I am a big fan of horror and supernatural stories in general and I do love a good horror or supernatural anime (for the sake of this list I’ve excluded stories that deal with Japanese folklore as that is going to be a whole other list at some point). So this list is my top 5 favourite supernaturally themed anime. I’ll definitely do a horror one at some point and there may be some cross over.
Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.
Honourable mentions this week go to: Baccano (more gangster than supernatural), Dance in the Vampire Bund and Black Blood Brothers (while both would appear on a list of vampire anime they just didn’t stand up here), Ao No Exorcist (feels more action than supernatural), Fruits Basket (romance more than supernatural), Ghost Hunt and Another (lost to another ghost story), Death Parade (other than the characters being dead didn’t have a lot of supernatural going on) and Inu X Boku (focus on Japanese folklore so will probably show up on another list at some point).
Yes, that is a lot of honourable mentions and that’s the cut down list. As I said, I’m a big fan of the genre.
Number 5: Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
While I get this isn’t the single most amazing anime in the world (and a lot in my honourable mentions are actually better as stories), this one made my list because the supernatural is at the front and centre of every single episode. Yuuko also made my list of characters with convenient missing memories.
The characters form the Paranormal Investigation Club and the club president is literally a ghost with amnesia. Also, the story doesn’t fit any genre except supernatural. There is romance, there is coming of age, there’s some detective and mystery work, there’s some horror, but it isn’t any of these. It is just a good supernatural story and that’s why I put it on the list.
Number 4: Kokoro Connect
This one starts with a group of friends who are literally jumping into one another’s bodies and have no idea why. Even when the culprit appears, they are no closer to figuring out why or how. When that phenomenon finally stops (in a manner that I will not spoil, watch the anime), it isn’t too long before another challenge awaits them. Kokoro Connect is heart wrenching, funny, touching, and generally just a great character piece even while it plays with most of the common tropes of highschool kids in a club doing not very much. While the supernatural element is never really explained that actually makes the story work because it kind of makes sense for beings that can do the sorts of things that are being done to these kids to not bothering to explain them.
Number 3: Angel Beats
Another heart break anime. Okay, there really isn’t a way for this to not break your heart given the characters are all young and all dead and really haven’t got anything left except for this insane desire to fight against god who they aren’t even sure exists. What drives Angel Beats are the characters and the way each of them dealt with tragedy in life and deal with their own tragedy and the tragedy of their companions in the afterlife. Yeah, there’s also a lot of high school hijinks and the usual running about doing silly things but ultimately the situation these kids find themsleves in is tragic and the final episodes place that tragedy front and centre and make you embrace it even while offering hope.
Oh, what’s supernatural about it other than the characters being dead? Just a possible angel, guns being made out of dirt, hypnosis, an inability to die, and having your personality overwritten by a potential computer virus.
Number 2: Death Note
An excellent combination of mystery, crime and the supernatural, Death Note is kind of all of my favourite genres in one. A death god drops a notebook on earth and it is picked up by Light, who it turns out wants to change the world by killing every single criminal and now he has the means to enact this. It’s a great story with some really compelling characters and the entire thing is driven by the fact that Light is able to commit crimes without leaving any physical clues because all he is doing is writing names in a notebook.
Number 1: Black Butler
Making a deal with a demon? It doesn’t get more supernatural than that and Black Butler does it superbly. Even though Ciel’s story of revenge (being enabled by his demon butler) sits at the front and centre, there are a host of other mysteries and supernatural beings to be found. From the peculiarities of the servants, to the mysterious Jack the Ripper case, to the story of the missing girls, and then demon hounds, every episode delivers something fun and tragic simultaneously.
I know I have missed a lot of great supernatural anime when I made this list (even with the honourable mentions) so feel free to add your choices in the comments below. What would you have included and your list and why?