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?