The Walking Dead and its spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead, have changed the way how we look at zombies. Instead of mindless creatures in search of brains, these tales focus on stories of survival and building a new world. And while The Walking Dead has had its ups and downs, it still has a strong following — even among anime fans. But waiting for a new episode each week (or between seasons) can be frustrating. Luckily, that void that you feel when there isn’t a new episode can be filled — with anime. Here are five anime to watch if you love The Walking Dead.
School-Live! follows a group of students and their teacher as they take refuge from the zombie apocalypse at their school. While the girls do their best to survive, one of them, Yuki suffers from some sort of trauma that prevents her from seeing the true horror right in front of her. In an attempt to play along with Yuki, the other girls pretend that it’s a typical, zombie-free school day.
Like The Walking Dead, School-Live! is about more than being in constant danger of zombies. The anime focuses on how these young girls cope with their new reality. Many of the girls excel at tasks like providing security and making supply runs. However, one of them suffers a The Walking Dead-esque mental breakdown that not only leads to her mind playing tricks on her but also endangers the entire group. Check out School-Live! if you want a side of psychological drama served alongside your plate of brains.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Mankind has entered a new age. Humans no longer live freely. Instead, they hide in iron fortresses from the “Kabane,” zombie-like creatures who kill indiscriminately. Fortunately, they have the Hayajiro, armored locomotives that allow humans to travel between fortresses and give humanity a sense of normalcy. However, when a Kabane infiltrates one of the iron fortresses, it changes young steam smith Ikoma’s life forever. Inflicted with a disease that transforms him into a Kabaneri, a human-Kabane hybrid, Ikoma and his companions must fight their way through hordes of Kabane to reach the “Shogun’s Strongest Stronghold,” Kongoukaku.
Similar to The Walking Dead, mankind has changed and has become very cautious about outsiders in Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. Paranoia and fear have taken over, leading people to believe they can’t trust anyone. In the anime’s dark world, even those with injuries that merely resemble a bite mark can be executed. So, Ikoma — similar to Rick Grimes — must not only watch out for the Kabane but humans as well.
In Btoom!, 22-year-old Ryōta Sakamoto finds himself on a beautiful island — but doesn’t remember how he got there. Many wouldn’t mind being stuck in paradise, but this idyllic deserted island isn’t what it seems — and soon becomes Ryōta’s worst nightmare. Ryota quickly realizes he’s actually playing a live-action version of his favorite video game, Btooom!, an online shooting game where the players are more ruthless than the military grade weapons they wield.
Carrying a bag full of various bombs, Ryōta and the other players must kill seven other participants to return home. At first, Ryōta refuses to play along with this sick game. That is, until he realizes that those around him aren’t thinking as clearly as himself and will do anything to get off the island. Now, he must do everything he can to survive these vicious players.
But not everyone is out to kill Ryōta. In fact, in true The Walking Dead form, some characters come to depend on his expertise for their survival. While technically not a zombie series, Btooom! possesses elements, such as survival and dangerous characters, that will resonate with The Walking Dead fans.
Another series different in premise from the AMC post-apocalyptic series, but similar in many other ways, is the vampire anime, Shiki. The anime starts with the unexplainable death of a young girl — which causes a ferocious epidemic to start taking over a small village. The unknown disease baffles the town’s doctor, Ozaki, and other members of the health community. To prevent the disease from spreading, Ozaki and Natsuno, a teenager mourning the recent death of his friend, must solve the mystery of the disease before it transforms their peaceful village into a ghost town.
In the latest seasons of The Walking Dead, Negan attacks several communities. However, in Shiki, a deadly disease is the one causing the destruction. And like the members of Alexandria and the Hilltop, these villagers will not become the slaves of these creatures of the night. So, if you want to see a group of humans turn things around and fight to get their homes back, then check out Shiki.
Attack on Titan
While The Walking Dead features normal-sized zombies, Attack on Titan‘s giant, human-eating monsters are even more horrifying. The anime takes place in a fictional world where humans must live behind giant walls in fear of being eaten by mindless humanoid creatures called Titans. But not all is lost. The brave men and women of the Survey Corps, an elite military unit, fight against the Titans, to give a humanity a chance. The series follows Eren Jaeger along with his adopted sister and best friend as they join the brutal fight against the Titans.
If you’re looking for an anime about people fervently trying to survive against endless hordes of zombies, then look no further than Attack on Titan. Like The Walking Dead, the post-apocalyptic anime features countless deaths, flying limbs, and fear. You never know when the grim reaper will take out one of your faves.
I Am a Hero (Honorable Mention)
While it hasn’t received an anime adaptation yet, you should definitely check out I Am a Hero. The manga follows Hideo Suzuki, a 35-year-old mangaka assistant whose love life is in shambles. Oh, and he also has regular conversations with his imaginary friend and hallucinates, seeing faces under his bed and at his window. While you might think things can’t get worse for the artist, they definitely do. The world has become a living nightmare, as the undead has taken over Tokyo. Armed with only a shotgun, Hideo runs for his life, meeting several people along the way. Together, they must find a way to remain alive.
While Hideo isn’t as brave or strong as Rick Grimes, it’s still interesting to read (or watch a live-action movie) about an average person taking on homicidal creatures. His quest for survival, although much lighter in tone, will remind fans of the struggles that the groupin The Walking Dead had to go through before reaching Alexandria.