Top 10 Horror Manga [Best Recommendations]

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The popularity of horror manga comes from the premise of not knowing what will happen next, and you're in constant distress because you just don't know what lies ahead. For this reason alone the horror genre has grown to become one of the more popular genres in entertainment, and so we thought it would be a fantastic idea to provide our top ten horror manga for all of you fans out there. Not knowing when the terror will end is one feeling that will keep your hairs standing firmly, and the sweat dripping from the brow. Let us grab our flash lights and travel together into this world of darkness to find out who will take the number one spot for top horror manga.

10. Ajin

  • Mangaka: Sakurai, Gamon
  • Genres: Action, Mystery, Horror, Supernatural, Seinen
  • Volumes: 8
  • Published: Date: March 7, 2012 – Present

Ajin are said to have immortality along with supernatural powers but behave just like any normal human being. Since its first discovery, more and more Ajin have found their way into the present world, and Kei Nagai is one of the characters who encounters one in a tragic way. After walking home from school, Kei is stuck by an oncoming truck, but is revived by a mysterious dark matter. After rising from the dead, the towns people immediately target him as an Ajin, and from there the action begins.

So imagine being hit by a car, being killed instantly, but then somehow walked out of it all unscathed. Seems like a great trade off right? Not for Kei since now he's marked for death and everyone in town is after him. This manga demonstrates the mob mentality in our society, where if one person just doesn't seem to adhere to the image of society, they're considered the outcast and must be exterminated to recreate balance. This inhumane act is what we see everyday on the news, as thousands march in protest against certain individuals who act defiantly and are then attacked and killed for being different. This real life horror is what makes Ajin so creepy because it hits home, and is a cruel reminder of just how evil humanity can be.


9. Rabbit Doubt

  • Mangaka: Tonogai, Yoshiki
  • Genres: Mystery, Shounen, Psychological
  • Volumes: 4
  • Published: December 27, 2007 - February 12, 2009

In the story of Rabbit Doubt, a Japanese cell phone game of the same name becomes a huge hit across Tokyo. The premise of the game is that Rabbits must use the right judgment in order to find out who the wolf in rabbit's clothing is, before the wolf devours them. The wolf is selected randomly and must use tact in order to eliminate each rabbit one by one. Things take a horrific turn for the worse as five players decide to meet offline, but are then knocked out unconscious and find themselves in an abandoned building after waking up. Even more scarier is they find a corpse hanging in front of them, with barcodes tattooed on each body. Now these five friends must uncover the truth to what's actually happening before the real wolf shows up for dinner.

What's more horrific, wearing a rabbit head, or knowing that at any given moment your life can be taken from you in mere seconds? Perhaps both are just as scary when you picture it in your mind, but the fact is that there's no telling what will happen next in this game of death. These students are totally unaware of what's happening and are essentially pawns in a game where you don't have much control over who lives. They're given very little rules to follow, and with limited time to spare. All of this along with an insane killer with a thirst for blood is enough to keep the lights on while reading.


8. Lichi Hikari Club / Lychee Light Club

  • Mangaka: Furuya, Usamaru
  • Genres: Drama, Horror, Romance, Psychological
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published: May 2005 - May 2006

Lichi Hikari Club takes us into a world that’s dark and twisted, full of paranoia, sadistic murders, and extreme perverse behaviors. The light club was created by a group of individuals in an abandoned factory in hopes to create a society dedicated to a wicked lifestyle. They come up with this idea to create a machine that is run solely on lychee fruits, and in the process are coming up with ways to inflict pain about others around them. These sociopaths use manipulative tactics to get other people to do their dirty work, while betraying one another in order to get to the top.

Lichi Hikari Club is all over the place when it comes to story. We have a main protagonist who is seen as the dictator much like Hitler, delegating tasks out to people to kill one another for the sheer pleasure of it. He glorifies murder and genocide as if it were just a normal thing to do, using power to inflict pain and suffering to anyone who opposes the group. This manga simply goes over board when it comes to sensitive issues, making it that much more powerful of a read, since it sends readers a chilling message that the world we live in now is no different than the days of the past. Grotesque murders, extreme ideaologies, and a psychopathic state of mind are what you’ll discover in this manga and the longer you sit back to read it, the more you get to know this lunatic of a character with ungoverned acts of rule.


7. Parasyte / Kiseijuu

  • Mangaka: Iwaaki, Hitoshi
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Psychological, Seinen
  • Volumes: 10
  • Published: November 22, 1989 - December 23, 1995

Shinichi's life takes a huge turn for the worse when parasitic aliens invaded his city causing extreme panic. These aliens burrow themselves into the brains of humans, using their body as a barrier and can transform into an array of deadly forms to feed on other unsuspecting targets. One of these parasites gets into Izumi's body, but couldn't reach his brain in time and ends up in his right hand instead. Migi warns Izumi of the threat that these parasites pose to the Earth, and so the two must assist each other to put an end to the threat, while relying on each other to stay alive.

Just imagine walking down the street one evening only to be possessed by a creature, and have no control over your body anymore. Not only that, but now your only means of survival is to feed on other humans which means that you no longer can enjoy your hamburger and fries, but now it's a happy meal of rotting flesh, large intestines, and other exotic delicacies of the human body. To even conjure up a thought seems perplexing, but the real horror to all of this is cannibalism exists and we don't need aliens to demonstrate that.


6. Ibitsu

  • Mangaka: Ryou, Haruto
  • Genres: Horror, Seinen
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published: October 2, 2009 - June 4, 2010

Ibitsu is about a young boy who goes outside to dispose of his garbage when he's surprised to find a creepy looking goth-lolita sitting among his trash heap. She nonchalantly asks him if he has a sister, to which he immediately replies, and then runs back inside. After locking all of his doors and windows, he peeks outside to see if she's there and she's gone. The creepy story follows Kazuki as he tries to uncover the truth behind this strange woman, and what her real motives are.

We've all read these types of horror stories on the news, where someone is stalked by someone and then eventually is never heard from again. This is the same premise as Ibitsu as Kazuki is being stalked by someone who he doesn't know, and is unsure of what their intentions are. Like most stalkers, it starts out very subtle, but then over time the horrific acts start to surface such as peeking through windows, entering the victims room, and from there all sorts of eerie events take place. The scariest part is how all of this is relevant in today's society, and there are stalkers everywhere you go. There's no hiding from them, and when they find you it's only a matter of time before you become another page in the newspaper.


5. Pupa

  • Mangaka: Mogi, Sayaka
  • Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Psychological
  • Volumes: 5
  • Published: March 12, 2011 - January 11, 2014

Yume undergoes a gruesome transformation into a ravenous creature who seeks out human flesh, after succumbing to the full effects of Pupa. Utsutsu, however, contracts the disease partially, which allows him to gain the incredible power to regenerate at will. Making sure to keep the promise he made to himself years ago, Utsutsu is willing to sacrifice everything in order to always be there for his little sister. Pupa tells the story of a loving brother's desperate attempts to save his sister, while protecting the world from her uncontrollable hunger.

The difference between the manga and the anime is quite obvious, as much of the gore has been toned down in the show while the manga gives you every inch of detail that just makes you squeamish. The world in which you live in is governed by man eating creatures who don't care about your existence, they only want to devour every inch of your body down to the marrow. The story leaves you asking yourself, just how much are you willing to sacrifice in order to save your family, and at what cost? Every decision you make is only just a stepping stone closer to more cannibalism, torture, and complete insanity just to save someone you love.


4. Elfen Lied

  • Mangaka: Okamoto, Lynn
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Horror, Romance, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen
  • Volumes: 12
  • Published: June 6, 2002 - August 25, 2005

The story of Elfen Lied looks at the turbulent life of Lucy, who became the victim of a scientific experiment created by the government. Her appearance stands out compared to everyone else, as she was born with a short pair of horns and telekinetic powers that allow her to defend herself against threats. After breaking free from the laboratory, Lucy receives a devastating injury that now leaves her looking at the world in two different ways. In one way she's normal but on the other her mind is limited to that of a harmless child. Little do the people who assist her know, that beyond the surface lies a menacing killer out for revenge.

Lucy is used as a puppet for the government's benefit. For this reason she seeks revenge in the most destructive way, killing just about anyone who threatens her existence. Her uncontrollable rage leads to a lot of heads being chopped off, limbs soaring across the sky, and blood gushing out of the bodies of the deceased. Lucy has every good reason to do what she's doing, because who likes being controlled by the government? She's just doing everyone a big favor by painting the walls a little more red, and preventing any other innocent child from becoming another amusement show for a laboratory.


3. Gyo

  • Mangaka: Itou, Junji
  • Genres: horror, mystery
  • Volumes: 21
  • Published: November 12, 2001 - April 15, 2002

To be quite honest, we could probably place all of Itou Junji's entire library of horror manga on our list and we'd be satisfied. This man's work is no joke and Gyo is another horror hit that really tears through your brain and leaves you questioning life. In the small area of Okinawa there's something fishy happening that has Tadashi and his girlfriend curious as to what's going on. The smell of dead fish permeates throughout the air and the two of them are about to realize that these fish aren't looking for bait, they've reached the shores and are now about to cause havoc on the town.

Anytime you see a fish emerge from out of the water, usually it just flops around like magikarp gasping for air. In Gyo, these fish don't have time for all of that, they just simply walk out onto shore because they've somehow managed to grow legs. Take out sushi is definitely on the menu, but that's if they don't turn you into sashimi first. What's truly creepy about this manga is not about the fish being able to walk on the shore, it's the fact that it's unheard of and for that reason alone it brings intense fear into your heart. The bonus side to Gyo is that after reading it, there are two more scarier short stories included that will have you questioning why is this all happening, and just how did it all begin.


2. Uzumaki

  • Mangaka: Itou, Junji
  • Genres: Dementia, Drama, Horror, Romance, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen
  • Volumes: 12
  • Published: May 1996 – June 2000

In the small town of Kurozu-Cho in Japan, little do people know that this place is cursed. Shuichi informs his girlfriend that their town is haunted by uzumaki, which takes the form of a spiral pattern. The uzumaki can take on various shapes and forms and can also form into humans. As more people start to hear of this strange curse, they're lured even deeper into the spirals of darkness and are consumed by insanity.

Once you continue reading and start to see just how freakish and mind warping everything is, that's when the fear starts to kick in. Shuichi's father's strange obsession with these spirals leave you questioning just what's going on, but once you're caught in the spiral it's hard to get out. Human distortion, mutilation, these are just a couple of things that you'll experience throughout this eerie story. The town has become possessed so much that people willingly perform gruesome self inflicting wounds to their body, all in the form of a spiral. Junji's horror manga are ranked high on many charts for good reason, so check this one out.


1. Gantz

  • Mangaka: Oku, Hiroya
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Ecchi, Horror, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen
  • Volumes: 37
  • Published: July 13, 2000 - June 20, 2013

Gantz starts off in Tokyo and situated within a room is a black sphere. This sphere creates special suits and weapons to those who should have otherwise died in real life, but somehow didn't perhaps due to fate. Kei is one of the chosen few that are sent out on a mission to kill aliens who threaten planet Earth, but the rest of the world around them is unaware of all of this happening. The missions that are carried out are gruesome and only a few actually make it through alive. The sphere is named Gantz, and it controls everything, including you.

The real horror behind Gantz isn't in the intense gore, rape and gruesome scenes, but rather in the fact that all of what happens in Gantz also takes place in our society. Gantz shows us an example of just how terrifying life can be and you must question your morals at all times. When you dive deeper below the surface you see just how cruel humanity can be and how cold-hearted many are towards others, having no remorse for anyone despite all of us coming from the same race: the human race. Gantz is a real life horror story that speaks volumes, and has the guts to speak about such topics that many would stay clear from in fear of backlash.


Closing Statement

The horror genre is one that simply cannot be ignored because of how diverse it is, and in many ways how realistic everything is portrayed. Horror looks at the darker side of the mind, and gives us a glimpse into a world that we often turn a blind eye to, and yet it surrounds us every waking moment of our lives. Our deepest darkest imaginations all stem from horror, and some artists just have the tenacity to express their dark passion onto the world to see. If you have any other great horror manga that you'd like to share , let us know in the comments below! As always, for your sweet manga fill, always be sure to stay updated at Honey's Anime. See you again soon!

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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