Though horror is often considered crude or confined only to supernatural occurrences, it’s not about the manifestation of evil but the dread it ensues in daily life.
Consequently, effective horror demands intricate details of the ordinary put together in an order that seeps through the human senses, essentially playing the basic survival instincts.
Since audio-visual expressions of fear can dull human perception, silver screen horror is frequently deemed superior to the written one.
However, horror manga has successfully proven that mere quiet apprehension balanced with the ‘right art style’ and convincing storyline can indeed create a spine-chilling sense of foreboding and terror.
Still, it’s bewildering how few art panels can build psychological anticipation and yet, capture one by surprise.
But it’s even more mystifying that more horror manga fans keep emerging despite its petrifying nature. It may be that fear triggers adrenaline making one feel alive.
Or, perhaps trepidation does cure boredom.
Regardless, horror has a hypnotizing characteristic that scares its fans, keeps them on their heels, and still leaves them wanting more.
So, if you are looking for such entertainment, we have put together a list of the scariest horror manga of all time that you should check out right now!
Best Horror Manga of 2022!
1. Shiver by Junji Ito
No horror manga collection is ever complete without the works of Junji Ito, the Crown-less King of Fear and Unease.
He has established himself as the best mangaka when it comes to writing horror stories, and once you read a couple of his titles, you’ll agree that he is the king of horror.
As befitting its name, “Shiver” is an anthology of nine disquietening stories that can send shivers down anyone’s spine.
Each story explores a different subject, ranging from creepy stalkers to disturbing fashion icons. These stories inspire sinister thoughts and give a new meaning to the word “eerie.”
These are namely: Painter, Hanging Blimp, Greased, Marionette Mansion, The Long Dream, Fashion Model, Honored Ancestors, Cursed Fame, and finally, Shiver.
Well, even the ordinary titles of these stories hint at something queer.
Shiver from the collection is about a girl-next-door having holes and swarms of bugs all over her body. However, her pain is not something of her own doing but someone else’s greed.
2. Uzumaki by Junji Ito
A little horror is always expected in graveyards, old ruins, and abandoned buildings.
However, even the bravest may break a sweat when fear strikes them in the middle of mundane and ordinary.
This feeling of fear is why Junji Ito’s “Uzumaki” is a bone-chilling masterpiece.
Uzumaki, literally meaning ‘spirals,’ follows the story of Kirie Goshima and Shuichi Saito as their town falls victim to something ominous yet very plain – the curse of spiral shapes.
The manga exploits the repetitive nature of curling patterns and creates a disturbing image of how an obsession with these spirals can drive anyone to the brink of madness.
Besides, spirals are everywhere, suggesting the universal nature of this curse.
It’s in the shells of snails, in the cochlea of your ear, and even the galaxy itself. And so, there is no escaping this curse and no place to hide, giving this horror manga a must-read status.
3. Berserk by Kentaro Miura
Though the horror genre is often subdivided into sub-types like supernatural, psychological, dark fantasy, gothic, post-apocalyptic, serial killers, and Lovecraftian, ‘Berserk’ combines nearly all horror sub-genre in a single compelling story.
And so, it was rightfully bestowed the Award for Excellence in 2002.
Since Berserk is set in a world run by mercenaries, bloodshed, slaughter, and cruelty are the norm. So, it’s hardly surprising that the main protagonist, Guts, is born out of a hanging corpse.
Anyways, Guts grows to become a mercenary but still keeps getting stripped of everything he ever dares to hold dear. Finally, he is betrayed and branded for death.
However, being chased by demons and humans alike, Guts seeks out vengeance on the very man he once aspired to serve.
I admit the plot sounds a bit run of the mill, but with Berserk, that’s far from the case.
The series doesn’t depict any emotion as black and white; it exposes the evil imbued in seemingly good actions. The thrill and mystery keep one hooked, leaving no room for disappointment, making it one of the best manga of all time!
4. The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai & Posuka Demizu
What could be more frightening than discovering that your life of luxury came as the cost to prepare you as a meal for demonic creatures?
The Promised Neverland is one such horror-provoking work of art.
Grace Field House is an orphanage where children live a life of comfort, love, and learning with “Mama,” their guardian. These children are as happy as they can be because they are never neglected and get adopted by the age of 12.
But then, our protagonists come across the reality of their existence and their supposed fate. The children are food for the demons, and they are raised with only one goal, to satiate the demons’ appetites.
And so begins the struggle of survival and the dread it ensues.
While the manga shows meticulous details, it does remarkable justice to how crisis can either shatter innocent minds or build strong morals. So, this manga is sure to keep you engrossed with its disturbing and blood-curdling scenarios.
5. Ibitsu by Haruto Ryou
Ibitsu is a short but ideal horror manga for anyone seeking an instant thrill.
And, of course, long-term panic issues.
The story starts with an urban legend that says one should never reply to a woman dressed as Gothic Lolita, standing next to dumpsters. If one does respond, one will meet a horrible end without fail.
Unaware of the folklore, Kazuki Itou replies to one such “Lolita” when she inquires whether he has a younger sister.
And so, the stalking begins with Kazuki finding ‘Lolita’ in his apartment to everywhere he goes. Soon, the realization dawns that ghosts are settling in around him, and the fact that “Lolita” seeks to replace his sister – Hikari Itou.
But, Hikari would still not be getting the shorter end of the stick. Instead, Lolita has far more sinister plans for Kazuki.
The story is so disturbingly creepy that I suggest you don’t read it late at night. But if you are brave and think you can handle it, reading this manga in the dead of night would undoubtedly be a fantastic experience!
6. Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida
Tokyo Ghoul is an absolute treat for horror and dark fantasy fans.
The story starts with Ken Kaneki securing a date with Rize Kamishiro. However, Rize turned out to be a “ghoul” who wanted much more than just romance – his flesh.
While Kaneki survives this encounter, he ends up in the hospital.
Ironically, he gets implanted with her organs turning him into a half-ghoul, with an ever-growing craving for human flesh.
And so, the moral dilemma of either saving his humanity or satisfying his hunger starts.
Kaneki finds himself at the center of ghoul-human interactions as the series unfolds. He discovers more ghouls hidden among humans, finds unlikely companions and formidable enemies.
What makes this manga one of the best to read this year is that the art in the manga depicts carnage and bloodshed in the most violent and realistic way possible.
Plus, Sui Ishida is a master at conveying the characters’ emotions without any words, and just little nuances and movements. You’ll notice this only when you have read a couple of volumes of the series!
7. The Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezu
Ever wonder why horror movies feature crying baby noises?
It’s because we are biologically wired to think crying means our offspring may be dying and with him our very species.
The alarm is built-in so well that even singles respond to such baby calls.
The Drifting Classroom exploits that very biology but without using a single sound.
Initially, it gives only a fleeting sense of how adults fail to care for innocent children. Later, it manifests how supposedly sensible adults can become killers under psychological pressures and limited resources.
With everyone’s survival instincts kicking in, it befalls every soul to fend for itself.
This horror of loneliness is captured well through the eyes of a child when a school is somehow transported to a post-apocalyptic future. The kids must now stick together and look for a way out of this hellish reality.
8. Franken Fran by Katsuhisa Kigitsu
Fran is an artificial creation by an eccentric surgeon, Dr. Naomitsu Madaraki, infamous for his gruesome work. Whenever he goes out of town, Fran and other misfits from his mansion perform surgeries in his stead.
At first, Fran only performs minor surgeries. However, as the series unravels, the nature of her surgeries becomes more complicated and sometimes even unnecessary.
In fact, the results are nearly always opposite to what her patients originally wanted.
But, the artistic panels often show human limbs twisted and torn in such an unsettling manner that it contours the dark humor into horror.
Consequently, the manga falls into the category of comedic horror.
While the series lacks major arcs and events, it does not disappoint with each episode’s uniqueness. And there are several instances in the series that make it worthy of being considered one of the best horror manga of all time!
9. Gantz by Hiroya Oku
Gantz presents a unique blend of horror, action, and dark fantasy.
After dying in an accident, Kei Kurono wakes up in a room with others like him. But to survive the afterlife, they all must follow the orders of a black orb.
This god-like orb provides them with ammunition and sends them on missions to kill monsters, aliens, and creatures that live amongst human societies.
Kurono endures tremendous growth as the series progresses and discovers dark secrets surrounding that orb.
Not only does he have to fight one strong monster after another, but he also has to make sure not to die in the process. Plus, he also has to protect the people he’s grown attached to!
While Gantz keeps one immersed in its captivating storyline, its realistic art style and justified depictions of fear have brought far more fans than the intriguing plotline.
10. Another by Yukito Ayatsuji & Hiro Kiyohara
In 1972, Mei Misaki of class 3-3 of Yomiyama North Middle School suddenly died. Unable to cope with her death, the school behaves as if she were still present.
Slowly, paranormal activities emerge surrounding that class.
In 1998, Koichi Sakakibara got enrolled in the same class. However, he meets Mei Misaki, a quiet dark-haired girl who her teachers and classmates ignore. Everyone in the school acts like she doesn’t even exist.
Despite everyone’s warnings, he befriends Misaki and gets shunned by his entire school.
However, the horror begins when his class fellows start to die one by one in more than one gruesome way. But, this doesn’t stop Koichi from digging deeper into the incident from 26 years ago.
The manga keeps its great mystery and terrifying characteristic until the end, making it a must-read for horror manga lovers and those who love to read a good mystery.
11. Dorohedoro by Q. Hayashida
Dorohedoro is a series overflowing with bloody, grimy, and thrilling scenarios. But its violent illustrations are certainly not for the faint of heart.
It beautifully captures the contrast between disgust of the powerful and helplessness of the weak in a fictitious yet seemingly realistic world.
Kaiman, aka ‘the Magician Killer,’ is a human with a reptile head and no recollection of his past self. He is set on a mission to find the sorcerer who metamorphosed him.
But instead of listening to any lies, Kaiman bites off sorcerers’ heads whenever he deems them suspicious or unworthy.
And so, a disquietening journey of bloodshed and dread begins!
Although the manga might fall under the adventure and fantasy genre, with a hint of comedy, it also can be described as a horror manga. Why? The manga panels are sometimes so graphic, filled with death and carnage that they even turn the most hardcore fans squeamish and light-headed.
12. Ajin: Demi-Human by Gamon Sakurai
After surviving a fatal accident, Kei Nagai discovers that he is one of the Ajin, demi-human creatures that are immortal and possess supernatural powers.
The existence of the Ajins came to light around two decades ago when the first Ajin was discovered, and they are often portrayed as dangerous beings.
Unbeknown to the public, the government doesn’t simply capture Ajins but uses them as test subjects for various experiments.
Consequently, most Ajins avoid government facilities while some seek vengeance against them.
However, Kei has been unaware of his Ajin identity until the moment when a truck hits him, and he dies. He comes back to life shortly thereafter, and his identity as an Ajin becomes public knowledge.
And now, he must discover himself and his sanity again. The plot twists and turns eerie, with Kei finding both humans and Ajin as two-faced creatures, and he has to decide what he wants to do with his life.
13. Blood on the Tracks by Shuzo Oshimi
The thing about psychological horror is that it does not incite fear from supernatural beings. Instead, it relies on the much believable dread and panic that comes from real-life humans and events.
Blood on the Tracks is one such psychological horror manga.
The chilling experience starts in a pretty ordinary setting with a boy living with his mother, who overly cares about him.
But, with each passing day, the apprehension dawns that this overprotectiveness might be something more than just motherly affection.
And so, the foreboding horror questions our very sense of safety, making us aware of the fragility with which we are living in our real world.
However, the manga doesn’t stop there.
Instead, the panels create a bizarre sense of loneliness, featuring unhealthy expressions of close ones, labeled as “love.”
14. Mieruko-chan by Tomoki Izumi
Only a few mangakas have mastered the art of horrid mute images that create a vivid illusion of nerve-racking sounds, coming entirely from the reader’s imagination.
Tomoki Izumi is one such manga artist, and Mieruko-chan is his masterpiece.
Miko Yotsuya, an otherwise typical student, can see ghosts. And so, she can see all those beings that haunt her or people around her.
However, she understands that acknowledging their presence will draw unwanted attention that may sabotage her daily life.
And so, unlike a typical teen, she ignores all spiritual creatures and ghosts.
But disregarding monsters playing and perturbing human lives is not an easy task.
Though panels do build an ominous sense of fear, there are several ridiculous scenarios where Miko tries to normalize her reaction in the face of imminent danger. This makes Mieruko-Chan much more fun than an average horror series.
15. I Am a Hero by Kengo Hanazawa
There is something exceptionally creepy and disturbing about “zombies.”
Perhaps, it’s the idea that anyone can become a zombie, or maybe the fact that a zombie virus can indeed manifest itself in the real world.
Now, I am a Hero starts with a traditional zombie-horror cliché, where people are unsure if such monsters even exist.
However, the series itself is anything but typical.
Firstly, the zombies can regenerate, change shapes and even merge into each other, forming hideous and horrendous beings.
Secondly, the protagonist feels like he is a side character in his own life, shifting the focus of horror from pure dark fantasy to a psychological one.
The manga effectively captures the hesitant nature of our hero in the face of zombies. However, his anxiety peaks with ‘normal’ social interactions showing how daily life can be as imposing and traumatizing for some.
16. Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama
Attack on Titan took the entire world by storm when the first Titan peeked kicked through the walls. But the excitement of this sensational moment did not vanish.
Instead, Hajime Isayama proved that even the feeling of thrill could be constant.
The dark fantasy is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is confined within concentric walls. These walls are the only hope against monstrous humanoid beings, the Titans, that eat humans for mere pleasure.
However, it’s been a century without Titans. And so, the current humans wonder if Titans are even real.
But then, humans are proven wrong in the worst way possible.
Eren Yeager and his friends experience Titans first-hand. And now, they seek revenge on these flesh-eating creatures. However, they soon discover a harrowing link between them and the Titans.
The manga will inspire horror, but its thrilling nature keeps its readers hooked from the very first chapter and keeps you entertained with all the twists and turns!
17. Hellsing by Kouta Hirano
It would be unfair to enlist the best horror manga yet not discuss blood-thirsty beasts, the Vampires. But then, there are too many vampire series available.
However, none is as blood-curdling or graphic as Hellsing by Kouta Hirano.
The series features several vampires that relish in murder, assault, and pillaging. However, the feelings of dread are universal for both humans and vampires.
It’s because even vampires can feel crippling fear because of particular creatures.
One such creature is Alucard, a vampire who has pledged his loyalty to the last heiress of Hellsing Corporation, Integra Hellsing. And so, he unconditionally helps her eradicate the evil vampires and other monsters.
However, his killing methods are far more brutal and questionable than any other hunter. And he happens to be quite different, and much stronger, than all the other vampires he encounters!
18. Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki
As the name suggests, Parasyte is a series that shows aliens that can build parasitic bonds. But these creatures don’t just create bonds; they infect humans and take over their bodies.
Not scary enough?
Well, parasytes thrive on human flesh, and they can even modify their host’s body to suit their needs. However, the horror does not come from the victim’s death.
Instead, the parasytes delude their hosts into a permanent state of paranoia.
Since no one truly knows who is infected and who is not, every panel appears menacing and sinister.
The protagonist, Shinichi Izumi, does get infected. However, he manages to stop his parasyte, Migi, from taking control of his brain by restraining it within his right hand, letting him retain his intellectual capacities.
As the series progress, Shinichi and Migi form an unusual bond and aid each other in surviving. But this bond raises several troubling moral dilemmas that are slowly explored in the manga.
19. Blame! by Tsutomu Nihei
Blame! is not just a horror manga; it’s also a sci-fi with a psychological setting.
The story is set in a bleak, post-apocalyptic world where humans live in scattered colonies, hiding from the danger that they themselves have created and fearing annihilation every single moment of their existence.
“The City” is a colossal terrifying place with several floors, so one cannot tell apart the sky from the ground. However, the entire city is infested with cyborgs and beasts.
Killy is a man on a solo mission to stop the overgrowth of “The City.” But to succeed, he must find the one person with the Net Terminal Gene – a code that will restore the world.
In his search, Killy comes across several friends and foes. And as he gets closer to his goal, the true nature of the world he lives in is slowly revealed.
The manga consists of 10 volumes, relatively short compared to most other titles, but it’s undoubtedly worth your attention. The imaginative nature of this manga creates an uncanny sort of thrill and horror that you will definitely enjoy.
20. Homunculus by Hideo Yamamoto
Homunculus is one of the most intriguing manga and is second to none in terms of both physical and psychological horrors.
Susumu Nakoshi is a man living an impoverished life when a doctor offers him money in exchange for voluntary trepanation – literally drilling a hole through the skull. But, Nakoshi rejects him.
However, desperation drives him to change his mind and go through with that surgery.
In the aftermath of the surgery, Nakoshi feels that nothing has changed. But it all changes when he gains a unique yet horrifying ability to see ugly creatures clinging to humans.
The repulsive and sickening ways in which he sees humanity make the manga genuinely compelling.
While the story explores the themes of insecurity, materialism, and inner conflict, the art is so spectacularly eerie that it keeps its readers on their heels.
21. Pet Shop of Horrors by Matsuri Akino
Count D runs a unique pet shop in a small town with pets having somewhat humanoid and terrifying appearances. He sells these creatures only to the lonely, sad, and forsaken.
However, each pet is sold under set terms and a special contract that the owner must abide by.
But, one must never break the rules or show that contract to anyone.
A violation of a pet contract may bring regretful consequences for the pet owner. However, the pet shop holds no liability for such people who break the rules.
As mysterious as it sounds, a detective trails back many crimes to Count D, but he has no definitive evidence to convict Count D. So he starts frequenting the pet shop, eventually discovering the sinister truths behind it and its owner.
Though the storyline is thrilling enough, the artistic panels build a petrifying ominous feel that thickens with every single chapter. And the unique storyline – with a combination of comedy, mystery, supernatural, and horror – is something that you will definitely enjoy reading!
The world of horror is filled with stories of both the past and the future; with mythical beings, sci-fi cyborgs, psychological events, and political occurrences.
Since fear thrives on basic human instincts, most stories are unlikely to ever get old or stop being scary.
However, there is always room for something more sinister. And so, only time will tell if these masterpieces will ever be excelled by new and more terrifying manga.
Until then, I hope this list helps you find the thrill and chills you seek. And if you have some recommendations for the best horror manga for me, use the comments section below to let me know about them!