Boys and Girls, Ghosts and Ghouls, it’s that time of year again! It’s time for costumes, trick or treat, and that beautiful fall weather, but most of all, it’s time to get spooky! We at Honey’s Anime have always enjoyed a good fright around this season. With all hallow’s eve approaching and all the great content coming out in recent years, we thought that it was only right to put a spotlight on some of the best throwbacks to binge this Halloween! So sit back and relax (if you can) with any of our top 10 Halloween throwback binges and take a nightmarish trip down memory lane!
In case you’ve already gone through these or if you want a different sort of vibe we do have our honourable mentions here for you: Elfen Lied (2004), Shiki (2010), Future Diary (2011), Parasyte (2014), and Hellsing (2001).
10. Yami Shibai (Theatre of Darkness: Yami Shibai)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2013 – September 2013
Anyone who watches anime eventually will come to learn more about the culture, and as such will grow an appreciation for the same. In that vein, Yami Shibai is a series of vignettes told by the mysterious yellow-masked Storyteller through paper scrolls (or kamishibai) detailing Japanese urban legends. Short stories that pack a punch, the Storyteller through his chilling narrations will suck you into a myriad of terrifying nightmares, each more sickening and blood-curdling than the next.
Honestly, what more do you need for your Halloween binge?
9. Ghost Hunt
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2006 – March 2007
If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who are you gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS! However, if they’re unavailable there’s always the Shibuya Psychic Research Company. Ghost Hunt tells us the classic tale of a crew of ghost hunters and their one member who was suckered into joining. When Mai Taniyama, a connoisseur of ghost stories, accidentally intervenes in Kazuya Shibuya’s investigation of an abandoned, and apparently haunted, school building, she somehow injures his assistant and breaks his camera.
Unfortunately for Mai, Kazuya isn’t the most forgiving soul. So in exchange, he forces her to take on the role of his assistant, and thus, Mai finds herself booted into the world of paranormal investigation. Psychic abilities, inexplicable mysteries, ghosts, and ghost-hunting; it’s a classic formula and absolutely perfect for a Halloween marathon!
8. Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2005 – April 2006
While malevolent spirits and horror are all the rage for the Halloween season, there’s one theme that often reigns supreme: revenge. And for our list, we’ve chosen a story centred around just that. The Hell Correspondence website, active only at the stroke of midnight, allows you to enter a name and it guarantees that that poor, unfortunate soul will be visited by Ai Enma, aka, Hell Girl.
Unfortunately, revenge often means digging two graves, so if one’s grudge runs deep enough to request Hell Girl’s intervention, one must also be prepared to have their soul dragged down to hell too. Tragic and terrifying, sorrowful and spine-chilling, chock-full of the suffering of the cruel and unusual variety, Hell Girl is a great way to mix it up this Halloween!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2007 – September 2007
Halloween is for the weird, the wondrous, and the wildly frightful. So of course the next one on our list is full of avant-garde delights and late-night frights. Mononoke is a beautifully illustrated eerie tale about a travelling Medicine Seller who saves all those afflicted with the occult. With his Exorcism Sword at hand, he traverses this painted dimension ridding the land of the dangerous occult through careful investigations and psychological analysis.
Overwhelming experimental visual storytelling, psychological thrills, and some good old-fashioned mononoke (albeit in avant-garde style), this anime is one hell of a ride and the spookiest night of the year is the perfect time to dive in!
6. Mousou Dairinin (Paranoia Agent)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: February 2004 – May 2004
What’s worse than gruesome scenes, and supernatural seances? Suspense! That growing tension, that blood-pumping thrill that slowly crescendos and peaks, and sometimes the anticipation is more impactful than the actual climax. One anime that does suspense just right is Paranoia Agent. The naughty (that’s putting it lightly) and notorious Li’l Slugger has been wreaking havoc across Musashino City. He speeds through the city on his rollerblades and attacks with his golden baseball bat, beating people down and terrorising the general population.
As victim after victim falls victim to this violent monster, rumours start spreading and the fear factor keeps skyrocketing, and the citizens don’t know who to trust and who to be wary of as the paranoia sets in. If building fear and growing unease is the flavour for the season then check out Paranoia Agent, but be wary, for the paranoia may claim you first!
5. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2006 – September 2006
Talk about a throwback. When They Cry has already been rebooted, but that doesn’t mean the original isn’t just as fantastic! An anime that can be classified as a horror, a psychological thriller, a sci-fi conspiracy, and a supernatural mystery all set up in possibly the most terrifying place: a village school. When Keiichi Maebara moves to the quiet town of Hinamizawa, he becomes fast friends with his new schoolmates. However, idyllic school life seems to be a tall order for this town with darkness lurking just below the surface. As the village festival approaches strange and increasingly sinister things to seem to happen around Keiichi and his friends, and believe us, you won’t see any of it coming!
When They Cry just keeps piling on the fear and after a point, you won’t be able to see your way out of this delightfully nightmarish show. A perfect pick for the season, don’t you think?
4. Itou Junji: Collection (The Junji Ito Collection)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2018 – March 2018
Okay, this one isn’t exactly a throwback but how can any spooky binge be complete without the master of horror, Junji Ito? Whether, it’s dysmorphic body horror, or ghoulish creatures lurking in the shadows at every corner, nobody does horror and unparalleled terror better than Junji Ito. And if you think his stories were nightmarish enough as manga, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Ito’s most malevolently delightful demons come to life in this stunning (and disturbing) adaptation, and for any connoisseur of the genre, it’s a must-watch, especially on the scariest night of the year.
Maybe keep your lights on at night, because you definitely won't sleep easy after this one!
3. Boogiepop wa Warawanai (Boogiepop Phantom)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2000 – March 2000
Strange happenings, grizzly murders, and an urban legend that everyone laughs at in the light of day… all the makings of the perfect Halloween story to dive right into.
No. 3 on our list is simultaneously a quintessential Halloween-esque story yet unique in its own weird way (so much so that it got a reboot). Boogiepop Phantom has a novel take on the darkness that lurks in the most unpredictable of ways. From the fractured montages that come together to paint a picture of the eerie urban myth that stalks Japanese streets to the interesting (and terrified) characters colliding across the non-linear narrative; this anime is a masterful experiment in storytelling pulling together elements from all over to create a genuinely fantastic mystery that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.
While the 2000 version is more of a sequel to the manga (though it does fine on its own) if you truly want to make it a binge, we suggest watching the reboot that illustrates the original manga first (2018).
2. Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: October 2006 – June 2007
For those of you unfazed by all of the jump scares and grotesque body horror, another way to enjoy a Halloween is through the tension built from the thrill of high stakes. And no one does high stakes better than Death Note. A classic of the medium, Death Note is the supernatural crime thriller to watch, and nothing has come close to it in, well, ever. When Ryuk, a god of death, drops his Death Note in the human realm (for the lols, ofc), Light Yagami’s life is forever changed. With the power to take control of anyone’s lifespan with simply a pen and this notebook, Light embarks on his one-man crusade against evil. But when capital punishment is dealt with at the whims of a teenager, it begs the question of what’s actually right and wrong.
And if that wasn’t tense enough, the Death Note eventually attracts the attention of a world-renowned, reclusive detective which dissolves into a high stakes cat and mouse game dancing the line of magic realism, yet begging the question of what morality and heroism really mean. All that and a slowly rising atmosphere of tension. You’ll be sweating through your costume while bingeing this one!
- Episodes: 74
- Aired: April 2004 – September 2005
Finally, No. 1 on our list has to be the mother of all psychological crime thriller anime. A frighteningly realistic horror, Monster tells us the story of an elite neurosurgeon who takes a stand with his conscience to save the life of a young boy rather than the Mayor he’s been asked to save, instead. Proud of his accomplishment, his conscience is clear in spite of the ramifications this would have for his career. Having seemingly recovered from the fallout nine years later, when he once again saves another life, his past comes back to haunt him. He comes face to face with a monster that he helped let loose into the world and now must deal with the repercussions: to make amends to those suffering because of the life he saved one way or another.
A crisis of conscience, a cat and mouse game, with life and death at stake, Monster is a frightening tale not just for the gore and suspense of the story it tells but also for how plausible it is for this situation to leap into our reality. Horrifying, uncomfortable, and a slow burn, Monster in its 74-episode glory is the throwback anime to binge this Halloween.
Scary enough for you yet? Honestly, we got the shivers just reminiscing about the shows on this list! With all the great blood-curdling shows out there, we were hard-pressed to cut it down to just ten; but from psychological thrillers to blood and guts, to creepy conspiracies, we’re sure we’ve got you covered!
Do you have any throwbacks to add that we might’ve missed? What are you bingeing this Halloween? Did you like any of the shows on our list? Let us know in the comments below, we love to hear from you!