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25 Best Anime On Ghosts, Paranormal & The Supernatural (Series & Movies)
I think we can all agree: anime serves as a great escape from reality.
Sometimes it’s enough to simply see our world from someone else’s eyes, a different place, different people… but sometimes we want to remove ourselves even further from reality.
Ghosts and spooky paranormal stuff should do the trick! And for this ranking I’ll share the best anime that deal with all things supernatural, be it demons, espers, ghosts, or anything in between.
25. A Letter to Momo
This movie is bound to be something you’ll really enjoy if you like spirits & supernatural beings.
It’s all about youkai and how much they can befriend(or irritate) our city girl protagonist, Momo.
That’s all you really need to know as far as the plot is concerned. Where this show really shines is the atmosphere it so brilliantly builds in such a short amount of time.
The animation is top-notch and the youkai have been made into actual three-dimensional characters, so it hits both that “suspension of disbelief” and “relatability” right on the head.
24. Fusé: Memoirs of a Huntress
In order to hunt, you have to see your prey as non-human. Or at least as something below you.
But what happens when you realize that the hunted is just as alive & human as you are?
This is not an ad for veganism, but rather the central premise of Fusé.
In its universe, the Fusé are supernatural creatures. Something between a dog and a man, and are being relentlessly hunted.
Our protagonist, being a huntress herself, meets one by accident and makes it her goal to get him out of harm’s way.
It’s a very touching story and can even teach you a thing or two about how you should treat others.
23. Natsuyuki Rendezvous
This show has such an odd premise that it’s really hard not to love it.
Our protagonist, Ryousuke Hazuki, goes to a flower shop and falls in love with the owner.
He then tries to slide into those DMs by getting a part-time job there. But oh oh, what’s this?
He can see the spirit of the owner’s deceased husband. And that’s it.
Only he can see him, and as you might imagine this old husband doesn’t want anyone smooth talking his wife.
So they just form this very odd and yet lovable trio that never ceases to put a smile on my face.
Personally, Another is the first show that pops into my head when I think about ghost stories.
It nails that creepy atmosphere, the dark and stagnant air and the questions that hang around our necks like a noose.
There’s one central mystery in the show and I didn’t find the answer to be super obvious, so kudos for that.
The stakes are very high, however, as with every passing moment tragedy seems to strike. And finding the answer is the only way to stop it.
I’m being rather vague because believe me, you want to go into this show completely spoiler-free.
21. Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)
At times, this show really lulls you into a feeling of security. It offers nice, bright colors, a cheerful cast, the whole nine yards.
But then you remember that Satan is the antagonist.
This is where the smiles drop, the tension rises, and your eyes are glued to the screen.
The pairing of Rin and Yukio make the story both a lot more wholesome, but also a lot more dynamic, with Rin having his latent powers.
It definitely has that shounen vibe , and isn’t as “spooky” as some other entries.
But it makes for a good time nevertheless.
With the Monogatari series you get all of the supernatural stories you want.
A bee? A curse.
A monkey? A demon.
A vampire? What are you doing, run away from the vampire.
There are so many stories interwoven within the series and its characters, that there always seems to be this sense of intrigue. As there are always questions left unanswered.
The show does a good job at keeping each plot point consistent with the ones already established, sometimes even making them run simultaneously just to screw with you.
I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the supernatural, urban legends, folklore and the like.
19. Death Note
I honestly didn’t plan to put Death Note on here. I viewed it as a purely psychological thriller , but then I remembered that two meter tall apple loving gods of death are just a bit supernatural.
So here we are.
Hailed by many as one of the greatest anime to have ever aired, Death Note at its core represents two great minds clashing while an ominous dark presence watches over and gives them powers to slay the other.
The first dozen episodes are especially hyped, as we watch a normal high schooler divulge into a pseudo-god, all while eating his chips.
18. Death Parade
What happens after death?
A question that has plagued humanity since it could make rational thought.
Will we be judged by Haruhi and sent to Heaven or Hell? Is it just darkness?
Well, I don’t think anyone envisioned ourselves playing pool or throwing darts to decide their fate.
Death Parade is like a Limbo where the deceased are taken to be judged.
They play different games, usually brutal stuff, that are supposed to show their true colors and determine whether they’ll be reincarnated or sent to the shadow realm.
And never has an existential crisis come with this good of a soundtrack.
17. Devilman: Crybaby
Get out your devil horns, sacrificial goat, and a bottle of the blood of the innocent, because it’s devil time.
As in the title, and this not so subtle introduction. Might have suggested Devilman: Crybaby is predominantly focused on different demons, their fights, their goals, and their killer nightclub parties.
It’s chaotic as all hell with nudity, blood, flashing colors, dope rapping, angry mobs, more music, motorcycles, and limbs flying everywhere.
And it is definitely the type of show you’d binge in a single day , hold no regrets, and them bother someone else to watch it.
Hold the Dororo is a story about revenge. Very brutal and very justified revenge.
Hyakkimaru was probably dealt the worst hand at birth out of any character ever, with demons claiming all of his senses, his limbs, his skin, everything.
We see him as a literal shell of a man armed, literally, in pursuit of the very demons that robbed him of a normal life.
The fighting choreography in this show is brilliant. Especially during the latter episodes.
And Hyakkimaru’s wild, almost savage anger will send shivers down your spine when he finally faces those who have wronged him.
15. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Make no mistake, I’m specifically talking about the first season of Jojo’s, so the first two manga arcs. This is the most “supernatural” if that makes sense.
Before there were Stands and it basically became a superhero show, JoJo’s was a lot more… bizarre.
The atmosphere was a lot darker, and the legend known as Dio is set upon the world.
There are vampires now, and Pillar men , and like a super powerful method of breathing.
I never said it made more sense than the later installments.
But it does get you that supernatural fix as god knows, this show is anything but ordinary.
14. Demon Slayer
Speaking of super powerful ways of breathing, we have Demon Slayer.
Can you guess what the show is about? As far as animation and fight choreography goes, this show absolutely blew me away.
Yet the ragtag group of Tanjirou, Zenitsu and Inosuke bring a lot of comedy to the objectively dark and gloomy storyline.
Each with a special breathing technique and fighting style, they make the show very dynamic. Rarely does the story wonder off or get boring.
And Nezuko is just adorable. Terrifying at times, but mostly adorable. God I love this show.
13. Mob Psycho 100
Now to take a break from all the demons, we move on to espers.
It’s easy to see why people came into this show expecting One Punch Man.
But the show stands on its own with absolutely no issues.
In fact, since it’s less focused on being funny, the heartwarming moments hit a lot harder. And the sad moments, we don’t talk about them.
It’s no secret that Mob is the strongest esper. But the world is so much larger than just his power. You’ll end up fully immersed and just as hyped for the side characters as you are for the protagonists.
12. Tokyo Ghoul
I find Tokyo Ghoul to be in a similar boat like Jojo’s, with the first season really delivering on the topic of what it was like to be a ghoul, how they lived, organized themselves, the different factions, you know cool supernatural stuff.
It does become more of a superhero flick by the end.
But it is overall pretty enjoyable.
Our protagonist Kaneki has one of the most memorable, edgelord-y transformations ever to hit the media. As well as an iconic soundtrack to boot.
I don’t care much for it after the first season, but you can absolutely have a blast watching this show and learning why people drink so much coffee.
Durarara!! Is a mixture of three things: gang culture , the supernatural, and chat rooms.
Lots and lots of chat rooms.
It takes place in Ikebukuro where everything seems fine and dandy on the surface. But the shadows hide plenty of unusual stuff.
We have a dullahan in the form of a motorcyclist, Hulk’s younger brother in a bartender uniform , somehow an even creepier Stain, and sword possession.
There’s a lot here.
Most of the time, the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. But there are definitely some “oh god why” moments throughout.
Mononoke takes a very different approach to spirits, as rather than blasting them away with energy beams, the protagonist actually does a ritual.
But in order to do the ritual, he has to know the Form, the Truth, and the Reason for that spirit being there. Getting a bit occult now, huh?
You can already see how this opens up the gate to a ton of backstories and narratives.
And if that abundance of stories isn’t enough to satisfy you, just take a gander at the anime’s artsy style.
It’s definitely not something you’ve seen before.
9. Hell Girl
To understand Hell Girl, all you have to do is mix together Death Parade, Alucard, and 4chan.
The central premise is as follows: there exists a website that you can only access at midnight, through which you communicate with miss Hell girl.
You can then pick out the person that’s making your life miserable and regardless of who they are, she will make sure they do not see the light of day.
The only catch being that you’re now condemned to Hell.
But hey, you knew what you were getting into.
Definitely not as laid back as some of the other shows on this list, but a delight for true fans of the occult and supernatural.
8. Ghost Stories
Ghost Stories is an absolute classic when it comes to the paranormal.
The mere fact that it’s 20+ years old and still holds up today is proof of that.
The story is simple, think Scooby-Doo but an anime.
Just instead of de-masking George the milkman, they banish ghosts. And instead of a lovable talking dog, we get a possessed, somewhat mean-spirited yet hilarious cat .
The cat is honestly half of the enjoyment for me.
But heed my warning: watch the dubbed version.
The subbed actually takes itself seriously and can become a bore, while the dub is a bit insane, kind of offensive, and just beautiful .
7. Ghost Hound
There are two main feelings I got from watching Ghost Hound: curiosity and depression.
Okay it wasn’t that bad. But you will see what I mean.
The story is a real mystery: spirits start crossing into our world and it’s on our protagonist trio to figure out why.
The answer is neither obvious nor out of left field, so the conclusion is satisfying as hell.
I will give you a hint, though. It has a lot to do with the mental state of the boys; their previous traumas, fears, thoughts, everything has to be laid bare to crack the code.
So if you’re a wimp like me staring into the eyes of a good psychological anime, strap in.
6. Witch Hunter Robin
If you’re into the Salem Witch Trials, this show is bound to intrigue you.
Yes, it’s a show all about witches.
But instead of putting a witch in the protagonist’s seat and have her deliver baked goods, we actually see the world from the eyes of Robin, a witch hunter.
It’s also not just another villain of the week show, as Robin doesn’t kill the witches.
No, she tries to understand them through them her own organization.
The story is really riveting and culminates in the most glorious fashion. Definitely give it a try.
5. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
Saiki is a bit of an oddball on this list, as it’s purely a comedy .
But hey, the protagonist is an esper. And throughout the show we also get to know a medium and a fortune teller, so thematically it fits into the “supernatural” category quite well.
I’m a huge fan of this show because it takes every anime trope and just makes it so much weirder, and so much funnier.
Never have I seen a character as dumb as Nendou. Or a princess as egotistical as Kokomi.
But they make it all work somehow.
The show is episodic with a very loose overarching plot, and I promise you every episode is a blast.
4. Colorful: The Motion Picture
This movie gets very real. There is no other way to put it.
Without spoiling too much, I will say that the central premise is that of reincarnation. Feeling the pain of others, finding happiness in a grain of sand, and the toxicity one’s surroundings.
I don’t really have any jokes for this one.
The story is mystical in that its portrayal the afterlife, and the task that’s set before us.
But it is also extremely realistic to the point of human suffering, and also compassion.
So if you’re having a rough time, or just want some anime for retrospection, give this one a watch.
3. Natsume’s Book of Friends
Natsume’s Book of Friends is the type of show that actually makes you wish you could see spirits.
The central end goal of the series is for Natsumi to basically say farewell to all of the spirits his grandfather signed a contract with.
A man was given power, and his goal is to give it all back, as he doesn’t want the spirits to be indentured to him.
Talk about a stand-up guy.
It’s exactly Natsume’s kind heart that makes the spirits also seem human, and every episode gives you a sense of resolution with tranquility.
Add to this the best traveling companion: a puffy, stuck up cat named Madara, and you’re in for a good time.
2. Spirited Away
Studio Ghibli always manages to wheeze into my lists!
Because how can I leave out a classic like Spirited Away?
In true Miyazaki fashion, the story doesn’t take on this grand narrative of the battle between humans and the spirits.
But rather plops our protagonist into a world unknown, and she explores what it can offer through the eyes of the child.
Plenty of Japanese youkai are represented here, and the world is so meticulously woven that you can almost see it.
On a side note, No Face definitely wants you to return the slab and creeped me out to no end when I first watched the movie.
I love him now though, so it’s okay.
1. Hotarubi no Mori e
Fun fact: the AMV for this movie of “you will be king again” is one of the most popular AMVs ever made.
Another fun fact, that song(just like this movie) requires some tissues handy.
This is a beautiful story of a girl, Hotaru, who comes across a spirit, Gin.
Gin saves Hotaru when she gets lost, and before you know it the two become really close.
The catch is that Hotaru can never touch Gin, because if she does, he will disappear forever.
It’s such a simple plot device. One that requires almost no other characters, but it tugs at the heart strings as the two characters are so beautifully written that there seems to be little dividing the supernatural, us, and love.
A dedicated weeb and Isekai fanboy who's been stuck in Silver since 2013.
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– Entertainment Analysis and Reviews
Ghost in the Shell: Exploring the Legacy of a Seminal Anime Classic
Ghost in the Shell is a seminal anime movie released in 1995, directed by Mamoru Oshii and based on the manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow. The movie is widely regarded as a landmark work in the anime and sci-fi genres, and has had a significant influence on subsequent works in those fields. The movie’s story takes place in a futuristic society where cybernetic technology has become ubiquitous, and follows a cyborg policewoman named Major Motoko Kusanagi as she investigates a hacker known as the Puppet Master. Along the way, the movie explores themes related to identity, consciousness, and societal structures, and features a blend of action, philosophy, and introspection. Despite its initial mixed reception, Ghost in the Shell has gone on to become a cult classic, and its influence can be seen in a wide range of anime, sci-fi, and cyberpunk works.
Ghost in the shell characters, production history and reception, legacy and influence, visual and audio elements, legacy and impact, ghost in the shell 1995 explanation.
The plot of Ghost in the Shell revolves around a police investigation into a hacker known as the Puppet Master, who has the ability to hack into human brains and manipulate memories. The protagonist of the movie is Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg policewoman who works for the Section 9 division of the police force. Along with her team, which includes the hacker and former soldier Batou, Kusanagi attempts to track down the Puppet Master and uncover its true identity and motives.
The movie is notable for its complex and philosophical exploration of themes related to technology, identity, and consciousness. Throughout the story, Kusanagi grapples with the question of what it means to be human, given that she herself is a cyborg with a mostly artificial body and brain. Meanwhile, the Puppet Master challenges traditional notions of selfhood and agency, leading Kusanagi to question her own motivations and allegiances.
Overall, Ghost in the Shell is a thought-provoking and visually stunning movie that blends action, philosophy, and science fiction. Its themes and ideas continue to resonate with audiences today, and the movie remains a touchstone for fans of anime and sci-fi.
Some key elements of the plot and themes of Ghost in the Shell include:
- A future society where cybernetic technology has become ubiquitous, leading to questions about the nature of humanity and the relationship between technology and the self
- The character of Major Motoko Kusanagi, who grapples with questions about identity, consciousness, and the nature of the self as a cyborg with a mostly artificial body and brain
- The hacker known as the Puppet Master, who challenges traditional notions of selfhood and agency and raises questions about the nature of consciousness and free will
- The relationship between technology, memory, and identity, as characters’ memories are manipulated and controlled by advanced computer systems
- Major Motoko Kusanagi – A cyborg who works for the government agency Section 9. Major is a strong-willed and determined character who is skilled in combat and hacking. Her primary motivation is to complete her assigned missions and protect society from cybercrimes, but she also grapples with questions about her own identity and place in the world.
- Batou – A fellow cyborg who works alongside Major in Section 9. Batou is a loyal and dependable character who is often used for his strength and combat skills. He is protective of his teammates and shares a close bond with Major.
- Togusa – The only human member of Section 9. Togusa is a detective who brings a unique perspective to the team. He is highly analytical and often serves as the voice of reason, questioning the morality of some of Section 9’s actions.
Each of these characters plays a critical role in the movie’s story and themes, and they are all depicted with a level of depth and nuance that is rare in anime.
Ghost in the Shell was directed by Mamoru Oshii and produced by Production I.G, with a screenplay by Kazunori Itō. The movie was based on the manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow, which was first published in 1989. Oshii’s adaptation was a departure from the source material in some ways, emphasizing philosophical and political themes rather than action and violence.
When Ghost in the Shell was first released in 1995, it received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. Some praised its striking visuals and thought-provoking ideas, while others found it confusing or overly slow-paced. However, over time the movie has become a cult classic and a major influence on the anime and sci-fi genres.
One reason for the movie’s enduring popularity is its innovative animation style, which blends traditional 2D animation with computer-generated imagery (CGI) and digital effects. The movie’s use of shadow and lighting also creates a distinctive mood and atmosphere that contributes to its overall impact.
Ghost in the Shell has also been praised for its exploration of philosophical and sociopolitical themes related to technology, identity, and society. The movie raises questions about the nature of the self, the ethics of technology, and the impact of corporate power on individual freedoms. These themes continue to resonate with audiences today and have influenced subsequent anime and sci-fi works.
Ghost in the Shell has had a major impact on the anime, sci-fi, and cyberpunk genres since its release in 1995. Here are some ways in which the movie has influenced subsequent works:
- Style and animation: Ghost in the Shell’s innovative animation style, which blends traditional 2D animation with CGI and digital effects, has been imitated and expanded upon in numerous anime and sci-fi works. The movie’s use of lighting and shadow to create atmosphere and mood has also been widely praised and emulated.
- Philosophy and themes: Ghost in the Shell’s exploration of complex themes related to technology, identity, and consciousness has inspired many subsequent works in the anime and sci-fi genres. The movie’s use of philosophy and introspection to explore these themes has set a high bar for intellectual depth and complexity in storytelling.
- Action and violence: Although Ghost in the Shell is known more for its philosophical and thematic elements, the movie also contains striking action sequences that have influenced subsequent works. The movie’s blend of action, philosophy, and introspection has become a hallmark of the cyberpunk and anime genres.
- Characters and world-building: The characters and world of Ghost in the Shell have become iconic in the anime and sci-fi communities. Major Motoko Kusanagi is a beloved and influential protagonist, and the world of the movie has inspired many subsequent works set in futuristic, cybernetic societies.
Ghost in the Shell is known for its distinctive animation style, character designs, and visual effects. The movie’s use of a hybrid animation style that blends traditional 2D animation with CGI and digital effects was innovative for its time, and it still stands out today as a visually striking and ambitious work.
The character designs in Ghost in the Shell are also notable for their realism and detail. The movie’s protagonists, including Major Motoko Kusanagi, Batou, and Togusa, are all depicted with a level of physical and emotional nuance that is rare in anime. The movie’s use of lighting and shadow to create atmosphere and mood also contributes to its distinctive visual style.
In terms of audio, Ghost in the Shell features a haunting and memorable score by Kenji Kawai. The movie’s use of choral vocals and traditional Japanese instruments creates a sense of otherworldliness that complements its futuristic and philosophical themes. The movie’s sound design is also noteworthy, with a mix of ambient soundscapes and intense action sequences that create a sense of immersion and tension.
Compared to other anime movies and TV shows of its time, Ghost in the Shell is notable for its technical achievements and ambition. The movie’s blend of traditional and digital animation techniques set a new standard for animation in the late 1990s, and its use of complex themes and introspection marked a departure from the more straightforward action and adventure stories that dominated the genre. Today, Ghost in the Shell remains a benchmark for technical excellence and artistic ambition in anime and sci-fi storytelling.
Since its release in 1995, Ghost in the Shell has become a touchstone of the anime, sci-fi, and cyberpunk genres, and its influence can be seen in numerous works of popular culture. The movie’s themes of identity, consciousness, and technology continue to resonate with audiences, and its innovative animation style and visual effects have set a high bar for technical excellence in storytelling.
The Ghost in the Shell franchise has also spawned numerous adaptations and spinoffs, including anime series, manga, video games, and a live-action movie. While not all of these works have been well-received, they demonstrate the enduring popularity and appeal of the Ghost in the Shell universe. The franchise has also introduced a new generation of fans to the original movie and its complex themes, ensuring that the movie’s legacy will continue for years to come.
In the broader context of anime and sci-fi history, Ghost in the Shell stands out as a groundbreaking work that pushed the boundaries of what was possible in animation and storytelling. The movie’s blend of action, philosophy, and introspection marked a departure from the more straightforward adventure stories that dominated the anime genre in the 1990s, and its influence can be seen in subsequent works that explore complex themes related to technology and society.
Ghost in the Shell is a seminal anime movie that was released in 1995. The movie is set in a future world where technology has advanced to the point where humans and machines have begun to merge together. The story follows the adventures of Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg who works for a government agency called Section 9.
As Major Kusanagi investigates a series of cybercrimes that threaten the security of her world, she begins to question her own identity and place in society. The movie explores complex themes related to identity, consciousness, and the relationship between humans and technology, as Major Kusanagi grapples with the nature of her own existence and the morality of the work she is doing.
Ghost in the Shell is known for its distinctive animation style, character designs, and visual effects. The movie’s use of a hybrid animation style that blends traditional 2D animation with CGI and digital effects was innovative for its time, and it still stands out today as a visually striking and ambitious work. The movie’s protagonists, including Major Motoko Kusanagi, Batou, and Togusa, are all depicted with a level of physical and emotional nuance that is rare in anime.
In conclusion, Ghost in the Shell is a groundbreaking anime movie that has had a significant impact on both the anime and sci-fi genres. Its exploration of complex themes related to identity, consciousness, and the relationship between humans and technology has resonated with audiences for decades. The movie’s innovative animation style, character designs, and visual effects have set a high standard for technical excellence in storytelling, and its memorable score and sound design complement its futuristic and philosophical themes.
The movie’s continued influence can be seen in numerous works of popular culture, and the Ghost in the Shell franchise has spawned numerous adaptations and spinoffs that further explore the movie’s themes and concepts. Its legacy as a seminal work in the anime, sci-fi, and cyberpunk genres is secure, and it will continue to inspire and captivate audiences for years to come.
Whether you’re a longtime fan of anime and sci-fi or a newcomer to the genre, Ghost in the Shell is a must-see movie that offers a thought-provoking and visually stunning experience. Its themes and technical achievements make it a work of enduring significance, and its influence can be felt in numerous works of popular culture. Ghost in the Shell remains an important and influential work, and it will continue to be celebrated by fans and critics alike for its innovative storytelling and visionary worldbuilding.
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