‘Death Note’ is ranked the most popular anime of all time, and for a good reason. The psychological drama anime primarily focuses on the epic rivalry between Light Yagami and L Lawliet. The geniuses have conflicting ideas of justice, which soon come into clash with one another, and a brain game between the two begins with the lives of countless people on the line. Even though the anime reached its conclusion several years ago, it continues to have a great influence on the industry. Fans must be looking for shows like ‘Death Note,’ so today we have compiled a list of anime that are similar to it. You can watch several of these anime on Netflix, Funimation, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, or Hulu.
18. Zetsuen no Tempest (2012)
Mahiro Fuwa is one of the main characters of the anime ‘Zetsuen no Tempest.’ He has to go through a tragedy when his older step-sister is murdered along with his parents. His sister was the girlfriend of his best friend, Yoshino Takigawa. After her death, Yoshino tries to live his life normally, but Mahiro takes a vow to find the killer and bring him/her to justice. Hakaze Kusaribe is a witch and is the leader of the Kusaribe clan. But her clan betrays her and leaves her on an island. Yoshino somehow encounters Hakaze and offers his help in exchange for her helping him find the culprit, and Hakaze agrees to the terms. Soon, it is revealed that the followers of Hakaze intend to awaken the ‘Tree of Exodus,’ which will put the entire world in danger, and Hakaze, along with Mahiro, has to stop that. Yoshino then learns of his friend’s intentions of saving the world when the latter saves him from a girl holding him at gunpoint. Yoshino then joins Mahiro in his mission. You can watch the anime here.
17. Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl) (2005)
‘Jigoku Shoujo’ is a psychological mystery-thriller anime with horror elements. The anime is kind of interesting and tries to keep you on the edge of your seat. Hell Correspondence is a website. Most people will never hear or know about it. But those who have a strong grudge against someone can access it during midnight. They can use the website to send the person they have a grudge against straight to Hell. Yes, spooky stuff, right? Ai Enma is the Hell girl responsible for the job. She does her task without judging whether the person of interest is, in fact, guilty or not. She is there just to exact revenge for the person who accesses the website. Her actions are swift, and she uses three straw dolls to do so. But such a service is definitely going to have a catch, right? Yes, the person who requests the name will have to live their entire afterlife in Hell.
16. Ergo Proxy (2006)
‘Death Note’ is popular because of the psychological tension that arises between L and Light. Each one of them is trying to outsmart the other, and both of them are equally competitive. This tension is what made the anime so great. Though such tension does not arise in ‘Ergo Proxy,’ it does provide the psychological thrill to be included on this list. It is a mystery anime that keep viewers guessing until the very end. The anime takes place in the future when Earth is no longer inhabitable following an ecological catastrophe. The only places that humans can survive in are artificial domes that can sustain human life.
To make the recovery of mankind easier, humanoid robots named AutoRevis, which help humans with their day-to-day activities, are created. But recently, there has been a problem with them. They are contracting a disease the humans’ dub ‘cogito virus,’ which gives them self-awareness. Investigating this issue is Re-I Mayer, who is Romdo’s (head of a dome) granddaughter. As she gets deeper and deeper into the mystery, she starts to uncover a dark conspiracy. You can watch the anime here.
15. Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha (2007)
‘Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha’ is a thrilling sci-fi mystery. Two gates suddenly open in the sky above Earth. One is Heaven’s Gate, while the other is Hell’s Gate. Heaven’s gate appears over South America, while Hell’s gate appears above Japan. Now there’s an oppressive skyscape where there used to be the beautiful night sky. With the appearance of the gates, humans who have sacrificed their humanity to gain superhuman abilities emerge. One such contractor has the codename Hei. He is infamous and is nicknamed ‘Black Reaper.’ He, like his associates, work for the syndicate. But there is a certain dark conspiracy that needs to be uncovered soon since it might undermine the very existence of the contractors. The ongoing secret war, which is hidden from the normal eyes, is what gives the show its thrill.
14. No Game No Life (2014)
‘No Game No Life’ is one of the best isekai anime out there, and if you are a fan of the genre, then you will want to check it out. The anime gets a spot on this list because of the various psychological games that the protagonists play with their opponents to win, especially with Tet, the God of games. Sora and Shiro, the protagonists of the anime, are siblings who love games. They are good at games, so much that the username, ‘Blank,’ that the duo uses holds a sort of legendary status among the gamers. They find that real life is more boring than games, so they spend almost all of their time in the game world. One day, they receive an email from someone claiming to be the God of games, challenging them for a game of chess. The duo agrees and is transported to Disboard, a land where all disputes have one solution — games. The ruler of this world is Tet. Sora and Shiro must try and unite the 16 factions present in this world and rise against Tet and defeat him if they want to become the next God. You can watch the anime here.
13. One Outs (2008)
‘One Outs’ is an entertaining sports anime that anime revolves around the titular sport, which is a simple version of baseball and has one pitcher and one batter. Toua Tokuchi is a professional athlete, but in his heart, he is a true gambler. His guesswork and psychological prowess prove to be quite useful even though his pitch of 134 Kmph is not that fast. In the game of One Outs, he has a record 499 wins. Hiromichi Kojima wants to have Toua in his team so that their streak of unsuccessful games finally ends. But the owner of Lycaons thinks that Toua is not a good fit for the team. Toua then comes up with a deal. He says that for every out he pitches, he should gain 5 million Yen and for every run he gives up; he will lose 50 million Yen. Will Toua be able to survive the competitive world of sports?
12. Detective Conan (1996-)
I guess it is obvious why ‘Detective Conan’ is on this list. The genius of Conan in solving the cases and the thrill of watching him brainstorm so many ideas are entertaining, to say the least. Shinichi Kudou is a high school student. He is a genius when it comes to solving criminal cases. But during one of his investigations, he follows a band of criminals, and this is when he gets caught, and the criminals inject him with an experimental drug. Shinichi does not die, but physically he becomes a child. Thankfully, his intelligence is still intact. He hides his true identity from everyone, including his childhood friend, Ran Mouri. Her father is a private eye. Shinichi adopts the name of Conan Edogawa, inspired by two popular mystery writers, and starts solving Ran’s father’s cases from behind the scenes.
11. Youjo Senki (2017)
‘Youjo Senki’ is a fantasy thriller anime. The reason the show is on this list is because of the protagonist Tanya Degurechaff. She is an intellectual girl whose ruthless strategies and tactics are enough to mercilessly defeat the opposing armies. Tanya, however, in real life, is a man who denies the existence of God. So one day, Being X, who claims to be God, transports him to a world where magical warfare takes place and turns him into a little girl in an orphanage in the hopes that her desperation will make her believe in God. But Tanya is all set to prove Being X wrong. You can watch the show here.
10. Steins: Gate
If you love paradoxes and time travel complexities, you should definitely watch ‘Steins: Gate.’ The anime is an adaptation of a video game of the same name. It is set in 2010 in Akihabara, Tokyo, and follows Rintaro Okabe, a self-proclaimed mad scientist who runs the Future Gadget Laboratory in an apartment together with his friends, Mayuri Shiina and Itaru “Daru” Hashida. One day he accidentally ends up inventing a device that allows him to send text messages in the past, and that’s when the trouble starts. The show is available on Funimation.
9. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2003 – 2004)
The premise of ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’ may not appear to be so appealing at first, but it’s dark and extremely captivating. It has a strange way of drawing viewers’ interest and keeping them hooked to the end. Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques, the story follows two alchemist brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are searching for the philosopher’s stone to restore their bodies after a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life using alchemy. You can watch the anime here.
8. Terror in Resonance (2014)
‘Terror in Resonance’ is the story of two kids, none and twelve, who were not supposed to exist. Together, they are big trouble for the Japanese police. They are witty and are able to outsmart the law enforcement authorities very easily. They have a strange reason to choose terrorism instead of peace, and as the race of cat and mouse between two opposing ideologies begins, it is tough to stop one from binge-watching the entire show. The anime will definitely remind viewers of ‘Death Note’ because of all the mysteries and mind games. The anime is available on Hulu.
7. Durarara!! (2010)
‘Durarara!!’ recounts the story of a Dullahan who works as an underworld courier in Ikebukuro, an internet-based anonymous gang called The Dollars. He is deeply involved in the chaos that unfolds in the region, which is home to some of the most dangerous people in Ikebukuro. The series ran for thirteen volumes, published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko imprint. The anime may not be as good as ‘Death Note’ but is still worth watching for anime fans who love shows with mystery and drama. You can watch the show on Crunchyroll.
6. File of Young Kindaichi (1997 – 2000)
‘Death Note,’ besides being about mind games and Shinigami, is also about mysteries. If somebody loves puzzles, then ‘The File of Young Kindaichi’ is arguably one of the best anime on this list. The series is also known as The Kindaichi Case Files, and it follows the crime-solving adventures of a high school student named Hajime Kindaichi, who is the supposed grandson of the famous (fictional) private detective Kosuke Kindaichi. Like L, who takes down dangerous criminals and courageously goes after Light, Hajime also is smart and careful with his every move. Each case that he undertakes is just as good as the previous one, if not better, which makes the anime a captivating experience.
5. Death Parade (2015)
Death Parade recounts the story of the afterlife and what happens after death, a question that is still unanswered. In Death Parade, once someone is dead, their actions during their life become a key factor in determining whether one will be reincarnated or will be sent to void, from where there is no return. The Shinigamis, or the death gods, stand the judge about the fate of a person after death. They pose several challenges against people to determine what someone deserves in the afterlife. They may not be as hilarious as Ryuk from ‘Death Note,’ but with their own personality traits, they are undoubtedly quite interesting. You can head here to watch the show.
4. The Future Diary (2011 – 2013)
If you are looking for a bone-chilling thriller like Death Note, you should watch ‘The Future Diary.’ In the show, the fear of death can be felt at each step, and the plot is really grim and dark, which makes it interesting. Yukiteru Amano, a daydreaming loner who observes life and jots down the events on his cell phone, has only two (imaginary) friends — Deus Ex Machina, the God of Space and Time, and his assistant, Muru Muru. But it turns out Deus is very much real.
Deus transforms Yukiteru’s phone into a Future Diary capable of predicting the future for up to ninety days. Yukiteru discovers that he and eleven others are part of a survival game orchestrated by Deus. The aim of this game is to eliminate the other diary holders. The winner succeeds Deus as God and can prevent the Apocalypse. Yukiteru finds himself protected by Yuno Gasai, a charming but psychopathic classmate who obsessively stalks him after they promised to go stargazing together a year before. All episodes are accessible for streaming here.
Read More: Anime Like Naruto
3. Monster (2004 – 2005)
Dr. Kenzo Tenma is a young Japanese brain surgeon who is working at Eisler Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf. Tenma is dissatisfied with the political bias of the hospital in treating patients and seizes the chance to change things after a massacre that brings fraternal twins Johan and Anna Liebert to the hospital. Johan has a gunshot wound to his head, but he manages to survive. Meanwhile, Mayor Roedecker dies, and Tenma loses his social standing as a result of going against the advice of his seniors. Director Heinemann and the other doctors in Tenma’s way are mysteriously murdered, and both children disappear from the hospital. The police suspect Tenma, but they have no evidence and can only question him. As the story progress, the dark secrets behind the murder are slowly revealed, and Tenma gets labeled as the prime suspect in all of them.
Read More: Anime Like Attack on Titan
2. Code Geass (2008)
When it comes to mind games, Code Geass definitely comes after Death Note. With so many strategies and plans, Code Geass is probably the best option for lovers of the genre. Besides that, the anime has a lot of action scenes as well. It follows Lelouch, who becomes involved in a terrorist attack and finds a mysterious girl called C.C. She not only saves his life from the Britannian Royal Guard but also grants him a power known as Geass. With that, Lelouch began to plan the overthrow of the Empire of Britannia that had taken over Japan and renamed it Area 11. But the world is not as simple as it seems, and his mysterious powers ultimately lead to his isolation in a fight for the greater good. The anime is accessible for streaming on Funimation.
Read More: Anime Like Trinity Seven
1. Psycho-Pass (2012 – 2019)
Justice and its enforcement have changed. During the 22nd century, Japan enforces the Sibyl System, an objective means of determining the threat level of each citizen by examining their mental state for signs of criminal intent, known as their Psycho-Pass. The Psycho-Pass is the standard reading of people according to the data collected about them from their daily actions. If their overall aptitude is good, then they pass. But if they are diagnosed as being disturbed or inclined to commit evil, then they are taken care of even before they commit any crime. Although the technology seems perfect on the surface, as the story unfolds, the dark secrets of the system are revealed, challenging everyone who put their blind faiths in it. You can watch the show on Hulu.
Read More: Anime Like Boku No Hero Academia