by Patrick Ilagan . October 3rd, 2012
It’s that time of the year where monsters, zombies, vampires, werewolves and all things horrifying takes center stage again. While some are busy preparing their prized pumpkins for carving jack-o-lanterns, others are thinking about their costumes for this year’s Halloween party, and there are those who busy are compiling a movie list for the scare fest at home but we here at YTD have taken interest in these awesome and scary mangas from Japan to celebrate Halloween. We have listed 10 of the scariest mangas that will give you the creeps and possibly give you a hard time sleeping at night. Despite the scary factor we had a hard time putting down these mangas because of the awesome art style and the amazing plot lines that they have. We are most certain that if H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe are still alive today they would probably make reviews raving about these mangas.
Despite being a manga, Seeds of Anxiety has the shock factor that often leaves it’s readers scared and hiding under the covers as they wait for the sun to rise. The manga is a compilation of short stories comprised of Japanese urban legends, ghost stories and superstitions. Not only does this manga celebrate the rich culture of Japan but, it also helps to preserve and pass-on it’s vibrant folklore. The stories span about 3-6 pages while the chapters are centered around into a specific themes like Schools, Visitors and Shadows.
This manga is for those who are still waiting for the latest issue or the new season of The Walking Dead. Enter, Hideo Suzuki a thirty-five year old assistant artist struggling with his life until one day when a mysterious virus plagued Japan turning people into Zombies (yep, you’ve guessed it). Now with Japan plunged into chaos, Hideo’s seemingly ordinary mediocre life comes to an end as he become a hero. Art style and pacing is top-notch, it has a good mix of horror, hilarity and real life issues that makes Hideo a much more likeable character than Rick Grimes from Walking Dead.
Not your usual horror manga because this one doesn’t involve supernatural entities, gore, monsters and magic but instead it has a creepy looking woman with a gaunt face, sharp nails, long black hair donning a dirty trench coat. Hiroshi Mori is your typical Japanese college student but his once ordinary life turned into a waking nightmare when an odd looking woman started knocking on his neighbor’s door. The realistic style combined with the eerie shadows made this one a must read for those who need a scare.
Despite the name, Monster is very much like Zashiki Onna where the usual servings of grotesques figures and nightmarish landscapes are absent. Monster is a Hitchcockian suspense-filled story where the good Dr. Tenma is sworn to save lives but after learning that the kid he just saved a few years ago turns out to be a budding evil mastermind who is out to bring the end of the world. Dr. Tenma then realizes that he needs to take a life away in order to save the world.
The idea of presents being horrifying seems ludicrous but after reading Kanako Inuki’s work we just got a little bit wary of those little neatly wrapped boxes (specially if it doesn’t say who’s it from). The story starts when Kurumi never got her present during her birthday because of her jealous classmate Mayuki decided to hide it. The humiliated Kurumi never went back to school again and through some bizarre twist of fate she becomes the spirit of presents bestowing wicked gifts to anyone who crosses her path. There is just something wicked in those big and googly eyes that makes us cringe and despite the whimsical art style Presents is one scary read.
Domu is Katsuhiro Otomo’s prior work before the phenomenal Akira. A surge of bizarre deaths plague a run-down apartment complex somewhere in Tokyo. When the police tried investigating the apartment they too met the same fate as the deceased occupants had through the hands of Old Cho, a senile old man with telekinetic powers. It is now up a young girl named Etsuko who just recently moved in the aparment to stop Old Cho’s reign of terror. Domu was originally released by Dark Horse in 1996 and was supposed to be adapted as a film by Guillermo Del Toro sadly Del Toro said that the overly complicated rights have prevented him from making the film.
Octopus Girl is a twisted cautionary tale to warn the school bullies. Takoko or Tako (octopus in Japanese) which her classmates use to call her, is an innocent girl often bullied at school and somehow they (her classmates) took things way too far. Not only did they drowd Tako but they also forced her to eat a live octopus that she was allergic to. Tako was left to die but instead she wakes up only to find out that she is half human and half octopus with powers. She later then enacts her revenge to the ones who have wronged her in the most horrifying ways.
Kazuo Umezu is considered as a household name in the field of horror mangas. The Drifting Classroom is lauded as his greatest piece wherein he decide to pit unwillingly six-graders (yes, sixth-graders) through a series of insane and harrowing situations after a massive quake that hit suburban Japan, this earthquake eventually transports the whole school to a different dimension. While we find it hilarious how the people tumble like plastic toy soldiers in the manga we just couldn’t get rid our heads the thought of all the nightmarish events that happened to Sho and his band of little adventurers.
In a span of one night Shinichi Izumi’s quiet life turns upside down when a alien parasite (which he named Migi) made a futile attempt to occupy his brain but ended up in his right hand (Migi means right in Japanese) instead. While both of them still retain their separate intellects both have become the prime targets of the blood-thirsty Parasites out to consume the human race. Despite the dated art style, this manga boasts a lot of graphic scenes (there you have been warned). So if you like slasher flicks but tired of the usual formula then this one is just right up in your alley.
No horror manga list would be complete without any work from Junji Ito, but this time we are steering away from his famous works namely: Uzumaki (a crazy manga about spirals), Gyo (something about fishes and weird alien-like contraptions) and Tomei (imagine overly attached girlfriend but kills and immortal). This single-volume manga is a combination of apocalyptic science fiction with cosmic horror. This manga is like a nightmare train where a monstrous planet roams around the universe consuming everything in its path. Crazy is a bit of an understatement to describe this manga, which is why we are leaving it up to you guys to think what best describes Hellstar Remina.
Consider yourself brave if you have read one of these manga on our list in the middle of the night, alone and with the lights out. If you think that we missed any good horror mangas worth the scare this Halloween season do tell us in the comments below! Don’t forget to check us out in Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can also subscribe to our posts to get first dibs in all things awesome in the world of graphic design.
Patrick Jude Ilagan is a graphic designer/photographer hailing from the vast jungles of urban Manila. Always on the look out for visually appealing stuff he scours the internet and the bustling city in search of inspiration. His tools for mass creation is a Canon 500D along with a wide array of lights and lenses plus a 4 year old (but still fighting) laptop. Check out his work on Tumblr.
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