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8 Terrifying Anime Horror Series To Stream

If you’re a film and TV fan, you should definitely get into anime. It’s a similar experience, just in a different visual format. Anime genres run the gamut, but horror is especially challenging; how can you feel afraid of an animation? It’s not real. And yet, the ones listed below manage to pull off scary, gory, and downright creepy. 

So if horror’s your thing, here are some anime series that may leave you sleeping with the lights on—or with one eye open. 

Disclaimer: Many of these series have violence, gore, and/or nudity so make sure you do not watch it with children. 

Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni (When They Cry)

Keiichi moves to a small village that is seemingly peaceful and makes friends with a group of girls: Rina, Mion, Satoko, and Rika. However, something sinister is happening to the village and its residents, and Keiichi and his friends are not immune. 

The opening splatter sounds and heavy breathing as a boy with a bat pummels two girls to death tells you what to expect. Yet this show has interesting twists and turns that will leave you surprised and initially confused as you try to decipher the mystery of what is happening, who’s causing it, and what forces are in play. Give this a go if you’re a fan of horror and girls smiling adorably as they try to eviscerate you.  

Where to Watch: Hulu (Sub)  

Another

Koichi transfers to a new school, and ends up befriending a quiet girl, Mei, who is ignored by her classmates; however, this treatment goes far beyond mere bullying. As senseless deaths pile up, Koichi must find out what is happening and find a way to survive the calamity.

Another is a cautionary tale about the far-reaching ramifications when a person—or, in this case, an entire class—refuses to accept the death of a beloved classmate; thereby, inviting death into their school. The unique ways some of the students die will remind some of the Final Destination franchise. In a similar vein to Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni, it mixes the supernatural, mystery, and graphic horror elements. 

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll (Sub Multiple Languages)

Ghost Hunt

Mai, a high school girl, ends up meeting Naru, the head of Shibuya Psychic Research as he and his team investigate paranormal claims at an empty building at their school. Despite disliking Naru, she ends up joining the team and following them on investigations of curses, hauntings, and psychic phenomena. 

This series has a mix of lighthearted episodes, like the ghost that drenches couples in a park, and downright terrifying episodes, like the ghost mother claiming kids because she lost her own. Most will leave you craning your neck at every creak. Were those footsteps?

Where to Watch: Funimation (Dub/Sub)

Paranoia Agent

Tsukiko, creator of the beloved character Maromi, is feeling the pressure to create the next big thing when she is involved in what she claims is an attack. The lead detective isn’t buying it, but soon more people appear to be victims of the same boy with a crooked bat on roller blades. If she made it up, what is actually happening to these people and how far will this villain, dubbed “Lil Slugger,” go? 

This series is super creepy, deals with pressures all of us experience at some point in our lives, and touches on collective mania. The intro and outro music plus visuals are disturbing, as if we are all laughing while our world burns or falls collectively asleep at the wheel. 

Where to Watch: Funimation (Dub/Sub)

Elfen Lied

Lucy is a diclonius, a mutant with pink hair, ears atop her head, and invisible arms known as “vectors.” She escapes from a governmental facility, but loses her memory and meets Kohta and his cousin Yuka who take her in. But there is a history here none of them remember and the government isn’t about to just let her go, as she is the progenitor of her kind.

This series is violent and—when you see the backstories of some of the characters—heart-wrenching. You soon realize who the monsters are: us. (This one has a lot of nudity so be prepared.)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime (Dub)/Hulu (Sub)

Corpse Party: Tortured Souls OVA

This anime is based on a video game. A group of classmates perform what they think is a friendship charm—called “Sachiko Ever After”—for a transfer student named Mayu. But this charm transports them to another school where evil spirits and countless horrors reside. They have to find each other and try to get back to their school, but will they all make it?

This anime has a huge amount of violence and gore, and no one—no matter their age—is safe. This show will scare you and may leave you as traumatized as the survivors. 

Where to Watch: YouTube (Sub)

Devilman Crybaby

Akira, thanks to the urging of his friend Ryo—who tells him demons are back to take over the world—merges with a demon so that he can defend those he loves. But as tensions rise among humans and demons, the line between who is the monster becomes blurred. 

This series is visually trippy and, similar to Elfen Lied, will leave you wondering whether benevolence exists in the people around you. 

Where to Watch: Netflix (Dub/Sub Multiple Languages)

Yami Shibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

Yami Shibai is in a similar vein to The Twilight Zone, in that each episode stands alone. The picture story style is unique and is based on Japanese stories and urban legends. 

One of the most arresting compilations of horror based on real-life tales, this is a top pick. What makes this show even better and sets it above many of the others? Each episode is bite sized: only a few minutes long! This makes for an addictive and easy binge.

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll (Sub Multiple Languages)

Featured Image: TV Tokyo