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Trying to figure out which shows will get you in the Halloween spirit? Wondering what anime will send a chill down your spine, have you drawing pentagrams, or perhaps you’re more for hiding under your covers? Well, we’ve got you covered no matter what your preference is for the month of October. This list covers the whole gamut. However, there is one creature that this list doesn’t cover and that’s the vampire. If you want the vampire be sure to check out the original list below as that’s where you’ll find your vampire goodness. Without further ado, let’s get into the top shows you should watch for Halloween.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr. 2004 – Jun. 2004
Gantz, in a nutshell, takes the idea that death is the big sleep and flips that on its head. Instead of peace, you’re getting thrown into a dire game that will push you to your limits. That’s the predicament that Kei Kurono finds himself in as he takes on aliens and robots in a maddening reality.
A good chunk of these are not for the lighthearted, but this one in particular gets a red flag. It’s true that life’s no fun without a good scare, but Gantz provides more than just a scare. Brutal deaths that would fit in Mortal Kombat finishing moves are the normal in this show, as well as rape and numerous other acts that represent moral decay. Furthermore, any horror is fair game. Massacre children and the elderly? That’s a-okay in this bloody show. Now, the only aspect lacking in the show was a deep story, but perhaps the upcoming movie, Gantz:0, will give us some interesting narrative.
9. Shikabane Hime: Aka (Corpse Princess)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2008 – Dec. 2008
Makina Hoshimura is murdered and turned into Shikabane Hime, who must kill 108 other corpses in order to reach heaven. Not a very lucky situation, but at least her former friend is a trained priest who can help her out quite a bit. Then again, it’s her friend’s little brother, who gets dragged into the whole situation and is by no means prepared to handle any of these events, that makes everything more difficult for her.
Shikabane Hime: Aka handles death in a way similar to Halloween. That is, death can’t get in the way of rocking out. Makina is whipping out dual submachine guns in order to take down the undead, and that’s a good portion of what this show is all about. Action and blood and it does these things in a gory, yet fun manner. It’s really the flick to watch when you just want to see some good old blood and guts.
8. Shisha no Teikoku (The Empire of Corpses)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Oct. 2015
Shisha no Teikoku puts us into a world where Dr. Frankenstein’s notes have led to the use of human corpses being infused with a fake soul in order to have an eternal labor force. This has led to vast developments for society, and for the most part, the taboo about using such labor is no longer existent. What is concerning though, is when someone tries to return an original soul back to a person’s body. It’s this goal that Dr. John Watson is after, and it’s the reason he ends up as a secret spy being sent around the world.
Shisha no Teikoku is a wild ride through a steam punk version of 19th century Europe, and there are two particular things it does right to make it so perfect for Halloween. First off, it takes a lot of literary and movie references and mashes them into one overarching, unbelievable story. This is a key aspect to engage us with characters who correspond with our desire of getting dressed up. After all, a pretty big aspect of Halloween is about getting creative with your costumes if not your entire home. The second part is that zombies exist and they are aggressive and vicious and they provide endless action possibilities. More than just a cue for action, the zombies bring about questions of the human conscious and experimentation, which casts a rather long, dark shadow over the movie.
7. Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2016 – Jul. 2016
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri came in this year and immediately threw everyone into an apocalyptic dystopian. But hey, it was a steam punk version of the apocalypse, so brownie points are due. Essentially, a virus has spread through the world creating zombie-like creatures, known as Kabane. These monsters have left only a few sanctuaries standing are can only be killed by shots that pierce their hearts, which are surrounded by a steel cage.
What makes this anime so perfect for Halloween are two particular things. One is the steam punk nuances, which set up a lot of silver and bronze color schemes. These help flesh out a certain feeling of fall, with everything rusting to a certain extent. The second reason is a bit more obvious. The Kabane are undead creatures who get slaughter and get slaughtered in mass by our top protagonists. Who doesn’t enjoy a good hack and slash during October.
6. Gakkou no Kaidan (Ghost Stories)
- Episodes: 19
- Aired: Oct. 2000 – Mar. 2001
Gakkou no Kaidan takes us into a school where a lot of the ghosts in an entire region have been locked inside its old, abandoned building. Hearing quite a few interesting stories about the building, a group of friends decide to trek the halls and see what it’s all about. Well, the rumors turn out to be true as numerous ghosts haunt the halls as well as some darker demons bound deeper within.
One of the best things about Gakkou no Kaidan is that you can choose how you want to experience it. You can go for a more haunting thriller or you can go for an off-the-walls parody. This is because the subbed and dubbed versions are completely different. The subbed version follows the more horrifying storyline and actually becomes quite complex and terrifying. The dubbed version is basically an impromptu skit with characters that range from a religious fanatic to a toddler who can’t speak one word. It really is a situation of trick or treat and both have their high points.
5. Yami Shibai (Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories)
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: Jul. 2013 – Apr. 2016
Yami Shibai has three seasons worth of incredible and terrifying shorts. Using paper figures for its animation, this anime consistently provides 4-minute episodes of exquisite fright.
First off, its style is unique in and of itself and it provides a certain tension built around stillness. That is to say, you are constantly waiting for that shift, that sudden change, that moment that pops out from the overall motionless in the animation style. This, surprisingly, can build up quite powerfully within four minutes. Pushing along that tension is the way a good chunk of the stories are presented. The narrative technique is extremely reminiscent of the ghost stories told around campfires. There’s a slow build up to a frightening realization that you will surely make it difficult to sleep at night.
4. Shin Sekai Yori (From the New World)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Sep. 2012 – Mar. 2013
Psychokinesis has developed in a small percentage of the world population, and immediately war breaks out. After a long, bloody era, those who possess psychokinetic powers have formed their own separate society that holds a rather thin peace agreement with the rest of humanity. Despite making itself out be a sort of utopia for those with supernatural powers, 12-year-old Saki Watanabe and her friends find themselves on path that proves just the opposite.
Shin Sekai Yori is haunting for several reasons. One is because of how seamlessly and smoothly it flips everything on its head, on multiple occasions. It takes five children into adulthood and systematically throughout its 25-episode run has you questioning humanity and morality. There’s nary a moment of relief for our characters as other life forms as well as their closest friends test how well they understand all the facets of life. Second, the show can get quite bloody and there are moments that will leave you in shock. Overall, it’s a fitting narrative for a month that’s all about surprises.
3. Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: Apr. 2008 – Mar. 2009
Shibusen is an academy that trains Shinigami so that they may create ‘Death Scythes’ to properly battle evil. Now Death Scythes are actually human hybrids, who can transform into a weapon, and are paired with Shinigami in training. Primarily following three teams of Shinigami and their weaponized partners, Soul Eater has viewers chasing down zombies, witches, and so much more.
Few anime capture the idea of Halloween as well as Soul Eater. The setting is essentially its own Halloween world with witches, werewolves, zombies, black cats, and a terrifying sun and moon. Despite having a rather toonish quality, the show captures the more haunting aspects with the amount of action and malicious characters that set up the major conflicts throughout its run. So yeah, it’s not as spooky as other shows on this list, but it does many other things that speak to Halloween. The most prominent of those, outside of the setting, is the sense of adventure that it imparts. Similar to that first Halloween on your own, this world is yours to explore in depth.
2. Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl)
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: Oct. 2005 – Apr. 2007
Hell Girl offers you the chance to get revenge on anyone. All you need to do is input the person’s name into the website Jigoku Tsuushin (Hell Correspondence). Admittedly, the girl behind the website, the one who ferries these unlucky people into Hell, must take a personal interest in your story to take on the request. Oh, and if all goes as you hope, then you will be sent to hell when your natural life comes to an end.
Terrifying, complex, and riveting; it’s extremely difficult to find a show that can compare with Hell Girl. Yes, there are shows that offer perhaps a more terrifying experience, or programs with deeper narratives, but few combine every aspect as well Studio Deen did with this masterpiece. From its real-world harassment to its hellbent mazes, there’s consistently a sense of terror or paranoia at the very least.
Initially, it’s always clear who the victim is, but once punishment is doled out, a punishment of eternal damnation, questions rise. Can revenge ever be seen as justice is one of the main ones. Though you might often feel a sense of justice being served when a bully/attacker is being punished, you can never forget that the victim is now destined to hell as well. Everything has a cost and nothing is as clear cut as it should be in this world.
1. Kara no Kyoukai (Garden of Sinners)
- Episodes: 7
- Aired: Dec. 2007 – Aug. 2009
Leading the foray against the forces that wish to disturb the city is the demon hunter, detective Shiki Ryougi. Now, Shiki has incredible endurance, agility, and strength. She is quite capable of dispatching a horde of undead or even spirit like beings, especially when in possession of a katana. However, what sets her above and beyond most if not every single being in her universe is her innate ability “Mystic Eyes of Death Perception.” This power allows her to see lines of death; and when she cuts along those lines, she can obliterate any object as well as even concepts and ideas.
This series of movies take us into Mifune City, where an agency known as Garan no Dou takes on cases of supernatural origin. One of its top detectives is Shiki Ryougi, who has the power to see lines of death and if she cuts those lines, she can destroy anything, even an idea. Now, she gets mixed up with Mikiya Kokutou as both of them are trying to get to the bottom of a sudden series of deaths that occurred within Mifune City.
This show has so many things going for it. First off, its animation is absolutely gorgeous and the fight scenes are impeccable. Second, its characters are intriguing and dynamic, whether they are the heroes or the villains. Finally, the narrative is complex and rewarding to follow as it takes you through countless twists. Now, all of that dictates a good show, but what about it makes it so perfect for Halloween?
Well, for starters, there’s a ton of supernatural aspects that would make anyone of the persuasion to draw a pentagram extremely excited. Demons, mystic eyes, zombies, time travel, and so much more are incorporated into the story. More importantly, the narrative is one that truly haunts and sticks with you. The situations it handles border on the disturbed as humans are used in horrific experimentations that test the idea of fate. Oh, and it’s not afraid to splash some blood about either.
It’s October people and these are the shows that just have that have that extra factor of spookiness or gore that just fit this season so well. Each of them is guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine at some point. The only real question is if you are going to sparse them out over the entire month or binge them in an extremely short period of time. The secondary question to that is, do you feel that any other shows capture the spirit of Halloween better than the ones listed?
Anime is amazing. There literally has to be an anime for every single season and every occasion imaginable. Sure, there are some that suit a bill more than others; school life, drama, romance, action. How about holidays though? Some shows recently have had Halloween episodes but how about shows where the entire world lives in perpetual Halloween? What about a show that will make your skin crawl as it’s just a little bit too creepy? How does it sound if a show is so psychologically terrifying that it can keep up with the horror flicks that you see on the silver screen?
Well, welcome to this list! It will give you shows that will either get you in the mood for Halloween or set the mood. Be it through fear, Halloween elements, or just plain horror, these shows will take you on a journey to prepare for when Halloween finally comes towards the end of the year!
10. Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: April 2008 – March 2009
Soul Eater rolls in at #10 for good reason. Soul Eater sets up Halloween elements perfectly. Death gods, angry evil beings, the sun and the moon are creepy, etc. Soul Eater is a great start to this list because it’s not scary like terrifying per se, but it shows the viewer what the world would be like with death gods, witches and the like. Soul Eater is a very entertaining watch through and through, and I think you’ll enjoy it greatly to get you in the mood for Halloween.
Soul Eater follows three weapon meisters and their human weapons. The goal is to make a death scythe, the ultimate weapon, by eating 99 evil human souls as well as 1 witch soul. Shown in pairs with their weapons, the students enrolled in Death Weapon Meister Academy as they train to become the Ultimate Shinigami!(Death god!)
9. Highschool of the Dead
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2010 – September 2010
It seems that you really can’t have a scary show anymore without zombies or some form of undead creature. That being said, Highschool of the Dead is another great spooky show that is a little more high on the adrenaline than the fear, but it still brings plenty of zombies, so that’s why I have entered it in at #9!
What if you woke up one day, came to school, and suddenly 99% of the student body were zombies looking to eat you? Well, I’d panic and bounce. Unfortunately though, for a group of students and the school nurse, they are trapped on the roof of the school. With nothing left to do, they must fight their way out, killing former classmates in the process to survive. Once outside, there is nothing different. Zombies are now wandering around trying to kill them as well. Panicked and scared, they must now try to find safety while escaping the horrors of a zombie invasion
8. Paranoia Agent
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: February 2004 – May 2004
Paranoia Agent isn’t so much bloody or adventurous as the other two. Paranoia Agent is a psychological thriller. What’s really disturbing, among many things in this show is the harsh animation. It will go from being very bright, to very dark quickly so you have to pay attention. Paranoia Agent is not as psychologically disturbing as a few more further down on this list, but it’s still a great show to give you the chills in preparation for Halloween. Be sure to watch it in the dark!
Paranoia Agent is about “lil slugger” or "Shonen Bat", a boy who mysteriously travels around on golden skates with a bent golden bat. What does he do with it? He assaults people. As more and more people are being targeted, two detectives try to step in, at their own peril, to solve the mystery behind lil slugger and get to the bottom of all these attacks before anyone else is attacked and loses their sanity in the process.
7. Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: September 2004
Kakurenbo rolls in at #7 here, and for good reason. It’s actually a very short film but it’s perfect in the way it's set up. To put things bluntly; it’s creepy. Full of suspense, this is another anime that’s great to watch at night and in the dark. Kakurenbo is also a perfect metaphor. Let me know in the comments if you know what it's about!
Kakurenbo follows a game in an abandoned city. What kind of game you ask? Well, it’s kinda like… capture the flag meets hide and seek. It’s called Otokoyo which means manhunt in English. There’s one problem though, the teams are those playing the game in the old, abandoned city itself. The longer you play the game, the more the city starts to fight back. Can these children survive long enough to win?
6. Tokyo Ghoul
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 – September 2014
I know I know. Put down your pitchforks. You thought that Tokyo Ghoul would be lower. Well on some lists yes, but for Halloween, this show rolls in at number six. What puts Tokyo Ghoul here is obviously the horror element as well as the blood, violence and fighting. At times being quite graphic for a show that aired on TV, Tokyo Ghoul is a great show for Halloween.
Kaneki was an ordinary college student, but one day, he is attacked by a very deadly and powerful ghoul, Rize. Somehow killing her and surviving, the doctors take parts of Rize, since she dies, and puts them into Kaneki. They did not know that she was a Ghoul. Now when Kaneki wakes up, he can no longer eat normal food. The sight of it makes his stomach curl. What does he crave? Human flesh and Blood. The show takes off from there introducing new characters who are also Ghouls that teach him how to live and blend into society. Why? Because he cannot be found out for fear of what might happen.
5. Higurashi no Naku koro ni (When They Cry) ((And all subsequent seasons))
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2006 – September 2006
Higurashi has to be one of the scariest shows I have ever seen in my life. It was positively terrifying to watch. However, at the same time, it’s a gigantic puzzle that requires you to watch to the very end to understand everything fully. It’s perfect for Halloween because this show has gore, horror, and above all else, it’s psychologically disturbing. Paranoia Agent is like dipping your toe into a pool to see if it’s cold. Higurashi is like throwing yourself into the Arctic Ocean.
Higurashi starts out with Keiichi Maebara, who had just moved to the small town of Hinamizawa (Based on a real city in Japan! Look up Shirakawa-go!). Life seems to be adjusting well for him in his small school where he gets along well with his classmates. In fact, so well, they form a club together and play games. One day, the games stop being fun. People start getting hurt. Someone’s coming for Keiichi. Just when it looks like it’s over for him, the season resets? Part of the way through, the story resets and now it’s told from another person’s perspective. But things are different this time. What’s going on?? What’s happening?? Keep watching to find out.
4. Vampire Hunter D
- Episodes: 1 (Movie)
- Aired: December 1985
Where would Halloween be without a good Vampire flick? No I’m not talking about that ridiculous one where the guys sparkle and have on way too much makeup! I’m talking about REAL Vampires! It’s got the whole post-apocalyptic thing which is usually more zombie friendly. To make sure that the film doesn’t get too dry, it also has a great upheaval that happens as well! This film is quite dated (now almost 30 years ago) but it easily stands on it’s own as a great way to get you hyped up for Halloween!
10,000 years into the future, society as we know it has collapsed. What has happened you say? Well, monsters now exist freely attacking people. It’s a throwback to centuries old living and how the people survive. They are ruled over by a merciless vampire count. When he takes a girl as his own and bites her, she hired the help of a passing traveler named D. Well, D just happens to be the best vampire hunter in all of the world and takes up her task. You will not be disappointed with this movie!
3. Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2005 – April 2006
Jigoku Shoujo rolls in at number three. I mean come on, the show has the word hell in it. It’s perfect for Halloween. Full of murder, betrayal, voodoo, curses and definitely some mentally unstable people, Jigoku Shoujo is perfect for Halloween! Plus, not to mention, you see Hell a lot which exists in a permanent Halloween type setting!
Have you ever hated someone to the point where it consumed you? Maybe they were a bully. Maybe they are a former friend. Maybe they just did you wrong and you have never been able to get beyond that. Well, I have good, and maybe potentially bad, news for you. If you access a website called Hell correspondence at midnight with a heart full of revenge, you're able to call upon Hell Girl. What does she do? She will offer to take the person that you hate the most to Hell immediately. This comes at a price, and you’ll have to watch it to see what that price is!
- Episodes: 50
- Aired: October 2005 – September 2006
Blood + is another show that’s perfect for Halloween. Why you ask? Well it has monsters. It’s got vampires. There is suspense as well as some of the worst heartbreak that you can imagine. Families are destroyed. People are destroyed. Plus, the title has “blood” in it. What’s not to love?
In Blood+ exist these creatures called Chiropterans, who can transform their bodies into the form of a human being. Why is this dangerous? Because they hunt and kill people. There’s a special Organization called the Red Shield, who protect humans from these monsters as well as hunting them down and exterminate them. Saya was just an ordinary high school girl until one day, she loses an entire year of her life. It’s just gone in an instant and she can’t remember anything. Her family is torn away from her in the most heartbreaking manner possible, and now she’s out for revenge.
1. Hellsing Ultimate
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: February 2006 – December 2012
Hellsing Ultimate is number one on my list! Yes, that’s right, it’s Hellsing Ultimate! It’s the perfect show for Halloween! It’s got vampires, zombies, Nazis (eww gross), ghouls, fighting, horror, psychotic priests, blood, and everything in between. Oh! Don’t forget the undead skeleton army either. If there was ever a perfect show to watch for Halloween, it would be this show hands down. It’s creepy, dark, and violent. Perfect for a Halloween slasher, wouldn’t you say?
Hellsing is the name of a secret British organization that keeps the people safe from vampires and other dark creatures of the night. Hellsing is run by Integra Wingates Hellsing, a normal human being. So how does she protect everyone? She has a deep, deep dark secret. She has the world’s greatest Vampire Exterminator at hand, Alucard. Oh, and he’s a vampire too! After receiving a protégé, Seras Victoria, they serve the Hellsing organization.
However, the monsters are getting braver, darker, and more violent. An ancient war is brewing and the Hellsing organization is going to need everything they can, maybe even borrowing from hell itself, to fight back…
Whew! We did it again! Here we are at the end of another list! This time though, it’s for Halloween! I hope that you can see everything on this list before Halloween arrives. Maybe you’ll even spook yourself in the process!
Some honorable mentions that I do want to throw out are, Boogiepop Phantom, xxxHOLiC, Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost Hunt. Please check them out for various different and interesting stories! Is there anything you would have changed? Let me know below!