Typically, Halloween enthusiasts plan spooky movie nights featuring scary live-action films. But what they don’t know is that an anime OVA or short can serve up just as many scares in a fraction of the time. The only problem: there’s no shortage of horror series to watch, and there are only 31 days in October. But horror fans shouldn’t let that deter them, as we’ve selected the 10 anime shorts you absolutely need to watch this Halloween.
Demon Prince Enma
Demon Prince Enma is a remake of the lighthearted 1973 horror anime TV series Dororon Enma-kun. Unlike its predecessor, Demon Prince Enma is a full-fledged horror short with very few lighthearted scenes and is geared towards adults. The anime follows Enma, a fire-wielding demon, and his childhood friend, snow-woman Yuki. Together they ferret out the monsters who have escaped from Hell and either send them back or burn them to ashes.
Le Portrait de Petit Cossette
This three-episode anime short follows the story of art student Eiri Kurahashi working at his uncle’s antique shop. One day he sees the image of a girl in an antique glass. Upon touching it, he receives a vision of a beautiful young girl, Cossette, whose spirit haunts the Venetian glass. Soon Kurahashi learns her betrothed, Marcelo, murdered Cossette. To free Cossette’s spirit, a man must be willing to take upon himself the punishment for Marcelo’s sin.
Le Portrait de Petite Cossette is, in all sense of the word, an artsy supernatural horror story about love and obsession. Its high points lie in its artistry and portrayal of graphic scenes. Thus, if you’re looking for something different in the supernatural anime genre, then Le Portrait de Petit Cossette is worth the watch for Halloween.
Through this anime short, we follow the cat Nyatto on his journey to reclaim his sister’s lost soul. She lost her soul when Nyatto tried to save her from Death. Now, she trails after him, brain-dead. To get it back, they embark on a strange journey filled with mystery, darkness and, of course, difficult obstacles.
Similar to EVA, Cat Soup plays with symbolism; consequently, viewers will react differently and have a different conclusion about this title. Incidentally, the OVA has no dialogue.
Denpa-teki na Kanojo
Delinquent high school student Juu Juuzawa just wants to be left alone. But, one day, he meets Ame Ochibana, who claims that she knew him in a previous life, and now wants to serve him as his “knight.” At first, Juu wants nothing to do with her. Nevertheless, he accepts her help when a classmate is murdered.
As the title suggests, the story is about crazy girls or yandere. If you haven’t seen a series with yandere, then Denpa-teki na Kanojo is a must-watch. The series perfectly describes the near-death experiences that the male lead goes through without any censorship.
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls
An anime short that should be on every Halloween watch list is Corpse Party. Based on a game of the same name, it captures the final moments of a group of students in a life and death situation trying to survive the tortures of a little spirit girl.
Corpse Party has no censorship; you will see guts, blood, and eye-popping, and all of this is happening to children.
Kowabon is a three-minute 13 episode long original horror story exploring the possibility of there being a darker side to the digital age. What if someone or something was looking at us through all our digital devices? Thus, making us think if there’s a supernatural phenomenon behind our obsession with mobile devices.
The series is animated using a technique called rotoscoping. In other words, the animators used live-action images and recreated them to an anime using a rotoscope. The series borrows many scare tactics from famous Japanese films, such as The Ring and The Grudge.
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne
The anime short follows Rin a small-time detective who holds a dark secret — she’s an immortal, carrying a “Time Fruit” from the tree of life. These great powers give her the ability to take brutal physical punishment (and can easily regenerate her body parts). Thanks to her abilities she can defend herself against Apos, a supernatural creature with a sadistic streak.
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is an adult anime short, i.e. not for kids. Next to all the adult themes, the series has an alluring plot that deepens with each episode while not forgetting its gore and violence. If you’re planning to watch Rin this Halloween, be aware of your surroundings, as the series contains a lot of moaning.
While the series might be one of the worst rated OVA on several anime websites, the short is a must-watch for gore and horror anime fans this Halloween. Pupa follows the siblings, Utsutsu and his younger sister, Yume. During a visit to the park, the siblings contract a mysterious virus known as Pupa. Shortly after Yume grows a pair of wings and gains an immeasurable desire for flesh, either animal or human. Meanwhile her brother, Utsutsu, only attains regenerative powers. To protect the world from his sister, Utsutsu sacrifices his body to feed Yume’s endless hunger.
An anime must-watch list wouldn’t be complete without some “so bad it’s so good” shows. Pupa is one of those series that the sheer amount of blood and gore makes it worthy for Halloween.
Petshop of Horrors
This anime short centers around pet shop owner Count D and the store’s exotic pets. He sells rare and hard to come by animals to people longing for something special. However, with each sale comes a contract. If the rules are followed, then everything goes fine. But, if the new owner breaks the rules, the pet shop can’t be held responsible for anything that might happen. Homicide Detective Leon Orcot has linked many odd and unexplainable deaths to Count D’s pet shop. And now, it’s up to Leon so solve the mystery behind this exotic pet store.
Petshop of Horrors has a similar premise as The Twilight Zone. Each episode explores various horrendous themes and often conclude with a moral point. On top of that, Petshop of Horrors is a shout-out to Gremlins where the owner explicitly informs the buyer that having a pet is a huge responsibility, i.e. don’t feed after midnight. The lesson here is: don’t buy something if you can’t follow the rules.
The Curse of Kazuo Umezu
The Curse of Kazuo Umezu follows two separate stories. In the first story called “What Will the Video Camera Reveal,” a transfer student arrives from Mexico causing great disturbance to the life of a classmate named Masami. In the second part, “The Haunted Mansion,” four girls adventure into a malevolent house in their neighborhood.
This ’90s anime short is everything that we need for a Halloween screamfest: blood, dismemberment, monsters, and a not very smart character. The anime has a similar premise as Tales from the Crypt. Thus, it’s a “good” classic horror with a lot of magnetism.