‘Death Note’ is probably one of the most loved anime of all time. Whoever has watched the anime will forever remember the rivalry between Light Yagami and L Lawliet, their smartness and how they outwitted and outsmarted each other at every step. And obviously, who didn’t love Ryuk! Though the series ended in 2007, the hype is still pretty high. With that said, here is the list of best anime similar to ‘Death Note’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these anime like ‘Death Note’ on Netflix, 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 in a normal way 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 in an island. Yoshino somehow encounters Hakaze and offers his help in exchange for her helping him find the culprit; Hakaze agrees to the terms. Soon, it turns out 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.
17. Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl) (2005)
‘Jigoku Shoujo’ give off vibes similar to that off ‘Death Note’. This anime is a psychological mystery-thriller with horror elements in it. There are a total of 26 episodes, with each episode being around 25 minutes in length. 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 the 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)
What I and many others like about ‘Death Note’ is 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 staying ahead of the other. This tension is what made the anime so great. Though such tension does not arise in ‘Ergo Proxy’, it does give the psychological thrill to get a spot on this list. It is a mystery anime which will keep you guessing. The anime takes place in the future when Earth is no longer inhabitable in a normal way 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 by the name of AutoRevis, who help humans with their day-to-day activities, are created. But recently, there has been a problem with the AutoRevis. They are contracting a disease the humans’ dub ‘cogito virus’, which is giving 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.
15. Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha (2007)
‘Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha’ is a very interesting and entertaining anime. It is a thrilling sci-fi mystery. There are times when it will make you root for the next episode. There are a total of 25 episodes in this anime, with each being 24 minutes in length. Two gates suddenly open in the sky above Earth. One is Heaven’s Gate while the other is Hell’s Gate. The heaven’s gate appears over South America while the 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, contractors, humans who have sacrificed their humanity to gain superhuman abilities, emerge. One such contractor has the codename Hei. He is an infamous contractor and has the nickname of ‘Black Reaper’. He, like his associates, work for the syndicate. But there is a certain dark conspiracy which 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. It is very colourful, so for people who like vibrant, bright colours in their anime will find it visually appealing.
The anime has a total of 12 episodes, with each episode being 23 minutes in length. 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 boring than games and so they spend almost all of their time playing games. 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, the god of games. 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 of Games.
13. One Outs (2008)
‘One Outs’ is a fun little sports anime. You might be thinking how does a sports anime end up on a list which is about anime similar to ‘Death Note’. Well, you have to see it to understand my point of view. This anime has some really serious psychological warfare going on. It has a total of 25 episodes with each episode being 23 minutes in length. Though the stakes are high, they are never as serious as ‘Death Note’, where one mistake could mean literal death.
The anime revolves around the sports of ‘One Outs’ 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?
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 the process of solving the mystery is entertaining. This is still one of my favourite anime from my childhood days. Shinichi Kudou is a high school student. He is a genius when it comes to solving criminal cases. But during one of his cases, 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 his physical appearance becomes that of a child’s. Thankfully, his intelligence still prevails. 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 anime 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 small 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. There are a total of 12 episodes in this anime with each episode being 24 minutes in length. Then there’s a sequel movie which came out in February this year.
10. Steins: Gate
If you love paradoxes and time travel complexities, you should definitely watch “Steins: Gate”. “Steins; Gate” is an adaptation of the 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 which allows him to send text messages in the past and that’s when the trouble starts.
9. Fullmetal Alchemist
The plot of ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ may not appear to be so appealing at first, but it’s dark, intriguingly dark. It develops an aura of strangeness. 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.
8. Terror in Resonance
“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 police very easily. It is very interesting to find out their reason to choose terrorism.
“Durarara!!” tells the story of a Dullahan working as an underworld courier in Ikebukuro, an internet-based anonymous gang called the Dollars and the chaos that unfolds around the most dangerous people in Ikebukuro. The series ran for thirteen volumes, published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko imprint.
6. File of Young Kindaichi
‘Death Note’, besides being about mind games and Shinigami, is also about mysteries. If somebody loves mysteries, then “The File of Young Kindaichi” is one of the best anime on the list. “The File of Young Kindaichi”, also known as The Kindaichi Case Files, 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. The cases are really interesting and are bound to keep you baffled and thinking.
5. Death Parade
“Death Parade” features the story of what happens after death, a question that is still unanswered. In Death Parade, after death, the actions of 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, the death gods, stand the judge about the fate of a person after death.
4. The Future Diary
If you are looking for a bone-chilling thriller like Death Note, you should watch “The Future Diary”. In this anime, 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 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.
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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; Tenma loses his social standing. 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.
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2. Code Geass
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 and explosions. It follows Lelouch, who becomes involved in a terrorist attack and finds a mysterious girl called C.C. who saves his life from the Britannian Royal Guard, by making a contract with him and granting him a power known as Geass. With that, he plans to overthrow the Empire of Britannia that has taken over Japan and renamed it Area 11.
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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.
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