Halloween or not, we all enjoyed watching something with thrill, something terrifying to keep our brain cells high and deal with mindboggling scenarios – that is why we love horror and mystery stories. The same thing also applies in anime, there are stories that fell in the category of horror and mystery and these two genres were usually put together as its plot usually correspond with one another. Some of the best horror anime stories usually revolved around supernatural events that could have psychological effects, and that’s where mystery comes in where we have to find answer to the questions presented by the former and when the viewer’s curiosity arise.
Now, you must be thinking why did I write this post about horror and mystery animewhen Halloween is still several months away? The answer is that quarantine days is making me bored af and I’ve been delving a bit deeper on gory and psychological anime and stuffslately so I might as well share some of the best horror anime I could recommend to everyone here. Well, in case if you run-out of any anime or shows to watch while staying at home too.
In this post, I have here 10 of the best horror anime with mystery embedded in its plot and they all promises an amazing and intense thrilling experience like no other. Please be informed that the order of the list is in no particular order as I couldn’t dare to rank them as they’re all great in my own opinion and having their own respective haunting appeal.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia – First in our list is a personal favorite of mine and it’s Dusk Maiden of Amnesia which really gave me goosebumps and shiver despite the fact that its horror aspect is inferior compared to other horror anime titles in this list. However, this anime thrive in giving all the feels other than fear and that includes drama, comedy, and romance.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is more than just a story about a ghost who trolls and fell in love with a human. It was combined with investigative story and superstition that later brought us to its conclusion. It’s a story with internal conflict and I really admire that our ghost girl Yuuko had split personality as it further intensified the twist. Out of desperation, it may seem convenient but it later shows that there’s always a price to pay in every action. The comedy aspect is also a breath of fresh air and the art style is really stunning. I believed that its greatest asset is its soundtrack and it was all used at the perfect scene making the experience of watching it more dramatic and mysterious than ever.
Seikyou Private Academy, built on the intrigue of traditional occult myths, bears a dark past—for 60 years, it has been haunted by a ghost known as Yuuko, a young woman who mysteriously died in the basement of the old school building. With no memory of her life or death, Yuuko discreetly finds and heads the Paranormal Investigations Club in search of answers. A chance meeting leads Yuuko to cling to diligent freshman Teiichi Niiya, who can see the quirky ghost, they quickly grow close, and he decides to help her. Along with Kirie Kanoe, Yuuko’s relative, and the oblivious second year Momoe Okonogi, they delve deep into the infamous Seven Mysteries of the storied school. Tasogare Otome x Amnesia tells a unique tale of students who work together to shed light on their school’s paranormal happenings, all the while inching closer to the truth behind Yuuko’s death. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Here’s a psychological horror anime that everyone who have a strong heart could enjoy watching at 12 midnight as a test of courage. It is a haunting combination of beautiful animation, eerie art style and well-written dark-themed narrative that will leave you craving for more at the end of every episode. It’s incredible with clever plot and intensified by an outstanding animation. One thing that horror fans will really loved about Anotheris the fact that it promises a splash, yes, a bloody hell of violence which is not suited for people with a faint heart. It’s gory; it’s scary with plenty of surprises in store for the viewers that will keep your interest and attention as the story progress.
In 1972, a popular student in Yomiyama North Middle School’s class 3-3 named Misaki passed away during the school year. Since then, the town of Yomiyama has been shrouded by a fearful atmosphere, from the dark secrets hidden deep within. Twenty-six years later, 15-year-old Kouichi Sakakibara transfers into class 3-3 of Yomiyama North and soon after discovers that a strange, gloomy mood seems to hang over all the students. He also finds himself drawn to the mysterious, eyepatch-wearing student Mei Misaki; however, the rest of the class and the teachers seem to treat her like she doesn’t exist. Paying no heed to warnings from everyone including Mei herself, Kouichi begins to get closer not only to her, but also to the truth behind the gruesome phenomenon plaguing class 3-3 of Yomiyama North. Another follows Kouichi, Mei, and their classmates as they are pulled into the enigma surrounding a series of inevitable, tragic events—but unraveling the horror of Yomiyama may just cost them the ultimate price. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Serial Experiments Lain
If you’re looking for an exciting and nerve-wracking psychological and philosophical anime experience, then Serial Experiments Lain is the perfect one for you. This horror anime is a real masterpiece that will not only serve pure entertainment in your plate but will pushed you to think deeper and challenge your thoughts and beliefs. It offers a magnificent mind-warping journey throughout its run; a real revolutionary anime for its time. It provides profound views about its theme and the message that it wants to deliver with the viewers being driven to think what truly transpired in the story. With that being said, Serial Experiments Lain is an exciting mystery anime about the impact of technology on society, and the underlying factors that affect the state of mind of humanity just by being exposed to it.
Lain Iwakura, an awkward and introverted fourteen-year-old, is one of the many girls from her school to receive a disturbing email from her classmate Chisa Yomoda—the very same Chisa who recently committed suicide. Lain has neither the desire nor the experience to handle even basic technology; yet, when the technophobe opens the email, it leads her straight into the Wired, a virtual world of communication networks similar to what we know as the internet. Lain’s life is turned upside down as she begins to encounter cryptic mysteries one after another. Strange men called the Men in Black begin to appear wherever she goes, asking her questions and somehow knowing more about her than even she herself knows. With the boundaries between reality and cyberspace rapidly blurring, Lain is plunged into more surreal and bizarre events where identity, consciousness, and perception are concepts that take on new meanings.
Jigoku Shoujo – If there’s one thing that comes into my head when watching Hell Girl is the fact that it is quite similar to Death Parade. However, there’s a major difference and this one simply showed us how vile and cruel the human race are. Hell Girl offers a psychological trip to its viewers and shown how people can wish for other people’s misery as a solution to satisfy their own suffering. It’s a story of one person wishing for the misery of another as they unveiled their personal suffering and grievances. If you want to take a look at the most generic and ugliest trait of humanity in the surface, then Hell Girl has lots to offer.
Have you heard of Hell Correspondence? Those with a powerful grudge may only access this mysterious website at midnight, allowing them to enter anyone’s name and have that person be ferried straight to hell. Ai Enma, the Hell Girl, will not judge whether or not the chosen target deserves punishment; she will merely exact revenge on them for you. Not much is known about this young girl other than that she swiftly carries out her tasks with the help of three straw dolls. There is just one catch, however—as payment for carrying out such a request, the user must condemn themselves to an afterlife in hell. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Mousou Dairinin Paranoia Agent
If you’re more into the mystery side with great psychological aspect in its story, we have Paranoia Agent for you – a masterpiece from one of my favorite anime director, the late Satoshi Kon who also gave us the classic anime masterpiece: Perfect Blue, Paprika, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers. This anime is a complicated story but well-written in an episodic approach about assault and highlighting the effect of paranoia to people and the community as a whole which includes violence, hatred, and fear, and the power of gossips, how it could reconstruct the fact into becoming a hauntingly fearsome fiction. Paranoia Agent is a mentally interesting adventure to follow with mindboggling twist and turns in its plot.
The infamous Shounen Bat (Lil’ Slugger) is terrorizing the residents of Musashino City. Flying around on his rollerblades and beating people down with a golden baseball bat, the assailant seems impossible to catch—much less understand. His first victim, the well-known yet timid character designer Tsukiko Sagi, is suspected of orchestrating the attacks. Believed only by her anthropomorphic pink stuffed animal, Maromi, Tsukiko is just one of Shounen Bat’s many victims. As Shounen Bat continues his relentless assault on the town, detectives Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa begin to investigate the identity of the attacker. However, more and more people fall victim to the notorious golden bat, and news of the assailant begins circulating around the town. Paranoia starts to set in as chilling rumors spread amongst adults and children alike. Will the two detectives be able to unravel the truth behind Shounen Bat, or will the paranoia get to them first? [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Higurashi: When They Cry
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – A dark mystery anime that you’ll surely enjoy if you want to see more blood, and paranoia taking over in the mind of every character. This anime seems like any ordinary and generic harem series out there until it shed off its skin and reveals a gigantic madness deep inside. It looks random especially the killings but it always leave hints which will pushed the viewers to think what the hell is going on, how did that happened, why everything had been destroyed? It is a thought-provoking story and showing how paranoia and fear could make even the cutest girl in the class into a cold-blooded murderer. Higurashi: When They Cry is an intense and excitingly horrific anime for people who loves to see the ugly side of humanity when driven by madness and shows how fragile the thin line between normality and insanity.
Keiichi Maebara has just moved to the quiet little village of Hinamizawa in the summer of 1983, and quickly becomes inseparable friends with schoolmates Rena Ryuuguu, Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Houjou, and Rika Furude. However, darkness lurks underneath the seemingly idyllic life they lead. As the village prepares for its annual festival, Keiichi learns about the local legends surrounding it. To his horror, he discovers that there have been several murders and disappearances in the village in the recent years, and that they all seem to be connected to the festival and the village’s patron god, Oyashiro. Keiichi tries to ask his new friends about these incidents, but they are suspiciously silent and refuse to give him the answers he needs. As more and more bizarre events occur, he wonders just what else his friends might be keeping from him, and if he can even trust them at all. When madness and paranoia begin taking root in Keiichi’s heart, he will stumble straight into the mysteries at work in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, a story that is told across multiple arcs. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
In 2020, Higurashi: When They Cry gets a new anime which serves as a sequel yet also a remake. It aired in the Fall 2020 Anime Season
Shinreigari: Ghost Hound – A supernatural story but also a great ride for sci-fi fans. Ghost Hound is where you ought to go beyond your normal thinking which will challenge you mentally. Despite being complex and technical, Ghost Hound always made us crave for more with its puzzling plot. It’s well-written, and its pacing is great, where every episode getting better than the previous one and shown us different points of view about various topic such as mental disorders, trauma, paranoia, afterlife, possession, etc. It’s exciting and hit us more on a psychological level. I’ll say it’s one of the best psychological horror anime out there.
Strange things are happening around the town of Suiten. The daughter of a priest begins to see strange visions, spirits have started to roam the mountains, and Tarou Komori is having unsettling dreams. Due to the trauma of being kidnapped 11 years ago, he has repressed most of the memories that could shed light on what really happened all those years ago. But they return in his sleep, combined with encounters beyond the realm of dreams. In Shinreigari: Ghost Hound, the supernatural and psychological collide, as three children struggle to face their demons and repair the breach between the spiritual and corporeal worlds. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Vampires had been one of the most used and generic supernatural cliché that we often see in any horror anime out there. As stated in the synopsis, Shiki questions us what’s the greater evil, what separates humanity from monsters? It shows how vile and evil both sides can be when push comes to shove, and when paranoia rules in ones heart. While we often see vampires as beautiful creatures of the night usually romanticise to appease the fans expectations, Shiki is giving us the real deal with the fact that they are monsters, they are evil, and they are demons of the night that perfectly fits any horror story. Shiki is an intellectual story which imposes questions about moral and ethics. It will leave the viewers to ponder about topics involving different dilemmas that people had when facing fear and paranoia. The graphics and designs is one of its noticeable flaws but it could be easily ignored as the story promises a bloody hell of a ride experience which will challenge you mentally and emotionally.
Fifteen-year-old Megumi Shimizu dreamed of a glamorous life in the big city; however, her unexpected death in the quiet village of Sotoba marks the beginning of what appears to be a ferocious epidemic that turns the hot summer into a season of blood and terror. A young doctor named Toshio Ozaki begins to doubt the nature of the disease and comes to understand that to discover the truth, he must abandon his humanity. Meanwhile, Natsuno Yuuki, an antisocial youth from the city, is haunted by the sudden death of Megumi and must realize the pain of friendship in the face of his own tragedy. Toshio and Natsuno form an unlikely pair as they work together to save Sotoba before it transforms into a ghost town of vampires. Shiki, adapted from the horror novel written by Fuyumi Ono, goes beyond the average vampire story. It tells the tragic tale of survival in a world where one cannot easily distinguish between good and evil. Abandoned by God, the Shiki, as the vampires call themselves, have only their will to live as they clash with the fear of the paranoid/unbelieving villagers. Shiki explores the boundary that separates man from monster. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
The Future Diary
Mirai Nikki – Here’s a psychological and intense thrilling ride that you’ll surely enjoy as this anime is filled with so much emotion. The Future Diary is established with the romance aspect at its core but also surrounded by different genres including action, suspense and a lot more in order to be an exciting and unique story. Here’s the tea, the main character had a personal diary and written on it is his future; he was then engulfed in a game of survival as he needs to defeat 11 person who also owned the same type of diary that could read the future. It’s unbelievably exciting where things are unpredictable and will keep you at the edge of your seat wanting for more.
Lonely high school student, Yukiteru Amano, spends his days writing a diary on his cellphone, while conversing with his two seemingly imaginary friends Deus Ex Machina, who is the god of time and space, and Murmur, the god’s servant. Revealing himself to be an actual entity, Deus grants Yukiteru a “Random Diary,” which shows highly descriptive entries based on the future and forces him into a bloody battle royale with 11 other holders of similarly powerful future diaries. With the last person standing designated as the new god of time and space, Yukiteru must find and kill the other 11 in order to survive. He reluctantly teams up with his obsessive stalker Yuno Gasai (who also possesses such a diary), and she takes it upon herself to ensure his safety. But there’s more to the girl than meets the eye, as she might have other plans for her unrequited love… [Written by MAL Rewrite]
First of all, Ghost Hunt isn’t as scary, bloody or suspense as the other anime in this list but let’s go back to basic, it’s a real horror anime story in essence and at its core. This anime could even be a real-life scenario as the story takes on a more realistic approach with unique storytelling and presents scientific ways of handling ghost stories. It’s pretty entertaining and fun, Ghost Hunt thrive in the character engagement in its story with light humor every once in a while. If you had been on a psychological horror anime marathon lately, I could advised you to finished it with Ghost Hunt as an intermediary of bringing yourself back to the common realm of humanity.
While at school, Taniyama Mai and her friends like to exchange ghost stories. Apparently, there is an abandoned school building on their campus that is the center of many ghost stories. During the story, they are interrupted by a mysterious male figure. The person turns out to be Shibuya Kazuya, a 17-year-old who is president of the Shibuya Psychic Research Company. He was called by the principal to investigate the stories surrounding the abandoned school building. The next day, on the way to school, Mai passes the school building in question. While examining a strange camera she spotted inside, she gets surprised by Kazuya’s assistant. Unknowingly interfering with the investigation, Mai breaks the camera and Kazuya’s assistant gets injured. Kazuya forcefully hires Mai in order to pay for the camera and replace his injured assistant. From that point on, Mai begins to learn about the paranormal world and the profession of ghost hunting. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
I have also here the honorable mentions in my list of top horror and mystery animethat you must-watch. Personally, some of these titles here are even better but they delve a bit lesser in the horror aspect and focus more on the psychological the thrill and I’ll definitely write more about it in a separate post one of these days. These are the following:
- From the New World (Shinsekai Yori)
- Boogiepop Phantom (Boogiepop wa Warawanai)
- Death Note
- Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales
- Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories
- Blood C
- Tokyo Ghoul
- Re: Zero
Have you guys seen any of these anime already? I am actually excited to learn about your thoughts on it so don’t forget to leave your comment below. I do hope that you may find these anime shows to your liking and eventually join the fandom of these amazing intense series that truly bring so much excitement and fun to the anime community.
Code name: Yu Alexius is an ambiguous entity who loves to talk about anime and Chinese animation in general. An insatiable soul from the Pearl of the Orient, a frustrated writer and a Houtarou Oreki wanna-be. He is a piece of a lunatic and everything crazy.