Sometimes you just need a bite size story to get your filling of dread and horror, and therefore these horror anime in anthology format is just perfect for that. Here are some of them. Some are listed as stand alone episode with nothing connecting the episodes together but the genre, and some have more of a red thread, but still have that episodic feel to it. Here are some of the anime horror stories in anthology series.

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories | 闇芝居 

Aired: 2013-2019
Episodes: Nine seasons with 13 episodes each.

This long running horror anime anthology series covered a lot. Every week at 5 p.m. an old man in a yellow mask shows up at a children’s playground and tells them ghost stories based on myths and urban legends of Japanese origin. The man tells the stories on the back of his bicycle using a traditional kamishibai (Paper Drama) method and features a new tale each week.

A series of short horror stories, Yami Shibai begins with a bachelor who, after moving into a new apartment, immediately starts sensing a malevolent glare being pressed into him. A single talisman rests on his ceiling, but he has no way of knowing it is one of the few safeguards that separate him from a bottomless pit of suffering. Each story is more terrifying, more appalling, and more sickening than the last as the Storyteller’s audience find themselves being sucked into the vicious world of his words.

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Kousetsu Hyaku Monogatari: Requiem from the Darkness |  京極夏彦 巷説百物語

Aired: 2003
Episodes: 13

One of the horror anime anthology series that goes a little meta is the Requiem From The Darkness series. It is about Yamaoka Momosuke, a writer that usually writes riddles for children. However, he’s tired of it and want something with a bit more action to it. He wants to write an anthology series called Hyakumonogatari (“One Hundred Tales”) of scary and macabre stories. When he goes into the world to gather these stories he encounters a strange trio that are called: the Ongyou. They are also chasing the same stories and legends, but not to write about them, but to bring justice. This is the set up for Momosuke who must face horrible truths and fight with and against his own morals each time he meets the trio of detectives.

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Junji Ito Collection |  伊藤潤二「コレクション」

Aired: 2018
Episodes: 12

A collection of animated horror stories based on the works of Japanese artist Junji Ito. And although his fans rather preferred his manga work, this is a quick way to digest his work like Tomie, an immortal girl. And don’t worry, if this adaptation is not to your liking, his work has been adapted to live action and anime series several times.

In the light of day and in the dead of night, mysterious horrors await in the darkest shadows of every corner. They are unexplainable, inescapable, and undefeatable. Be prepared, or you may become their next victim.

Sit back in terror as traumatizing tales of unparalleled terror unfold. Tales, such as that of a cursed jade carving that opens holes all over its victims’ bodies; deep nightmares that span decades; an attractive spirit at a misty crossroad that grants cursed advice; and a slug that grows inside a girl’s mouth.

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Hell Girl | 地獄少女

Aired: 2005-2006
Episodes: 26

This series continued with four additional seasons, but the beginning is perhaps the ones with the more episodic feels. When someone wants revenge, they post about it on a special website at midnight. Then Hell Girl appears to do their bidding. Those with a powerful grudge may only access this mysterious website at midnight, allowing them to enter anyone’s name and have that person be ferried straight to hell.

Ai Enma, the Hell Girl, will not judge whether or not the chosen target deserves punishment; she will merely exact revenge on them for you. Not much is known about this young girl other than that she swiftly carries out her tasks with the help of three straw dolls. There is just one catch, however—as payment for carrying out such a request, the user must condemn themselves to an afterlife in hell.

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Mushi-shi | 蟲師

Aired: 2005-2006
Episodes: 26

This series started out as a manga from the mangaka Yuki Urushibara. This is the adaption of the award winning manga with 26 episodes based on the chapters of the manga. The episodes of the anime aired differently than what order they were published in the manga, wich says some about how episodic it all is. One episode sequel Mushishi: Hihamukage and a ten episode series called Mushishi Zoku Shou in 2014.

Ginko is a so called Mushishi, those who research the thing called Mushi. It is a mysterious entity of ‘beings’. They are removed from good and evil, but inhabits the earth by manifesting in things like plants, animals and diseases to just mention a few things they appear as. Ginko wonders about the reason behind their existence, and in doing so, perhaps finding the reason for life itself.

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When They Cry: Higurashi | ひぐらしのなく頃に

Aired: 2006
Episodes:

Originally a game with several storyline and outcomes, the anime solved it by resetting the timeline again and again, it also have countless sequels, sidequels, specials, OVA’s and so on. So for this reason, let’s call it an anthology.

Keiichi Maebara has just moved to the quiet little village of Hinamizawa in the summer of 1983, and quickly becomes inseparable friends with schoolmates Rena Ryuuguu, Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Houjou, and Rika Furude. However, darkness lurks underneath the seemingly idyllic life they lead.

As the village prepares for its annual festival, Keiichi learns about the local legends surrounding it. To his horror, he discovers that there have been several murders and disappearances in the village in the recent years, and that they all seem to be connected to the festival and the village’s patron god, Oyashiro. Keiichi tries to ask his new friends about these incidents, but they are suspiciously silent and refuse to give him the answers he needs. As more and more bizarre events occur, he wonders just what else his friends might be keeping from him, and if he can even trust them at all.

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xxxHOLiC | ホリック

Aired: 2006
Episodes: 24

This one season series centers around Kimihiro Watanuki, a boy that can see spirits and other supernatural creatures. One day he encounters a woman named Yuuko he finds in a house he can’t help but enter. She is a woman claiming to be able to help him stop seeing spirits, which is something he hates. But to help him he must work for her in her shop that grants peoples wishes, and horror ensues.

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Petshop of Horrors (ペットショップ・オブ・ホラーズ)

Aired: 1999
Episodes: 4

This short, but scary series centers around Count D, not to be confused with Dracula. He is a pet shot owner in Chinatown that sells rare, but special pets. They come with a strict contract that the owners must follow. If they do, they’ll be fine, and if they break the rules of the contract… well, the pet shop cannot be held responsible for anything that happens. In this anime horror series The episodes leads a homicide detective called Leon Orcot, to the shop. He is following a string of strange deaths and they all seems to point to Count D and his shop.

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Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales | 怪

Aired: 11
Episodes: 2006

In this anime horror anthology series we find a fine selection of three classic Japanese horror stories: “Yotsuya Kaidan“, the story of a wife betrayed by her husband who seeks vengeance even in death. “Tenshu Monogatari”, the story of forbidden love between a goddess and a human, and “Bakeneko”, the story of a mysterious cat monster with a vendetta against a certain family.

Mononoke | モノノ怪

Aired: 2007
Episodes: 12

This is a sequel to the Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror anthology series, were we meet Kusuriuri in the Bakano episode. He is a traveller called The Medicine Seller, a master of the occult in search of evil spirits called Mononoke to kill. But one day he encounters a spirit he cannot kill. His journey to find a way to defeat the monster, he meets Shino, a pregnant woman in an inn. There she encounters the Zashiki Warashi, the monster he is hunting down. And so the hunt begins.

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