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10 Haunting Horror Manga and Anime

Anime and Manga Horror Titles for Halloween

By Matthew Alexander and Chris Beveridge     October 27, 2009


10 Haunting Horror Manga and Anime
© Mania/ Robert Trate

 

Celebrating Halloween is done in many forms, but for many of us there comes a time when we don't feel exactly right in going out to do the usual trick or treating. It becomes more fun to sit inside with friends and take in either a scary show or spend some time reading a chilling book. While Halloween does get a bit of a nod here and there in the world of anime and manga, it's not something that's really dominant like other event holidays. There's still a lot of good horror material though and we definitely recommend checking these out if you want something to curl up with on this All Hallows’ Eve...
 

Anime

 

5. Ghost Hunt

Nothing can set the mood just right like a show that deals about the exploration of unknown phenomena that may actually be ghosts. While not every case in these extended stories involves a ghost, there are plenty of chills and striking moments where you don't know what will happen. The story revolves around a young man who works with world renonwned ghost hunters as they investigate jobs that come into their office. The cast rotates nicely with each job being different and the focus on multi-episode stories over single ones works in its favor as the fear, uncertainty and the unknown of each story is given just enough time to percolate.
 

4. Vampire Princess Miyu

Whether it's the haunting four episode OVA or the longer TV series, Vampire Princess Miyu is a show that plays to traditional Japanese horror as it follows Miyu, a creature born of human and demon. With her position in life, she's taken on the role of the one that will hunt down the demons that cross over into the human world. The demons are often quiet and subtle as they invade a place or a person and twist it until it's completely theirs without anyone realizing it. With chilling atmospheric music, intriguing designs for the demons and the way it plays in the shadows of the real world, it's a classic through and through.
 

3. Pet Shop of Horrors

A shop of curiosities always opens the doorway to stories and Pet Shop of Horrors does just that. The short OVA series tells the stories that come from that shop as a very eccentric man named Count D sells creatures that should not be sold. With dire warnings provided with each creature to the person who buys it, it's like listing out exactly what will happen as you know something will go wrong. Yet it's that knowing that makes it so engaging as the fall of the men and women who buy these strange, beautiful and disturbing creatures reveals so much misery and horror.
 

2. Hell Girl

Updating horror concepts from generations and centuries gone by can be tricky, but some adapt very well. Hell Girl deals with a woman from the other side who helps guide certain victims across the river to hell. Through communication from a website she runs, people with grievances against others can make the request for their nemesis to die, exposed at the Hell Girl's hands. The catch is that they forfeit their souls when they die a natural death someday. The stories are quite varied, though there is a connecting arc across it, as many people seek vengeance for so many mean and petty reasons – and they get it in spades.
 

1. When They Cry

Sometimes the creepiest of horror shows are the one that are wrapped up in something entirely far too cute and adorable. When They Cry deals with a very small village in the countryside in the early 1980s where a number of serial murders over several years are occurring. When a young man returns there, the girls all become involved with him across multiple interpretations and tellings of the story that invariably end with many dead and the mystery of the spirit that permeates the village growing stronger. The contrast of such stark and brutal violence, the amount of mystery involved with it and the various supremely cute young girls who cause all of it makes this a show that requires it be watched in the middle of the night with no lights on.
 
 

Manga

 

5. MPD Psycho

Psychological thrillers don’t get much more gruesome than MPD Psycho. This story follows a detective with a multiple personalities disorder brought on by the last serial killer case he worked. The detective’s disorder emerged after the serial killer sent him a delivery box containing the limbless body of his girlfriend, who was still alive! Plot twists abound as the detective begins working with a private criminologist on murder cases, which causes his multiple personalities to struggle for control of the his body. The one thing in common between these murderers and the detective, they all have barcodes tattooed into the whites of their eyes. Mystery, plot twists, danger, and the idea that everyone is playing with fire fuels this series. Clean, horrifically realistic artwork depicting shockingly grotesque torture along with plot twists galore makes this an engrossing read.
 

4. Blood Sucker: Legend of Zipangu

No Halloween list would be complete without a vampire story. I’m not talking about those wussy Twilight vampires either, I’m talking about full-on massacre in the open badass vampires. Blood Sucker follows the path of destruction left in the wake of a resurrected vampire from the feudal era. This vampire and his horde seem indestructible as they kill people left and right in an attempt to reinvent the horror Japan saw 300 years ago before the head vampires defeat. Cops are useless in this war, but the head vampire’s downfall may come in the form of his lover’s former boyfriend, the human Yusuke. Teamed with a self-loathing vampire woman, Yusuke and his partner try to stay one step ahead of the bloodsuckers in their hunt for the head vampire. Explosive artwork and limb-wrenching fight scenes ensure Blood Sucker never suffers a dull moment.
 

3. Berserk

Ultra violent Berserk may be a fantasy story based in a medieval European world, but the dark elements of this series is all about the horror that man and demon can inflict upon each other. This story follows the life of Guts, a mercenary born from a woman after she was hung to death at a crossroads. This terrible beginning tellingly sets up the dark life road Guts will forever wander. Those familiar with the anime only know of the first of many published arcs in Gut’s life, the manga has much more to offer in everything from story to characters to horror elements. Whether Guts is killing a demon impersonating a high priest, or tracking down the troll army using village women as breeding livestock, the action is always heavy but with likeable characters for the reader to connect with. Epic battle scenes, heavily detailed artwork, graphic depictions of unspeakable acts, and incredibly original monster and demon designs makes this a horrifically wonderful read that no one should overlook.
 

2. Variante

If you need some cuteness to go along with your horror reading, ala When They Cry, then look no further than Variante. At only four volumes, Variante is an easy investment in a horrific story where cute and grotesque walk hand-in-hand. After surviving a monster attack that killed her parents, teenage Aiko finds her left arm replaced by that of a monsters. As much as she hates what she has become, the mutant arm and its ability to regenerate is the only reason she survived the attack that claimed her parents. With a mind of its own, this arm grows and morphs whenever Aiko needs to be protected from the monstrous Chimeras. Aiko’s mental struggles with her new life are difficult and believable for a young girl forever mutilated in the eye of society. Nefarious and controlling government labs, monster attacks, and Aiko’s continual struggle for her sanity makes for an entertaining read with an ending that should satisfy most.
 

1. Ghost Talker’s Daydream

The idea that a horrible death can create enough energy to trap a soul in our world is fascinating to many. Ghosts have always intrigued me with their potential existence just on the edge of reality, yet I like a little sexiness with my horror stories. Ghost Talker’s Daydream delivers on both accounts. The protagonist has two very different jobs, night and day even. She was born with the ability to interact with ghosts and makes some money exorcising spirits. She was also born an albino, which makes her a favorite among many customers at the club where she plays a dominatrix. The stories are episodic, and usually covering two chapters with three main characters leading the reader into the macabre. Sexy and sad, this series uses ghosts to examine the horrors of physical and sexual abuses that often end in suicide while examining societies sexual dysfunctions through the protagonist’s dominatrix job.
 
 
 

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 7 of 7
1 
Calibur454 10/27/2009 7:38:07 AM

I'm not sure if when they cry should be on the  list in anime but I know why the title is there. It can get creepy at times.

I'm happy to see Ghost talker's daydream at the number 1 spot on the manga list. I have the OVa and The three english adaptations that have been published. I keep waiting for them to publish the five volumes of the series. Maybe this will help push things along.

I've never seen ghost hunt or hell girl so I can't comment on them.

I may have to look into MPD spycho. It looks interesting.

 

ultrazilla2000 10/27/2009 10:12:53 AM

Pet Shop of Horrors is so awesome, I really wish they had made more than just a few episodes!

BarricadeS281E 10/27/2009 11:59:15 AM

Great list. I was planning to look into Ghost Hunt, now I'll add MPD Psycho to that waiting list also. I've seen one episode of Hell Girl and it got me interested, but I haven't gotten around to watching anymore of it - it's not bad though. When They Cry's one of those things where I'm really inclined to start watching but don't have the time to - I've read the manga though, which was all right with a few chilly moments.

torvar72 10/27/2009 1:30:49 PM

Why isn't Monster in the list. A great anime that follows the manga rather close. It's a great watch. You cna check out the manga at.... onemanga.com

BarricadeS281E 10/27/2009 4:53:18 PM

@torvar72, funny, I just caught Monster last night on Chiller, well, half an episode that is, I was rather tired and tried recording that half and the next episode so I could check it out the next day, but the damn thing wasn't working. Seemed like an good watch albeit some corny dialogue coming from the lady the doctor was having dinner/lunch with before he left.

mangaman74 10/29/2009 6:13:27 AM

Great list. Surprised that Hellsing did no make it though.

Dracula618 8/22/2014 2:20:17 AM

Sorry guys, but I can't really find an anime called When They Cry and I think the picture above looks really similar to Hellsing.  Do any one of you know which anime is When They Cry?  Does it mean Higurashi???

By the way, I like the rest of the anime on the list very much and I think it is a great list too.

 

 
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