Happy Halloweeb to all my ghosts and ghouls of Otakutober! We have officially made it to the FINAL day of 13 Days of Otakutober! Fear not because instead of having tricks for you today, we’re going to take a walk on the sweet side and end the month with some treats. Thanks to everyone who has been keeping up with all these posts and traversed with horror video games, vampires, horrific deaths, shinigami, and more throughout these last 13 days. And today, as the grand finale, we have none other than a highlight into one of my favorite (and perhaps only exists in my[Luna’s] mind) subsections of anime: candy pop scary anime.
Now, you may ask: “what is candy pop scary anime?” Excellent question Watson! Candy pop scary anime is that fun horror/supernatural esque genre of anime that is usually quite bright, a little humorous, but still has those traditional moments of the horror and/or supernatural genre. The aesthetic of the show is almost like semi-emo, or to better describe, like a basket–a basket shaped like a jack-o-lantern–filled with candy. Some of the candy is sweet, some of the candy is sour, but it’s all very colorful but with an underlying darkness. I know that is definitely weird to say, but it’s the best depiction of candy-pop scary anime I can think of. After all, I think that candy-pop scary anime really does have more to do with aesthetics than it does with actual plot or anything else. Because it’s just like…horror or supernatural that also has some cute aspects to it…and is visually appealing with brighter colors. It’s like a perfect balance between light and dark–a little creepy and a little cute. It’s very hard to nail down, but if you saw it–I feel like you’d definitely know. But since that was a super lame description, I know many of you are still super unclear–no worries though, because I’m about to dive into some good examples of what exactly candy-pop scary anime is.
Pandora Hearts used to be my shit. Like you have no idea how much I enjoyed this manga/anime, but it was quite a lot. Pandora Hearts is definitely one of those anime that tease the line of true gothic anime, and candy-pop scary anime. But I definitely believe it falls on this side. The reason being is that while it has those gothic aesthetics to it for the most part, the abyss, which plays a HUGE role in the entire show, definitely feels candy pop. Filled with toys, dolls, and some vibrant colors, it really edges into this childishly creepy kind of feel. Plus this show definitely has moments of humor which certainly add into that candy-pop vibe. I will say that if we look at the manga, it mostly has a gothic feel, and less so of the candy-pop–only because the manga goes very deep and very dark, hitting a more gothic feeling than anything else. Still, the anime in of itself feels slightly more candy-pop to me. But admittedly, after thinking about this compared to some other ones–this is definitely the least candy-pop. Though let’s also be real–if Break was the main character, this would be 100% candy-pop horror. His whole character design just screams it. I also think that once you see people cosplaying Pandora Hearts, it feels much more candy-pop than just watching it. But that’s of course coming from someone who has cosplayed from it multiple times.
Servamp--I can’t believe I watched this whole goddamn show. First off, I actually really enjoy this show. Secondly, I actually have a lot of problems with this show and how it ends. However, this is one of my favorite examples of candy-pop scary anime. The main cast of this show have these amazingly bright character designs. Additionally, the vampires, while fearsome, are made less frightening by taking smaller forms (often those of animals) when they aren’t using their full power. Hyde turns into a little hedgehog, the main vampire Kuro turns into a little black cat, and so and so on. This pseudo cuteness paired with the brightness contrasts a lot of the darker themes and darker settings. This is why I think Servamp is actually a really good example of candy-pop horror. It very much balances out the light and the dark balance in what could be an otherwise super serious show. It’s definitely a very fun show. What’s interesting though is that I don’t see a lot of fandom surrounding this show. I do understand that it didn’t make huge waves as it’s storyline is only so-so and it received only a single season, but I’d expect the whole aesthetic of this anime makes it stand out to the fans a little more. Still, I have seen some cosplays of this out in the world, and it’s always pretty easy to spot from the bright colors.
There is probably no better example of a candy-pop scary anime than Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun. Not only does the entire aesthetic of the anime fit that of candy-pop scary anime to a T, it also is an excellent representation of ‘scary’ tropes such as ghosts and spirits, brought on in a rather lighthearted but still dark way. Filled with bright colors and cute art, Hanako-kun also hints at some pretty dark themes that, yes it never quite gets to, but are definitely present. And actually–forgetting the things they don’t get to, they also actually do really get dark with the Mitsuha storylines. But again, everytime it gets too serious it draws it back to the lighter side. Plus it never gets super dark and gruesome thanks to the art style which keeps even the darkest moments bright. Also…in case you haven’t seen it, this show is hella good. So this is my slight endorsement to 10/10 watch this show. Though I will say, the art reminds me of a gigantic jack-o-lantern brimming with Halloween candy (if that makes any sense).
Then of course if we rewind in time, we have Soul Eater. This is like the epitome of 2000s candy-pop scary anime. Now, I don’t know if you remember the character Blair–but in the case that you don’t, she’s a witch dressed in all purple who is famously depicted around floating jack-o-lanterns. Now, if her existence wasn’t the first hint of candy-pop scary anime, then the otherwise emo-like aesthetic of this show should point in that direction. Being filled with witches, death scythes, graveyards, purple skies, and…for lack of a better word–derpy looking moons, Soul Eater certainly had the proper aesthetic. Though admittedly this was not a horror show, but a rather typical shounen instead. But it did have more of a horror feel to it so I think it still counts. See any cosplay and photoshoot for it; hell–even look at the splash art– and you’ll know it counts.
Ge.Ge. Ge Ge Ge Ge Geeeee. If you didn’t sing that in your head then you’ve clearly never had the pleasure of listening to this song queue up multiple times in AMQ (anime music quiz). Gegege no Kitaro. If I’m being totally honest, I have never actually seen any of the iterations of this show. I know literally nothing (except that the theme song has literally never changed). This like semi-fits the aesthetic. But honestly this is just the trick in the bag of treats for this post (and for you–oh friend of mine who knows exactly who you are).
By now do you have any kind of understanding of candy pop scary anime? Totally fine if you don’t. But I hope that my walkthrough of some classics has helped light the way for you. And I also hope that you have enjoyed these past 13 Days of Otakutober! We will always have them archived in the day 1 post. I hope that our spooktacular otaku content helped make your spook season just a little better! Thank you everyone who has stuck with it these thirteen days, and to all of our readers out there, Happy Halloweeb!