Monday, October 22, 2012

These anime should help you get into the Halloween spirit



As Halloween inches ever closer (nine days and counting!), the urge to surround oneself with as much candy corn, Candy Corn soda, scary movies, and spooky video games is well understandable... but what about seasonally appropriate anime?

While there are precious few true "Halloween" animes available, there are plenty that deal with supernatural elements or feature plain 'ol creepy subject matter.  Your friend here at Kawaiian Punch has compiled a list of the top five anime guaranteed to put you in a Halloween mood, although you may want to make sure you lock the doors and draw the curtains tight before watching a few of these.

...mostly because the fan service could be a bit embarrassing to explain away to your friends and neighbors.

Elfen Lied

Easily the darkest and most disturbing title on this list, Elfen Lied is also the shortest proper series with a compact run of only 13 episodes.  This standard season gives Elfen Lied more than enough time to torment and revolt viewers as they follow the story of Lucy/Nyuu, a supernaturally powerful not-so-innocent innocent who is being hunted by the very company responsible for her condition.

The first episode sets the tone for the series which presents graphic violence and nudity with the same level of childlike incomprehension that Lucy herself possesses.  Good - if creepy - stuff, especially around the Episode 8 mark.

Watch Via: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video (free for those with Prime!)

Mushishi

Subtle to the point of being ponderous, Mushishi (or Mushi-Shi) follows the story of Ginko, a spiritually gifted ghosthunter on his quest to help humans who are plagued by encounters with the all-too-ubiquitous spirits known as Mushi.  Think X-files meets Ninja Scroll and you won't be far off on what to expect from Mushishi.

Unlike Elfen Lied which aims to revolt, Mushishi lures the viewer in with excellent storytelling and gradual plot development to move it along.  There's rarely a scare among the episodic ghost stories of Mushishi, but most every episode centers around Ginko matching wits against spirits tormenting the living as he tries to unravel the spirits behind the all-too-real ghost stories in which he finds himself.

Watch Via: Netflix, HuluAmazon Instant Video ($1.99/episode)

Hell Girl

Take an unassuming, demonic schoolgirl who specializes in vengeance, and add a town full of slighted innocents eager to enter Faustian bargin with her and you have the basic plot of Hell Girl. Ai Enma - the titular Hell Girl - is a spirit that can be contacted through a variety of means by those looking for revenge, and only asks for the revenge seeker's soul in return for quick, fitting justice against those who have wronged them.

In the end, both the slight-er and slight-ee are both consigned to an eternity in hell, so the episodes can be a bit repetitious, but the complete lack of emotion in Enma's face and voice as she drags the soul of a truly despicable person down to their eternal suffering never fails to creep me out.

Watch Via: Amazon Instant Video (Season 1, $1.99/episode), Hulu (Seasons 2 & 3)

Rosario + Vampire

Rosario + Vampire is by far the most lighthearted entry on this list  and it's also the most fan service-y (seriously, this one's not for kids!).  While the preceding three animes aim to scare or unsettle the viewer, Rosario + Vampire intermixes slapstick comedy with plenty of upskirt shots, jiggly boobs, and implied lesbionic romances.

...but it also takes place inside of Yokai Academy, a school for monsters, with each of the female leads representing a different type of supernatural entity.  Together, the unlikely band of friends (featuring a vampire, succubus, witch, and snow spirit) squares off against even bigger and nastier monsters making it a perfect Halloween anime for those who like seeing more stripped panties than ghosts.  Despite its trashy nature, it's next to impossible to stop watching this series.

Watch Via: Netflix (full run), Hulu (first four episodes)

xxxHOLiC the Movie: A Midsummer Night's Dream


The only movie on this list, this hour-long introduction to the art noveau world of xxxHolic is nowhere near as provocative as the first three letters in its name suggest it is.  A feckless high school boy named Watanuki is a magnet for ghosts and seeks out the help of Yuko, a debauched witch that is as languid as she is powerful, to help rid him of his blessing/curse.  Yuko agrees, but only if Watanuki consents to becoming her servant.

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Watanuki and Yuko receive a summons to an abandoned (and haunted) mansion where a consortium of esoteric collectors has gathered to compare notes on the progress of their decadence.  As the night wears on, the collectors begin to vanish or meet with strange fates, and it's up to Watanuki and Yuko to solve the mystery of the house itself before they become the next pair to vanish.

While A Midsummer Night's Dream lacks the trademark humor of the truly excellent xxxholic series, it's well worth a watch... if you can find it.

Watch Via: This one's a pain to find online. Netflix has the DVD, which is probably your best bet unless you feel like spending $9.00 to buy it from Amazon.