H.P. Lovecraft’s stories have a timeless quality due to the very nature of the horror he was conveying. Lovecraftian horror is about the sense of existential dread humans get when they realize that the universe is a lot bigger than they could ever imagine. It’s a form of cosmic horror that focuses on entities so complex and timeless that humans cannot even fathom their natures.
With that sense in mind, Lovecraftian horror is a kind of larger-than-life dread that is not easily replicated in any medium, let alone anime. While not many series even attempt this, some have come closer than others to reminding anime fans that, not only are they not alone, but loneliness would be far less terrifying.
10/10 Greed & The Pursuit Of Power Can Turn Anyone Into A Monster
Part of what makes Berserk Lovecraftian is the sheer sense of hopelessness Guts and the Band of Hawks face during the eclipse. They are utterly destroyed and there is no hope. When the eclipse is over, Griffiths’s reign presents a new level of power that introduces even further insurmountable odds for Guts to overcome.
Berserk deals heavily with the idea that the pursuit of power leads to corruption and can turn people into monsters. Equal parts adventure, love story, and horror, Berserk is often as difficult to define as the term “Lovecraftian” itself.
9/10 Morality Is An Alien Concept
Parasyte is the strange tale of Shinichi Izumi, who is infected by a strange parasitic alien whom he names Migi. The series raises questions of morality and psychology as Shinichi becomes acquainted with the creature who has taken him as host.
Parasyte really taps into the cosmic aspect of Lovecraft’s horror stories. The alien parasites take over the bodies of their human hosts, giving them unimaginable strength and abilities while also making them demonstrably beyond the scope of humanity’s ability to deal with them.
8/10 Despair Is Natural In The Face Of Overwhelming Odds
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion‘s Shinji Ikari is a complicated, immature character who is potentially the most polarizing protagonist in anime. While not ordinarily seen as a horror anime, the larger-than-life Lovecraftian element is ever present in Evangelion.
Shinji’s disappointing collapse into solitude and loneliness in the face of a world beyond his comprehension is characteristic of cosmic horror. The infamous final scene of the singularity in Evangelion could perhaps be similar to what would occur if Azathoth woke up.
7/10 Sometimes Being Human Isn’t Enough
Claymore tells the story of Clair, a half-human, half-Yoma hybrid who works for a secretive organization to fight the Yoma. Throughout Claymore‘s story, there is the constant sense that humans are nothing more than weak, secondary beings that require a greater power to protect them.
As the Yoma become “Awakened Beings,” the truth of human frailty becomes even more apparent. There is also a theme of the ease with which humans succumb to their base desires when presented with power, as is the case in Lovecraft’s “The Haunter of the Dark.”
6/10 Humanity Is Not Alone In The Universe
The human race is to be eradicated in Blue Gender after a strange alien species colonized the Earth. The most terrifying part of this is that the show’s protagonist, Yuji Kaido, had only been in cryogenic sleep for 22 years before he woke up to this horror, showing that the sense of security humanity feels has always been false.
Blue Gender is also not afraid to kill off its main characters, lending itself to the kind of disorienting quality inherent in much of Lovecraft’s own work. It also demonstrates the frailty of the human condition, which is a mere speck of the vast infinity of the cosmos.
5/10 Faith Is Utterly Destroyed When Faced With The Meaninglessness Of Existence
Angel’s Egg is a haunting OVA about a mysterious girl who protects a strange egg with everything she has. This mysterious OVA has beautiful visuals that are psychologically jarring and unpredictable.
The strange architecture and odd setting of the film are unquestionably Lovecraftian in nature. A big part of Lovecraft’s work has to do with putting the character in a situation that is horrifying precisely because it is beyond their comprehension. Angel’s Egg makes that its central premise.
4/10 Ignorance Can Be Uncomfortably Terrifying
Terra Formars centers around a future reality where humans attempt to colonize Mars in a very problematic way. After leaving both algae and cockroaches on the red planet in hopes to kickstart its habitability, they find that the cockroaches evolve to the environment much better than anyone would have hoped.
Terra Formars demonstrates just how easy it would be for humans to get displaced from the top of the food chain. The human race in Terra Formars finds itself trapped in helplessness caused by its own ignorance and thirst for power. Lovecraft’s stories often deal with similar themes of ignorance of even the very inner workings of the human mind.
3/10 Life & Death Are Like Passing Whims To A Deity
In Devilman Crybaby, Akira’s world is turned upside when he becomes a Devilman, and only his friend Ryo seems to have any idea how to help him. Of course, Ryo’s identity is itself a cause for concern.
The God in Devilman Crybaby is a lot like the God of Lovecraft’s mythology, Azathoth. He is both chaotic and amoral and ultimately seems to create the cycle of human life and death as little more than a passing whim.
2/10 Dreams & Reality Are Separated By A Thin Line
Paprika is a psychologist who gets a hold of a revolutionary technology that allows her to enter other people’s dreams. Paprika carries on the tradition of Lovecraft’s dream sequence stories well.
Like Randolph Carter, who explores the deepest recesses of Kadath in his dreams, Paprika dives into the dreams of her patients in hopes to understand them better. Like Unknown Kadath, Paprika addresses the thin line between dreams and reality as viewers begin to question what is real. Paprika confronts the viewer with the terrifying truth that the very laws of nature may not even be secure.
1/10 The World Beyond The Walls Of Everyday Experience Is Terrifying
The Promised Neverland
The Promised Neverland follows the mysterious story of a group of sheltered orphans and their fight to learn the truth about the world outside the orphanage. Not only does the mystery and existential dread inherent in Lovecraft’s stories shine through in The Promised Neverland, but the monsters themselves are Lovecraftian in appearance.
The Promised Neverland‘s monsters are distinctly inhuman with strange features that seem to defy the conventions of what life forms possess in nature. These qualities make them look like something straight out of the Cthulhu mythos.
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