6 Iconic Folklore Anime + Manga – Perfect for Halloween Season

Black Bird

Black Bird by Kanoko Sakurakoji, Vol 1

GENRE: Shoujo: Dark Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural,

MANGAKA: Kanoko Sakurakoji

PUBLISHER: Betsucomi

PUBLISHED: Summer 2006 – Winter 2012

I remember Black Bird as the quintessential slightly dark teenage supernatural romance. The thing ran for 18 volumes – that’s 6 years of publication starting in 2006 and I don’t know how it doesn’t have an anime. The manga follows Misao who can see the supernatural. While the creatures were harmless at first, they start getting more vicious and she must depend on her Tengu knight and saviour to defend her and her ‘Senka’ aka Bride of Prophecy virtue.

It’s really weird the closer you examine it. Still, this manga is full of drama and if you can clench your teeth through some of the more old-fashioned nonsense, this story can be very entertaining.


Mushishi by Yuki Urushibara Vol 1

GENRE: Seinen: Supernatural, Historical

MANGAKA: Yuki Urushibara

DIRECTOR: Hiroshi Nagahama, Kōichirō Sōtome

WRITER: Hiroshi Nagahama

STUDIO: Artland

LICENSOR: Madman Entertainment, Funimation, Revelation Films

PUBLISHER: Afternoon Season Zōkan (1999–2002), Monthly Afternoon (2002–2008)

PUBLISHED: Winter 1999 – Fall 2008

AIRING: Fall 2005 – Summer 2006, Summer 2014 – Winter 2014

This historical supernatural manga is centred around Ginko, a man who aids those who are plagued by the supernatural entities called mushi. Each story within URUSHIBARA YUKI’S work introduces a mushi to the reader with the way in which they interact with the physical world and the humans within it.

The atmosphere of this manga not only reflects the times but also the uncanny valley in which mushi exist. The idyllic quickly transforms and the art uses fairy like forests and odd backgrounds to convey how tilted the other side might be compared to the one we are so accustomed to.

Myanimelist gives it a 8.7 which would be encouraging for the squeamish.Though this seinen work has horror elements it is not a horror manga, I promise (ish). So those of you who would be scared to venture, its ok, it wont bite.

Urutsei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi, Vol 7

GENRE: Shounen: Romantic Comedy, Sci-Fi

MANGAKA: Rumiko Takahashi

DIRECTOR: Mamoru Oshii, Kazuo Yamazaki

WRITER: Takao Koyama, Kazunori Itō, Michiru Shimada

STUDIO: Kitty Films, Pierrot, Studio Deen

LICENSOR: AnimEigo, Anime Projects

PUBLISHER: Weekly Shōnen Sunday

PUBLISHED: Fall 1978 – Winter 1987

AIRING: Fall 1981 – Spring 1986

Now, this is a classic manga, though TAKASHI RUMIKO is more known for Ranma½, this manga also had a large presence in the anime and manga industry. With 34 volumes and almost 10 years of publication this shounen embodies what RUMIKO’s works are all about, humour, ridiculous situation, and strange premise. The story is around an ogress who is promised to a human boy is not all that on board, I know it sounds icky but… trust me it warms up to you.

Though some of the themes would not be popular nowadays, this manga has humour or days. The art, the antics, and the jokes translate somewhat well and thanks to the notes in the margins even gaijins like us can enjoy. 

Myanimelist gives it a 7.71, which is pretty decent considering its age and size. If you wanna dive into a manga and have chuckles along the way, pick this manga up.


Mononoke by Ninagawa Yaeko

GENRE: Seinen: Fantasy, Occult, Mystery, Psychological Horror

MANGAKA: Ninagawa Yaeko

DIRECTOR: Kenji Nakamura

WRITER: Chiaki J. Konaka, Ikuko Takahashi, Michiko Yokote, Manabu Ishikawa

STUDIO: Toei Animation

LICENSOR: Siren Visual, Toei Animation Inc.

PUBLISHER: Young Gangan, Monthly Comic Zenon

PUBLISHED: Fall 2007 – Fall 2008, Fall 2013 – Fall 2014

AIRING: Summer 2007

This master piece. Why isn’t everyone talking about it!? Mononoke – not Princess Mononoke – is a beauty and I love it and I don’t understand how there aren’t more cosplays and fanfics and fanart. All there is, is just a 12-episode series and 4 volumes of manga published in 2007-2008 and 2013-2014. Mononoke, the series, is a collection of short stories starring a wandering nameless character who is only identified as the “Medicine Seller”.

This… person? Creature? Sexy beast? He investigates and exorcises mononoke – a type of spirit that linger in the human realm by binding themselves to negative emotions. The art style is out of this world and every story is captivating. I just wish the animation was smoother.

Inu Yasha

Inu Yasha by Rumiko Takahashi Vol 5

GENRE: Shounen: Fantasy, Romance, Adventure, Historical

MANGAKA: Rumiko Takahashi

DIRECTOR: Masashi Ikeda, Yasunao Aoki

WRITER: Katsuyuki Sumisawa

STUDIO: Sunrise

LICENSOR: Madman Entertainment, Anime Limited, Viz Media

PUBLISHER: Weekly Shōnen Sunday

PUBLISHED: Winter 1996 – Summer 2008

AIRING: Fall 2000 – Fall 2004, Fall 2009 – Spring 2010

With the sequel coming, we can’t possibly leave out this cornerstone of shoujo anime and manga. Brought to us by Rumiko Takahashi and animated by studio Sunrise, this anime and manga were epic – despite the ending the story had. Inu Yasha starts off in modern Tokyo where Kagome lives, in a Shinto shrine. On her fifteenth birthday, Kagome is attacked by a supernatural creature and dragged into a well that takes her to olden day Japan – the Sengoku period to be exact. There, she meets Inuyasha, a half dog demon. From there, they go on a journey to retrieve the shards of a jewel and encounter many creatures from Japanese folklore.

It’s hard to explain how good Inu Yasha was. Despite being a little cringe to watch now due to the quality of the anime and how almost nothing ages well, Inu Yasha is still pretty great. It’s very entertaining in terms of plot, world-building and the integration of folklore into the story. New anime like Kamisama Hajimemashita wish they could be an entertaining as Inu Yasha.

Kakuriyo Yadoushi

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi Promotional Art

GENRE: Shoujo, Josei: Fantasy, Romantic Comedy

MANGAKA: Midori Yūma (story), Laruha (art), Wako Ioka (art)

DIRECTOR: Yoshiko Okuda

WRITER: Tomoko Konparu


LICENSOR: Crunchyroll, Funimation, Muse Communication

PUBLISHER: Fujimi Shobo, B’s Log Comic

PUBLISHED: 2015 to present

AIRING: Spring – Fall 2018

This 2018 summer anime takes us through the tribulations of Doormat – sorry: Aoi Tsubaki – as she is forced into the hidden realm to repay her late grandfather’s debt – which she does not question nor ask about the amount – by marrying Oudanna an ogre and master of the Tenjinya inn.

You might think Inuyasha or Black Bird or Kami-sama Hajimemashita at first look, but none are as bad as Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi. This anime’s Mary Sue has zero agency unlike Inu Yasha’s Kagome who at least had a hand in what she would do next. Aoi keeps doing things only after they have been suggested to her; she just goes with the flow. And she only goes about trying to repay the ogre after dithering for an eternity.

Speaking of plot, the original light novel and its manga adaptation have had 4 and 3 years respectively to build to something and are still running. Midori Yuuma, writer of both the manga and light novel, had 16 volumes in total to round off characters and develop a story that is not as formulaic as: someone doesn’t like Aoi because she is a pesky human, she cooks them food, they like her. Everything is resolved! 26 episodes of filler. Why.

When it comes to her romantic interest, Oudanna, his character is all over the place. He demands Aoi be his wife but also considers her a lowly human girl? I never thought I’d say this, but can we have Black Bird’s Kyou back? At least his temperamental tendencies made some sense.

I can’t tell if he hates her or wants her but he needs to make up his mind. . .

I’d like to say that at least the art is really good but beyond some beautiful sceneries, everything else is subpar. The animation is lazy. The character designs are uninspired – seriously, they lifted Gugure Kokkuri-san’s Kokkuri and pasted him as Ginji – and for some reason all the Ayakashi love to stay in their human form despite hating on humans. I know this is probably a decision made to make characters more appealing or cut down on animation costs and errors but One Punch Man cut down costs in its second season and they still managed to animate non-human characters.

Watching this was a mistake. Some say its take on Japanese lore is interesting. I say, go watch Mononoke; it has an intriguing take on animation and Japanese mythology. Some say it has great music. I say… it does. I also say, you can get great music from Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju and you won’t have to suffer through 26 plotless episodes.  Some say it is a hidden gem. I say, get a dictionary. If you have the time to watch this, you might as well rewatch Inu Yasha.

Just to nit-pick: Aoi’s grandfather groomed her to cook for Ayakashi. Like he was planning to use her as a scapegoat for at least a decade. What even. Also, how have her friends not reported her missing to the police?