A Special Halloween Top 5: Spirits, Ghosts, and Dead People – With Luminous Mongoose


Luminous Mongoose has had a busy month organising a number of collaborative top 5 lists for the spooky season. I was really happy they asked me to be a part of it, though I definitely struggled with time management (it has been a really busy month). Still, I love Halloween and all things creepy so getting to put together a list of top 5 ghosts seemed like a great idea.

Anyway, I’ve got the start of the list (5 – 3) but if you want to see who my favourite ghost/spirit character is, and Lumi’s, than you will have to jump over to their blog. Hopefully you enjoy the list and as always, I’d love to know which characters you would have included on your list.

Number 5:

Karandi’s Pick – Atsushi – Natsuyuki Rendezvous


He’s the jealous husband who literally won’t go away and when the new part timer who has eyes on his wife notices him, Atsushi starts out trying to drive him away. When that is unsuccessful, he takes a new approach convincing him to share his body and allow the ghost to speak with his wife. Needless to say Atsushi has a few other things in mind.

Lumi’s Pick – Son Goku (While he was dead after fighting Cell) – Dragon Ball

Son Goku.jpg

Okay, so right off the bat, counting Goku as a ghost will tell you that I’m being very loose with the entries on this list. While Goku has died as much as he has children and grandchildren, I always enjoyed his character the most when he was just a ghost exploring the afterlife of the Dragonball universe, and spectating on the affairs of his friends and family. The biggest reason why I included him here is thanks to the image above, which is the iconic Father-Son Kamehameha. Not only is it a beautiful shot, it also represents Goku passing on the torch to his son as the next savior of Earth, and it was a great send off for one of action shounen’s most iconic heroes.

At least until GT and Super crapped all over that.

Number 4:

Karandi’s Pick – Yuuko – Dusk Maiden of Amnesia


She’s forgotten plenty but Yuuko has finally found someone who can see her and she’s ready to have fun exploring the mysteries of the old school house and generally mess around. Equally alluring and scary, Yuuko appears as people think she will and she uses this to her advantage as the ghost president of the supernatural research club.

Lumi’s Pick – No Face – Spirited Away

No Face.png

No Face is a very simple but effective character. We have no clues as to his motivations, nor does he ever even string together complete sentences. All we know is that he wants to be friends with Chihiro, and gets cranky when he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s a strange thing to see a possibly centuries-old spirit act like a spoiled child, but it really works for the bizarre tone of Spirited Away. His design is  creepy and off-putting, while still being distinctly Ghibli, and that lands him a spot at number 4.

Number 3:

Karandi’s Pick Yukine – Noragami


Okay, probably not technically a ghost but he is the spirit of a dead boy who was reforged into a weapon for a god so I’m still throwing him in my list. He’s a fantastic character and while at first he comes off kind of sullen and one dimensional, his growth as a character over the two seasons of Noragami are a delight.

Lumi’s Pick – Fuko Ibuki – Clannad

Fubo Ibuki.png

Okay, major spoilers for the first arc of Clannad, so feel free to skip this if you somehow haven’t watched KyoAni’s magnum opus in terms of drama.

Having Fuko on here could be considered cheating since she is TECHNICALLY not dead, but she is the spirit of a girl in a coma, so I’m counting it. Just like Yuuko from Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, Fuko is a mysterious girl who is apparently tied to the school in some way, and has no memory of who they are.

When I first watched Clannad, I thought it was just gonna be a straightforward slice of life highschool drama, mysterious robot and girl in an astral plane aside. The reveal of her true nature was legitimately surprising and the mystery of it was intriguing.

She was the introduction of the supernatural element to the story which becomes a huge deal in the later arcs, and her arc was the highlight of my time with Clannad’s first season. Plus, her sudden reintroduction as a gag character despite her very heartfelt and emotional ending was hilarious and still completely in-character, so she makes the list at number 3!

And that’s our list numbers 5 – 3. Again, be sure to check out Luminous Mongoose’s post for the rest of the list.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Tuesday’s Top 5: 90’s Horror Movies for Halloween Binge Watching

Tuesday's Top 5

Now we come to the final Halloween top 5 post and while I’d love to do another anime binge list, there just aren’t enough new horror anime to really justify it this year. So instead I decided to turn my attention to the movies that made me the ridiculous horror fan I am today. Given I was only 16 when the 90’s ended, I probably shouldn’t have watched most of these movies during the 90’s but I definitely did. I loved them. And this list is just the tip of the ice-berg.

For this binge list I decided to go for teen horror flicks that deliver every cliche in the book and are perfect for a drinking/chocolate game while watching. For instance, every time they knowingly discuss a horror trope, eat an M&M. Whether you were a child of the 90’s or not, I’d love to know what your favourite 90’s horror movies are and what you plan to watch for Halloween so please be sure to leave me a comment below.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: The Blair Witch Project – I couldn’t not mention this movie given it kind of started a whole trend in horror films with shaky-cam, but at the same time it just isn’t as fun as some of the others on this list to watch. Still, worth the mention.

Number 5: The Craft

The Craft.jpg

Starting with a classic teen horror where four teens turn their hand to witch craft with some interesting results. When Sarah decides they’ve gone to far the other three turn against her leading to one magical and messed up confrontation. Don’t watch if you are afraid of snakes, just saying. Do however watch if you love 90’s movie soundtracks because The Craft has an absolutely awesome one.

Number 4: Scream

Scream - Movie

A second Neve Campbell film on the list, she did get around. This one however had to be on the list. From the epic Drew Barrymore death scene that opens it, to the endless number of horror tropes they manage to stuff in all the while reciting self-aware dialogue that just makes horror fans laugh, Scream does it all. And just remember, if the killer is in your house you should run out the door and not up the stairs. Also remember, the sequels definitely had diminishing returns. Stick to the first, it is definitely the best.

Number 3: Urban Legend

Urban Legend

Is there anything better than a movie featuring a group of college students getting killed using classic urban legends? Probably plenty given this movie is cheesy over the top melodrama with some fairly fine examples of by the numbers acting, and yet taken another way it is hilarious to watch and most of the characters end up coming to sticky endings. Warning on this one about the puppy in the microwave (flinch).

Number 2: The Faculty

The Faculty

Okay, sick of killer teens and college students? Always believed your teachers were evil? Well, The Faculty delivers a modern take on The Body Snatchers with aliens invading the sleepy little town and taking over the staff of the school before moving onto the students. Parasites crawl inside and take over the host leaving them incredibly strong and with a powerful thirst. Let’s assemble the crack team of students including the new girl, the geek, the popular girl, the football guy, the social outcast, and the delinquent and see if they can save the world.

Number 1: Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow

Right, so Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci may have a lot to do with this taking the number one spot. Okay, everything to do with it. I love these two in movies and the two of them together was always going to be brilliant. Add in a fairly macabre tale of the headless horseman, ‘modern’ detective skills, and revenge and you have yourself a fairly great movie to watch. Christopher Walken also delivers an excellent performance given his brief time on screen.

So what are you waiting for? Which 90’s horror film would you add onto the list? Or what do you plan to watch this Halloween?

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Horror Anime Released in the Last 5 Years

Tuesday's Top 5

It is seriously hard to find a good horror anime and that isn’t surprising given how few are released in general (when compared with the plethora of isekai stories or cute girls doing whatever anime). But it does make it hard to do a Halloween anime list each year when very little has changed. So to shake things up, this year I’m just looking at my favourite horror anime released in the last 5 years (so since the beginning of 2014). My only requirement for this list is that I enjoyed the anime and it is tagged as a horror anime. That said, I’d love to know your favourites so please leave me a comment below with some of your recent favourite horror anime.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Devilman Crybaby and The Lost Village. Both had potentially good ideas but neither really worked for me in the end. Still, they are both better than the Ito Junji Collection anime.

Number 5: King’s Game


It would be so wrong for me to not include King’s Game on this list. As terrible as it was, it was the kind of terrible that ended up just being a joy to watch. With a number of other bloggers on board watching this weekly ended up being pure fun even as the show descended into every sillier lows (I’m still stuck on the girl who was on fire calmly spouting exposition before jumping). It is ridiculous, over the top, violent, and mostly senseless, but it is still one of the most entertaining horror anime I’ve watched in a while.

Number 4: Ajin


Okay, creepy animation style aside, Ajin delivered a fairly compelling plot and an interesting cast of characters. Did it always use them to their best advantage? Not so much, but Ajin did manage to keep me entertained. Whether it was the tense feeling of needing to escape, the horror of confinement and human experimentation, or the outright shock and gore of some fairly bloody fight sequences, Ajin delivered and it did it with style and consistency for the most part.

Number 3: Parasyte


There’s something genuinely unsettling about the idea of having your hand eaten and replaced by a parasitic being that awakens you by lamenting that it didn’t manage to eat your head. Throw in the cold and alien intelligence with no regard for life outside of its own survival and you have the makings of a really interesting story. Now, Parasyte may not have lived up to the expectations set by its premise and it did have a lot of wasted side quest moments, but the core story is one that provides plenty of unsettling moments and if you want blood you will certainly find that here.

Number 2: Tokyo Ghoul


Speaking of blood, Tokyo Ghoul managed to slip in to the time frame and so I had to include it. Season one begins with a lot of gross out body horror with slicing and dicing and vomiting. It’s a generally visually disturbing opening to a show that continues to bring shocks and grossness with over the top violence, cannibalism, and finally descending into a slow torture sequence before ending its first season with a bang. While the narrative has its issues and the pacing is all over the shop, if you want something that knows how to get a visceral reaction out of an audience, Tokyo Ghoul is going to do the trick (at least the first season did).

Number 1: School-Live!


There’s not a lot I can say about this one without getting straight into spoiler territory but if you’ve never given this anime a go and you like horror at all, I’m just going to tell you to go watch the first episode and watch the whole episode. What you do after that is up to you but if you are anything like me you’ll be hooked. Again, the mid-season of this anime flounders a bit but with a solid opening act and some genuinely horrific sequences for the cast coming your way, this one is well worth watching and attempting to watch cold. The less you know the more impact it is going to have.

Have I missed your favourite horror anime released since 2014? Let me know your picks in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime With Blood and Gore

Tuesday's Top 5

Yes, we have more Halloween list fun this week as I count down my five favourite anime that have a lot of blood and/or gore. Now I had to think long and hard about my pre-requisite for something ending up on this list because just most amount of gross out moments didn’t seem like a great criteria. So instead I decided to go with anime that use blood and gore the best as part of the narrative rather than for the shock factor. That said, it is my list so I’d love to know what you would include on yours.

So what are my top 5 anime with blood and gore?

Please note, there will be spoilers below. And while it should go without saying given the list title, a lot of the images will be disturbing if you do not like blood and gore. 

Honourable mentions: Tokyo Ghoul and Attack on Titan, both provide blood and gore aplenty but it always feels more sensationalist than necessary.

Number 5: Higurashi


Cute kids who turn into psychos and kill their friends, in sometimes truly horrifying ways. This anime really does push the boundaries with a young cast that are subjected to torture, dismemberment, and generally just misery and death. Despite the young age of the cast it doesn’t really hold back on showing the deaths seemingly relishing in each and every failed attempt to break free from the time loop. This one definitely earns a spot on the list even if it isn’t quite as graphic as some of the others.

Number 4: Elfen Lied


I almost just made this an honourable mention given a lot of the blood and flying body parts could definitely be seen as just an attempt to shock the audience. Still, the story does rely heavily on human fear of the unknown and of fear of the monster, and Lucy delivers both as she walks her way through a mass of armed guards leaving nothing but blood in her wake. After the opening the blood keeps coming but it is certainly diminished after the anime has set its scene.

Number 3: Another


While more about atmosphere and creepiness than blood, there’s something even more shocking about the moments of pure gore this anime delivers because of the slow build to them. Very few people forget the umbrella on the stair case incident and the teacher suicide in the classroom is a truly unsettling and disturbing visual that isn’t leaving me any time soon. As these deaths are the result of the curse the class is under the violence and shocking nature of these events are actually kind of necessary because otherwise the kids wouldn’t be half so desperate to undo the curse.

Number 2: Devilman Crybaby


Want a break from simply dripping and splashing blood around the screen? Devilman Crybaby delivers true body horror with some truly violent and gory sequences that will leave you feeling fairly unsettled. As much as I didn’t really get into the story or characters of Devilman Crybaby, I have to admit that if you are after a genuine round of body horror with a lot of gore thrown in, this anime is going to deliver provided you don’t also mind a lot of sexualised content mixed in with that.

Number 1: Pupa


This one wins again (as it previously in 2016 on anime I recommended for Halloween). This is one graphic and disturbing short anime that will definitely get under your skin as a younger sister, infected with a virus, will feed by eating the flesh of her still living older brother (also infected but fast healing). This is blood, gore and a whole lot of shudder inducing imagery and definitely not for the faint hearted. Also, not for anyone who wants a conclusion because you’ll be left wanting.

And there we have it, my top 5 list of anime that use blood and/or gore. As always, feel free to share your list in the comments below.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Tuesday’s Top 5: B Grade Horror Movies

Tuesday's Top 5

Continuing on with the Halloween theme for the month and today I’m counting down something that has nothing to do with anime and everything to do with a deep love of terrible horror movies. However, there’s formulaic horror that blends character archetypes, cheap jokes, and sometimes questionable special effects but still manages to entertain and then there’s just terrible movies and B Grade Horror walks a very fine line between the two with many movies tipping over into the trash heap. Here are some of the winners from the genre that are well worth the watch provided you like the formula they are going to dish out. And as always, feel free to throw your suggestions into the comments below (I always love finding a good terrible horror movie).

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Bats, Eight Legged Freaks, and Underworld.

Number 5: Anaconda


With questionable CG not being the biggest flaw in this movie about a film crew travelling down a river and ending up first hunting giant anacondas and then somehow becoming their prey, Anaconda still manages to deliver some solid entertainment. It is strictly by the numbers and each jump scare and turn in this story could more or less be measured out in accordance with the generic mould for this type of story, but there was still some genuine effort put into character performances and direction even when the script and special effects weren’t quite up to the challenge. The end result is a fairly entertaining story with a few cringe inducing moments and ultimately a villain whose motives never make much sense because you just can’t imagine any possible outcome where his plan would have succeeded.

Number 4: Arachnophobia


From giant snakes to a swarm of spiders taking over a small country town. Arachnophobia does at least have a fairly stellar cast on board and every one of them delivers in their role. What works with this movie is it isn’t just playing with spider phobia, it plays on the fear of the unknown, of introduced species in eco-systems, of small town culture, and even of feeling that you have knowledge. That, and there’s a lot of fairly deadly spiders prancing around. This one mostly succeeds at genuine horror at times though the final act brings about a few fairly laughable moments and whoever did the sound effects for the spider was really taking some creative licence.

Number 3: Resident Evil

Resident Evil.jpg

Yeah, there had to be a zombie movie on this list and Shaun of the Dead is too much of a spoof and 28 Days is actually too close to actually being horrific for me to put it in my collection of bad horror films. Resident Evil, at least the first movie, is a fantastic cocktail of anti-corporation messaging as well as a few of modern medicine and AI computers. Featuring a pretty fantastic line up in its cast, this movie delivers a slow build up in the exploration phase, some decent action and jump scares as well as tense sequences in the middle, before delivering a final smack down well and truly worthy of any Resident Evil game. Love this film.

Number 2: Tremors


Alright, not even close to horrific, this movie still manages to build up a decent amount of suspense in the first third when the monster is kept strictly off screen. We see shaking dirt, see things tremble and shake, and we see the after effects as people and objects have been either dragged under ground, or people have had to climb to get away from the unseen assailant. What really sells this movie is some fairly decent dialogue between the characters. It all fits into that quippy don’t take anything too seriously model, but each character offers something to the cast and there’s a genuine feeling of isolated community coming from them. Then the monsters are revealed and it is mostly pretty entertaining as we see whether the gun toting locals can actually take on giant underground worms. The sequels (I’ve only seen up to the fourth though I’ve recently found out there are more) come with progressively less impressive story lines as is usually the case, but this first film is very solid entertainment.

Number 1: The Descent


Probably the only thing actually close to real horror on this list and that’s mostly because the thought of being trapped in a cave is scary enough. Being trapped with flesh eating monsters who track you by sound is just terrifying. Join six women as they go on what they think will be an amazing adventure exploring a cave. However, a tunnel collapsing cutting off their exit and the realisation that one of them had taken them somewhere unexpected so help would not be coming quickly turn this into a fairly tense and claustrophobic affair. Then the monsters show up and things quickly get worse. If you are squeamish about blood this one is definitely not for you because between the monsters, accidents in a dark and unexplored cave, and the women’s personal dramas, there is definitely going to be blood.

Right, so a small departure from anime but given how much I love these kinds of movies I felt this was an appropriate time to share this list. If you happen to like creature features or bad slasher flicks I’d love to know what you would have put on your list.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Akane Iro Artworks Limited Edition

Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Characters That Creep Me Out

Tuesday's Top 5

Here we are and it is October and this year I’m going to be running Halloween themed top 5’s all month long (not that Halloween is actually a thing where I live but any excuse to dust off some of my favourite anime and characters). Starting out with this list of anime characters that creep me out. Or that I just find disturbing or unsettling for whatever reason.

I will admit, it was a tough list to narrow down but I’m pretty happy with the final list. But as always I would love my readers to join in the fun and share their top 5 creepy character lists in the comments below. Hopefully you like my list.

Who made the list of anime characters that creep me out?

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Miki (Parasyte) and Tsukiyama (Tokyo Ghoul).

Number 5: The Millennium Earl (D Gray Man)

The Millennium Earl - D Gray Man
Here is one of the anime characters that creep me out.

Look, the guy has a permanent smile that is almost bigger than his head and the deals he offers people are worse than any deal you could make with the devil. He’s responsible for so much misery and pain and he does it all with that ridiculous grin and a laugh. This is a character that was inevitably going to creep me out.

So many characters claim they are going to destroy the world but I actually came to believe the Millennium Earl would eventually succeed in D Gray Man and given the story isn’t finished let’s just say he’s currently winning.

Number 4: Hisoka (Hunter x Hunter)

I probably don’t need to explain why I consider Hisoka a creepy customer but right from the first time he graced the screen in Hunter x Hunter he left me unsettled. He’s a little bit violent, a little bit sadistic, gets way too in to his pursuits, and seems to be entirely indifferent to any kind of moral code outside of his own.

That and his fixation with Gon at times is very creepy. Still, I’m thinking if I ever end up in an anime world and see someone who even looks vaguely like Hisoka coming I’m running for it (not that it will do me much good mind you, but it might make me feel better).


Number 3: Urado (Ghost Hunt)


Probably not a well known character given Ghost Hunt isn’t the most popular anime out there, but while most of the ghost stories the characters encounter in the various arcs are more interesting than scary Urado is one character who could definitely leave you with nightmares. And he undeniably is an anime character that creeps me out.

That’s probably because unlike so many of the other stories, Urado seems to be based off of tales of real life figures like Elizabeth Bathory and the like so with a more familiar context, and a lot of blood, Urado managed to really get under my skin for the brief time he was in the story.

Number 2: Megumi (Shiki)

Shiki - Megumi

No surprise Megumi from Shiki made the list. When we’re talking about anime characters that creep me out Megumi is definitely right up there.

It isn’t that I’m actually scared by Megumi, but there’s that scene where she slides out from under the bed and no matter how many times you watch it, it is still unbelievably creepy. That and Megumi is just so incredibly malicious in the way she attacks people as a vampire. She well and truly earned her number two spot.

Number 1: The Colossal Titan


Right, so future revelations in the story may have reduced the impact, but The Colossal Titan appearing behind the wall was one of those moments where you just kind of stared at your screen and froze. Such a perfect opening act for Attack on Titan really.

They really just nailed the perfect combination of factors to make this character someone who would lodge in your memory and haunt your dreams well and truly after watching the episode. For me, no other titan since has had as much impact, not even that insanely creepy smiling one.

So yes, The Colossal Titan in their first appearance tops my list of anime characters that creep me out.

What anime characters creep you out?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Moments That Make Me Flinch

Tuesday's Top 5

So Halloween today and this year I have put together a top 5 list of anime moments that make me flinch. I am not a squeamish person by nature and when it is happening in anime, I’m even less likely to flinch because anime characters don’t look like real people, and yet there are some scenes that have managed it over the years. Last year my Halloween list looked at 5 anime titles with a great atmosphere that you should watch for Halloween. If you missed it or are new to my blog, I still stand by those choices as excellent viewing for Halloween so please check out the post.

I’m going to avoid being too graphic in the images below, but fair warning that these are moments that make a horror fan flinch so if you are not into that sort of thing, maybe skip this list and try one of my other top 5’s.

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned. Also, graphic visual warning for people who don’t like blood.

Honourable mentions to Pupa (it should have taken out every spot on this list so I disqualified it), Shiki (the moment Megumi slides out from under the bed), and Tokyo Ghoul (Kaneki being tortured).

Number 5: The teacher suicide in Another

No, I’m not going to show you the suicide. Watch the show or google it if you are interested. There are even gifs.

This moment actually shocked me cold. Another is atmospheric and nicely put together but ultimately it isn’t scary because it is incredibly standard in terms of the horror it presents. The girl with the umbrella shocked viewers because it was kind of the first real sign things were going to turn ugly but otherwise there’s nothing overly exceptional about it and without the curse would have been an accident. This on the other hand… The teacher walked into the room and killed himself in front of his class. Curse or not, if the teacher had a death wish there was no reason to bring it into the classroom. From a narrative point of view it would have made no difference if the Principal had come to the room and informed the students that the teacher had been found dead. I just kept thinking how traumatic this would be for any class of students, let alone a class of already very scared and traumatized teens. No wonder they all went crazy by the end.

Number 4: Everyone is dead in Owari No Seraph

Owari no seraph.gif

While Another shocked me with how unexpected it was, Owari was incredibly painful because of how telegraphed it was. You knew these kids only existed to die tragically more or less from the get-go and that they made it so close before being toyed with by an incredibly vicious vampire just hurts to watch. No points for originality having cute kid characters killed off for dramatic and emotional affect, but just because it isn’t original does not make it any less affective.

Number 3: Gassed in Btooom


This one really just gets a ‘gross’ kind of comment. It wasn’t that this death from episode 7 was any more flinch worthy than any of the other deaths from bombs and craziness in this show (it is a show about a death game being played out on an island so really you get what you sign up for). Still, visually that was a little sickening and I probably could have happily gone without seeing that.

Number 2: Kei’s torture in Ajin


There’s something about this scene that is seriously sickening. We’re told early in Ajin that the Ajin are used for medical experiments and we’ve seen some grainy video evidence for that. So, it isn’t a surprise that this is happening. What gets me is just how clinical everyone is about what they are doing. You are killing a child over and over again for no reason other than to satisfy your own curiosity. There is literally no other reason for this as they don’t seem to actually be learning anything of significance from this. All and all, this scene genuinely makes my skin crawl just thinking about it and that some of the scene is shown from Kei’s perspective (so inside those bandages with some visibility but not enough and hearing all the tools those doctors are preparing) just makes it worse.

Number 1: Delete in D Gray Man

D Gray Man ep 56.jpg

No matter how many times I watch episode 56 of D Gray Man I am always going to flinch and I am always going to end up crying for Allen. After everything he went through in the episodes leading up to this, trying to rescue Suman, failing but then recovering Suman’s innocence, this encounter with Tyki is all kinds of cruel. First his arm (and his innocence – so only weapon to fight back with) are destroyed (a feat Tyki may have pulled off anyway but given Allen was already on the brink of exhaustion he really didn’t have much chance). Then, once Allen realises he’s going to die, he sends Timcampy away with Suman’s innocence to protect it, but that leaves Allen completely alone and facing his own death. Then Tyki sets the scene for a truly painful and slow death because he’s Tyki.

This episode is gut-wrenching and emotionally shattering to watch and even tops out the episode where Allen’s eye was taken out by Road (because that was all kinds of gross). So yeah, if I’m talking moments in anime that make me flinch, nothing is ever going to beat this one. Yes, there are far bloodier deaths out there, but the emotional attachment I already had with Allen and then the really cruel way this scene is set up just crushes you. The fact that you know they aren’t actually going to leave the protagonist of the story dead doesn’t actually make this less difficult to watch.

So there you have it for Halloween. My top 5 moments that make me flinch. I’d love you to share some of your flinch worthy anime moments in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

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Karandi James.


Friday’s Feature: Facing Fear – The Unseen Is Always Scarier

village 9

Welcome to the last feature in October and the last horror focused feature for awhile. If you missed the previous posts I’ve looked at visuals, the victims, and how characters can make the audience feel the fear, and today I am looking at whether the seen or the unseen is scarier.

Now every horror fan knows that it is the unseen enemy that is far scarier than the giant monster stomping houses flat. This was true of older films because the special effects weren’t up to the task of bringing anything really to life, but it is true even now. The thing that will scare an audience faster than any amount of gore, jump scares, or bizareness on the screen is their own imagination. We are our own worst enemies.

The Lost Village attempted to capitalise on that particular trait (admittedly it failed pretty hard due to the writing, characters, and literally everything else to the point where many people will argue it is actually a satire rather than a failed horror). In the story the characters, sick of their lives, run away together to live in a lost village on a mountain somewhere. However, once they get there, they find themselves confronted by their worst fears.

In early episodes this kind of works. The characters are still horrible and the writing questionable, but at first the audience isn’t shown what the characters are seeing. We hear noises, we see reactions, we realise characters have gone missing but we don’t know why, and it is kind of building up a creepy atmosphere.

Village 9

Then, and fairly early in its run time, they start showing us these apparitions the characters are seeing. Not only are the visually kind of lame, but even metaphorically they really kind of fail. One guy sees a giant penguin, another is literally chased by a giant silicone implant and so on. These visions are incredibly literal given what we’ve learned about the characters and they aren’t scary. It is about that point in the story that even the audience members hoping this show would salvage itself gave up.


In Another, the threat is intangible in the first place. It is a curse. While there might be someone who is actually dead in the class, you don’t know who and they look the same as everyone else. There’s nothing to see of the villain that would be frightening. And it is the absence of a tangible threat, while characters are literally dropping like flies that really helps to add to the tension in the story.

shiki 3

Some stories take a different approach. Shiki isn’t overly shy about revealing the vampire threat early on to the audience and to a few key characters but many of the characters remain in the dark. Those characters feel the tangible fear fo the unknown so even while the audience knows what the threat is and what is coming, the characters manage to draw us into their fear of the unknown.


Moving away from anime, if we look at an older Stephen King adaption, The Langoliers, from 1995, what we see is a story that manages to be fairly creepy and suspenseful (even if it is pretty boring) until the end. Why? Because while we realise the world the characters have found themselves in is wrong, and while we have heard approaching sounds, until the very end we do not see the actual Langoliers. Once they finally appear, they are so laughably terrible that any tension the show may have attempted to build goes out the window.

Still, it is really appreciated when a villain or monster can take the screen and still manage to creep out and disturb the audience. They are few and far between and for the most part the less we see them the better, but every now and then you get one that works.

What really amazes me about fictional fear is how emotionally it hits you the same as fear in real life. You get the same response to it. What is scary, is scary, whether it is fake or real. Which is why I’ve always wondered why characters try to tell themselves something is only a dream as if that will make them feel better. Scary dreams are still pretty distressing.

So what do you prefer when watching a show? Do you want to see the villain right from the start? Do you want to be kept in the dark? Or are you sitting somewhere in between?

That concludes this series of features on horror. Thanks for joining me during October and be sure to have a great Halloween.

Thanks for reading.

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Karandi James.


Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime to Watch For Halloween

Tuesday's Top 5

Okay, I know Halloween was yesterday and I know it is mostly ignored in Australia as a day in general, however I just felt that this list was needed. So what criteria did I use to determine what I should be watching on Halloween? The main criteria was definitely atmosphere and tone but also looking for anime that gave me pause for thought or a little bit of a fright.

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned. Also, graphic visual warning for number 1. You have been warned.

Honourable mentions to Tokyo Ghoul (season 1), Ajin, Death Parade, Another and Higurashi. All of which would be awesome to watch for Halloween.

Number 5: D Gray Man

If you are looking for something that is dripping in atmosphere, you don’t need to look much further than the original D Gray Man. While there are comedic moments and moments of hope, these quickly get buried under the tragedies that befall each and every character (and continuously fall on protagonist Allen Walker). When his parasitic arm isn’t getting injured (leaving him defenceless and in severe pain and facing fairly painful treatment to get him moving again) he is witnessing those he has promised to protect get killed, sent on missions that he frequently doesn’t agree with the objective of, being tormented and or tortured by his enemies (and sometimes his allies), and generally suffers from severe trauma from a childhood that takes terrible anime upbringings to a whole new level.

Even ignoring the general tone and atmosphere of the show, the akuma in this series are the stuff from nightmares and the thought of a friend or loved one having been possessed is enough to award this a place on the list. Why it didn’t get number 1? The main characters remain far too upbeat given the circumstances for this to truly be the number 1 pick for a Halloween list.

Number 4: Charlotte

Yeah, if you’ve only seen the start of this you probably won’t get the choice given the start is anything but deep, atmospheric, or anything else other than generic. However, I think that makes the direction this takes even more horrific (or at the very least it catches you unprepared). As truths are revealed and our main character is forced into a fairly impossible situation, this show doesn’t hold back on showing the full cost of ‘saving’ the world on the individuals that attempt to do so.  I’m not going to say anymore about this because it’s kind of hard not to spoil, but just know going in it is going to get dark.

Number 3: Bokurano

If you haven’t seen this, stop reading and go watch it now. There’s no way to say anything about this without spoiling. Okay, so you’re still reading so I’m just going to dive straight into this. When you first see Bokurano you kind of get a very ho-hum feeling. Group of kids, chosen to pilot a robot, a lot of them have issues, yep, seen this. Bokurano very much relies on the youth of the characters to drive home tragedy but just when you think you know what you are in for, they take it to a whole new level of cruel. The impossible situation these kids find themselves in is heartbreaking and this anime possibly has the highest death count ever (mostly because every battle has entire realities on the line in the most literal sense – so while we don’t see all that many deaths outside of the main cast if you stop and think about the casualties caused every battle…).  All and all, this anime creeped me out with its concept and left me feeling just a little bit broken after watching it. Points for worst game of musical chairs ever.

Number 2: xxxHolic

This one isn’t scary or even traumatising, but it does drip atmosphere and that is why it shot so high on the list. Consistently hitting that slightly off-putting and creepy tone while exploring both supernatural and human conflicts, xxxHolic is well worth a watch and kind of fits perfectly with the overall idea of Halloween. If you want something a little less graphic and violent and just a little bit unsettling, xxxHolic is probably the perfect choice.

But if you were after graphic…

Number 1: Pupa

Now, I am going to put a warning label on this. Extremely graphic, unsettling and incest overtones. Given my fascination with horror anime, I would still class this as the darkest and most unsettling thing I ever sat through. The episodes only run 4 minutes each and the story doesn’t progress too far given there are only 12 episodes, but that is still enough to leave a very significant impression and that impression is definitely one of being thoroughly unsettled. Focussing on an abandoned pair of siblings where the younger sister is transformed into a flesh eating monster by a virus. The brother is also infected but manages to hold on to some of his humanity (though gains some remarkable regenerative abilities). In order to ‘protect’ his sister, the brother allows her to feed upon him and things only get worse from that point. Don’t expect a resolution to any of this however. If you watch this you are signing up for a one way trip down the worst thing that could ever happen without ever finding a solution or even letting the nightmare end.

So what were your picks for Halloween viewing? Were you wanting to be mildly thrilled or were you going for full on zombie and gore action?