Werewolves, witches, zombies…there are just a few classic monsters that many associate with the festive Halloween season. Despite iconic slasher villains like Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers having shared the spotlight in recent decades, no Halloween is complete or horror-stricken enough without a visit from the fanged undead with a soft spot for human blood: vampires.
Since the publication of Irish author Bram Stoker‘s Dracula in 1897, audiences’ interest in vampiric entities never seems to falter as these creatures have gone through sundry revamps in mass media. Anime is no exception, opening the door for more appreciative fans as well as introducing them to some of the most badass characters ever visualized onscreen.
When malicious creatures of the night threaten the citizens of England, it’s up to the top-secret Hellsing Organization to annihilate these menaces and restore peace without delay, an effortless task considering the organization possesses a trump card, that of the most powerful vampire alive, Alucard.
Upon learning that a Nazi paramilitary organization called the Millennium is the primary culprit behind humans turning into vampires on a grand scale, Alucard’s unabridged omnipotence will be unveiled in the dark and gritty series Hellsing Ultimate but will it be at the expense of mankind’s complete eradication?
‘Seraph of the End’
Comparatively more light-hearted tone-wise than Hellsing Ultimate, Seraph of the End similarly combines military confederacies with supernatural elements, albeit in a post-apocalyptic setting that caters more to younger audiences.
The action-adventure series chronicles the events undergone by the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, where exterminating vampires is just part of their daily routine. The main protagonist Yuichiro Hyakuya is one of the young survivors who are untouched by a man-made virus ravaging the human populace in 2012. After he escapes from being captive and food supply to vampires, Yuichiro becomes determined to avenge his friends who weren’t as lucky as he is.
Translated as ‘Corpse Demon’, Shiki‘s story takes place in Sotoba, a small quaint Japanese town plagued by a string of mysterious death, coinciding with the arrival of the enigmatic Kirishiki family who had moved into a long-abandoned mansion on the outskirts. The village doctor Toshio Ozaki and other citizens of Sotoba begin investigating and even receiving visits at night from vampiric creatures named Shiki.
The supernatural horror series is more of a slow-burn, opting for the routes of psychological horror rather than full-blown action sequences like the previous two entries. Nonetheless, audiences after watching Shiki may never have a good night’s sleep without making sure that no one resides underneath the bed.
Most fans of vampires have, at one point in their lives, fantasized about becoming one themselves so that they could possess abilities like superhuman agility and ageless lifespan. In Blood Lad, the descendant of Dracula, Staz Charlie Blood, is an otaku who indulges in Japanese culture whilst bearing no interest in human blood or the vampire lifestyle.
When an ingenious Japanese high school girl, Fuyumi Yanagi, accidentally barges into the Demon World, Staz becomes immediately attracted to her. Their allegedly romantic encounter was cut short when Fuyumi is eaten by a carnivorous plant demon and becomes a ghost, but not even the afterlife can put a hindrance on Staz’s resolution in getting the girl of his dreams.
‘Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust’
Encompassing breathtaking visuals, provocative dark humor, and chilling orchestral sound work, gothic horror aficionados will definitely love Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. This adult horror fantasy movie revolves around D, a reticent and taciturn vampire hunter who is half-vampire, half-human.
Feared and renowned for his exceptional skills at hunting down creatures of the night, D is hired by a wealthy businessman to track down his daughter Charlotte, believing she was kidnaped by a vampire baron named Meier Link. Tables are turned when it is revealed that Charlotte and Meier share an authentic mutual endearment, but prize-seeking bounty hunters and sempiternal sinister forces demand to interfere.
‘Blood: The Last Vampire’
Inspired by Stoker’s Dracula and the American supernatural drama television series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, this Japanese animated horror fantasy film allows audiences to witness a world guarded by a high school girl Saya, who happens to be a katana-waving, vampire hunter.
Bearing no weakness to sunlight or other vulnerabilities usually attributed to vampires, Saya relinquishes Chiropterans, bat-like vampiric creatures who can pose as humans and, ironically, like drinking their blood as well. Set in the 1960s, Saya is allocated to the American Yokota Air Base where it is believed that a Chiropteran has infiltrated the army base.
Aside from having the same name for the protagonist, Blood + is an equally fascinating anime spin-off set in an alternate universe than its predecessor Blood: The Last Vampire. The show is substantially popular with its inclusion of radically diverse characters as well as action-packed sequences fully taking advantage of vampires’ badass qualities.
Suffering from anemia and unable to recollect memories beyond the previous year, Saya Otonashi’s ordinary life is shattered when she is attacked by a Chiropteran. After drinking the blood of her savior, Saya learns that her blood becomes a catalyst for slaying the bloodsucking monsters. Armed with a katana, Saya’s mysterious past extending over decades and centuries is slowly revealed as she travels around the globe eliminating Chiropterans.
‘Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure’ (First Three Seasons)
One of the longest-running anime series beloved by fans around the world, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is well-known for not only its intriguing storylines exploring different timelines, themes, and genres, but its incorporation of pop culture references as exemplified in its unique art style and infamous poses.
The first three seasons of the supernatural adventure anime show see vampires as the show’s primary antagonist, with the army of undead creatures led by one of anime’s most charismatic villains, Dio Brando. Owning abilities like high-level regeneration, body manipulation, and blood-sucking tentacles on their fingers, these undead creatures aren’t the typical vampire audiences are familiar with as they could easily (and accidentally) transform into zombies if their vampire transformation process is handled incorrectly.
Holding a remarkably shorter runtime than other entries on this list, Vassalord is based on Nanae Chrono‘s josei manga and is adapted into an Original Video Animation (OVA) of 30 minutes.
The anime centers around the ambiguous relationship between Charley, a vampire hunter for the Vatican who is also a cyborg-vampire hybrid, and his vampire master Johnny who relishes in his playboy lifestyle. Bearing themes of suspense, mystery, and boys’ love, Vassalord sees Charley controlling his urge for Johnny’s blood whilst the latter finds Charley’s resistance to being amusing yet seductive.
After the release of the critically acclaimed, jaw-dropper smash hit series Bakemonogatari, it’s no surprise that its prequel Kizumonogatari will delight both fans and newcomers to the franchise with its emphasis on more vivid body horror elements.
The anime film trilogy follows the main high school student protagonist Koyomi Araragi as he learns of a rumor about a beautiful blonde vampire seen lurking around town. On the same day, Koyomi encounters the blonde-hair, golden-eyed vampirella, albeit lying in a pool of her blood with all four of her limbs cut off by vampire hunters. When the badly mutilated vampire cries out for his help, Koyomi’s decision would result in his life completely changed, for better and for worse.
NEXT: 10 of the Best Horror Manga For Newcomers To Read During Halloween