While exploring the world of anime, the supernatural genre is bound to catch one’s eye. Many of the titles happen to include ghosts, spirits and creatures hiding and lurking in the shadows. These are the very stories we sought out. From comedies and slice-of-life dramas, to horror stories filled with gore, the underlying eerie feeling of the paranormal being entwined with the mundane was the guiding light while creating this list of 30 ghost anime series. Without further ado, let us embrace the supernatural!
This supernatural, mystery, horror anime brings forth a grim and eerie atmosphere, as the characters are unveiling dark, sinister secrets surrounding the chain of tragedies that befell their town.
The story begins when a transfer student, Kouichi Sakakibara, comes into contact with a girl who “does not exist”. Although warned by his classmates not to acknowledge her existence, Kouichi follows his curiosity and gets to know the “ghost girl”, Mei Misaki. While no one is keen on sharing the details of her past, or the reason behind her existence being denied by those around her, the two pursue the rumors about a former student of their class and become determined to learn of the curse that is somehow entwined with Misaki Mei’s existence.
Momo e no Tegami / A Letter to Momo
When a young girl leaves Tokyo to move to an old, remote island after her father’s passing, she finds herself surrounded by mysterious shrines and rural surroundings. As she is trying to adjust to the new lifestyle while still mourning her father’s death, she discovers a tattered, old picture displaying a “yokai” – spirits and supernatural beings appearing in Japanese folklore.
In addition to the letter her father left behind, which only had “Dear Momo” written in it, upon discovering the peculiar picture, Momo is now exposed to strange things that started happening around town. The movie was animated by Production I.G. in 2012 and won multiple prizes.
Death Parade is a 12-episodes-long anime that swiftly became a crowd favourite in 2015. While it might have appeared as a mere seasonal short-running title, the Madhouse studio’s series proved to be utterly captivating and intriguing.
Starting in medias res, this anime brings us to Quindecim – a bar that stands as some kind of a bridge between life and death. The rule of Quindecim states that a pair of people who die at the same time can enter this bar together. Here, it will be decided whether they will be sent to the void and be lost forever, or be reincarnated into a new life.
Their judge is Decim, a peculiar figure who acts as a bartender and challenges the visitors to a game in which their very lives are at stake. Through these games, the true nature of the visitors is revealed, while another intriguing notion begins to unravel: Decim himself starts to question his own rulings once he meets a mysterious black-haired woman.
Mai Taniyama is a student who enjoys sharing ghost stories with her friends. As it turns out, an abandoned school building is located on their campus and it seems to be veiled in mystery.
During one of their ghost stories, the group of students was interrupted by a mysterious man, Kazuya Shibuya, who is the president of the Shibuya Psychic Research Company and has come to investigate the infamous stories about the mysterious, abandoned building. Due to a series of unfortunate events which involve a camera that Mai found inside the building and an injury that befell Kazuya’s assistant, he hires Mai instead, and so the duo’s professional ghost-hunting adventures commence.
Similar to Kimetsu no Yaiba in both its thesis and the protagonist’s main dilemma, D.Gray-man is a supernatural shounen veiled in mystery. In this world, creatures referred to as “Akuma” exist and threaten the world of the living. They are creations of the Millennium Earl who exploits the painful, poignant, and devastating emotions in humans that lost a loved one and would give anything to bring them back to life. Their souls, which are called back, are used by the Earl to create these mechanical weapons.
The mystery behind the Earl’s plan and the main protagonist’s backstory slowly begins to unravel as the group continues to fight against this threat. The humans who wield the power of Innocence train to become exorcists, while the main protagonist, Allen Walker, possesses an additional ability to see the suffering souls trapped inside the Akuma and is fighting to save them as well.
Shinreigari / Ghost Hound
This supernatural Sci-Fi mystery is an adaptation of the Shinreigari: Another Side manga, which consists of two volumes published in 2007. The story is set around three high-school boys who live in a small town of Suiten, located in a remote region of Northern Kyushu. All three have previously experienced a trauma of some kind and because of this, they have close encounters with beings of paranormal nature.
As there exists a separation between the “Apparent World”, aka the one we live in, and the “Unseen World” which acts as its counterpart, these characters are able to traverse from one to the other. In the Unseen World, they encounter ghosts and beings hidden from the mundane, while the border between the two worlds grows thinner and the balance becomes jeopardized. Faced with this danger, the main heroes struggle to finally beat their own demons and mend what was broken.
Mob Psycho 100
From the creator of One Punch Man comes this exciting supernatural action comedy, Mob Psycho 100. Being in the top 50 most popular anime series on MyAnimeList, it doesn’t come as a surprise that its characters and great writing captured the attention of many, making for an immensely thrilling and fun series.
The story is set around Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama who has possessed psychic powers since a very young age. As he tries to control his powers, he also starts using them to impress his crush, Tsubomi. In time, he realizes that his psychic powers are somehow tied to his emotions, so his desire to control and be able to use them at will becomes an even greater priority. Thus, he finds himself following the teachings of Arataka Reigen, who claims to be a psychic, and continues suppressing his immense powers in order to avoid causing a cataclysmic event.
Kara no Kyoukai / The Garden of Sinners
Based on a light novel, this franchise revolves around a number of sinister events which took place in Japan during the 90s. The strange, peculiar phenomena are all dark, violent crimes veiled in mystery. From supernatural monsters, such as ghosts from the past, to murder mysteries, the films have been delivering an eerie, dark atmosphere to the viewers for years.
The movies progress in both writing and character development, going from more action-based to stories that feature narratives with more profound development. The franchise consists of 10 films, out of which the final sequel, Mirai Fukuin, aired in 2013, along with a side story Mirai Fukuin – Extra Chorus.
Shinrei Tantei Yakumo / Psychic Detective Yakumo
The series follows a private detective and university student named Yakumo who possesses the ability to communicate with the dead. When a young woman who fears for her future reaches out to Yakumo and asks him to investigate a certain case, the two end up unveiling mysteries hidden behind the curtains.
While the series is supernatural and strongly references the paranormal, the character development and unfolding of the story are more focused on humans than ghosts, which makes the atmosphere even eerier for the realistic perspective it brings. The 13-episodes-long anime was made in 2010 by the studio Bee Train.
From the author of Baccano! comes another exciting, supernatural, action drama focused on the paranormal events in the district of Ikebukuro. Young Mikado Ryuugamine is immensely intrigued by all things that reach beyond the mundane, so he agrees to move to this downtown district in Tokyo, which is home to quite a few peculiar and mysterious individuals.
The charismatic characters, underlying supernatural narrative, and witty writing struck a chord with audiences worldwide and earned this anime a spot among the top 100 series on MyAnimeList. One of the most mysterious characters is the Black Rider: a “ghost rider”, Celty Sturluson, whose story is slowly unveiled once all the actors are drawn into a single grand narrative as the show reaches its climax.
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
The story is set around the Seikyou Private Academy which was built on occult myths. The Academy has been known to be haunted by a ghost of a young woman, Yuuko Kanoe, who died in the basement of one of its buildings. As she has no recollection of her life or how she died, Yuuko becomes close with one of the figures of the Paranormal Investigations Club, Teiichi Niiya, who can see ghosts and is inclined to help her find the answers she seeks.
Searching for answers, the students work together to unveil the mysteries of the paranormal world as they get closer to the truth regarding Yuuko’s death. The intriguing series dives deeply into the Seven Mysteries of the infamous school and unravels the story of the late Yuuko. The 12-episodes-long anime was later given an additional sequel episode: Tasogare Otome x Amnesia: Taima Otome.
Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou / Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
The main protagonist, Inaba Yuushi, was orphaned during his first year of middle school. After his parents’ early death, he moved in with his relatives. Starting to feel like a burden, he wanted to move into a dormitory. However, due to a fire that broke out in the dormitory just before he could move in, he rented a room in an old building.
The place turned out to be a Monster House which is inhabited by ghosts and supernatural creatures alike. There, he meets another student, Akine Kuga, who can exorcise the creatures and is not at all scared of their presence. The anime adaptation of a manga of the same name aired in 2017 and consists of 26 episodes.
Tong Ling Fei / Psychic Princess
This Chinese anime features stunning sceneries and animation, as it tells the story of Qian Yun Xi – the eldest daughter of a highly respected family. The youngest daughter of the Qian family was set to marry Ye Youming, which was an arrangement made by the emperor. However, out of fear for his youngest daughter due to bad blood between the two families, her father summons Qian Yun Xi to marry him in her sister’s stead.
Having lived her life in secrecy and exile because of the powers which enable her to see and communicate with various ghosts and spirits, she made a life for herself on Mt. Ling Yun. Now forced into marriage, the courageous, witty princess must adjust to her new life inside the palace.
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls
One of the most frequently mentioned titles when discussing horror and gore anime, Corpse Party follows high-school students who found themselves stranded in an alternate dimension in which vengeful ghosts from the past reside. The eerie and haunting series is set in a building destroyed years ago, one that now rests beneath the foundation of the Kisaragi Academy.
By using relics and charms they were unfamiliar with in order to perform a friendship ritual that would strengthen their bond forever, they were sent to that haunted place, called Heavenly Host Academy, from which they must escape or join the ghosts lurking in its corridors. The anime is an adaptation of a manga of the same name, consisting of 10 volumes that were published between 2008 and 2012.
Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi / Sunday Without God
Sunday Without God is set in a world which God deserted. In this forsaken reality, life cannot end nor can new life be born. Instead, the existence of “gravekeepers” is left as the only answer to preserving some form of a balance between the living and the dead. Gravekeepers possess the ability to grant the dead a proper burial and put them to rest. The show’s protagonist is a young girl named Ai, who lives in a small village where she plays the role of a gravekeeper in her mother’s stead.
The story takes flight once a mysterious man arrives at her village claiming to be her father, and murders all residents save for his daughter. Now alone, Ai decides to join her father on his journey, during which she learns more about the world abandoned by God while diligently performing her duty as a gravekeeper. The adventurous fantasy engulfs its viewers in an emotional narrative that touches upon some of the biggest questions in life.
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai / Anohana: The Flower We Saw that Day
Ranked as the 60th most popular anime on MyAnimeList, commonly known under the English title Anohana, this anime tells the story of Jinta Yadomi and Meiko Honma: a boy who spends his days playing video games and a girl who keeps asking him to grant a forgotten wish. As it turns out, the reason why Jinta considers this to be mere pestering is because the girl he is seeing before him has been dead for years.
Convinced that he is indeed seeing a ghost of his late friend, after whose untimely death everyone in their friend group grew apart, Jinta re-lives the poignant events from his past together with all of his (then) friends, as they try to lay Meiko’s spirit to rest. The story of reconciliation and making peace with one’s life is a heartfelt and deeply emotional drama that consists of 11 episodes.
Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun / Toilet-bound Hanako-kun
In Kamome Academy, Hanako-san is a ghost rumored to grant any wish to those who succeed in summoning her. This tempting notion resulted in numerous attempts to summon the ghost and have a wish granted, but none of them seemed to be successful.
The story kicks off when a young girl named Nene Yashiro manages to summon the infamous ghost. In pursuit of her romantic interests, Nene dared to summon Hanako-san and ended up entwined in the world of the supernatural as Hanako-san’s assistant. One surprise she faced was that Hanako-san was actually Hanako-kun – the ghost was not that of a girl, but of a boy. Joining forces with the ghost, she soon discovers how it’s actually his duty to preserve the balance between mortals and supernatural beings.
Hotarubi no Mori e / To the Forest of Firefly Lights
This 45-minute-long supernatural romance tells a story of a young girl, Hotaru Takegawa, who met a peculiar boy in a forest close to her grandfather’s home. Being an adventurous spirit, she lost her way in the woods and was guided back home by a boy named Gin. She quickly learns of a curse placed upon Gin and is warned about the spirits and supernatural entities inhabiting this forest, but Hotaru is overjoyed and her kind-hearted nature leads her back to the same place.
With time, the two grow closer and continue spending every summer together. Mindful of the curse which would forever take Gin away from her if triggered, they enjoy each other’s company and come to deeply love one another. The magical fantasy is an emotional ride that features charming characters and wondrous scenery, as it follows the heartfelt story of young love between Hotaru, and a boy saved by the spirits who now exists as a fragile ghost or spirit of the sort – Gin.
Every 500 years, a tournament takes place in which the ones who possess the ability to command spirits confront in combat. These contestants are referred to as “shamans” and the winner of the tournament becomes the Shaman King – one who possesses the power to control the Great Spirit whose enormous power bends the world to his master’s will.
One night, young Manta Oyamada has a chance encounter with one of his classmates – You Asakura. You invited Manta to join him and his friends for stargazing. As it turns out, You’s friends were all ghosts from the local cemetery, and so his supernatural story began. The series aired from July 2001 until September 2002 and it consists of a total of 64 episodes.
Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan / The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
What may seem like a dream to the average person, especially to younger generations who grew up watching superhero movies, proved to be more of a curse for Kusuo Saiki. Being granted a number of supernatural abilities, the only thing Kusuo seeks is to be rid of the inconveniences his powers cause him, and simply live an ordinary life.
The supernatural comedy follows Kusuo in his efforts to be rid of the hassle caused by his powers. It turns out that, as he makes attempts to keep out of the spotlight and not to draw any attention to himself, he ends up attracting the odd-ones-out. Among other paranormal beings, the ghosts in the show are spirits of the dead that can appear to the living. While these spirits cannot remember their past lives, they are able to touch and feel anything they are attached to or possessed in life.
Revolving around Yato, a minor deity known as the Delivery God, the story of Noragami reveals supernatural events happening beyond what the mundane eye can see. Ever since a middle school student, Hiyori Iki, pushed Yato out of harm’s way just as she thought he would have been hit by a car, it became possible for her soul to temporarily leave her body.
As it turns out, Hiyori needs Yato’s help in getting back to normal, and Yato is all the while pursuing his goal of being worshipped by millions and having his own shrine. In order for him to succeed, he needs a new “regalia” – weapons used by deities. Here is where we meet Yukine – a young boy with a tragic past who must make peace with his untimely death.
One of the Big Three during the golden age in Jump, Bleach follows Ichigo Kurosaki who has been able to see ghosts since a very young age. After meeting Rukia Kuchiki, he was granted the powers of a Shinigami – a Soul Reaper, also called a “balancer” because of the role they play in preserving the balance of souls between worlds.
Mainly, the souls of the ones who died with regrets, grudges, or negative emotions become what is referred to as “Hollows”. The Shinigami protect the mundane world from these creatures that prey on the living and guide them to Soul Society by giving them a Konso – a soul funeral. The popular shounen recently returned and seems to be doing an outstanding job at delivering the final arc of the manga to the fans who waited for a decade to see the finale get an anime adaptation.
The afterlife has forever been an enigma to the living. One take on what happens after death is presented in this anime, where a separate dimension exists between life and death for those who died unwanted deaths and feel wronged by God for the lives they had.
Angel Beats follows 17-year-old Yuzuru Otonashi, who woke up in this dimension with no recollection of past events. Discovering the unsettling truth of the afterlife, he meets a group of young adults much like himself who formed a rebellious faction in order to stand against Kanade Tachibana. Being their new recruit, he learns more about the members of the group and begins to direct his efforts to understand their “enemy”, Kanade. The poignant anime remains one of the most popular on MyAnimeList, ranking the 28th on the site.
The stories about Mushi are not those of ghosts per se, in fact, there is so little known about Mushi in general. According to what Ginko has discovered on his many journeys while chasing rumours and stories which might be connected to Mushi, they are some kind of supernatural phenomena that simply exists. They cannot be called ghosts or spirits, even calling them a “form of life” would be over simplifying things.
Why this anime is included in the list, is for the mysterious, on occasion eerie atmosphere it brings, as Ginko witnesses many different forms and events caused by Mushi. They do not exist as an entity that is good or evil, but simply as a life form that can affect people and nature in various ways. From causing diseases to unexplainable extraordinary occurrences of weed growing out of human bodies, these creatures remain one great mystery.
Kyoukai no Rinne / RIN-NE
In this supernatural drama, the two protagonists from the same class are connected through their abilities. Rinne Rokudou, who is usually absent from school and almost never attends classes, is tasked with helping ghosts and spirits alike pass over to the next life, while Sakura Mamiya possesses the ability to see ghosts.
On a rare occasions, Rinne showed up for class and Sakura was the only one who could see him. Mistakenly thinking he was a ghost, Sakura starts to learn about the supernatural world.
Omoide no Marnie / When Marnie Was There
This heartfelt slice-of-life drama by none other than Studio Ghibli adds a very special touch to what we may take as an average understanding of a ghost story. Beautiful art, animation, and score present the brilliantly written narrative in the most captivating way.
The story of friendship, bonds, and a young girl’s journey of self-discovery on the cusp of adulthood is both enchanting and emotive, which makes it an unmissable title on our list.
This slice-of-life comedy consists of 13 episodes through which the leading heroine, Hibiki Amami, helps ghosts deal with their struggles, while they also aid with her tasks. Hibiki’s ability to see ghosts does not scare her, instead, she seeks to befriend ghosts and learn their stories.
The anime adaptation is based on a manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Hinako Seta. The anime adaptation was done by Pierrot Plus studio in 2015.
Jujutsu Kaisen has a setting similar to the one in Bleach. This shounen features supernatural creatures referred to as “curses” that pose a threat to humanity. These cursed spirits manifest from cursed energy left behind by the negative emotions that humans experience.
Mankind’s main line of defense are jujutsu sorcerers who use the same cursed energy in order to exorcise these creatures. After an incredibly successful first season and an equally triumphant prequel film, the characters will be returning to the small screens in season 2 which has been announced for 2023.
A story that revolves around the lives of 2 sisters, Mokke follows Shizuru and Mizuki who has been sent to live with their grandparents because of the abilities they possess. While the older sister, Shizuru, can see ghosts, her younger sister Mizuki is haunted by them.
The 2 must now adjust to life in the countryside while learning more about the supernatural world and its creatures. The 24-episodes-long series premiered in the fall of 2007 and later received a side story: Mokke Specials.
Unlike the heroine in Re-Kan! who embraces her ability and befriends the ghosts that surround her, this anime’s lead made an executive decision not to acknowledge the existence of the supernatural creatures around her.
Her desire to live as a regular high-school student is disrupted by the ghosts she consistently ignores, even as they attempt to speak to her. However, she bears witness to their influence on human lives and her decision not to act is questioned once she notices how her best friend’s life is also affected by the apparitions.