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Kuru Media's Top Ten Horror and Thriller Recommendations

As it is Halloween, a time to celebrate all things spooky and scary we thought our next top ten recommendations should be our favourite horrors and thrillers. Join us as we explore the anime that have us leaving the lights on and checking under the bed as we peek into the darker side of humanity.

There is plenty to choose from, whether it be monsters or demons, death games and serial killers, one thing Japan does well is thriller and horror based anime. So lets get to it, here are our top ten recommendations

10) Deathnote

High school student Light Yagami discovers a strange book titled Deathnote, when he touches the book a Shinigami named Ryuk appears to him, he explains the book is his, and that if Light wrote a persons name in the book they would die. Knowing he can kill anyone he wishes simply by writing there name down, he becomes intoxicated with his new found power.

A classic for the thriller genre, Deathnote is a quintessential watch for those new to anime and are into the thriller genre. It is a tale as old as time, absolute power corrupts, and the show does great job conveying this message. Who the protagonist and antagonist are almost depends on your own sense of morals and view, but the interaction between the two, particularly during the first half of the series is part of what makes this a great series. There is a live action adaption film also available on Netflix but it does not live up to the series.

Based on Manga written by Tsugumi Ohba

Studio: Madhouse

Released: 2006

9) Angels of Death

Rachel awakens is in an unfamiliar basement, her memory is lost, as she explores she runs into a bandaged, Scythe wielding serial killer named Zack. As he tries at first to kill her, the two end up coming to an agreement based on a bizare promise to become partners now it is a journey of life and death for two, will they survive or will their secrets tear them apart.

The array of characters in this dark psychological thriller are what keeps you hooked on this series. The story is also very compelling, ensuring that it keeps the viewer wanting to know more as they try to figure out what is going on. The two main protagonist of the series are fantastic the interaction between the pair you do feel for the both of them, and there are plenty of creepy antagonists throughout the series, each very distinct from one another.

Based on Japanese Adventure Horror Game by Den Fami Nico Game Magazine

Studio: JC Staff Released: 2018

8) Deadman Wonderland

Ganta and his classmates, are eagerly awaiting to depart on their class school trip, to Deadman wonderland, a prison that works as an amusement park, where convicts are forced into performing dangerous tasks and games for the amusement of the spectators. However whilst they are sat in class, they are set upon by a mysterious man in red, who slaughters everybody in class except for Ganta. Being the only survivor he is quickly framed for the murders and sentenced to death, until that time he is sent to be inmate of Deadman Wonderland.

This is crazy series that was unfortunately cut short at 12 episodes and this will leave you frustrated but there is a manga that continues the story so highly recommend picking it up. Despite the short run the anime is still worth watching, the art is incredible, the action is intense. We love the incredible and crazy world that is truly brought to light by the animation, the story it self is quite clever each episode revealing new truths, that keeps the viewer engaged throughout.

Based on Manga written by Jinsei Kataoka

Studio: Manglobe

Released: 2011

7) Future Diary

Timid high school student Yukiteru is kind of a recluse, not wanting to really interact with anyone he spends most of his time writing in his diary, not about himself his life is not that exciting, but he keeps notes on everything sees. When he is approached by the God of Time and Space, Deus Ex Machina he enters Yukiteru into a deadly battle of the Future Diaries, 12 competitors have been given special diaries able to predict the future, the last surviving competitor will become Deus Ex Machina’s heir.

The best thing about this series, is it’s a crazy and bizarre story, as the protagonist is actually a bit of wet blanket, thankfully the supporting characters help to make up for this, as there are certainly an ecliptic mix of characters in this series. Throughout the series there are many twists and turns that you do not see coming which keeps you glued to series to find out what’s going to happen next.

Based on Manga written by Sakae Esuno

Studio: Asread

Released: 2011

6) High School of the Dead

Komuro Takashi is typical lazy high school student who spends most of his day avoiding going to class, one day whilst looking out over the school gates he witness’ one of his teachers get murdered and turn into a zombie. As news starts to spread of the attack the students and teachers start to panic, Takashi sets out to save his child friend Rei, now the two must somehow survive and escape the school alongside other class mates.

Who doesn’t like the zombie apocalypse premiss, we are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to Zombie shows and films, it’s only right that there should be a zombie series on this list. Although this is not the series you watch with your friends and family due to the artists choices at times, but that shouldn’t put you off, what is genuinely a really good story of survival. The art work is incredible, the action is heart racing although the characters are generally cliché, but it is a fun series that only runs for 12 episodes so it is great series to binge in a day or two.

Based on Manga written by Daisuke Satō

Studio: Madhouse

Released: 2010

5) Parasyte the Maxim

Parasites are infecting and taking over people all over Japan, turning them into monsters that butcher and consume humans. When a parasite fails in infecting 17 year old Shinichi Izumi only managing to take over his right hand, the two must find a way to co-exist. But how can he go on living knowing the truth about these parasitic monsters, what can he do stop them, will his own parasite help him, how will the parasite change him.

Despite being a horror there is a distinct shonen vibe to it, similar to the Guyver series, with some incredible action, allowing the series to transcend from just being your basic horror anime. The character development of the main protagonist is in particular very compelling, seeing him grow and adapt each episode. This is most well rounded series on the list that has plenty of crossover appeal for every anime fan.

Based on Manga written by Hitoshi Iwaaki

Studio: Madhouse

Released: 2014

4) Promised Neverland

Emma, Norman and Ray are exceptional for their physical abilities and intelligence growing up in an orphanage with around 37 other children, their lives are turned upside down when they find out, the horrific truth behind the place they call home. The Orphanage is just farm, and the children are just the livestock, when they discover the truth, the children set out on a mission to not just escape but have everyone escape their terrible fate.

A fantastic new series, with truly gripping story that will have you hooked from the start, there is reason that Mother won the Crunchyroll award for best antagonist 2019, she is a truly chilling character. On top of her, are three amazing protagonists you will be rooting for them all the way through the 12 episode first season that will leave you wanting to know more, with season 2 confirmed for 2021.

Based on Manga written by Kaiu Shirai

Studio: Cloverworks

Released: 2019

3) Danganronpa

Hope’s Peak Academy is elite private high school, and it students are the best of the best in their fields, Makota Naegi, is relatively average young student, so its was a surprise to everyone when he unexpectedly received an invitation to enrol at the school. Though on his first day of class, he awakes in an empty classroom with no memory of how he got there, as he explores he meets other students, they then find themselves being threatened by an anthropomorphic bear, known as Monokuma. He gives them only one way to leave the Academy, to murder another student, and not be found out in the subsequent trial.

This is tamest series on this list, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t deserve its place, as you can see from the premiss of the show, I think the plot is incredible and I love the over reaching arc of hope against despair. The series is actually based on popular computer games, there are actually three series in total, with a prequel and sequel to the original series I would definitely recommend watching all three, although the original hopes peak academy series is by far the best of the bunch, once your done I would recommend playing the games as well.

Based on Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: a visual novel adventure game by Spike

Studio: Lerche

Released: 2013

2) Another

Koichi Sakakibara transfers to new school, after missing the first couple of weeks of school due to illness, he finally meets his new classmates, but he finds himself drawn to a mysterious girl Mei Misaki. His class mates ask him to ignore her, but he chooses to ignore them, when his class mates begin to fall victim to some gruesome final destination-esque deaths, he sets out to find all the secrets of his school and his class, in an effort to save not just himself but everyone else as well.

What if the grudge and final destination had a baby, well that baby would this incredible series, it is at times genuinely chilling, even down to the way the characters seem to whisper as they speak. The story is extremely intriguing and will have you constantly second guessing yourself with all the twists and turns along the way. The art work of the series is amazing and some of the inventive ways characters are killed, is incredible.

Based on Original work by P.A Works

Studio: P.A Works

Released: 2012

1) Erased

An aspiring Manga artist, 29 year old Satoru spends most of his time working for a Pizza delivery company, although his life is anything but ordinary, since he was a child Saturo has had the ability to travel backwards through time for a few minuets. Satoru had never known why he had this power, and he had no way of controlling it, as such he found it to be more of pain than super power, that is until one day he arrives home to find his mother dead. Framed for her murder and on the run from the police Satoru tries desperately to activate his power, only for it to throw him back all the way to his childhood. Satoru must look into a series of child murders that happened during this time, to find how and why this related to his mothers death.

This is one of our all time favourite anime, so even though the series is more tame, than some of the others on this list, it still tops our list, the series is a crime thriller, with an interesting hook. There are so many reasons why we love this show, despite the overall dark thriller plot the series is so endearing, sweet and wholesome that will pluck away at your heart strings. The series also has a live action adaption that is honestly just as good, available on Netflix and I highly recommend watching both adaptions.

Based on Manga written by Kei Sanbe

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Released: 2012

Okay so admittedly horror is not quite our forte, so there are more psychological thrillers on this list than anything, and as you can see we are a fan of the death game premiss. As always you should check out as many as you can, there is plenty choose from to meet what ever your preference is when it comes to either horror or thriller. There are so many ways to check out anime now, with streaming services such as Funimation, Cruncyhroll, Hi Dive and even Netflix.

The Great British Otaku

Andrew More

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