8 great horror manga to scare you
I have long accepted the fact that I am a horror-loving demon. Now take the horror and put it in manga format. What more could I want? Fortunately, there are many horror manga out there! You’d think I’d be sick of reading it. How many horror manga can I read before I burn out? I’m sure I’m sick of reading certain genres. Dare I say, I might even over-read in some categories before deciding, “Enough, no more!” But when it comes to horror manga, that hasn’t happened yet. Will the wonders never cease?
I guess I really like seeing how different mangaka describe the terrifying and the macabre. Some artists rely on nightmarish visuals. Others use exquisite panels and layouts to create tension. Combine this with different plots? The possibilities are limitless. You can have an episodic slice of history that takes place in high school. You can have a twisty, spinning psychological saga. And, of course, like series like Demon slayer and Jujutsu kaisen demonstrated, you can deliver a supernatural action adventure to huge success.
But let’s look beyond the popular and mainstream to find other great horror manga for you to check out.
Mieruko-chan by Tomoki Izumi
This comedy mixes slice of life and horror by introducing us to Miko, a teenage girl who suddenly acquires the ability to see ghosts. Her random encounters with these malicious spirits and her determined effort not to reveal that she can see them are hilarious, but the longer you stay on her journey, the more invested you become. This poor girl has powers that she doesn’t understand and can’t really control, which ends up being a huge problem as she continues to encounter bigger and stronger ghosts.
Until your bones rot by Yae Utsumi
In this psychological horror manga, a secret binds five childhood friends. Five years ago, they killed a man and buried his body. Every summer since, they get together and perform a ritual where they swear never to forget what they have done but also never to reveal what they have done. But in the summer of their 16th year, everything changes. Someone steals the corpse and starts blackmailing them.
Blood on the rails by Shuzo Oshimi
If there’s one thing the horror genre has taught us, it’s that we have no idea what can be lurking in the most mundane and normal places. A pleasant and quiet neighborhood? The perfectly normal family next door? That quiet, stay-at-home mom? Nothing suspicious here. To the right? If you enjoy spiraling home horror, this is the one for you.
The siren saga by Rumiko Takahashi
They say if you eat mermaid flesh you gain immortality. Yuta is one of those people, but he wants to find a way to reverse it. Eternal life is not all it is meant to be. During his journey, he meets another girl who, through no fault of her own, has also acquired immortality through this method. He thinks this might be his chance for salvation, but it turns out that it can be difficult to hold onto your humanity when you can’t die.
Shibuya Goldfish by Hiroumi Aoi
Do you like monster horror? Try this great horror manga! Shibuya is known as one of the coolest neighborhoods in Japan. There are great shopping, great fashion and a vibrant nightlife. Who wouldn’t want to visit? Well, maybe you’d like to rethink a day trip when giant goldfish start appearing and eating people. Does that sound ridiculous to you? Of course, we don’t normally think of goldfish as scary, but goldfish don’t normally bite people’s heads.
Limit by Keiko Suenobu
Mizuki might not be the most popular girl in her high school, but she is highly regarded at the top of the social hierarchy. While this position is tenuous at best, it is enough to arouse the envy and aversion of some classmates. And that bubbling resentment comes to the surface when an accident kills most of their class on a school trip. Now Mizuki and four other girls must survive in the wild. Alas, their hatred for each other makes this quite difficult.
Dark dai by Q Hayashida
Q Hayashida caused a sensation with his previous series, Dorohedoro – boosted in large part by the anime adaptation available on Netflix. If you liked this series’ twisted visions, you’ll love its latest manga. Someone put a spell on Sanko’s body. His bones can grant any wish. It’s not great, because the galaxy is a big place and there are a lot of people who don’t see any problem in tearing up a teenager if it means fulfilling their greatest desire. Sanko’s only option? Find the person who cursed her and kill her. Because that will put an end to everything, right?
Orochi by Kazuo Umezz (March 2022)
Kazuo Umezz, or Umezu as it is sometimes called, is the creator of many great horror manga, including the very influential The drifting class. Even Junji Ito cites Umezz as inspiration. Orochi is a series of interconnected stories following the main character, a young woman with mysterious powers and fascinated by the human condition.
There are a lot of great horror manga available, if you are interested in exploring the genre in this format. Hope this has given you a good place to start. If you want to find more horror manga, here are some of the scariest manga and psychological horror manga.