Halloween is almost upon us in the year 2021, and you know what we will discuss in this article, as mentioned in the title above. And no, put those trick-or-treat bags and candies down. You won’t be needing them at this time of year. You might need a few bags of sweets and buckets of ice cream in your freezer ready to alleviate the stress and horror these titles might induce in you, though. Buckle up, readers, because we are going to die! Emotionally, that is... along with your sanity! You have been warned. Here are the top 5 horror manga of the past 5 years!
5. Bakemono Yawa-zukushi (Phantom Tales of the Night)
- Mangaka: Matsuri
- Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Shoujo, Supernatural
- Volumes: 7
- Published: September 2019 - Ongoing
The Murakumo Inn is an establishment that welcomes everyone, be it humans, monsters or spirits. The list goes on. They also do not accept any form of currency except for the clients’ deepest darkest secrets. Now, who is that person coming in today?
The mangaka implements Japanese folklore in this series similar to xxxHolic with darker and more modern character designs and backgrounds. Each arc shows clients entering the inn, their backstories, and how they change throughout their stay. Of course, we also get to know more about the backgrounds and purposes of the inn’s workers.
4. Devils’ Line
- Mangaka: Hanada, Ryou
- Genres: Action, Drama, Romance
- Volumes: 14
- Published: November 2016 – March 2020
Tsukasa Taira, a college student, is rescued from a vampire attack by a devil, Yuuki Anzai. Anzai is a devil/human hybrid who works as a member of a secret police task force that specialises in devil-related crimes in Tokyo. As Anzai continues to protect Taira, the two form a romantic bond. Can Anzai overcome his temptation to drink human blood?
To give a general idea of this series, it is a lot like Twilight or Tokyo Ghoul, but a bit darker. Despite the danger Anzai faces in his job, Tsukasa doesn’t see him as a monster. She is interested in him, and the relationship they have can be seen as wholesome and cute. As for Anzai, he does have a romantic interest toward Tsukasa, but he is so afraid to be close to her and consume her. There is a good ratio between showing the main story of the manga and the romance between the main characters. The way they present how Anzai’s team operates feels cinematic and is filled with action packed fighting scenes that spread out over multiple locations.
3. Shinai naru Boku e Satsui wo Komete (My Dearest Self with Malice Aforethought)
- Mangaka: Inoryuu, Hajime (Story) and Itou, Shouta (Art)
- Genres: Drama, Mystery, Seinen, Horror, Psychological, Drama, Mature
- Volumes: 9
- Published: February 2021 - Ongoing
Eiji Urashima is a university student who is trying to get a girlfriend like any other ordinary person. When he wakes up in the morning, he finds a cute girl from his university lying in his bed, claiming to be his girlfriend. He sees it as one of the best days of his life, but there is one problem: he can’t remember what happened over the past three days. After talking with his friends, he gets the impression that he may have done something that didn’t align with his usual personality.
This series focuses more on the psychological aspect of the main character’s split personality. With three days of memory gap, the main protagonist has to discover what he’s done, either good or bad. As the story progresses, he finds some answers and such discoveries create more questions for himself. The mysteries behind each of his unknown actions will give current and future readers a difficult time guessing until they reach the chapters that will explain them.
2. Konya wa Tsuki ga Kirei desu ga, Toriaezu Shine (Can You Just Die, My Darling?)
- Mangaka: Sakakibara, Sousou (Art) and Kaname, Majuro (Story)
- Genres: Drama, Romance, Horror, Supernatural, Drama
- Volumes: 10
- Published: May 2018 – July 2019
In this world, there is an illness that could turn love or affection into murderous impulses. It’s thought to just be a rumor, but it does indeed exist. Kamashiro Taku is your ordinary high school boy obsessed with making everything squeaky clean, earning him the title of the school’s janitor. Everything is going fine until he runs into his crush, Hanazono Mika (who is also his childhood friend), and he sees a vision of himself murdering her in all kinds of ways. Will his bloodlust take control of his body, or will he be able to use it as a strength to protect his love?
This series’ tropes may seem to be common to some readers where the main character has a split desire to kill and protect his love. Another factor added to his personality and decisions is that they are childhood friends. Because of the amount of gore and the extreme nature of the murders, Can You Just Die, My Darling is more suitable for an older teen audience.
1. Chi no Wadachi (Blood on the Tracks)
- Mangaka: Oshimi, Shuuzou
- Genres: Drama, Seinen, Horror, Psychological, School life
- Volumes: 7
- Published: February 2020 - Ongoing
Seiichi Osabe is a 14-year old boy with a beautiful mother and a hardworking father. He has a normal decent life anyone could have asked for. The bond between his mother and himself is as strong as it can be, but when his cousin jokes about his mother’s actions, he begins to see his mother differently. Where’s the boundary between motherly love and obsession? Is it even a mother’s love in the first place?
The story begins with Osabe going through his normal school life until his family decides to have a hiking trip. After his mother witnesses Osabe’s cousin, Shigeru, making a prank of pushing him off the cliff (well, he didn’t fall, but almost), she ruthlessly does the same to Shigeru after giving him a false hope of being saved. Talk about savage. Here is the weird part: Osabe witnessed everything and that is where he finds out that his mother has either multiple personalities or she is just straight crazy. The moment you lay your eyes on her, along with her actions, discomfort is all we can feel and instinct is telling us to get the hell out of dodge.
And that is pretty much everything we could cover when it comes to the Top 5 Horror Manga of the last five years that are available in English. We know you may be wondering why Junji Ito’s works aren’t part of this list, and that’s because he is very well-known. We wanted to focus much more on the series that we think many readers are unaware of and provide more options to add to your radar.
Some titles may bring some nostalgia for your favourite series that you have read in the past. Horror can come in different forms, whether physical or mental. It is a subjective matter as long as you enjoy the thrills and chills the manga has to offer. If you do read a manga that isn’t part of this list and think the series is underrated, let us know in the comments below!