Sit down and gather round. You’ve read the legendary horror manga from Junji Ito, now watch a collection of his short stories come to life before your very eyes.
For Fans of Horror Short Stories
As the sun sets, a mysterious man comes to town. The children all gather round to hear his sinister tales based on Japanese urban legends. Along with his demented narration, he uses a kamishibai, a traditional paper-scrolling device, to add in visuals.
The connection is obvious here, both are anime series that tell short horror stories. Yamishibai episodes are short and the art is experimental while Junji Ito is standard animation and adapting manga short stories. Both are sufficiently creepy if you are a horror junkie.
Qui Shui Yi Yun
There was once a strange villa that is bulldozed down and had new homes built on the ruins. Those that live there now live in peace, but that peace is soon to be broken by a series of mysterious incidents.
This anime is technically Chinese, but it tells a series of related short horror stories. While Junji Ito stories are often left disconnected from each other, these are not.
Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
Ayakashi features three classic Japanese horror stories: The story of the betrayed wife and her quest for vengeance, the story of a forbidden love between human and goddess, and the story of a cat monster with a grudge against a particular family.
If you crave another anime series featuring cohesive Japanese short horror stories, Ayakashi can provide. It doesn’t tell as many tales as the Junji Ito collection, but the stories feel interesting and complete when you finish them. They are, however, not as creepy.
For Fans of Black Comedy
Satsuki and Keiichirou Miyanoshita move back to their mother’s hometown after her tragic death, it is there that the siblings find out that their mother banished a number of ghosts from the old school building, but suddenly they are all starting to reappear again. It is up to Satsuki and her new friends along with the help of her mother’s journal to seal them away again.
It is important to remember that is you watched Ghost Stories subbed, it is a somewhat creepy mystery-solving show for kids. If you watch it dubbed, it is a completely hilarious black comedy. The Junji Ito Collection shows off black comedy stylings no matter what language it is, but when dubbed, Ghost Stories is pretty much a comedy.
There is an urban legend going around in Musashino City where the infamous Shounen Bat rolls around on roller blades and beats people with his golden baseball bat. Numerous reports of his attacks have been reported, but the police have been unable to catch him. As the investigation continues and more people fall victim, paranoia begins to set in.
Like Junji Ito is a master of horror manga, Satoshi Kon was a master of creating psychological thriller movies and this one single anime series. Paranoia Agent is a real trip. At times it is funny and light, at others it is close to terrifying. It is one of those series that wants to mess with your mind.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Nozomu Itoshiki is a high school teacher that is so pessimistic that even small misfortunes can send him spiraling into a pit of despair. Surrounded by increasingly insane students, Nozomu’s unique brand of despair has its own way of affecting them, often in a positive manner.
Some of the stories in The Junji Ito Collection play heavily towards dark comedy rather than horror, but it is quite the opposite in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. It is not just a comedy series, though. It also has a psychological aspect to it, but it takes watching its many seasons to fully understand.
For Fans of Atmospheric Horror
Higurashi: When They Cry
Keiichi Maebara just moved from Tokyo with his family to the small town of Hinamizawa in the summer 1983. As the town is so small, school children of all ages are lumped into one class. There he becomes fast friends with four girls where he spends his days after school idly playing games. However, as the town’s annual festival approaches, he learns about a series of murders, disappearances, and other mysteries that surround it. When he confronts his friends, he finds them mysteriously tight-lipped.
Throughout much of the Junji Ito Collection you will note that the horror is grotesque, but not always super gory. While Higurashi gets some of its horror through shocking gore, like Ito, it uses a certain psychological aspect to its horror.
The fifteen-year-old Megumi Shimizu dreamed of leaving her small country town behind for the big city, but those dreams died when she did. It was her murder that kicked off a summer of blood and terror in this small town where a city boy and a country doctor try to stop the epidemic of death happening around them.
Small towns are so rife for horror stories. Junji Ito knows it and Shiki takes great advantage of it. In both shows you will often find sometimes old monsters recreated in a way that they feel fresh to the horror world. It is also worth nothing that both shows love to leave you guessing until the time is exactly right as well.
High school freshman Mai Taniyama likes to spend her free time telling ghost stories with friends. One day she hears a ghost story about the cursed old school building. Overcome by curiosity, she decides to check it out. After peeking in the window, she spots a camera. After a twist of fate, she ends up breaking the camera and injuring an unknown man. It turns out that both belonged to the young Kazuya Shibuya, a paranormal investigator and high school senior. In order to pay him back, he forced her to become his assistant for his paranormal investigation company.
While I wouldn’t say most of the ghost stories in Ghost Hunt are particularly scary, then can be creepy at times. Like the Junji Ito Collection, you get to see a lot of different stories through the arcs of Ghost Hunt and they both like to keep the horror realistic in nature.
Do you have any more anime recommendations like the Junji Ito Collection? Let us know in the comments section below.
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