25 Best Zombie Anime of All Time
Following a similar train of thought that led us to seek out some of the best ghost anime series, another frequently used theme in shows belonging to the supernatural genre caught our eye. It involves mindless, undead, flesh-eating monsters that lurk in the shadows – zombies. This theme has primarily been covered in anime in form of horror and action shows, but also in comedies and dramas. Adding to the living dead, we also included the series with similar creatures and eerie, suspenseful underlying atmosphere and, of course, flesh-eating creatures. Therefore, let us jump straight to it!
Highschool of the Dead
One of the best-known zombie anime series, Highschool of the Dead is a supernatural, ecchi horror series packed with action and gore. Facing the apocalypse and chaos caused by a sudden zombie outbreak, a group of students is forced to run and fight off the flesh-eating monsters if they are to survive.
The main protagonist, Takashi Kimuro, was faced with a situation in which he had to murder his best friend, who joined the living dead after being bitten, in order to save himself and his friend. Escaping the danger, they team up with others who managed to survive. Joined by this great misfortune, the group ventures off on a quest to find their families and uncover the truth behind this horrific pandemic.
Also called Resident Evil: Degeneration, this anime is the first full-length animated feature film done in CG animation that is based on the Resident Evil game series. The story is set in the canon universe, 1 year after the Resident Evil 4 game took place and it revolves around an outbreak of zombies in a United States airport, as people fell victim to a T-virus.
With the cause of the outbreak unknown, Leon Scott Kennedy and Claire Redfield are trying to find the answers while fighting off the mindless monsters around them. The action fuelled Sci-Fi horror was created by Digital Frontier studio in 2008.
Yi Ren Zhi Xia / Hitori no Shita – The Outcast
As he was on his way to visit the grave of his grandfather, upon reaching the cemetery, Zhang Chulan is attacked by zombies. Scared for his life, he runs from the enemy only to end up being rescued by a mysterious girl who slain the enemies and disappeared. She leaves him in utter bewilderment after telling him that he ought to face his hardships head-on.
Later on, he sees the same girl at his university. Following this encounter, a number of strangers possessing special powers and abilities begin to appear. Battle after battle, the heroes fight to survive and overcome their new enemies in this action fuelled series that continues to unravel new mysteries with every episode. The anime consists of a total of 12 episodes and was given a 2nd season in 2018.
A girl who dreamt of becoming an idol suffered a tragic fate. Ten years later, she wakes up a zombie with no recollection of past events and learns that she was resurrected along with 6 other girls by Koutarou Tatsumi. His plan of economically revitalizing the Zombieland Saga includes a female group of idols whose members belonged to different eras.
Acting as their manager, he started scheduling events for the group to appear in, as they conjured the name “Franchouchou” and began their undead adventure. This zombified comedy is an award-winning anime by studio MAPPA which aired in 2018 and consists of 12 episodes.
Kara no Kyoukai
Based on a light novel, this franchise revolves around sinister events, all of which have supernatural causes. From monsters such as zombies to murder mysteries, the films have been delivering eerie, dark atmospheres to viewers for years.
The movies progress in both writing and character development, going from being more action-based, to stories that feature narratives with more profound development. The zombie fighting sequences and the animation surely warranted this anime a spot on our list.
Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka? / Is This a Zombie?
A 16-year-old Ayumu Aikawa has been revived by a necromancer after being murdered during an investigation of a particular house that he was conducting. Now an immortal zombie, Ayumu is determined to find and murder his killer.
While on the hunt for the man who took his life, Ayumu comes across a strange girl wielding a chainsaw as she was fighting a bear. Once the beast has been slain, she seeks to erase Ayumu’s memories of her, but he ends up absorbing her magic instead. The zombified Ayumu must now take up the role of a Megalo hunter – the beasts that roam the world and are a threat to mankind.
Shinsha no Teikoku / The Empire of Corpses
A take on the story of Victor Frankenstein, the series revolves around the said man’s revolutionary work which enabled mankind to reanimate corpses. Humanity can now program the living dead and use them as laborers who are set to perform various tasks in a number of occupations.
The one flaw of this reanimation is that the dead are awoken without a soul. A young medical student, John Watson, is determined to unveil the secrets behind reanimation by finding Frankenstein’s notes and learning the secrets behind a soul. The peculiar take on the well-known horror story was done by Wit Studio in 2015 and was the winner of the Platinum Grand Prize during the Future Film Festival held in Italy in 2016.
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri / Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
The series deals with an apocalyptic event that took place amidst the industrial revolution. A mysterious virus has spread, causing gruesome creatures to appear and begin to feed on human flesh. Any human bitten by one of these creatures known as “Kabane”, will become one of them.
The Kabane are known to have steal-coated hearts. Ikoma, a young man eager to save mankind from this plague, has created a weapon that he believes has the power to pierce through the heart of a Kabane and is awaiting the day he will finally be able to put it to the test. While living behind an enormous wall, mankind’s fight against these creatures is filled with action and horror-induced sequences which earn this series a spot in our list.
Kagura Tsuchimiya is the foster child of the Isayama family. She grows closer to and forms a sisterly bond with the family’s legitimate daughter, Yomi, and with time, the 2 end up joining a government agency known as the Supernatural Disaster Countermeasures Division.
Becoming highly skilled exorcists, the sisters hunt down supernatural monsters hidden from the mundane in order to protect the living. The suspenseful action series deals with betrayal and redemption, as the sisters’ paths seem to drift apart. The 12-episodes-long anime aired in 2008 and is licensed by Funimation.
Shi Xiong / Zombie Brother
An ordinary guy from H city, XiaoFei has suddenly found himself in an apocalyptic scenario. After the water from a spring was contaminated by an unknown virus, the people of his city turned into flesh-eating zombies.
Scared for his life, XiaoFei is desperate to escape the damned city and be reunited with his girlfriend. As he continues to fight for survival, the zombies seem to be gradually evolving. The suspenseful 2D animated series consists of 41 episodes and was later given a 39-episodes-long sequel in 2015.
Seoul-yeok / Seoul Station
The animated film by Studio Dadashow acts as a prequel to one of the most successful Korean films on a global scale in recent years – Train to Busan. The zombie apocalypse drives the world to chaos and leaves those who remained unaffected by the virus to fight for their lives.
With zombies lurking on every corner, the 3 main characters who now find themselves trapped at the Seoul Station, must find a way to survive. The film aired in August of 2016 and even though it was not met with favorable criticism from the audience, it won the 2016 Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi / Sunday Without God
Sunday Without God is set in a world which God abandoned on a Sunday, fifteen years ago. In this forsaken reality, life cannot come to an end without the help of “gravekeepers” who preserve some form of balance between the living and the dead. Gravekeepers possess the ability to grant the dead a proper burial and put them to rest. Another consequence is that new life cannot be born.
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 to her village claiming to be her father, and murders all residents save for his daughter who joins him on his journey.
Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan / Calamity of the Zombie Girl
The suspenseful supernatural horror tells the story of two mummies who were brought back to life in order to retrieve that which was stolen from them. When five university students snuck into the library storage and happened to stumble upon the two female antique mummies, one of them ripped open the mummy and took out the Stone of Life.
The said stone granted the mummies incredible strength and eternal life, therefore having it stolen caused the mummies to come to life as zombies after a hundred years of rest. The bloodshed that followed planted unimaginable fear in the minds of the students who witnessed the zombies smashing the heads of the humans who crossed their path and feasted on their flesh to gain power.
Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis / Rage of Bahamut: Genesis
This supernatural fantasy was done by studio MAPPA in 2014 and it was based on a card game. With an interesting plot and a variety of different characters, including supernatural creatures, such as necromancers, demons, and dragons, the action series makes for an entertaining watch.
In this world of demons and Gods, a group of unlikely heroes found themselves caught up in a clash of these powerful forces and must find their own path, as they face the unnerving reality of a battle that is to come.
Another apocalyptic scenario takes place in this series. A parasitic virus causes a pandemic, as it infects humans and turns them into monsters referred to as Gastrea. These monsters have forced mankind to hide behind Monolith walls that are made out of the only material which can harm Gastrea – Varanium.
In all the turmoil, humanity has found a way to fight these monsters. Young girls whose bodies contain traces of the virus are granted superhuman abilities and are referred to as “Initiators”. These fighters have partners assigned to them, whose main duty is to protect the Initiators. They are referred to as “Promoters”. The story revolves around one such duo who fights the Gastrea threat in Tokyo.
This ecchi comedy follows a young Chihiro Furuya who has been fascinated by zombies since he was a child. His obsession prompted him to try to make a resurrection potion after the death of his cat. Encouraged by a girl from a wealthy family, Rea Sanka, he finally succeeds in his quest.
Rea, who couldn’t handle the oppressive lifestyle that was forced on her by her family, drank the potion thinking it would kill her, but instead, its effects turned her into a zombie after a fatal accident that occurred shortly afterward. Chihiro and Rea’s story gets more peculiar as she experiences the side effects of her transformation.
Gyo / Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack
Gyo is an adaptation of Junji Itou’s manga series of the same title. However, the anime switches the roles of the two main characters – Kaori and Tadashi – while also adding new characters and subplots. The story focuses on the two protagonists who survived the first gruesome assault of sea creatures that are capable of wreaking havoc on the land.
Kaori tried to contact her fiancé Tadashi in Tokyo, after which she rushed to meet him there. However, in her attempts to reunite with her partner, she remained completely oblivious to the fact that the first onslaught was a mere beginning. The sea creatures are controlled by a strange mechanism that enables them to move on land as they spread the rotting odor of death.
This supernatural comedy won the favor of the audiences fairly quickly. The story is set in a gritty, lawless world in which a place referred to as “Hole” exists. The dark realm alienated from the rest of the world is home to the outcasts: murderers, the mutilated, and the mutated all roam the streets of this decrepit district.
Kaiman is the protagonist of the series and one of the individuals who found themselves roaming around this place. More reptile than a man, the memories he has of his past are scarce, with magic users as his only hope to ever fully restoring them and getting his life back. The world of Dorohedoro is filled with supernatural beasts and monsters alike, where zombies come into being as a side-effect of the residual magic left in Hole by the magic users.
While ghouls don’t fit the “undead” category, they resemble zombies in terms of cravings. Ghouls are supernatural beings with superhuman strength who feed on human flesh, but this anime brings so much more than action, gore and violence.
Tokyo Ghoul remains one of the best-known anime series overall, which is a status it earned by addressing some of the biggest questions in life in a gritty, vivid manner. The series is a brilliant display of the weight of internal struggle and cruelty of both Man and ghouls, as it takes upon and references the work of Franz Kafka – a novelist characterized by alienation and anxiety. Following Kaneki Ken’s transformation into a half-ghoul, the plot dives deeply into the world of humans and the world of ghouls, while maintaining a strong focus on the mind of the one who belongs to both worlds – the One-Eyed Ghoul, Kaneki Ken.
Gungrave is a zombie, crime, drama shooter franchise that remains a zombie arcade classic. The anime follows Brandon Heat after he was reborn through the use of necrolyzation as Beyond the Grave. Brandon, who was betrayed and murdered by his friend 13 years ago, seeks revenge against the crime syndicate.
The show then backtracks to Brandon’s youth and his friendship with Harry MacDowel. The story takes off when their close friendship and hedonistic lifestyle are met with a sudden reality check on how merciless the world they live in can be.
Shikabane Hime: Aka / Corpse Princess
Surrounded by corpses while growing up at a shrine, Ouri Kagami is an orphan who witnessed the revival of a scarred corpse performed by his orphanage’s patron, Keisei Tagami. Seeing the reanimated body of Makina Hoshimura, he learns of her duty to eliminate the living dead, as they pose a threat to society.
For the role she plays, she is referred to as “Shikabane Hime”, or the “Corpse Princess”. The paranormal events in Ouri’s life become more peculiar as he continues to cross paths with the princess until they ultimately become close and have their fates entwined. The common fate might just be the key to the secrets behind the world of Shikabanes.
The Tokku anime is an adaptation of a manga of the same name, which aired in 2006 – the same year the final manga chapter was published. The story follows Shindou Ranmaru, as he meets the girl he has been seeing in his dreams on the day of his graduation from the police academy.
The girl, Rokujo Sakura, turns out to be a member of a secret group known as Tokko – Special Public Safety Task Force. As Shindou joins the group and seeks vengeance against his parents’ killers, bottomless pits start to appear all over Japan. What followed, was a wave of monstrous zombies flooding the streets as a deadly, unstoppable menace that mankind must defend against in order to survive.
The supernatural horror series is an adaptation of a manga of the same name which revolves around a mysterious loan office called “Zombie Loan”. Mainly, when Michiru Kita, whose ability allows her to see the so-called “rings of death” of the people around her, sees fully black rings around the necks of two of her classmates, she aims to warn them in an attempt to save their lives.
As these rings reveal to her when someone is about to die, the darker the ring, the closer to death the certain individual is. To her surprise, the two boys are already dead and are being kept alive thanks to the aforementioned Zombie Loan. The price they need to pay in return is to hunt and kill zombies, for which Michiru’s ability might come in handy…
Gakkougurashi! / School-Live!
What begins as a carefree day at school is soon met with a fairly unexpected plot twist that completely shifts the atmosphere of the series. While this comes as a spoiler of the first episode, here is why this anime made it to our list.
Junior students who are members of the School Living Club look forward to making the most out of every new day at their school. One day, a sudden outbreak of zombies occurs and the crazed, flesh-eating monsters start to overrun the city. The club members have no other option but to barricade themselves in their high school and face the horrific reality that befell them.
Finally, one cannot simply create a list of series based on supernatural, flesh-eating monsters without mentioning Hellsing. The dark, bloody action-fuelled franchise has been regarded as a classic in its genre for years.
The series follows Alucard, a vampire that hunts and brutally murders the undead and all sorts of supernatural monsters. As an exterminator for Hellsing, Alucard fights against his own kind, as well as against those who oppose the organization. We would only recommend watching Hellsing Ultimate instead of its predecessor from 2001.