While most folks are warming up with pumpkin spice lattes to watch all manner of scary films, I usually key up some scary anime instead. Personally, I never did enjoy horror in film, aside from a few such as the nightmarish Alien, or the politically interesting Purge series. However, for some reason or another, I do enjoy horror in my anime, particularly ones with ridiculous amounts of violence and interesting mystery.
So grab a ramune, some mochi, and a buddy cause we are going deep into the world of overly violent anime in the horror genre. These three entries are my personal favorites in the genre and are shows that are easy to finish. Enjoy, but beware of disturbing and graphic violence in all three.
We are going to start this list with something fairly tame in terms of being scary and go straight for the gore. The story of Hellsing Ultimate follows the bloody path of one of the most powerful vampires in the world, Alucard, as the world slowly comes apart at the seams. Behind this destruction is a second coming of Nazis and not just any Nazis, but powerful vampire Nazis who call themselves Millennium. Its up to the Hellsing organization, who specializes in all manner of monsters, to qualm the violence with more violence.
Watching Hellsing is like watching the ultimate battle between super monsters from classical horror literature. We have Alucard who is the ultimate embodiment of the night, transforming into a twisted wolf and regenerating limbs like its going out of style. While on the opposition, we have Father Anderson who is a crazy priest of the Vatican who uses bayonets to malicious degree. Those are the good guys! While Alucard and Anderson are constantly at each other’s throats, its when the Neo-Nazi Millennium group steps in that things get brutal.
No other anime I’ve seen have battles on this scale, ripping apart entire cities with such ferocity and speed, bathing the streets in oceans of blood. The animation of Hellsing Ultimate is particularly awesome, showing off the bloodshed with great detail and brutality. There are some truly disturbing moments, for instance one scene shows a vampire with an infant dangling in its teeth, so be warned. The themes at work here are interesting as well, as Alucard and Anderson show two monstrous sides of the same coin. Anderson also comments on what it means to be a monster, and how diving deeper into that madness is necessary to vanquish evil. These two main characters definitely show some of the wildest action between rivals in all of anime.
Also at work is the coming of age story of Seras, who is turned into a vampire by Alucard to save her life. She slowly comes to terms with being a vampire and her perspective on the matter is interesting, especially as she becomes one of the more powerful forces in the fight. Her story also has notes of romance towards the latter half of the series, creating some wonderful moments and expanding Seras as a character.
In short, Hellsing Ultimate is a hell of a ride.
Another starts as any anime set in a high school does. We get to meet all the characters, their wacky relationships, and then things start to get weird as we learn about some of the urban legends floating around the school and the town its in. Not only that, but our main hero Kouichi Sakakibara becomes interested in the strange girl Mei Misaki, who is often ignored by the other students and teachers. Kouichi isn’t even sure this odd girl exists, but she may have connections to the odd things happening in town. Another‘s story is a dark and twisted mystery of rural legends slowly coming full circle, as the events start to mirror events years prior.
Another is an anime that is best left unexplained really. It has so many interesting scenes and complexities that it is not only exhausting to summarize, but also ruins the fun. Throughout the series’ twelve episodes, viewers will slowly start to unravel the mystery, but there is more to the story than expected as the anime takes some liberties with its ghost story that’s rarely seen in movies or traditional shows. Another actually started out as a novel, which was then turned into a manga, and then finally saw an animation. I haven’t read the novel myself, but I did give the book to my sister as a gift and she absolutely loved it, claiming it was far better than the show.
For those just wanting a fun weekend with anime, Another is a crazy experience. It has one of the most grotesque death scenes I’ve ever seen, one that gives me a permanent fear of umbrellas, and second only to our last entry. In fact, it was that scene, which happens in the first few episodes, that stuck with me after catching it at an anime convention in a viewing room. The audience that day walked away confused and disturbed, just as I did. However, I wanted to know more about it, keeping the anime in the back of my mind to watch later. Needless to say, I ended up enjoying the show, finishing the whole series in just a couple sit downs. The mystery strung me along senselessly, forcing me to learn more about the strange circumstances.
I am ending our list of gory horror anime with the only one that has caused me literal nightmares, Blood-C. For those who have seen Blood: The Last Vampire or Blood +, Blood-C is connected in its themes as well as the archetype Saya presents, but it is not connected to the other shows. Before diving into my story with Blood-C, let me share its overview and backstory. Blood-C is an action heavy, horror anime that was created as a collaboration between Production IG (Blood+, Ghost in the Shell) and Clamp (Card Captor Sakura, Tsubasa) that takes the Saya archetype and creates a whole new story. Yes Clamp, the all girl super team that brought us Magic Knight Rayearth and Chobits created a horror anime and its frightening. In a nutshell, Blood-C is about a destined hero, Saya Kisaragi, that battles horrible monsters at night with a magic katana, but there is just so much more at work here.
Once again, this series is shorter, only twelve episodes and a film, but the plot that unravels towards the end is one of the most memorable endings in anime I have ever seen. It is not a cathartic ending, not even close, but it wraps up that section of Saya’s story and evolves her as a character, which sets up for the film. I will add here that the film is nowhere near as good as the series as a whole, but there are great scenes in it that makes me want either a sequel series or a cross over or something.
Animation quality is top-notch in Blood-C, sporting the classic character design of Clamp and the animation speed and ferocity of IG. The action is crisp, fast, and brutally gory. Often times, each episode shows off the monster picking off bystanders or other characters and these deaths are some of the most horrible, disgusting deaths in anime. This ridiculous gore and actual horror themes and atmosphere (especially in the Japanese version with subtitles) is what drove me into nightmares. I didn’t know this show existed, until I found myself at a late night panel at Otacon called Anime’s Craziest Deaths or something along those lines. While the panel did have a lot of humor in it, I was internally disturbed by the scenes from this show. This haunted my nights for months before I finally sought out the series, watching only an episode or two at a time on my parent’s satellite internet. After finishing it though, I sat back and knew that there would never be another anime like Blood-C, it’s intense story telling and brutality pushed it into my list of favorite anime and actually inspired many aspects of my creative writing.
This series is not for the faint of heart. While it was being simulcasted, most of the gore was blacked out, with the BluRay release promising uncensored cuts. I have seen this show more times than I can count, both in English and Japanese, sharing it with friends and promising a fantastic mystery and over the top gore. It is definitely a series worth checking out and I desperately hope that Clamp gets to revisit Saya Kisaragi in future work. Personally, I find the Japanese dub to me more disturbing in tone than the English dub, but it all boils down to preference. Those with a knowledge of Clamp’s work, will also catch a few references to their other series. Those into Japanese mythology will find a lot of Shinto influence in the monster designs.
There we have it, three short anime series to watch for the Halloween season. Did we miss something worth mentioning? Share your favorite horror anime below or find us on social media.