For the past thirty years, Junji Itou has been the leading authority in horror manga, most notably with Tomie, which is slated to come out in April 2018. Other than Gyo, many of his known works haven’t had any anime adaptations. But that all changed in 2018 when the Junji Itou Collection premiered on Japanese TV. As the title suggests, the series is presented in an episodic format, which tells random horror tales taken from the original manga. Some episodes tell a whole story, others give you two short stories so viewers can jump into any episode if they wish to enjoy.
The anime largely takes from Japanese horror in both cinema and literature so if you’re a fan of movies such as Jun-on or the original Ring movies, the Junji Itou collection is probably for you. But other than this anime, what other J-Horror titles out there can be recommended? Read our list to find out!
Animes Like Junji Itou Collection
1. Gakkou no Kaidan (Ghost Stories)
- Episodes: 19
- Aired: Oct 22, 2000 – Mar 25, 2001
Ghost Stories tells the tale of Satsuki and Keiichirou Miyanoshita. Their mother has passed away and they decide to move to her hometown, which is now going under urbanization. It turns out that their mother was a former exorcist who sealed away some ghosts at their school and they’re back with a vengeance. With the help of some friends and with Satsuki’s cat possessed by a demon, they go out to exterminate the ghosts once and for all.
If you want something tamer and kid-friendly compared to the Junji Itou Collection, this might be a good anime to start with. However, its dub release has gotten mixed reactions for making the series feel more like a comedy as opposed to the serious atmosphere of the original Japanese track. Considering how generic and kid-friendly the character designs are, the dub does a good job of making it kid friendly but is sure to enrage purists. Despite its praise from dubs, in the end, if you can’t handle pure horror but still want something supernatural, Ghost Stories is still an excellent start.
2. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls -Bougyakusareta Tamashii no Jukyou
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: Jul 24, 2013
After 20 years of being famous as a J-Horror RPG (which debuted in Japan in 1996), Corpse Party finally got an anime adaptation. Like the original game, a group of high school kids gather at their school late at night and are transported to a dimension of lethal horrors. While Junji Itou’s Collection’s art style is appropriately gritty in conjunction with its storytelling, don’t let Corpse Party’s more cutesy style fool you. It is full of buckets of blood and gore so you’re going to need a barf bag.
While Junji Itou relies more on Japanese horror from folklore and using it in a modern setting, Corpse Party is more of a haunted house/asylum/school style of horror. Some could argue that its style does a great job of destroying the innocence the main cast has and offering little hope. So if you prefer a style of horror that takes place in a haunted building where you wonder who will survive, Corpse Party is the anime for you. Thankfully, no prior exposure to the original games is required to enjoy this.
3. Shinrei Tantei Yakumo (Psychic Detective Yakumo)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 3, 2010 – Dec 26, 2010
Based on the novel series by Manabu Kaminaga, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo tells the tale of Yasuko Saito, a young man who can see dead people thanks to his left red eye. He uses it to create his own paranormal investigation/exorcist practice and is hired by a high school girl named Haruka to help a friend who may be possessed. He accepts her case but that’s only the beginning of what is to come.
While Junji Itou Collection is mostly random with its horror stories, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo is a horror story that mixes in classic detective noir. The series style of using dark shadowing is a great compliment to classic black and white by creating a mysterious and quiet environment. Like the Junji Itou Collection, it mostly has an episodic format, but it does have a direction that is mostly focused on Yakumo and Haruka’s relationship. So if you enjoy horror mixed with getting down to the mystery, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo is an anime you’re likely to enjoy.
Any Anime Like Junji Itou Collection?
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 2, 2015 – Dec 25, 2015
Mysterious creatures are attacking students and their first victims are a film crew of vloggers. Now they keep on popping out of the woodworks only to feast on their prey. The only man capable of getting down to the bottom of this mystery is a researcher named Sousuke Banba. However, as he gets right down to it, he finds the truth is closer than he thinks it is. While the Junji Itou Collection is episodic in nature, Kagewani, a series where each episode is seven minutes long tell one cohesive story.
The animation and presentation feel like a handheld game for either the old DS or for smartphones, but is something that is more for niche audiences. If anything, it could have been an excellent visual novel game. Even so, the design, lighting, and coloring still appropriately captures the mysterious and eerie atmosphere of this short series. In a way, this series does feel like it was done by an animation student or was done as a passion project. While there are some genres of horror that are more for jumps and scares, Kagewani is more political in nature when it comes to the dangers of corrupt corporations who don’t take accountability for the consequences of their harmful actions.
5. Sekai no Yami Zukan (The World YAMIZUKAN)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 3, 2017 – Jun 26, 2017
Just like how the Junji Itou Collection is based on traditional folklore, Sekai no Yami Zukan is also a collection of different short horror stories. While Junji Itou’s stories are more Japanese in flavor, Sekai no Yami Zukan has a wider approach with its horror stories that are a mixed bag of the old Tales from the Crypt comics and the bizarre nature of Clive Barker’s novels and take place outside of Japan with non-Japanese characters.
The art and animation are rather unorthodox with how it’s pretty many pictures that are narrated by the voice actors. That is pretty much what Sekai no Yami Zukan is and it might be a turn-off. Some of the art styles can be appropriately gritty, and there are other stories when the art is misleadingly innocent to really sink the horror in. So if you are someone who enjoys story over movement, Sekai no Yami Zukan might be the anime for you.
6. Yami Shibai (Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 15, 2013 – Sept 30, 2013
If there is any anime that best resembles the Junji Itou Collection, it certainly has to be Yami Shibai. They are both episodic in nature and tell different stories in each episode. All of these stories are narrated to a group of children by an eccentric man who wears a yellow mask. While some select episodes of Junji Itou’s Collection can have more than one story per episode, Yami Shibai tends to tell one story per episode. Both series deal with having mysterious and disturbed neighbors, secret hospital patients, evaluating the loss of a grandparent and so on. Some episodes obviously take loose influence from the Ring movies by having one center around a videotape with disturbing images.
Both series have a very dark toning in their animation to appropriately give a dark atmosphere, rougher and more mature feel to the character designs in comparison to most mainstream anime, and some rather creepy music that will make you cower in fear. If you love Junji Itou’s Collection or just love J-Horror, this is the best anime to watch.
Just like in live action horror, anime horror comes in all types. Some are the standard ghost stories, others can be slashers, and could take place in some kind of haunted building. All of these animes have something for everyone who loves not only Junji Itou Collection, but also horror as a whole. Junji Itou Collection may be presented in the standard 22-minute format, but a good number so far tend to have more than one story and some of the anime recommended on this list are more or less the same by being up to ten minutes in length.
So we encourage all fans to check these out. If horror is still not your thing but love ghost stories on a lighter scale, we can still recommend Inuyasha, Bleach, or Kyoukai no Rinne. If you want some high-octane action with your horror, look no further than the Garo franchise. If any of you fans have anything else to contribute, please feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments.