Hey there, fans! Welcome to yet another edition of Happy Fun Thursdays! Except today will probably be not as happy or as fun as you may expect it to be. That’s right! In order to facilitate the passage of the leftover sugar through the body from consuming too much candy (or to alleviate the celebratory hangovers caused by too many orange-coloured beverages and bad costumes), I’ll be listing a few good shows that may be able to help all the poor souls out there to recover from the many Halloween-related parties they may have partaken in.
And when I say “help,” I mean “scare the living bejeezus out of.” Shall we begin?
If you like zombies, watch High School of the Dead.
Do you like zombie movies? Of course you do. Do you like fanservice? Who doesn’t? Do you like fanservice IN your zombie movies? Duh! The busty heroine is a staple of any horror film, and the anime High School of the Dead takes that little trope to the next level. Zombies have invaded the world, and a group of busty young students (with a couple of boys thrown in for good measure) decide to stay alive and to hope for survival. As the series progresses, we find these heroes up against more than they could have ever imagined, all the while participating zombie-killing action. A great action anime that WANTS YOUR BRAINS!
If you like vampires, watch Hellsing Ultimate.
Leave your sparkly vampires and fake blood drinks at the door when watching this fast-paced, ludicrously bloody anime about the secret weapon of the Church of England: a gun-wielding, bespectacled vampire named Alucard. His adventures have him gaining an apprentice vampire named Seras Victoria, butting heads with the secret weapon of the Catholic church, evil, undead and overpowered Nazis, and basically cleansing the world of the supernatural evils. Expect oceans of blood to wash over your dreams when you watch this anime.
If you like Halloween, watch Soul Eater.
Take the concept of a Halloween Town from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and add a touch of insanity and exaggeration that only anime can ever bring, violence, a hint of fanservice, more violence, and what you’ve got is Death City, Nevada, where the Death Weapon Meister Academy is located. The Academy is where meisters, people who wield Death Weapons, are trained to achieve their goal of turning their death weapons into Death Scythes, weapons wieldable by Death himself. In order to do so, they must defeat 99 evil people (plus one witch) and absorb their souls. Yup, it’s a MacGuffin-driven shounen anime, but one that has overarching themes of Death and the supernatural. Death himself is a character, but the scares here are found in the baddies faced down by the students and their weapons. Stylistically, it keeps to the theme of Halloween, so expect your nightmares to have the most devilish looking moon in its skies since the one in Majora’s Mask!
If you like aliens, watch Blue Gender.
If there’s anything I liked about this anime, it was the fact that half the cast introduced in the first two episodes are killed off, and those who do survive the infestation of the “Blue,” the gargantuan insects that have laid waste to most of civilization on Earth, go slightly mad over the futility of resisting the takeover of these insects. Basically, it’s an militaristic anime about trying to take Earth back from some alien creatures. The horror comes from the graphic nature of the deaths in the series and the mutilation any human goes through if they are eaten by the “Blue.” And you thought those spiders on your bed were scary…
If you like spirits and the supernatural, watch xxxHolic.
Although not quite what most consider nightmare material, xxxHolic certainly has its scary moments. Watanuki, a high-schooler, comes upon a shop whose owner, a witch calling herself Yuuko, grants wishes… for a price. Come for the supernatural entities, most of whom hail from Japan, and the shenanigans caused by the interplay of characters, and stay for the thought-provoking stories woven by the wishes of the passers-by of Yuuko’s shop. Watch out, though! There are some episodes which are unexpectedly frightening, so don’t blame me if weird phenomena start happening about you!
If you like Hitchcock films, watch Monster.
In this well-paced, nuanced anime, a portrait of a killer is painted in vivid detail, as Dr. (character) is slowly unravelling the mystery behind the little boy he saved one fateful night, who now haunts his every step. It’s a long series (96 episodes!) but each minute will have you gripped to your seat as twists, turns, and horrible, horrible murder come to meet the poor doctor at every turn. The music too will continue to orchestrate your dreams, as every shadow you walk behind suddenly bears the portrait of a murderer, waiting to strike.
If you like feeling paranoid, watch Paranoia Agent.
The citizens of Tokyo are in a constant state of paranoia after a famous designer was bludgeoned mercilessly by a small boy on skates wielding a huge, golden bat, and keeps finding victims to hurt with increasing brutality. Who is this little boy on wheels? Is he real, or the personification of the fears and terrors of the victims of his attacks? What’s so special about the victims he chooses? And, more importantly, who’s next? One of the late Satoshi Kon’s masterpieces in the anime industry, this series has the ability to keep you glued to the screen as the tension keeps rising until the circumstances surrounding the Lil’ Slugger’s attacks are revealed. Here’s to hoping he won’t find you in your dreams tonight…
If you like recurring nightmares, watch Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni.
Have you ever had a really bad nightmare that came back to haunt you again and again and again? That’s the basic premise of this show, also known in the US as When They Cry. The show’s true horror comes from the fact that the series revolves around the events that happened on days before, after and during a festival to to a small town in rural Japan called Hinamizawa. And revolves. And revolves. AND KEEPS GOING. Like a horrible, horrible version of Groundhog Day, Higurashi cycles through the same events, with significantly different endings, through the different view points of the characters. It’s bloody, violent, and characters that seemed cute a few minutes ago become psychotic, as the ancient curse befalls them, forcing them to repeat the bloody incident over, and over, and over…
If you REALLY like recurring nightmares, watch Umineko no Naku Koro Ni.
Umineko no Naku Koro Ni is a show made by the same people who did the Higurashi, except they upped the ante, the violence and body count in this one, as well as adding a little twist that happens in the end of the first arc: due to his extreme stubbornness in the face of his own horrible death and disbelief in the magical nature of the witch Beatrice, Battler tries to disprove Beatrice’s magical powers, essential playing the detective to her closed-room murder mysteries. At first, the murders seem possible to be done by humans, but as the arcs progress, the Golden witch becomes more and more creative with her murders, pushing Battler to the brink of his stubborn logic. It gets really graphic, so enjoy an extra coat of red lining in your nightmares.
If you never want to sleep ever again, watch Serial Experiments Lain.
Lain. The sheer mention of the show’s name sends terror streaking down the spines of many an anime fan, many of whom now swore off the willingness to watch it again, in order to let the mental wounds heal over. That being said, it’s probably one of the deepest anime that anyone will ever find, tackling subjects like conspiracy theories, identity, humans’ relationship to technology, and existentialism. It’s a mind screw, in the most real sense of the world, as not even the animation that the show uses stays stable enough to draw comfort from. Just add in elements of psychological horror, and you’ve got an anime so potent in scaring people that even veterans won’t touch it again. Besides, insomnia’s not that bad, right? Right?
Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: a list of anime that won’t leave your psyches alone (for a good while at least). I hope you all can sleep well tonight, because I sure won’t be able to!
Missed an anime that you’ve managed to remember after blocking it from your conscious memory? Hit us up on the comments!