A Major Disconnect: Exploring the Lack of Effective Horror Anime
For me, It’s hard sitting through horror movies. I know, I know, I’m a weakling, but it’s true. Even subpar products like the recent remake of Flatliners had me in all but the most panicked of states. No matter how hard I try I can’t get through the creeping effects of seeing people on screen and knowing that they will more than likely die.
Halloween got me thinking more and more about Horror as a genre and as a storytelling convention. Even poorly made horror films can still get a lot of people with a well-timed jump scare. However, anime, and a lot of animation, doesn’t really have that advantage.
In the game of life, animation drew the short end of the stick when it comes to scaring people. Unfortunately, their are a few underlying reasons as to why.
One of the main two reasons is that animation is often perceived as childish. Whether it be literally kid shows like Yugioh or Pokémon, or even a less sophisticated adult comedy like family guy, it is ingrained in many fans minds that animation is just for kids, and that we shouldn’t be scared because that be dumb.
The other, and more important reason is that no matter how detailed and alarming, we know that animation isn’t real. The reason that simple jump scares often get to us more than a well planned frantically horrifying scene in anime is because we simply don’t associate these things with reality, because they’re drawings, whereas live-Action horror films have the air of looking at least theoretically possible.
And this really sucks. Shows like Higurashi which put time and effort into building up an intense atmosphere really only make me feel slightly creeped out, as opposed to legitamently scared. Because of these realities, Horror in anime remains a niche and under appreciated part of our beloved medium.
I’m really curious: What has your experience with horror anime been? How scared of an anime have you gotten? Let me know in the comments. Bye for now, Friendos!