Marina’s Halloween Anime Picks

Though I may not be the biggest supporter of dressing up or trick-or-treating, I do take advantage of this one day of the year to smother my usual deterrence of horror flicks.  There are quite a few good anime tv series/film options out there for those looking for a scare.  Prepare yourself with a dark room, quiet setting, and an empty bladder, and get to watching…and of course, Happy Halloween!

Anime TV
Ghost Hunt
Marathon or Eps. 4-6, 18-21
As I mentioned before, I don’t do too well with horror flicks; I’m usually the one holding a pillow in front to block all view at any sign of danger.  Be that as it may, I enjoyed this anime a lot, and have even re-watched it quite a few times.  Other than the nice mix of supernatural cases on which the SPR investigates, the characters are all interesting, and most are likable.  They offer a wide variety of disciplines to combating the forces of darkness, such as through pure science and logic, Buddhism, Shintoism, Catholicism, spirit mediums, and ESP.  Along with its characters, GH supplies well-paced episode arcs, as well as the perfect atmosphere for each individual story.  Without such pacing and atmosphere, I doubt the tension would have worked so well on the audience.  Some of the scarier (to me) arcs include the Doll House and the Bloodstained Labyrinth–both of which fall in the haunted house category.

Shiki
Marathon+Specials
Since I started with Ghost Hunt, it should come as no surprise that I would also recommend Shiki, as they share a common writer.  With the revitalization of vampire horror in American film and literature [sic], you would think it difficult for yet another rendition of the vampire myth to do well in surprising and scaring its audience.  Shiki happily, or should I say terrifyingly, takes this challenge and succeeds.  It does so many things right, including pacing, atmosphere, plot twists, and character development.  No one side is fully justifiable in their actions, since you’ll find yourself first sympathizing with the humans, then cheering on the survival of the shiki.  The specials work especially well in this case of character development, so I highly recommend including them in your viewing.

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Eps. 1-4, 5-8, 22-26
HNKN was  bit of a rough start for me since I knew next to nothing about it when I first tried watching it.  The art style was an immediate turn off for me with its pastel hair colors, overly-large head/hair, and cutesy facial expressions.  It wasn’t until further on that I understood their appeal; when coupled with the horrific events that follow and each character’s spiral into madness, the cute faces work well when suddenly wracked with anger and blood lust.  The transformation is shocking and effective.  This is pretty much the drive of the whole show, which hinges on a cyclical series of events that ultimately result in the madness of one and murder of another.  Those involved and the following actions and reactions change with each story arc.  And as far as the first-time viewer is aware, he or she is the only one with complete knowledge of each cycle’s re-attempt at normalcy and happiness.  I actually prefer the second season to the first, but that’s mostly because the second finally casts light on the reason for each story’s time reversal.

Shingetsutan Tsukihime
Marathon
I came to this show at the referral of the spoof series, Carnival Phantasm, which includes Type-Moon works Shingetsutan Tsukihime and Fate/stay night.  I had already seen F/SN, and was familiar with the eyes of death through Kara no Kyoukai, so I eagerly picked up this show, which I’m still currently watching (at 5 out of 12).  Because of the goofy nature of Carnival, I was surprised at how dark Tsukihime was, much more so than F/SN.  I’m greatly enjoying this show as of now, and plan on finishing it out by tonight in honor of Halloween.  What makes this show all the more interesting to me is how it compares to KnK, where instead of a strong female lead with the mystic eyes of death perception and her weak male companion, we have a strong “vampire” female and a strong male lead with the ability to see the lines of death.

Highschool of the Dead
Marathon
(Available on Netflix streaming)
Zombies? Check. Scantily-clad boobs? Check. Panty shots? Check. Blood, guns, and crudely made weapons? Check. The list is complete, and what we have here is a comedic zombie horror anime complete with plenty of fan service.  I’m not the biggest supporter of fan service, but in this case, I have to agree that it works well as the comedic contrast to an otherwise grisly zombie apocalypse.  Though not as clever as Zombieland, nor as fun as some good old zombie video games like Left for Dead and Dead Island, HotD definitely stands out with its ridiculous take on survival.  The main reason for this is the cast, which is mostly comprised of a group of Japanese high school students, each of whom learns a skill or two in zombie killing.  You can’t help but cheer them on in their fervent move across the city, and it quickly becomes apparent that age should not be an issue when survival is the main agenda.

Other notable options: Elfen Lied (Netflix streaming), Hellsing, Claymore (Netflix streaming), Jigoku Shoujo (Netflix streaming), Mermaid Forest OVA

Anime Film
Kara no Kyoukai
“A Study in Murder: Part 1” (2), “Paradox Spiral” (5),
Really, I support ALL seven films.  Again, I had a slow start with this series of films.  The pacing is slow and the atmosphere quiet; however, once I settled in with the right frame of mind, I was blown away by the dance of stillness and action.  If you’re not one to appreciate extra time spent on hauntingly beautiful visuals and quiet dialogue, then Kara no Kyoukai probably isn’t for you.  But, if you enjoy a slow build up with a well crafted plot, setting, and ambiance, I recommend giving this show a try.  Music lovers will also appreciate the quality sound track that accompanies each movie.  I chose these two specific movies since they lean a bit more towards the horror genre than I believe the others do.

12 thoughts on “Marina’s Halloween Anime Picks

    • Yes, actually I have! I thought about adding it to this list, but I don’t know if I’d call it a horror as much as a supernatural, psychological thriller/mystery. I was never scared by anything that happened.

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      • I wasn’t exactly scared by any of the others you mentioned either (I’ve seen all but Ghost Hunt). Ok, wait, aside from the scene in Shiki where he chops up his wife.

        But I think the hallmark of Japanese horror is building up a creepy atmosphere, not necessarily actually scaring you. I thought that Ghost Hound did really well at inching to the edge of the precipice between creepy and downright scary— the hospital exploration, the scenes with the flies buzzing around the dead sister and the shadowy man were pretty disturbing, although not downright scary.

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      • I have to agree with you that most Japanese versions of horror are more creepy than horrifying, and all about that eerie atmosphere. I thought about including anime like Mononoke for this very reason, but was swayed away from it by my own Western ideas of horror. Thanks for sharing, draggle🙂

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  1. i would had in School Days lol
    the gory ending surely deserves a place on that great list of yours.
    defenitely agree with you, the best maybe would be Shiki with its Vampire theme.

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    • School Days, huh? Well, I’ve never seen the anime since I’ve always dodged it due to its ratings.
      I actually just marathoned Highschool of the Dead, so I’ll have to save Shiki for next Halloween🙂

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  2. I never thought anime could be scary. I utterly adore psychological horror films, and I wonder if it’s the medium and my expectations with it that prevent me from placing anime and horror into the same category.

    Sounds like Shiki or Ghost Hunt would be best to try out and see how they fair with me.

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