Every horror fan should watch 10 best monster anime.

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The best monster anime has been terrifying and thrilling audiences for decades. As villains and even heroes, monsters have become main characters in both classic anime and new favorites. However, when monsters are heroes, that doesn’t make them any less terrifying.

The concept of monsters and what anyone considers a monster is open, and anime certainly has its share of wild interpretations. Monsters have always been a big part of anime, from classic scary creatures like vampires, to big menaces like kaiju, to more difficult-to-describe monsters. The great monster anime are all horror masterpieces in their own right.

11 Gamera Rebirth – Classic Kaiju just got scary

Made by ENGI

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The tagline for the Netflix anime series is “Gamera vs. 5 Kaiju.” Gamera Rebirth certainly offers that promise. Gamera battles five of his traditional rivals from the series’ film history. While the human story drags and distracts from the Kaiju battles and the quality of the human character animation is mediocre at best, Gamera and the other Kaiju are rendered in great detail and the promised Kaiju battles are amazing to carry the series. Even though he’s a superhero, Gamera himself is very impressive and awesome when he fights against evil kaiju.

Watch it on Netflix

10 Durrara!! – Death got a modern design

Developed by Brains Base and based on the light novel by Ryogo Narita and Suzuhito Yasuda.

Celty Sturluson rides a Durrara motorcycle!!

A reimagining of the Irish legend of the Headless Horseman, Dullahan, shows how the Durrara myth blossoms when a woman rides a motorcycle. Despite such fantastical elements, namely the aforementioned Dullahan as one of the main characters, these mythic and fantastical elements emphasize that the most terrifying events in most of the series are caused by human characters. Durrara’s supernatural elements tie into the extended universe, including other anime series such as Baccano.

Watch on Hulu

9 Helling – The quintessential vampire anime

Produced by Studio Gonzo and based on the manga by Kuta Hirano

Alucard in Hellsing Ultimate.

Helling is a monster anime where not only the most popular monster is the main character, but also one of the most popular anime characters. Alucard is a vampire who fights other vampires as a member of a top secret Anglican organization dedicated to protecting England. That premise sounds ridiculous, and it is. Still, Hellsing combines legitimately scary monster designs with legitimately awesome action sequences. Although Alucard is consistently one of the scariest vampire characters on the show, this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that he uses his full power against incoming enemies.

Watch on Hulu

8 Chainsaw Man – Scary designs of the devil and buckets of gore

Developed by studio MAPPA and based on the manga by Tatsuki Fujimoto

One of the special effects of the fall 2022 anime season is that Chainsaw Man is, in a word, relentless. It’s relentlessly dark, relentlessly violent, and relentlessly beautiful. The monsters, including Denji’s own Chainsaw Man form, are all idealized nightmares. The series pulls no punches in terms of violence or other graphic content. Denji’s Devil Hunt serves as the basis for a dark urban fantasy story with great visual style, but Chainsaw Man requires a strong stomach to truly appreciate it.

Watch on Crunchyroll

7 Hell’s Garden – Ninjas capture monster animals

Developed by studio MAPPA and based on the manga by Yuji Kaku

6 Hell's Paradise Gabimaru and Sagiri

Escorted by a large body of samurai guards and ordered to kill them if they fail or attempt to escape, the doomed group is summoned back by the Shogun to travel to a mysterious island to find the Elixir of Life. Despite the series’ beautiful art style, Hell’s Paradise is overflowing with fantasy content. The island is inhabited by monsters with a combination of human and animal characteristics, and is ruled by a group of eight ferocious shapeshifters with god-like powers. More than a few are otherwise perfectly ordinary human criminals who are monsters in their own right, serial killers with horrific backstories.

Watch on Crunchyroll

5 Ghostly – a strange and subtly unsettling world

Produced by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

More funny than scary, Spirited Away is monster-centric, and the various monsters and ghost designs give them unique visual identities and wonderfully reveal the otherworldly nature of their creations. Most of the truly unmistakable moments of fear come from No-Face, who is more than legitimately scary when given the chance. Spirited Away is basically a fairy tale, and uses the kind of comedic moments one would expect from a genre like this to use the scary moments.

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4 Inuyasha – Feudal Japan gets an amazing reimagining

Produced by Sunrise and based on the manga by Rumiko Takahashi

Although Inuyasha is more of a romance and adventure story than a pure horror story, Rumiko Takahashi’s art style and monster designs are consistent throughout the series. The monsters are the demons that hunt the Shikon jewel shards, ranging from the unsettling to the terrifying, and many of them transform into new, stronger and more terrifying forms when empowered by the jewel shards. Naraku, the series’ primary villain, is featured prominently. Its body is attached to other parts of the demon, and tends to remain as a head when the rest is destroyed.

Watch on Hulu

3 Mushi-shi – Spirits beyond human understanding

Produced by Artland and based on the manga by Yuki Urushibara

via IMDB

Jinko is a mushi master, a combination of wandering outdoorsman and therapist. Traveling through a deliberately anachronistic version of historical Japan, Ginko helps people afflicted by mushi, spirits who are not necessarily evil but inherently dangerous, with their own inner logic and morality incomprehensible to humans. Mushi-shi are fairly laid-back and lighthearted for a monster-focused anime, and don’t have much action, but the mushi themselves are so intriguing that they’re fascinating creatures, even if they’re not outright scary.

Related: If Ginko Works for the Devil is a new manga Mushishi.

Watch on Crunchyroll

2 Godzilla Single Point – The most famous kaiju is scarier than ever.

Made by Studio Orange and Studio Bone

Godzilla Ultima is surrounded by fire in Godzilla's single point

Reimagining Godzilla as a quantum monster beyond space-time, Godzilla Singular Point both puts a completely unique spin on Godzilla and makes it perhaps the scariest and scariest he’s been since 1954.

Even though Godzilla himself doesn’t have the grandeur of other recent speculations, Singlepoint does an amazing job of presenting just how powerless human heroes can be in the face of an incomprehensible monster that practically rewrites the laws of physics. Imbued with a growing sense of dread, the fight to defeat Godzilla single-handedly is one of the most compelling Godzilla stories to date.

Watch it on Netflix

1 Mononoke – the best monster anime

Made by Toei Animation

Mononoke

A paranormal mystery series centered around an enigmatic drug dealer who appears unannounced to deal with emergencies, Mononoke is a psychological horror and atmospheric masterpiece. The series was built from the ground up to make them as unsettled and comfortable as possible. The characters are all deliberately drawn to make the most of the uncanny valley, and that’s not even getting into the fact that the drug dealer himself is a supernatural being.

Art style is all about clashing colors and patterns. The Mononoke themselves, the spirits responsible for the disasters, never appear on screen or in abstract fashion in allegorical and visual metaphors. There are quite a few jump scares, but the scariest part of Mononoke is that it’s unclear what exactly is going on. Mononoke may not be as famous as other horror anime, but its unique art style and compelling stories are enough to make it one of the best monster anime of all time.

Watch it on Netflix