While the anime landscape today is filled with familiar storylines and recurring tropes, there was a time—particularly in the 2000s and 2010s—when Japan unleashed a wave of truly creepy anime series.
These aren’t the kind of anime you’ll see in today’s lineup; they’re too unsettling for modern audiences to stomach.
Let’s clear up a common misconception: “creepy” and “horror” are not the same thing in the world of anime. Horror anime aims to scare you with jump scares and intense sound effects.
Creepy anime, however, does exactly what it says on the tin—it creeps you out, leaving you unsettled long after the credits roll.
So, without further ado, here are the top 10 creepiest anime series that you’re probably better off not watching. If you do decide to brave this list, don’t say we didn’t warn you about the sleepless nights to come.
10. Blue Gender (1999-2000)
|Number of Episodes||26 Episodes|
|Genres||Action, Adventure, Horror|
“Blue Gender” may not be your typical horror anime, but its dark and mysterious atmosphere is sure to give you chills.
The series unfolds in a world where Earth has been invaded by insect-like creatures known as “Blue,” who quickly took control of the planet.
Unable to defeat these creatures, humans have moved to a neighboring planet, leaving Earth and their past lives behind. The story revolves around Kaido, a teenager who chose cryogenic sleep to escape an incurable ailment.
When he wakes up, he finds Earth in a dire state and is immediately enlisted by the remaining humans into an army of individuals who have also awakened from cryogenic sleep.
The pressing question is: Can Kaido and his companions resolve this overwhelming crisis on their own?
9. From The New World (2012-13)
|Number of Episodes||25 Episodes|
|Animation Studio||A-1 Pictures|
|Genres||Drama, Mystery, Horror, Sci-Fi|
“From The New World” is an anime that first gives you hope, only to shatter it later. Much like “The Promised Neverland,” this series explores the dangerous thirst for power.
Centered on Saki, a young girl who awakens her psychic powers early on, she joins Sage Academy to hone her skills. What the students don’t know is that the academy is actually screening them to find the strongest among them.
As time goes by, Saki starts to notice her group of friends getting smaller, though she doesn’t quite understand why.
Everything changes when she and her remaining friends encounter a mysterious creature named Gouma in the woods. Gouma knows the dark history of the academy and shares it with them.
Now that Saki knows the truth, will her fate take a different turn?
8. Bogiepoop and Others! (2019)
|Number of Episodes||18 Episodes|
|Genres||Avante Garde, Drama, Mystery, Horror|
“Boogiepop and Others” doesn’t rely on traditional horror elements, but its complex storyline is enough to give you chills.
The premise is centered around the teenage girl “Touka,” who can visualize the eccentric personality named “Bogiepoop.” Bogiepoop appears when a danger emerges or any other alarming situation arises.
But Bogiepoop has a different demeanor among the students as they think it kills the most beautiful people present in the school. Students start to disappear, which awakens Bogiepoop as it starts to investigate what is causing this.
Will Bogiepoop save the day by catching this culprit on time?
7. Mononoke (2007)
|Number of Episodes||12 Episodes|
|Animation Studio||Toei Animation|
|Genres||Mystery, Horror, Supernatural|
“Mononoke” uses a unique blend of eccentric art and bright colors to bring its horror theme to life, a combination not often seen in the anime world. The series features some gruesome visuals that might be too much for some viewers.
The story is set in ancient Japan and follows a man called the “Medicine Seller.” He’s on a quest to find mysterious monsters known as “Mononoke,” which hide in human fears.
The Medicine Seller has the power to exorcise these creatures, but there’s a catch.
To do so, he must follow three golden rules: he must reveal the form, truth, and reason behind these monsters. Once he does, he transforms into a grotesque creature to hunt them down.
But tackling these Mononoke is no small feat. The question is: Can the Medicine Seller successfully eliminate these beings while staying safe from their powers?
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6. Perfect Blue (1998)
|Number of Episodes||1 Episode (Movie)|
|Animation Studio||Madhouse, ONIRO|
Directed by the renowned Satoshi Kon, “Perfect Blue” is a psychological thriller from the ’90s that doesn’t rely on horror visuals. Instead, its eerie atmosphere is what will give you chills.
The anime follows Mima, a member of a popular idol group who decides to change her career and become an actor.
While most of her fans are supportive, one fan with a frightening face starts stalking her, concerned about her entering this new world.
As Mima steps into the showbiz industry, she faces online harassment from those who disapprove of her.
She also finds out that explicit scenes are actually filmed, which disturbs her mentally. Amidst all this, a fake social media account impersonating her is created.
Mima starts to feel that a shadow is following her, aware of her every move. The question is: Will Mima be able to survive under these conditions, or will she regret her career change?
5. Paranoia Agent (2004)
|Number of Episodes||13 Episodes|
|Genres||Drama, Mystery, Supernatural, Avante Garde|
“Paranoia Agent” took a gamble by opting for a rough animation style that’s not typically popular among anime fans.
However, this choice only adds to the series’ unsettling nature, making it stand out in its own right.
The story revolves around a mysterious boy known as “Lil Slugger,” who appears before people suffering from social anxiety and attacks them with his bent baseball bat.
This has put the country’s police force and detectives on high alert, but despite their efforts, there’s no trace of him anywhere.
Interestingly, those who have been attacked by Lil Slugger seem to be connected in some way, leading some to believe that he might just be a figment of people’s imagination.
Yet, he’s also been seen by ordinary citizens, suggesting that this mysterious figure could be born from collective fears.
4. Shiki (2010)
|Number of Episodes||22 Episodes|
|Genres||Horror, Mystery, Supernatural|
“Shiki” is a horror-centric anime that will unsettle you with its gory and disturbing visuals. Though the series is quite old, it still holds up as one of the most visually intense horror anime.
The story takes place in Sotoba, a peaceful village in Japan. The calm is disrupted when a mysterious family moves into the village’s castle. Shortly after their arrival, a pandemic begins to spread, turning the villagers into vampires, also known as “Shiki.”
Despite the strange occurrences, no one suspects the new family. Dr. Ozaki, the village doctor, conducts tests on some patients and concludes that they’re facing a supernatural threat with no medical solution.
The need to find the source of this virus becomes urgent. The new family becomes a subject of suspicion but they seldom leave their castle, complicating matters for Dr. Ozaki.
The question remains: Will Dr. Ozaki be able to stop this supernatural outbreak before it engulfs the entire village?
Also Read: Top 10 Best Vampire Anime Series To Watch
3. Corpse Party (2013)
|Number of Episodes||4 Episodes|
|Genres||Horror, Mystery, Supernatural|
“Corpse Party” is a horror-mystery anime that takes cues from haunted-house films in Hollywood but ups the ante with even more disturbing visuals. Be warned: the level of gore in this series is not for the faint-hearted.
The story revolves around a group of friends on the verge of graduation. To commemorate their friendship, they perform a ritual using tiny paper dolls.
However, not everyone participates with pure intentions, and as a result, they find themselves transported to another world’s school.
They end up in Heavenly Host Elementary School, a place that burned down, leading to the death of all its students. Now, the friends must confront the vengeful spirits of these deceased children.
The pressing question is: Can they escape this nightmarish place before they become the next victims of these vengeful spirits?
2. Angel’s Egg (1985)
|Number of Episodes||1 Episode|
|Animation Studio||Studio Deen|
|Genres||Avante Garde, Drama, Fantasy|
“Angel’s Egg” is an abstract and symbolic anime film that leaves most viewers questioning what they’ve just seen, as nothing is spelled out.
Give it some time, and you’ll realize the dark and eerie themes it symbolizes, setting it apart from other series.
The film takes place in a dark, rain-soaked world. A young girl and an armored man wander the empty streets.
The girl is always carrying a large egg, protecting it with everything she has, while the armored man carries a cross-staff and accompanies her.
They don’t seem to have a destination or purpose; they simply travel, each guarding something. The film’s ending is left open, dependent on how the viewer interprets it.
So, the question is: Can you decipher the symbolism in this eerie movie?
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1. Serial Experiment’s Lain (1998)
|Number of Episodes||13 Episodes|
|Animation Studio||Triangle Staff|
|Genres||Avante Garde, Horror, Sci-Fi|
“Serial Experiments Lain” is among the most unsettling and depressing anime series out there. The series features no scary imagery or spooky faces, just a chilling and macabre theme that might haunt you for a long time.
The story is centered around Lain, a middle school student who recently got a new computer system. Her first task is to look into the profile of her late classmate, Chisa.
Chisa had messaged everyone before her death, saying she was transferring her identity to Wired (the Internet), and her online profile is still active.
Intrigued by this, Lain creates an online personality similar to Chisa’s. But as her online profile gains traction in Wired, she starts losing her grip on reality.
Secret organizations even begin to monitor her activity, leaving Lain confused about what’s real and what’s not.