While making this list I actually struggled a bit because while I started out looking for ghost anime I realised that anime usually has spirits, souls or all manner of other phantasm rather than straight out ghosts. Which lead me to questions like whether Noragami qualified because Hiyori spends so much of her time outside of her body?
And honestly, Noragami is awesome and should be watched but I ultimately decided to stick with somewhat more traditional ghosts on my list.
That still left me with a lot of titles to choose from. On that note I also asked twitter what they thought and as I suspected Anohana took out the top of the list though it isn’t one I ended up adding to my list. There were a lot of write in votes though so clearly plenty of ghost themed anime out there.
What made it into my top 5 ghost anime list?
Ghost Anime No. 5 – xxxHolic
Being able to see spirits has got to kind of suck and that’s definitely the experience of Watanuki in the early episodes of this ghost anime, xxxHolic.
While it isn’t just ghosts but actually a whole assortment of supernatural creatures that cause him daily grief, Watanuki meets Yuuko (for those who have watched Tsubasa Chronicles, the Dimensional Witch herself) offers to assist him in in getting what he wishes for a price.
I find it interesting that working for Yuuko Watanuki ends up having far more encounters and walks into more danger than he might have if just left to his own devices. However, he also learns more about his ability and certainly a bit more control and understanding by the end of the series.
xxxHolic is a slow burning series with each episode focusing on a particular mystery or phenomenon and usually resolved in a round about way rather than direct confrontation. Still, it remains one of my favourite ghost anime.
Ghost Anime No. 4 – Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
The titular Dusk Maiden is actually another Yuuko. The Ghost Anime list must be the list for characters named Yuuko. Anyway, she’s a ghost who can be seen by a new highschool student, Niiya and together, with some other students, they run the Paranormal Investigations Club with the goal of finding out what happened to Yuuko and her missing memories.
This one gets points for the ghost being both playful and silly as well as vengeful and terrifying as the occasion calls for it. She’s also not above staging a ‘haunting’ if it serves her purpose and Niiya soon learns most of the school mysteries can be tied back to Yuuko relieving her boredom in one way or another.
While not the best anime out there as the varied tone makes the plot feel pretty disjointed at times and like it wasn’t sure what it wanted to be, Yuuko is one of the best anime ghosts I’ve seen and I certainly enjoyed spending time with her.
Ghost Anime No. 3 – Natsuyuki Rendezvous
I am constantly surprised that Natsuyuki Rendzvous doesn’t get more attention in the anime community. As a romance between older characters it works very well and the ghost ex living in the flower shop just adds an extra layer of complexity to what would otherwise be a fairly standard, but solid, narrative.
Though I guess I can’t talk having also not actually reviewed the series despite owning it on DVD.
Anyway, this one isn’t scary but it does involve a ghost haunting his wife and when trying to scare off the new, young suitor doesn’t work he moves on to possession.
There’s a sweet story at the core of this one and ultimately Natsuyuki Rendzvous is one that should get talked about more often.
Ghost Anime No. 2 Spiritpact
I am going to say do not judge Spiritpact by its first episode. While this one takes awhile to get going by the end of season one it has definitely found its tone and the second season is just solid from start to finish. If you like a ghost story as well as a boy’s love romance with a bit of fighting using spiritual powers, spiritpact most definitely has you covered.
This story follows Keika who has miserable luck and is killed in a sudden accident becoming a spirit. However he’s given the opportunity to form a pact with a high ranking exorcist and so the story unravels from there.
When Spiritpact is being serious and they are facing down other spiritualist or dealing with malicious spirits the story works spectacularly well, as it does when it focuses on the growing relationship between the two main characters. Unfortunately wen it thinks it is being funny the comedy usually crashes and burns and kills whatever momentum the episode had going.
Still, by the end of season 2 I had almost forgiven Spiritpact for those early few episodes that were definitely less than amazing and I am left with very fond memories of this series and I wouldn’t mind more of it.
Ghost Anime No. 1 – Ghost Hunt
Yeah it is a pretty obvious choice but Ghost Hunt gives us a very traditional story of a group of characters performing paranormal investigations and occasionally running into ghosts and spirits that are causing problems for those around them. Everything from ghost hounds, fires, possessed dolls and murderous spirits appear throughout the series as the main characters carefully and methodically look into the situation.
The other part about Ghost Hunt that makes it a pretty solid choice is you don’t actually have to watch the whole series as it is broken into pretty distinct arcs, or cases, and each one can more or less be watched as a stand alone piece (admittedly, the team’s character development will make more sense if you watch in order).
Still, as far as ghost anime go, it was hard not to put Ghost Hunt as my number one choice.
Those were my five favourite ghost anime but I’d love to know which anime and which ghosts you would include on your list so be sure to leave me a comment below.
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