To continue our anime journey, let’s explore some titles that will interest fans of the supernatural. These are series that weave tales of ghosts, demons, superpowers, and evil into their tales—without being straight up horror. (Don’t worry: I’ll cover pee-your-pants scary anime closer to the Halloween season.) For now, though, open your hearts and wallets to these recommended anime titles. If you like what you see, there are plenty more out in the world.
If you like murder mysteries, you may enjoy PERSONA 4: THE ANIMATION
Normally, I would always advise against videogame-to-anime series and vice versa, but Persona 4: The Animation is the exception to the rule. Yu Narakumi (the game’s protagonist) arrives in the sleepy little town of Inaba to spend the school year with his uncle and cousin. Inaba has an urban legend you’d hardly believe though: if you watch your television at midnight on a rainy night, it is believed you will see your soulmate. Narakumi tries this and nearly gets sucked into his TV. The next day, he and his new friends discover there is another world within the TV—one that’s filled with deadly shadow monsters. Somehow this world is connected to a series of murders, and it’s up to Narakumi to stop it. The anime holds up the game’s core story pretty accurately, and the mystery keeps you hooked. If you’ve played Persona 4 previously, then you already know this is a good thing. If you haven’t, then you’re in for a treat. And no, you do not need to be familiar with any of the Persona franchise to enjoy this anime.
If you like monsters and demons, you may enjoy Yu Yu Hakusho
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Yusuke Urameshi is just a normal high school delinquent—until he’s struck by a car and killed. Fortunately for Urameshi, death is just the beginning. Koenma, son of the ruler of the afterlife, decides to revive Urameshi and appoint him “Underworld Detective” and it’s his job to put a stop to demons and other evil trying to invade the human world. But he doesn’t have to work alone: Urameshi teams up with his rival Kuwabara as well as a few demons for good measure. Yu Yu Hakusho is a fantastic series for anyone looking for testosterone-packed action with a very likable cast of characters.
If you like more action than you can shake a boken at, you may enjoy Bleach
Photo credit: bleachanime.org
If Yu Yu Hakusho seems right up your alley, then you might want to stick around for Bleach. Bleach is a more modern shounen series with lots of action and fun characters. Ichigo Kurosaki, much like Urameshi, is a highschool delinquent who ends up getting the powers of a Soul Reaper. The Soul Reapers’ duty is to fight monsters called Hallows using sentient Zanpakuto weapons. Plus there’s all this stuff about being guardians of the afterlife and blah blah. Don’t sweat the plot. Seriously—Bleach has a ton of filler arcs which you can easily skip. Thank you Google. What makes Bleach so fun is that it’s loaded with so many characters that any viewer can find someone to latch onto. Stay for the fight scenes because those are the best parts.
If you want something more ghostly and serene, you may enjoy Mushi-Shi
Photo credit: Madman
Maybe you want to take this whole anime thing slowly and try something less violent and more Miyazaki-esque. Mushi-Shi may be a good place to start. Mushi-Shi is an anthology of standalone stories. Each episode is its own fairy tale—many of which are sad or bittersweet. Set in a fictional 19th century Japan, each story revolves around primitive creatures called mushi. They’re kind of like ghostly doodles. Humans can’t normally perceive them, but when they do, trouble is nearby. Ginko is a traveler who handles mushi problems and is the only element that links all the tales. Otherwise, there’s no overarching plot to tie you down.
If you like superheroes, you may enjoy READ OR DIE
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Costumed superheroes with alter egos are not all that common in anime—not to say they don’t exist. Read or Die and its followup series R.O.D. The TV are truly unique takes on the superhero genre. Yomiko, Anita, Maggie, and Michelle have the ability to control paper and are subsequently caught in a war between the British Library and Chinese publisher Dokusensha. Stop. Think about that. The premise is utterly ridiculous, but this is no comedy. Because everything is taken so seriously, you’re in for a ton of action and drama. Begin with Read or Die—which is only 3 episodes—then move on to R.O.D. The TV which takes place five years later. The English dub of the latter is quite excellent if you need a break from reading subtitles. Ironic. I know.
If you like tales of karma, you may enjoy xxxHolic
Photo credit: FUNimation
What would you pay to get your wish? What if the price wasn’t money, but something of equal value? Kimihiro Watanuki learns this lesson the hard way when he enlists Yuko the local witch in banishing the demons haunting him. To pay her “fee,” Watanuki must work for her, running errands and dealing with the supernatural forces around her. He discovers Yuko’s clients tend to be people with some kind of bad habit or addiction they must face if they want freedom from their troubles. Each client’s tale offers some kind of moral lesson, which adds more cerebral depth to the series. Be careful what you wish for.
If you like vampire romance…then you’ll definitely enjoy Vampire Knight
Photo credit: Viz Media
You can’t very well have a supernatural category without some vampire romance, and Vampire Knight certainly fills the role. Yuki and her friend Zero serve as guardians at her adopted father’s school Cross Academy. Their duty is to protect the school’s darkest secret: The day class is filled with normal kids, but the students of the night class are all beautiful vampires. The vampires say they’ve sworn off their violent ways, but can they be trusted? Yuki inevitably gets tangled up in the dangerous vampire world, and Zero has a secret that could destroy them both. Of course, no vampire romance would be complete without the obligatory hot vampire Kaname to complete the love triangle. Dramaaaaaaa!
Featured Image Credit: Madman