooky anime with horror, supernatural, and action themes. It takes place in a fictional alternate universe and follows the powerful vampires Alucard and Seras Victoria, who work for the Hellsing Organization, an English vampire-extermination organization.
As they both went into active duty together, they worked diligently at their jobs and came up with new ways to fight for humanity.
7. Future Diary
The Future Diary stands out among horror anime series for having a strong cast of realistically portrayed characters. One of the main characters is a teenager named Yukiteru Amano. His life takes a strange turn when his diary starts recording events before they happen.
Yuki has joined a survival game without his knowledge in order to determine who will succeed The Lord. He is competing with 11 other people who also have diaries that, in a variety of ways, predict the future.
However, Yuno Gasai is at least one of Yukiteru’s strong allies. She is a classmate who sets her goal to protect him from any danger. She is also an obsessive and possibly insane stalker who keeps an eye on Yuki every ten minutes.
6. Shinsekai Yori
Saki Watanabe, the protagonist of the Japanese horror anime series Shinsekai Yori, awakens her powers and is relieved to join her friends at Sage Academy, a special school for psychics.
However, as Saki becomes involved in covert activities, such as the rumored Tainted Cat, which is said to kidnap children, and begins to question the fate of those who are unable to awaken to their powers, a sense of unease emerges.
In Shinsekai, Saki and her friends go through the process of maturing into the roles to which they were born, but accepting these roles may not be easy when confronted with the shocking and dark truths as well as the chaos that the new world has to offer.
5. Parasyte The Maxim
Parasyte is a good horror anime about alien parasites, which can enter the earth by combining with a living body. If you like Tokyo Ghoul, you will love Parasyte.
Opportunistic parasites quickly infiltrated humanity’s brains and have been wreaking havoc on Earth ever since. These creatures are able to take control of their hosts and transform into a variety of forms in order to feast on humans who are unaware of their existence.
When Shinichi Izumi, a 16-year-old high school student, was sleeping, one of these parasites decided to make his life difficult. Shinichi fought the parasite off, but it ended up inside his hand instead. The parasite decided to trust Shinichi and stay with him until it had full control of his brain.
The two species must devise a defense against these hostile parasites that intend to eradicate the new species because they have been forced to coexist.
Kouichi, a new Transfer Student, quickly realizes that Yomiyama North Academy is in a strange, gloomy mood. He also finds himself drawn to Mei Misaki, a mysterious, mystic student, but the other students and teachers don’t treat her like she doesn’t exist.
Kouichi takes an interest in Class 3-3 of Yomiyama North despite warnings from everyone, including Mei herself. He not only gets close to the truth about it but also starts to get closer to Mei herself.
Another is a spooky horror anime in which Kouichi, Mei, and their classmates are drawn into the mystery of a series of sudden deaths and inevitable tragedies. They try to figure out what’s going on inside the Yomiyama school building, but it could cost them the ultimate price.
3. When They Cry
Keiichi Maebara has just moved to Hinamizawa, a quiet little village. He meets some of his schoolmates and makes friends there, but it soon becomes clear that something sinister is going on.
Later, Keiichi learns that the town’s festival, which ends in a few months, appears to be linked to a number of recent crimes and disappearances in the area. Keiichi tries to inquire about these incidents with his new friends, but they refuse to respond.
He wonders if his friends know more than they tell him as more crimes happen, and if so, is he even willing to trust them?
Keiichi will unavoidably be drawn to the mysteries that are set across multiple arcs when he begins to experience paranoia and madness.
Mononoke is one of the most artistic horror anime shows ever, if not the most artistic. There are many anime adaptations out there today; some live on longer than others, but Mononoke stands out from the rest. It has scenes and animations in bright colors that almost always appear to be out of this world.
In the old Japanese folktale Mononoke, evil spirits known as “Mononoke” are roaming the countryside in feudal Japan. Only a special person named Osh can stop them and put them back where they belong.
Monster’s art, writing, cast, and production are all top-notch, and the show’s sheer depth has earned it the status of a modern classic for anime. It has received acclaim for being both entertaining and educational.
Kenzo Tenma is your typical doctor who works a routine of blood tests and biopsies. One day, he gets involved with Johan Liebert, one of his former patients who turns out to be a dangerous serial killer. This psychological horror anime series takes place in a dystopian society in Germany.