The 25 Best Horror Anime (Ranked)

Top 25 Best Horror Anime, Top 25 Scariest Horror Anime, Scary Horror Anime, Top 25 Terrifying Horror Anime,
Face your fears with these terrifying 25 anime.

Anime and horror are an unconventional combination, but when they do, it's a scary example of what the medium is capable of, offering terror in animated form While there are certainly many horror-adjacent animes out there, the list largely prioritized animes with a strong focus on scares and macabre. So, if you’re looking for something dark and bloody then look no further than these 25 Best Horror Anime.

25. High-Rise Invasion

High schooler Yuri finds herself atop a skyscraper in a strange world, where she must survive against masked assailants bent on killing their prey.

The Purge meets your typical anime show, High-Rise Invasion is full of bloody and creative kills, all backed up with an intriguing mystery about the high-rise world that the characters are in. Though what it may lack in fluid animations definitely makes up for with its blood-pumping action.

24. Junjo Ito’s Maniac: Tales of the Bizarre

Tales of the Bizarre attempts to adapt 20 of Junjo Ito’s terrifying stories in an anthology format. 

Taking the terrifying, uncanny, and hilarious stories of the incredible manga artist Junjo Ito, Maniac sets out to provide an unforgettable viewing experience. From Tomie’s terrifying body horror, and Hanging Bloody’s intriguing mystery and concept, to Headless Statue’s shocking and creepy nature, there’s a lot to love in this horror anthology series.

23. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls 

After performing a charm that would supposedly unite them as friends, a group of students is teleported to the mysterious Heavenly Host Elementary School where they are visited by the spirits of the school's murdered students.

The Corpse Party video games are some of the most infamous horror RPG-maker games out there due to its over the top violence and story, and this adaptation succeeds at adapting its source material’s strongest suit. Though what it may lack in its story department, the anime definitely makes up for with its so much brutal death scenes that will make even the most die-hard fans of the genre, squeamish. 

22. Ao Oni: The Animation

Five students are trying to find out more about one of their hometown's oldest folklore that is now made into a video game, Aooni. The closer they get to the truth, the darker things get.

Despite its choppy animation, Ao Oni is still an effectively creepy anime that manages to translate the tone and atmosphere of its source material. With such a bonkers story, bloody kills, and uncanny Ao Oni creatures, this is one anime adaptation worth visiting.

21. Terraformars

In an attempt to colonize Mars 21st-century scientists are tasked with terraforming the planet. Their goal is to seed the planet with modified algae to absorb sunlight and purify the atmosphere, and cockroaches, whose corpses spread the algae across the planet as they feed.

A show filled with so many disgusting mutated cockroach creatures, Terraformars is a show that’s purely non-stop action with loads of gore and deaths sprinkled throughout it. Simply put, if you like over-the-top anime then this one’s for you but seriously though who wouldn’t be scared of these hideous creatures?

20. Gantz: 0

People who have recently died are brought back to life and supplied with high-tech weapons in order to defeat an army of monsters in Tokyo and Osaka.

Considered to be one of the best adaptations of its source material by many, Gantz 0 is a stunning sci-fi horror romp to a world filled with many freakish creatures. Backed by the copious amount of thrilling action scenes, made even more jaw-dropping thanks to its incredibly gorgeous visuals.

19. The Flowers of Evil

The story follows a middle school student named Takao Kasuga who's forced into a "contract" by fellow student Sawa Nakamura, after being caught stealing the gym clothes of his crush Nanako Saeki and the series of events afterward that follow these three characters.

Incredibly surreal and uncanny are some of the words to describe The Flowers of Evil. With a unique story and deep atmosphere, the anime excellently makes you feel stressed with each of its uncomfortable scenes. Though its art style may prove to be jarring, this only further adds to the uneasiness and dread of the anime. 

18. Highschool of the Dead

A student witnesses a zombie breakout in his own high school and gets along with a weapon maniac, the girl who was his crush, a master fighter, and the school nurse. Together, they make the best of every situation and do everything to survive.

Sex, horror, and action make for such a weird combination, however, Highschool of the Dead embraces this absurdity by giving us a gripping story filled with so many bombastic set pieces, with some fan services interspersed with everything. Sure it’s not the type of anime that shook the genre but if you’re looking for an entertaining anime to watch then simply look no further.

17. Mieruko-Chan

Mieruko-chan tells the story of a girl who tries to deal with the paranormal by acting indifferent toward it. Miko Yotsuya is an ordinary high school student who has the unfortunate ability to see horrifying ghosts and spirits that haunt her and the people around her.

Mieruko-Chan is a perfect blend of horror and comedy, with a little bit of fan service in between. With so many creepy ghosts design, the show never fails to bring fear to its audience. What makes many of Mieruko-Chan’s attempts at horror even more effective however is that some of its scares are also a reference to other iconic jumpscares. Not only does the show manages to scare but it also succeeds at being a parody of the usual horror cliche.

16. Junjo Ito Collection 

Junjo Ito Collection is an anthology adaptation that brings many of Ito’s horrific works in full sinister motion.

Despite being a controversial adaptation, there’s still something good to be had when watching it, with it adapting many of Ito’s incredible array of works is one of the noteworthy reasons to watch it. And like its source material, it doesn’t fail to provide such lingering dread thanks largely to its disturbing and surreal imagery. 

Regardless of the adaptation’s shortcomings, however, it’s still a strong and atmospheric anthology series with a gorgeous art style and animation that will bring you in for a wild ride. 

15. Danganronpa 3

Serving as a direct sequel to the events of the video games, Danganronpa 3 is divided into three arcs, with each story focusing on the participants of the previous killing games and the events that led to the infamous destruction of society.

Instead of adapting the video game’s story as its forerunner did, Danganronpa 3 instead tells an all-new canonical tale full of everything that you expect from the franchise. A colorful cast of characters, enthralling mystery, many unique kills, and many mind-boggling plot twists. What makes this anime even far more engaging is the fact that two arcs were aired at the same time which reveals a large and significant connection to every game in the franchise.

The Future arc is more of the familiar Danganronpa premise with a much more somber tone, while the Despair arc combines all of the Danganronpa staples to create a chaotic but depressing story that every fan of the game wouldn’t want to miss.

14. Happy Sugar Life

The story follows Satou Matsuzaka, who has someone she likes. She experiences a sweet feeling when she sleeps with her and thought it must be love. Everything will be forgiven as long as she protects this feeling, even if she tricks, commits crimes, steals, or even kills, she thought.

Despite its adorable art style, Happy Sugar Life is an anime not to be taken lightly. Its disturbing premise makes for such a stomach-turning watch and all of it is hidden behind the colorful and bubbly art style. And the anime also tackles such heavy themes and subjects which further exemplifies the darkness that the show aims for. 

All of this combined makes Happy Sugar Life a masterclass in psychological horror.

13. Umineko: When They Cry

A family reunion is held on a secluded island. The dying patriarch wants to see his lost love one last time, so he tries summoning her with black magic and that's when the murders begin.

While it may not be as strong as its visual novel source material, Umineko: When They Cry’s story is like a fantasy turned into a beautiful nightmare thanks to its gorgeous presentation, setting, and many odd imageries. Along with a strong and gripping mystery to keep you engaged in its story. 

12. Death Note

For his own amusement, Ryuk drops his "Death Note" into the human world. Light stumbles upon it, deeming the first of its rules ridiculous: the human whose name is written in this note shall die. However, the temptation is too great, and Light experiments by writing a felon's name, which disturbingly enacts his first murder.

Death Note used to be one of the most popular horror anime back in the day, and for good reason, it’s a stellar show that will make you morally question every action that its characters make. From its gorgeous animation, and fantastic soundtrack, to its intriguing concept, simply everything about this show is amazing.

Though it may be light on scares, its engaging story is still a worthy investment for horror fans. Just try to avoid the Netflix live-action adaptation.

11. Tokyo Ghoul

A college student is attacked by a ghoul, a being that feeds on human flesh. He later receives an organ transplant from the ghoul, becoming a part monster himself.

If you’re looking for something dark and bloody then why not check out Tokyo Ghoul. A devilishly stunning anime with a solid cast of characters, most notably with its protagonist Ken Kaneki, whose development arc was riveting to watch, and an intriguing story that lets you get to know each side of the events.

Tokyo Ghoul is a show that will sink its teeth into you.

10. Elfen Lied

Elfen Lied revolves around the interactions, views, emotions, and discrimination between Humans and Diclonius, a mutant species similar to humans in build, but who are distinguishable by two cat-ear-like horns and "vectors," transparent arms which can pass through air and objects at high speed.

Totally gory, bloody, and complex, Elfen Lied is one of the best horror anime you’ll ever discover. The anime isn’t just about the senseless act of brutal killings but it also makes you sympathize with its characters as well, giving a powerful depth to its horrific story.

9. Shiki

When many deaths occur in the quiet village of Sotoba, Doctor Toshio Ozaki initially suspects an epidemic but soon becomes convinced that something else is causing them.

An anime that’s heavy on creepiness, Shiki will make you afraid of what lurks in the dark as the show manages to make vampires, a classic antagonist in the genre, terrifying once again. While it may be on the slow side, it does ultimately pay off in a crazy way that even fans of the genre won’t expect.

8. The Promised Neverland

When three gifted kids at an isolated idyllic orphanage discover the secret and sinister purpose they were raised for, they look for a way to escape from their evil caretaker and lead the other children in a risky escape plan.

Moe characters and horror truly do make for such an engaging and painful watch huh? And this adorably dark anime proves that, delivering a gut punch of an anime due to its adorable cast of characters in a grim situation. Along with a haunting but excellent soundtrack that further exemplifies this effect.

7. Another

A young man named, Koichi Sakakibara, transfers to a new school where he finds himself drawn into a mystery involving a mysterious girl and a series of gruesome deaths.

What happens if you take the paranoic concept of Final Destination and blend it with the art style of an anime, well, you get Another. An ever so creepy anime that will never fail to make your skin tingle thanks largely to its superb atmosphere that no other anime has ever managed to capture and a large cast of characters waiting for their creative demise. 

6. Theater of Darkness: Yamishibai 

An old man in a yellow mask shows up at a children's playground and tells them ghost stories based on myths and urban legends of Japanese origin. The man tells the stories on the back of his bicycle using a traditional kamishibai method and features a new tale each week.

Featuring a variety of terrifying stories, Yamishibai provides everything that you can ask for in a horror anime. With many of its stories only lasting for a few minutes, there’s no shortage of scares to be had. And an ever so creepy atmosphere and unsettling storyteller that connects all the episodes together, Yamishibai is an essential watch.

5. School-Live!

School-Live! follows the adventures of the School Living Club as they promote independence and self-determination through their lively time residing at Megurigaoka Private High School.

Don’t be fooled by School-Live!’s adorable art style and characters as deep within its kawaii slice-of-life premise is a truly dark and thrilling tale that even those who are familiar with the genre would not expect the direction that it will take.  This is the type of anime that’s best served as spoiler free as possible. 

4. Parasite

17-year-old Shinichi Izumi is partially infected by a Parasyte, a monster that butcher and consumes humans. He must learn to co-exist with the creature if he is to survive both the life of a Parasyte and a human as part monster, part person.

If you’re into body horror then definitely check out Parasite. An anime that’s reminiscent of many sickening horror films like The Thing, Parasite is body horror galore thanks to its many grotesque and creative deaths and transformations. While the anime may have more thrills than chills, it still doesn’t skimp out on the gore, making it a worthwhile watch for horror fans.

3. Attack on Titan

After his hometown is destroyed and his mother is killed, young Eren Jaeger vows to cleanse the earth of the giant humanoid Titans that have brought humanity to the brink of extinction.

What else can we say about Attack on Titan that hasn’t been said before? A fantastic show with incredible world-building and engaging mystery that will keep you immersed. And with so many bombastic action set pieces with its grotesque and hideous Titans, there’s no shortage of spectacle to be had.

While the show leans heavily more towards action than horror, those looking for an action-filled body horror story, then look no further than Attack on Titan.

2. Higurashi When They Cry

Keiichi Maebara has just moved to the quiet little village of Hinamizawa in the summer of 1983 and quickly becomes inseparable friends with schoolmates Rena Ryuuguu, Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Houjou, and Rika Furude. However, darkness lurks underneath the seemingly idyllic life they lead.

Higurashi: When They Cry will take you on a twisted and brutal walk through its seemingly peaceful town filled with intriguing mystery, a cast of characters to love, and shocking plot twists one after another. You see, this isn’t just a simple horror anime, it’s a deeply complicated journey that will live in your head even after its story has ended.

And the show proves itself to be such a promising entry in the genre that even many of its later entries still manage to provide scare and shock, just when you thought you already know all the answers to its mysteries.

1. Perfect Blue

A pop singer gives up her career to become an actress, but she slowly goes insane when she starts being stalked by an obsessed fan and what seems to be a ghost of her past.

Where do I even begin with Perfect Blue? A film so bizarre and mind-boggling that simply describing it will probably not give it any justice. It’s a film that pushes you to watch many deeply unsettling moments, made even more uncomfortable due to its gorgeous art style and imagery that remains unmatched by other anime in the genre.

Simply put, Perfect Blue will make you question everything that you are witnessing and it’s an anime that’s beyond terrific. 

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From outer space, I've landed here on earth to give you my out of this world recommendations of movies and video games.
Gamer Since: 2011
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