HIDIVE is more than your average streaming service: it’s a specialized hub for critically-acclaimed Japanese shows including some of the best horror anime around! Here are our picks of the top 11 best horror anime to check out on HIDIVE!
If an anime bears the horror genre classification but has a deceptively welcoming thumbnail while you’re browsing: don’t trust it, some true terrors lurk beneath, much like in the case of Doki Doki Literature Club!
What Are Horror Anime Like?
Much like in the broad sense, horror anime is as diverse in subgenres as other horror fiction. This can mean some thrive on violence, shock, gore, and terror like your typical series, but they can also operate on more psychological, layered aspects.
Here are our top picks of the best horror anime on HIDIVE!
11. Devil’s Line
Much like in typical fashion for other Kodansha series, Devil’s Line seizes a spot on the top list to remind us that this comes on the heels of a fantastic manga adaptation. One of the best things about this show is that you get a concise, conclusive run of 12 episodes plus one OVA. Similar to Tokyo Ghoul, this series features devils instead of ghosts, attempting to coexist with human society, with this cohabitation sometimes breaking out in a murder frenzy for some edgy Seinen fun.
10. Princess Resurrection
In this fascinating dark fantasy series from Kodansha, protagonist Hiro finds himself dead saving a beautiful young woman named Hime from a traffic accident. Sounds vaguely familiar, right? However, it’s revealed that she’s a powerful princess who revives him to defend her from additional threats including deadly supernatural monsters. This anime had a healthy 24-episode run in 2007 along with an OVA, giving you plenty to chew on.
9. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
The harem anime aspects might deter some folks from checking out this series further, but the supernatural horror is where it finds its strong suit. Add this to a strong balancing of focus on its main characters, amid some gripes about its pacing (also 12 episodes with an OVA) and you’ve got another healthy binge that grows on you over time. The plot involves a dark mystery where Teiichi Niiya meets an amnesiac ghost and must uncover the secrets of her death.
8. Blue Seed
One of the oldest anime to grace this list of the best horror offerings on HIDIVE, Blue Seed debuted in 1994. For reference on how old and obscure the series can be to some, its big game tie-in was released on the Sega Saturn, a criminally underappreciated but ultimately failed console. But the anime has persevered and maintains a cult status.
It’s got it all: cursed children, demon fighters, government agents, and a monstrous threat known as the Aragami. There are 26 episodes you can stream on demand. Additionally, keep an eye out for 3 other OVAs released for the series!
7. Pet Shop of Horrors
I remember the wonderful delight I felt when I opened my eyes to the offerings found in Shojo and Josei manga as well as their anime adaptations. For context, Shojo is the young female target demographic, and a counterpart to Shonen, for young males, whereas Josei is the older teen or adult female counterpart to Seinen’s older males.
The mature storytelling is necessary for an excellent horror series like Pet Shop of Horrors. This series boasts strong visuals and good dialogue, and thanks to some solid animation by Madhouse, a classic 1990s feel if you’re looking for that!
Throw this show on and don’t even tell your friend it’s a horror series. Let them enjoy the brief, idyllic comfort of a series that’s the definition of deceptively cute before the truth is revealed, disquietingly. There’s a reason I brought up Doki-Doki Literature Club: while this anime does not have the same level of psychological terror and shock that the game provided, the revelation that these sweet characters are survivors of a grim zombie outbreak quickly enthralls the viewer.
5. High School of the Dead
Here’s where the ranking might cause some division. Each additional option among HIDIVE’s best horror anime is excellent in its own right, and this has plenty of fans backing its success. It’s got a lot of typical factors that go into hit anime (or general fiction) like:
- It’s got a Zombie pandemic
- Favorable comparisons to elements 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later
- Relatively free of gimmicks, going straight zombie horror
- Animated by Madhouse
The anime is also quite short, with 12 main episodes available, making it a less intimidating viewing experience, and perfectly concise this close to Halloween. It’s also full of…erm, lewd-ish gimmicks if you’re into that.
4. The Promised Neverland
I was there the moment this series made a splash with its first season. It’s hard to disguise just how stellar the fan reception is to The Promised Neverland, even if subsequent seasons fell short of expectations. It propelled the series on a quantum leap of hype to the point where it contended with Attack on Titan: The Final Season in terms of popularity and anticipation.
The premise is immediately compelling: Emma is an 11-year-old orphan whose orphanage is idyllic and seemingly peaceful. Education is emphasized, and supplies are plentiful. There are relatively few restrictions beyond going outside the gate or walls. Simple enough, right? Until they discover that the adoption process is a cover for something far more sinister: these children are being raised as food for demons. Plotting to escape, they make intense sacrifices and brave choices to survive in the outside world in a series wonderfully animated by CloverWorks.
3. Parasyte -The Maxim-
Madhouse is appearing a lot on this list, and deservedly so: their work is stellar inside and outside the realms of horror. Another of their works is the anime adaptation of Parasyte, a Kodansha classic featuring my favorite subgenre of horror: body horror.
Body Horror is as simple as it sounds, but endlessly deep in its implications: it has to do with the potential grotesque transformation or mutilation of living bodies, predominantly humans. Western horror fans know this as the stock and trade of David Cronenberg, but in Parasyte, you throw in a protagonist about to reach adulthood, and a Parasite burrowed into his arm forming a symbiotic relationship. That’s right, we’re throwing in a bit of Venom, minus the middling-to-awful reception to both those live-action films.
Instead, we get a teenager just trying to live his life, while paired with a Parasite that may just save the world as they fight the other Parasites that have wound up in the world. It’s humanistic and surprisingly cerebral, and a bona fide classic as far as anime go.
2. Dark Gathering
One of HIDIVE’s proudest recent offerings, Dark Gathering is a visual force to be reckoned with. OLM heads the production, a studio known for classics like Pokemon and Berserk as well as contemporary hits like Komi Can’t Communicate and other recent gems like The Apothecary Diaries, and it’s quite strikingly put to the screen.
The manga was already full of moody shading and intense, grotesquely violent (or unsettling) panels, and this anime brings much of that faithfully to life. If you’re looking for a horror anime complete with a creepy young girl with two pupils looking conspicuously like skulls for eyes, collecting ghosts like Pokemon, this is the perfect choice among the best options on HIDIVE.
1. Made in Abyss
There couldn’t be any other choice here. It’s hard to dispute just how excellent Made in Abyss is, a dark fantasy gem now home on HIDIVE. Not only is this probably the best offering you’ll find on this list, but it’s also got substantial offerings available on the streaming service, including two seasons and three movies.
Featuring another orphaned female protagonist on this list, Riko descends into the Abyss, a giant hole next to her town housing ancient relics as well as a horrific curse that grows stronger the deeper you go. Riko finds a half-robot boy she names Reg during her adventures, who might be the only thing immune to the Abyss’ curse. It’s a beautiful, brutal, terrific series from Kinema Citrus that you should check out.
- This article was updated on October 25th, 2023