Horror manga manages to artfully combine reading a scary novel with incredible, yet horrifying artwork. It’s often a unique experience when it comes to storytelling, so it’s no wonder that horror within manga has so many dedicated followers.
There are so many different types of best horror manga out there to read, that recommending them all would be nigh-on-impossible.
However, we’ve selected a list of 10 scary manga that we believe are enough to get any reader hooked for life. The below entries are in no particular order.
- Best Horror Manga to read in 2021
- I Am a Hero
- Zashiki Onna
- Attack on Titan
- Kouisou Rajio
- Death Note
From the likes of Hideout, through to the ever-popular Attack on Titan and even lesser-known scary manga like Mieruku-chan, there’s a whole variety of manga out there to choose from.
Hideout starts out as the story of a disgruntled husband called Seiichi who plans on murdering his wife while they are on a trip together. The manga doesn’t reveal his motivation until later in the story, so it’s hard to know who to root for from the start.
Seiichi botches his murder attempt, revealing his plan to his shocked wife who flees into a cave to escape him. However, the cave is no sanctuary. It soon becomes clear that Seiichi and his wife are not alone – something much worse is inside.
What really makes Hideout stand out besides its fantastic cat and mouse story is its artwork. No matter how bleak the story gets, it always remains a visual treat.
This horror manga by Kengo Nanazawa is one for zombie apocalypse fans. However, it also manages to deal with important themes such as mental illness. The protagonist, Hideo, is already suffering from problems before the world becomes an undead nightmare. It’s refreshing to follow such a character rather than the typical gun-toting stereotypes.
I Am a Hero also features some slick drawings thanks to its cool zombie designs. Here, the undead are often contorted in freakish ways to add extra body horror. They can also merge into each other to become huge twisted masses of carnivorous flesh.
Zashiki Onna is a classic horror manga and has been creeping out readers since the 1990s. The story follows Hiroshi, who one day comes across a very tall and frightening woman who’s trying to find his next-door neighbor for some sinister reason. However, she soon begins stalking Hiroshi instead.
We’ll let you discover what’s really going on by reading it for yourself. But it’s the art style and plausibility of Zashiki Onna that really help it to stand out. This is truly a horror manga that gets under the skin.
We include Initsu because it hits the same horror beats as Zashiki Onna in that the plot is pure creep factor. The story begins with protagonist Kazuki leaving his house to empty his bins only to find a young girl sitting nearby. The girl asks him if he has a little sister and soon starts invading his life in terrifying ways.
This story is scary because it begins with Kazuki simply doing mundane chores before spiraling off into madness and horror. It also gets incredibly gruesome in parts, but how can you look away from something that’s been drawn by such a talented artist as Ryou Haruto?
Hajime Isayama’s masterpiece has become one of the most popular horror mangas of all time. Some even refer to it as the “Japanese Walking Dead,” although others feel this label is reductive and we can understand why.
Attack on Titan tells the story of Eren Yeager, a young man with severe anger problems growing up in a post-apocalyptic walled city. The city is walled because the outside world is populated by 16-foot-tall humanoid giants known as titans.
These creatures eat humans and do so gleefully with no regard for the agonizing death they inflicting on their victims. Throughout the story, you come to understand why Eren is so angry, even though everyone else in this universe is usually terrified.
Goth is a manga that features two alternative kids becoming obsessed with gruesome murders. Although what makes Goth compelling is despite the creepy things they get up to, the relationship between the two protagonists is actually rather sweet.
This is really a story about loneliness and how the desire to find friendship can sometimes take a dark turn. It may be a story many readers can relate to, depending on their own experiences with high school. Everyone has felt like they don’t fit in at some point and Goth really is an exploration of those feelings and where they can lead.
Izumi Tomoki’s Mieruko-Chan isn’t as well-known as many on this list, but it’s scary because it manages to elicit the same feelings in readers that M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense did.
The story follows a girl called Miko who can see dead people. Miko however, does not like this ability and does everything she can to shut out the ghosts. This is because she does not want the ghosts to know she has this power in case they realize and hurt her.
The manga is essentially Miko going about her life while avoiding a cadre of creatively drawn ghosts. Their designs are a horrific feast for the eyes, and the manga’s premise becomes increasingly addictive as the pages turn.
We include Kouisou Rajio on this list because we think it may appeal to horror anthology fans. Written by acclaimed author and artist Masaaki Nakayama, this manga is a collection of horror stories that build to a crescendo.
These short horror stories all appear to be separate and unconnected at first. However, as the reader gets further into the manga the connections begin to appear in the most unexpected of places.
This may not make sense until you read it – but try to keep your hair on.
Tsugumi Ohba’s Death Note has become a big deal in popular culture in recent years. It’s even had a Western adaptation on Netflix. The story involves the protagonist, Light, discovering a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it.
Light attempts to use the notebook to make the world a better place but soon gets drunk on power and loses his way. It’s a fascinating story and one of the best horror mangas of all time.
Kentaru Miura’s Beserk is one of the most celebrated horror mangas of all time. The story leads you to believe it’s one thing before pulling the rug out entirely by the time you reach the end of its second volume.
The story follows Guts, a sword-wielding hero whose job is to slay grotesque monsters called apostles. Guts becomes a legendary figure known as the Black Swordsman, but through flashbacks and flash-forwards, we learn there’s a lot more to this character and not all of it is cozy reading.
The manga sometimes tackles philosophical quandaries which reminded us of the Witcher at times. It’s also drawn to absolute perfection, with every page bustling with creepy yet staggeringly beautiful detail.
So, there you have it- the best scary Horror manga that you need to pick up and read!