33 Terrifying Horror Manga That Anyone Should Read

Being a horror writer, I’ve always loved the horror genre and I’m always searching for new horror content. One medium I hold very dear is manga, namely horror manga.

There’s an enormous amount of horror manga out there which feature horrific incidents and combine them with a unique and breathtaking art style.

Horror manga can often be very effective and creative.

While I enjoy horror movies, novels and creepypasta, there’s something special about horror manga.

Horror Manga Intro Picture
© Kentaro Miura – Berserk

Looking back, I can’t help but wonder why this genre stands out so much to me. It might be the detailed art that presents the horror that’s happening in all its horrific glory. Maybe it’s also the cultural difference. Japan is a country with a unique culture and one that’s always had firm beliefs about ghosts and other supernatural beings.

Whatever it is, horror manga are something that will delight many and offers a wide variety of unique and disturbing works.

In this list, I want to present to you many of my favorite horror manga that I uncovered throughout the years. While some are vastly popular, I’m sure there are some hidden gems that some of you might not have heard about.

A word of warning. This is a list of horror manga and will be accompanied by images of the respective works.

I’d also like to give a general spoiler warning. I’ll try not to go into too much detail about the plot points, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

So here’s my list of 33 horror manga that anyone should read.

Table of Contents

33. God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand

Horror Manga by Kazuo Umezu - God’s Left Hand, Devil's Right Hand Picture 1
© Kazuo Umezu – God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand

Kazuo Umezu is one of the most popular early horror manga artists and one of those who defined the genre.

His most popular works include The Drifting Classroom, Fourteen, and Orochi:Blood.

Umezu’s style is quite recognizable, and his influence on the horror genre can’t be overlooked.

While I’ve read most of his works, the only one I can highly recommend is God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand.

Many of Umezu’s horror manga are strange and feature outlandish, bizarre, or downright silly scenarios.

This one’s not too different, but it’s a more traditional horror manga than, for example, Fourteen.

God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand features a young boy named Sou, who’s often haunted by visions of terrible things happening and tries to stop them from becoming reality.

Horror Manga by Kazuo Umezu - God’s Left Hand, Devil's Right Hand Picture 2
© Kazuo Umezu – God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand

Some scenarios in this manga are more normal, including serial killers or ghosts, but others are more bizarre, featuring heavy instances of body horror.

One definitely needs to get used to Umezu’s art style. It’s old-fashioned, and some people might call it downright ugly.

If one’s willing to overlook that, one’s treated with quite a good horror manga. God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand can get quite gruesome and feature some terrifying imagery.

God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand is one of the oldest manga on this list and one of the more outlandish ones. If one’s interested in experiencing the earlier days of horror manga, one could do worse than read this one.

32. The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

Horror Manga by Eiji Ōtsuka, Housui Yamazaki - The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service
© Eiji Ōtsuka, Housui Yamazaki – The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service centers on a group of graduate students from a Buddhist college.

Each member of the group has a special skill related to the supernatural. One member, Kuro Karatsu, can commune with the dead.

The events of this horror manga center on the group’s titular business of fulfilling the last wishes of the dead.

Many times, however, they figure out that people didn’t die of natural causes and encounter criminals or run into other troubles.

This horror manga, like many others on this list, has a more episodic structure. Many of its chapters are self-contained stories.

This manga is also not a pure horror manga, but could often be classified as a mystery one. Many stories feature mysterious deaths that the main characters have to unravel using their various abilities.

It’s an interesting and unique manga. While it’s not as horrible or graphic as others on the list, it makes up for it by its unique and creative story.

31. Manhole

Horror Manga by Tsutsui Tetsuya - Manhole
© Tsutsui Tetsuya – Manhole

Manhole is a horror manga that will make anyone uncomfortable because it’s a realistic story that features biological horror.

It starts with a naked, bloody man, who emerges from a manhole one day. Unbeknownst to anyone, the man is host to a deadly biological agent.

As the story progresses, two detectives try to uncover the cause while the infection spreads.

This manga could be best described as a detective story, but what truly makes it a horror manga is the deadly infection and the things it causes to happen.

Manhole is a great, but unsettling read. There’s nothing supernatural happening. Instead, it’s a very realistic tale.

Especially in times of the global Corona pandemic, this one’s truly scary and might hit a bit too close to home for some.

30. Pet Shop of Horrors

Horror Manga by Matsuri Akino - Pet Shop of Horrors
© Matsuri Akino – Pet Shop of Horrors

Another older horror manga, but a classic.

The story centers on Count D, the caretaker of the titular Pet Shop.

Pet Shop of Horrors is another episodic horror manga. Each story revolves around a specific rare pet and the person adopting it. Each pet comes with a contract, comprising three rules the new owner has to follow. Should he fail to do so, there will be dire consequences.

The manga features some overarching plotlines and reoccurring characters, but most of its chapters fall into the ‘monster of the weak’ category.

As this is an older horror manga, the art might take some time to get used to. It’s well worth the effort, though, and some chapters are quite creative and unique.

29. Domu: A Child’s Dream

Horror Manga by Katsuhiro Otomo - Domu: A Child's Dream
© Katsuhiro Otomo – Domu: A Child’s Dream

Domu is a single volume-spanning horror manga by Otomo Katsuhiro, the creator of Akira.

The story of Domu is set in an apartment building that’s plagued by a series of mysterious suicides and other similar incidents.

A group of investigators try to uncover what’s going on, but realize that there’s a lot that doesn’t add up.

It’s soon revealed that the perpetrator is a senile old man with psychic powers. He uses them to hold sway over the apartment complex and its inhabitants.

Eventually, a young girl with psychic powers of her own moves into the apartment complex with her family. It doesn’t take long for a conflict between her and the old man to begin.

In Domu, one can already see Otomo’s interest in psychic powers which was carried over to his masterpiece Akira.

Domu’s definitely worth the read, especially for Otomo’s detailed and amazing art.

28. Ajin

Horror Manga by Gamon Sakurai - Ajin
© Gamon Sakurai – Ajin

Ajin is one of the more popular horror manga on this list, and for a good reason.

It tells the story of Kei, a student who learns one day that he’s immortal. After being fatally hit by a truck, Kai miraculously survives. Even stranger, his body will regenerate any injury, regardless of how bad it is.

The story revolves around Kei and how he handles his new powers.

Kei soon gets to know another Ajin named Sato, who escaped from the government and pledges to help fellow Ajin. However, we soon learn that Sato’s got much bigger plans and that he’s much more dangerous.

Ajin features quite an interesting and unique idea and interesting characters.

The manga also features a concept called Black Ghosts, which are entities that some Ajin can call forth to fight.

It takes a bit to get used to this horror manga. Once we get to know the character of Sato, however, the story takes up more steam.

Well worth the read.

27. Hideout

Horror Manga by Kakizaki Masasumi - Hideout
© Kakizaki Masasumi – Hideout

Hideout looks absolutely stunning. It’s not the art alone, however, that sells this horror manga.

The story focuses on Kirishima Seiichi, a troubled writer who plans to murder his wife during a vacation. The reason for that is revealed throughout the story.

When his attempt fails, a chase emerges and soon Seiichi follows his wife into a cave. However, Seiichi and his wife aren’t the only ones in that cave.

Most of the story in Hideout is told via flashbacks and gives us glimpses into Seiichi’s life before the vacation.

Hideout is a great horror manga, but it’s also a gloomy, depressing tale. It’s a story that’s nothing but a downward spiral that keeps getting worse and worse.

Hideout is only nine chapters long. It’s a quick and disturbing read that comes with some of the finest art I’ve seen in horror manga.

26. Heads

Horror Manga by Motorō Mase, Higashino Keigo - Heads
© Motorō Mase, Higashino Keigo – Heads

Heads is a horror manga by Higashino Keigo and Motorō Mase. The story centers on a young man, Naruse Jun’ichi, who gets shot in the head but survives miraculously because of a brain transplant.

He recovers quickly but slowly starts to change. It begins with little things, such as disgust about his girlfriend’s freckles. Soon enough, though, other areas in Jun’ichi’s life change as well.

It’s slowly revealed that it might be the donor’s brain that’s taking control over his life.

Heads is a bit of a different type of horror manga. It’s a slow burn and most of the horror stems from the idea that you’re losing yourself and slowly become a different person. Would you even know you’ve changed yourself? Would you be able to see it? It’s those questions that make Heads quite scary.

25. I Am a Hero

Horror Manga by Hanazawa Kengo - I Am a Hero
© Hanazawa Kengo – I Am a Hero

I Am a Hero is a zombie apocalypse manga by Hanazawa Kengo.

The story follows a young manga assistant, Hideo Suzuki. He’s a strange character, and we learn in the very first chapter that he suffers from mental problems.

What makes I Am a Hero such an interesting read is to follow someone like Hideo around, a character who doesn’t seem to be able to handle an event such as a zombie apocalypse.

The zombies in I Am a Hero are also different from the ones we’re used to. They are not just walking corpses, but they are often contorted and twisted in various ways. As the story continues, they slowly take on more and more horrific forms. They merge and melt into one another, creating giant, fleshy abominations.

I Am a Hero is a horror manga that starts slowly and takes a while to get going. Don’t be fooled by the first chapter though, it’s an interesting read and only gets more interesting the longer it lasts.

24. Zashiki Onna

Horror Manga by Mochizuki Minetaro - Zashiki Onna
© Mochizuki Minetaro – Zashiki Onna

Zashiki Onna is another, older horror manga, published in the early 90s. What makes this story stand out is the lack of supernatural elements.

What makes Zashiki Onna so terrifying is how realistic and plausible it is.

It’s the story of a university student, Hiroshi, who’s being stalked by a tall, mysterious woman. At first, she seems only interested in his next-door neighbor, but after a chance encounter, she turns her attention to Hiroshi instead.

From here on out, things slowly escalate and get more and more dangerous as the mysterious woman continues to invade his life.

Zashiki Onna is a haunting experience and presents us with the topic of stalking most chillingly. It’s not only an invasion of privacy, not only creepy, but turns out to be truly dangerous.

Zashiki Onna is a short manga, at only eleven chapters, but it’s nonetheless a terrifying and creepy tale.

There are many terrifying manga on this list, but only a few don’t feature supernatural elements. That’s what makes Zashiki Onna stand out. It’s a simple tale about a stalker, but that’s also what makes it so much scarier.

23. Ibitsu

Horror Manga by Ryou Haruto - Ibitsu
© Ryou Haruto – Ibitsu

Ibitsu is another terrifying horror manga.

One night, our main character Kazuki takes out his trash and encounters a strange Lolita Girl sitting next to the garbage.

The girl asks him if he has a little sister, which he answers with a yes. This soon results in the Lolita Girl becoming obsessed with him.

Similarly to Zashiki Onna, this story too focuses on stalking.

While Zashiki Onna develops slowly, Ibitsu doesn’t. It’s a deranged and twisted story right from the get-go.

From the Lolita Girl’s very first intrusion, things only get more disturbing and escalate further.

Ibitsu is truly terrifying and doesn’t shy away from graphic depictions of gruesome violence and torture.

It’s another shorter horror manga, with only thirteen chapters, but it’s well worth the hour it takes to read it.

22. The Promised Neverland

Horror Manga by Posuka Demizu, Kaiu Shirai - The Promised Neverland
© Posuka Demizu, Kaiu Shirai – The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland is another one of the more popular horror manga on this list. I discovered it a couple of years ago when it was relatively new and I couldn’t stop reading it.

The story features a young girl, Emma, who lives at an orphanage with all her other foster siblings.

Life is happy, the caretaker is kind, but there’s one rule, the kids aren’t allowed to leave their home, ever.

It’s revealed in the very first chapter, that their orphanage is a farm, created to raise human children as livestock for demons.

The story starts slowly with the kids trying to flee the orphanage and outwit their caretaker. As the story continues, we learn much more about the lore of the world and the demons who control it.

The art in this manga is great and Posuka Demizu renders the many demons in gorgeous details.

The Promised Neverland is a Shonen manga, so it might not be as mature as many other works on this list. Still, it’s a great read, and I enjoyed it very much.

21. Shiga Hime

Horror Manga by Satou Hirohisa - Shiga Hime Picture 1
© Satou Hirohisa – Shiga Hime

Shiga Hime is a vampire manga and a great horror manga.

One thing one should know is that Shiga Hime is quite sexually charged. There’s quite a bit of glorified nudity that might not be to everyone’s liking.

The story starts with two boys, Souichi and our main character, Osamu. Souichi convinces Osamu to follow him to the home of a mysterious woman, Miss Miwako.

It’s revealed that Miss Miwako is an immortal vampire who lures people to her home to feed on them. As the story progresses, Osamu becomes her slave, or better her familiar. Cursed with a monstrous appearance, he’s forced to do Miwakow’s biding.

Shiga Hime doesn’t start too well because of its heavy reliance on sexual themes.

Before long, though, things pick up when Osamu’s forced to kill and when we learn that there are other vampires with their very own familiars around.

Horror Manga by Satou Hirohisa - Shiga Hime Picture 2
© Satou Hirohisa – Shiga Hime

The longer the manga goes on, the more the art seems to evolve and we’re treated to some amazing creature design and some amazing battle scenes.

The story of this manga is multi-layered. On one hand, we have the master-slave relationship between Osamu and Miss Miwako. We also encounter other theme’s though, themes such as jealousy, vanity, obsession, and the corruption of those who were once pure.

If one can overlook the sexually charged art, Shiga Hime is a great read and a tragic story.

When I first found Shiga Hime, I enjoyed the manga so much, I finished it throughout a single afternoon.

20. The Laughing Vampire

Horror Manga by Suehiro Maruo - The Laughing Vampire
© Suehiro Maruo – The Laughing Vampire

Now we’re going down the deep end of the horror manga genre.

Suehiro Maruo is most famous for his erotic gore work. Many of his works are strange and very disturbing.

The Laughing Vampire is no different and features quite a few sexually charged scenes.

It stands out, however, because of its horror and by how disturbing the story gets. Another thing is the characters. They are throughout the board terrible people or downright insane.

What makes The Laughing Vampire such a great horror manga is the unique spin it takes on the vampire genre in later parts. It inspired my story The First Few Times Always Hurt.

I’d like to point out that this horror manga is not for the faint of heart and probably one of the most twisted and disturbing works on this list.

19. Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show

Horror Manga by Suehiro Maruo - Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show
© Suehiro Maruo – Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show

Another horror manga by Suehiro Maruo.

The story focuses on Midori, a twelve-year-old girl who’s taken in by a freak show.

The girl’s constantly abused by the other spiteful members of the show.

Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show features disturbing and graphical imagery, including abuse, both physical and sexual.

The story of this horror manga is a terrible, if not downright tragic tale and will stay with you long after you read it.

As with other works by Suehiro Maruo, this one’s disturbing and horrific.

18. Lychee Light Club

Horror Manga by Usamaru Furuya - Lychee Light Club
© Usamaru Furuya – Lychee Light Club

Lychee Light Club is one of the strangest additions to this list of horror manga. The art of this manga is very reminiscent of the works of Suehiro Maruo, and Furuya has mentioned that Maruo strongly influenced him.

The manga centers on the titular Lychee Light Club, whose members create an AI or better a robot called Lychee, who they program and task to bring them beautiful women.

As the club continues, its methods become more brutal and outlandish, which eventually results in an internal struggle.

Lychee Light Club is another very disturbing horror manga that features a fair amount of gore and disturbing ideas.

17. Parasyte

Horror Manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki - Parasyte Picture 1
© Hitoshi Iwaaki – Parasyte

Parasyte is one of the older entries on this list. It was created in the late 80s and early 90s.

This horror manga centers on the titular parasites, worm-like creatures that infest human beings and take over their bodies.

Our main character Shinichi is victim to one such parasite, but wakes up before the creature can dig into his head. Instead, the creature can only infest his right hand.

The two of them keep their separate personalities, but now share the same body. It’s a strange situation that gets worse when other parasites find out about them and attack them.

Horror Manga by Hitoshi Iwaaki - Parasyte Picture 2
© Hitoshi Iwaaki – Parasyte

Before long, Shinichi picks up the fight, especially since other parasites prey on humans and devour them.

Parasyte is a horror manga that deals predominantly with themes of disgust and paranoia. Disgust about strange parasites who can infest anyone and the paranoia of not knowing who’s already infested.

While Parasyte can be humorous occasionally, it can also be quite gory. People are torn apart, shredded to pieces, and mauled in gruesome ways.

Parasyte is a delight for anyone interested in horror manga.

16. Attack on Titan

Horror Manga by Hajime Isayama - Attack on Titan Picture 1
© Hajime Isayama – Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan is another widely popular horror manga.

The story is set in a dark, fantastical world. All that remains of mankind is living in a single, giant city surrounded by massive walls.

This city is the last bastion of humanity and its walls protect it from the titular titans. All other human beings have been killed off.

The titans are giant, humanoid monsters that feed on humans.

The story centers on Eren. During an attack on one of the outer districts, Eren’s home, his mother gets devoured by the titans. He vows revenge and joins the military.

The manga starts with a simple, but interesting premise. As the story progresses, however, we uncover how much more there is to the titans, the city and how the two are connected.

Attack on Titan is another Shonen manga and might be less mature than others on this list. It’s also much more action-oriented and relies more on battle scenes than simple scares.

What makes it so special to me is the scenario. I’m a big fan of apocalyptic stories and those set in confined spaces. I like the idea that all of mankind is restricted to a single city, while the rest of the world is filled with terrible dangers.

Horror Manga by Hajime Isayama - Attack on Titan Picture 2
© Hajime Isayama – Attack on Titan

Another thing I love is the appearance of the titans. They don’t look like ghastly, twisted monsters, but more like giant, dim-witted humans. It’s their lack of emotions and their empty faces that make them truly outlandish and not just a bit creepy.

Attack on Titan is another, longer manga, but well worth the read. It’s an engaging, interesting storyline that features some memorable characters.

15. Franken Fran

Horror Manga by Katsuhisa Kigitsu - Franken Fran Picture 1
© Katsuhisa Kigitsu – Franken Fran

Franken Fran is one of the weirder entries on this list. The horror manga follows the titular character of Fran, a girl created by a brilliant surgeon.

Franken Fran is mostly an episodic horror manga. It can be compared to anthologies such as Tales From the Crypt or Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Each chapter features a unique scenario involving Fran.

The world of Franken Fran is not all dark and gloomy. There are quite a few chapters that take on a more humorous or satirical tone. However, all chapters of this manga are disturbing in their own unique ways.

Horror Manga by Katsuhisa Kigitsu - Franken Fran Picture 2
© Katsuhisa Kigitsu – Franken Fran

Many chapters feature medical or surgical procedures performed by Fran with varying and often horrible results.

While there are some weaker chapters, often those relying more on humor than horror, when Franken Fran is at its best, it’s truly a horrible delight.

14. Mieruko-chan

Horror Manga by Izumi Tomoki - Mieruko-Chan Picture 2
© Izumi Tomoki – Mieruko-Chan

I love this horror manga, mostly because it’s so unique.

Mieruko-chan follows a girl named Miko who’s got the ability to see ghosts.

What makes this manga so special is that Miko doesn’t fight or even interact with the ghosts, but tries her hardest to ignore them. The reason is simple, normal humans aren’t able to see ghosts. Should a human see them or react to them, however, the ghosts might attack them. So Miko tries her best not to provoke them in any way.

Mieruko-chan can be best described as a horror-comedy or a slice-of-life. It even gets quite humorous as we follow Miko through her day.

Horror Manga by Izumi Tomoki - Mieruko-Chan Picture 1
© Izumi Tomoki – Mieruko-Chan

There are no battles, and no horrific incidents happen to Miko. It’s merely her observing the ghosts all around her.

As the manga progresses, the story picks up a little by introducing some additional characters. However, the original premise stays the same.

What sells this manga is the amazing art. The ghosts taken on outlandish and disturbingly horrible forms and are a delight to look at.

This manga is definitely weird and usually not what people look for in horror. Still, it’s a great read, and I’d recommend it to everyone who likes horror, if only for the design of the various ghosts.

13. Goth

Horror Manga by Otsuichi - Goth
© Otsuichi – Goth

Goth is based on the novel of the same name by Otsuichi. It’s the story of two high school students who share a strange fascination with gruesome murders.

Goth was one of the very first horror manga I ever read, and I truly enjoyed it.

It’s a relatively short manga, comprising only five chapters, but it’s still a great read and might hold the occasional surprise or two.

What makes Goth so special to me are the unique characters. In horror manga, we usually encounter normal people who get thrown into horrible situations. In Goth, our two main characters are anything but normal. Overall, one could say that quite a few characters in this horror manga are a bit special.

Another thing I enjoyed was the dynamic between the main characters and the backstory of one character revealed in later chapters.

Goth is a fantastic, quick read that features unique characters and quite the graphic imagery.

12. Tokyo Ghoul

Horror Manga by Ishida Sui - Tokyo Ghoul Picture 1
© Ishida Sui – Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul is another popular horror manga and one of the most popular manga of our time.

The story revolves around Kei Kaneki, who’s attacked by a young woman named Rise. Rise turns out to be a ghoul.

Ghouls are creatures who look like humans and mingle with them. However, they have superhuman powers and feed on humans to survive.

After his attack, Kaneki’s rescued by Dr. Kanou but soon learns that he’s now part ghoul and can’t stomach normal food anymore. He finds support at a cafe called Anteiku, which is a safe house for fellow ghouls.

Horror Manga by Ishida Sui - Tokyo Ghoul Picture 2
© Ishida Sui – Tokyo Ghoul

As the story progresses, we learn more about ghouls and the different members of Anteiku. Slowly we get introduced to the various groups and characters who make up the world of Tokyo Ghoul.

Tokyo Ghoul is a lot more action-packed than other manga on this list and can be best compared to the likes of Attack on Titan or Gantz.

The story starts slowly, focusing first on Kaneki and how he comes to terms with his new life. Soon enough, though, as more lore surfaces, the story grows in proportion and gets much more interesting.

Tokyo Ghoul is a very enjoyable manga with lots of action and a fair bit of gore. It also features some great art, interesting characters as well as some amazing creature and weapon design.

11. The Shadow Out of Time

Horror Manga by Gou Tanabe - H. P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Out Of Time
© Gou Tanabe – H. P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out Of Time

The Shadow Out of Time is my favorite story by H. P. Lovecraft, and this adaption of it by Gou Tanabe is amazing.

Gou Tanabe is an amazing artist and up there with the best of the genre, in my opinion. Everything about this manga is gorgeous.

There isn’t much to say about the story. A professor suffers from a sudden attack and collapses during a lecture.

Years later, the man comes to himself only to discover that he wasn’t in a come, but that he wasn’t himself during that time and acted as if he was an entirely different person.

As the story progresses, the man slowly unravels what happened by putting together bits and pieces of his memory. The Shadow Out of Time is a cosmic horror masterpiece and introduces us to one of fiction’s most unique races.

What is there to say about Gou Tanabe’s adaptions of Lovecraft? They are amazing and this one’s no different. Regardless if you’re a fan of Lovecraft or cosmic or enjoy horror manga, I can highly recommend this work as well as Gou Tanabe’s other horror manga.

10. Ichi the Killer

Horror Manga by Hideo Yamamoto - Ichi the Killer Picture 2
© Hideo Yamamoto – Ichi the Killer

Categorizing Ichi the Killer can be hard. It might not be a horror manga, but it’s definitely horrible.

Full disclosure here, Ichi the Killer is one of the most graphical and most disturbing pieces of manga out there. It’s also one of the best manga I’ve read in my entire life. Which might say a thing or two about me.

Yamamoto Hide created the manga. He’s outdone himself by creating a manga in which almost every character is batshit insane.

I first got to know Ichi the Killer by watching Takashi Miike’s movie of the same name. It’s a damn fantastic movie and as insane as the manga.

There’s a key difference, though. The movie’s overdrawn and almost comical in its depiction of violence and depravity. The manga is not.

Ichi the Killer is the story of the titular killer, but more so of the Yakuza Kakihara.

Horror Manga by Hideo Yamamoto - Ichi the Killer Picture 1
© Hideo Yamamoto – Ichi the Killer

After Kakihara’s boss vanishes, he first searches for him and later for Ichi. This eventually leads to a confrontation between the two.

Ichi the Killer is less a horror manga, but predominately a mature and psychological tale about two characters who are downright insane.

It heavily explores themes such as sadism, masochism, identity disorder, manipulation and mixes them into one of the most depraved manga of all time.

I like to warn you again. Ichi is fucked up, at times disgusting, and features graphical content. If one’s up for that, though, one’s treated with an amazing manga.

9. Fuan no Tane

Horror Manga by Nakayama Masaaki - Fuan no Tane Picture 1
© Nakayama Masaaki – Fuan no Tane

Fuan no Tane written by Masaaki Nakayama is one of the best horror manga of all time. It’s one of the few pieces out there that focuses solely on being scary and creepy.

Fuan no Tane is also different from other, more conventional horror manga since it doesn’t have a plot or a story.

Instead, it’s a collection of short and creepy incidents, often involving ghosts or other supernatural entities. As I said, there’s no plot. Each chapter of this manga comprises a few creepy incidents, based on a central theme. It might be a location such as a school or a concept, such as uninvited guests.

Horror Manga by Nakayama Masaaki - Fuan no Tane Picture 2
© Nakayama Masaaki – Fuan no Tane

Each of these incidents is only a few pages long. Characters aren’t developed, but are just there to witness these incidents. That’s what makes this horror manga so good. It wastes no time to show us who people are, doesn’t slowly introduce a story, instead it goes right into the creepiness, right to the scary incidents that take place.

Some stories in Fuan no Tane are a bit on the lighter side and are more humorous than scary, but others are truly disturbing.

I highly recommend Fuan no Tane to anyone since it’s one of the best horror manga ever created.

8. Kouishou Rajio

Horror Manga by Nakayama Masaak - Kouishou Rajio Picture 2
© Nakayama Masaak – Kouishou Rajio

Another work by mangaka Masaaki Nakayama. Kouishou Rajio starts similar to his other horror manga Fuan no Tane.

At first look, Kouishou Rajio seems to be a similar collection of short, unconnected horror incidents. As we continue reading, though, we soon learn that something ties all those stories together. It’s hair.

Hair is a major focus of Kouishou Rajio and many of its shorts, often only a handful of pages long, center on it. People are haunted by images of losing their hair, encounter ghosts made of it, or those obsessed with it.

Slowly but steadily, though, Nakayama Masaak establishes an overarching narrative. It revolves around a spiritual entity only known as the God of Hair.

Horror Manga by Nakayama Masaak - Kouishou Rajio Picture 1
© Nakayama Masaak – Kouishou Rajio

Kouishou Rajio is a great read, especially since many of its tales are bite-sized glimpses at scary incidents. The art is as unique and amazing as it was in Fuan no Tane. Many of the ghosts encountered look scary, unique, and creative.

What makes it even better is when we slowly realize that everything that’s happening is connected.

Kouishou Rajio is another great manga that I can highly recommend, to fans of Fuan no Tane but also to horror fans in general

7. Dorohedoro

Horror Manga by Q Hayashida - Dorohedoro Picture 1
© Q Hayashida – Dorohedoro

Dorohedoro is another really weird horror manga.

It’s the surreal tale set in the city of Hole and features Kaiman, an amnesiac with the head of a reptilian.

The city of Hole is connected to the Sorcerer’s World, a world populated by magic users. These magic users often visit the city of Hole to test out their magic powers.

Kaiman believes himself to be the victim of one such magic-user, and together with his female friend Nikaido, he goes after them. It’s Kaiman’s goal to figure out who transformed him and who he really is.

Horror Manga by Q Hayashida - Dorohedoro Picture 3
© Q Hayashida – Dorohedoro

The story starts as weird as it sounds and only gets strange as we read on.

We get to know various characters, both in the city of Hole and the Sorcerer’s World.

The imagery in this horror manga is outlandish, but absolutely beautiful. Q Hayashida renders both, the run-down city of Hole and the weirdness of the Sorcerer’s World, in gorgeous detail.

The same is true for many characters. The transformed and disfigured inhabitants of Hole paint a strange picture while the magic users look outlandish and scary.

Horror Manga by Q Hayashida - Dorohedoro Picture 2
© Q Hayashida – Dorohedoro

The manga also features a good amount of blood and gore, and the further it continues, the more brutal and horrific the events become.

Dorohedoro is an incredible unique horror manga that can get quite disturbing. Overall though, it’s a great and unique read.

6. Homunculus

Horror Manga by Hideo Yamamoto - Homunculus Picture 1
© Hideo Yamamoto – Homunculus

Homunculus is another horror manga by Yamamoto Hideo.

While Ichi the Killer is brutal and fucked up, Homunculus is way, way stranger.

It’s the story of a man called Susumu Nakoshi, who’s homeless and lives in his car.

He eventually encounters a young man, Manabu Ito, who’s researching the process of trepanation, the drilling of holes into the human skull. He proposes to Nakoshi that he’s looking for a test subject on which to perform the process.

As the story progresses, Nakoshi eventually agrees and undergoes the procedure.

Horror Manga by Hideo Yamamoto - Homunculus Picture 2
© Hideo Yamamoto – Homunculus

From then on, Nakoshi can see distorted versions of humans when looking at them with only his left eye. These distorted versions are the titular Homunculi.

Homunculus is an absolutely amazing and unique manga. It starts relatively normal, but soon becomes very strange.

It’s a psychological masterpiece that deals heavily with various topics, such as vanity, trauma, identity disorder, materialism, and many other things.

It’s definitely one of the stranger manga on the list, but it’s also very, very interesting.

I highly recommend it to anyone interested in strange, psychological horror manga.

5. Kamisama no Iutoori and Kamisama no Iutoori Ni

Horror Manga by Akeji Fujimura, Kaneshiro Muneyuki - Kamisama No Iutoori
© Akeji Fujimura, Kaneshiro Muneyuki – Kamisama No Iutoori

I love horror manga including death games and Kamisama no Iutoori and its sequel are as good as it gets.

The story starts with Takahata Shun, a normal high school student who’s utterly bored with his life.

Things change when his teacher’s head explodes and a Daruma doll appears. Shun and his classmates are forced to play a game with deathly stakes.

As the series continues, more and more death games as well as unique and fantastic characters are introduced.

Horror Manga by Akeji Fujimura, Kaneshiro Muneyuki - Kamisama No Iutoori Ni
© Akeji Fujimura, Kaneshiro Muneyuki – Kamisama No Iutoori Ni

The series also isn’t shy in killing off its characters. Many times, a character’s backstory is revealed only to witness their demise a chapter or two later. No one’s truly safe in this manga.

It’s a great horror manga, especially because of the creativity of the death games and the unique characters.


Horror Manga by Oku Hiroya - Gantz Picture 1
© Oku Hiroya – Gantz

Gantz is another one of my favorite horror manga of all time.

It tells the story of Kei Kurono. One day, he and his childhood friend Kato die in a tragic train accident when trying to save a homeless man.

Following the accident, they awake in a Tokyo apartment in which a group of other people, as clueless as them, have gathered.

A black sphere in the center of the room, called Gantz, explains to them it’s now their job to hunt down aliens living among humans. Soon after, they get teleported to a different location and the first of many similar hunts begins.

Horror Manga by Oku Hiroya - Gantz Picture 3
© Oku Hiroya – Gantz

At almost 400 chapters, Gantz is the longest manga on this list, but it’s well worth the read. The reason Gantz stands out among many other, similar action-oriented horror manga is the amazing art, the unique and creative alien design, and the sheer insanity of the story.

Another fantastic thing about Gantz is the main character, Kurono. He starts as an unlikable, egoistic teenager, but in the story’s course, he shows tremendous amounts of character development. It’s a delight to see Kurono grow and eventually become the leader of the Gantz team.

Gantz features not only Kurono though, but a plethora of memorable characters.

Horror Manga by Oku Hiroya - Gantz Picture 2
© Oku Hiroya – Gantz

While Gantz’s story isn’t always clearly structured and some plotlines seem to be cut short or abandoned, it’s still a masterpiece.

What sells Gantz is the art, the craziness of the story, and the fact that it doesn’t shy away from presenting us with glorified violence, gore, but also deep emotions.

3. Uzumaki

Horror Manga by Junji Ito - Uzumaki Picture 2
© Junji Ito – Uzumaki

I’ve already featured Junji Ito’s masterpiece Uzumaki on the list of my favorite 40 Junji Ito stories.

Uzumaki is a tale that’s as simple as it’s weird. The small town of Kurouzu-cho is haunted by spirals. Yes, you heard that right.

The story features Kirie and her boyfriend Shuichi, who stumble upon one freakishly scary incident after another in the course of this three-volume long horror manga.

Horror Manga by Junji Ito - Uzumaki Picture 1
© Junji Ito – Uzumaki

What makes Uzumaki so special is not its story, it’s the art and the creativity behind it. Junji Ito’s imagination is incredible and disturbing. People in Uzumaki are twisted, warped, and changed until they represent the titular spiral in various disturbing ways.

Uzumaki is as good as it gets in the world of horror manga and clearly one of the best horror manga of all time. Not only that, but it’s also a work that’s truly unique and at times utterly disturbing.

2. Blame!

Horror Manga by Tsutomu Nihei - Blame! Picture 1
© Tsutomu Nihei – Blame!

Blame! is one of the greatest manga of all time and my personal favorite.

It can best be described as a cyberpunk epic, but can also be called a horror manga. It’s an absolutely amazing read and the art in Blame! is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Tsutomu Nihei is an absolute master of his craft.

Blame! follows the character of Killy as he travels through a gigantic labyrinth of concrete and steel, known as The City.

Killy’s mission is to find a human with Net Terminal Genes who’d be able to access the so-called Netsphere, a computerized control network of The City. Such a person could put an end to the chaotic growth of The City and stop the so-called Safeguard from exterminating all of humanity.

Throughout the manga, Killy travels through vast technological and architectural wastelands populated by cyborgs and other technological horrors.

Horror Manga by Tsutomu Nihei - Blame! Picture 3
© Tsutomu Nihei – Blame!

Killy also encounters various pockets of civilization that make a living in this dangerous environment.

As the manga continues we see more of those communities, learn more about the Safeguard and The City itself.

Blame! is an absolute visual masterpiece. It’s not only the cyborgs or the other creatures Killy encounters, but the entire landscape that is rendered in fantastic detail.

The world of Blame! is huge, gigantic even, and it shows in many of the manga’s panels when we get a glance at the gigantic structures that make up The City.

The story of Blame! however, is complicated and doesn’t make much sense at the best of times. It’s divided into general arcs which are all combined by Killy’s overarching quest for a human with Net Terminal Genes.

Horror Manga by Tsutomu Nihei - Blame! Picture 1
© Tsutomu Nihei – Blame!

Near the end, the story gets even more confusing and we’re left with not so much an ending but yet another mystery to add to an already huge list.

Even though the story is lackluster, Blame! is worth it for the art and the world it’s set in alone.

There’s few manga who can compare to Blame! Especially for fans of cyberpunk, there aren’t as many works out there as good as this one.

Blame! is a visual delight and a manga I can highly recommend to anyone who loves cyberpunk or is interested in a more technological kind of horror manga.

1. Berserk

Horror Manga by Kentaro Miura - Berserk Picture 3
© Kentaro Miura – Berserk

What better way to finish this list than with an absolute masterpiece such as Kentaro Miura’s Berserk.

Berserk is another one of my all-time favorites, both for the amazingly detailed art and the story told.

Berserk is the story of Guts, the Black Swordsman.

At first glance, Berserk might appear simple. We’ve got Guts, a man with a sword as huge as himself who fights giant monsters, so-called apostles.

That might be true for the first volumes of the manga, the so-called Black Swordsman arc. Soon enough, though, we discover that there’s more to Guts than we first believed and that he’s a much more complex character.

Horror Manga by Kentaro Miura - Berserk Picture 2
© Kentaro Miura – Berserk

After the Black Swordsman arc, we enter the Golden Age arc. It’s here that we learn more about Guts’ backstory and his connection to the man named Griffith.

Berserk is deep, shows us a complex relationship between two complex and unique characters, and can get quite philosophical.

The art in Berserk is breathtakingly beautiful. There’s a reason that Kentaro Miura is not regarded as another mangaka, but a true master of his craft.

You can easily find more details on a single page of Berserk than in an entire chapter of a different manga.

Horror Manga by Kentaro Miura - Berserk Picture 4
© Kentaro Miura – Berserk

It’s this art that brings forth the unique world of Berserk and the people and monsters populating it.

Berserk’s world is a dark and grim one though, much darker than what we’re used to. It’s a world rampant with war and atrocities.

Berserk also doesn’t shy away from gore and violence. Especially since Guts doesn’t shy away from cleaving anything standing in his way, be it humans or monsters. We see guts flying, people being cut to pieces, torn apart, and much worse things.

However, as dark as Berserk is, the story is masterfully told.

Horror Manga by Kentaro Miura - Berserk Picture 1
© Kentaro Miura – Berserk

When Berserk’s at its best there’s very few manga that can compare to it.

At first glance, especially during the first chapters or even volumes, Berserk might not appear the masterpiece it truly is, but if you read on, you’re sure to be blown away by it.

I can’t recommend Berserk highly enough and for that reason it’s the number one on this list. Anyone interested in horror manga or manga, in general, should check out Berserk. It’s at the very peak of the genre and as good as it gets.

41 thoughts on “33 Terrifying Horror Manga That Anyone Should Read

  1. Hi I like a lot of the entries of your list, but there are some of them that I have to completely disagree with you. For example Attack On Titan, Dorohedoro and Tokyo Ghoul. Even tho sometimes this will show you some gruesome scenes, I don’t thimk it can be considered horror, because is not shown as an essencial part of the plot. But I can see why people may find some scenes disturbing. And also if you read this, I recomend you one called Jinmen. Don’t look anything about it, just go and read it without knowing anything of it.

    1. Hey there, I can see what you mean in regards to the three titles you mentioned. Tokyo Ghoul and Attack on Titan can be more considered action manga than horror, but I decided to include them anyway.
      Dorohedoro is a strange case, it’s such a unique manga that it’s really hard to put it into any genre. What made me add it to this list though was how gruesome and disturbing it gets near the end.
      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll check it out!

  2. Wow! These seem great. Unfortunately, a lot of the suggestions I’m most excited to read don’t appear to have English translations for sale.

    1. Hey there, I tried to link to those that are available on Amazon. There’s also VIZ who are publishing a lot of horror manga in English, so it might be worthwhile to check out their page or their new releases.

    1. Hey there, I only ever watched part of the anime and only now realized there’s a Higurashi manga. Thanks for pointing it out. Would you recommend it?

      1. (Sorry if my comment came off as angry btw lol)

        Absolutely I recommend it! The anime (from 2006) is good, but the manga and visual novels top the anime by a longshot. The manga is my favorite part of the series.

        1. Hah all good! Thank you very much, I generally prefer manga over anime, so hearing that the manga is good makes me very interested! Thank you!

          1. Hi! Please somebody make a list of Horror anthologies manga that are available in english, because most of them are in japanese language only.

  3. Great list, definitely learned a few titles that I want to check out, Homunculus is one of my favorite manga of all time!

    It’s good to see recommendations by someone who really loves the genre

  4. hi there, i wanna ask u a question. my father used to bring me a used manga from his work when i was a kid (around 2000s) and i remember about that 1 horror manga that have many short stories and one of them is about a woman with sleeping problem and she cant control her sleepy feeling and the ending is she fall asleep in front of a train at train station.

    and there is another story about married woman who use some sort of magic in the table where anothers neighbor is gathering so they will fight and argue each others.

    did you know what comic/manga is this? i really wanna read it again but i lost it and didnt know the title. ive been searchin for this my entire life.

    i hope you read this and can help me solve my problem 🙁

    1. Hey there, part of it sounds familiar, but even after doing some research I wasn’t able to find it. If I ever come upon it, I’ll be sure to put comment here!

  5. I know this is for manga but there definitely needs to a mention for Prey, a web novel that’s on the same wavelength of Mieruko-chan but a lot more gruesome.

    1. Hey there, thank you, I’ll check it out! I plan to make more lists in the future and if I ever make one for web novels and enjoy Prey, I’ll make sure to add it!

  6. I have one problem, lots of these manga aren’t even horror, for example Attack on Titan, Beserk and Blame! Even though they have horror elements they are not horror stories

    1. Hey there, I get your point. It was a bit hard to decide what to put into the list, so I went with, as you said, not only pure horror manga but also those that have horror elements. I can see that it can be a bit of a divisive topic. I hope that you enjoyed the titles that are ‘true’ horror manga though!

  7. Hi I like your list, another good one to add would be KAMI NO KODOMO , the art is pretty simplistic but it’s disturbing and memorable.

  8. It’s very frustrating that a lot of these don’t have official English translations. I want to support the creators, and it seems unfair and unprofessional to recommend stories that can only be read “illegally.” And this reveals that you likely read these manga via fan translations on unlicensed websites.

    Here are the Manga on your list I could not find in official English publications. It’s almost half the list…

    Kamisama No Iutoori Ni
    Fuan no Tane
    Ichi the Killer
    Gou Tanabe – H. P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out Of Time
    The Laughing Vampire
    Shiga Hime
    Zashiki Onna
    God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand

    If anyone knows if these are, in fact, available to purchase in English, I’m all ears.

    1. You dont know what other languages they might speak , and a lot of those mangas have been translated to other languages. So your comment is pretty fucking rude.

    2. Gets recommended a bunch of nice storys.
      –> Is angry for not being able to spend money for it.
      Capitalism at its peak 🙁

      1. Without question lmao. And I’m all for supporting creators financially when/where possible! They gotta eat too, like everybody else; but really? “Ughhh… I can only find high quality free translations; woe is me. Alas, alas; my torment is unending…” People need to hurry the hell up & understand that “illegal” doesn’t always equal “wrong”. And the “illegal” bit isn’t even %100 accurate, so. Yeah. Brainwashed people seem hellbent on disavowing anything that benefits them in the slightest, if it goes against the shareholder-class.

  9. At the risk of sounding super bitchy, I totally have to disagree with the way you ranked the manga, but I agree with about 50% of the list in general. However, I did enjoy a few new ones I hadn’t heard of, so thank you for the list! It would be super helpful to mention CW for rape, as that seems pretty common in some of these manga.

    Defo also check out Happiness by Shuzo Oshimi if you’re a fan of “vampires but make it freaky.” Probably one of the best horrors I’ve read so far, although Kurosagi Corpse was also really fun. Homunculus was amazing, but I just think rape is such a weak premise for horror and stories in general. Regardless, give Happiness a try! You may also like Oshimi Shuzo’s other works like Aku no hana and Trail of Blood if you’re into psychological horror, although again, rape is involved in Aku no Hana.

    1. Hey there, no worries, the ranking here is my personal ranking and I can imagine that people might not agree with it. Glad you enjoyed the list.
      I can agree that rape is a touchy subject and it’s unfortunately often used in cheap ways…
      Happiness is on my to-read list, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I have, however, read Aku no Hana and Trail of Blood. Both were amazing. I wasn’t even aware that Happiness was by the same mangaka, so thank you for pointing that out!

      Again, thanks for checking out the list and glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Who are you? man of culture! It almost seems like i am writing the blog and expressing my thoughts. Almost all of the list you mentioned have read by me. My fav is blame! and homunculus as well. i suggest you to watch/read serial experiment lain, pumpkin night, mushishi. Reddit threads are best for the unknown recommendation

    1. Serial experiment lain is truly a masterpiece, still it needs the right mood to understand it, and yet U just wont understand it fully ever 😁.
      Mushishi is another favorite of mine, but I dont think it is horror, still it totally worth your time.

      1. Oh I remember Serial Experiments Lain, it was one of my favorite anime when I first watched it. Is there a manga as well? Mushishi’s been on my list for years, but I’ve yet to read it! Thanks for reminding me!

    1. Completely understandable. I don’t think either of those are pure horror manga, but I think they have enough ‘horrific’ content to warrant an addition on the list!

  11. Hello. I really enjoyed the list, but I felt that one is missing 🙂 Have You read Ghost Hunt? I really think it is a great horror manga (and anime), yet it has many comedy and tragedy elements in it. It is about a group of spiritists from different religions, who solve ghost problems of people. It is episodic a bit, but the story telling is pretty impressiv. In the begining the stories are a bit less frightening, but then it becomes really scary. I recommend it everyone, who want to read deep amd scary supernatural stories with a catchy storytelling and humor as well. (Sorry for my english, i’m not good with grammar.)

    1. Hey there, no worries about the grammar, I understood you completely fine! Haven’t heard of Ghost Hunt, but I’ll be sure to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation!

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