In the breakout horror anime Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Akira Tendo and his friends have plenty of optimism and determination to live, but zero ability to fight off a zombie horde. While action horror heroes mow down monsters with all manner of weapons, Akira and company find themselves in a funny take on zombie horror that emphasizes the spiritual growth of the characters rather than their struggle to survive.
Zom 100‘s heroes are more focused on enjoying their post-apocalypse life than anything else, making the series different from other horrors. There are many other anime out there that take an innovative approach to the horror genre. While some of them feature similar comedy elements that characterize Zom 100, the majority of them are horror through and through.
10 Is This A Zombie?
Once, Ayumu Aikawa was a powerless, yet average human boy. After a run-in with a serial killer, a necromancer, and a magical girl, he enters a new life as a zombie magical boy. Using his new powers, he defends Japan from monsters and villains.
Ayumu might not look like a typical zombie, and seeing him attempt battle makes it very clear that he’s not like an average magical boy, either. While he’s immortal and possesses super strength, he’s regularly overpowered and ripped apart by his opponents. He’s not even safe from his own powers, as many of his magical boy abilities harm his body.
When the small, sleepy town of Sotoba is infested with vampire-like creatures called “shiki,” locals face gruesome ends. Sotoba’s youth might hate their hometown and want out, but in order to survive, they must team up with the town doctor and figure out how to defeat the shiki.
Adapted from the novel and manga of the same name, Shiki is a creeping horror that takes its time in building up atmosphere. Like the best creature features, it boats a compelling mystery before revealing what the newcomers to Sotoba are truly capable of. Much like Zom 100‘s Shizuka, its characters do their best to respond intelligently and logically to the supernatural terrors around them.
8 Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack
There are no human heroes in Junji Ito’s horror stories, at least not in the sense of ones who vanquish ghosts and monsters. Much of Ito’s works are explorations of the most unsettling side of the supernatural, where humans feel trapped into nightmares that took horrifying real forms.
One of the few animated adaptations of Ito’s work is Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack, based on his 2001 manga. Tadashi and Kaori are living their lives one moment, and the next they’re running from horrific fish monsters born from the mixing of robots and contagious bioweapons. The worst a zombie can do is eat someone, but getting caught by these mutant machines is an even worse fate.
7 Ghost Hunt
Roped into joining Kazuya “Naru” Shibuya’s paranormal investigation team, budding psychic Mai Taniyama quickly learns that the world is not what she thought. Ghosts lurk in the most unexpected corners of the world, and it’s the job of Naru’s team to find and exorcise them. In their line of work, they come face to face with the scariest ghosts in anime.
Like the group of friends that Akira builds up as he makes his way through his new life, the paranormal investigation team is composed of several unique personalities. From Australian priest John to shrine maiden Ayako, Mai makes some very colorful new friends.
6 Resident Evil: Degeneration
Typically, zombie fiction is split fairly evenly between survival horror and action horror, and Resident Evil falls into the latter category. If an anime fan finishes Zom 100 and finds that their thirst for comedy is sated, but the desire for zombies remains, it may be time for a genre shift. The renowned video game series has had several animated adaptations, starting with Degeneration.
The film follows Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield still struggling to save people from the infected after the ending of Resident Evil 4. Though it’s rendered in CGI rather than hand-drawn, it’s no less anime than Zom 100. It shares a production studio – Digital Frontier – with many of director Mamoru Hosoda’s best films.
5 Zombie Land Saga
All Sakura Minamoto ever wanted to be was an idol. She gets her wish after being transformed into a zombie and conscripted into an all-zombie idol group. Their manager, Kotaro Tatsumi, has a vision and has evidently never heard of relaxing, and the girls are pushed with everything they have towards stardom.
Zombie Land Saga matches Zom 100‘s zany humor. Kotaro is only half of it: all the zombie girls, with their varying pasts and personalities, play off one another very well when they’re together and are all entertaining on their own as the focus of an episode. Minor inconveniences, like their undead bodies falling apart, don’t get them down at all.
4 Highschool Of The Dead
In Highschool of the Dead, the students at Fujimi High School have become trapped in their high school by a horde of zombies, and they quickly deteriorate as they struggle to survive the undead and each other. As the main cast escapes their high school and begins to see the wreckage outside, they’re forced to do anything they can to try and make it to safety.
After watching his teacher and best friend devoured alive, Highschool of the Dead‘s protagonist Takashi Komuro is never the same. He lags behind his companions in terms of combat training, but what he lacks in power he makes up for in empathy for others and sheer determination to survive.
Relieved to be free of his exploitative job, Zom 100‘s Akira faces the zombie apocalypse with boundless energy and joy. However, for all his strange priorities, he at least recognizes the reality of his situation. The same cannot be said of Yuki Takeya, a proud member of the School Living Club.
In one of the most shocking plot twists in anime, it’s revealed that the club doesn’t live at school full-time for fun. Their whole city has been overrun by zombies, and the girls are struggling against the undead outside and protecting what’s left of Yuki’s fragile sanity. Yuki’s high-energy personality is her way of coping: in her world, there are no zombies, and no death – only fun and happiness.
2 Black Butler: Book Of The Atlantic
Black Butler largely lacks an overarching plot, with each arc placing Ciel and Sebastian in a variety of situations. Some are merely criminal, and many are supernatural; the schemes of one evil doctor on board the Campania combine both. Trapped on an ocean liner miles away from safety, Ciel and company must fight off an onslaught of freshly reanimated zombies.
The undead are as horrifying as any demon in the show, contorting into impossible shapes and screaming mindlessly as they charge after their victims. However, the unexpected star of this arc is Elizabeth Midford. An initially controversial character, Lizzy is revealed to be an expert swordswoman who hid her skills to preserve the image of herself she prefers to show Ciel. However, protecting him is her highest priority, and she mows down zombies like an expert.
1 Attack On Titan
From the very first episode, Attack on Titan hammers home that humans are powerless compared to the horrific Titans. These enormous creatures roam the earth mindlessly, eating human beings in droves. Even humanity’s means of protection, the Survey Corps, struggle against the mighty monsters.
Despite the Survey Corps having a morbidly high mortality rate, the ones who choose to join are devoted to expanding humanity’s reach and refusing to accept confinement. In between the action and gore, the show has a surprising amount of legitimate comedy, albeit less and less of it as the story progresses. Much like Zom 100, this series also puts a lot of focus on the character’s psychology and their inner development.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Deadhas a uniquely humorous take on both zombie and survival horror. There are plenty of anime that fans of Akira’s misadventures may enjoy, ranging from carefree comedy and starker takes on what it’s like to flee from deadly monsters, and this list of horror anime is a great place to start from.