Case No. 00010
Project: Paranormal Anime Investigation
Humankind finds comfort in situations they can explain, it's a species fascinated with reason, calculations and definition of the world around them… but what happens when things are just… unexplainable? Many things in this universe are beyond our understanding and experiencing or witnessing something incomprehensible can shatter our perception of reality. However, with the reassurance that the story we're hearing or the things we're seeing are completely fictional, the paranormal becomes an excellent subject of entertainment.
Anime is no exception and, in fact, many famous series like Another, Death Note or The Monogatari Series, have plenty paranormal events mixed in with mystery and supernatural to keep the fandom on the edge of their seats. But if you already saw all the popular titles, what's left? Here are ten anime series that will quench your thirst for the paranormal.
10. Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2012 - June 2017
We like to think that our dearly departed are somewhere better, resting in eternal peace. Some of us more aware than others have noticed strange phenomena most intensively around the time of someone’s death. Moving objects, the sensation of an invisible presence and sometimes unexplainable encounters with those who have departed. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia deals with the entity of Yuuko, a student that mysteriously died on school grounds but after 60 years still lingers there.
After so long, Yuuko has forgotten much about her living days and currently spends her eternity playing tricks on students who of course, can't see her. It was until one day, a freshman that by chance stumbled into the Paranormal Club and could actually see Yuuko that the friendly ghost finally had a shot at resting in peace; that is, if Teiichi Niiya and the rest of the club can solve the mystery behind her untimely death.
9. Kara no Kyoukai (The Garden of Sinners)
- Episodes: 8 Movies
- Aired: December 2007 - August 2009
In 1998 the investigation of several suicides has begun. What seemed like mere coincidence started to raise eyebrows to the Detective Agency of Paranormal Occurrences who, using agent Shiki’s supernatural power, will get to the bottom of the case. All eight movies are related to Shiki’s life, the case and the girl's victims of the incident in 1988.
The start of this chain of movies is slower than many people would like, but it doesn't make it less unnerving than the rest of the list. The art style is not quite spooky but the atmosphere of the story is quite gloomy and dark.
8. Le Chevalier D'Eon
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2006 - February 2007
It was a dead cold night when the corpse of Lia de Beaumont was found floating in a coffin down the Seine river. Her brother, Charles D’Eon was baffled by the news but he was more disturbed when he discovers that the loss of his older sister was a case of murder. Charles, driven by grief and vengeance joins the French secret police with a personal agenda: finding out the meaning of the word ‘Psalms’ that cost his dear sister her life. Shortly after his investigation, many lives has ceased to be, leaving only the flesh behind, an empty carcass now the house of the walking dead.
Is there life after death? This is one of the biggest questions in human history that is still unresolved. Many religions and scientist alike have tried to quell this curiosity of human nature but we never quite receive a solid answer. In most cases, the answer is simply “No”, but in some rare cases the dead have shown signs of life, consciousness, movement, speech and many other things us, in this plane of life, would consider either a miracle or a very eerie paranormal experience. The anime Le Chevalier D’Eon tries to portray this very subject while delighting our eyes with an art style à la Rococo.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2006 - September 2006
“Nothing happens by chance, everything happens for a reason” are the words that Yuuko Ichihara lives by. The mysterious woman is known as the Space-Time Witch, a powerful magic user that can grant any wish for the correct price. Her ability knows no boundaries but she knows well the limit of equivalent exchange her client can pay when seeking her services in the store of wishes; for everything granted, there's a bizarre ‘price’ to pay. Yuuko’s shop can only be encountered when something extraordinary is needed, often being related to paranormal origins.
Watanuki, like many others, came across Yuuko’s shop when he had finally had it with his ability, or curse, of being able to see and interact with every kind of youkai. Yuuko saw something special in this tormented student and decides that the price to pay for his wish was that of becoming her subordinate. This is how Watanuki comes to work for the witch and is able to witness first-hand the daunting cases of those who step into the store of wishes.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2016 - April 2016
Immortality has been the ambition of many rulers throughout time; a person that can live comfortably in this life, with power, money and everything they desire. They see death as an unfortunate event which they so desperately seek to avoid. What happens when immortality can be obtained? What happens when immortality actually comes with a shape, as a being that defies the understanding of the living; but most importantly, what happens when immortality is granted to twisted sinister souls?
Humans will stop at nothing to obtain the key to immortality even if it means torturing its own kind countless times in any possible way imaginable. This is the reality for the Ajin, humans that discovered immortality only at the time of their deaths. Ajin are considered a threat to mankind because along with their immortality comes superhuman strength. Everything is not how it seems, the humans are not Ajin and they can very well still feel pain, it’s more like they possess a creature called Ajin that takes over their bodies at the very moment of death to bypass the afterlife and bring their Human hosts back to life.
5. Death Billiards
- Episodes: Movie
- Aired: March 2013
Before anyone lashes out, yes, we are aware that this is Death Parade, but only a few may know that Death Billiards is actually a prequel, the “beta” version that gave birth to the renown series.
Death Billiards is a concentrated dose of what later became the anime Death Parade, this movie was a test to see how well the audience dealt with the idea of a limbo where your soul awaits the final judgement. Quindecim is the realm where two unsuspecting men meet the expressionless bartender that will decide whether their souls go to heaven or hell. Unaware of this fact, the two protagonists; one a young man and the other an elder, are forced to being opponents in a game of billiards in order to exit Quindecim.
The catch of the game is that they will lose one of their five senses as well as any vital organ marked on the sphere set each time their opponent scores. A simple game of pool turned into a deathmatch… can this really be their final judgement?
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2015 - December 2015
There is more to what the naked eye can see. In this digital era, it is easy to record or capture any kind of thing… even things we’re not aware are among us. The paranormal world has lots of evidence to back up their theories, mostly in the form of old pictures almost as old as the camera itself. Unexplainable orbs of lights, faces, shadows among other things are often captured by paranormal investigators; but now basically anyone owns electronic devices that can record, making more frequent the encounters with the unexplainable. Kowabon’s plot is exactly that.
Using the technique of rotoscoping animation, this series delivers short stand-alone scary stories of hauntings, possessions and many other paranormal activities that the cameras of phones, security or computers can capture. The length of the animation makes everything more unsettling, as they only show the moment that each Japanese character has an otherworldly encounter, before knowing many details, the transmission is cut off.
3. Shisha no Teikoku (The Empire of Corpses)
- Episodes: Movie
- Aired: October 2015
Ever since the amazing creation of Frankenstein the world was never the same… how could a corpse think and move without a soul? But better yet, without the basic needs of those living? It was the ultimate monetary solution for the labor industry, but before anything could be done, Frankenstein and his creator vanished along with all the data from his creation.
The government didn't stop there, by any means they needed to imitate this Frankenstein. After many attempts, they succeeded but not quite as the original, these were named ‘the Frankensteins’, preserved bodies of the deceased who were given a fake soul; a soul that possessed no consciousness but it was good enough to perform basic labor, much like rotting slaves but with no thought or speech.
Zombies that magically come to life are pure fiction but there is a more paranormal version of zombies that actually traces back to old Haitian folklore in which corpses were “manually” brought to life by witchcraft rituals and medicine; much like in this animated movie.
- Episodes: Movie
- Aired: February 2012
In a quiet countryside town of Japan, three friends will soon discover a strange creature, a putrid fish that ran from corner to corner… ran? That’s right, this fish had attached to its belly a strange shell from where sharp metallic-looking spider legs grew. What sounded like a really bad joke suddenly becomes a horrifying reality. A revolting smell suddenly comes out of the ocean, all the marine animals are now coming out to land and they are aggressive towards anything that stands in their way.
All these sea creatures have something in common, aside from being dead, there seems to be an unknown, legged cryptid parasite moving their bloated cadavers. Just as our trio discovers how lethal a bite or scratch from these monsters can be to humans, the entire World has been completely flooded by them; now not only fish but any living creature alike.
1. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls - Bougyakusareta Tamashii no Jukyou (Corpse Party: Tortured Souls)
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: July 2013
Apparitions, rituals, hauntings and extrasensory perception are things commonly associated with the paranormal. In Corpse Party, it all comes in one uncanny package filled with gore and extreme violence. If you are - by the slightest - weak for these things, we advise you to stay away from this anime. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the occult, we suggest to watch it at night, if you dare.
As for the story, it’s simple enough to say that if we give you more than what we will, it’ll spoil all of it. As a farewell to a friend, a group of kids decide to stay in school after dark and make a friendship pact using an innocent ritual, but it goes all sorts of wrong when suddenly they are swallowed by the ground, ending in a sort of parallel dimension. Most of the plot is relentless murders provoked or done by ghost children. Aside from that, characters suffer from vast amounts of psychological damage seeing how their friends, one by one, are killed, possessed or turned against each other in a macabre haunted school setting that makes hell look like a playground.
Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, the anime in this list will give you shivers and nightmares for a while, especially around the month of October, the month all the creepy things come out to play. Hopefully, this top 10 has broadened your personal list of ‘must watch’ if you like gore and horror anime (or maybe put some in your blacklist if you dislike creepy stuff).
As always, you’re welcomed to point out in the comment section here or in facebook or twitter, if you think there’s scarier anime than these. Thanks for reading!