Horror manga has long been a beloved genre among manga fans, offering spine-chilling tales that push the limits of imagination and explore the darkest aspects of human nature. From supernatural creatures to psychological horror, there are countless horror manga series that have left readers with a sense of unease long after they’ve turned the final page.
Here we’ll be exploring the some horror manga that could be among the best at scaring people, delving into their terrifying themes and why they’ve become staples of the genre. Whether you’re a horror fan or a newcomer to the genre, these series are guaranteed to send a chill down your spine.
The Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezu
To start the guide, we must mention one of the classics. Published in 1972, Kazuo Umezu’s The Drifting Classroom follows the story of a group of students when their school is transported to a post-apocalyptic future. The situation puts the children to the test as they have to face not only terrifying creatures, but the madness that constantly stalks them. Viz Media has the publishing rights in English.
Fuan no Tane (Seed of Anxiety) by Masaaki Nakayama
If you’re a fan of Japanese folklore and supernatural portrayals, you have to check this manga out. This is a collection of short horror stories spanning around 2-3 pages each that exploits each frame to its fullest with almost no need for words. What’s more unnerving is that any of these tales could happen to anyone.
Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki
Thanks to technological advances humans no longer have to worry about predators, but what if something new appeared on top of the food chain? That’s the question that Hitoshi Iwaaki tries to answer in this classic manga. Amidst a gory invasion of an alien parasite, a boy who accidentally fused with one of them is now the only restraint between mankind and its total extinction. You can find Parasyte in English published by Kodansha USA.
Hideout by Masasumi Kakizaki
Masasumi Kakizaki begins with an already gruesome scenario, a man tries to end his wife’s life during a vacation trip, but things get worse when the real threat looms over both of them in the middle of the forest. In a single volume, this story presents that humans can be far more horrible than any otherworldly creature.
Shiki by Fuyumi Ono
When a family moves to an old mansion in a remote mountain village and an epidemic starts causing bizarre deaths almost at the same time, a few of the villagers start investigating what’s actually going on. What at first appears to be a cliché horror setting slowly builds up to be a memorable journey full of unexpected twists and spine-chilling moments.
Blood on the Tracks by Shuzo Oshimi
Aku no Hana’s acclaimed author, Shuzo Oshimi, presents in this manga a psychological horror story that will keep you on the edge of your set the whole time. Seiichi has always known that his mother can be very attentive, but after a hiking trip where his cousin ends up in a coma, he learns that the biggest threat may come from what he always believed to be motherly love. Kodansha USA also publishes Blood on the Tracks in English.
PTSD Radio by Masaaki Nakayama
This collection of apparently unconnected ghost stories excels at presenting blood-curling scenes based on Japanese imagery, although, what has most caught the attention of many are the circumstances surrounding this horror manga in real life. The author had to go on a hiatus after a series of strange events similar to those we wrote almost put his own life at risk, these happenings were also featured in the manga’s last issue. Published in English by Kodansha.
Uzumaki by Junji Ito
No horror manga guide is complete with Junji Ito. The godfather of Japanese horror is a master of storytelling that leans heavily on the fear of the unknown and inconceivable. It is hard to choose just one of his works, but Uzumaki may just be the one that features everything he is now so known for, a must-read for every horror fan. Published in English by Viz Media.