Originating from texts like The Castle of Otranto, The Fall of the House of Usher, and Jane Eyre, the gothic genre traditionally consists of mysterious castles or mansions, supernatural threat, dark doubles, and family dynasties – sometimes a new husband with nefarious secrets.
Often, the stories center around a female main character who has something hunting, or haunting her. Anime pushes the genre by combining gothics with sci-fi, western, and even slice-of-life influences. Gothic anime stories are also more likely to have realistic supernatural elements that are obvious to viewers.
10/10 Robin Reveals Terrible Secrets Hidden Away At The “Factory”
Witch Hunter Robin
In the world of Witch Hunter Robin, witchcraft is feared. Robin was inherently gifted with witchcraft, but hasn’t fully embraced it. Instead, she chooses to train in hunting down witches. The gothic story’s hallmark building is cloaked in mystery. It isn’t a mansion per se, but the characters call it a “Factory.”
Robin makes a dark discovery there, turning her world as she knows it upside down and changing her view on the supernatural. The discovery also makes her a target – no longer a hunter, but the hunted.
9/10 Living Dolls Inhabit A Dark, Sweeping Mansion
Shadows House’s main setting is a grand, Victorian-era mansion filled with secrets. Not unlike the classic TV show, Dark Shadows, Shadows House follows a grand family in their ancestral home. The home’s secrets are unearthed by the two main characters, Emilico and her mistress, Kate.
The story centers around two strange beings, Living Dolls which act as servants, and Shadows, the dolls’ masters. The Living Dolls clean the soot that their partners constantly produce. They’re also essentially their Shadow’s twin.
8/10 A Vampire Hunter Tries To Protect A Maiden From The Villainous Count
Vampire Hunter D
Vampire Hunter D combines several genres, including gothic, western, and sci-fi. D is a traveling half-vampire who tries to keep his own kind from doing their worst to the surrounding humans. The 1985 movie showcases a vampire’s castle which D must eventually enter to fight and resist many supernatural terrors.
Another common gothic convention in this movie is the strange “husband.” Count Magnus Lee, an ancient vampire, seeks to force a young woman, Doris, into being his bride for eternity. Doris chooses to hire D to help her.
7/10 A Boarding School Is Filled With Ghosts And Mysteries
Gosick’s main character Kazuka tries to solve mysteries by exploring his school’s library, and a mysterious ghost ship. He befriends an ethereal-looking girl at the school named Victorique, who has the ability of foresight, and they become unlikely allies.
Like the boarding school they reside in, Victorique is also a bit of a puzzle for Kazuya with her strange knowledge and odd habits. Together, they navigate Saint Marguerite Academy, encountering many paranormal events. The more they discover, the more the mystery of the school deepens.
6/10 Lord Hugh Inherits Forbidden Knowledge From His Eccentric Grandfather
The Mystic Archives Of Dantalian
As with many gothics, The Mystic Archives of Dantalian opens with the main character, Lord Hugh Anthony Disward, returning to his family’s ancestral seat after the death of his eccentric forbear. The house is a grandiose manor with an archive full of forbidden texts.
While home at his manor, he meets a girl named Dalian. Their story is filled with old family rivalries, curses, and murder. Lord Hugh’s grandfather also willed him a key and a quest: to become the new steward of the Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian, a magical library.
5/10 Lupin Saves A Princess From An Arranged Marriage
Lupin III: Castle Of Cagliostro
In the 1979 movie, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Arsène Lupin III goes to the castle Cagliostro to get to the bottom of a counterfeit scheme. A woman running from a castle is one of the hallmarks of many gothic romance novel covers. Her fearful expression and the curling night mists subtly hint at unseen forces chasing her.
The Castle of Cagliostro unapologetically evokes this image when Lupin sees Princess Clarisse being chased on his way to the castle. Clarisse is doomed to an unwanted, arranged marriage. Though Lupin came with the intention of addressing the counterfeits, he’s soon wrapped up in the princess’s plight at Cagliostro.
4/10 The Count Plots Revenge With The Aid Of A Demonic Entity
Gankutsuou is a sci-fi retelling of the Victor Hugo classic, The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s a tale of long-cradled revenge, lost love, murder implications, and ornate costume design. The series is aesthetically beautiful, drawing inspiration from Ukiyo-e and Impressionism.
The story begins in a lunar city where a young man, Viscount Albert, meets the Count, who helps him out of a tough spot. The Count is allied with the demonic being, Gankutsuou, who helped him when he was falsely imprisoned, and guides him in his revenge plot.
3/10 Cossette Is A Trapped Ghost With A Sad Backstory
Le Portrait De Petit Cossette
Le Portrait de Petit Cossette begins in an antique shop. When the main character Eiri touches a glass at the shop, he envisions the spirit of a girl haunting the item. The girl’s name is Cossette, and she’s a ghostly damsel in distress.
Eiri champions Cossette, as he seeks to rectify the wrongdoings surrounding her murder by a man named Marcello Orlando. Soon though, Cossette begins to oppress Eiri, as she harbors complicated and toxic feelings for him. What once was a matter of murder indemnification then twists into a tale of obsession, and the cycle of trauma.
2/10 Chise Joins A Demonic Magus At His Mansion
Ancient Magus’ Bride
Ancient Magus’ Bride’s Chise doesn’t have many options left in her life, when the tall, skull-faced magus Elias Ainsworth steps in and decides to take her as his bride. Elias recognizes Chise contains magic that would destroy her if left unchecked.
Despite the magus’ demonic magic, beastly appearance, and possibly fae-related origins, he subverts the gothic convention of a “nefarious husband.” He has sincere intentions. Elias wants to apprentice Chise in magic, so that she can evade dying young from the nature of her own gifts.
1/10 A Young Girl Haunts A Labyrinthine Academy
Dusk Maiden Of Amnesia
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia takes place in Seikyou Private Academy, which is home to a displaced spirit named Yuuko. She haunts the school along with her shadow self, who holds onto her pain and tragic memories.
Similar to the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Yuuko has a dark double who exhibits the traits that she suppresses, aptly called “Shadow-Yuuko.” A student at the academy, Teiichi, wants to help Yuuko by restoring her memories, working with both her and her shadow self to do so.
NEXT: 10 Anime Characters Who Are Afraid Of Ghosts