Shiki is the perfect classic horror anime for beginners

Horror anime aren’t the most common titles compared to other genres, but they’re still quite popular. One of the best examples of this is the supernatural thriller Death threat, which is so well regarded that even non-anime fans love it. That makes it a good beginner anime for newbies to try, but it’s not the only horror series that fits that bill.

Adaptation of a Japanese horror novel, shiki is the perfect amount of ghosting for horror fans, anime fans, and anyone looking to try anime. From its use of a certain horror archetype to its similarities to other classic horror anime, shiki is a great way to introduce new viewers to the medium.

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What is Shiki, the unique vampire horror anime?

Produced by the Daume animation studio, the 2010 series shiki is based on a previous manga by Ryu Fujisaki, who himself adapts Fuyumi Ono’s 1998 novel. The series is set in the city of Sotoba, which is plagued by many mysterious deaths. Amid these murders, an equally esoteric family moves into a hilltop mansion, their arrival coinciding with the death of a local girl.

Toshio Ozaki, a doctor who initially suspects an outbreak is to blame, reviews the town’s deaths. Over time, however, the real culprits are revealed to be shiki – a type of creature that combines elements of vampires and zombies. Created from corpses, these beings have blackened eyes, sharp fangs, and feed on the blood of the living. Natsuno, a local boy who was once friends with one of the shiki’s victims, soon becomes the target of their bloodlust, with the village becoming a battleground for a war against supernatural monsters.

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Shiki is a great gateway anime, just like Death Note

While some audiences may not be interested in anime, they may still be interested in vampire fiction. shiki Not only does it deliver vampire horror in spades, but it does so in a way that is unique from most Hollywood takes on bloodsuckers and animated versions of vampires. The show’s visuals and audio accentuate this, which all add to the spooky and macabre vibe. Yasuharu Takanashi is the composer of the series, and he also provided the music for another horror anime series: the infernal sound Daughter of Hell.

Speaking of horror comparisons, these could easily be made between shiki and Death threat. Both are psychological thrillers as much as horror stories, presenting both sides of a supernatural conflict in a modern setting. This makes both factions feel fleshed out and developed, with moral lines being blurred throughout both series. In fact, one could argue that shiki does a better job of developing its secondary characters than Death threat, especially when it comes to the supernatural side of things. Although Ryuk is an iconic character in his own right, the shiki faction gives them a lot more attention. The contemporary setting brings out the horror again, though the rural setting again prevents things from being too predictable or familiar.


With its amount of blood and gore, another infamous anime might immediately come to mind: elf lied. This iconic and influential series also deals with moral complexities amid tons of violence, but shiki is much less free than the sometimes overrated elf lied. This ends up making it a much better series to help newcomers break into anime, as it’s not as overtly “anime-ish” as elf lied can come off as with its pink-haired, sometimes unnecessarily naked protagonist.

By taking these similar themes and presenting them in an acceptable yet horrifying way, shiki is a great entry drug for curious horror fans looking to get into anime as a whole. Unfortunately, it’s not available for streaming on any service, and its Blu-ray collection on Amazon is rather pricey. Nonetheless, those looking for a great horror series to help their friends get started in anime need look no further than shiki.


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