Anime that Make for Perfect Binge Sessions for Halloween
Every year for Halloween, it’s a tradition of mine to watch at least one Halloween special or scary movie every night in the month of October. While I haven’t always met this self-mandated quota, the process has led me to broaden my horizons into the horror genre, which is something that I normally want nothing to do with. As it turns out, the world of anime is filled to the brim with plenty of scary shows, movies, and OVA’s meant to have people sleeping with one eye open. In addition to serving as inspiration for amazing costumes, horror anime can also serve as ideal binging material to get one into the spirit of the holiday.
I’m RJ Writing Ink with D&A Anime blog, and in honor of Halloween, I’m sharing some of my top picks for anime to binge for All Hallow’s Eve. Some of these I’ve even managed to cover on the blog, so if they interest you, then go check out my reviews for shows like Chainsaw Man and Demon Slayer.
Hellsing Ultimate & Hellsing Ultimate : Abridged
You can rarely talk about the horror genre without mentioning vampires, and anime has them for days. While some of them depict vampires as waifu’s and husbandos, there are those that play them straight, with the Hellsing franchise standing near the very top. The series follows the exploits of Alucard, the strongest vampire in the world, as he serves the Hellsing Organization in their mission to protect Britain from supernatural threats. On its own, Hellsing Ultimate is a violent, bloody, and dark story where main characters can drop like flies.
Then, we have Hellsing Ultimate: Abridged by TeamFourStar, which is even better than the official series. The once stoic and perfectionist Alucard is now a goofy, bloodthirsty, over-the-top wearer of black air forces voiced by the talented Takahata101. TeamFourStar balances the genuine horror of facing an army of Nazi vampires with their own brand of humor, and the result is a masterpiece. Compare the moment when Alucard returns to London in the official release with what TeamFourStar does and tell me which doesn’t get you more hyped up.
Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is among the most famous anime in the world, and for good reason; it gave us some of the most terrifying monsters the world has ever seen. When it first came out, Attack on Titan looked to be a post-apocalyptic horror anime telling the story of mankind’s desperate fight for survival against an anime that didn’t just want them dead but to eat them. However, as time went on, the series expanded its ideas of what can be considered horror. From the realization that the enemy they had fought for so long had an unsettling connection to them to looking at the psychological toll war can have on everyone, Attack on Titan painted a bleak picture of mankind. And fans have eaten it up.
At the time that this is being published, fans are eagerly awaiting for the series finale to air on Crunchyroll on November 5th, 2023. Given the hype surrounding the ending to the manga, fans are going to be discussing what happens in Attack on Titan for years to come. Fear the Titans.
It may be a newcomer in the world of Shonen anime, but Chainsaw Man has already garnered a massive following. Set in an alternate 1990s Japan, Chainsaw Man follows the story of Denji, a teenage boy who hunts down Devils for a living. After his Yakuza handlers betray and kill him, Denji’s reborn as the titular Chainsaw Man, capable of cutting up anyone dumb enough to fight him into bloody, bloody chunks. Instead of being motivated to help others or do good, Denji wants to live a good life. That, and to get a girlfriend. The man has his priorities straight.
The first season of the anime might not have fully capitalized on the over-the-top violence fans were expecting. However, there’s no denying that Chainsaw Man is a good Shonen-Horror anime. The main antagonists of the series are the physical manifestations of everything that mankind fears. And once the violence gets started in earnest, no one will be safe from dying horrifically. This is one of the darkest of the new wave of Shonen hits, and it’s likely to be one that people will talk about for years.
Yet another example of the recent trend of dark Shonen anime, Jujutsu Kaisen operates on a similar premise to Chainsaw Man. In a Japan where sorceror’s secretly battle against monsters called Cursed Spirits, Yuji Itadori’s a seemingly ordinary kid. Until, that is, the day he becomes the unwitting host for the most dangerous Cursed Spirit in history. Thus, he’s forced to become a Jujutsu Sorceror and gather the other fragments of said Cursed Spirit in the hopes that when he dies, he can take this threat with him to his grave.
JuJutsu Kaisen is part of the next generation of Shonen anime, and it has already garnered a massive following. The premise of people fighting against the supernatural embodiment of negative feelings is an interesting take on the usual Shonen formula, but it doesn’t make it any less awesome. In addition to the horror factor, the show’s also gotten a lot of praise for its sense of humor. From Yuji’s Dub VA creating that iconic shout-out to Mega Thee Stallion to Gojo being a full-on rizz god, Jujustu Kaisen is super entertaining to watch. Don’t let the humor fool you, though. It knows when to get dark and serious.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
When Demon Slayer cooks, the whole world eats well. Set in Meji-era Japan, Demon Slayer follows the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a young boy who’s entire family is slaughtered by the Demon, Muzan, and his sister, Nezuko, turned into a Demon herself. Against almost everyone’s objections, Tanjiro refuses to let Nezuko die, vowing to kill Muzan and return his sister to human form. Thus, he embarks on the life of a Demon Slayer.
Demon Slayer has become legendary for how amazing the animation is, but it also stands up well in the horror genre. The members of the Demon Slayer Corps are constantly forced to fight against Demons that range from normal in appearance to outright abominations, and are usually considered the underdogs doing it. What really makes Demon Slayer great, though, is what the story represents on a thematic level. If Demons represent the worst of humanity, then the Demon Slayer Corps indomitable will against overwhelming odds represents its best. That alone is worth giving it a shot.
High School of the Dead
Zombie Apocalypse’s can be as commonplace in anime as they are in western media, but few are as notorious as the unfinished High School of the Dead. When a zombie pandemic strikes without warning around the world and society collapses, a group of largely high school students bands together to do their best to survive. At the same time, though, they’re dealing with a threat just as dangerous: their own hormones and how that can affect their relationships.
I will be blunt about this: if you’re looking for something that’s thought-provoking and deep, then Hight School of the Dead is not for you. It’s an anime that focuses almost as much time on the fanservice from the beautiful girls as it does on the sheer blood and gore and trying to be edgy. However, it also knows what it is and makes no attempts to hide that from the viewers. If you’re looking for a show filled Evil Dead levels of ridiculous violence, then this might be worth your time.
Or…you can watch this instead.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
A show that came out this year, Zom 100 is essentially the anti-High School of the Dead. Like HOTD, the world falls victim to a zombie apocalypse that leaves everyone struggling to survive. Whereas HOTD seems cynical and jaded about the whole thing, the main characters of Zom 100 treat it like the best thing that’s ever happened to them. Considering how miserable they were in their lives before it happened, though, they all agree that this is much better.
I’ve already talked about this show extensively in my reviews of each episode, so I won’t explain much of why I think it’s binge-worthy for Halloween here. However, I must warn you that the first season is currently on hiatus due to production issues. If anything, you should still watch it and show the studios that we want it to continue!
Lastly, we have the supernatural dark fantasy, Soul Eater. Set in a world filled with witches and other supernatural entities, Soul Eater follows the exploits of three teams from the Death Weapon Meister Academy, a school headed by Death himself to protect the world from evil. To do this, some groups of people can transform themselves into living weapons capable of being wielded by their partners called Meisters. If they grow strong enough, they can become a weapon capable of being wielded by Death.
Soul Eater is, for all intents and purposes, what would happen if Tim Burton were to create his own anime. In fact, Tim Burton is often cited as a major source of inspiration for the gothic style and tone of Soul Eater, with critics and fans making positive comparisons to his works like The Nightmare Before Christmas. Given that film’s status as a classic Halloween/Christmas film, it’s only fitting that this anime be watched around Halloween. Not to mention there is a Soul Eater AMV that runs to a cover of “This is Halloween” on YouTube.