I’m weird in that while I hate live action movies that fall into the ‘psychological horror’ genre, I absolutely adore it when anime series get into my head and creep my brain out or twist my mind into new directions that I never thought were previously possible and I’m certain that there are at least a few of you out there who feel the same way. That’s why for this particular article I’ve decided to focus on the series from anime history which give us that creepy feeling up our spines or just generally twist our brains in a way that we never thought was possible.
While opinions on Chaos;Head and Robotics;Notes are fairly mixed, pretty much everyone can agree that Steins;Gate is one of the best series to come out within last decade and one of the big reasons for that is the incredible way it was able to keep the audience guessing at what was going to happen next. Thrilling is certainly one way to describe this series but I would dare say that you could also throw in creepy and mesmerizing just for good measure as well. Steins;Gate may not be scary in the most traditional sense of the word but it certainly makes you think and will twist your mind into a knot once it has a chance to sink its fangs into you.
It certainly seems like it’s very difficult to be a proper psychological anime series without a little bit of blood being spilled here and there. In the case of Death Parade it’s more like a bucket of blood being thrown on the dance floor here and there. Death Parade is a psychological horror in the best sense of the phrase since it always leaves the audience thinking about the people playing the various games. Sometimes the answers seem obvious, sometimes they seem abstract but in the end they are always interesting and will always leave the audience sitting up, begging for more.
Higurashi: When They Cry
When the first five seconds of a series is a sequence involving two girls being beaten to death with a softball bat, you know you’re in for a bumpy ride. Higurashi is brilliant in that the violence within this series (and believe me when I say that this one knows how to dial up the violence level to 11) is really only the tip of the iceburg. The really twisted part about this series is unraveling the mystery behind Rika and why the story keeps resetting itself which is sadly only vaguely alluded to in the first season. Higurashi is quite possibly one of the finest examples of psychological horror in anime history and will always have a special place in my heart because of it.
Another is the series that made it so that I can never look at an umbrella the same way ever again and why I will cringe every single time I see someone go down a flight of stairs with one in their hands. Much like the other series in this list, Another will draw you in with its violence but it’s the mystery that will truly make you want to keep pushing forward until you can figure out what is going on and why things are happening.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)
For many anime fans, Evangelion will always be that special series which first showed them just how screwed up anime could truly be. Steeped in rich symbolism which could be interpreted in many different ways and an ending that still has people guessing what actually happened many years later, Evangelion is a series that will never, ever be forgotten. While other series have attempted to duplicate the sheer majesty of this series there will never be another Evangelion – only very pale imitations.
Welcome to Irabu’s Office
When creating this list I knew that I needed something a bit more lighthearted to keep things balanced but with a list filled with bloody violence, deep symbolism and time travel which psychological series could I possibly choose? Welcome to Irabu’s Office of course! Unlike the other series on this list it’s not so much the content of the series that will throw your brain for a loop but more the way it is presented. A mix of traditional animation and live action, Welcome to Irabu’s Office will entertain and perplex all at the same time. It will astound you and confuse you before you even have a chance to notice what is happening. That is the brilliance of Irabu’s Office.