Horror manga have always been a genre close to my heart, as you can see if you check out my list of the best horror manga.
The mixture of scary story-telling and the accompanying terrifying visuals makes them so scary.
In this article, I want to focus on the truly scary manga, the ones that present you with creepy stalkers, lingering ghosts or unsettling scenarios.
Table of Contents
- 11. God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand
- 10. Manhole
- 9. I Am a Hero
- 8. Zashiki Onna
- 7. Laughing Vampire
- 6. Parasyte
- 5. Mieruko-Chan
- 4. The Shadow Out of Time
- 3. Fuan no Tane
- 2. Kouishou Radio
- 1. Uzumaki
11. God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand
There’s no other man who had as big an impact on horror manga other than Kazuo Umezu. He’s one of the most influential horror manga artists and his works have influenced the genre markedly.
God’s Right Hand, Devil’s Left Hand, is a scary manga like no other. It’s outlandish and disturbing, at others bizarre and gory, but always scary.
It tells of the various scary incidents a young boy named Sou becomes involved with. He’s often plagued by visions of these events before they happen and thus tries to prevent them.
Some scenarios depicted in this manga are highly bizarre and outlandish, yet others are more realistic, especially those featuring serial killers.
The works of Kazuo Umezu have a unique, old-fashioned style. Some might call it simplistic, or downright ugly, yet it always succeeds in presenting us with the violent events depicted.
God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand, might be an older manga, but it’s still an extremely scary manga and called a classic for a reason.
There are only a few scary manga as uncomfortable as Manhole. Especially in our current times, manga about biological horror are terrifying.
One day, a naked, blood-covered man emerges from a manhole who’s host to a deadly biological agent.
The events of the manga follow two detectives who are trying to uncover the cause and origin of the infection. In the meantime, however, it continues to spread.
Manhole is more a thriller or detective story, but what makes it such a scary manga is the deadly, biological infection.
This scary manga is a fantastic, but unsettling read. There are no monsters here, no supernatural events, but a terrifying, realistic tale.
Zombie apocalypses are always scary, and I Am a Hero by Kengo Hanazawa is no different.
The story of this scary manga follows Hideo Suzuki, a young manga assistant. Hideo is a strange man, one who suffers from a share of mental problems. It’s interesting to follow someone like him around and to witness how he handles the situation he finds himself in.
One of the scariest things about I Am a Hero are the zombies. They differ from what we’re used to. Instead of walking corpses, we’re greeted by twisted and contorted beings. As the manga continues, they seem to take on more horrible versions, until they even merge and become giant, fleshy abominations.
I Am a Hero is a scary manga that develops slowly and takes quite some time to get going. While one’s easily fooled by the first chapters, it’s a very interesting and scary manga.
8. Zashiki Onna
Zashiki Onna is a scary manga that lacks any supernatural elements. It’s for this reason that I consider it such a scary manga.
Hiroshi, a young university student, notices that a mysterious, tall woman seems to be interested in his next-door neighbor, appearing at his door constantly. After a chance encounter, however, Hiroshi becomes her new target of attention.
The story escalates as the mysterious woman continues to invade Hiroshi’s life.
Reading Zashiki Onna is a haunting experience. It presents us with the theme of stalking in an extremely chilling and unsettling way. What starts out as an invasion of privacy soon turns dangerous.
While it’s a short manga, comprising only eleven chapters, it’s still an extremely scary manga.
There’s a plethora of horror manga out there, but a lot of them feature monsters or supernatural creatures. Zashiki Onna stands out amongst them. It’s a simple tale, one about stalking, but that also makes it so much scarier.
7. Laughing Vampire
Manga artist Suehiro Maruo is most known for his erotic gore work and many of his manga are strange and disturbing. While the Laughing Vampire is no different, and features its fair share of sexually charged scenes, it’s also quite a scary manga.
It’s a disturbing work, featuring a cast of terrible, downright insane people. What makes it such a scary manga, however, is the many themes featured in it.
It’s a work featuring vampires lurking in the dark, preying on unsuspecting people. Not only that, however, it features a unique spin on the vampire legend, one that’s as unique as it is terrifying.
The Laughing Vampire is a work that’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a disturbing and scary manga.
Parasyte is a manga that centers on worm-like creatures that infest human beings and take over their bodies.
Shinichi, our protagonist, falls victim to one such parasite. When the creature tries to dig into his head, however, he wakes up and thus only his right hand gets infected.
Both of them keep their respective personalities but are trapped in the same body. It’s a situation that’s weird enough, but it turns downright scary when other parasites attack them.
It isn’t long before Shinichi learns that those other parasites prey on human beings and devour them. From this point onward, he fights back and hunts them down.
What makes Parasyte such a scary manga is its focus on the theme of paranoia. Since parasites can imitate humans and look exactly like them, you never know who’s infested and who isn’t. You don’t know if your spouse turns out a human-eating monstrosity, and if you do, it’s most likely already too late.
While Parasyte features the occasional bit of humor, it also features copious amounts of gore. We witness as people are shredded to pieces, torn apart or mauled in various gruesome ways.
Parasyte is a fantastic, albeit older, scary manga, one that’s a delight to read for any horror fan.
Mieruko-Chan has become one of my favorite scary manga in recent times. I love it so much because it’s one of the most unique manga I ever read.
It’s the story of a girl called Miko who’s able to see ghosts.
Yet, Mieruko-Chan goes a different direction than what one’s used to from such a premise. Instead of fighting or interacting with the ghosts, Miko tries her hardest to ignore them. There’s a simple reason for this. Since other humans can’t see ghosts, Miko’s afraid that if she reacts to them, they might attack her.
The manga can be best described as a combination of horror-comedy and slice-of-life.
The manga doesn’t feature battles, and neither is anything happening to Miko. Instead, we’re merely watching as she observes the ghosts around her and tries her best not to react to them.
While the manga’s story picks up after introducing additional characters, the original premise stays the same.
What makes Mieruko-Chan a scary manga, however, are the ghosts. They are a stark contrast to the otherwise cute style of the manga and are nothing short of outlandish and disturbing.
Mieruko-Chan is a weird, yet scary manga, but might not be what people usually look for in horror. I still think it’s a fantastic read, especially for how unique it is and of course for the terrifying design of the various ghosts.
4. The Shadow Out of Time
I’m a huge fan of H. P. Lovecraft, and The Shadow Out of Time is my favorite amongst his many works, as you can see on my list of the best Lovecraft stories.
Gou Tanabe’s adaption of it is absolutely fantastic. He’s an outstanding artist and his art rivals the best of the genre.
The story of The Shadow Out of Time starts simple. During a lecture, a professor suffers from a sudden attack and collapses.
When he comes to himself years later, he learns he wasn’t in a come, but acted like a completely different person.
Over the course of the story, the man unravels what happened by putting together the bits and pieces of his memory.
The Shadow Out of Time is a cosmic horror masterpiece and, combined with Gou Tanabe’s art, it becomes an incredibly scary manga. Yet, it isn’t scary so much because of the creatures depicted or the story told, it’s the implications it makes about humanity. As so often in cosmic horror, the true scares lie somewhere different.
There’s no need to say anything more about this work. If you’re a fan of Lovecraft and of cosmic horror, this work is a must. I also highly recommend his other scary manga based on Lovecrafts work.
3. Fuan no Tane
Masaaki Nakayma’s Fuan no Tane is one of the scariest manga ever created.
It’s a manga that’s different from most other horror manga. It doesn’t have a plot, no characters, but focuses solely on being scary and creepy.
Fuan no Tane is a collection of short, creepy incidents. Many of them involve ghosts or other supernatural entities. Each chapter centers on a central theme and depicts several creepy incidents related to it. Some are set in a location such as a school or a hospital, while others center on a concept such as uninvited guests.
These incidents are often no longer than a handful of pages. There’s no character development and no plot. Instead, we witness nothing but the incident itself.
That’s what makes Fuan no Tane such a great and scary manga. It doesn’t waste time to develop a plot or introduce characters, and it doesn’t need to. Instead, all we witness is a scary incident.
While a few of the depicted incidents are more humorous, others are scary and disturbing.
I highly recommend Fuan no Tane to anyone who’s looking for a truly scary manga.
Kouishou Radio is another scary manga created by Masaaki Nakayma.
At first glance, this manga seems reminiscent of Fuan no Tane. Nothing but another collection of short, unconnected incidents. As we read on, however, we soon realize that these stories have something in common, hair.
Hair is the central point of Kouishou Rajio. People encounter ghosts obsessed with hair or even made of it. Others are haunted by images of losing their hair altogether.
Before long, an overarching narrative is revealed, one that centers on an entity only known as the God of Hair. This narrative, however, is one of the most unusual I’ve come upon. Nothing is made clear, only hinted at and we same to go back and forth in time, as the blanks are slowly filled in.
Kouishou Rajio is a fantastically scary manga. The bit-sized incidents are scary and unsettling. The art is as amazing as it was in Fuan no Tane and the many ghosts and entities are unique and creative.
Yet, what makes it even better than Fuan no Tane is the slow revelation of these incidents being connected.
Kouishou Rajio is one of the best scary manga out there. I highly recommend it to fans of Fuan no Tane, but also to anyone who’s interested in scary manga.
Junji Ito’s works have always been amongst my favorite scary manga. If you’re interested in learning more about his work, check out my list of the best Junji Ito stories.
There are many bizarre, disturbing and scary manga out there, but Junji Ito’s masterpiece Uzumaki deserves a special place among them.
The manga details the events taking place in Kurouzu-cho, a small coastal town that becomes infected by spirals.
Our protagonists are Kirie Goshima and Shuuichi Saitou, two teenagers living in the small town and who become involved with one disturbing spiral-related incident after another.
Uzumaki loses no time and is disturbing right from the get go. The very first chapter details Shuuichi’s father’s descent into madness. At first he only collects spiral-shaped items, but this obsession soon turns weirder and culminates in one of Uzumaki’s most famous and disturbing pages.
What makes Uzumaki stand out so much and what makes it such a scary manga is its unique premise. Other scary manga feature creatures, ghosts or serial killers, yet Uzumaki has no feasible antagonist. All there is, is a concept, the spiral which has taken over the town of Kurouzu-cho.
Yet, Uzumaki truly shines in its presentation. Junji Ito is, fore and foremost, a visual artist, and in Uzumaki he’s at his very best. His art is stunning, and he presents his disturbing imagination in all its glorious detail. We bear witness as people are twisted, warped and changed into spiral-like horrors. It’s a manga ripe with blood and copious amounts of gore. Yet, there’s a creativity to it I’ve seldom seen in other works.
Uzumaki is without a doubt one of the most disturbing and a scary manga. I regard it as one of the greatest achievements in horror manga history and highly recommend it to any horror fan out there.