1. Mieruko-Chan by Tomoki Izumi
The newest release from Yen Press has made it to first place on our list of Scary Horror Manga to Read This Spooky Season. It follows a young girl named Mieruko who can see grotesque and hideous monsters while nobody else can. The only thing she can do is ignore them and pretend not to see them. But as fear grips her heart, sweat drips down her face, and her body begins to shake… the question is, how long will she be able to pull off this act before they notice?
“It’s an original story that is actually very much frightening! You can’t help but get a little nervous for our little Mieruko-chan when she encounters horrific creatures. I put this as number 1 on this list because it blew my expectations away with how spectacular it was for the first chapter!”
2. Ibitsu by Haruto Ryo
Second on our list is Ibitsu, the classic horror manga about an urban legend becoming reality for an unlucky guy. A creepy doll-like lolita appears at night with a question, “Can I be your little sister?” Those who answer no will die and those who answer yes will face a twisted fate worse than death.
“I read this one a while back and I for sure had to put it high up on the list. The author did an amazing job at making this one truly terrifying. Dolls can be hella scary and this one will haunt your dreams. Make sure if you see this ghostly goth lolita in real life that you don’t respond, as the urban legend goes!”
3. Corpse Party by Makoto Kedouin and Toshimi Shinomiya
The timeless video game, anime, and manga,Corpse Party, has made it to 3rd on our list! A group of students regret staying after school on the fateful day the ground beneath them shakes and crumbles. They suddenly find themselves in an old and haunted school. They remain unsuspecting of the terrors that lurk in the shadows of this mysterious school and the dark history it holds.
“Corpse Party will forever be scary to me. I remember watching YouTubers play the game back in the day and I’d get super paranoid when night rolled around. Even though it’s not the anime/game so there won’t be sounds or visual jumpscares, the manga is still scary and worth reading!”
4. I Am A Hero by Kengo Hanazawa
Looking for an apocalyptic zombie manga? We got you covered with number 4 on our list, I Am a Hero! Life seemed normal for Hideo Suzuki until he saw a car crash into a woman, but instead of laying there lifeless she got up and attacked the driver! Maybe he was just seeing things, maybe he wasn’t, but he knew he had to prepare for the worst. In Japan guns are rare, but our main character owns one and even knows how to use it. Even with a gun and a good heart, will our main character be able to survive the end of the world?
“Pick this one up!!! Even though it’s a long journey (200 chapters or so) and people gripe about the ending, I believe it’s one of the best zombie manga to date. The way the author makes these zombies look is unnerving and creepy. I love this one so much and this reminded me I still need to watch the live-action movie.”
5. The Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezz
This chilling and dark masterpiece by Kazuo Umezz has made it to number 5 on our list! A sudden earthquake causes an elementary school to disappear, leaving kids and teachers trapped in a wasteland. The children cry for their parents and homes while the teachers become overwhelmed and begin to turn on each other and their students. Observe as the young and innocent children fight to survive the monstrous creatures, insane adults, and cope with the lack of resources in this mind-thrilling manga.
“A very well-written and spine-tingling story from Kazuo Umezz. I was immersed in the crazy and intense story about innocent kids surviving the depths of a hellhole with no help from adults and monsters lurking in the shadows. Well worth the read and the hardcover omnibus edition looks amazing on my shelf!”
6. Higurashi by Ryukishio7 and Karin Suzuragi
Here’s a manga that’ll send shivers down your spine, #6 on our list,Higurashi! A boy moves to a very small town, so small they combine all of the students from the school into one class! He enjoys his new day-to-day life and friends until he learns of a gruesome murder that took place in town. Whenever he brings the murder up to his friends, they avoid the topic and refuse to tell him anything. He finds out that more murders have occurred in the town and that his “friends” may not be who he thought they were.
“Nothing beats death stares and kawaii faces suddenly turning psycho. In this story, you start to see the main character slowly lose his mind as he feels like he’s all alone in a cursed town. I already knew the jist of Higurashi before I watched/read it but it was way more compelling and horrifying than I originally would have guessed.”
7. Another by Yukito Ayatsuji and Hiro Kiyohara
The beautiful but scary novel and manga,Another, has made it to number 6 on our list. Koichi is a sickly boy who is finally able to go to school in his quiet and small town. On his first day, he notices something strange... A girl with an eyepatch in the corner of the room, who was being completely ignored by his classmates. Was she a ghost or a victim of bullying? His classmates tell him to stay away from her but they won’t tell him why. The mystery shrouding the girl, who he learns is named Mei Misaki, makes him more and more curious. All of a sudden a gruesome death occurs at the school, that triggers a chain of even more deaths. What is causing these horrific deaths and how will Koichi be able to stop them?
I’ve read and watched this one so many times throughout the years. The atmosphere and suspense is what makes Another scary in my eyes. The deaths in Another are beyond shocking and twisted. If you’re looking for a scary story without the supernatural elements then I highly recommend this one.”
8. H.P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness Adaption and Artwork by Gou Tanabe
Betcha didn’t know that there are some manga adaptations for H.P Lovecraft’s works?! At The Mountains of Madness is the story of an expedition group who find something disturbing deep within a mountain;a crew of mangled dead men and dogs, but that’s not even the most terrifying part, not far from the bodies is a star-shaped mound of snow with the grave of a human underneath it. Read the classic literature piece in manga form that has influenced both horror and science fiction worldwide!
“This is one I’m currently reading and infatuated with. I can’t say much since I'm not very far in it but the story is intriguing and the art style is very realistic which makes it all the more scary. This is a perfect read for Lovecraftians and horror fans of all kinds!”
9. Gantz by Hiroya Oku
One of the best cult classics and death game inspired manga is Gantz! Imagine suddenly awakening in a room full of strangers after recently dying. You’re left wondering if this is Heaven or Hell? The group is given weapons and weird black bodysuits from a mysterious orb that tells them to fight. But who are they fighting? Aliens. Overpowered Aliens. Not the green goblin looking things but actual horrifying monsters that kill anything and everything. After being surrounded by death and barely surviving, how will Kei and his friends beat this never ending nightmare?
“Ah yes death games, my favorite. A manga like this is not for the faint of heart, and don’t get attached to ANY of the characters, got it? I was actually debating on my top 10 list and completely forgot that Gantz is a horror. I think everyone forgets that Gantz is a horror. Overpowered and freaky looking Aliens? That’s pretty scary to me!”
10. Shibuya Goldfish by Hiroumi Aoi
Last but not least, fans of Junji Ito’s Gyo should definitely give Shibuya Goldfish a read! It starts off as a seemingly normal day for videographer student Hajime Tsukiyoda until he finds himself in a strange, apocalyptic scene. Giant-Sized Goldfish have suddenly appeared and they’re preying on people in the busy streets of Japan. Hajime ends up in a shelter awaiting rescue, but as days go by and food runs low how will he survive?
“Yes, I know the cover is a close-up of a bloody goldfish, but hear me out! When animals turn on us, it truly makes for a terrifying story and an entertaining read. I have an urge to reread this one just to relive the story. Don’t diss it till you give it a read, alright?
When you think of horror manga a lot of you are probably thinking of Junji Ito’s works and were surprised when I didn’t include any on this list. That’s because I’m putting him well beyond first place and featuring him in the spotlight.
Who is this man? Some of you may be unfamiliar with him. His name is Junji ito and he was born in Japan and was making manga as a hobby in his early 20’s. His work was influenced by some of his favorite mangaka and also sometimes based on his own fears and experiences. He submitted his first work, Tomie, in a competition that won an honorable mention ( with one of his favorite mangaka being one of the judges ). He went on to make many works that have won awards such as the famous Eisner Award.
New to his works? Here’s what you should start off with: The 3 big classics. Tomie is about a girl so hauntingly beautiful that causes her to be killed but she comes back to life every time. Uzumaki is about a small town being consumed by a curse, a neverending nightmare of spirals. Gyo is about fish doing the impossible: growing legs to walk on land, breathing air, and also killing humans.
Returning Fan? Here’s some of his newest English published works! Remina is about a planet that is approaching earth and creating a doomsday fear in Humans. Venus in the Blind Spot is a compilation of Junji Ito’s shortest works including Human Chair and The Enigma of Amigara Fault. Twisted Visions is an art book that includes never before seen artwork as well as colored pages and fan favorite titles.