Mention anime and most people imagine either school girl drama, giant robots or cute anthropomorphic animals…or tentacles. But like comic books, anime is not a genre it’s a medium and it has a strong but seldom mentioned horror offering. Below is a brief summary of 4 series that are worth the while of any horror fan and don’t all fall into the J-Horror trappings.
Shiki, Higurashi When they Cry and Another are all available on dvd/blu and Attack on Titan is still mid-season in Japan and available to watch on Crunchy Roll. If there is any interest I would be happy to write more on the subject so comment below to let me know.
Shiki is a vampire story more in line with the vampire films of Hammer Horror studio’s than the typical vampire anime like Blood and Vampire Hunter D. A small country town is beset by what they think is a disease spreading through the populace akin to a fatal dose of anaemia.
Shortly after their deaths the deceased are seen wandering the village at night and more people start to die. The focus of the first half of the series is about the town trying to figure out what is happening and the anxieties which spread throughout the town, the second half is somewhat more typical of a vampire story.
Higurashi When they Cry:
It is hard to talk about this series without giving spoilers, set in a cursed small town a young boys family moves from the city and befriends a group of girls. Very much the outsider the young boy is quickly brought into the town’s mystery where a hidden council rule the town with iron fist and transgression is met with violent punishment.
Broken down into 5 short stories that play off each other the stage is set with the opening scene being someone beaten to death with a baseball bat.
Class 3-3 is cursed. A new class member, sick in hospital for the first weeks of class, is thrown into the middle of a nightmare that no one is talking about. Classmates are dying, violently dying week after week and though terrified no one is talking. No one except for a girl in class that only our protagonist can see.
Part mystery, part horror with homages to Stephen King, Dean Koontz and The Omen, Another is an interesting take on the horror anime genre.
Attack on Titan:
Almost a pop cultural phenomenon at the moment, Attack on Titan supposes a world where all of humanity is walled within a massive city besieged by giant humanoid titans whose only purpose seems to be feeding on people.
With the same gravitas as The Walking Dead this is a story about survival at any cost in a fantastical, almost medieval world.