The mystery anime genre has long been a mainstay. Though it might not be one of the most mainstream genres around, a great mystery anime will put you on the edge of your seat not being able to stop watching until the last episode.
Here is a top 8 list of satisfying mystery-thriller anime shows to binge-watch that can mess with your mind in more ways than one.
8. Future Diary (Mirai Nikki)
Deus Ex Machina, the god of space and time has reached the end of his lifespan. In order to choose a successor, he selects 12 individuals and equips them with a future diary that chronicles their future for the next 90 days. Each of them is encouraged to use their unique diaries to track and kill other contestants. The last one standing will replace him and become God.
The main protagonist is Yukiteru Amano, a shy, 14-year-old kid who teams up with Gasai Yuno, who also possesses the future diary, in the attempt to survive the diary game. Was teaming up with Yuno a wise decision for Yukiteru?
The anime is filled with unexpected twists and turns with some gore. Its creative story is fast-paced which also tackles themes including personal morality, dependency, and love. It’s an addicting series that constantly keep you on your toes.
7. Tokyo Ghoul
In Tokyo Ghoul, man-eating monsters that look like normal people live among the humans secretly. Ken Kaneki, a shy college student, gets transformed into a half-ghoul, half-human after his date tries to eat him.
As Kaneki struggles in coming to terms with his new life as a ghoul, he discovers that not all ghouls are evil and many, like him, are just trying to get by.
As the series progresses, we discover that humans can be as cruel and bloodthirsty as ghouls which may actually make you sympathize and side with the ghouls.
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6. Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror)
A shocking terrorist attack happens in Tokyo. The culprits are two masked teenagers who identify themselves as “Sphinx”. The two of them launch a series of terrorist attacks all over Tokyo challenging the police with riddles. While everyone is perplexed at finding out the duo’s identity, Kenjirou Shibazaki, one of the detectives of the police division, succeeds in solving the riddles and begins engaging the duo in a battle of wits.
With such protagonists opens up several mysteries such as to why these two teenage boys ended up becoming such extremists, questions of morality and some political parallels. The story behind the two boys of Sphinx – Nine, and Twelve, is actually a lot more tragic than expected.
5. Paranoia Agent (Mousou Dairinin)
The police are on a hot trail of the infamous assailant called Shounen Bat. Appearing as a typical teenager that wields a bent baseball bat, he sets off on his rollerblades attacking the people in Musashino.
The creator of this anime is the late Satoshi Kon, known for his mind-bending style of directing visuals. If you’re looking for something easy to watch, you might end up disappointed with this one. Paranoia Agent is not a show that can easily be digested and consumed. It showcases what makes Satoshi Kon one of the most renowned personalities in anime.
Surreal, fear-inducing visuals and a mystery anime full of twists with a great ending await those who watch this series.
4. Death Parade
After death, two people enter a bar named Quindecim with no memories of how they got there. Enter the white-haired bartender, Decim, who coerces the pair to play a game with their lives to bet on. As the game progresses, more and more gets revealed about the characters and we begin to see that there’s really more than meets the eye.
Death parade has quite an interesting take of life after death and to have it imagined as a bar where people play death games is very creative and refreshing. Death Parade teaches us not to judge a book by its cover or a person by his appearance.
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3. Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi)
The anime follows the story of a guy named Fujinuma Satoru, who has this powerful phenomenon he referred to as “Revival“. He goes through his everyday life and suddenly gets a flash-forward of an incident that is going to happen.
Whenever he gets a flash-forward he can instantly look around and pinpoint what might be off so that when he reverts back into normal time (usually a few minutes behind), he can stop untoward events from happening.
The charm of Erased is the uncertainty of whether or not Satoru’s actions change the fates of those around him. Time here is fragile as any choice he makes may impact the future tremendously. Putting himself on the line of others, Satoru is put to the test in finding the best possible solution for those depending on him to change their outcomes using nothing but wit.
2. Death Note
Death Note tells the story of a high school prodigy, Light Yagami. His life changes when he stumbles upon the ‘death note’, a notebook that has the ability to kill any person whose name is written on it. Recognizing the power that has fallen into his hands, Light begins his quest of purging the world with criminals.
Succeeding mysterious deaths of criminals has caught the attention of the police and tries to apprehend the mysterious serial killer; enlisting the help of the genius detective, L, the game of cat and mouse begins.
One of the greatest and thought-provoking anime of our age by Naoki Urasawa, Monster tells the story of Doctor Tenma Kenzou, a young elite surgeon disappointed at the politics and bias within his hospital. He decides to ignore orders from the hospital director and operates on a young boy named Johan Liebert to save him.
Nine years later, much to his surprise, he meets Johan once again, however, this time, as a murderer. In a pursuit to fix his mistake of creating such a ‘monster’, Doctor Tenma goes after Johan.
Monster is really well done in terms of setting the tone and atmosphere for its storytelling. It takes on an impressive well-grounded view of the human psyche packed with roller-coaster suspense, character depth, and an intricate plot that provokes thoughts about life. Monster is an unconventional anime that will shake you to the core.
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