It’s Halloween. You return home laden with bags of a candy. But what to watch as you gorge yourself? These four anime episodes would be a good start.
While Halloween is steadily becoming more popular in Japan, it has yet to tuly permeate anime–though there are a few shows that show the spooky holiday. And that’s not to mention the many anime that try their own hands and creepy horror.
So here are a few of our favorite Halloween-appropriate anime episodes.
Episode 2: “The Light of the Eyelid”
While I enjoyed every single episode of the first Mushi-shi series, one stuck out to me in particular. No, technically it isn’t a Halloween episode, but it can be just as unsettling. “The Light of the Eyelid” managed to shake me to my core the first time I viewed it. A young girl has a bizarre illness that makes her eyes sensitive to light, and she’s ostracized because of it.
She’s able to see the Mushi, the tiny creatures that most humans simply can’t, due to her condition, by using her “second eye.” She doesn’t have an illness after all, it turns out, and is instead plagued by a Mushi of her own. Protagonist Ginko must get to the bottom of it, in the end being forced to “chase out” the Mushi from the young girl. She opens her eyes and there simply isn’t anything there anymore. They had been devoured by the creatures over time. Mushi pours down her face, resembling chrome tears and growing into some sort of bizarre sculpture that reaches up to the moon, toward the light in the night.
It’s a chilling episode from start to finish, and even more frightening if anything related to your eyes squicks you out.
“The Light of the Eyelid” can be viewed on Funimation.
Episode 11: “Toys in the Attic”
Cowboy Bebop is the epitome of a space western. It follows a group of bounty hunters with sordid pasts, trying to make a new future for themselves on the frontier–i.e., Mars and solar system beyond it. Episodes in the series range from light-hearted comedy to high stakes personal drama. …And in one case, horror.
Episode 11, “Toys in the Attic,” finds the crew between jobs–waiting for the next big bounty to come along. While they kill time playing dice and cooking low-grade shish kebabs, a mysterious creature lurks through the ship. After it bites one of the crew–leaving him on the edge of death–the story goes full Alien as the crew begin to hunt the creature even as they are being hunted in turn.
It also has the best moral of any story: “Don’t leave things in the fridge.”
Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream
Episode 30: “Doki Doki Halloween wa Tokimeki Janai to” (A Heart-Thumping Halloween Really Does Have to IgNight)”
I’m terrible with horror, so I prefer to stick with more light-hearted media to watch during Halloween. Without a doubt, my favorite episode revolving around the wicked holiday would have to be episode 30 of the Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream anime, “Doki Doki Halloween wa Tokimeki Janai to” (A Heart-Thumping Halloween Really Does Have to IgNight). In this episode, we get to see not just the show’s heroines Aira, Rizumu, and Mion as an adorable angel, black cat, and princess, respectively, their love interests Shou, Hibiki, and Wataru also steal the show with their amazingly… lame costumes. But hey, that just makes them all the more fun to laugh at.
Unlike many Halloween specials, Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream takes an interesting approach by not focusing on the horror of the holiday, but instead romance between our heroines and their respective love interests. One of the most interesting aspects of the show is the interactions between the girls and boys, and this episode goes further to develop the relationship of each couple in a meaningful way.
Of course, the show doesn’t forget its roots as a show about kids who are professional magical ice skaters (I swear, this is what the show is about) and we get to see a very enjoyable Halloween-themed performance from not only the female cast, but the male cast as well. It’s a nutty episode that is filled with warm feelings, fun, music, and humor that I would recommend to anyone who’s sick of being scared every time the Jack-o’-Lanterns are put out on the neighborhood porches.
Unfortunately, the real horror this season is that Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream and its direct sequel Pretty Rhythm Dear My Future are not available to watch on any streaming platforms, which is a real shame. However, Sentai Filmworks signed a deal with animation studio Tatsunoko back in 2013, so maybe if you make your voice heard, you’ll be able to see it someday.
The Melancholy of Haruhi-Chan Suzumiya
Episode 13: “The Melancholy of Haruhi-Chan Suzumiya Part 13”
I’ve never really done horror very well, so my pick is from a five-minute anime series based off of the original Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. The thirteenth episode of the series managed to fairly accurately capture the understanding of Halloween by the general Japanese populace back in 2009 when the episode first aired.
Starting out as most episodes of Haruhi-Chan do, the episode involves Haruhi telling the protagonist, Kyon, that they’re going to do something. In this case, it’s Halloween. However, none of the characters really understand what Halloween is, so they attempt to recreate it based off of what they can gather from a single image.
It’s a humorous episode not just in the cast’s attempt to understand Halloween, but also because, at the time, Japan wasn’t overly familiar with Halloween either. Halloween only really began catching on in Japan in the early 2000’s thanks to Disney, and only recently has it come to the point where the general populace is familiar with the holiday—if not the history or details of it.
“The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya Part 13” can be seen on The Melancholy of Haruhi-Chan Suzumiya & Nyoron DVD or as part of the The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – Ultimate Collector’s Edition.