Besides these classics, there are plenty of lesser-known anime from the 80s that bear a striking resemblance to “Stranger Things.” An example is the 1987 film “Wicked City”. In this dark fantasy, an alternate dimension known as the Black World is inhabited by tentacled black demons. The Dark World is incredibly similar to the Upside Down from “Stranger Things,” home to spider monsters like the Mind Flayer. The sprawling black demon from the 1988 animated film “Demon City: Shinjuku” also shares a number of elements with the Mind Flayer from “Stranger Things.” Just like in the contemporary Netflix series, the demons in this anime pass through a red portal to the earthly realm. Shinjuku, an area of Tokyo, becomes a demon-infested wilderness, as does Hawkins.
“Stranger Things” won acclaim for its sparse, synthesized soundtrack, which provides a suspenseful and nostalgic sonic backdrop for the series. A similar score can be found in the 1986 animated film “Vampire Hunter D.” The cult classic horror is set in post-apocalyptic Japan and also features giant spiders that may have been used as a direct reference for the Mind Flayer’s character design.