Death Note is an anime that merges an exciting concept with a witty and interesting plot. There aren’t many animes that have been able to amass popularity as giant as that of Death Note. It has gained mainstream attention with a non-mainstream (not shounen) story, unlike Naruto, One Piece, or My Hero Academia. Here are more anime similar to Death Note.
Unfortunately, there isn’t going to be an anime that can match up to Death Note. It is simply a great anime on its own that cannot be recreated. However, some series come close to replicating the story or effect that Death Note so intensely gave us.
It’s an anime where a youngster gets a unique ability- to kill people by writing their name in a notebook of death. This makes a fascinating setting, and the way the story plays out is exciting to observe. All the while, we are put under a moral dilemma, wondering whether it is right to be supporting Light Yagami. Let’s take a look at some anime like Death Note.
- Episodes: 25
- Studios: Sunrise
- Genres: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Super Power, Drama, Mecha, School
- Aired: Oct 6, 2006, to Jul 29, 2007
This anime is set in 2010 when The Empire of Britannia is on a quest to dominate various nations, of which Japan is the first. Lelouch is a Britannian student, currently studying in Japan, renamed Area 11. One day, he is unfortunate enough to be caught in a cross-fire between Britannian armed forces and rebels of Area 11.
However, he survives the deadly situation with the help of a mysterious girl, C.C.. She gives him the “Power of Kings,” an ability that allows him to bestow orders on anyone that they have to follow. This begins his journey as the powerful masked vigilante, Zero, all the while maintaining his identity as a regular student. Will Lelouch succeed in his battle against Britannia?
While many fans recommend Code Geass to be similar to Death Note, this similarity is relatively shallow. You may not necessarily like Code Geass just because you like Death Note, as both the animes deal with their highly similar protagonists in distinct ways.
- Episodes: 74
- Studios: Madhouse
- Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Police, Psychological, Seinen, Thriller
- Aired: Apr 7, 2004, to Sep 28, 2005
Dr. Kenzou Tenma is living a great life. He is highly regarded and well-respected as a great surgeon. He’s engaged to the hospital director’s daughter and has a bright future ahead of him. However, he is filled with regret- he feels responsible for the death of a poor immigrant worker, whose surgery he left midway when his director told him to instead operate on a famous performer. The performer’s life was successfully saved. Even though he received great applause for his performance, the incident left him with a crippling conscience.
As a result, when he is faced with a similar situation years later, performing the surgery of a young boy, he refuses to leave midway and operate on the town mayor instead. Tenma suffers detrimental consequences as a result of his decision, losing his job and societal respect. However, after the mysterious death of the director and two other doctors, he regains his position. Because there isn’t enough evidence against him, he is allowed to leave and becomes the hospital’s director as well. Nine years later, while operating on a criminal, he comes face to face with the monster he once saved.
3. Terror in Resonance
- Episodes: 11
- Studios: MAPPA
- Genres: Mystery, Psychological, Thriller
- Aired: Jul 11, 2014, to Sep 26, 2014
This thriller anime tells the story of two teenagers, Nine and Twelve, as they cause terror all over Tokyo. As the police desperately try to crack down on them, the guys provide them with cryptic codes and riddles. Subsequently, a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase occurs. At the same time, the boys enroll in a school, and as luck would have it, a classmate, Lisa, whom they had once before saved from being bullied, is caught up in their plans. They soon realize that the girl has troubles of her own.
4. The Future Diary
- Episodes: 26
- Studios: asread.
- Genres: Action, Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller, Shounen
- Aired: Oct 9, 2011, to Apr 15, 2012
This thriller anime gave us one of the most iconic yandere we have seen. It’s the story of a lonesome boy, Yukiteru Amano, who spends most of his time writing a diary on his cellphone or talking to imaginary friends. Well, he believes they are fictional until they reveal that they are, in fact, real. Deus ex machina, the god of time and space, and his servant, Murmur, who Yukiteru initially thought were his imaginary friends, turn out to be real entities. Deus also grants him a “Random Diary,” capable of foretelling the future.
With the help of this diary, Yukiteru must now take part in a battle royale against 11 other contenders to survive and be granted a position as the new lord of time and space. However, the battle will be challenging, as each of the 11 competitors has their diary. But to make things better, Yukiteru has another member on his side. Yuno Gasai is another competitor who seems to have a special affection towards him, and she is willing to do anything to help him. Anything.
- Episodes: 22
- Studios: Production I.G
- Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Police, Psychological, Thriller
- Aired: Oct 12, 2012, to Mar 22, 2013
This anime, similar to Death Note, tries to answer what justice actually means. Imagine a world where the mental states of all people were quantified to grade them based on their “criminal co-efficient” or their tendency for criminal intent. As a result, any criminal is taken care of way before they can cause any harm.
With such an efficient system, you would think the world was a utopia; however, Akane Tsunemori, a young woman who has recently joined the system as an inspector soon begins to question the pillars of this apparently utopian society and the people who are a part of it.
6. Death Parade
- Episodes: 12
- Studios: Madhouse
- Genres: Game, Mystery, Psychological, Drama, Thriller
- Aired: Jan 10, 2015, to Mar 28, 2015
This anime has a fresh take on what happens to humans after death. In the anime, there is no hell or heaven. Instead, we are sent to one of the various bars, where the bartender challenges us to a random game. Depending upon the result of the game, we either achieve reincarnation or are sent into oblivion. There’s bowling, darts, air hockey, and much more. All the while, an individual’s true nature comes to light as more of their memories are shown.
The anime focuses on the life story of Decim, a bartender of the bar, Quindecim. He is in charge of handling the spirits of people that died at the same time. Find out how various spirits take on the challenges of the bartender.
7. One Outs
- Episodes: 25
- Studios: Madhouse
- Genres: Sports, Psychological, Seinen
- Aired: Oct 8, 2008, to Apr 1, 2009
A very interesting combination, One Outs is a mix of sports as well as psychology. The Saitama Lycaons are one of the weakest in the Japanese baseball league. Things start looking grim when a pitcher gets injured during training. Kojima, a star batter of the team, along with his trainer head to Okinawa in search of a solution. The solution comes to them in the form of an athlete gambler who gambles in “One Outs” (a simplified baseball game where a pitcher and batter duel one-on-one) really well.
In an interesting turn of events, Tokuchi, the reckless gambler is brought into The Saitama Lycaons with a unique proposal- He gets 50 million for every out he pitches, and loses 50 million for every run he gives. He is like Light on the baseball field, using his intellect to manipulate the situation to his favor. Will he be able to lead the team to victory?
- Episodes: 12
- Studios: CloverWorks
- Genres: Sci-Fi, Mystery, Horror, Psychological, Thriller, Shounen
- Aired: Jan 10, 2019, to Mar 29, 2019
Grace Field House is an orphanage with many children living peacefully together under the guidance of their “mama,” Isabella. They are allowed to do anything they please. However, every day they must take a test, and while playing, aren’t allowed to wander too far from the orphanage, which is surrounded by a dense forest.
While life within the orphanage is great, it comes to an end when the children are finally adopted. However, none of the adopted children are ever heard of again. This, and many more events around the orphanage begin to arouse the suspicion of the three eldest children. What sinister mystery hides within the gates of Grace Field?
9. Moriarty the Patriot
- Episodes: 11
- Studios: Production I.G
- Genres: Mystery, Historical, Psychological, Thriller, Shounen
- Aired: Oct 11, 2020, to Dec 20, 2020
This anime is set in late 19th century Great Britain. The British Empire has consolidated massive power all over the world and has created a ruthless class system. The nobles and people at the top live lives of luxury and happiness, while those that are born unprivileged have little to no hopes of making it big in this unhelpful system.
Three brothers, Albert, William, and Louis Moriarty take it upon themselves to rid the system of its evils and instead establish a better political system, based on equality. William James Moriarty, the middle brother, is a professor of mathematics as well as a crime consultant. He doesn’t commit any crimes himself but does assist many criminals and organizations by providing them ingenious strategies to bring about terror. This anime shares many themes with Death Note. Sherlock Holmes is the antagonist, who opposes Moriarty in his plans. We watch as the two use their perceptive intellect, in a battle of ideas.
10. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
The true evils of humans become even more apparent when their scared and shocked, with their backs to the wall. Kaiji Itou is a good-for-nothing thief that steals hubcaps from tires. He has a great debt owed to a friend. However, after being tricked by a co-worker, he is forced to accept a shady deal to gamble on a cruise ship.
the anime follows his adventures on the ship. With many people in literally and metaphorically the same boat as him, he is surrounded by notorious masters of deceit. In a sea of lies, he must make way for his own truth. Will Kaiji be able to achieve victory on this boat of disasters?
- Jigoku Shoujo
- No Game No Life
- Kaguya-sama: Love is War
- Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (Erased)
- Hunter X Hunter (especially the Chimera Ant Arc)
Also be sure to check out Platina End, a manga made by the same author and artist as Death Note- Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The anime adaptation of Platina End is set to come out in the fall of 2021!