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AnimeCrashers: Horror

Welcome to the first installment of our new Anime and Manga column where each month we will be making recommendations on starting points in various manga and anime genres! This month’s genre is HORROR!

Promotional art from NETFLIX

DEVILMAN: Crybaby 

By Science SARU

In this remake of Go Nagai’s classic Devilman, you are hit with tons of style and themes. Director Yuasa Masaaki and his studio Science SARU take their flattened, high contrast, and high energy animation style to breathe new life into the story from 1972. In Modernizing the story, the classic anti-war themes change to cover things more for today’s world like sexuality, self-confidence, and more. From a Black Sabbath to a drug and sex-filled rave there are many changes that make this ten-episode Netflix Original anime, an amazing series worth watching for anyone.

Follow Akira as his old friend, Ryo, drags him into the world of demons and possession. Akira is one of the few to be possessed by a demon; becoming the first Devilman! Akira must lead the Devilmen in taking on the demon hordes, led by Lucifer, as they bring upon the apocalypse. Can the soft-hearted crybaby Akira stop the destruction of Earth and save his loved ones? Find out.

I genuinely loved this when I watched it during a winter break in college. The color palette of the series just pops at all times because of the flatter art style causing the high contrast bright colors to work so well. Also, there is a character who is always rapping and he ends up being a decent guy in the end. It lived up to the hype that I had been seeing from all my friends.

  • Jake McMahon
Cover to Volume 1 of Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul 

By Ishida Sui 

Imagine, you meet a cute girl and she asks you out on a date to talk about books over coffee. One thing leads to another and you become a flesh-eating, coffee-sipping ghoul! Well, that’s exactly what happened to Ken Kaneki. Now as a half-ghoul, he must navigate the worlds of humans and ghouls while managing his new diet.

For me, this series is best read rather than watched. The anime’s second season outpaced the manga and took on an alternate story to the source material. To add more confusion goes back to the original story for the third season. But the manga is a fantastic read and the art is so kinetic I could look at single panels all day. I admit while reading it on the Shonen Jump app I screenshot so many of my favorite panels.

  • Jake
Cover from Volume 1 of CHAINSAW MAN

Chainsaw Man

By Fujimoto Tatsuki

I read Chainsaw Man very recently and devoured all 11 volumes in less than 48 hours. I truly wasn’t interested in it for the longest time and then all of a sudden, I found myself paying $2 for the Shonen Jump app solely to read it. There’s so much to say about Chainsaw Man and how utterly fantastic it is. The thing that really stands out for me the most, even beyond the stunning art, is how it treats its female characters. This is the first Shonen Jump series I’ve read in a long while where the women dominate the story, even though its main protagonist is a man. While Denji certainly falls into the stereotypical trappings of being a Shonen Protagonist, there is still a lot of care taken to give his character more everything and make the reader feel like he’s unique in a very oversaturated genre. Makima, Power, Kobeni, etc. all have more spotlight than almost every male character, and even female characters we see for only a volume feel like someone we’ve been with for a while. Each one has substance, an arc, and though they leave just as quickly as they came, it doesn’t leave you feeling unsatisfied. Warning for body horror and gore, but if you’re a fan of things like Invincible, Slasher movies, Berserk, etc. where the violence isn’t just there for gratuity’s sake, and you want some really beautiful looks at trauma, humanity, and morality, all mixed in with goofy fun, I truly cannot recommend Chainsaw Man enough.

  • DW

Parasyte

By Iwaaki Hitoshi

Parasitic aliens fall to Earth and begin implanting themselves into the brains of people with few special cases. One of those special cases is Shinichi Izumi. Through his fear of bugs, panics at the parasite tunneling into his body, but stops it from getting past his arm. He is rewarded by a shapeshifting talking hand named Migi, who helps Shinichi fight off other parasite hosts in a bid for survival.

I’m not too far into the anime but it’s super easy to follow. I appreciate that it doesn’t have Migi give a long-winded explanation of his origins because he doesn’t know much himself. I thought it had some really cool ideas and even some funny bits in how Migi tries to understand things. It’s an interesting take on body horror without seeming to go overboard with it

  • Jake

Categories
Manga

Bloom Into You By Nakatani Nio Starts Off Strong

Nakatani Nio’s Bloom Into You is primarily the story of Yuu Koito and Touko Nanami and their navigating what it is to love someone else. 

The summary on the back of Volume 1 reads “Yuu has always adored shoujo manga and yearns for the day when someone might give her a love confession that would send heart aflutter.” This makes it evident the mangaka is aiming to delve into those tropes of shoujo manga such as young love and love confessions and show how such stories end in a relatively realistic setting as Bloom Into You.

In addition to the considerations on love by the main characters, Nakatani Nio puts front and center the angst a queer teen can feel. This is shown one-third of the way into the first chapter through the distance between Yuu and her friends when they talk about boys. Textually it is all too clear Yuu Koito is a lesbian, and her slowly discovering this will come to make up a large portion of her character arc in the series.

During its initial publication, Bloom Into You was published in the monthly manga magazine Dengeki Daioh. Nio takes advantage of the monthly format to expand each chapter and thus enable the reader to think of the story as an hour-long drama. This is bolstered by the chapters being labeled “Episodes” and given extravagant titles such as “I Cannot Reach the Stars” and “Campaigning for Love”.