The ancient folklore dictates werewolves to be the mystical counterpart of vampires. Werewolves are basically human-wolf shapeshifters, changing from their human form to that of a furry wolf under a full moon night. However, in recent popular culture, the influence of a full moon has lost a bit of its significance and it is shown that werewolves can change form whenever they want.
While the popularity of vampires is rampant in the Japanese media, werewolves are seriously underrepresented. This is a bit surprising as Japanese anime never shy away from showcasing the portrayal of anthropomorphic creatures as their storyline – this can be explored in the popularity of anime involving kitsune spirits and Neko people.
The small amount of Japanese anime centering on werewolves, however, ranges from science fiction short films to long fantasy sagas. The characters, in this anime, either have the ability to transform into a full lycanthrope and back into a human or can be somewhere in between – a demonic human-wolf form.
Although, as mentioned earlier, anime centered on werewolves are grossly rare, this is not to say that the ones based on this particular theme are subpar. In fact, the anime featuring werewolves are usually a hit among the viewers. So, here are the top 15 best werewolf anime of all time:
1. Soul Eater
Aired On-April 7, 2008
Soul Eater as the name suggests has a very dark premise, but somehow it is able to bring a smile to your face. It has been regularly applauded for having a series “dark but lively plot and for being visually imaginative, explosive and great fun.”
It is based on a manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Atsushi Ōkubo. The characters comprise three teams each consisting of a weapon meister and (at least one) weapon that can transform into a humanoid.
The Series is set in Death Weapon Meister Academy, which has a lot of association with Death considering it is located in Death City and has a master named Death. The students of this Academy includes MakaAlbarn and her scythe partner, Soul Eater;Death the Kid, and his pistol partners, Liz and Patty Thompson; and many more. These students could either become weapons or wield them. Their aim is to absorb 100 souls in which there should be 99 evil humans and one witch in the same exact order.
The story begins with Maka and Soul Eater battling the witch Medusa, being backed into a corner she forces Crona, her offspring to collect non-evil human souls. Her eventual aim with it is to create an Evil god. It is these events that set in motion the teams and their quest for evil souls.
2. Dance In The Vampire Bund
Aired On-January 7, 2010
Dance In The Vampire Bund is an anime based on the Manga of the same name. This Manga was written and illustrated by Nozomu Tamaki. This series is set in a post-apocalyptic world where vampires have emerged in human society. Both the sides are adjusting to this new lifestyle which has created a new status quo. It was a 12 episode series directed by AkiyukiShinbo and Masahiro Sonoda, and written by Hiroyuki Yoshino, with animation by the studio Shaft.
This story focuses on this Bund created by Mina Țepeș, Princess-Ruler of all vampires, and her werewolf protector Akira KaburagiRegendorf for Vampires to live in openly. In this universe, the existence of Vampires has been a secret which has led to a very intense isolation among them. Trying to end this, Mina gains permission to create a special district for vampires called “The Bund”, off the coast of Tokyo, Japan by paying off the entire national debt of the Japanese government with her family’s vast wealth.
After a mishap that leads to the death of vampire-movie actor Seiichi Hirai (who was revealed to be an actual vampire), the secret of vampires is exposed to everyone including the reason why Bund is created. This begins a tussle as well as a war of ideology between Mina and fearful humans and extremist vampire factions.
There is a sort of social order even in the bund where Vampires are the primary civilians living there as well as with Mina’s Werewolf guards called the Beowulf also live there full-time for her protection.
3. Spice And Wolf
Aired On-January 9, 2008
Spice And Wolf is an Anime based on a light novel series of the same name. It is a fantasy but is sort of unique as it imparts attention to themes like economics, trade, and peddling. The anime adaptation lasted for 12 episodes. The series became so popular that Two visual novels based on the series were released by ASCII Media Works in June 2008 and September 2009.
The reason the series has drawn so much attention is because of the series’ practicality.
Yes, there is an impossible element to it, but at the same time it focuses on real life issues. Our main character Kraft Lawrence trades various goods from town to town to make a living. One day while passing a town named Pasloe, he to his finds in his wagon a wolf-deity named Holo. Holo is over 600 years old. To appear in front of him she takes the form of a 15-year-old girl. The only issue is this human girl has a wolf’s tail and ears.
She decides to leave the town as she feels unwarranted and disrespected there. She feels that the residents have outgrown her as they move away from her protection towards their own methods of increasing the harvest.
She makes a deal that allows her to leave the village and she decides to travel the world with Lawrence in the process exploring how it has changed. In doing so she becomes an integral part of various day to day dealings of Lawrence sometimes benefitting him or sometimes putting him in danger’s way.
4. Wolf Children
Aired On-July 21, 2012
Wolf Children is an Anime movie written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda. The film is voiced by actors like Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa and Haru Kuroki. It is a movie about a family who goes through a strenuous experience after getting hit by a tragedy. This tragedy brings out emotions of love and survival both in equal quantities simultaneously. In addition to it, it also puts a lot of attention on choices and on what basis we should make them.
The story focuses on the family that Hana and her Husband create. They both fall in love deeply when Hana goes to Tokyo to study. She falls in love with this enigmatic personality but little does she realise what she is in for. He turns out to be a werewolf. But their love is so strong that she still agrees to marry him and start a family with him. They have two children. They have a daughter, Yuki, and a son, Ame.
Their offspring turn out to be just like their father. Yuki and Ame are werewolves as well who have the ability to constantly switch between their human and wolf forms. In the fear that they will be ostracized if found out Hana has to hide them from the world. Over everything her husband dies while hunting for them.
Rather than being able to mourn over her husband she is pushed into a race of survival for her children. To hide their identities she moves to a rural and remote area where both of her children branch out to different lifestyles that begins to put them in immediate danger.
5. Wolf’s Rain
Aired On-January 6, 2003
Wolf’s Rain is an Anime Series which had Tensai Okamura as the director and featured character designs by Toshihiro Kawamoto. It follows four Werewolves as they cross paths while following the scent of the Lunar Flower and seeking Paradise.
Wolf’s rain in a few words is a very quaint and intense series. Though both of these qualities are very difficult to find simultaneously it is present in abundance in this series. We really get in the very depths of these characters in every way possible. We learn about them through their struggles and victories equally.
The story takes place in a world where werewolves and humans exist together. People think that Werewolves have become extinct but in actuality they are surviving by casting illusions over themselves to make them appear human. The four werewolves who are the central character are all coming to a common place because they want to open up Paradise.
In this world there is an old legend, that when the end of the world comes, there is a place known as Paradise that will open itself up. To achieve this paradise Kiba, Tsume, Hige and Toboe come to Freeze City for this exact purpose. They band together in accordance with their nature to find Cheza, the Flower Maiden who is destined to lead the wolves to Paradise. And henceforth begin this game of life and death.
6. Princess Resurrection
Aired On-13 April 2007
Princess Resurrection is an anime based on the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by YasunoriMitsunaga. The anime was created by Madhouse and aired on TBS in 2007.
Princess Resurrection follows an average guy named Hiro Hiyorimi, who has just moved to the fictional Sasanaki Village to meet his sister.
His sister here works for the mysterious Hima who is very reclusive in nature. One day he accidentally encounters her along with her short yet strong android bodyguard Flandre. In that encounter, Hiro loses his life while getting Hime out of harm’s way. But to the surprise of the viewers and Hiro himself when he suddenly finds himself alive, initially confused, a feeling which multiplies as he encounters Hime and unconsciously defends her during her fight with a werewolf.
It is later that he becomes privy to the fact that Hima is a member of the royal family in the Monster Realm and wields great power one of which is to temporarily revive the dead as half-immortals bound to serve and protect them.
And now Hiro is bound to protect her too.
Hime is in a huge war of succession, unwillingly with her siblings for the Monster Kingdom’s throne. And now Hiro has garnered the responsibility to save her from all these attacks. They are later joined by various other characters which includes vampires and werewolves.
Aired On-July 7, 2015
Overlord is an anime based on the novel series of the same name written by Kugane Maruyama and illustrated by so-bin. The novel series also spawned a manga adaptation by Satoshi Ōshio, with art by Hugin Miyama. The Anime ran for 3 seasons containing 13 episodes each, with the first season airing from July 7 to September 29, 2015. Various outlets have considered season 4 a serious possibility.
This anime has the classic setting of a game becoming a reality. We have many anime having a similar setting but this one pushes the envelope in terms of its treatment. It deals with the psychology of a creature beyond ethical concerns with near-limitless power. Here the main character who is a harmless individual in real life shows no weakness or hesitation with actions like killing while in the game.
The game is based on a game titled YGGDRASIL. It is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game or DMMORPG. This game is known and is very popular for its high ability for the player to interact with the game.
After a glorious 12 year run, the game servers are about to be shut down. This game has a very strong guild called AinzOoal Gown, a member of that team and our central character Momonga invites everyone for a last meeting.
No one barring One comes, which makes him come face to face with the harsh reality that others’ don’t have their life as tied to the game like him. He decides to stay in the game till the last moment, but then is faced with the utter horror and joy of the fact that his dream has become a reality.
8. Rosario + Vampire
Aired On-January 3, 2008
Rosario+Vampire is an anime series based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Akihisa Ikeda. Though a fantasy it really holds its own, as a Shoujo anime as it had a main character with a lot of romantic ties. It has aired 13 episodes to date since its inception.
Rosario+Vampire follows TsukuneAono, a boy who inadvertently enrolls in a boarding school for monsters. There he becomes close friends with MokaAkashiya, a vampire. But as destiny would have it she develops an obsession with his blood. He meets plenty of other female counterparts in the institution who take a romantic liking to him.
Tsukune has a pretty rough start in this institution. This boarding school is made for monsters to learn how to co-exist in the real world. And this is not the only weird thing about it, it is hiding a lot of secrets that could potentially put everyone in danger.
Aono as he begins to adjust himself makes more friends like a succubus KurumuKurono and a child prodigy witch, Yukari Sendo. They all decide to come together and join the school’s Newspaper Club. The club soon finds themselves fighting a variety of students and teachers. These students and teachers use their powers to bully creatures around them for their own advantage and selfish needs.
They also gain plenty of allies of different kinds from the outside world like a witch, Ruby Tojo and MizoreShirayuki who becomes obsessed with Tsukune.
Aired On-October 10, 2001
Hellsing is an anime series based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Kouta Hirano. It is based on an organisation of the same name that combats vampires, ghouls, and other supernatural foes who threaten England. It has been airing from October 10, 2001 and has produced 13 episodes to date.
The anime series was produced by Gonz. and Directed by Umanosuke Iida. Though the series was based on the manga, the screenplay by Chiaki J. Konaka was significantly different from the manga. The screenplay made use of some of the same characters and similar character designs.
Hellsing focuses on an organisation that works on the orders of Queen Victoria. It was led by Abraham Van Helsing. After his death it was passed on to his daughter Integra FairbrookWingatesHellsing. Seeing her father die in front of her eyes has changed her personality in a lot of ways as she grew accustomed to negative emotions such as betrayal.
This feeling was strengthened when she was attacked by her Uncle and had to be ultimately saved by Alucard. Alucard is the original and most powerful vampire, who became Hellsing’s most powerful weapon after he swore loyalty to the Hellsing family. He swore loyalty to them after he was defeated by Van Helsing one hundred years before the story took place.
Integra, Alucard along with the faithful Hellsing family butler Walter C. Dornez and former police officer Seras Victoria, whom Alucard turned into a vampire. This team then goes on various missions exploring this world where various species coexist and save this realm as well.
10. Blood Lad
Aired On-July 7, 2013
Blood Lad is an anime series based on the aanga series of the same name created by Yuuki Kodama and serialized in Young Ace. It is an extremely popular series, consisting of 10 episodes. It was produced by Brain’s Base and directed by Shigeyuki Miya, with series composition by Takeshi Konuta, character designs by Kenji Fujisaki, art direction by Masaki Mayuzumi and Toshiyuki Sakae and sound direction by Satoki Iida.
This anime follows a Vampire named Staz who lives in a surreal demon world. One day he meets Fuyumi Yanagi, an ordinary Japanese high school girl who has accidentally wandered into the demon world through a portal. Staz and Yanagi have a very meaningful encounter exemplified by the fact that he wants to indulge in human’s Japanese otaku lifestyle of reading manga, watching anime, and playing video games.
But it turned tragic when Yanagi met her death by a carnivorous plant and was turned into a ghost. Seeing her in this condition Staz vows to resurrect her as a human. Things take an extreme turn when they realise that Fuyumi needs to drink Staz’s blood in order to not fade away.
As they go deep into the story we realize the various roadblocks they have to surpass to achieve their means. Every step from opening the portal to resurrecting Yanagi proves to be altering. This adventure is hard on both the characters’ emotions as they feel intense romantic feelings for each other.
11. Wolf Guy
Aired On-December 17, 1992
Wolf Guy is an anime based on the manga series of the same name written by Kazumasa Hirai and illustrated by Hisashi Sakaguchi. Originally written in 1970 the series has been re-adapted with a more violent and mature setting in 2007 by Yoshiaki Tabata and Yuuki Yugo. Along with producing an anime series it has also produced a live action adaptation.
Wolf Guy is not for the faint hearted at all. It deals with a variety of intense and hard hitting themes. It deals with paranoia, anxiety and mental health issues. It follows werewolf Akira Inugami who has violence written as a destiny over him. His parents die in a gory way and everywhere he goes people seem to attack him for everything. Inugami’s main relationship throughout the anime is with Akiko Aoshika which causes a lot of uproar as she is literally his teacher.
Though they meet each other way before they know about their Student- teacher connection it is still something that fans regard as wildly inappropriate. They understand each other and support each other in ways nobody else can. Their life gains meaning through each other and when it all ends or appears their solace is in finding each other.
Then we have characters like Dou Haguro, Akira Jin, RyuukoKonuma, Yuusaku Chiba, and Kuroda Twins. They add a layer of depth to it as every character comes with an intense backstory and reasons for their actions.
12. Magical Pokaan
Aired On-April 4, 2006
Magical Pokaan is a Japanese anime also referred to as Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān. It deals with four princesses who have come to live in the human world. They previously lived in the Netherworld. The anime was directed by Kenichi Yatagai with composition and script by Yasunori Ide.
In a lot of ways the anime can be characterised as a Hentai Anime as it focuses on the sexual characteristics of the characters. It follows four princesses- Uma the Witch, Pachira the Vampire, Liru the Werewolf, and Aiko the Android along with Keimie (the princess’ invisible chaperone). This series goes in depth how these creatures are adapting to life in this human world.
They live in their Garakuta House (a makeshift treehouse complex with the name being a homage to the author of the same name) in Hikarigaoka. Along with being a fish out of water here, they are also facing typical problems like finding a boyfriend, blending into society, learning about Earth’s cultures, and staying one step ahead of Super Doctor K-Ko.
The characters are very varied and diverse with Uma being a cheerful and bubbly girl who is very inquisitive about people around them and culture in general. Pachira is a Vampire who constantly gets into problems due to her sunlight intolerance. Liru is a Werewolf that displays a lot of animalistic tendencies. Akiko, an Android whose weight always causes things to crush and destroy around them. Keimie is a mysterious figure who is their Chaperone but remains invisible throughout the series. And then we finally have our Super Doctor K-Ko who is our driven Antagonist.
13. Cuticle Detective Inaba
Aired On-January 4, 2013
Cuticle Detective Inaba is an anime based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Mochi. The anime television series was released in 2013. Since its airing it has made 13 episodes in all.
The story follows a part human and part wolf detective named Hiroshi Inaba. He was not born like this and got this difficult life by the virtue of having his genes altered. Being passionate about reasonings and findings he has found his own Private Detective Agency where he has many colourful characters as a part of his team. This Team includes a cross-dressing secretary, Yuuta and his “mostly normal” teenager assistant Kei. Their main concern throughout the show is to deal with Don Valentino, a goat who eats money.
Our main character Hirosh Inaba has a rich backstory. He was a part of the Police Squad but left it after his younger brother went out from there. He sets up his own agency and regularly helps his partner Kuniharu Ogino especially in cases that involve the Valentino Family.
His method for Detective work is also very peculiar as he uses his capabilities as a part wolf. He examines and tastes People’s hair. Being a werewolf he also has the ability to transform into a more wolf-like form.
The type or color of hair that he eats grants him special powers and attacks from. The type of wolf that he transforms into is red in colour. Just like typical werewolves he is extremely loyal to his pack aka family and turns a blind eye to his Younger brothers’ evil aura.
Aired On-July 8, 2010
Episodes-22 + 2 Specials
Shiki is an anime series based on a horror novel series of the same name. Before the anime, the novel series spawned a Manga Franchise, drawn by Ryu Fujisaki, was serialized in the Japanese monthly magazine Jump SQ. The Anime began broadcasting on July 8, 2010 on Fuji Television and concluded later that year on December 30, 2010.
One of the most important themes of the series is the fact that the setting in the series has become a character. Just like in Batman where Gotham as the city in which the story took place at various points took the centre stage, here also the same thing happens with the small quiet Japanese village called Sotoba. It is either its landforms or environment that cause the emotional turmoil in the characters.
The whole story begins to weave itself in this quaint village when a strange family moves into the long-abandoned Kanemasa mansion on top of a hill. They bring with them a series of mysterious deaths, doubts on them are further intensified when Megumi Shimizu, a girl who is set to move to the city, wounds up death in the forest. She raises suspicion on the family as her last whereabouts are located in their house.
Other characters include Doctor Toshio Ozaki, director of Sotoba’s only hospital, who initially suspects an epidemic. But as evidence begins piling up, he becomes convinced that it is the work of the “shiki”, vampire-like creatures, plaguing the village. NatsunoYuuki is another man in the anime, wants to leave this place and begins to be followed by death.
15. Black Blood Brother
Aired On-September 8, 2006
Black Blood Brothers is an anime based on the light novel series of the same name, written by KōheiAzano and illustrated by YuuyaKusaka. The anime series was directed by Hiroaki Yoshikawa. It aired a total of 12 episodes in the entirety of its run. Its North American release was handled by Funimation Entertainment.
The series is very fast paced as it seems that the characters are always in the midst of war. The events are set off by a war called the Hong Kong Crusade, in which an old blood vampire named Jiro Mochizuki, a.k.a. the Silver Blade (Gintō), fights and defeats the Kowloon king and most of the Kowloon children.
Ten years later he decides to move to Hong Kong with his brother Kotaro Mochizuki in hopes of reaching the special zone. He wants to find the special zone because it is a place where the vampires inhabit peacefully without any human interference.
But as he reached Hong Kong he realised that the survivors of Kowloon children are looking to establish dominance again and their first course of action is to conquer the special zone. Seeing his horrifying past in front of his eyes, Jiro has the choice to either return or fight.
But before he can make that choice he is thrust into the battle as Kotaru is abducted by the Kowloon children. Things become personal for him and he is forced to come into this battle no holds barred. Along the way, we are introduced to another character, a human girl named Mimiko.