While movies are great and we can’t wait for the next one to hit the big screen (or bomb it, if you’re into that type of thing), horror extends much further than the theater. Horror can be found in books, comics, art, and my favorite, anime and manga. I live for anime, collect manga any chance I get. (Yes, I even read the girly stuff, but not often. :p). Manga and anime takes the gore factor to a new level that sometimes can not be reached with Hollywood magic. You want to be thankful that it doesn’t.
So who’s the best of the best when it comes to horror in anime and manga? Let’s start with the small screen. First up, for me, comes Hellsing. Oh, I love Alucard. The coat, the eyes, the killer smile. It almost makes you wish he would jump off the screen and bite you on the neck. He takes pleasure in killing the undead as they cause chaos due to an evil organization’s really wacked mission and it’s fun to watch Alucard unleash his awesome power. If the story of vampires versus the undead and Nazis doesn’t do it for you, the opening credits will definitely suck you in, no doubts there.
Second on the list, High School of the Dead. I loved both the manga and the anime. HSD is one of those animes that actually doesn’t deter too much from the original manga which can be good sometimes. You still get that OMG gasp in watching that you will in reading. Zombies, all terrain vehicles, big boobed girls with guns,yes it is a fanboy’s dream, but for the horror fan, it’s great too.
Innocent W does not have an anime form, but in my opinion, it doesn’t need one. It’s gory, scary and thrilling in its written format. Innocent W is one of the horror mangas that isn’t as discussed as much as perhaps Boogiepop Phantom or Tomie, but it is worth reading. Innocent deals with a witch hunt as a busload of children, mostly female with powers of witchcraft, whose vehicle crashes with the sole purpose of being preyed upon. There can be only one survivor who will go on to becoming all powerful. Those hunting the witches are people who have been affected by them in some way and are seeking revenge. If you like your characters gutted like fishes and hung on trees, give Innocent W a try.
Another good horror anime worth checking out is Elfen Lied. I came across this by accident and I let the name completely fool me. This is not about cute little elves wanting to make shoes for the old and kind shoemaker, no, this is about mutated horned females with telekinetic abilities that will rip your head off without a second thought. The first scene in the very first episode is an arm on the ground and a guard’s head exploding. Yeah, cute and fuzzy, this ain’t. On a sidenote, though, for the anime music fans, the soundtrack is a must-have and the opening credit art is gorgeous.
Just as a recommendation for the fan looking for the obscure, try Variante in manga. I’ve read several horror manga and Variante does remind one of Parasyte, but the storyline is still compelling. For a horror manga, it can be a little touchy-feely, but that is a good point for when the real ish hits the fan, you don’t expect it. It does leave you gasping for more and feeling sorry for our main female character going through it all.
Granted that this is a short list, a very short list, of horror anime and manga that is out there. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but don’t worry. More lists and reviews will be posted soon. Until then, keep screaming.