Thanks to the popularity of the zombie genre and subculture in the West, as well as worldwide, zombies have started to penetrate Japan’s animation industry. There still aren’t as many zombie anime shows and movies as there are live-action ones, but it’s only a matter of time until Japanese anime catches up. In the meantime, there are about 20 or so zombie anime fans can watch while they wait for the next episode or season of their favorite zombie show. And, since finding good anime to watch can be tedious, here are the 10 best zombie anime titles you can binge-watch on the internet right now.
10 Highschool of the Dead
Although not necessarily the highest ranked anime on this list based on MAL (MyAnimeList) scores, Highschool of the Dead is arguably the best zombie anime to date. This has much to do with its serious plot, exciting turn of events, and its similarity to Western zombie TV shows and movies that are popular today. As the title implies, the story follows five high school students—plus two more characters—as they work together to get to safety after their high school gets overrun by zombies. The show’s fan service can be excessive at times, but the gore and violence more than make up for it.
9 Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (Koutetsujou no Kabaneri)
Set in the Industrial Revolution, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is often dubbed as the steampunk Attack on Titan, except the enemies are hard-to-kill undead monsters called Kabane instead of unknown giant creatures. The comparison between the two shows stems from the fact that the people on Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress are kept safe from the Kabane by fortress-like stations and massive walls. One day, a steam locomotive hijacked by the Kabane crashes into one of the stations. Refusing to give in to this ill fate, a young engineer named Ikoma successfully creates a weapon that can kill the Kabane, beginning his journey as a hero.
8 School-Live! (Gakkougurashi!)
This show’s animation is so cute that it’s hard to believe it’s a zombie show at first. It’s not that surprising, however, as the Japanese animation industry’s take on the zombie genre often deviates from the West’s. But when you watch the first episode and see cute school girls doing cute things but then eventually learn that they’re the only survivors of their school in a post-apocalyptic zombie world, School-Live! can feel a little...dissonant. But no worries, with a MAL score of 7.68, entertainment is guaranteed. Watch these cute girls try to maintain some normalcy while they try to outlast the zombie apocalypse.
7 Seoul Station
If you watched and enjoyed the South Korean zombie movie Train to Busan, then you would definitely love the South Korean animated movie Seoul Station, the prequel to this hit 2016 zombie movie. As of this writing, it has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It follows the adventure of a young woman who tries to survive after downtown Seoul gets overrun by zombies. There are only three characters, which makes the movie rather straightforward and easy to follow. And while there’s nothing much to set it apart from the rest of the zombie shows and movies we’ve seen so far, the twist can be seriously awe-inspiring.
Based on a popular third-person shooting game, Gungrave is a serious anime show that focuses on the main character’s path to revenge. Called Beyond The Grave, or Grave for short, the main character is previously a human named Brandon Heat who, after being betrayed and murdered by his best friend and mafia syndicate partner, is brought back to life as an almost invincible zombie-like creature. He now lives to get back at the best friend who betrayed him and the syndicate he used to be part of while killing fellow undead on the side.
5 Tokyo Ghoul
If you’re not very strict about what constitutes as a zombie, then definitely watch Tokyo Ghoul. It follows the journey of a normal, quiet 18-year-old college student named Ken Kaneki. His life is turned upside down after a near-death accident from which he is saved by receiving an organ transplant from a ghoul. The transplant transforms him into a human-ghoul hybrid who must now eat human beings to live. Ken must figure out how to preserve his humanity while hiding the fact that he is now a ghoul. Unlike your regular flesh-eating zombies, ghouls try to live normal lives in society, making the audience sympathize for them and sometimes take their side.
4 Corpse Princess (Shikabane Hime: Aka)
Joining the ranks of humans who were turned into zombies is Makina Hoshimura, the titular character of Corpse Princess. While she may not look like a zombie and doesn’t eat brains, she’s definitely one of the undead. She gets reanimated after being killed alongside her family, and now has to kill 108 other revived corpses to be able to join her family in heaven. Her ultimate goal is avenging her family’s death by defeating the undead group known as Seven Stars. A cool female character with formidable physical skills, Makina uses dual MAC-11 machine guns to destroy her enemies.
3 The Empire of Corpses (Shisha no Teikoku)
In an alternate 18th-century England, scientist Victor Frankenstein discovers a method of reanimating a corpse. When his creation gets destroyed, another method of reanimating corpses is discovered, paving the way for using reanimated corpses in manual labor in the 19th century. However, unlike Victor’s method, this newer method isn’t able to return the corpse’s soul back to the body. John Watson, a medical student, is later tasked by the British government to obtain Frankenstein’s notes on reanimating a corpse with a soul. The unique and interesting plot, as well as the characters who are based on historical and popular literary figures, makes The Empire of Corpses interesting and fun to watch.
It seems that Japan really has a thing for undead main characters. In this show, the two main characters Chika and Shito are zombies who are able to keep on living in exchange for hunting down other zombies. They are later joined by a girl named Michiru, who has the ability to see a ring around a person’s neck when they are about to die. Chika and Shito use Michiru’s special ability to track the undead so they can pay off their debt to Zombie-Loan, the company that brought them back to life.
1 GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack (OVA)
The 75-minute GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack OVA (Original Video Animation) is based on the horror manga of the same name written and illustrated by the popular horror mangaka Junji Ito. As the title indicates, instead of human corpses, Tokyo is under attack by incredibly stinky undead fish which are infected by a disease that humans can also contract. In the middle of this chaos, a girl named Kaori goes on a quest to find her missing boyfriend. What makes this anime even weirder than the undead fish is the fact that these zombie fish have metal legs that enable them to walk on land. Yikes!