Japanese-style animation or anime is more popular than ever – and more accessible.

In 2017, Sony Television has purchased popular anime streaming service Funimation and Amazon has folded its Anime Strike VOD service into Prime Video. Crunchyroll, one of the largest producers of anime content in the world, is now owned by AT&T. And since 2018, Netflix has doubled down on its production of original anime content and launched @NX, a social media presence dedicated to its fantasy, genre, animation, and anime titles. 

Although many people are familiar with major anime titles, like Ghost in the Shell and Death Note, the sub-genre of horror anime has been growing in popularity. Horror anime is usually bloody, mildly suggestive, and almost always very creepy. The veneer of animation can make these works less terrifying than live-action horror movies, yet the best of the horror sub-genre often boasts incredible storylines as well as high-quality animation and voice acting.

Curious? Here are nine anime horror series that you can stream just in time for Halloween.


Tokyo Ghoul  

What it is: This epic series is set in a world where ghouls – monsters that survive by eating human flesh – live on the outskirts of human society, secretly killing and feeding to survive. The series is the origin story of Ken Kaneki, a human teenager who becomes a half-ghoul after a transplant operation; he now has become his own worst nightmare and has to learn to navigate a world where neither side wants him.

Why you should watch: Part horror, part existential think piece, Tokyo Ghoul offers one of the best character arcs since Daenerys Targaryen (and one that feels far less rushed).

Episodes: 48

Watch time: 19 hours

Streaming on: Hulu, Funimation


Junji Ito Collection  

What it is: Junji Ito is regarded as the greatest horror mangaka ever. He is known for his freakishly detailed artwork and nightmare-inducing short stories, and this anthology series adapts several of his works for the small screen. Ito’s work is terrifying because it makes horror from the everyday: a girl gets sick at school and suddenly grows a giant slug out of her mouth, for example, and a murderous knife-wielding puppet controls an entire family. It’s freaky stuff. 

Why you should watch: The collection offers psychological thrills in small bites and an introduction to Ito’s work.

Episodes: 14

Watch time: 5.5 hours

Streaming on: Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime Video


Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba  

What it is: In feudal Japan, a boy returns home to find his entire family viciously killed by a demon. The only survivor is his sister, who apparently has been turned, but still retains conscious human thought and cognizance — except when she’s hungry! The boy learns the ways of demon hunting in order to find a cure for his sister and to save others that are threatened by the demon horde.

Why you should watch: Demon Slayer’s incredible animation makes it one of the most beloved anime series out right now.

Episodes: 26

Watch time: 10.5 hours

Streaming on: Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation


Parasyte: The Maxim

What it is: Wormlike alien creatures invade Earth and begin body-snatching, turning their hosts into cannibalistic monsters. Their delivery method of choice? Drilling themselves into human flesh while potential hosts sleep and heading straight for the brain. However, Shinichi Izumi is unique, because he wakes up during an attack and stops the alien from burrowing through his body. The alien (now living in his hand), becomes sentient and begins communicating with him and together they save the world.

Why you should watch: It’s the body-horror buddy cop anime you never knew you needed.

Episodes: 24

Watch time: 10 hours

Streaming on: Hulu


Another

What it is: Kōichi Sakakibara transfers to a new school in a town where a young girl has died some 20 years prior. He soon meets Mei, a quiet girl with an eyepatch whom both the teachers and students seem to ignore. When students and relatives start dying in a variety of strange and bloody ways, the pair soon realize all the incidents are connected and try to get to the bottom of the mystery before anyone else gets killed.

Why you should watch: It’s Final Destination, anime-style, and a lot of fun.

Episodes: 12

Watch time: 5 hours

Streaming on: Crunchyroll


Ajin: Demi-Human

What it is: Kei Nagai is an aloof pre-med student who is hit by a truck and killed on his way to class one day. Moments later, his body resurrects and Kei realizes that he is Ajin, a demi-human with limitless regenerative powers. Those qualities have attracted government interest, which has been quietly experimenting and torturing Ajin in an effort to exploit their immortality. Kei is thrown into a world he never knew existed and must choose to fight for survival as a demi-human or fight for the entire human race.

Why you should watch: Ajin gets the blood pumping with big scares and thrilling action, packing both into its intriguing central mystery. 

Episodes: 26

Watch time: 10 hours

Streaming on: Netflix


When They Cry

What it is: Keiichi Maebara moves to a small rural town he quickly comes to love, but soon learns the village has a very dark secret. The series’ story is told in multiple arcs with a repeating timeline that differs based on who is telling the story. Don’t let the cuteness of the first episodes fool you – this series is so twisted it will leave you wondering if you ever learned the truth about any of the characters at all.

Why you should watch: It’s a twisty psychological thriller with a lot of violence and blood, if that’s your thing. 

Episodes: 26

Watch time: 10 hours

Streaming on: Hulu

Note: There are many versions and series called When they Cry. This is referring to the first anime series.


Devilman Crybaby 89% 

What it is: Akira is your average sensitive teen who hasn’t seen his buddy Ryo since they were childhood besties. One day Ryo suddenly pops back into town and drags Akira to an underground rave orgy where he commences stabbing people. But that’s not the crazy part: The scent of blood makes some of the ravers transform into beasts themselves – including Akira, who becomes a human-demon hybrid. Convinced by Ryo that this is his true calling, Akira’s innate sensitivity transforms him into a rare breed: A demon with a human heart, or Devilman. That doesn’t make him any less violent, as his teenage desires and new body ratchet both his demon-hunting skills and his sex drive up to 1,000. Oh yeah, and he cries. A lot.

Why you should watch: One of Netflix’s most violent and sexually explicit series ever produced. You’ll love the retro animation and over-the-top gore and violence. NSFW.

Episodes: 10

Watch time: 10 hours

Streaming on: Netflix


Hellsing Ultimate  

What it is: Integra Fairbrook Wingates Helsing is the new leader of the Helsing family. She commands the largest military fighting force dedicated to the eradication of the undead in England under Her Majesty the Queen. Her secret weapon is Alucard, a vampire who kills his own and his charge, a police officer named Seres. They all must fight the monsters of the night as well as the evil Nazi group Millenium, intent on destroying the world in this over-the-top vampire series.

Why you should watch: If you like blood, gore and punching Nazis, you’ll be very happy.

Episodes: 10

Watch time: 8 hours

Streaming on: Hulu


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