Cheeky Kid has been watching anime and reading manga for as long as he can remember. Doing so takes him to different worlds.
Let me deduce the reason why you’re here. You love mystery and anime. I can conclude that you love a combination of the two. Well, who doesn’t?
These shows are often the most thrilling and suspenseful entries in the medium. They can be modest mind ticklers or brutal brain teasers. Oftentimes, these shows require you to meticulously think and ponder. The crux of the genre, after all, is to be substantially mysterious!
When looking for anime, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all. They’re all different and unique! All these shows have different styles and have had different receptions. The listing you’re about to witness is my own personal verdict. These shows are all from the mystery genre and they’re the best from where I stand.
The 10 Best Mystery Anime
- Detective Conan
- Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
- Death Note
- Mirai Nikki
- Higashi no Eden
- Zankyou no Terror
- Zetsuen no Tempest
10–'Zetsuen no Tempest' ('Blast of Tempest')
Coming in at number 10 is a show that minces the mind with mystery. While not a perfect series, I feel it is good enough to make it to the top 10.
Featuring some terrific visuals, fluid animation, and a cast of likable characters, Zetsuen no Tempest can be called a gem in the rough. If only it didn’t stammer with its momentum after the first half, everything would be excellent. Nonetheless, for a show that is largely based on Shakespeare’s phenomenal works (The Tempest and Hamlet), this is one that will boggle your mind.
9–'Zankyou no Terror' ('Terror in Resonance')
This may be a questionable choice, but I feel Zankyou no Terror should get the number nine spot.
Despite all the flaws in this show, I feel it is still able to shimmer in two categories; art and sound. Many would say that the story is virtually flawless, but I beg to disagree. While its beginning and ending is satisfying, something in between doesn’t fit quite right for me. But then, that’s just my opinion.
Zankyou no Terror is mature, unique, and curious. If you’re interested in the topics of terrorism and conspiracies, then you should watch this show!
Durarara!! is an insane rollercoaster ride featuring a unique blend of characters who happen to have their fates intertwined in the city of Ikebukuro. I’m warning you now, this isn’t your usual anime show. It has the ability to mess with your mind and confuse you to no end. This is not a bad thing, but the only way to appreciate this show is to willingly let it weave you into its trap.
This show is episodic in nature, like its predecessor Baccano!, which was a phenomenal series in its own right. I suggest you try getting used to its format fast. It’s all part of the charm, so just enjoy the ride while it lasts.
7–'Higashi no Eden' ('Eden of the East')
Higashi no Eden may be a lesser-known anime, but trust me, it will blow you away! As a fan who watched it a dozen of times already, I had to include it on this list. Don’t worry, it’s seriously worth it!
Higashi no Eden may lack in the visual department, but it more than makes up for it in its plot and execution. Sure, the story may seem incoherent at first. But if you stick with it, all the pieces of the puzzle slowly fall into place. This is the hallmark of a great mystery anime.
6–'Mirai Nikki' ('Future Diary')
It would be a shame if I didn’t mention Mirai Nikki here. I’m certain that many would agree that this is one of the most exceptional anime ever produced. The show is a blend of the action, psychological, supernatural, thriller, and mystery genres. All the aspects of these genres produce a synergy that can't be found in any other show. Mirai Nikki is a masterpiece that draws out every emotion and throws them in disarray, leaving you flabbergasted for days on end.
In the fifth spot of this list is a show that’s beautiful on the outside, and even more so on the inside. If you deconstructed this anime and scrutinized each and every detail, you’ll end up with a product that is not only rich in content but also brilliant in every aspect.
Hyouka isn’t your common mystery anime. There is no horror, crime, or evil agenda. It just features plain old, simple life. It aims to solve the conundrums that are very close to reality, the mysteries of everyday life. It’s a refreshing break from all the agitating stuff. With its heartwarming core, tranquil aesthetic, and charming cast, Hyouka will solve all your worries away.
This list could not be complete without Death Note. The show can only be described as remarkable! It basks in its controversy, mystery, and praise.
There’s so much to say about this show that I don’t know where to start. That’s why I’m going to say only one essential thing. Death Note is a profound mystery anime that will flog you with suspense and engross you with its debauchery. Once you begin watching it, there’s no turning back!
3–'Boku Dake ga Inai Machi' ('ERASED')
This show snatches the number three spot on the list with its amazing and beautiful direction. It is none other than Boku Dake ga Inai Machi!
This series is an alluring work of art with a non-stylized visual aesthetic and a heart touching story. Mixed with those traits is the mood-setting music and excellent voice acting. This is one mystery anime you’ll never forget. No wonder it was one of the most popular series of 2016.
At last, we come upon a great buried treasure. Monster is a show that presents a multifaceted story with terrific characters and intriguing development. This show offers a unique experience that will force you to question your own ideals, the reality of the world, and the dichotomy of good and evil. Don’t let the age of this show, as well as its 74-episode length, stop you from watching it. I assure you that by the end of it all, you'll know you have seen a classic.
1–'Detective Conan' ('Case Closed')
This probably isn’t surprising to you but I’ll say it once more; Detective Conan is the undeniable authority when it comes to mystery! It is the complete package that delivers beyond what anyone would need. The series has accumulated many stories of various genres within its mysteries. They are occasionally underwhelming but that is expected from a show with such a long run. Overall, this series is the best of the best.
This anime is extremely episodic, but it is never tiring or repetitive. There’s always something happening. There are murders, crimes, and mysteries to solve!
If this is not the best mystery anime, then I don't know what is. I’ll leave that mystery for you to solve, even though you'll probably never solve it. In which case, take a break by watching an episode of Detective Conan. Who knows, you might unwittingly learn some detective skills.
AnimeBase on June 19, 2020:
Gosick is also a very good one
Girly Gal on May 12, 2020:
Spiral is such a good one. The whole anime revolves around a boy solving a big mystery about "The Blade Children". He meets a girl who helps him solve the mysteries. The Blade Children are each cursed with murder. They will kill anyone who gets in their way, or anyone who knows anything about them. They won't kill thr main character because they believe he can save them from the curse. The main character solves each and every one of the murder cases, but is puzzled with two others. His sister in law continually telling him to stay out of the case of the Blade Children, but he won't. He believes the Blade Children have something to do with his missing brother. The anime has many plot twists, and has a great cliff hanger at the end! This anime is a must watch.
Test on April 20, 2020:
No Jojo part 4?
bayu on December 30, 2019:
thank you for the article. i know many mystery anime but mostly not in this list so thank you for the suggestions
Neggae on December 07, 2018:
Awesome! Anime Fan here! Thanks for your article all those movies are pretty awesome. Death Note is the best for me
Vi on October 19, 2018:
What about the files of young kindachi
AnimeLover on October 11, 2018:
I personally like Mirai Nikki the best but the others are ok.
Cheeky Kid (author) from Milky Way on August 03, 2017:
@Louise Powles Trust me, they're really good. Never too late to start. But I'm warning you--watching anime could lead to addiction, because many titles are just that good!
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on August 03, 2017:
Your article was really interesting to read. I don't know a lot about Anime. I've watched a couple of the trailers, and it looks good.