10 best psychological horror anime of all time
Halloween is now here, so we present to you a list of the top 10 best psychological horror anime of all time.
In a time where the anime industry is dominated by action-focused series like Jujutsu Kaisen, Dragon Ball, One Piece, etc, there are several fantastic anime genres that are left unnoticed – and horror is one of them.
While horror anime shows and films have ruled the world with their jump scares, other horror series use psychological elements to win over the community’s heart.
From a dark-themed background to a complex storyline, the psychological horror genre has it all for anime enthusiasts. If you’re looking for some hidden gems within this under-appreciated genre, we’ve got you covered.
Adapted from an award-winning manga series of the same name, Mushi-shi aired on Japan’s local broadcasting networks from October 2005 to June 2006. Unlike other anime series, Mushi-shi flaunts different stories in every episode. To be precise, it is an anthology series that comes with distinctive elements in each episode.
Mushi-shi features a primordial race known as Mushi. This species comes with supernatural powers, and even though they only seek acceptance in the human world, they sometimes scare people with their presence. Apart from Mushi, the series follows Ginko, who knows how to tackle these Mushis.
9. Corpse Princess
Corpse Princess is a spine-tingling psychological horror show that will surely give you chills with its action-packed and bloodshed storyline. The plot revolves around a girl named Makina Hoshimura, who becomes a living corpse after getting a brutal death.
She has to hunt 108 corpses of her kind, and by doing that, she would be getting an entry into heaven. Fortunately, she makes some allies who help her accomplish her goals while also avenging the deaths of her loved ones from their murderers.
8. Serial Experiments Lain
Coming with a unique storyline and stunning visuals, Serial Experiments Lain flaunts a storyline that sheds light on topics like connection, virtual realm, communication, and more.
The plot of the anime series follows a high school student named Lain, who is introverted by nature. However, things take a weird turn when her classmates start receiving emails from a dead person. Lain decides to step forward and solve the mystery.
Claymore is a series that crosses every limit when it comes to brutality. The series comes with some deadly creatures who feed on human flesh, so you may get an idea of how gory the plot is. These creatures are called Yoma, and to stop them, we see a mysterious group crafting human Yoma warriors. These hybrids take the responsibility to protect humanity from the shapeshifting beings.
Madhouse adapted the series so beautifully that it became one of the favorite anime of every enthusiast who fancies disturbing horror shows with a lot of bloodshed.
Midori is an anime film that was released in 1992, but before it could get the fame it deserved, several viewers started protesting it, getting it banned from several countries. Well, the reason for this was the disturbing elements in the film.
Despite all the backlash, the creator, Hiroshi Harada, didn’t stop and started working on the series singlehandedly. Every panel of the series has been hand-drawn by him, so if you are looking for a real psychological anime, you must watch this film.
5. Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre
Here’s another anthology horror series on the list that involves 20 short stories compressed into 12 episodes. Coming from one of the best horror storytellers, Itou, the series breaks the stereotype of a typical scary genre. Basically, the Netflix series falls under the horror genre, but you can’t call it one of a kind – as it is way beyond that.
Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre is a compilation of such stories that involve physical assault, mental trauma, and other psychological horror elements that will either make you a fan of this genre or you will never want to see such content again.
Another is one such anime that involves a lot of violence and blood. However, that’s what makes the story intriguing because we don’t get to watch any straightforward death sequences but complex ones. Apart from that, the animation quality makes everything look perfect.
The series follows a boy named Koichi Sakakibara, who, after getting enrolled in a new school, gets stuck in several gruesome situations after befriending a girl named Mei.
3. High-Rise Invasion
High-Rise Invasion takes you to a world that is full of twists and turns. You will see people getting murdered or committing suicide. All these aspects make the plot of the anime a lot more interesting when compared to your typical horror shows.
The main protagonist gets teleported to a world where some masked people start following the girl to hunt her down. Well, the lead lady doesn’t only have to save her own life but also has to protect her brother, who is stuck in the same dangerous world.
2. Parasyte: The Maxim
Parasyte is a psychological horror show that sheds light on some crucial questions, like what kind of a relationship humans share with other species living in the same world.
The series follows a young man named Shinichi Izumi, who realizes that the world is being taken over by an alien species. This strange alien species can take over human bodies by invading their minds, thus the name “parasyte.” However, things happen differently with Shinichi. Instead of taking over the protagonist’s mind, this parasyte takes over Shinichi’s arm. So, instead of killing the host, this parasyte has to coexist within a human body.
Parasyte: The Maxim is not your traditional alien invasion anime series, as it features several twists and turns in every few episodes. It makes you decide which side you are on, humans or aliens, and, well, very few alien stories are able to do that.
Monster is one of the best and longest psychological horror series of all time, as it includes 74 episodes that Madhouse beautifully created. Despite an intriguing plot, Monster remained underrated because not everyone could understand the series’ vision.
Monster explores topics like personal choices and one’s morals. Besides that, the series also shows the protagonist-antagonist duo working together to accomplish a mutual goal that is often not seen in any anime. It is one of those anime series that’ll catch you off guard with its mind-boggling twists, and let’s not forget that it features one of the most brutal and evil anime antagonists, Johan Wilhelm Liebert.
You can check out our other anime coverage here, and our other Halloween horror coverage below: