Top 10 Creepy Manga [Best Recommendations]

The world is filled with strange and unexplainable mysteries. Such mysteries tend to stand the test of time and manage to send chills down the spines of generations of people. From ghost stories to strange disappearances to even stories about the occult, creepy stories have almost become a phenomenon that is an inescapable human experience. Everyone has that one creepy experience, whether anecdotal or something they’ve read or heard somewhere. But we at Honey’s Anime are here to tell you more about the creepy stories you can READ. Yes, we mean to say that we’re going to present some of the creepiest manga we have ever come across. We’re talking ghosts, zombies, fish with legs and creatures we can’t even begin to describe. Get ready to cower in fear as we get to it – Top 10 Creepy Manga! Don’t read these at night!

10. Aku no Hana

  • Mangaka: Oshimi Shuuzou
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, School, Shounen, Psychological
  • Volumes: 11
  • Published: September 2009 – May 2014

Kasuga Takao is a young bibliophile who particularly enjoys the French author Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, or Flowers of Evil. His crush at school, the popular and beautiful Saeki Nanako becomes Takao’s muse, as he bashfully admires her from a distance. One day, he forgets his copy of Les Fleurs du Mal in his classroom and promptly returns to retrieve it, but while in the classroom, he catches a glimpse of Saeki’s gym clothes and steals them on impulse. Later, his classmates catch wind of the missing gym clothes and come to the conclusion that a certain pervert stole them. Not only is Takao now overcome with intense shame and guilt, the weird and creepy Nakamura Sawa, the friendless girl in his class, saw him take Saeki’s gym clothes. Nakamura figures that Takao is, much like her, a deviant, and uses the incident to blackmail Takao and take control of his life. What are her true intentions? Can Takao get himself out of the mess in which he finds himself?

While starting off on a fairly lighthearted note, the manga Aku no Hana very quickly begins to spiral into a form of darkness that one can only describe as disturbing. The growing relationship between Takao and Sawa goes beyond the realm of friendship, but not quite into what can be called a traditional romantic relationship. Nakamura’s influence on Takao’s life and his constant vigilance at what she’ll do next almost drives him insane, but in a strange sense, Takao relishes their relationship and he slowly but surely falls into depravity before he even knows it. The most notable and perhaps one of the darkest events in the story occurs at a festival, where after causing ample mischief, Nakamura and Kasuga decide to attempt a double suicide. It is at this point that we come to realise the true extent of Nakamura’s hold over his life – an almost intoxicating relationship which becomes the catalyst of a turn of events that quite literally stay with you. Oshimi Shuuzou did an excellent job at highlighting some of the very dark aspects of human relationships and the true extent of their influence in a person’s life.


9. Doubt

  • Mangaka: Tonogai Yoshiki
  • Genres: Mystery, Shounen, Psychological
  • Volumes: 4
  • Published: December 2007 – February 2009

A game called Rabbit Doubt has found its way to Japanese shores. The game’s premise is that all the players are rabbits and one player is chosen at random to become a wolf, one that has made itself comfortable amongst the rabbits. Every round, the wolf is required to kill a rabbit while the remaining rabbits are left to figure out who is the wolf in disguise. Some players of the game decide to meet up and unfortunately for Yuu, Haruka, Hajime and Eiji who have met up, one of them has taken up the wolf mantle and has already killed. Can they figure out who the wolf is before all of them meet an untimely end?

Doubt plays upon the fears of the characters within the manga as well as the reader, unexpectedly killing off characters in a variety of ways. That being said, the manga is not in any way short of gore. What makes it truly creepy is the fact that after meeting each other for the first time, the protagonists wake up in a strange building, each with a special barcode tattooed on their bodies. To make things worse, they have to live in fear of each other because one of them is slowly but surely killing off the others one by one. None of them even know how many of them are present in the building, setting the stage for a murder game like none other.


8. Scumbag Loser

  • Mangaka: Yamaguchi Mikoto
  • Genres: Mystery, Horror, Shounen, Supernatural, Psychological
  • Volumes: 3
  • Published: November 2011 – December 2012

16-year-old Murai Masahiko has a strange affinity for scents and smells and particularly enjoys the smells of scumbags – some of the most pathetic people in his class. One day, one such scumbag brags to his class that he has found a cute girlfriend. With the increased social status experienced by this once-upon-a-scumbag, Murai finds himself being one of the scumbags he so vehemently frowned upon. Desperate, Murai lies to his classmates, claiming that the beautiful Mizusawa Haruka is his girlfriend. But, unbeknownst to everyone in Murai’s class, Mizusawa Haruka died 5 years prior. Strangely enough, she transfers into his class the next day! Murai is taken aback, but his desperation to not be seen as a scumbag loser drives him to beg this Mizusawa to be his girlfriend. Despite his desperation, Murai knows that this new Mizusawa is not the one he went to school with. Who is this Mizusawa and what has she come to do?

Scumbag Loser is absolutely disturbing. The somewhat comical premise masks incredibly dark themes of betrayal, abuse, murder and the futility of the pursuit of social acceptance. Despite being incredibly short, the manga is not short of impact and the gory, violent, and ridiculously scary nature of the characters within the Scumbag Loser universe make for an experience so creepy, you might even regret picking it up at all. Like many manga (and anime) before it, Scumbag Loser relies on the dark concept of the inherent evil of human beings and it features an antagonist that preys upon the insecurities of the protagonist to make for an incredibly creepy experience.


7. Jisatsu Circle (Suicide Circle)

  • Mangaka: Furuya Usamaru
  • Genres: Horror, Psychological
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published: March 2002

54 girls get together one day and decide to hold hands and commit suicide by jumping in front of a moving train. Fortunately (or unfortunately), one girl named Kouta Saya survives and establishes a new suicide club with new girls in it. Her best friend, Kyouko, worries about Saya’s future and desperately begins to search for the secrets surrounding the Suicide Club in order to save her best friend and the other girls and prevent an incident as unfortunate as the first which claimed the lives of 53 other girls.

If we’re being honest, Jisatsu Circle is nothing short of disturbing. The central theme of suicide sets the scene for a plethora of dark themes ranging from abuse, bullying, depression, and self-harm, as well as the various behaviours of people experiencing such themes. Characters in Jisatsu Circle are hurt in many ways and the central character exists almost as a mother figure to her broken sisters. Most characters, especially Kota Saya, believe that death is a beautiful thing and experience a number of group activities which help them let go of all that had been crippling them. The way it unapologetically explores themes of neglect and how lives can quickly spiral out of control make reading it unnerving, even uncomfortable.


6. Ibitsu

  • Mangaka: Haruto Ryou
  • Genres: Horror, Seinen
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published: October 2009 – June 2010

Itou Kazuki, a normal high schooler took out the trash late one night and discovered, in a trash heap, a creepy Lolita woman sitting amongst the bags. She asks him if he had a little sister and he answered, but creeped out, Kazuki hurried back to his apartment and looked out the window, only to realise that the Lolita woman had disappeared. Who was this woman and why did she give him such an ominous feeling?

Kazuki’s discomfort was compounded by the surfacing of an urban myth he heard from his friends about a Lolita woman. Supposedly, the woman asks any passerby a question and should the individual answer the question, she assumes the role of the person’s younger sister – by force. The Lolita is completely unstable and extremely dangerous, having killed Kazuki’s dog and turned it into soup and threatened the life of Kazuki’s younger sister because of the envy she felt at the experiences Kazuki and his little sister have had. The woman herself is incredibly creepy and for most people, Ibitsu would be the perfect nightmare fuel.


5. Enigma of the Amigara Fault

  • Mangaka: Itou Junji
  • Genres: Mystery, Horror, Seinen
  • Volumes: 1 (single chapter)
  • Published: November 2001 – April 2002 (included in volume 2 of Gyo)

Following a massive earthquake in H – Prefecture, a large fault several kilometres long was discovered near the epicentre on the north slope of the Amigara Mountain. The discovery of the fault inspired several hikers to journey towards it, a feeling of restlessness coming over whomever saw it. The fault itself had significant visual impact – on the face of the mountain, several human shaped holes were found, and eerily enough, people were drawn to them… because each individual has their own hole in which they fit perfectly. What are these holes and where do they come from?

Alright, as far as creepy goes, Itou Junji is an especially talented individual and the man has delivered on several occasions. However, for some reason, the somewhat obscure, somewhat well-known Enigma of the Amigara Fault stands out because it manages to tickle the darkest parts of human imagination in a very short space. It is only a single chapter, but the sheer mystery of the human shaped holes and the almost unbeatable impulse characters experience to go and fill those holes give it a different kind of impact from the traditional scares one would get from a regular creepy manga. At the end of the story, several months after the protagonist himself walks into his hole, researchers investigating the fault peer into the formerly human-shaped holes and a disfigured, indiscernible figure peers back at them, slowly making its way out. Truth be told, the Enigma of the Amigara Fault leaves a lot to be considered and because it leaves much to the imagination of the reader, it only ever gets creepier over time.


4. Emerging

  • Mangaka: Hokazono Masaya
  • Genres: Drama, Horror, Psychological, Seinen
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published: September 2004 – December 2004

A mysterious virus finds its way to the Japanese capital of Tokyo when a businessman comes down with an illness and erupts in an explosion of blood and viscera, showering everyone nearby. Soon enough, everyone who was present at the Shibuya intersection where it happened came down with the same illness. From that day on, the Japanese people were exposed to the virus and it quickly worked its way throughout the veins of the Japanese capital.

With obvious manga-esque exaggeration, the true terror that comes with reading Emerging is the similarity of the symptoms of the virus in the manga and the Ebola virus that rapidly gained global attention in the latter stages of 2014 after the outbreak in a number of West African countries. Seeing people literally spew blood like active volcanos has significant visual impact and knowing that it has actually happened before makes anyone who reads Emerging just that little more germ-conscious. Better wash your hands.


3. Pupa

  • Mangaka: Mogi Sayaka
  • Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Psychological
  • Volumes: 5
  • Published: March 2011 – January 2014

Brother and sister pair Hasegawa Utsutsu and Yume find themselves all alone after their abusive father and mother divorce and their mother remarries. Now orphaned, Utsutsu promised to protect his little sister. After sighting strange red butterflies, the siblings are infected with the Pupa virus, which mutates organisms into strange man-eating monsters. With Yume having succumbed to the effects of the virus, Utsutsu gains regenerative powers and aims to suppress the virus within his little sister.

In the first chapter, we are promptly presented with themes of abuse within the home, attachment and… intense gory moments that can make the squeamish think twice about picking it up. After sighting the red butterflies, Yume is found unconscious by her brother Utsutsu and while he tries to get her to come to, she abruptly erupts into a strange ravenous creature that indiscriminately consumes anyone in sight. Creepy.


2. Gyo Ugomeku Bukimi (Fish: The Eerie Wriggle)

  • Mangaka: Itou Junji
  • Genres: Mystery, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Psychological, Seinen
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published: November 2001 – April 2002

A crew of fishermen aboard a trawler drag up a number of strange fish which, upon closer inspection, seem to have legs. The fish scuttle away, heading back to the ocean. In Okinawa, Tadashi and his girlfriend Kaori enjoy a scuba-diving vacation but when Kaori, who has a hyper-sensitive sense of smell, encounters a fish with legs, she becomes extremely irritated by its pungent stench and begs Tadashi to get rid of it. The next day, the island of Okinawa is invaded by all forms of marine life with legs, including a menacing great white shark. Just what is happening?

Itou Junji strikes again with yet another disturbing title, this time, about fish that walk on land with spider legs. If that isn’t already setting off your creepy senses, a full-on invasion of the freaky fish should be more than enough to have you wondering “Just what goes on in the mind of Itou Junji?” Gyo wastes no time in presenting the fishy atrocities, especially the massive great white shark with legs that attacks unsuspecting beach goers in Okinawa. To make things worse, the strange creatures exude a foul stench reminiscent of a decaying human body. In what can only be seen as incredible, the walking fish aren’t even the strangest thing the manga has to offer.


1. Tomie

  • Mangaka: Itou Junji
  • Genres: Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Josei
  • Volumes: 3
  • Published: 1987 – 2000

Kawakami Tomie is an attractive high school girl who seems to have a strange way of making anyone fall in love with her. She often uses their emotions to her advantage and drives her romantic interests into fits of jealous rage which lead these men to committing brutal acts of violence. Tomie herself experiences death several times but with each death, she regenerates, cursed to continue the cycle of manipulation and death.

Crimes of passion quickly become a recurring theme in yet another Itou Junji work (yeah, he’s living nightmare fuel). Tomie begins as a strange, school story but within the first few chapters, the titular character already experiences a gruesome and gory death, with her classmates each taking a piece of her body. Tomie’s body was cut into several pieces by some of the male students in her class. The obsession over Tomie experienced by every male character who encounters Tomie leads each of them to kill and dismember her, sometimes even taking parts of her body to keep. Tomie’s influence over the people she meets causes them to do really extreme things, one such person giving her all his clothes when he and his friends found her naked in the mountains during a snowstorm. The strange compulsion to murder Tomie is outright disturbing, but more than just obsessed killers await whoever decides to pick up and read the manga.


Conclusion

Sometimes people crave something with a different kind of excitement attached to it. As such, we’ve brought you some of the creepiest manga titles we could find; some darker than others, some a little more outrageous than others and some with that little special something that makes them haunt you forever. As far as creepy manga go; however, we cannot promise that we can bring you all of them – that’s where you can help us. Drop a comment below about your creepiest manga experience, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find someone who has stared into the same abyss you have!

Hoshi-kun

Writer

Author: Hoshi-kun

I’m South African, harbouring an obsession for anything remotely related to Japan, mostly anime, of course. I draw sometimes. Some people call me Naledi, it’s my real name, or something like that. People think I’m stoic because I don’t smile often (I do sometimes). I like languages. Hoshi-kun and Naledi are the same side of the same coin.

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