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10 Best Japanese Horror Anime Movies

No one does horror quite the same way as Japanese film. The Ring, Godzilla, and countless eerie ghost movies are great at making your skin crawl.

While Japanese live-action horror movies are well-known and highly praised, many amazing Japanese anime horror movies can be found, too. These can be just as terrifying, even offering images that can’t be found in live-action thanks to some jaw-dropping animation.

Here are ten of the best Japanese terrifying horror anime movies to give you chills:

1. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)

Photo Credit: Amazon.com.

This dark horror-adventure fantasy film was released in 2000. This surreal movie takes the mythos of vampires and the supernatural and turns it into a gorgeously animated horror film.

The plot revolves around a young girl who has been kidnapped by a vampire and a vampire hunter’s attempts to rescue her. It is very simple in many ways but also highly chaotic.

This is a must for any fan of vampires, werewolves, and all the spooky in between. If you’re looking for a good dose of vampires and other creatures of the night in beautiful animation, this movie is for you!

Buy the DVD.

2. Paprika (2006)

In this movie, a pair of lab techs is developing technology that can see and control other people’s dreams in hopes of helping people overcome psychological issues. However, this ability has a dark side as well, and when the technology is stolen, terrible things begin happening.

The lab techs and a therapy patient must hurriedly find the psychological terrorist who has stolen this technology before it is too late. This movie has won many awards and is lauded for its surreal animation.

The incredible dream sequences are amazingly well-drawn. If you are interested in an intense psychological thriller of a horror anime, this is a must-see.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

3. Ninja Scroll (1993) Jubei Ninpucho

This highly energetic anime film features the hero battling supernatural ninjas to save the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is an incredibly well-animated and influential movie, supposedly helping to influence the style of the Matrix movies.

It is a highly visceral movie, with a tendency to show gore and the horrors of war, including sexual assault and the loss of loved ones. Whole villages are poisoned or wiped out by a plague.

In many ways, ninja scroll channels well-known and loved samurai movies and adds a horror element thanks to its amazing animation. The jaw-dropping animation makes Ninja Scroll worth seeing alone.

4. Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)

In 1966, a young girl with strange powers hunts down dangerous bat creatures that are preying on humans and hide among them.

This is a very short film, running only 45 minutes. Everything is centered around beautifully animated action sequences. Tension is maintained throughout the film, as well as a great deal of mystery.

The film has won many awards and grown extremely popular. The setting and action are very striking, gritty while still being pretty. There is a lot of strength in its simple story, and it is one of the must-see animations of the 2000s.

5. Perfect Blue (1997)

This highly psychological movie centers on Mima Kirigoe, a former member of a Japanese pop group, who has left to pursue an acting career.

As she finds herself being stalked, gruesome murders begin taking place around her. Mima begins to lose her grip on reality and viewers join her as fantasy and reality begin to blur within the film.

Surreal and terrifying, the film chronicles Mima’s breakdown and trauma with well-animated detail. It is highly praised as a tense psychological thriller and has won many awards.

The wonders of animation offer a way to play up the tension in a form that cannot be done in live-action. Buy it here.

6. Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek (2004)

Set in the ruins of a city, this film tells the story of seven children playing a mysterious game of hide and seek amid the industrial wreckage. This is no normal game of hide and seek though, as all who have played it before have vanished- some say because of demons.

This is a very short movie, running 30 minutes. However, it is a very well-crafted and well-animated film, full of twists and turns and tension. The mood, especially the sound effects, is truly excellent.

This is an excellent psychological thriller that is well worth your time while waiting in a doctor’s office or riding the train.

You can watch this film (English Dubbed) on YouTube.

7. The Empire of Corpses (2015)

Set in a world of technological necromancy, this film owes a great deal to Frankenstein and Sherlock Holmes.

The art is incredibly beautiful, stunningly depicting the world and characters. The story is complex and deals with the unique ethical issues of this unique and strange world.

You may need to watch the movie again to fully understand everything that is going on, but the beautiful visuals mean it is well worth a second viewing.

8. Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)

A story in the famous video game Resident Evil universe, this movie is set before Resident Evil 6 and stars the video game hero Leon Kennedy.

Many consider it the best Resident Evil film to date. It is full of the action, zombies, and mutant monsters the series is known for, as well as a good dose of character development.

Whether you’re a fan of the Resident Evil series, or just looking for a good zombie movie, this one is for you! Watch it on Prime Video.

9. Wicked City (1987)

This dark fantasy anime film centers around the idea that the human world coexists with a demon world. The boundary between the two is protected by a force called the Black Guard.

It is an action-packed movie and does contain quite a bit of sexual content, as well, so this is not one to share with your kids. The movie is brutal and the imagery is imaginative and twisted.

If you want some creative and brutal horror, give Wicked City a watch.

10. Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners – Overlooking View (2007) 

A series of suicides with striking similarities leave Japan reeling one summer. One detective agency feels there is something more going on and dispatches two detectives to find the cause of the girls’ death.

This series has a dark and philosophical one, with very traditional animation. There are seven parts and an epilogue. This series is a great horror binge-watch.

Directed by Ei Aoki, this film was released on December 1, 2007.  

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