Anime are often much better at telling horrific stories because they can exceed the bounds placed on live-action shows. Given whatever laws an anime’s world is set in, anything could really happen! Yet despite this, horror anime still tend to follow the specific trends that other shows or movies typically spout. They do have a style and limitless nature all their own, but as people continue to be scared by the same things, so horror anime will continue to use those things. Today, we wanted to look at a few of the overarching trends that horror anime can be categorized under.
We’re going to briefly take a look at four of the main themes that horror anime use for their scares. Of course, we’ll provide plenty of examples along the way from anime we’ve enjoyed! But don’t worry; we don’t think that explaining these tactics will make them any less frightening in action. After all, there is a reason we enjoy watching horror anime!
Monsters – Ghouls, Ghosts, and Fiends
Zombies, vampires, and all other forms of supernatural weird beings make up the bulk of this category. Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu and Shiki are great examples of this type of horror. Seeing another form of life that might want to hurt us is a great motivation for fear, as evidenced by the tons of zombie-related things that have been released in recent years.
Gore – Blood and Guts, but No Glory
Anime like Tokyo Ghoul, Elfen Lied and Berserk make up this category, emphasizing the mangling of bodies as a lasting terror impressed upon our minds. Though this type of horror is common, it is usually reserved for older audiences. This is because an anime with more severe gore is often seen as more intense, and therefore better. Of course, there can be times that series go overboard, but if the balance is right between gore and some other type of horror or mystery, then we get anime like Boogiepop wa Warawanai, which are still bloody but not entirely focused around the gore factor.
Jump Scares – The Unexpected
Most anime incorporate some form of jump scare into their horror. Jump scares are the basis of horror in many ways, as monsters and supernatural beings appear unexpectedly. Another is an anime with a great example of a focus on jump scares. Though it also has supernatural involvement and some amount of gore, the deaths are so unexpected that they become jump scares in themselves. The best kinds of jump scares build suspense beforehand, as Another does before each one of its character deaths.
Separate from the category of monsters is the idea of the “other,” that being that we can’t really understand and therefore fear, because we don’t know how to deal with it. Yakusoku no Neverland is a great example of this type of horror, where Emma and the other kids are slowly learning about the unknown in their own world. The unknown in horror is often closely tied to monsters and the supernatural because characters discover more about the truth behind the unknown terror as time goes on.
Horror can take many different forms. Whether through monsters, gore, jump scares or even the fear we aren’t really sure about, horror themes can blend together and combine into something truly terrifying, even as they stand apart. No matter what type of horror you enjoy, there is sure to be something to interest everyone in this genre!
What is your favorite horror anime? What type of horror do you enjoy the most? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!