Anime fans have never had more options at their disposal and it’s an overwhelming task to keep up with every new series that’s released. Some anime fans only focus on specific genres, which helps narrow down their options, but still gives them a good idea of what the medium has to offer.
There are some exceptional horror anime that don’t just tell original stories, but are also legitimately frightening. It’s a special feeling to get taken over by a horror series and submit to fear. That being said, some of these horror series also display a hilarious sense of humor that helps cut the tension and add some lighter nuance to the experience.
10/10 Ghost Stories Rewrites Its Script For Maximum Laughs
The debate in the anime community between subtitles versus localized dubbed versions continues to rage on with both alternatives having their benefits and disadvantages. Dubbed anime can take a ton of ownership by completely changing the original script or incorporating a distinct voice.
Ghost Stories is a perfectly fine horror series that puts inquisitive children up against supernatural forces. The humor in Ghost Stories comes out of its silly dub, which is more concerned about making jokes than respecting the source material. It culminates into a tonally extreme horror experiment.
9/10 The Vampire Dies In No Time Is A Silly Subversion Of Literature’s Most Famous Vampire
Vampires are popular subjects in anime, but by and large these undead bloodsuckers are creatures of nightmares rather than comedy. The Vampire Dies In No Time is a recent horror-comedy hybrid that’s quickly found an audience for its absurdist take on classical vampire lore.
The Vampire Dies In No Time ostensibly functions like a buddy comedy between Dracula and Van Helsing where their curses and powers become fuel for fast-paced comedy. It’s a lot of fun to see classic vampire staples get comedically torn down, while new wild card elements like an armadillo familiar sidekick give this horror series endless personality.
8/10 Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan Turns A Precocious Girl Into A Brutal Brawler
If its name is any indication, Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. Many anime deal with a combination of extremes where seemingly cuddly characters wield devastatingly destructive powers. The titular Dokuro doesn’t stray far from the violence-crazed tsundere stereotype.
What makes her and this series stand out are the levels of graphic violence that result from her “playful” bludgeoning. Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan is as frightening as it is because of its brutal violence. It becomes such a shocking display, especially within this faux magical girl aesthetic, which makes it also hard to not laugh at, too.
7/10 Mieruko-Chan Puts Ghost In The Most Awkward Of Places
Mieruko-chan is a 12-episode anime from 2021 that finds an unusual comedy source in the realistic fears that plague the supernaturally-gifted Miko Yotsuya. Miko is able to see disgusting, frightening spirits that invade everyday life with lewd comments and invasive acts.
Miko’s only recourse is to do her best to ignore these frights as if they’re not there. Miko is typically able to hide behind this passive strategy, but it’s also a deeply funny and awkward display. Ghosts have never looked more intimidating or as silly as they do in Mieruko-chan.
6/10 Digimon: Ghost Game Celebrates The Franchise’s Scariest Creatures
Digimon has an impressive legacy that’s spanned several decades across anime, video games, and even virtual pets. Digimon‘s universe has evolved in exciting ways and several anime function as standalone subversions of the series’ norm. The current series, Digimon: Ghost Game, gives the beloved franchise a successful horror makeover.
Digimon: Ghost Game skews younger than most horror series and there’s a natural sense of humor and levity to its core characters. That being said, the monster-of-the-week format highlights a slew of the scariest Digimon, many of which take the lives of unsuspecting civilians.
5/10 Hells Makes Damnation Even Worse By Introducing Its School
Hells is a standalone anime feature film from Madhouse that creates such a rich world in under two hours that it’s a little surprising that Hells hasn’t been returned to for a proper series or at the least a short OVA. Hells kicks off in highly morbid fashion when Amagane Rinne meets an untimely demise and finds herself restricted to the fires of hell.
Rinne is forced to acclimate to the stresses of high school, but with a student body of demons in the afterlife. This fish out of water dynamic works to Hells advantage and a distinct art design by Madhouse makes sure that Hells remains visually stunning.
4/10 GeGeGe No Kitaro Never Loses Its Playful Disposition Among Deadl Yokai
GeGeGe no Kitaro is a supernaturally-based shonen series that Toei has turned to several times over the past few decades and it even has a new feature film on the way. GeGeGe no Kitaro pulls from Japanese folklore and urban legends with the yokai and disturbing creatures that challenge Kitaro and company.
The 2018 version of the series finds the right balance between playful, humorous adventures and the terrifying foundation that GeGeGe no Kitaro is built upon. Even the friendly creatures in the anime, like a disembodied, sentient eye that holds the spirit of Kitaro’s father, are scary out of context until they actually interact.
3/10 Hell Teacher Nube Combines Lesson Plans With Demon Slaying
Hell Teacher Nube gives the delinquent school series a helpful dose of horror that comes in the form of Nube’s demonic hand. Nube’s unique trait allows him to see dark spirits, which frequently attempt to terrorize his students.
The threats that Nube conquers are actually scary, but the series develops a repetitive formula across its 49 episodes that help accentuate the humor in Nube’s paranormal conquests. Hell Teacher Nube also has several feature films and OVA extensions that push the series to even greater comedic horror heights.
2/10 Bakemonogatari Mixes A Demon Apocalypse With A Coming Of Age Love Story
There’s a complex nature to the Bakemonogatari franchise. The ultra-stylized take on vampires is made up of multiple series and feature films that tell a disturbing tale of codependency between an ancient vampire and the teen who she sires to do her killing and bring her back to full strength.
Bakemonogatari is incredibly gory and it portrays vampires as vicious, durable monsters. At the same time, a tender love story and slice of life school drama play out in Bakemonogatari and this tonal whiplash becomes funny in and of itself. So much of the comedy in Bakemonogatari comes from its chaotic editing and anachronistic insert shots.
1/10 Zombie Land Saga Uses The Undead to Empower The Ultimate Pop Group
Zombie Land Saga is a ridiculous blend of horror, comedy, and music in a story that seems like it could only be possible in anime. Sakura Minamoto, as well as other deceased girls from different eras, are resurrected as zombies by a strange man who’s driven by the radical dream to turn them into the ultimate undead pop idol musical group.
There’s a colorful, musical quality to Zombie Land Saga that’s hard not to laugh at. However, it’s still an anime that’s full of gruesome deaths and a growing epidemic.
NEXT: 10 Anime That Kids Will Find Scary (But Adults Won’t)