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As probably all of you already know, Japanese folklore is filled with yokai – supernatural monsters, demons, or spirits. They can also be called ayakashi, mononoke, or mamono, and their nature is often spiteful or malicious. In some cases, though, yokai can even be kind, or a bringer of luck to those who meet them. However, these malevolent spirits populating Japanese folklore appear in numerous anime shows, too. Usually, in anime yokai are funny, rather than mean, and that's why yokai shows turn out to be so popular and appreciated by the fandom. That's why we decided to create this ranking: whether you fancy yokai anime, or simply are a beginner at this type of shows, this ranking will make you discover ten wonderful anime full of ayakashi.
Since this is an updated ranking, don't forget to scroll down to discover the other ten yokai anime presented in our original article!
10. Kyoukai no Rinne (RIN-NE)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2015 – September 2015
Ever since the day she disappeared behind her grandmother's house, Sakura Mamiya has developed the ability to see dead people. If that wasn't strange enough, another strange thing happened to her during her high school days: the desk next to her was occupied by a weirdly-dressed boy, named Rokudou Rinne – who can see dead people just like Sakura. The strangest part is sometimes even Rinne becomes invisible to others, so what does this strange boy hide?
Created by the worldwide famous Rumiko Takahashi, Kyoukai no Rinne is a yokai anime filled with comedy parts, supernatural elements, and an interesting cast of nice characters. Even though the plot is not that original, we can safely affirm that other elements put up with it, making this show very enjoyable. As a shounen series, aside from the demons, shinigami and other otherworldly creatures, expect a good number of gags, and a little bit of romance!
9. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Kakuriyo –Bed & Breakfast for Spirits–)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2018 – ongoing
Aoi Tsubaki is a college student with the ability to see yokai. She inherited the ability from her grandfather, and after his death she started living on her own. Aoi's life is turned upside down when a demon appears before her eyes. Apparently, Aoi's grandfather had a great debt with the demon, and now Aoi shall pay by becoming the demon's bride. It goes without saying that she strongly refuses, but offers to pay the debt by working in exchange...
If you fancy shoujo anime, and at the same time are into yokai shows, this series can become your cup of tea! Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is full of yokai in form of beautiful guys, who surround a cute heroine. Pick this show when you feel like watching a yokai anime with a lighthearted atmosphere!
8. Fukigen na Mononokean (The Morose Mononokean)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: June 2016 – September 2016
Hanae Ashiya is about to begin high school, and he is afraid that if he doesn't make friends during the first week, he will be doomed for good. Yet, right on the first day, a yokai attaches itself to him and makes Ashiya so sick, that he spends his first week of school in the infirmary. Tired of wasting days feeling sick, and dealing with a yokai sticking to him, Ashiya eventually decides to ask for help. Who could be better than Haruitsuki Abeno? He runs a tea room called Mononokean, but his actual task is to guide yokai into the other world!
Fukigen na Mononokean, as you can see by the premises, revolves around two boys becoming friends upon sending a yokai into the other world. They gradually form some sort of team, so they will deal with every kind of otherworldly creature – some are very kind and cute, some are malevolent, like Japanese tradition deems. Fukigen na Mononokean is a shounen anime, so it is full of comedy and action. It won't fail you, so give it a try!
7. Otome Youkai Zakuro (Zakuro)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2010 – December 2010
Kei Agemaki is the second Lieutenant son of a famous general. When he is reassigned in the Ministry of Spirit Affairs, and compelled to work and live with yokai, his worst nightmare materializes before his very eyes. Kei Agemaki is afraid of spirits! In order to solve paranormal cases, he is paired up with Zakuro, a half-demon. Will he manage to overcome is fear of yokai, or will he end up running away?
Otome Youkai Zakuro, as the title suggest, is a show where yokai are the real protagonists. This is a seinen show, full of romance, and yet full of comedy. In fact, although afraid of spirits, Kei Agemaki falls in love with Zakuro, who ends up saving Kei from the worst situations. Alongside with them, there are other characters making this show absolutely enjoyable, so make sure to catch it up!
6. Inu x Boku SS (Inu X Boku Secret Service)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2012 – March 2012
Tired of living alone, Shirakiin Ririchiyo's parents allowed her to move out, on one condition: she has to live in the “Ayakashi Kan” mansion, where only those wielding supernatural powers can access, accompanied by an agent of the Secret Service. Shirakiin's agent is a kitsune yokai – a fox spirit – called Soushi Miketsukami, and while she refuses him in the beginning, the situation changes when Shirakiin discovers that Soushi is the yokai she had saved in the past.
Inu x Boku SS is amazing, as each human character has their own yokai protecting them. Although this is a shounen anime, it has hints of romance, what with Soushi doting on Shirakiin, and with her changing her behaviors once she recognizes him. If you like yokai shows, this is literally a must-see, as the plot is captivating, and each character is unique in their own way.
5. Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun (Hakkenden -Eight Dogs of the East-)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2013 – March 2013
When their village was turned to ashes, Shino Inuzuka and Sousuke Inukawa died, but some circumstances brought them back to life. The two of them, both with a peony-shaped birthmark, grew up in an orphanage together with Hamaji; a cute girl sharing with them a tragic past. One day, Shino and Sousuke's lives are turned upside down: The Church shows up in front of them, forcing them to find the other six people sharing with them the peony-shaped birthmark, and the mystical gems. What's the reason, though?
Hakkenden is a shoujo anime full of beautiful boys, each of them somehow related to yokai. In fact, while the eight protagonists lost their lives, they came back to life thanks to benevolent spirits. That's not just it, yokai pops up throughout the series, and we come to know their stories. Hakkenden is not only comedy, though. There is food for deep thought regarding life, and its being fleeting... but that's what make this show simply wonderful.
4. Gugure! Kokkuri-san
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2014 – December 2014
Kohina is a child, who claims to be a doll. One night, she decided to summon Kokkuri-san, the kitsune yokai – fox spirit – who should be able to answer all sorts questions. The advent of the internet, though, has already made Kokkuri-san a useless spirit, since nowadays every answer is just one click away. However, instead of going away, Kokkuri-san takes pity on Kohina, living all by herself, and becomes something like her housekeeper and guardian. Problems arise when other yokai begins to pop up one after the other...
Gugure! Kokkuri-san is one of a kind, as it does a parody of everything that relates to Japanese culture and even other anime genres. It is a wonderful show, that sadly went a bit unnoticed, but if you like yokai anime, and want to know more about Japan via parody, this show is what you're looking for. Those who should be malevolent spirits in Gugure! Kokkuri-san turn out to be like little kids fighting with each other over stupid things. Join Kohina and her adventure among them!
3. Kamisama Hajimemashita (Kamisama Kiss)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2012 – December 2012
Nanami Momozono has just been left full of debt by her gambler father, and is without a home, or money. While wandering around the city, a solution appears in front of her eyes: she saves a mysterious man called Mikage who, seeing her situation, offers Nanami his own home. Skeptic, Nanami runs to that address, but when she gets there she finds a shrine. Just when she thought she had been tricked, a boy with fox ears appears. It's Tomoe, Mikage's former familiar, and he absolutely doesn't want to accept Nanami as the new Land God...
If you like yokai in a cute form, Kamisama Hajimemashita will give you hot boys only. Starting from Tomoe, the handsome fox spirit, other yokai will begin surrounding Nanami. A beautiful tengu who is a famous pop idol, a kind white snake shikigami, and other various gods. Kamisama Hajimemashita is a shoujo harem, but it's the romance between Tomoe and Nanami that will steal your hearts!
2. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume's Book of Friends)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2008 – September 2008
Takashi Natsume is an orphan, and during his childhood years he jumped from one relative to the another. The reason is that he can see the spirits, so each relative found him just too strange to deal with. Natsume's life changes when he finds the Book of Friends, a notebook that belonged to his long-gone grandmother, Reiko, who could see the spirits, too. It's only when Natsume meets Nyanko-sensei that his journey begins: a journey bound to give those spirits written in the book, their names back.
Natsume Yuujinchou can touch the viewers deeply, as it makes them understand the loneliness of the yokai. Each spirit Natsume encounters usually hides a loneliness that Natsume can really relate to. This series is a roller coaster of emotions, and it offers food for thought. It's a yokai anime with serious themes, debated lightly, with comedy parts balancing everything at best.
1. Mushishi (Mushi-Shi)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2005 – June 2006
“Mushi” are the most basic form of life. They are everywhere, but they can't always be seen, and they can't be seen just by everyone. Ginko is a Mushi-shi: he can see the spirits, and travels from place to place in order to study Mushi and the effects they have on people. Like some sort of doctor, he also seeks for ways to treat people affected by them. During his wandering place to place, he will deepen his knowledge about Mushi, and come to know a lot of different people that will teach him something.
Mushishi never gained the popularity it deserved, but it is certain that it deserves at least our first position. Our main character is Ginko, and together with him we come to know different personalities, and different Mushis– evil ones, and good ones. This seinen yokai anime is a real masterpiece, unique to its kind. It has a very solid plot, it's inspiring in every way possible, and it can turn out to be heart-breaking as well. Give it a shot, we guarantee that it won't fail you!
Our ranking of yokai anime came to an end, but we really hope you found it amusing, and useful somehow. The anime universe is full of shows involving yokai, we know that. Sadly, having to choose only ten, these turned out to be our picks. However, we are sure you know other good series that could be a good fit for this list, so don't forget to let us know them in the comments below. See you next time!
Some of us are curious about the netherworld and spiritual beings but are too chicken to watch horror movies. A perfect alternative would be to watch yokai anime. This is because for some reason, animation really tones down the scariness level.
In fact, most of the yokai anime are not scary in the slightest that we can watch them at 3 am without feeling like there is someone, or something, behind us. For all you yokai anime lovers out there, here is a list of the 10 best yokai anime we have watched.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr. 2006 – Sep. 2006
Nope, this is not a hentai genre. The “xxx” means [fill in the blank], so coupled with the suffix “holic”, it means that an individual is addicted to something, which depends on what the xxx is. Kimihiro Watanuki is cursed with the ability to see spirits. One day, he feels compelled to enter into a weird house. In the house, he meets Yuuko, whose job involves granting the wish of people. Yuuko tells Watanuki that she can get rid of Watanuki’s ability to see spirits on the condition that he works for her.
The lanky character design may take some getting used to, but if you can look past that, xxxHOLIC is pretty enjoyable to watch. If you are looking for a comedy type of yokai anime, this is not it. Aside from the spirit realm, the series explores various social phenomena and human behaviors which give the story a touch of seriousness.
9. Nurarihyon no Mago (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul. 2010 – Dec. 2010
Rikuo Nura seems like all the other middle school students. However, he lives in a house filled with yokai as his grandfather is the head of the yokai clan. Nura is expected to be the successor and take over the yokai clan one day, but he is simply not interested as he prefers to lead a normal life. There is also another side to Nura, which is that he can transform into a powerful being at night!
If you have an interest in the yakuza clan, you may be delighted to know that the characters of the yokai clan also portray a similar air of chivalry. In this series, not all yokai beings are bad, as some of them are as gentle as Casper the Friendly Ghost.
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: Oct. 2006 – Feb. 2008
Sugimura Yoshimura is a user of the kekkai which is a barrier used against demons. Users of kekkai are known as kekkaishi, and Yoshimori uses his kekkai to protect Karasumori High School, which boosts the ability of the demons that enter it. He isn’t so into fighting demons though, as he is more interested in baking cakes.
Kekkaishi is a shonen series which is action-filled, so it does not disappoint if that is what you are looking for in a yokai anime. Another of this series’ strength lies in its character developments and camaraderie among the characters.
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: Oct. 2000 – Sep. 2004
Kagome Higurashi is dragged down in a well by a demon, but instead of dying or getting seriously injured for falling into the deep well, she finds herself 500 years in the past. Kagome has the Shikon Jewel that makes her a target of attack from a demon. With no other way to win against the demon, Kagome releases Inuyasha by removing an arrow from his body. Inuyasha manages to defeat the demon but the Shikon Jewel shatters into pieces.
Fighting against yokai is part of the adventure of Inuyasha and his friends, but it does not mean that the series has a serious tone to it all the time. There is a good mix of humor in it, and if you like the humor style evident in Ranma ½, you will love Inuyasha since it is a series by the same author! The series also explores the dilemma faced by Inuyasha for being half-human and half-yokai.
6. Youkai Watch (Yo-Kai Watch)
- Episodes: Unknown
- Aired: Jan 2014 - Current
Keita Amano seems like an ordinary and innocent elementary student, which he is, by the way. One day, while venturing deep into the forest, he stumbles upon a capsule which releases a yokai named Whisper. Thankful for the boy who releases the yokai after 190 years of imprisonment, Whisper vows to protect Keita from supernatural forces. Whisper also grants Keita a Yokai Watch which enables the user to see and interact with other yokai.
This series has been likened to be the next Pokemon or Digimon due to the smorgasbord of adorable yokai. Being granted with such an honor makes it seem like Youkai Watch is meant for kids, but older age groups can also enjoy this light-hearted and cute yokai series. The series mainly focuses on humor which really tickles the bone!
5. Gegege no Kitarou
- Episodes: 65
- Aired: Jan. 1968 – Mar. 1969
Gegege no Kitarou tells the story of a young ghost named Kitarou, who is born in a cemetery after his parents died. Kitarou spends his afterlife trying to help humans by protecting them against yokai that are up to no good. In the series, Kitarou faces a myriad of monsters from various countries, such as the Transylvanian Dracula IV and Chinese vampire, Yasha.
It is almost a sin to not include this series to the list. Gegege no Kitaro is the series which sparks the popularity of yokai manga and anime! The author of this series, Shigeru Mizuki, is also known as the father of yokai. The series is so popular that there is a road called Shigeru Mizuki Road, which is filled with statues of yokai from Gegege no Kitarou.
4. Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Jul. 2001
Chihiro and her family bump into a deserted theme park while on their way home. Her parents investigate the park and eat the food left there, which angers the spirits that reside in the park. Therefore, the spirits transform Chihiro’s parents into pigs. Thus, Chihiro embarks on a quest to return her parents back to normal and go back home safely.
Spirited Away is the most successful film in the history of Japan. The film received various awards such as Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003, and the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival. If you want to find yourself immersed in an adventure in a strange world filled with yokai, then you should totally watch Spirited Away.
3. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s Book of Friends)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2008 – Sep. 2008
Takashi Natsume has the gift of being able to see spirits. It turns out that he was not the only one in the family who possesses the gift, as his grandmother could see spirits too. His deceased grandmother passes to him the Yuujinchou, or Book of Friends, which contains a list of spirits whom have been subdued by his grandmother. Following along Natsume’s adventure is a cute yokai cat, Madara, who is also fondly called Nyanko-sensei.
Watch this series if you want to know how Natsume tackles the world of yokai with the Book of Friends in his possession. The series also focuses on issues that humans can relate to, such as the loneliness of yokai and the desperation of yokai to be with their loved ones.
2. Hotarubi no Morie
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Sep. 2011
Hotaru Takegawa is a 6-year-old girl who upon being curious about the tale of a mountain god, finds herself getting lost in an ancient forest which is inhabited by yokai and a mountain spirit. In the forest, she encounters a masked spirit named Gin, who tells Hotaru that he will disappear if any human touches him. Gin then leads Hotaru out of the forest safely. Since then, Hotaru regularly visits the forest until the two of them develop feelings for each other.
Hotarubi no Mori e is a story about the love between a human and a yokai that should not be with each other. It is a very touching story that will turn on the waterworks, so you will need to have some tissues on standby if you are going to watch this film!
1. Mushishi (Mushi-Shi)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct. 2005 – Jun. 2006
Mushishi is set in an imaginary time period which exists between the eras of Edo and Meiji. In the story, there are creatures known as Mushi, which exists everywhere. It is said that Mushi is the most primitive creatures of all. Nearly all humans cannot perceive Mushi but there are a few gifted individuals who can see those beings. One such individual who is bestowed with such capability is Ginko, a traveler who wants to learn more about Mushi and help others who suffer because of them.
There is only one main character in the series which is Ginko. If you are a lone ranger like Ginko, you may take pleasure in watching this series. We think Mushishi deserves the top spot as it has a highly original storyline which is very thought-provoking as well! It may not be as popular as some other series but we promise you that this is a top-notch anime.
We hope you enjoyed reading this list of Top 10 Yokai Anime! Truly, there are many great yokai anime within our considerations that did not manage to make it to the list, as we really want to choose the absolute best yokai anime to recommend to our readers. If there are any yokai anime which you think should be on the list, do recommend them to us, as we are also fans of yokai anime who want to watch more of them!