Anime, as an entertainment medium, covers a wide variety of genres. From romance to straight-up action, the world of anime is vast. However, it also doesn’t shy away from shocking fans with some crazy horror stories. Here is a list of the 12 best horror anime to watch that will make your blood run cold.
Junji Ito Collection
Starting off the list is one of the finest horror storytellers – Junji Ito. He has mastered the art of presenting horrifying creatures with a creepy storyline.
Junji Ito Collection is an anime anthology series adapted from Ito’s manga. The horror anime series has 12 episodes with different protagonists in each installment.
While the quality of the animation is a tad bit underwhelming, the chilling stories from Ito make up for it.
Next up on our list is Ajin: Demi-Human, where mystical immortal humans named Ajin were first discovered in Africa.
After their discovery, they were marked as a threat to humankind. Humans felt that these Ajin can use their powers to destroy other species, including humans.
It was decided that if an Ajin is found, they must be arrested immediately.
Kei Nagai, a high school student, is studying hard to become a doctor, and he barely knows about the entire Ajin situation.
Students are taught to stay away from these creatures. However, Kei fails to pay attention until a fateful incident confirms that he is an Ajin.
With the world ganging up against him, he flees before the higher-ups take him into custody to conduct experiments on him.
Meanwhile, other Ajins plan to fight back, and now Kei has to choose a side.
READ MORE: Mystery Anime on Netflix to Test Your Brain
This horror anime is about a regular girl living a normal life until things turn upside down.
Mieruko-chan follows the life of Miko Yotsuya, a high school student who suddenly starts seeing terrifying monsters everywhere.
She is completely horrified, but Miko decides to carry on with her daily life. She starts pretending that she cannot see the horrors unfolding around her.
All she can do is take in all the fear for the sake of herself and her friend, Hana Yurikawa, and this means Miko must face these demons and pretend they don’t exist.
Mieruko-chan takes indifference to a whole new level because it is the only thing that can save the protagonist from these grotesque monsters.
RELATED: Best Mystery Anime You Should Watch
Transfer student Kouichi Sakakibara returns to Class 3-3 of Yomiyama North Junior High after taking sick leave for the first month of his school.
Kouichi is unusually drawn to one girl in the class named Mei Misaki. She is a reserved girl he encountered while in the hospital.
However, there is a catch: none of his classmates think she exists and they warn him not to become friends with something that is not there.
He decides to ignore his classmates and strengthens his bond with Mei, but he soon finds out that something sinister is happening around him.
There is a rumor going around about a former student, and none of the classmates are willing to share the grim details of the event with Kouichi.
He takes it upon himself to uncover the truth that might be connected to Mei.
READ MORE: The Best Detective Anime You Should Watch
Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou
This anime starts with a warm and summery vibe and just when the viewer is engrossed in the beautiful scenery of the mountain village of Hinamizawa, things start getting dark.
Rika Furude and her friends live in Hinamizawa and they welcome Keiichi Maebara into their group.
Every day after school, they enjoy playing games and spending time together.
However, Keiichi starts noticing that something is not right as the behavior of his friends starts changing.
He slowly finds out that they are hiding Hinamizawa’s dark secrets from him.
Keiichi eventually learns about the local curse that is haunting the entire village.
Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai
Every evening, an old man with a yellow mask appears at a children’s playground and narrates ghost stories based on urban legends from Japan.
He is no ordinary storyteller as he uses a traditional paper-scrolling device called the kamishibai to add visuals to his hypnotic and chilling narration.
Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai is a collection of short horror stories where the storyteller draws his audience into his sinister world of terror.
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls
Nine students assemble in their high school in the middle of the night to pay tribute to a friend.
As high school students, they gather and perform a ritual for them to continue their friendship.
For this ritual, they use tiny paper charms that look like dolls. Little do they know the origin of these paper charms.
It is revealed that the charms have a connection to Heavenly Host Academy.
The Heavenly Host Academy was an elementary school that was demolished after a series of deadly murders surfaced.
Currently, the Kisaragi Academy is built on the very foundation of the infamous Heavenly Host Academy.
Now, the students must join forces to escape from this horror realm where ghosts and demons roam.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
After enduring three grueling years at his demanding workplace, 24-year-old Akira Tendo finds himself drained both mentally and physically.
To make it worse, his romantic interest, Saori from accounting, shows no interest in him.
Just as life appears to be a string of disappointments, a zombie apocalypse strikes Japan in Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead.
Amid the chaos, surrounded by zombies, Akira has an epiphany that alters his perspective forever.
This lively and comical yet chilling horror anime reimagines corporate life as so horrifying that a zombie apocalypse seems like a vacation, providing a distinctive and unique perspective.
Life is simple in the town of Sotoba. It is a small town with a close-knit community.
However, everything changes when a young girl named Megumi Shimizu unexpectedly dies from a mysterious illness.
Over the coming months, the town witnesses several similar deaths.
Toshio Ozaki, the town’s doctor, believes that something more than just an unnamed disease is killing innocent people.
Toshio calls a teenager named Natsuno Yuuki, and siblings Akira and Kaori Tanaka for help.
They initiate their investigation and find out that the source of the deaths is linked to the Kanemasa mansion.
READ MORE: The Best Classic Anime to Watch
Mai Taniyama and her friends enjoy sharing ghost stories. As it happens, there is an abandoned school building that is the focus of most of their haunting stories.
During one of the story sessions, a mysterious person appears. This person is Shibuya Kazuya who is the president of the Shibuya Psychic Research Company.
The principal asks Shibuya to investigate the various stories surrounding the dilapidated school building.
Due to a certain turn of events, Mai ends up becoming Shibuya’s assistant and starts learning about the paranormal world and ghost hunting.
Following a harrowing confrontation with a restless spirit, fearful psychic Keitarou Gentouga becomes a recluse to evade further turmoil.
However, he returns to society, taking on a tutoring role for the gifted child prodigy named Yayoi Houzuki.
Yet, Yayoi is not only academically brilliant but also a determined psychic medium, set on uncovering the sinister spirit responsible for her mother’s disappearance.
Her relentless pursuit put Keitarou into a deadly realm of ugly supernatural occurrences.
Dark Gathering strikes a chilling balance between horror and humor, providing an eerie yet entertaining experience.
Taking the first spot is the fantasy-horror gem and an absolute cult classic – Berserk.
Many may not consider Berserk as a jump-scare horror offering, but it is a beautiful blend of gore and fantasy sprinkled with horror.
Guts is branded for death and the demons are after his life. He realizes that only he can change his fate.
As an army of demons pursues him, he wields his mighty sword, Dragonslayer, to hunt down the man he once considered his friend.
He begins his journey and gains allies like Puck and Isidro to form his pack and fight against several dangerous enemies.
READ NEXT: The Best Dark Fantasy Anime for Adults
Discover more of our insights and the latest anime news by following us on X (formerly Twitter) @epicstreamanime.
READ NEXT: What Makes Junji Ito's Work So Scary?