Cheeky Kid has been watching anime and reading manga for as long as he can remember. Doing so takes him to different worlds.
10 Anime Similar to Death Note
Death Note is one of the most brilliant pieces of work out there. It tells the story of a young man who picks up a notebook that can kill anyone who has their name written in it. It's a unique power that creates a unique narrative. The series also features interesting characters and an exceptional battle of wits between the protagonist and the antagonist. This anime is all about thrilling strategies and tactics.
This series is as spectacular as it is controversial. It talks about death, justice, human nature, and the essence of good and evil. A series this great will leave you wanting more. And that’s the reason I have written this article. I have listed some shows similar to Death Note that will blow your mind.
- Mirai Nikki
- Zankyou no Terror
- Death Parade
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Code Geass
- Zetsuen no Tempest
- Akame ga Kill
- Boku dake ga Inai Machi
- Year: 2004
- Episodes: 74
- Studio: Madhouse
Monster has to be on this list. Its dark themes and superb story will definitely leave you craving for more. This anime, adapted from the manga of the same name by Naoki Urasawa, tells the story of a surgeon named Kenzo Tenma. Dr. Tenma enjoys a successful life and career in Germany, but he does not like the politics at his hospital. When two children arrive at his hospital in critical condition, he disobeys the orders of his superiors to care for a government official. This act of kindness eventually proves to be a critical mistake that unravels his life. Tenma goes on a long journey to destroy the monster that this good deed created.
Monster is about human depravity. It’s dark as it examines the reality of human nature. As unsettling and eerie as this show is, it is also a gem to behold. It has a large cast that is very memorable and a complex narrative that has many layers. You would be a monster if you didn't check this one out.
- Year: 2012
- Episodes: 22
- Studio: Production I.G
Do you think morals and human nature can be measured? Do you think one’s own inclination towards good and evil can be quantified? If so, would it be fair and just? These are the questions just waiting to be solved in Psycho-Pass.
This series, created by author Gen Urobochi, is set in a future where a government bureau has technology that can calculate how likely an individual will commit a crime. The Psycho-Pass is used to judge people. If they are seen as a threat, they can be sent to mandatory rehabilitation. If they are determined to be a major threat, they can be executed immediately. This can all be done before a crime is even committed.
Doesn’t that sound pretty crazy? When it comes to brooding anime that questions humanity, Psycho-Pass is one of the best. It features intriguing characters and a dystopian environment that is reminiscent of Blade Runner. If you want more info on this anime, you can check out this detailed review.
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3. Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
- Year: 2011
- Episodes: 26
- Studio: Asread
With death running amok in every corner, Mirai Nikki (also known as Future Diary) tells the death-defying tale of a bunch of tragic players bound to play the survival game made by god—the Future Diary Game.
Each player gets a unique diary that they can use to predict the future. Their goal is to survive and become the next god of time and space. The story follows Yukiteru Amano as he tries to navigate through this game. He discovers that his only ally, a girl named Yuno Gasai, may be a threat herself.
This anime is filled with blood, thrills, mind games, action, and twists. It may not be for the faint of heart, but those who like to be on the edge of their seat will enjoy this series. If you love this anime, you can check out some other similar shows.
4. Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance)
- Year: 2014
- Episodes: 11
- Studio: MAPPA
Terror is what this show is made of. Zankyou no Terror (also known as Terror in Resonance) is about two young terrorists who shouldn’t even exist. Their names are Nine and Twelve, and together they are Sphinx. They have terrorized Japan and the police force is helpless against their wits. The two teens are brilliant, but do they have a purpose? They sure do, but it’s covered by a pile of dark secrets that the world is not ready to know.
Some call this series a masterpiece for its level of maturity and brilliance. Some call it crap for all the unanswered questions and underwhelming writing. I’ll leave that verdict up to you. At the very least, you can expect fantastic animation and music. This series was directed by Shinichiro Watanabe and the music was composed by Yoko Kanno. Longtime anime fans will remember this duo for their work on Cowboy Bebop.
5. Death Parade
- Year: 2015
- Episodes: 13
- Studio: Madhouse
What comes after death? That has been an eternally unanswered question. This series says that there are only two doors that exist after death. One is reincarnation, and the other is a void. Sounds constraining? It looks like there is no freedom and liberation in death.
In this anime, the recently deceased enter into a mysterious bar where a bartender gives them a game to play. Success or failure will decide if that person is reincarnated or cast into the void. Death Parade talks about letting the chains of life loose and being judged. Whatever you did with your life will be your key to the door you’ll encounter after death. Shinigami, or death gods, will be the judge of you.
This anime tackles some dark topics. It doesn't tiptoe around them either. It faces them directly, much like how we all have to face the inevitable one day. If you are on the fence about this anime, you can read this review.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Year: 2009
- Episodes: 64
- Studio: Bones
Are you wondering why Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is on this list? Well, I feel it is brilliant and deserves to be ranked here.
Edward and Alphonse are brothers who learn the art of alchemy at a young age. They use their knowledge to attempt to bring their mother back to life. This is a forbidden practice; Edward loses an arm and a leg while Alphonse loses his entire body during the ritual. They then embark on a journey to find the coveted Philosopher's Stone that can bring back their bodies.
While this one may not seem as dark, creepy, or unsettling with its visuals, the story is dark enough to give it an air of eeriness. There is an evil and cruel nature in this series. It has received strong praise, and the anime is certainly deeper than it seems at first. Even with alchemy in play, the plot is more serious than your typical action series.
7. Code Geass
- Year: 2006
- Episodes: 25
- Studio: Sunrise
If you’ve watched Death Note and feel like you want cerebral anime with more action, then I suggest you try Code Geass.
This anime is set in an alternate future where the Holy Britannian Empire controls America and Japan. Lelouch Lamperouge is a Britannian prince in hiding. His goal is to take down the Empire to avenge his assassinated mother. Lelouch comes across a power that gives him absolute control over anyone. With the power to make anyone follow his command, he puts his plan into action.
This anime has all the mind games you’ll ever want with the perfect mix of action you want to see on the screen. This show has a spectacular story that will leave you in awe until the very end. Believe me; Code Geass is one of the best anime out there. If you are looking for more anime with this kind of style, here are some series worth looking into.
8. Zetsuen no Tempest (Blast of Tempest)
- Year: 2012
- Episodes: 24
- Studio: Bones
Introducing another philosophical and psychological series, Zetsuen no Tempest (also known as Blast of Tempest) has action as well as battles of wits. You'll follow along with the action as it makes you play along with its mind games.
The anime follows the story of a few characters, like a witch trapped on an island, a young man longing for revenge, and a dear friend caught up in all the messes of love and war. The show can get pretty wild, but it's an enjoyable ride. This dark fantasy is a tale of revenge that has many references to Shakespearean plays like Hamlet and The Tempest.
9. Akame ga Kill!
- Year: 2014
- Episodes: 24
- Studio: White Fox
I’m warning you now, every character in this show is just waiting to die one after another.
This anime covers the journey of a fighter named Tatsumi. He travels to the capital to earn money for his village. He discovers that the capital is corrupt as it's run by officials who want a world where only the strong rule. Tatsumi eventually meets the swordswoman Akame and the group called Night Raid. This group tries to bring peace to the world by killing the sources of corruption. Can the world really be changed?
This anime features great action and a narrative that offers brutal commentary on corruption.
10. Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)
- Year: 2016
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: A-1 Pictures
If you found the thrills in Death Note exciting, then Boku dake ga Inai Machi (also known as ERASED) will leave you even more satisfied.
Satoru has a mediocre life as a struggling manga artist and part-time delivery driver. However, he has the amazing ability to travel back in time to prevent disasters. A series of events leads to him going back to his childhood in 1988. He must now prevent the crimes of a serial killer who murdered children in his hometown.
You won’t be able to shake off the feeling of uneasiness that every episode of this show gives you. It feels like something bad is going to happen every now and then. While this series has a strong sense of dread, its tightly-woven mystery will have you coming back for more.
Recommended Mystery Anime
Here are some additional mystery anime that you should consider checking out.
- Steins;Gate: This series follows a scientist who is able to perform a sort of time travel where he is able to send messages to the past. He must evade a shadowy organization while saving others from the mistakes he has made.
- Mushi-Shi: Ginko is a traveler who helps a variety of people deal with problems caused by Mushi, which are small and mystical organisms. Ginko has to solve how each Mushi works and how to solve the dilemmas they create.
- Mononoke: This avant-garde series is about a traveling medicine seller who encounters various spirits that linger in the human world. He must use his knowledge to understand the form of these spirits to eventually destroy them.
- Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo: This series is a futuristic take on the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas. It features a unique art style that has CGI backgrounds and colorful clothing that stays static while characters move. This series is an example of an anime with a stronger European influence.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: This futuristic anime focuses on a government agency that investigates cases of terrorism and cybercrime. This series also questions the meaning of humanity in a world where man and machine seem more similar than ever.
© 2016 Cheeky Kid
Zainab Naqib on September 04, 2020:
I love how you actually used bulleted lists at the end and the beginning of the article.
And it's way easier to navigate this way. I haven't seen much other articles doing this, and I can tell this one's professionally written.
Enormous on August 24, 2020:
Code Geass is the best of all and is also very similar to death note
Shade on August 16, 2020:
I watched death note then Akame ga kill and gotta say the mix right after each other is perfect but idk what to watch next to
BingeWatcher3000 on June 26, 2020:
i watched both and akame ga kill and death note back to back and to tell u d truth akame ga kill and was good but d only real thing they both had in common was the mistake of killing d people u accually start to like in an unexpected way
Legend on May 06, 2020:
Code Geass the best one.
bro on April 19, 2020:
ERASED!? The ending is awful, and extremely predictable. It starts good, but the ending is so terribly predictable that it brings the score down. To say that Erased is just as good as Death Note is just... embarrassing.
Doctor saviour on November 21, 2018:
Im really surprised to see how people here dint vote for "Akame ga kill" to watch next it is a really good anime and i binge watched it during my exams also. I knkw it's not even close to death note but i think it is the one to watch after death note
Xtylish B on October 22, 2018:
Oh wow so many cool animes!!
Lingeson on August 26, 2018:
I have started watching Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance) and its really awesome.
Mr.Freshman on August 20, 2018:
Ive Seen All of Monster and it is Absolutely Mind Blowing. I love how the Main Character Changes; this anime truly explores the dark side of human nature. Just Check it out
Naomi Starlight from Illinois on March 27, 2016:
I watched Erased episodes 1 and 2 in the video room of an anime con I was at recently, and I was hooked, I can't wait to see more.