10 Horror Anime Even The Pickiest Fans Can Enjoy

Horror anime have a reputation for being incredibly bloody. With the endless storytelling potential of the anime medium, some anime creators have been looking for the best ways to scare and disgust their audiences.

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That being said, gorefests aren’t for all horror fans. Some horror fans don’t need rivers of innards and organs to be entertained or be terrified to have fun, which is where these relatively bloodless – but still creepy – anime come in.

ten Dorohedoro does not take his horrors seriously


In Dorohedoro, helpless humans are locked in a seemingly endless war against sadistic magic users who enjoy wielding their powers on helpless people. At the forefront of the anime is Caiman, an amnesiac lizard-headed man who tears magic users apart with the help of his equally carefree friend Nikaido. That being said, Dorohedoro is a horror comedy.

As it concerns Dorohedoro is concerned, the darker implications of its world and characters are just background noise. The anime is primarily an action-packed mix of comedy and horror where gory and monstrous abominations are often played for laughs. Those looking for more sinister entertainment won’t be disappointed with the tandem of Caiman and Nikaido.

9 Ghost Hunt is a spooky ghost story, not a gorefest


Shibuya Psychic Research Investigates Ghost Hunting Haunting

Much like many other horror anime, ghost hunting features exorcists and ghost hunters ridding haunted places of their resident spirits. ghost hunting doesn’t highlight blood and gore – instead it prioritizes a haunting atmosphere and the introduction of truly evil ghosts.

This does not mean ghost hunting is devoid of gore. Indeed, one episode depicts the ghost of a serial killer who bathes in the blood of his victims to satisfy their immortality. However, ghosts like this are more the exception than the rule. ghost hunting is more understated than most of its horror contemporaries, and it only gets macabre when absolutely necessary.


8 One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island Gave the Straw Hats a Discordant Nightmare


Luffy learns the truth in One Piece Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island

A piece is one of the most action-packed anime; his sixth film is quite shocking to the public. Instead of another swashbuckling adventure on the high seas, Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island found the Straw Hats drawn to Baron Omatsuri’s deceptively relaxing resort and nearly dying there.

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Despite the truths of the island and the existence of Lily Carnation, Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island doesn’t get scares from bloody creatures or kills. Instead, it traps Monkey D. Luffy, his friends, and the audience in an eerily claustrophobic atmosphere that engulfs everyone before hitting a nightmarish crescendo in the finale.


seven Death Note has more mind games than blood


Misa falls in love with light in Death Note

Despite its reputation as one of the best horror anime, Death threat has surprisingly little gore. Light Yagami’s fanatical crusade for justice may have racked up thousands of deaths, but most of those deaths were either relatively bloodless (like heart attacks) or happened off-screen. This, however, does not Death threat less disturbing.

Death threat is more of a psychologically charged horror than its simpler contemporaries. Instead of gore, he instills terror in viewers through Light’s madness and the intense mind games he plays against others. Even the Shinigami, creepy as they are, are really more angry supporting characters than monstrous supernatural entities.


6 Hell Girl portrays Hellfire & Damnation theatrically


Ai Enma and her familiars in hell girl

In Daughter of Hell, Ai Enma and her ghostly familiars fulfill their clients’ demands by dragging a victim’s soul to hell. Before being sent to hell, these victims are first mentally tormented by Ai and his associates. As gruesome as this premise may sound, its execution in the anime is more disturbing and haunting than visually repugnant.

Besides the obvious limits imposed by TV censors, the visions that Ai and company have put in place are used more to guilt or terrorize their target, not to horribly torture them. Besides that and the fact that the actual tortures of hell are only shown in brief glimpses, hell girl’s the real horror lies in the cruelty and hatred that otherwise normal people inflict on each other.


5 The Paranoia Agent is a nearly bloodless escape into madness


Lil Slugger appears in Paranoia Agent

All along paranoia agent, a living urban legend known as Lil’ Slugger (or Shonen Bat) skated around town, hitting people in the head with a golden baseball bat. As violent as a specter like Lil’ Slugger is, his rampage has never been explicitly portrayed, since cringe-inducing horrors and scares weren’t the anime’s focus and style.

Instead of, paranoia agent got under viewers’ skin by showing the deteriorating mental state of Lil’ Sluggers’ desperate victims. At the end of their respective descents into madness, these people practically beg to be knocked out by the ghost. These, combined with the anime’s haunting aura, are infinitely scarier than a typical bloody massacre.


4 Serial Lain Experiments Are More Psychologically Disturbing Than Horrifying


Lain gets lost in serial experiments

Serial Experiments Lain may be a relic of the technophobic sentiments that were prevalent as the new millennium approached, but its concerns about the blurred line between reality and cyberspace are more relevant than ever. That, and the anime is still as disturbing and weird as it was the day it first aired in 1998.

As Lain Iwakura combined his physical existence with The Wired, his sense of self (plus the animation itself) slowly dissolved into a computerized fusion of the real and digital worlds. Serial Experiments Lain sparingly used gore and violence, but it didn’t need it to explain how existentially terrifying and twisted an all-digital world would be.




3 The horrors of Puella Magi Madoka Magica are more cosmic than bloody


Mami faces her death in Puella Magi Magica Madoka

If there is anything Puella Magi Madoka Magica is known for is for tricking first-time viewers into thinking it was another magical girl anime. Beneath the familiar conventions and colorful magical girls lies a dark cosmic horror story – a story in which magical girls are slaves to fate and the deceptions of incubators.

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But as heartbreaking as Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s the true nature is that it was never explicitly bloody. Unlike other grainy magical girl anime (see: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka), Madoka artistically obscured the most gruesome moments of his battles and deaths. None of this has mitigated its horrors, which are more existentially ghastly than gross or painful.


2 Cat Soup’s Surreal Nightmares Are Deceptively Cute


Nyatto and Nyako together in a cat soup

The easiest way to describe cat soup is to compare it to a feverish nightmare that may not make logical sense, but is still emotionally haunting. At its lowest, the anime followed the young cat Nyatto as he adventures through different worlds to retrieve the disembodied spirit of his sister Nyako.

But as cute and welcoming as the short’s characters, settings, and visuals are, the suspicion that something was wrong lingered throughout the run. As Nyatto’s journey continued, regardless of the sense of already dreamlike reality cat soup had eroded. cat soup is the perfect anime for viewers looking for surreal and eerie scares.


1 Ghost Stories English Dub Must Be Seen To Be Believed


The gang solve mysteries in ghost stories

In its original Japanese dub, ghost stories was a horror anime aimed at a younger audience. A group of children have solved spooky mysteries in the city while helping spirits pass to the afterlife. In its English localization, however, ghost stories was the greatest horror comedy anime that fans never knew they wanted and needed.

After obtaining permission to shorten ghost stories, ADV Films redubbed it into a crude comedy about rude children who weave their way into weird hauntings. With the exception of specific plot points and names, the voice actors muddled everything up. Those looking for a nostalgic horror-comedy need look no further than this gem.

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Angelo (left);  Light Yagami (center);  Orochimaru (right)


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