Horror/Dark/Psychological Anime Recommendation Masterpost
This alphabetical-order list can and will be added to based on what I watch in the future. See something missing on this list? Got a recommendation for me? Hit me up with an ask and I’ll try to get my hands on it.
Genres: Horror, psychological, dark, mystery, gore, supernatural
Plot: Koichi Sakakibara, a high school transfer student, begins to discover the strange secrets and mysterious deaths affecting his class after an encounter with his enigmatic classmate, Mei Misaki.
Why it’s here: This anime is a modern classic in terms of Japanese horror. It perfectly balances creepiness, mystery, and gore in the traditional high school setting.
Attack on Titan
Genres: Action, dark, gore
Plot: A young boy’s life is changed forever when man-eating Titan’s break through the walls of his home, causing him to swear revenge on the monsters that caused this tragedy.
Why it’s here: Because there is almost nobody in the anime community that hasn’t seen this series. If by some slim chance you have not… just go watch it now.
Genres: Gore, mystery, horror, supernatural
Plot: A group of friends perform a ritual of friendship that goes deadly wrong, sending them into an alternate universe haunted by the vengeful spirit of a young girl.
Why it’s here: This anime is hardcore-horror and a classic for gore-lovers.
Dance in the Vampire Bund
Genres: Vampire, supernatural, action
Plot: Mina Tepes, vampire princess, and her werewolf bodyguard are determined to create a safe-haven for all vampires, despite both human and vampire opponents.
Why it’s here: It’s an enjoyable action/vampire series. TRIGGER WARNING-at times this anime can be slightly pedophilic (the main character is an immortal vampire in the body of a little girl). Watch at your own risk.
Genres: Mystery, psychological, murder
Plot: Fifteen students wake up in an armored school in which there is only one way out: getting away with the murder of a fellow student.
Why it’s here: Danganronpa includes a cast of diverse characters, crazy plot twists, and a general feeling of Sherlock-Holmes-gone-wrong.
Genres: Horror, action, science fiction
Plot: Middle school student Ganta Igarashi has been arrested for a brutal crime he did not commit and sent to Japan’s most notorious prison theme park: Deadman Wonderland. Upon his arrival, weird blood-related powers begin to emerge and take an effect upon his stay…
Why it’s here: It’s a horror-genre classic. It’s got blood, plot twists, crazy characters, you name it.
Genres: Psychological, detective, supernatural, dark, murder
Plot: High-schooler Light Yagami’s life is forever changed when he stumbles across the Death Note, a notebook with the power to kill anybody whose name is written inside.
Why it’s here: Death Note is the best of the best when it comes to psychological and dark anime. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you run right now to your nearest electronic screen.
Genres: Psychological, dark, drama
Plot: Welcome to the Quindecim, where your bartender Decim is ready to mix up some drinks and judge your soul. Well, that is, unless you’re a black haired woman by the name of…
Why it’s here: Because I’m still crying over this masterpiece. And the opening is amazing (if not a bit misleading).
Devil May Cry
Genres: Action, demons, horror
Plot: Dante runs a “private investigation” business, which is really just a front for his actual job as a demon hunter.
Why it’s here: Because I quite enjoyed watching an invincible half-demon white-haired anime boy wrecking shit.
Genres: Horror, psychological, gore
Plot: The story focuses on the Diclonii, a species of mutant with horn-like head protrusions and invisible arms called “vectors.” One Diclonius, Lucy, escapes her detainment facility and proceeds to enter the life of two humans: Kohta and Yuka.
Why it’s here: Elfen Lied as a story is both heartbreaking and emotional. Also, as a plus for all the gore lovers out there, it also contains incredible amounts of violence.
Genres: Horror, supernatural, revenge
Plot: Legend has it that at exactly midnight a site called the Hell Correspondence opens for requests. Once a request is made, the user has the choice to summon the Hell Girl and send an enemy to hell at the cost of their own soul.
Why it’s here: If you’re looking for something episodic and dark, here you go. It’s perfect for binge-watching due to its many episodes and multiple seasons.
Genres: Action, vampire, supernatural
Plot: Seras Victoria got a lot more than she bargained for after heading with her police unit into the vampire-ravaged village of Cheddar. After being saved from death by the enigmatic vampire Alucard, she is introduced to the Hellsing organization and the world of vampire hunting.
Why it’s here: The music, the animation, the characters… it’s all so perfectly retro and amazing. Holy hell. Watch it.
Hellsing Ultimate OVA
Genres: Action, vampire, supernatural, gore
Plot: Hellsing returns, better than ever, with a plot continuous to the original manga. In a nutshell: badass vampires vs. Nazis vs. Catholics. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.
Why it’s here: Guns, guts, Alucard, sociopathic priests, a cannon-loving bad bitch, and maybe some implied lesbianism but I’m not sure.
Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni
Genres: Psychological, horror, supernatural
Plot: Keiichi Maebara is a newcomer to the small, rural Japanese village of Hinamizawa. He makes friends, has fun, and lives a normal existence until the night of the Watanagashi (Cotton-Drifting) festival, where things take a gruesome turn…
Why it’s here: This series is a mindfuck that you’ll never forget. Think these characters on the cover look innocent, incapable of brutally murdering each other over and over? Think again.
Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary)
Genres: Psychological, horror, action, romance
Plot: Lonely outcast Yukiteru Amano’s life is put in jeopardy when he receives a diary that can see into the future from Deus, the God of Time and Space. Deus informs him that eleven other people have gotten a similar gift, and he must compete against them in a battle royale to become the next God and prevent the apocalypse.
Why it’s here: Mirai Nikki is famous for having the most well-known yandere in anime history: Yuno Gasai.
Nightwalker: The Midnight Detective
Genres: Detective, vampire, horror
Plot: Shido Tatsuhiko is a vampire detective tasked with protecting humanity from dangerous Nightbreeds, a lower form of demon that possess humans. Together with policewoman Yayoi, schoolgirl Riho, and familiar Guni, he stalks the night to ensure the safety of all.
Why it’s here: I highly recommend Nightwalker if you’re a fan of the original Hellsing series. It’s retro, it’s got jazzy music, and it’s just plain cool.
Parasyte: The Maxim
Genres: Horror, body horror, science fiction
Plot: One fine summer evening, parasites descend upon Earth and begin to take over human bodies and eat other humans. 17 year-old Shinichi Izumi’s life is forever changed when a parasite tries and fails to take him over, and is instead stuck inside his right hand.
Why it’s here: Talk about a titan in the body-horror genre; holy shit the imagery in this anime is good. This anime is also deeply philosophical, exploring humans, human emotions, and environmental destruction.
Genres: Science fiction, crime, cyberpunk, psychological
Plot: In a world where people’s thoughts and mental states are judged by a special program as “criminal” or “clear,” a special task force known as the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division is charged with finding and apprehending dangerous and/or potential criminals.
Why it’s here: It’s a modern psychological classic that fits into the dystopia-craze while still maintaining freshness, suspense, and entertainment value.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Genres: Magical girl, dark, fantasy, horror
Plot: Middle school student Madoka Kaname and her friend Sayaka Miki have been offered a choice: they can have any wish of their choice granted in exchange for becoming a witch-fighting magical girl. However, what seems like an easy choice is made more complex by the appearance of another magical girl, Homura Akemi, who urges them to refuse the offer.
Why it’s here: Because this anime will fucking wreck you.
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne
Genres: Action, horror, cyberpunk
Plot: Rin Asogi and her assistant Mimi are two immortal women running a detective agency in Shinjuku. Follow them and the Maeno family through their mysterious, action-packed passage through time.
Why it’s here: Mnemosyne is a piece of art. It was hard to select genres for it, as it’s really in one of it’s own.
Genres: Horror, mystery, supernatural
Plot: Something is slowly killing off the residents of the small, isolated Japanese village of Sotoba, and two characters: high-schooler Natsuno Yuki and doctor Toshio Ozaki, are determined to find out and stop it.
Why it’s here: Shiki is my personal favorite anime of all time. It perfectly balances creepiness, philosophy, unique art, and gore for a neat package of binge-watching material.
Genres: Horror, dark
Plot: College student Kaneki Ken meets Rize Kameshiro, a beautiful, intellectual lady who invites him on a date with her. What could be more perfect, right? Wrong. Rize is a flesh-eating ghoul who nearly succeeds in killing Kaneki, putting him in the hospital. However, when he gets out of the hospital, he finds that something inside of him has changed…
Why it’s here: I will honestly be surprised if you are in this section of tumblr and have never seen Tokyo Ghoul. Like seriously. It’s all the rage. How have you avoided seeing it this long?!
Umineko No Naku Koro Ni
Genres: Horror, mystery, drama, supernatural
Plot: As the head of the wealthy Ushiromiya family nears death, he calls together the entire clan to the isolated island of Rokkenjima for the annual meeting to determine how the inheritance will be distributed. As it turns out, the inheritance is an epitaph, a riddle that must be solved before all of the island’s inhabitants are murdered by the enigmatic witch Beatrice.
Why’s it’s here: Umineko is a sort of companion story to Higurashi, though it focuses on completely different characters and setting. They are equal in their mindfuckery, but I find this story to be more Halloween-friendly.
Genres: Horror, ghost stories
Plot: A series of shorts, each episode is a Japanese ghost story told by a strange masked man at a children’s playground.
Why it’s here: The animation is reminiscent of kamishibai (paper drama), and is thus very unique. Also, the stories, while short, are creepy as hell.