For as long as I can remember, the idea of anime and horror was something that always went hand in hand. It’s ironic that a big reason why I strayed from horror for so long was because I thought all anime was horror (for some dumb reason). As I’ve grown up and expanded my horizons into the world of anime, I’ve learned that not all anime is horror but the ones that are, are amazing.
From dark sorcery to monsters you could never even imagine, the world of horror anime is vast and beautiful and has some truly creepy and terrifying stories that will make anyone shiver with fright and delight. There are some classics on here, mixed with some new anime that I’m sure you will love watching. In honor of spooky season, here are some of the best horror anime on Crunchyroll to watch right now.
Jujutsu Kaisen (2020 - Present)
This is, hands down, one of my favorite current anime that is still on the air. Jujutsu Kaisen takes place in a world where sorcery is real and is used by what they call Jujutsu sorcerers. One day, a young boy, Itadori, gets tangled up in the world of sorcery when he swallows a cursed finger and is then inhabited by a powerful special grade curse. However, the sorcerers decide to put him to good use.
This isn’t heavy hitter horror like some of the other picks on this list, as it has some hilarious moments and feels a little closer to dark fantasy (like Attack on Titan) rather than horror. The reason it's on this list is that some of the spirits in this show are legit terrifying and gruesome in ways I can’t even describe in words. It’s one of those series that you just need to give a shot to if you want to check out a good anime – and the prequel is just as awesome, too.
Tokyo Ghoul (2017 - 2018)
Next up on the list, we have Tokyo Ghoul, which takes place in an alternate universe where ghouls exist and look like normal people – the only exception is that in order to live, they must eat human flesh, and have to hide their true nature among the regular population. We mainly follow Ken Kaneki, a student who ends up becoming half-ghoul thanks to an operation. It’s almost a zombie show like The Walking Dead, but crazier, because the monsters live among you in the normal world, not post-apocalypse.
There have been some viewers who think that Tokyo Ghoul isn’t a great adaptation of the manga, and I can see their reasoning, but honestly, as someone who has read both the manga and watched the anime, I genuinely enjoy it and think that it’s one of the best modern horror/dark fantasy anime on the platform. It features some pretty terrific effects and some heart-raising animation that had me on the edge of my seat.
Death Note (2007 - 2009)
I can’t have a horror anime list without bringing up Death Note. This classic anime from 2007 features the story of Light, a young man who stumbles across the titular Death Note, a notebook where, if you write a person’s name inside, they will die. But, having such power can corrupt the mind, and soon, Light begins to feel those full effects.
Death Note is arguably one of the most known anime of all time; I’d say it's right behind names like Pokemon and the ever-lasting Dragon Ball, because of how good the story is. While it does have its ups and downs (as most adaptations do), there’s no denying that the real horror – what power can do to someone – is a deep message, and the more traditional horror features within the show are just as great, also. Truly, one of the best anime series out there – just don’t watch the live-action film.
Vampire Knight (2008)
What’s a horror list without some vampires? Vampire Knight is a two-season anime that tells the story of Yuki Cross, a student who attends Cross Academy. But, this school isn’t like others, as Yuki acts as a guardian with a fellow vampire hunter to protect regular students from the night students, a group of vampires who seek their blood.
I have to admit, I’m not a huge vampire fan. I grew up in the Twilight generation and got vampired-out very quickly, but Vampire Knight restored that natural love I had for the classic creatures of the night. The story has some good gore, scary moments, and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Hellsing (2001 - 2002)
After I watched Vampire Knight, I decided to check out another classic vampire anime called Hellsing, and boy did I fall in love with this show. The anime is based on the manga of the same name and follows the corporation of Hellsing, which hunts down paranormal beings, mainly showing their missions through operatives such as Alucard, a vampire, or it’s hunter leader, Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing.
This show is just so much fun. I haven’t said that about a series in so long, but watching it reminds me of all those old action vampire movies, and it painted the biggest smile on my face. Since it does include vampires there is plenty of blood and gore and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but for someone who loves horror as much as I do, it's great. It’s so dang good. You can also check out the other interpretations of the manga, Hellsing Ultimate and Hellsing: The Dawn.
Okay, so this one is more horror-comedy than just pure horror, but we all need a good laugh now and then. Mieruko-chan is an anime that tells the story of Miko Yotsuya, someone who is just trying to live her normal life in high school. The only issue is that Miko has the ability to see literal horrifying ghosts that haunt her every day, turning her life upside down.
There’s something so cool about this series, in so many ways. Don’t get me wrong, the ghosts can sometimes be terrifying, but what makes up for that are the comedic moments that come from the fact that Miko wants nothing to do with them.
Based on the novel of the same name, Another is the story of a boy who moves to a new town and attends a new middle school, meeting a young girl there named Mei Misaki. Soon after, he finds himself caught up in a puzzling case that sees fellow students end up dead in ways that are cruel, gruesome, and horrifying.
Another is certainly more of a mystery, one that will have you put your detective hats on as you try to unravel what on earth is happening, but the deaths and the terrifying ways in which they are done is what makes this horror. It’s suspenseful to the max and I’m pretty sure I bit my fingernails off by the end of it.
Chainsaw Man (2022 - Present)
Okay, yes, I know this literally just started, but I already love Chainsaw Man. In this anime, Denji is known to be a devil hunter in a world that is inhabited by devils, but one day when he dies, the devil who has been by his side for ages, Pochita, merges with his body so that he can live his dream. When Denji awakens, he is able to transform parts of his body into literal chainsaws and destroy anything.
I have to say, Chainsaw Man reminds me a lot of Jujutsu Kaisen, where at first, you’d never think of it as horror because the main characters are so likable and some are even goofy, but what makes this horror is the gore; my god, the gore. The first episode had my mouth practically dropping to the floor with the amount of guts spilled. It gets metal, and it’s not for the faint of heart by any means. As a manga reader, however, I can say openly that this anime does not hold back and is truly outstanding. I can’t wait for the rest.
What are you going to be checking out next? I need to catch up on Jujutsu Kaisen before Season 2 eventually comes out – whenever that is. Can 2023 come sooner?
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!