Summer sucks sometimes. Summer rocks sometimes. Here in Tokyo, it’s HOT every single day and being outside makes you feel like you are melting right out of existence. You are already going to be hiding away from the summer heat most likely in a cool, dark place, so why not watch a few anime that are already dark? When we say dark, we mean anime that are hard to see on your screen and incredibly dark overall. Sometimes, a good scare is what you need in the summer or, just something that doesn’t melt your eyeballs with brightness. Japanese people believe that giving yourself a fright in the summer will cool your body down. Hence why there are horror houses all over Japan during the summer and less if any at Halloween. If the scare aspect doesn’t get you, then maybe the soul crushing existentialism will. We won’t spoiler you, but merely set you up for success and the rest is up to you. Let’s go!
Let’s wet our feet first with a short to put you in a good starting spot. This short movie, it’s only 30 minutes long, tells a story of Otokoyo, a version of kakurenbo. Kakurenbo in Japanese means Hide and Seek. Everyone knows this game. But this one is a bit different. You see, everyone who plays, must wear a mask. Then there is the other problem of all who play go missing. But surely it will be different this time. Right? Because history never repeats itself, right? Everyone wearing a mask, they all descend into what looks like an abandoned Chinatown. However, you don’t really know who it is. The town sure does however. These children now must survive or become something else. The problem is too, is that no one wants to be the last child standing. For maximum effect, be sure to watch this in the dark with the volume up. Headphones are even better.
2. Ergo Proxy
Let’s get dark and soul-searchy as we get into our next selection. Ergo Proxy was made by the now defunct studio, Manglobe. It tells the story of a doomed city called Romdo. Supposedly, one of the last civilizations on the planet exists here within this dome. After the world was destroyed by an ecological disaster. Life outside of Romdo is not spoken of because it is just not something that you do. The government is also here to help remind you that it is important to make waste and do your job within the city. Humans are assisted by semi-sentient machines known as AutoReivs. Re-L Mayer, the granddaughter of the head of the city, is an investigator hot on the trail of something call the Cogito Virus with her AutoReiv partner Iggy. This strange virus is slowly consuming AutoReivs and needs to be stopped soon. The deeper Re-L looks though, the worse her situation gets. Conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory, she realizes that the government has been lying and there is a murderer running around town. Though, it’s not a human, it’s something else. Together with Iggy, an immigrant named Vincent whom she meets and another being named Pino, she sets out on a journey to find out what is going on. However, her journey will only lead her deeper into the darkness and despair. This psychological thriller is best enjoyed with headphones as sound quality is not the best even though the story is top notch.
3. Terra Formars
If you were thinking, oh cool action! You’re… kinda right? Just kinda. Terra Formars tells the story of humanity, sometime in the 21st century, where they wanted to terraform Mars. However, Mars was too harsh of an environment, so they needed to send something to help it along biologically. They chose two things: algae and cockroaches. The roaches eat the algae and survive slowly spreading life across Mars. Easy Peasy. Or not. 500 years later, a mysterious virus has arrive on earth simply known as the Alien Engine Virus. This illness is lethal and humanity determines that the cure has to be on Mars. So, they send genetically modified humans out to Mars to fetch it. They are known as Annex 1, a team of men and women who have been genetically modified to be powerful copying things here on Earth. When they arrive though, they are in hell. The cockroaches, left alone for 500 years, are not just present, they are now intelligent and massive. They are powerful and violent as well. Looking like humans, these muscled beings rip into Annex 1 as they try to get close to Mars. How will they make it? They have to square off against these monsters before they can save humanity. Has humanity met its match? This is not for those who dislike cockroaches or bugs. 10/10 on the horror scale for the faces of the Terraformars alone. Brace yourself before you go in because it is dark and gory. If you like it though, there is a second season to catch as well.
4. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls
Let’s dial up the horror a bit more with Corpse Party: Tortured Souls. Corpse Party tells the story of Kisaragi Academy. After nine friends gather to say goodbye to their friends, they perform a friendship ritual known as Sachiko Ever After. The problem though is twofold. First, Kisaragi Academy is built on top of a school called Heavenly Host Academy. There, a series of brutal murders were carried out. Second, they cannot leave this school where there are angry spirits after them. In this new reality, they have to not only survive, but they need to cooperate to get out. If they do not, their souls will be bound to this source of evil forever. Corpse Party is the goriest of the anime mentioned here as well as the most graphic. Be sure you are ready to watch this. It’s best in the dark and with the volume maxed out for maximum affect.
5. Paranoia Agent
For our final show that we suggest, let’s look at something that has a dark, psychological backstory, but should not scare you too much. Too much being the key. To the west of Toyko lies a suburb known as Musashino City (It’s a real place!). There, Lil’ Slugger has been terrorizing the city. Running around in golden skates and a bent, golden baseball bat, he seems to reach people who are on the verge of a psychological breakdown and does them a favor, he whacks them clean into next week. The first person to be attacked is a woman named Tsukiko Sagi. However, since she was the one who has seen him the most clearly, she is the #1 suspect by the police department. Two detectives are assigned to follow her and look into the case, but they always seem to be missing Lil’ Slugger right after he strikes. Unsure of what to do next, they continue to follow the case, but it gets thicker and thicker as Tsukiko is losing her grip on reality and the number of victims increases. One thing is for sure, Lil’ Slugger strikes at night. Paranoia Agent is a bit lighter than the shows listed here, but it for sure will still keep you on your toes as it progresses. It neglects background noises sometimes so, suddenly something will happen fast and you need to be ready.
Beat the heat by staying indoors this summer and watching anime. You aren’t missing anything important and the world is not burning down around you. There you have it! Here are five fantastic shows to watch and enjoy while we wait for the cool kiss of fall. Do you enjoy horror anime in the summer? Be sure to let us know below! You never know, maybe there will be another article like this and it will be featured!