Are you intrigued by the unknown? By a world that you can’t see, sense, or otherwise confirm the existence of? Then the supernatural genre of anime might be one of your favorite genres. While this broad genre corrals everything for the unbelievable to vaguely strange, if you are interested in ghost, spirits, or other supernatural beings, you have a wide array of anime series to choose from.
Whether your interest lies in creepy Japanese ghost stories to action-packed spirit fighters, there is a series to fit your every desire.
20 – Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Anohana is the anime that many fans turn to when they need a good cry. It is about a group of childhood friends that drifted away from each other after the death of their shared friend, then when that dead friend comes back as a ghost, feelings are laid bare. Although its realistic characters and superb script carry this anime, it only has one ghost, and it is a pretty cute one too. So it seemed like the perfect end cap of our top 20 anime series ghost anime series.
19 – Hanada Shounen-shi
Ichiro Hanada is a rude young thug that picks fights and talks back to his mother. However, after being hit by a truck, he recovers with the ability to see the ghosts of the recently dead who can’t move on. Now, it is up to him as a medium to help them.
18 – The Young Spirit Master
Abe no Masahiro is the grandson of a prestigious Spirit Master, but he has long lost his ability to sense spirits. However, on chance he runs into a mononoke that he can see, not knowing that their partnership is all part of his grandfather’s plan to awaken his true potential.
17 – Kitarou no Gegege
Kitarou is a ghost who spends his afterlife helping humans that need his skills. He also spends his time fighting evil spirits that seek to torment humanity. Despite being older and aimed at a younger audience, if you like traditional Japanese yokai lore, the anime series and movies end up being a nice watch.
16 – Kaidan Restaurant
You might expect this anime to be about a haunted restaurant, but instead it is told in three parts, an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, if you will. The first two parts of each episode are about the strange and creepy things that surround an average sixth grader and her friends. The final part of the episode is a random ghost story drawn from around the world told by the aforementioned sixth grader.
15 – Another
After a student’s death decades ago, Class 3-3 has always had to endure a curse where students start dying one after another. To combat it, the students now take precautions, but no one expected a new transfer student this year.
Although it is hard to give a proper summary without spoiling things, Another presents an occasionally creepy ghost story with a serious penchant for gory bloodbaths.
14 – Ghost Hound
In Ghost Hound, three boys with traumatic pasts let their souls cross into the Unseen World where ghost lie. However, it seems ghosts are now able to cross into the Apparent World with varying effects that send these boys on a quest to unravel the mystery.
13 – Kekkaishi
Yoshimura Sumimura comes from a long line of Kekkaishi, those who use supernatural abilities to destroy evil Ayakashi spirits. Together with his childhood friend with a rival clan, they work hard to protect their hometown.
If you are tired of slower paced ghost anime series, Kekkaishi and its action-oriented shounen genre keep things interesting with a lot of fast paced fights.
12 – Ghost Stories
Satsuki and Keiichirou Miyanoshita move back to their mother’s hometown after her tragic death, it is there that the siblings find out that their mother banished a number of ghosts from the old school building, but suddenly they are all starting to reappear again. It is up to Satsuki and her new friends along with the help of her mother’s journal to seal them away again.
This is one anime that, no matter where you stand on the subbed versus dubbed debate, you should watched dubbed. They had a lot of fun with it and it turns a “meh” anime into one that is truly quite funny.
11 – Natsuyuki Rendezvous
Ryousuke Hazuki stops by a local flower shop one day and immediately falls in love with the beautiful owner. In an effort to get closer to her, he gets a part-time job at the shop. Things are going well for awhile until one day he finds out the ghost of her dead husband is living in her apartment and only he can see him. With her husband stubbornly not wanting to move on, keeping the flower shop owner stuck in the past, an odd relationship forms between a man, a woman, and another man that only he can see.
10 – Ghost Slayers Ayashi
While externally they are an organization dedicated to the study of foreign books, the Bansha Aratemesho is an organization that actually fight Yoi, spiritual monsters that occasionally attack Edo. This is the story about strange spiritual monsters around Japan and the equally strange people who fight them.
9 – Blue Exorcist
In Blue Exorcist, the world of the demons and the world of the living are constantly at war. One day, the normal Rin Okumura is attacked by demons where he finds out that his true father, Satan, wants to possess his body so he can come to the other side. Denying him, Rin decides to train as an exorcist to fight for the living.
8 – Bakemonogatari
After being saved from a vampire attack, high school student Koyomi Araragi finds he has several supernatural side effects. While trying to live a normal life, he ends up catching a classmate after falling down the stairs and finds she is near weightless. Such are the tales told in Bakemonogatari. While primarily surrounding stories of demons and gods, there are a whole slew of supernatural beings within, including spirits.
7 – Hell Girl
Hell Gill tells the tale of Ai Enma, a girl who carries out requests of revenge made on a special website accessible only at midnight. While worthy for its creepiness alone, Hell Girl succeeds in the way it presents its moral choices.
6 – Mokke
This is the story of two sisters. Shizuru has the power to see spirits while Mizuki has the unnatural affinity to become haunted by them. Frustrated by their powers, their parents send them out to the country to live with their grandparents. There both sisters learn the importance of both coexisting with nature and the spirits.
5 – Ghost Hunt
Mai Taniyama is a freshmen in high school and enjoys telling ghost stories with her friends. One day she hears a ghost story about the old school building and decides to check it out. There she finds a camera and, in a twist of fate, ends up breaking it. It seems the camera belonged to Shibuya Kazuya, a senior in high school and full-time paranormal investigation. In order to pay back her debt, Mai becomes his assistant.
Don’t be fooled by the premise that sounds suspiciously similar to Ouran High School Host Club, Ghost Hunt is easily one of the most popular ghost-related anime series out there. Not only does it present some accurate ghost hunting knowledge, but it can tell some pretty creepy stories.
4 – Mononoke
Mononoke follows the story of a man simply known as the Medicine Seller. However, it is not medicine he sells, but rather he travels feudal Japan ridding villages of malevolent spirits called mononoke. However, in order to kill each spirit he encounters, he must first learn its Form, Truth, and it’s Reason.
While so stylistic it occasionally borders on weird, this bright anime is an excellent way to learn about traditional Japanese spirits.
3 – xxxHolic
Much to his chagrin, Kimihiro Watanuki can see spirits. One day he finds himself mysteriously drawn into a strange house where he meets Yuuki. She claims she can rid him of his gift – for a price. In exchange, he must work at her shop that grants wishes to a wide array of weird and wonderful people.
Although, like many CLAMP series, xxxHolic is regarded as a chick anime, it does present a unique story with an impressive array of interesting characters.
2 – Mushishi
In this world, spirits called Mushi go unnoticed by most humans. However, aside from just simply existing, Mushi can also mimic things from the living world like plants or diseases. Ginko is a man that travels around researching Mushi and solving the problems they cause, trying to unravel the meaning of their existence.
Although slow moving, philosophical, and with sparse dialogue, Mushishi has a way of drawing viewers in and showing them a thoughtful and beautifully animated world. While not as action packed as other ghost anime, the thought-invoking atmosphere of Mushishi is worth the watch.
1 – Natsume Yuujichou
For as long as he can remember, Takashi Natsume has been able to see spirits, a power that has prevented him from making real friends. One day he finds out that he has this ability because of the Book of Friends left to him by his grandmother. This book binds spirits to the owner, now it is up to Natsume to return them all.
While not suspenseful or even creepy, Natsume Yuujichou takes the top spot not only because it is fun to watch between its balance of story and comedic outtakes, but it really gives you an understanding of each unique apparition involved in the show. With superb character development, you really get a sense of maturation throughout. This anime does something you don’t often get. It makes you feel okay with the fact that you might be surrounded by spirits.
Did we miss one of your favorite anime series featuring ghosts or spirits? Tell us about it in the comments section below!