Mugen Monday - Twelfth Edition

For Those Who Dare Dream.

One of the key things when dealing with the Halloween season is to tackle the question of horror in Anime. If you’re curious, the girl in Mugen Monday’s official feature art (although design is a more apt word) is AI-Made.

With such huge AI advancements, it’s not too bad to say that we are definitely in a Halloween of a year marked by the beginning of an AI Revolution.

But it’s not as cheap as you’d think. Apparently, I had to use some coins they gave me for free when signing up, but now to get more I gotta pay up.

But this minor inconvenience aside, are we sure AI won’t take over Anime one day too? And if such a fate were to be imminent, then shouldn’t we prepare for the apocalypse of the traditional Anime?

Halloween, Anime and Horror

This is AI made, ahem

Apocalypse - the word leads me to thoughts of end, pain, horror - something you may relate to a lot tomorrow.

I am by no means a historian, but I am for some measure a humanitarian (History is a social science, and I am a philosophy student, which is a humanities subject, separate from social sciences).

And as such I am qualified to some extent when I mention that Halloween initially was not always about the spook and scare.

How did Halloween begin though?

It was a Celtic tradition that existed pre-Christian influence. And when the latter did arrive, they retained it as to become a ‘hallowed’ eve before the All Saints Day of November 1.

What was initially more about Tricks, treats and hell yeah even cosplays, somehow turned to include within itself the dark, sinister and horror.

Anime and horror have a handicapped relationship, here’s what I mean

This is a demon lord, see - does it make sense to be scared by him? Imagine a comparison with a Demon Lord in any of the contemporary horror Movies in Hollywood.

In some sense, the relation of Anime and Horror may be similar. Unlike live-action productions, incorporating a sense of horror through visuals (or body horror, which my dearest writer talks more in length down below) in Anime is quite difficult.

So obviously, to cope with such a culture, Anime obviously has to devise a horror that’s less physical (because just how much can a demon figure in drawn animation scare you?) and more psychological.

I wouldn’t extend this any further, Mayukh has done an excellent piece on this down below. As you read the 12th edition of Mugen Monday, you may want to share this with your friends.

Happy Halloween and have an amazing read, and until next time - For Those Who Dare Dream!

- From the Editor’s Desk

Rhytham Das, Editor-in-Chief, Spiel Anime

Does Horror have any place in the world of Anime?

I asked Mayukh to jolt down a topic - the one you see titled above. Here’s what he had to say.

The genre of horror in anime has been a very diverse field and it gained prominence and popularity during the 1990s with shows like Serial Experiments Lain and Vampire Princess Miyu.

While these shows didn't actually follow the traditional horror element that live-action generally pertains to, they did contribute to shaping the foundation of the genre for anime. But, horror in anime explores all forms of the genre, which range from body horror and gore to dystopian and psychological horror.

Therefore, to say that the horror genre simply complements anime would be an understatement.

The Portrayal of Violence and Body Horror

Violence and body horror fall under the category of gore in the genre of horror. However, such spectacles are often put in the anime which explores such themes in order to create a niche and appealing status for themselves.

There are various shows in anime that explore guns, swords, death, violence, and sexual abuse in the form of elements of horror. However, horror is not defined by the elements but by the tools that it incorporates.

Horror generally subverts the ordinary and brings into question the supernatural or the fantastical. It is through these supernatural tools that it projects the idea of a terrifying narrative through visual and auditory representation.

Corpse Party: Tortured Souls is a fine example of body horror and gore in anime. (Image via Crunchyroll)

The portrayal of violence and body horror in anime has come a long way and it has managed to portray such themes much more effectively than live-action itself. It is because of the fluctuations and fluidity that anime provides and represents.

Therefore, shows like Akira, Princess Mononoke and Ghost in the Shell were not entirely horror but their portrayal of death and violence along with the disfigured imageries of the body gave them the status of gore as a horror subgenre.

Psychological horror in modern times - the most fitting subgenre for the medium of anime

Anime understands the project of instilling fear from the uncertain. It is therefore that the element of uncertainty plays a major role in shaping psychological horror in anime.

The fear of the unknown is undoubtedly more psychological than it is often attributed with, and it is not the supernatural but the idea of its presence that brings forth a terrifying thought for the viewer.

It is one of the most refined stages that anime could explore and the redefinition of this genre in anime has been a commendable and tremendously lovable task undertaken in recent years.

Perfect Blue is an example of psychological horror in anime. (Image via IMDb)

Shows like Perfect Blue and Hell Girl bring out an element of psychological horror in them. Their representation and questioning are beyond perfection and the social cues that they question have to be the cherry on top.

The fact that anime could fit so well with the portrayal of such a form of horror in itself answers the question that we are trying to answer. Moreover, shows kike Boogiepop Phantom and Corpse Party: Tortured Souls might look like body horror and gore from the outside, but the suspense and the story building that they deliver is truly enough to leave a lasting psychological scar on the viewer.

How is horror in anime a cultural phenomenon?

Horror in anime is often a representative figure of some sociocultural beliefs and practices.

They can be sociocultural anxieties or social fears, but they manage to provide a suitable context to the idea of 'strangeness' in horror. The dread and the uneasiness that come with horror in anime is more of a cultural phenomenon as it links mostly to mature themes and practices, and the supernatural is often a consequence of the real and the daily.

Shows like Yamishibai, which ran for several years and for several seasons, particularly focused on these social anxieties and fears and how these were often manifested as the supernatural.

Yamishibai anime and its representation of cultural horror. (Image via IMDb)

The introduction of horror in anime also gave a representative voice to the karoshi culture. It basically translates to 'overwork death' and relates to suicide by overwork.

The manifestation of the supernatural emerging out of such factors gives it a sociocultural angle and it is a representation of the toxicity related to Japanese workaholism.

Moreover, sociopolitical and social anxieties are also evident in shows like Mononoke and Another (the character featured in the feature image at the very beginning of this article), which stand as a testament that horror in anime carries much more depth and detail than one can generally anticipate or expect, which gives it the peculiar nature that it has obtained in the last two decades.


While you sit down this Halloween to enjoy a horror movie or a show with your friends or family, do not forget to tune in to an anime which has been categorized under the horror genre.

The visual and psychological treat would be allowed only through a thorough and terrifying confrontation with a reality that one has failed to observe or acknowledge before

  • With that said, if you feel like reading our daily content, we have our very own Google News Portal.

  • To comment, roast, criticize, hate, love, or obsess about this Newsletter with your friends, share it.

  • Check out our other amazing newsletter, Shinzo Saturday

Subscribe to keep reading

This content is free, but you must be subscribed to Spiel Anime to continue reading.

Already a subscriber?Sign In.Not now