Horror is a genre that plays on our fear of the unknown, or sometimes on what we know best, creating a frightening atmosphere from what seems like nothing. The best horror anime use unique animation techniques to develop startling visuals or strange dialogue that sends chills up the viewer’s spine! Animators and creators have a lot of tools to work with when trying to scare an audience through anime, but sometimes it can fall flat whilst others create stunning works of art that chill you to the bone; so today, we’re going to be listing the best horror anime of this year!
4. Tenkuu Shinpan (High-Rise Invasion)
Yuri Honjou witnesses a man’s head being split open by an axe, and as she tries to flee from the masked axe wielder, she realises that all the doors in the abandoned building are locked. With this terrifying setup of being trapped in an unknown building with scary masked murders, High-Rise Invasion starts with a lot of promise of some gory chills.
High-Rise Invasion starts strong with an atmosphere of mystery and suspense leaving the viewer with that horror feeling throughout. What really brings out the best of High-Rise Invasion is the animation quality, with the studio Zero-G delivering on excellent action scenes and interesting character design.
The character’s feel like they don’t have any actual fear for their terrifying circumstances though this doesn’t detract from the fear induced for the audience as the killers track the main cast through their unknown surroundings. High-Rise Invasion delivers a visual treat for horror fans and ramps up the gore throughout.
3. Sankaku Mado no Sotogawa wa Yoru (The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window)
The ability to see spirits is not a new story premise in horror, let alone in horror anime. The Night Beyond follows Kousuke Mikado, who has been able to see apparitions since he can remember, but he wears glasses to mitigate his terror. After meeting the eccentric medium Rihito Hiyakawa, Mikado is thrust into the world of the paranormal.
Mikado and Hiyakawa deliver some quality BL moments in the first half of the anime, but The Nigth Beyond delivers on the spooky elements as the two attempt to navigate the world of spirits. The spirits have rather scary designs, adding to the atmosphere, and with the unique exorcism technique wherein Hiyakawa has to use Mikado’s body to channel energy against the spirits, the battles with ghosts are interesting to watch.
However, the music of The Night Beyond creates an eerie atmosphere that will keep any horror fan wanting more, despite the story being a bit of a predictable horror plotline used to facilitate a BL story. Fans of the manga will be happy to see it animated, and horror fans might like the unique exorcism technique.
2. Shadows House
A family of nobles living in a mansion deep in the mountains away from other people, though this family are not normal humans, they are The Shadows with pitch-black appearance and can emit soot when disturbed. Shadow children are assigned a Living Doll when they come of age who act as attendants to the Shadows and the face they could have had if not for their darkness. Emilico is a new doll assigned to the Shadow Kate, but her curiosity gets the better of her leading her to explore the secrets of the mansion and the Shadows.
The story's premise alone builds a disturbing atmosphere, and the show delivers throughout on this creepiness. Shadows House provides a story that sends chills through your spine, and CloverWorks produce quality animation that brings the darkness of the Shadows to life. This anime ticks all the boxes of a tense, supernatural thriller, a real treat for horror lovers.
Mieruko-chan has a simple premise, a high school girl Miko Yotsuya can see things she’s not supposed to, dead things like spirits and ghosts. Instead of a severe horror tone, the anime opts for a comedy approach to the supernatural, seeing Miko’s reaction to seeing all things cursed as one of ignoring it, and it will go away. Bear in mind this is not through a lack of effort or caring, seeing the student grin and bear all things twisted creep up on her or her friends, with her only reaction being that of pretending nothing is amiss.
The horror of this show shines through in an ominous way but does not overwhelm the viewer or distract from the main character's dialogue with those around her, and for a good reason. Miko’s tactic of ignoring the dark figures around her daily life is to avoid drawing their attention, with the spirits moving closer and reacting to what she does to get a foothold in the real world. In addition, Mieruko-chan goes all out on the visuals. Each dark figure appears with different forms of disfigured skin, messed up appendages, and exaggerated deformities throughout the show, adding to the horror aspect as each presents a unique design to a ghostly figure.
Mieruko-chan is a must-watch for any horror fans this year, with studio Passione pulling no punches in the art or sound department. The anime's comedy blends remarkably well with the premise and startling visuals. We highly recommend you check it out.
Horror has not been a stand-out genre this year, but with a few gems hidden amongst all the other releases in a packed year for anime, there's enough to keep horror fans satisfied. So, what horror anime have you been watching this year? Any you think we have missed from this list? Let us know in the comments!