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 supernatural anime. I’ll definitely do a horror one at some point and there may be some cross over.
Before we get into the top 5 supernatural anime, how about some honourable mentions?
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. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia just a good supernatural anime and that’s why I put it on the list.
Number 4: Kokoro Connect
Kokoro Connect 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 is one superb supernatural anime. 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?
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35 thoughts on “Top 5: Supernatural Anime – They aren’t always creepy but these anime all do something a little beyond the ordinary.”
A) I want to see “Dusk Maiden of Amnesia,” I think. It sounds interesting.
B) People always tell me to watch Death Note. I know it is so not shoujo, but I found “Death Parade”interesting and loved “Black Butler.” Thoughts?
C) BLACK BUTLER. YES. YES. ☆☆☆
With Death Note if you aren’t into it 3 episodes in, give it a miss. It doesn’t really change tone and by midway the quality of the story takes a dive.
I think it is great but I was hooked just by meeting Light because I found him to be an interesting protagonist.
I love both Death Note and Black Butler. DN is what got me back into anime after I lost touch for a while.
Dusk maiden of amnesia and Angel Beats are both shows I want to watch – I’m glad to see you think they’re good.
Dusk Maiden is a real hit and miss for most viewers. It worked for me but I know from watching it with other people that the changing tone in the show (it never really settles on exactly what it wants to be comedy, serious ghost story or romance) can get under the viewers skin.
I’d still recommend giving it a go if you haven’t seen it.
That does sound like something that’d irritate me… Ah well, it still seems worth a shot.
I have to say, aside from Death Note and the brilliant Black Butler, I’m surprised by the choices here. But I can fault your reasoning. Also, you’ve given me another handful of reasons to check out Angel Beats.
I think the problem is that Supernatural is a fairly vast category and we get everything from the really dark through to slice of life within the genre. That’s also why I removed any traditional Japanese supernatural stories from the mix because there were just too many options to consider.
That makes sense, it would have been practically impossible otherwise.
I love Supernatural anime. I haven’t seen the first two though so I will have to check them out 😀
Kokoro Connect was more growing up/slice life than a supernatural anime. The characters, their friendship and their self-acceptance was key to the plot. Other than the body switching and reverse aging you don’t really see anything overly supernatural, not to mention Heathcliff is kinda an alien rather than a supernatural being. I think you need to rewatch it. I might watch it after reading this. The feels are coming back!
I definitely understand why Angel Beats and Death Note are here but I didn’t like Dusk Maiden of Amnesia very well, mostly because it’s absurd to me. ha ha ha. On a side note, I haven’t tried Black Butler before, gonna cram it into my schedule.
Dusk Maiden is absurd but it kind of works.
I went with Supernatural for Kokoro because in the absence of any kind of explanation it cannot be sci-fi. Particularly as even aliens are neither confirmed nor denied. True though that it is more about how the characters respond than the phenomenon itself.
Thanks for your comment.
Okay, I get it now. Well, glad to see there’s another Kokoro Connect fan. It’s one of my favorite SOLs of all time. The ending pairs didn’t bother me much. Sigh. So sad there will never be a sequel anime. I just love all the characters so much.
It really would be good to have a sequel because really they can just keep adding new phenomenon or characters to the mix. Now I want a spinoff.
Me too! But scandals do happen.
black butler, death angel, and angel beats are superb.
nice list anyway.
I’ve watched Black Butler, Death Note, and just finished Kokoro Connect. Death Note is one of my fave animes, so glad to see it made the list. I have Angel Beats on my “to watch” list and so your little blurb served to add to my growing interest in watching it. Kokoro Connect started out amazing. I loved the character development, but I thought the end was a bit… meh. Thank you for the list though!
I think you are right about the end of Kokoro Connect. It didn’t take away my enjoyment of the show but none of the other stories are as interesting as that first arc.
Right? I felt like they should’ve just stuck with that story. It just started getting weird from there. The whole love triangle thing, it made for some interesting drama. With that said, I can’t imagine any girl reacting so enthused (the way Iori did) about Inaba liking Taichi; especially when Iori already professed her love for him. Also, Inaba tells Taichi how she feels in the most anti-climatic way, then when he was like I don’t feel the same, Inaba was all “it’s okay, I’ll make you love me!” It seemed so out of character for her personality. It’s so disappointing because I loved all the characters (so I’ll likely re-watch it). I just wish the story was more cohesive.
Great list! Might put Black Butler on mt list. 🙂
This is a great list; Ive seen them all aside from Dusk Maiden. However, while Angel Beats certainly fits the category, I don’t think it was that great a show. Music is great, animation is great. But the pacing is terrible and one of its great strengths, the interesting cast, is squandered since we never get to learn the backstories of too many characters.
I think this is an example of how visual novels are so different compared to anime – I believe the writer does the VNs for Key and Angel Beats is supposed to receive a VN adaption so the show was more like an advertisement for said game. Nonetheless, it shows how he is used to having as much time as he wants to develop characters and that the episode format seems to catch him off guard. That’s just how I feel, though.
The latest supernatural Anime I saw was Another, if you like bloody stuff you would probably enjoy it. I also really enjoyed Kyoukai no kanata. It got an interesting plot and it made tear up. There is also Psychic Detective Yakumo, I liked the Anime in is whole but this wondering about the ending. Feel like it miss something.
Great List. I might have put Death Note above Black Butler. I don’t know how you feel about Hellsing, but as one of the best (imo) Vampire anime I would put it on my supernatural top 5.
Kokoro Connect is an interesting choice. As you mentioned, the supernatural element isn’t actually ever explained. My review of it isn’t far off, so it will be interesting to compare notes.
I’d have to rewtach Kokoro Connect at this point to actually review but I remember being completely drawn into the story and the characters and then feeling quite satisfied despite the lack of explanation.
Hellsing and I have a little bit of a love and hate relationship. When I’m in the mood, I find it really entertaining. Otherwise I tend to find the show a little tedious which is why it didn’t find it’s way onto my list.
I am ashamed to say that I have not seen any of these yet, although I have seen the Deathnote Live Action movies. I live in Holland, where it was a bit hard to get Anime at times. Luckily these days things have changed, and ofcourse with Crunchyroll, I have been able to finally watch a lot more Anime. I am still playing catch up though, but these all seem like shows I would enjoy.Thanks for the recommendations 😀
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia’s okay. Little over-the-top, but fun stuff. Haven’t seen Kokoro Connect, so can’t say. Angel Beats! is basically a cynical viewer’s nightmare. Absolutely nothing plot-wise makes any sense and the constant use of tragedizing (or so I could word it) the characters gets a little repetitive after a while. Death Note is a popular choice for anyone. Not a lot of bad to really say about it. Finally, haven’t seen Black Butler, but I have seen part of the first episode… and I don’t think it’s for me. Not really sure why, ahem, women find the show so appealing, but it tends to be a show more praised by said gender. It’s a strange conundrum to me.
An interesting list, though I can’t speak much personally. Not a lot of this I have experience with, or otherwise haven’t seen in years.
Yeah, from a plot point of view Angel Beats definitely takes full advantage of the fact that the characters are already dead and the world they have set up doesn’t actually have to follow the rules you are told early on because those rules were based on false assumptions. Most stories would fall apart at that point but somehow Angel Beats worked for me and I just kind of went with it. The tragic characters just fit with the concept though most shows that tried to throw that many characters at me with tragic backgrounds would just get on my nerves. It’s one of those weird shows where stepping back I can see what is wrong with it but while watching it I can’t help but love every minute.
Thanks for your comment.
By the way, Black Butler probably appeals (other than the obvious) because it plays very much like a gothic romance/mystery which is a genre that has always appealed to women for whatever reason.
Have you watched Hell Girl ?
I tried Hell Girl but for some reason just couldn’t get into it. I thought it was odd given the sow seemed like it was a good fit for me but I just found myself a bit bored by the first few episodes and ended up just letting it go.
It’s slow. I have a complete dvd copies of this anime…. I remember I liked it , so much so that my brother’s Christmas gift to me was a backpack with Hell Girl logo on it. LOL If I watched it now, I don’t think I’d like it either. It’s very slow….. not to mention, very depressing. Ai, the Hell Girl, took advantage of people’s suffering .
I’ve seen all of the shows on the list except for Black Butler coincidentally so that’s fun. While I wouldn’t count any of them among my personal favorites, I really enjoyed the episode of Dusk Maiden that was presented entirely in a first-person perspective – I though that was really fun. Inaba was great in Kokoro Connect, and Angel Beats blends its drama and comedy to an uncommonly successful degree. A friend of mine enjoys Black Butler to some degree but warns against its non-canonical stint so I’ve never bothered to pick up the show. Might get around to it at some point and nice list of supernatural shows.