Scary Shows to Watch on Halloween (Part II)

Now we’re getting into Japanese anime, which I find often manage that special brand of suspense even better than most.

Pet Shop of Horrors

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This series only has 4 episodes (though the manga has a lot more), but it manages to emulate the classic “be careful what you wish for” subgenre of horror. Characters are offered a chance to achieve something remarkable, but if they falter the consequences are equally dire. The series explores how often people are the authors of their own misery.

XXXHolic

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This is a another series that explores “be careful what you wish for”, but with an overall lighter tone. Some episodes are tragic, but many are light-hearted and whimsical, and a few have a certain peaceful beauty to them. The series centers around a strange shop, able to make most unusual bargains.

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni/When They Cry

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*This series may be too graphically violent for some.

Higurashi is one of my favorite horror series because of how it handles pacing. Each arc stands alone, a kind of “what if” played out in different ways. Within each arc the series starts out as warm and wholesome as any children’s cartoon, only to abruptly confront characters and audience with something terribly dark. Blindsided, the audience doesn’t know how to react when things suddenly go back to that warm innocence. But gradually those dark moments come more frequently, leaving the audience to wonder when the next “attack” will come, and what is going on. Granted, this could easily leave an unsuspecting audience most upset, but each arc opens with a particularly dark scene, a kind of “warning” of things to come.

Monster

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This is a true psychological horror, a story where the fear is not in the visual of the inhuman, but in the realization of how dark the world, and people, can be. It’s a series that challenges the characters to see the darkness in others, and themselves, while following the mystery surrounding one character in particular.

Shinsekai Yori/From the New World

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*This series may be too graphically violent for some.

Like Higurashi, this is a series that focuses on disparate arcs, though these arcs are separated by time, but do continue the same story. And like Higurashi, each arc has a natural progression from “safe” to “mystery” and “danger”. But what’s really interesting is how each arc explores another aspect of this “other world”, and for the most part each arc represents an increase in tension and danger, culminating in a very potent final arc, with a very intense looming threat.

 

3 thoughts on “Scary Shows to Watch on Halloween (Part II)

  1. I just came over from Irina’s blog where she just wrote an amazing post on From the new world, and that will be me next anime that I will be watching. As in: tonight😊
    I’m currrently reading the manga for Monster and that one is truly awesome. Really enjoying it, and the storyline for that is dark and has so many twists and turns. I’m on Volume 5 now, and it’s still every bit as intense as when I first started reading it 😊

    • From the New World is a solid series, particularly if you liked Higurashi. Granted, it starts off a bit confusing and slow, but it builds well. Part of the problem is it’s a series that heavily relies on selective information, so they really have to keep audiences in the dark for much of the series to accomplish what they want to do. And if I had to choose I would probably favor a weak beginning over a weak ending (if you consider the beginning of that series weak).
      As to Monster, it is a solid series. You might consider the anime. Great music, very atmospheric. And I love the irony that a series called “Monster” is actually very grounded in realistic fiction, rather than fantasy and scifi.

      • I watched the first episode yesterday and your right about it being confusing and slow. But …that’s usually something that intrigues me to be honest, so not something that would cause me to drop this. I think I will enjoy this one 😊 I definitely agree…an ending could potentially ruin a show or redeem it…so absolutely true 😊
        I saw several episodes of Monster (I think about 25)and then some things in real life interfered and I never got back to it. But I will eventually when I have finished the manga 😊

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