Seriously Intense 80’s Horror Anime

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Sometimes the glimmering shine of magical anime just doesn’t cut it anymore. Sometimes you need something sharper to tear through your expectations—like 80’s horror anime.

Destroy everything you knew about anime and rebuild it. Bask in the blood of the creative and the horrific.

These shows takes us along for a ride with no fear of the macabre. In no particular order, here are five seriously intense 80’s horror anime that you need to watch.

(Lights off, don’t be scared.)

The Laughing Salesman

80's horror anime, retro anime


This manga was first published Shogakukan’s Big Comic Magazine in 1968. It was adapted into an anime series by 1989.

The story follows a salesman by the name of Moguro Fukuzo. He travels around offering help to people who seem to need it most. But Moguro Fukuzo abides by his own moral code.

If his customers betray him, Moguro will turn against them. The salesman changes his motive to ruin the life of his customer. It’s safe to say he’s not the kind of person you want interfering with your personal life.

This series has been generally well received. The series received a second anime adaptation which aired in early 2017. That’s almost 50 years of The Laughing Salesman!

Vampire Princess Miyu

80's horror anime, retro anime


Vampire Princess Miyu first aired in 1988. This series chronicles the adventures of Miyu, a vampire princess. As a half human/half vampire hybrid, she is tasked with tracking down demons known as Shinma.

Once Miyu confronts a Shinma, she is to send it back to where it came from—a place known as The Darkness. Miyu is followed by a spiritualist named Himiko. Himiko pursues Miyu to uncover the truth and save innocent humans.

Both manga and anime adaptations were created by Narumi Kakinouchi and Toshiki Hirano. As far as 80’s horror anime goes, this series is a must see.

Devilman: The Birth

80's horror anime, retro anime


Devilman: The Birth aired in 1987. This series follows the story of a boy named Akira. Everything is normal for Akira until his old friend Ryo comes back into his life. Akira discovers an impending threat—demonic forces that will bring war on humanity. It’s up to he and Ryo to stand against this new threat and protect humanity.

In order to compete with the powerful forces to come, the two boys attempt to summon the powerful Devilman in a risky ceremony. Will Akira survive the demonic transformation?

The series was created by Go Nagai—a renowned creator and staple to 80’s horror anime. Go Nagai wrote and illustrated the original manga. The anime led to the release of several sequel series and adaptations.


80's horror anime, retro anime


Akira is a classic sci-fi horror series released in 1988. The manga was created by Otomo and received an anime movie adaptation, assisted by Izo Hashimoto.

If you’ve never seen Akira, I’ll try to keep this is brief as possible so as not to spoil anything. This series is really a treat if you’re into retro cyberpunk anime. The story takes place in the future. A poorly rebuilt society is trying to take hold while rebellious gangs roam the streets.

Kaneda is the leader of a bike gang known as the Capsules. Kaneda struggles to control his team when Tetsuo is confronted with an unforeseen accident. The story gets complicated when government forces try to intervene with Tetsuo who seems to be developing some sort of psychic ability. How far will the two go to put up a fight?

Violence Jack

80's horror anime, retro anime


This is one of the most controversial titles on this list. From necrophilia to cannibalism, this series is seriously horrific.

Violence Jack was created by Go Nagai, the same creator who authored Devilman. The series follows a huge half-man/half-beast named Jack. Jack carries a huge jack knife with him and uses it alongside his incredible strength.

The story takes place in the underworld where Jack uses his abilities for good. The weak are defended and the wrong doers are brought to some sense of justice. Violence Jack is a staple for any retro horror anime fan. The series is connected to a larger universe created by Go Nagai. If you’ve never explored his work before, it’s never too late to start.

Did you survive? Raise your hand if you didn’t make it! Okay cool, we’re all good. You should have a new show to add to your list. These titles are scary intense, but I think you’re ready.

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