6 Anime Series to Help You Relive Your Goth Phase
by Lynzee Loveridge,
In the west, the phrase "going through a goth phase" evokes a particular image - black eyeliner, fishnets, clove cigarettes, Anne Rice novels piled on top of horror DVDs, a Siouxie and the Banshees decal on the back of a nicked-up old Subaru. It's a subculture that grew out of european Gothic Rock in the late 70s, eventually having some mainstream influence in the US in the 90s, when a run of goth-flavored films like Interview with the Vampire and The Crow made a wide-scale cultural impact along with bands like Nine Inch Nails. In Japan, the gothic lolita character and clothing style holds sway in fashion circles and has become a way to introduce an off-beat or different kind of cutesy character in anime. Plenty of anime feature gothic lolitas or Victorian England settings, but the series themselves wouldn't necessarily be described as "goth" despite this window dressing. For a show to fall into the tradition of Gothic fiction, it needs to exude a certain mood - like Mary Shelley's Frakenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or even Beetlejuice.
These are shows with a preoccupation with tragedy, the beauty of death, and the romanticism of the macabre.
6. xxxHOLiC: Kei Within a shop that's only visible to those who need it is a witch of many names. Yūko will grant her visitor's wish, but it isn't always what they want it to be. Her constantly vexed assistant, Watanuki, routinely finds himself wrapped up in curses and the business of monsters. One arc reads like a classic Victorian horror story when Watanuki's stoic friend Dōmeki affronts a spider and finds himself cursed. The pair end up in back and forth attempts to take on the curse for the other or lift it entirely before they must confront the creature that presides over spiders.
5. Vampire Princess Miyu Miyu is eternally 15 and will remain so until she banishes all the Shinma - evil demons - from Earth. She drinks blood like a traditional vampire, but only from willing victims that wish to see their loved ones. Miyu's bite puts her "food" in an ecstatic dream-like state, another example of vampire symbolism's connection to sex. Many of the show's episodes are self-contained plots with tragic endings. Miyu herself will offer biting commentary, like asking an otaku if he's still bored after he jumps off a roof. The show's juxtaposition between Miyu's beauty and the sometimes gruesome fates of the secondary cast earns this spot on the list.
4. Trinity Blood Part sci-fi, part horror, the world of Trinity Blood takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where The Vatican is tasked with protecting humanity from bio-engineered vampires. One vampire, Abel, has sided with humans and works with Sister Esther Blanchett and Father Tres to fight off impending threats. Underneath the story's elaborate timeline is a classic revenge story. Abel, after mourning the death of his beloved Lilith for nearly a millennia, swears vengeance against his brother Cain.
3. Lament of the Lamb A tragic tale of forbidden romance, suicide, and vampirism, Lament of the Lamb is easily overlooked. This OVA was never released stateside, and the manga is long out of print. While lacking Victorian fashion, Lament of the Lamb can be thought of as a modern Gothic tale. Protagonist and orphan Kazuna Takashiro finds himself afflicted with an illness well-known to his family line: an insatiable thirst for blood. He attempts to control it and turns to his older sister for help. She too has the same problem, but like any good heroine, she's also dying from a weakened heart condition. The reunited siblings begin forming a bond forged in blood and Kazuna must decide what he'll do once his sister will no longer offer herself to slake is thirst.
2. Le Portrait de Petit Cossette A doll-like ghost trapped in an antique fascinates an increasingly infatuated art student. His obsessive love for her is Poe-like, as is the suffering that befalls him to free her. Cossette was an entrancing debutante who was murdered by her soon-to-be husband, an artist. Her soul has lived on inside a glass art piece in relative solitude, until Eiri discovers her and heads down a self-destructive path to free her. Cossette's soul is no longer the pure girl her image projects, and the objects around her are also cursed. She tortures Eiri as atonement for the crime committed against her, while the objects manifest her wrath against unsuspecting citizens. Eiri takes the torture in stride, a small price to pay for the undead woman he loves.
1. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust A Romeo and Juliet love affair between a vampire noble and a beautiful, dark-haired girl is the centerpiece in Madhouse's stylish adaptation of Hideyuki Kikuchi's novel series. Doomed from the start, Baron Meier Link and his paramour Charlotte are in a race to reach The City of the Night before they are captured by bounty hunters dispatched by her father and brother. The film caps off with Meier Link taking to the skies with the dying Charlotte, their "City of the Night" perhaps more metaphor than physical place. The film does an excellent job capturing Yoshitaka Amano's art sensibilities and filling each scene with a brooding atmosphere amidst the lush, Gothic architecture.
The old poll: Which Fall 2018 anime series are you most looking forward to?
- A Certain Magical Index III
- Sword Art Online: Alicization
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
- Goblin Slayer
- Golden Kamuy
- Fairy Tail (TV 3/2018)
- Tokyo Ghoul:re (TV 2)
- That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
- FLCL Alternative
- Bloom Into You
- Tsurune: Kazemai Kōkō Kyūdō-bu
- Boarding School Juliet
- Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
- Ace Attorney Season 2
- Karakuri Circus
- Ulysses: Jeanne d'Arc and the Alchemist Knight
- Run with the Wind
- Ms. vampire who lives in my neighborhood
When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.
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