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Scariest Psychological Horror Manga

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There are some world-famous horror manga but only a few with truly mind-bending and terrifying stories that play tricks with readers’ psyche. Manga fans have fine options of sites to read manga online and explore deeply emotional and thought-provoking dark manga stories that’ll surely cause some sleepless nights and vivid nightmares. While these twisted stories are not the best manga for beginners, they do provide unique worlds, spine-chilling characters, and plot twists-filled stories for readers who are ready for mature manga.

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Some of the best dark psychological manga around explore all kinds of themes and have creative villains, including aliens, serial killers, and never-before-seen monsters. They combine regular horror tropes with ones that mess with a reader’s mind, making it clear why this brand of horror works so well and is cerebral enough for fans of quality media to be invested in if the execution is on point.

Updated on February 29, 2024, by Ritwik Mitra: The realm of manga covers many genres and caters to anyone who loves great artwork, compelling storylines, and memorable characters. Horror is no exception here, and scares of the psychological variety aren’t all that prevalent in this genre. So, when a manga decides to lean heavily into this genre of horror, then fans will be more than pleased by what it has to offer if the execution is on point. Thankfully, there are more than enough manga for fans to check out if they love psychological horror in all shapes and forms.

21 No Longer Human

The Downfall Of A Man With Sociopathic Tendencies Is Pretty Hard To Watch

Manga Like Punpun- No Longer Human

Mangaka

Junji Ito

Year of Publication

2017

Number of Volumes

Three, Completed

No Longer Human is one of the most popular novels, written by Osamu Dazai. This tragic figure constructed this book as a sort of semi-autobiography that ended up being his last novel before a tragic attempt to take his own life that was ultimately successful.

Junji Ito adapted this novel in a chilling story full of his classic brand of artwork, making every page turn a dreadful prospect. Watching the downfall of the main character is uncomfortable, especially with the additions Ito makes to a story that’s already pretty hard to absorb as is. The manga deals with some truly disturbing content, so viewer discretion is advised.

20 Blood On The Tracks

The Lengths To Which An Overprotective Mother Will Go To Keep Her Child Safe

mother in A Trail of Blood

Mangaka

Shuzo Oshimi

Year of Publication

2017

Number of Volumes

Seventeen, Completed

Shuzo Oshimi’s Blood on the Tracks is one of the newest ongoing psychological horror manga with a spine-chilling story that delves deep into the dark sides of a mother-son relationship. Manga fans can also enjoy Oshimi’s meticulous artwork that perfectly paints every nuance of emotion, from fleeting discomfort to full-blown panic.

Its story also features one of the greatest manga villains of recent times and is a nice blend of psychological tension and dark realism. It’s perfect for manga readers who enjoy thought-provoking psychological horror stories that explore themes about love and obsession and take them on horrific but highly entertaining rides.

19 Jagaaaaaan

How Suppressing Human Emotions Can Cause People To Transform Into Monsters

monster and Shintarou in Jagaaaaaan

Mangaka

Muneyuki Kaneshiro

Year of Publication

2017

Number of Volumes

Fourteen, Completed

Jagaaaaaan is a fascinating and action-filed with a unique story that dives deep into the psyche of its characters as well as its readers. Horror manga fans will be able to explore a one-of-a-kind and eerie world in which people can transform into grotesque creatures if they suppress their desires.

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These terrifying monsters are born from these universal human emotions and insecurities that we all carry inside of us. Its story follows Jagasaki, a young man who constantly grapples with his own identity. This manga is a highly entertaining exploration of the human mind with a pinch of dark humor and plenty of grotesque and twisted action scenes.

18 Kasane

The Powers Of A Woman To Wear Lipstick And Switch Faces Makes For A Chilling Tale

cover of Kasane

Mangaka

Daruma Matsuura

Year of Publication

2013

Number of Volumes

Fourteen, Completed

Daruma Matsuura suspenseful psychological horror story, Kasane is one of the most chilling manga. Kasane has a weird but thought-provoking story and is a great choice for manga lovers who appreciate beautiful and iconic art styles in anime and manga.

Readers will get to go on a strange adventure with an aspiring actress Kasane, who, despite having brilliant acting abilities, is struggling to succeed because of her appearance. However, thanks to a mysterious lipstick that allows her to switch faces with those she kisses, Kasane soon realizes just how many ways she can use her new powers to achieve her dreams and take revenge.

17 Tomie

Documents The Adventures Of A Beautiful Woman Who Reincarnates And Sucks The Life Out Of Any Man She Targets

Junji Ito Tomie Manga

Mangaka

Junji Ito

Year of Publication

2013

Number of Volumes

Three, Completed

Tomie is one of Junji Ito’s more well-known works, focusing on a simple yet chilling story of a woman with an infectious charm who feeds off the men who are obsessed with her. The fact that she’s apparently immortal and reincarnates no matter how many times she dies doesn’t help things.

This makes for a string of compelling and unnerving plotlines where she mentally tortures her partners into feeding them her energy to the point where they pass away. Whenever her plans are uncovered, Tomie becomes something truly otherwordly, with Ito showing off his artwork in some highly detailed sketches.

16 Manhole

A Terrifying Mystery Manga That Can Horrify Readers With Its Revelations

Inoui and Mizoguchi in Manhole by Tetsuya Tsutsui

Mangaka

Tetsuya Tsutsui

Year of Publication

2004

Number of Volumes

Four, Completed

Tetsuya Tsutsui’s Manhole is an anxiety-inducing horror manga about a mysterious and deadly virus. The story follows two detectives called Inoue and Mizoguchi, who are trying to uncover the truth behind the appearance of this rare and strange parasite and try to stop mass panic in their city.

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It’s an intense and sad story with twists and great characters and is a great choice for Saw fans and for those horror manga lovers who enjoy terrifying mystery stories. As the two detectives follow the leads, they go down a rabbit hole and find tragic and unsettling answers to why the murders are happening.

15 Museum: The Serial Killer Is Laughing In The Rain

A Serial Killer Who Wears A Frog Mask And Wreaks Havoc

Sanae in Museum: the serial killer is laughing in the rain by Ryosuke Tomoe

Mangaka

Ryosuke Tomoe

Year of Publication

2013

Number of Volumes

Three, Completed

Museum: The Serial Killer Is Laughing in the Rain is Ryosuke Tomoe’s weirdest and most disturbing manga about a strange serial killer who murders people while wearing a frog mask. While the story is intriguing, it never gets too gore or hard to follow, which makes it one of the best manga for beginners.

This psychological horror manga has a chilling and classic art style and is set in modern-day Tokyo; it follows the investigation of detective Sawamura who tries to figure out why this mysterious psychopath commits his crimes. However, as he tries to solve these elaborate and viciously cruel crimes, he’s soon faced with a shocking surprise.

14 Gyo

A Horrifying War Experiment With Some Nightmarish Twists And Turns

Gyo from Junji Ito

Mangaka

Junji Ito

Year of Publication

2001

Number of Volumes

Two, Completed

Pretty much every one of Junji Ito’s works focuses on the human psyche and how it can be warped and stretched to make the very idea of human thought something to fear. Such is the case in Gyo, a manga where a fated military experiment causes fish with mechanical legs to become the main antagonist.

It doesn’t help that this concept goes down some scary routes, making for moments of sheer body horror that can be hard to shake off once players take a look at Ito’s monstrosities. Gyo’s story is short, sweet and contains just enough moments of psychological horror to disturb most readers.

13 Blame!

A Psychological Horror Manga Set In A Dystopian Cyberpunk World

Killy and Cibo in Blame!

Mangaka

Tsutomu Nihei

Year of Publication

1997

Number of Volumes

Ten, Completed

Blame! is one of the most unique psychological horror manga set in a terrifying cyberpunk world. Its story follows Killy’s dangerous and challenging journey through this desolate future world where he wanders around in cyber-dungeons while fighting off cyborgs and other creatures to achieve his goal and find the Net Terminal Gene.

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This mysterious genetic mutation helps humans access the cybernetic NetSphere. However, before Killy can find the answer, he has to search for the hidden human settlements first. Blame! is a great choice for those horror manga readers who love thought-provoking sci-fi stories.

12 Dragon Head

A Post-Apocalyptic Horror Manga Where Survival Is Key

monster in Dragon Head

Mangaka

Minetaro Mochizuki

Year of Publication

1995

Number of Volumes

Ten, Completed

Minetaro Mochizuki’s Dragon Head is one of the scariest post-apocalyptic psychological horror manga and is perfect for dark fantasy manga lovers who enjoy great world-building and unique and deadly creatures. This scary manga also has one of the eeriest creatures and a spooky and immersive world thanks to its stunning art style.

Dragon Head is one of the darkest survival manga that’ll mess with readers’ minds as they get lost in the story of the not-so-lucky survivors of a deadly train crash. The story follows Teru, who, together with two other survivors, tries to get out of the tunnel and survive without light and food. However, when earthquakes also start to shake the tunnel, the survivors are pushed to their limits and start going down a dark and demented path.

11 Nijigahara Holograph

A Complex Psychological Horror Manga That Takes No Prisoners

kids in Nijigahara Holograph

Mangaka

Inio Asano

Year of Publication

2003

Number of Volumes

One, Completed

Inio Asano’s Nijigahara Holograph is one of the saddest psychological horror manga of all time with a thought-provoking and highly emotional story. The story explores the disturbing dark sides of human nature that are within all humans, even as kids. As well as shows its readers how a single decision can follow them around and influence their entire lives.

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Nijigahara Holograph is one of the most beautiful and complex psychological horror manga that follows the story of the lives of a group of kids who nearly killed a fellow mate as a sacrifice and how it affected their minds and what they had to suffer through after the incident.

10 Multiple Personality Detective Psycho

A Detective Whose Mind Is Wrecked After Witnessing His Wife’s Death

Kazuhiko in Multiple Personality Detective Psycho

Mangaka

Eiji Otsuka

Year of Publication

2003

Number of Volumes

Twentyfour, Completed

Multiple Personality Detective Psycho is one of Eiji Otsuka’s most interesting and darkest works. It’s also one of the twistiest and best detective manga for those who love violence and mystery-filled stories. MPD Psycho has fascinating characters and some of the scariest murder cases that’ll surely give nightmares to its readers.

Multiple Personality Detective Psycho follows the homicide detective who, after seeing his wife killed by a serial killer, starts to suffer from multiple personality disorder. Soon he becomes Kazuhiko Amamiya and goes after the killer who murdered his wife.

9 Doubt

How This Manga Messes With The Mind Of Its Readers Is Brilliant

bunny in Doubt

Mangaka

Yoshiki Tonogai

Year of Publication

2007

Number of Volumes

Four, Completed

Yoshiki Tonogai’s Doubt is perfect for those scary manga lovers who are looking for battle royal-style manga but with more complex stories and a thought-provoking concept that meditates on modern society and human connections.

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Doubt is one of the bloodiest and scariest psychological horror manga about a group of kids who love playing with a cell phone game called Rabbit Doubt. Soon, a few of the most dedicated players find themselves in a real-life life-or-death survival game during which they have to guess right about who is the wolf who infiltrates the bunnies if they want to stay alive.

8 Helter Skelter

Self-Image Issues Become Extremely Scary To Behold In This Manga

Ririko in Helter Skelter

Mangaka

Kyoko Okazaki

Year of Publication

1995

Number of Volumes

One, Completed

Kyoko Okazaki’s world-famous Helter Skelter is one of the darkest psychological horror manga that deals with various deep themes, most importantly mental illness. However, the story explores the darkest sides of vanity and greed that can easily lead to hatred and self-destruction.

Helter Skelter‘s story is about a young girl who dreams of becoming a star and undergoes multiple transformative plastic surgeries while also being harassed and assaulted in her personal life. The story follows as Ririko starts to struggle with PTSD and tells the tale of her heartbreaking and inevitable journey toward madness.

7 Fraction

A Dark, Disturbing Psychological Horror Manga Dealing With A Serial Killer’s Rampage

victim on Fraction manga cover

Mangaka

Shintaro Kago

Year of Publication

2009

Number of Volumes

One, Completed

Fraction is Shintaro Kago’s scariest horror manga and is a brilliantly weird mystery about a serial killer on a killing spree. It’s a weirdly thought-provoking story coupled with a chilling art style and more than a few gore scenes.

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It’s perfect for those who love unconventional meta-stories and twisty murder mysteries. Fraction’s story is about The Slicing Devil, a terrifying serial and a potential copycat. Fans will read about his story then they can get lost in various short stories. The book delves into all kinds of dark themes and has pretty dark sexual content as well, which can be triggering for some.

6 Homunculus

The Story Of A Homeless Man Who Becomes Desperate To Turn His Life Around And Sees Homunculi In The Process

Susumu in Homunculus

Mangaka

Hideo Yamamoto

Year of Publication

2003

Number of Volumes

Fifteen, Completed

Hideo Yamamoto’s Homunculus is one of the scariest psychological horror manga that’s able to stand against most, if not all, of Junji Ito’s scariest stories. The story mainly explores modern-day social issues like the dark sides of materialism while also dealing with identity and various mental health issues.

Homunculus’ story follows a young homeless man who is living in his car and spends his time between a park where most of his city’s homeless people live and a luxurious hotel. However, when Susumu’s car gets towed, he agrees to a trepanation surgery in exchange for some money. Soon he and Doctor Itoh realize that Susumu can see homunculi thanks to the hole that was drilled into his head.

5 Monster

Tailing A Chilling Serial Killer Who’s Easily One Of The Greatest Antagonists In Video Games

Johan in Monster

Mangaka

Naoki Urasawa

Year of Publication

1994

Number of Volumes

Eighteen, Completed

Monster is Naoki Urasawa’s most thought-provoking and fascinating work that forces its readers to take a hard look at themselves and the world they live in. This thought-provoking dark psychological horror manga tells the dark tale of a surgeon named Kenzo and his former patient Johan.

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Monster‘s story follows Kenzo’s adventures after he realizes that Johan is the infamous serial killer the police seem to be unable to catch. This twisty psychological manga is perfect for mystery lovers and for those readers who enjoy stories that make them question how they perceive others and their own feelings toward the world and humanity.

4 Goth

Explores The Mind Of High School Students Who Develop A Taste For Sadism

Boku in Goth

Mangaka

Otsuichi, Kenji Oiwa

Year of Publication

2003

Number of Volumes

Two, Completed

Otsuichi’s Goth is one of the darkest psychological horror manga with hauntingly beautiful art that’s both chilling and pleasing. The manga is about two high school students who are deeply fascinated by everything involving torture, violence, and murder.

Morino and Kamiyama soon form a strong bond over their love for grotesque murderers, and as Morino skillfully uncovers these terrifying mysteries, Kamiyama slowly starts to open up, revealing her true side to Morino and the readers. It’s the perfect horror manga for those fans who love all things grotesque and gore and stories that explore humanity’s darkest sides.

3 Hideout

A Short, Creepy Dealing With A Couple Trying To Get Over The Loss Of Their Child

Killer and young boy in Hideout

Mangaka

Masasumi Kakizaki

Year of Publication

2010

Number of Volumes

One, Completed

Masasumi Kakizaki’s Hideout can get creepier than some of the scariest moments in anime, even though it’s a fairly short story. This dark psychological horror manga is about a couple who is trying to deal with their son’s death while vacationing on a beautiful island.

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It’s one of the most iconic manga about man’s journey into insanity. The story follows this couple’s adventures as they hide in a cave in the middle of the island because of a big storm. Soon Seichi’s dark thoughts come to the surface, and he soon becomes fully determined to kill his wife before the sun rises.

2 Parasyte

Izumi’s Journey After Forming A Bond With A Twisted Parasyte Makes For A Great Watch

Shin's hand in Parasyte

Mangaka

Hitoshi Iwaaki

Year of Publication

1988

Number of Volumes

Ten, Completed

Hitoshi Iwaaki’s creepy horror animeParasyte is one of the most cringe-worthy and surprisingly fun psychological manga of all time that deals with all kinds of themes, including racial prejudice, self-hatred, and even environmentalism. It’s a perfect choice for those manga fans who are looking for a dark psychological manga without gore but with plenty of scary and weird moments.

Parasyte‘s story is about a young boy named Izumi who gets partially infected by a Parasyte that’s actually a monster that feeds on humans. Izumi and the mysterious Parasyte have to find ways to co-exist since none of them seems to be able to kill the other.

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