Death Note is an intense thriller anime with elements of the supernatural, suspense, crime, and morality. The story places the power of judgment in the hands of Light Yagami. Furthermore, this anime is adapted from a manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obama. The producers did so much of a wonderful job that viewers have been left craving for more anime like Death Note.
It began airing in Japan on 3rd October 2006 and came to a close on 20th June 2007. However, the series ended after just 37 episodes, leaving fans craving for more. So if you’re an anime-hungry fellow, I present to you a list of the best anime like Death Note you can’t skip. Let’s begin!
List of Best Anime Like Death Note
Firs anime like Death Note on our list is Erased. Erased tells the story of Satoru Fujinuma, a 29 years old manga artist living in Chiba. He is endowed with the “revival” ability. With this ability, Satoru was forced to live a new life. Before any tragic event, he would be sent a few minutes back in time to prevent the occurrence.
After an unprecedented attack on his mother, Satoru is sent back 18 years into the past to save his mother. However, he is also given a chance to prevent an incident that claimed the lives of three of his childhood buddies. This is a wonderful anime that places supernatural abilities in the hands of one man.
19. 91 Days
This anime is about Angelo Lagusa, whose parents and brother were slaughtered by the Vanetti mafia family. As a result, he runs far away and changes his identity, bearing the new name Avilio Bruno.
Years later, Avilio Bruno receives a letter inviting him back to his childhood town. Quickly, he obliges the invitation as he sees in it the long-awaited opportunity to avenge his family.
Consequently, Avilo Bruno befriends Nero, the son of the Vanetti mafia’s don. He uses this friendship as a guise to gain their trust. He then infiltrates the mafia and slowly kills everyone who has a hand in his family’s misfortune. Here, like in Death Note, the main character takes justice into his own hands.
18. Death Parade
On number 18 is Death Parade anime, a dark, mystery-filled anime that raises questions about death and the afterlife.
There is no heaven or hell in this story. Instead, the souls of humans are sent to a bar where they meet Decim, the bartender, and Ginti, his executioner. The souls are given a chance to play a random game with Decim. Winners get to be reincarnated while losers cease to exist. Its similarities with Death Notes lie in the suspense as well as the themes of death and judgment. Death Parade anime series is a great choice to relive the same kind of tension brought by Death Note.
17. One Out
This anime is based on a manga series written and edited by Shinobu Kaiteni. However, One Out is a baseball anime for fans of mind games and psychological twisters. Toua Tokuchi- a gambling pitcher, meets Hiromichi Kojima, the Lycaons star batter, in a one-out game.
Kojima wants Toua on his team, but the manager doesn’t. However, Kojima feels Toua can help the team break free of the streak of failure which plagued them. So Toua offers to gain 5 million Yen on every out he pitches and loses 50 million Yen on every point he gives up.
The selfish Lycaons manager is only interested in money, so he searches for ways of making his team lose. This results in a game of wits, strategic calculation, and a tense mental battle between the manager and Toua. If you love Death Note for its battle of strategies and mind games, then this is a wonderful recommendation for you.
16. Paranoia Agent
Paranoia Agent anime is based on a story of a psychopath terrorizing the city of Musashino. Unknown to all, the culprit is an elementary school kid nicknamed Shounen Bat.
Shounen Bat paroles the town on his rollerblades and bludgeons victims with a golden baseball bat. Carefully, he conceals his identity and keeps up with the assault, spreading paranoia all over the town.
With detectives Keiichi Ikari and Mitsushiro Maniwa hot on his heels, it is pertinent for them to accost him before he strikes a blow on his next victim. This storyline is similar to the battle to uncover Kira’s (Light Yagami’s) identity in Death Note.
15. Zankyou No Terror: Terror in Resonance
In Zankyou No Terror: Terror in Resonance, two witty kids “Nine and Twelve” who are survivors of the Rising Peace Academy form a terrorist group called the “Sphinx.” The Rising Peace Academy is an organization that collects children suffering from the Savant syndrome. However, at the academy, these children are trained as human warfare weapons.
Zankyou No Terror: Terror in Resonance plot really thickens when Nine and Twelve steal a prototype atomic bomb in a terrorist attack and upload a cryptic video online. Also, they threaten to destroy Tokyo if their riddles are not solved. Nevertheless, while at school, they meet Lisa and become friends, and consequently defend her against bullies. She then gets drawn into the plan to expose the nefarious activities of the organization.
Meanwhile, the Sphinx proves to be a challenge to the police. As a result, a detective takes it upon himself to crack the riddles and uncover the masterminds. Will Nine and Twelve be apprehended?
Terror In Resonance is thrilling crime anime series with a similar plot as Death Note to uncover!
14. Jikogu Shoujo: Hell Girl
This anime has a scary and dark plot with a touch of horror and deals with death, judgment, and hell.
Jigoku Shoujo: Hell Girl revolves around a covert website accessible only to those harboring grudges. This secret website is called Hell Correspondence and can be accessed only at midnight. At this time, those bearing grudges can input the name of their offender, and offenders will go straight to hell.
Ai Enma is the hell girl responsible for the vengeful task. She has three straw dolls as assistants, all fully groomed on the art of torture. However, Ai Enma sends souls straight to hell without confirming if they are guilty or not.
Jikogu Shoujo shares underlying thriller and horror themes with Death Note and, as it is often said, nothing goes for nothing. For this, I’m sure you’d be interested in discovering the ultimate price for sending a soul to hell. However, I won’t be a spoiler, therefore, you should watch the anime to find out.
13. Parasyte the Maxim
The survival of humanity lies on the shoulders of a 16-year-old high school student named Shinichi Izumi aka Migi. This is because Earth suffers an invasion of monster aliens called Parasytes who crawl into people’s noses and ears to take over their bodies.
Migi gets infected by a Parasyte who succeeded in controlling his right hand. Consequently, they co-exist, both striving to survive in Migi’s body. However, he tries to fight off insanity from the effects of the Parasyte while protecting the world from this alien invasion. But will Migi succeed?
Parasyte anime series is worth it if you like anime that is filled with gore, carnage, and distortion. It’s a good recommendation if you enjoyed Death Note.
Monster anime is a crime, mystery, and psychological thriller written by Naoki Urasawa and illustrated by Takashi Nagasaki. It was published in the manga magazine Great Comic Spirits from 1994-2001.
The story revolves around a Japanese neurosurgeon Kenzou Tenma who works at Eisler Memorial Hospital. It shares common themes and overall genre with Death Note.
Sickened by the political bias in the hospital, he disobeys orders and operates on a little boy named Johan. Unfortunately, his actions have repercussions, leading to the death of mayor Roedecker. Consequently, this leaves Dr. Kenzou in shambles.
Another confusing fact is that whoever opposes Kenzou, mysteriously dies. This makes Kenzou a suspect, although there isn’t any incriminating evidence against him.
However, in the end, Johan Liebert turns out to be the monster serial killer.
But Kenzou, being hunted, embarks on a quest to make amends for the havoc being wrecked by the serial killer he saved. Will the odds be stacked in his Favour or against him?
11. Kuro no Keiyakusha: Darker Than Black
In this mysterious sci-fi anime, two gates suddenly appear in the sky. The first one appeared in South America followed by another in Japan ten years later. In South America, it is heaven’s gate, while in Japan it is hell’s gate.
Newly spawned gates alter the sky, wreaking havoc on the environment, and serve as portals for “contractors” to emerge. These contractors are humans who have exchanged their humanity for special abilities and powers.
Governments then begin hiring these unemotional contractors for confidential tasks. This leads to war and bloodshed, which humans are ignorant of. Hei, also known as “Black Reaper,” is a contractor who partook in heavens war; he searches for his sister while working for the Syndicate.
He also seeks to uncover the mysteries behind hell’s gate.
For lovers of Death Note, thrill, suspense, and the paranormal, this is one anime series you have got to watch. The secrets contained are darker than black.
10. No Game No Life (NGNL)
In No Game No Life anime series, two siblings, Sora and Shiro, are skilled gamers who make up a duo.
Sora and Shiro unknowingly attract the attention of Tet, the god of games. After he notices their wits, Tet approaches them online and challenges them to a chess bout.
However, they play the game and defeat the god of games. In anger, Tet sends them away to the dashboard world, where high-stake games are played. These games determine all actions and activities in the dashboard.
Sora and Shiro secretly conspire to conquer all civilizations in the dashboard, thereby becoming rulers of the world. Sora and Shiro also plan on defeating Tet and taking over as the new gods of the game.
9. Black Butler
Written by Yana Toboso, Black Butler anime tells the tales of 12-year-old orphan Ciel Phantom. Sadly, he lost his parents in an assailant attack on their manor.
Ciel is popularly known as the queen’s watchdog, and he dutifully solves heinous crimes of the underworld. While being held captive by a cult group, he met Sebastian Michaelis, a demon disguised as a butler. Sebastian was summoned by the cult in a ritual but appeared, claiming Ciel summoned him.
To exert vengeance on his abductors and his parent’s murderers, Ciel trades his soul to Sebastian, the cruel demon. They establish a contract, and Sebastian brands Ciel with the Faustian symbol, and Sebastian murders Ciel’s captors
Doesn’t this sound like Death Note to you? A mortal and a demon working together to kill individuals make this anime series a dark and intense drama. Also, Ciel works with Sebastian, just like Light and Ryuk Shinigami.
8. Ergo Proxy
Ergo Proxy is a cyberpunk anime set in a post-apocalyptic utopian future. After an ecological disaster wiped out the earth, people built domed cities to sustain life and for habitation.
In one of these cities called Rondeau, humans, and robots called Auto-Revis coexist peacefully until a virus breaks out.
The cogito virus spreads rapidly and infects the robots. Unfortunately, this virus makes them self-aware and deranged. As a result, the Auto-Revis begin to commit a series of murders.
When inspector Re-l Mayer begins an investigation, the grand mastermind behind the virus is revealed. This anime is a mind-blowing work of art and would definitely meet your expectations as a Death Note fan.
7. Psycho Pass
Psycho Pass is an exciting sci-fi and psychological thriller. It is set in the year 2113.
When Japanese law enforcement progressed from apprehending crime to arresting the culprit. Thus, they implemented the sibyl system whereby each individual’s criminal intent or Psycho Pass is determined based on their overall actions.
If citizens’ actions are considered pleasant, they pass. Meanwhile, if they are found capable of threat or evil, they are dealt with before the crime is even committed.
When Akane Tsunemori becomes a law enforcement officer, she notices the system’s injustice and is lunged into a constant tussle. Does taking justice into your own hands sound like Death Note to you? I bet you’re interested in watching this so you can decipher the thin line between justice and judgment.
6. Ghost in the Shell
In the 21st century Japanese city of Niihama-ken, technological advancements have led to cybernization. Humans have adopted the use of prosthetic body parts, thus becoming cyborgs with cyber brains. However, there are deadly hackers with malicious intent who seek to manipulate these cyborgs.
The main character of Ghost in the Shell anime is Motoko Kusanagi, a public security section 9, who is a full cyborg.
Problems arise when criminal hackers begin to hack cyber brains and outsmart section 9. Now, who will fight the hackers and take down the most heinous hacker known as a laughing man? Ghost in the Shell made it to our list of best anime of all time.
5. Mirai Nikki: The Future diary
Mirai Nikki: The Future Diary is an anime based on a manga consisting of 26 episodes.
The main character, Yukiteru Amano is a high school introvert and loner whose only friend is Deus Ex Machina. However, he thinks that this friend is a figment of his imagination. Subsequently, he realizes Deus Ex Machina is real and that Deus is the god of time and space. But as time goes on, Yukiteru finds a diary empowered to reveal the future.
Future details from the god of time and space “Deus Ex Machina” are in the diary. Thus, Yukiteru is given a task to find eleven other people with similar diaries and kill them. But the whole story just got interesting because the exact instructions were given to all in possession of the book, future diary.
The last man standing would wield power to prevent the apocalypse and inherit the god’s position. Mirai Nikki: Future Diary is a perfect watch for fans of Death Note.
4. Code Geass
Code Geass is a touching Dystopian thriller anime. Japan is conquered by the Holy Britannian Empire which rule the citizens with an iron fist. Thus, the Japanese are forced to rebel and fight against oppression.
In Code Geass, Lelouch Lamperouge is a Britannian student caught up in a clash between the rebels and the Britannian force. However, he meets a strange girl, CC, who helps save his life and gives him the power of kings called Geass. Although different kinds of Geass exist, Lelouch gets the Code Geass of absolute obedience.
He was saved, but his family wasn’t so lucky; he lost his mom, and his sister got blind and disabled. So he intends to use this supernatural power to save Japan and destroy the Holy Britannian Empire. But he encounters tons of limitations in his mission.
Watch and discover if the selfless Lelouch triumphs in this daunting mission. Code Geass anime is a suspenseful thriller similar to Death Note.
3. The Promised Neverland
The Promised Neverland tells the story of a young orphan named Emma. Years before this story, demons made a pact with humans in which they agreed to dwell separately. Later on, eleven-year-old Emma grows up in an orphanage housing 37 other children.
The Grace Field House is run by Lady Mary, fondly referred to as mom, who supposedly caters to orphans. Brilliant Emma and her friends, Norman and Ray, always excel academically.
When a child is adopted one day, Emma goes after her with her forgotten toy only to meet her lifeless body. Intrigued, she begins to piece details together and discovers a gruesome fact.
It happens Lady Mary was grooming the children as meat for high-ranking demons. These wicked spirits feast on children to sustain themselves. Thus after learning this dark truth, Emma and her friends plan an escape.
But with demons all around, can they defy all odds to regain freedom?
2. Steins Gate
This anime deals with time travel, science, and conspiracy theories. Steins Gate is based on the story of Rintaro Okabe, a self-proclaimed mad scientist, residing in Akihabara, Tokyo. He has a hobby of inventing possible future gadgets and runs the “Future Gadget Laboratory.”
Rintaro Okabe’s shabby home doubles as his office, where he drinks with his friends while discussing theories. One day, Okabe invents “the phone microwave” through an experiment. This machine can send messages to the past and alter the flow of history.
In his bid to change the world (like light), he must bear the brunt that comes with holding the key to the reality of time. Steins Gate shares a similar theme to Death Note and if you’re a fan of protagonists like Light Yagami that suddenly get overwhelming power, Steins Gate is anime similar to Death Note perfect for you.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
We saved our best anime like Death Note for the end. Coming in at number one is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. This anime series has an edgy feel to it.
Two brothers Edward and Alphonse, learn the forbidden art of alchemy with which they attempt to raise their mother from the dead. Unfortunately, Alphonse loses his entire body in the process, while Edward loses an arm and a leg.
In a bid to regain their bodies, they need to get hold of the Philosopher’s Stone. So they embark on a quest to find this artifact. Watch this intriguing anime about the quest of Alphonse and Edward.
Apart from alchemy, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood also holds other buzzard elements similar to Death Note.
Is there any anime better than Death Note?
I’m sure that a lot of anime fans would agree that there are tons of great anime out there better than Death Note. It all comes down to tastes and whereas someone prefers psychological thrillers, mystery anime, and horror anime, some people prefer romance anime and isekai anime. We can’t tell you which anime is better than Death Note, but we might give your recommendations for anime like Death Note. Whether they are better or worse than our reference point, you will have to be a judge of that.