The 12 Creepiest Scenes and Moments in Anime, Ranked

Here are some of the creepiest, most disturbing, most unsettling scenes I've seen in anime. How many have you seen?
The 12 Creepiest Scenes and Moments in Anime, Ranked

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You'll find lots of creepy scenes and moments in anime, especially in horror anime series, and especially in the anime adaptations of famed horror mangaka Junji Ito's stories.

But it's not only in horror anime. In fact, many non-horror anime series have started incorporating creepy scenes and moments in their shows—from body horror to unsettling images—to add dread and terror.

When done right, it can escalate the tension we feel as we're drawn towards the climax of a scene. The more skillfully it's done, the more memorable and impactful the scene can be.

From horrifying figures to disturbing deaths to nightmare fuel, here are my picks for the creepiest scenes and moments in anime.

12. The High Priest of Evil Sutra (Dark Gathering)

Watch: High Priest of Evil Sutra released

To fight a powerful spirit in the H Castle Ruins, Yayoi of Dark Gathering releases her graduate spirit: the High Priest of the Evil Sutra. It's a powerful spirit that can send anyone—whether living or dead—directly to hell with his chants.

What makes this scene so terrifying is that the High Priest resembles a monk with a bald head and wears prayer beads. However, instead of exuding an enlightened tranquility, this monk is pure evil, a dark and ominous being who emits a sinister aura and presence.

11. Reimi's Layered Body (Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre)

Watch: Mother peels off her daughter's skin

In the first part of episode 8 (titled "Layers of Terror"), a father finds a sinister artifact that later puts a dark curse on his family. In the case of his daughter Reimi, her body ends up made up of layers of "herself."

However, it's not the layers found in Reimi's body that fill us with chills and fear, but the scene where her mother slices and peels her daughter, hoping to reach the young Reimi within.

Another disturbing moment occurs when she slices herself to get to her own youthful self beneath all the layers of her skin. Unfortunately, she isn't layered like her daughter is, and the resulting scene is nightmarish and full of body horror that's seriously twisted.

10. Äs Nödt's Transformation (Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War)

Watch: Äs Nödt versus Rukia Kuchiki

In Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, the Quincy King designates Äs Nödt with the letter F, which stands for Fear. With this, Äs Nödt becomes the embodiment of fear and his specialty is inducing fear in others.

What makes his scenes so horrifying is that there's something hidden beneath his Sternritter's cloak. He appears cold and calculating on the outside, but he's actually a real monster to be afraid of.

When he activates his Vollständig, he turns into a sinister creature with a stitch running down the middle of his body. He later transforms into a more gruesome form: a giant with innards gushing out, with his initial body hanging off like shed skin.

9. Dina Yeager's Smiling Titan (Attack on Titan)

Watch: The Smiling Titan eats Eren's mother

Smiles can usually brighten up anyone's day, but when it's Dina Yeager who's smiling at you, it's probably the worst day of your life.

Even if you manage to survive your encounter with her, you'll be haunted for the rest of your life by the image of her nightmarish figure, her grotesque grin, and the dead look in her eyes.

Of course, I'm talking about the Pure Titan form of Dina Yeager, who ate Eren's mother during the breach in Shiganshina District early in the series. In this scene, we see that her presence alone is terrifying enough to make anyone cower in fear and run for their life.

8. The Smiling Statue of God (Solo Leveling)

Watch: The smiling statue of God

Like the Smiling Titan in Attack on Titan, here we have another creepy smile that'll send shivers down your spine. Except, this smile is from a statue. Just the thought of an inanimate statue returning a smile is enough to creepy anyone out, no doubt.

After bowing down to "worship the god," this statue changes its expression from blank to a sinister grin and stares back with dark satisfaction towards Jinwoo and the remaining hunters.

This dungeon scene, which occurs early in Solo Leveling, features several giant statues armed with deadly weapons, and they need to follow the rules to survive the onslaught in front of the god-like being.

7. S Tunnel (Dark Gathering)

Watch: The S Tunnel Ghost appears

In Dark Gathering, the S Tunnel is where Yayoi gets her very powerful yet sneaky spirit. The way it presents itself to the wandering trio is very much like the most common legends that tell about the horrors of roads, highways, and tunnels during the dark of night.

The scariest part of this scene is when the S Tunnel Ghost is seen through their rearview mirror. Can you imagine how terrifying that'd be in real life? Especially if you were alone...

6. The Sandman's Lair (Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre)

Watch: The man inside Yuji

Junji Ito's "The Sandman's Lair" (originally titled "Den of the Sleep Demon") features a chilling take on the subject of alter egos and split personalities. In this story, Yuji is a man who's deprived of rest and sleep because he fears his alter ego is taking over his body.

What makes the twisted story that much more terrifying is how the alter ego actually takes over Yuji's body. Unlike other stories where the character usually has a drastic personality change, Yuji's alter ego flips its host body inside out and emerges from the mouth.

5. Pitou Reading Pokkle's Mind (Hunter X Hunter)

Watch: Pitou pokes Pokkle's brain

There are lots of intense scenes during the Chimera Ant Arc of Hunter X Hunter, but the most gruesome scene of the series occurs when Pitou learns the secrets of Nen through Pokkle.

It's basically a question-and-answer interrogation, but the whole thing is elevated with a grotesque spin as Pitou uses sticks to move around Pokkle's brain to "extract" information about Nen.

This scene is made even creepier by the fact that Pokkle is "probably" alive as Pitou messes with his brain. The scene was somewhat censored in the anime, so check out the manga for its full awfulness.

4. The Body With Holes (Junji Ito Collection)

Watch: The body covered in holes

Junji Ito has proven that any horror story can be terrifying even without ghosts or monsters as long as it twists our expectations of what's normal in disturbing and unsettling ways.

One of the best examples of this is his famous story "Shivers," which was adapted into anime form as episode 4 of Junji Ito Collection.

In this scene, we see that Yuuji's friend is affected by a curse because of his greed, which covers his body in numerous holes. You'll be seriously disturbed if you suffer with trypophobia, but even if you don't, you'll be horrified—it's that unnerving.

3. Kuchisake Onna (Jujutsu Kaisen)

Watch: Suguru Geto uses Kuchisaki Onna

In Jujutsu Kaisen, Suguru Geto has the ability to manipulate cursed spirits whom he has ingested, thus owning them as his own powers. One example is the creepy female cursed spirit called Kuchisake Onna.

He uses this technique against Toji Fushiguro, trapping him in a domain where he's forced to encounter said female cursed spirit.

Kuchisake Onna is based on the Japanese urban folklore entity of the same name, which bears the appearance of a woman who hides her slitted mouth behind a mask or fan.

In the legend, when you encounter Kuchisake Onna, she will ask if she is beautiful. Death awaits you if you answer "No," but if you answer "Yes," your fate will be to have your mouth slit from ear to ear.

2. Connie's Death (The Promised Neverland)

Watch: Connie's death

The very first episode of The Promised Neverland is one of the most shocking episodes in anime. It starts off with an orphanage of young kids nurtured with love and care, only to end with a gruesome death.

And it's not even the demonic monsters that make it horrifying, but the fact that these children are being raised as livestock (by humans!) to be shipped off and sold for consumption by those monsters.

Isn't it bad enough that these kids are orphans? For their beloved mother figure to betray them like this is simply unforgivable.

1. The Umbrella Scene (Another)

Watch: The umbrella scene

Another is a horrific anime that's packed with death. However, the most disturbing death of all is the "umbrella scene" in episode 3, which was the first of the many deaths and has become an icon of the show.

Unlike in other episodes, where the murders and deaths are pretty much foreshadowed and inevitable, no one expected that Yukari Sakuragi would die by an umbrella through the throat.