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Best Horror Anime To Watch on Netflix

Come every October, audiences can be guaranteed that programming will shift over to horror-centric content to fit with Halloween. With the litany of streaming services that now exist, it’s gone from being difficult to fill 31 days of content to it being a serious struggle to fit everything in. There’s horror programming everywhere at the moment and this is also true when it comes to anime. 

Netflix has built up an increasingly impressive library of anime content  that includes some moody horror selections that are perfect for the season (or anytime really). However, with so many titles out there it’s not always easy to know what’s worthwhile, especially when the names of some series don’t do much to help on the matter. Here’s a helpful selection of some of Netflix’s best and most frightening anime titles so you don’t have to dig through the herd.

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - Parasyte-the maxim-

Parasyte –the maxim–

How Many Episodes: 24

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There are plenty of anime that feature unassuming humans who are suddenly paired together with a supernatural partner or even become a hybrid of man and beast themselves. Parasyte -the maxim-,however, is the only one that feels like it could be an unofficial sequel to The Thing. Aliens have invaded the planet with the goal to gradually subjugate the entire human race. Shinichi Izumi is a run of the mill highschooler who finds himself bonded with one of these parasitic monsters who takes up residence living inside his hand. Shinichi and his alien parasite try to root out and eliminate the rest of these predatory species and the result is an amazing hybrid of mystery and action with constant body horror thrown in for good measure. There are hundreds of different aliens featured in anime, but the threats in Parasyte will actually make stomachs churn. In addition to the disturbing visuals, Parasyte crafts a surprisingly emotional relationship between Shinichi and the alien living in his hand.

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - Devilman Crybaby

Devilman Crybaby

How Many Episodes: 10

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The Devilman series has been around for decades in various iterations, but the most recent take on the material, Devilman Crybaby, feels special and like it’s trying to do something different with the property. Devilman Crybaby‘s plot isn’t overly complex. It features a world that’s at risk of being overrun by demons. Akira bonds with a demon in a way that turns him into Devilman, a hybrid between man and demon that’s the key to ending this war. Devilman Crybaby is dripping in carnage and it’s a series that trades in extremes. The legendary Masaaki Yuasa is the director and it’s the fluid ways that he plays with animation and color that makes Devilman Crybaby such a delight. Bloodshed and monsters have never been so visually beautiful.

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: The Battle of Unato

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: The Battle of Unato

How Many Episodes: 3

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Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is like if Resident Evil and Snowpiercer had a baby. It’s one of the few genuinely creative takes on the zombie genre in years. The Battle of Unato is Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress’ movie that’s set six months after the events of the series and it features the humans’ united front to take back their world from the undead. The animation is on a whole other level and there’s such satisfying world building present in this broken steampunk society. Obviously a knowledge of the original anime is helpful here, but The Battle of Unato can still be appreciated by genre fans who are looking for something like Attack on Titan meets Frankenstein. It’s a smart combination of old-world technology with radical new forms of destruction. Netflix splits up Battle of Unato into three busy episodes, which makes this the perfect watch that won’t take up a lot of time and can help bring more people around to the preceding series.

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

How Many Episodes: 26 and 2 Movies

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Neon Genesis Evangelion may not immediately come across as a horror series, but there’s disturbing imagery that’s present from the first episode that only becomes more intense as the series goes on. Evangelion is a moody deconstruction of not just the mecha genre, but also human nature. The series elegantly meshes together provoking questions with incredible action sequences and gutting character drama. The anime stands out for its unique take on robots, monsters, and how it intertwines religion with it all. It’s an ambitious project, but few anime create the same sense of anxiety and dread as Evangelion. Neon Genesis Evangelion is still considered to be one of the most acclaimed and challenging anime even decades after its debut. There’s truly nothing else like it. 

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - Ajin: Demi-Human

Ajin: Demi-Human

How Many Episodes: 26

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Ajin: Demi-Human is a horror anime that riffs on many of the themes that populate the genre. Kei Nagai learns that he’s an Ajin—a hybrid between human and demon—who have advanced regenerative abilities. Ajin can also create powerful ghost-like warriors to combat other Ajin, which is kind of like if Tokyo Ghoul mixed together with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Ajin are hunted by the government and turned into science experiments, which makes Nagai and the rest of his kind determined to take out the corrupt organization and quell the conflict between human and Ajin. Ajin: Demi-Human is more interested in action and atmosphere than some of the heavier psychological issues explored in these other anime, but it’s still addictive and morbid fun.

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - Death Note

Death Note

How Many Episodes: 37 

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Death Note is one of the bigger anime to come out of the past few decades and it’s because despite the hyperbolized places that the story goes, it still presents a parable that explores the curious nature of man and the dark places that curiosity can go. Death Note is a brilliant exercise in perspective as it shifts between killer and detective with the titular and mysterious Death Note caught in between. There’s something deeply terrifying about the Death Note’s power to kill anyone whose name is written inside of it and how flippantly Light Yagami utilizes this function. Death Note has some provoking thoughts and it’s impressive that it’s able to mesh such exaggerated visuals and extreme elements into this disturbing character study. Part of the joy in Death Note is that Light makes mistakes from the start and only works himself deeper to the point of no return.

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - Erased

Erased

How Many Episodes: 12 

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Erased is a fantastic mix of genres that wraps together elements of horror with science fiction and psychological thrillers. It tells a very different kind of story about the pursuit of a serial killer and plots a tight story that doesn’t meander within a lean 12 episodes. The anime centers around Satoru, a man who experiences a phenomenon known as “Revivals” that send him back briefly in time to help prevent accidents. Suddenly Satoru’s mother is killed and it looks like the culprit has ties to a series of crimes from nearly two decades ago. Satoru’s next Revival sends him back to his childhood with the opportunity to prevent these crimes and save his mother in the process. Erased isn’t interested in the mechanics behind Satoru’s ability and it instead focuses on powerful character dynamics and a mystery that’s actually suspenseful and frightening. Satoru’s efforts to solve this crime as a 10 year-old boy makes for a fantastic complication.

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - Dorohedoro

Dorohedoro

How Many Episodes: 12

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Horror anime should primarily be scary, but one of the perks of the genre is that anime can animate terrifying visuals on a level that often surpasses standard American animation. There’s still a lot of debate on whether the increased presence of CG in anime is a good thing or not, but Dorohedoro is proof that it can be used effectively and stylistically to amplify the surreal nature of the story at hand. Dorohedoro is set in a wild gig-economy world where magic is rampant and the schism between humans and sorcerers creates crime and disorder. Most humans are subjected to crude magic and find themselves with bizarre heads as a result. Caiman, the main character, wakes up with a reptile head and no memories of who he is, which leaves him even more vulnerable than usual in this chaotic world. Dorohedoro is another excellent example of creative world building that mixes horror together with fantasy and crime in an inspired way. It’s the type of freaky meditation of identity and society that Bright wishes it had been.

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan

How Many Episodes: 25 

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Attack on Titan has grown into one of the most popular anime series of this decade and it’s incredible to see how the scope of the story has slowly grown over time. The anime takes place within a walled city where humanity has feared the gigantic Titans that roam the land outside their walls. The anime chronicles the population’s efforts to combat these monsters, but it also looks at the war that’s been going on for generations and the sordid history of how Titans originated in the first place. Attack on Titan truly rewards dedicated audiences and the betrayals, revelations, and character development is just as satisfying as the epic fights with hordes of Titans. Netflix only has the first season of Attack on Titan available, but it’s still a convenient way to get introduced to the influential anime before its fourth and final season hits.

Best Horror Anime on Netflix - The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland

How Many Episodes: 12 

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The Promised Neverland tells such an addicting, enigmatic story that there’s a reason a slew of horror films and even Stephen King have riffed on the idea that’s at its core. The anime is set in a broken version of the future and it looks at a number of young children who are confined to an orphanage. The orphanage’s charity seems to be a blessing in this harsh times, but it turns out that there’s actually something much more sinister going on with the orphanage and the people that run. The Promised Neverland tells a disturbing story that gets more intense with every turn. It’s not afraid to incorporate deadly creatures, but more than anything else it highlights how humans can be more evil than anything else. The second season of The Promised Neverland is on its way, so these excellent debut episodes should be mandatory viewing. A live-action adaptation is in the works at Amazon.

Other horror-centric or monster-based anime titles to check out on Netflix when you’ve scared yourself stiff from everything else: Black Butler, Blue Exorcist, Castlevania, Gantz: 0, Vampire Knight

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