The best mystery anime series is the captivating type of anime that keeps you up at night. A good mystery keeps you guessing and will have you checking under your bed for killer clowns.
Most mystery anime will have a sci-fi element involved with them. This is the list of the best mystery anime series, in my opinion.
These are all well-written, with a good mystery and plot, great characters, and no spoilers. A good mystery anime, while some have comedy or fantasy elements to them, will leave you trying to solve the mystery along with the characters themselves.
Table of Contents
- 1. Case Closed (1996)
- 2. The Millionaire Detective Balance: UNLIMITED (2020)
- 3. Death Note (2006)
- 4. Un-Go (2011)
- 5. Paranoia Agent (2004)
- 6. PSYCHO-PASS (2012)
- 7. Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace (2015)
- 8. Blood-C (2011)
- 9. Steins; Gate (2011)
- 10. Black Butler (2008-2010)
- 11. Danganronpa: The Animation (2013)
- 12. Persona 4: The Animation (2011-2012)
- 13. K (2012)
- 14. Serial Experiments Lain (1998)
- 15. Gosick (2011)
- 16. Case File nº221: Kabukicho (2019 – 2020)
- 17. Chaos; Head (2008)
- 18. Psychic Detective Yakumo (2010)
- 19. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia (2012)
- 20. Future Diary (2011-2013)
- 21. The Files of Young Kindaichi (1997)
- 22. Hyōka (2012)
- 23. Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha (2007)
- 24. Mayoiga (2016)
- 25. Pandora Hearts (2009)
- 26. Ghost Stories (2000)
- 27. ID: Invaded (2020)
1. Case Closed (1996)
A 17-year-old detective prodigy is forced to revert to the body of a 7-year-old who, in turn, adopts a new identity: Conan Edogawa. He uses his skills as an adolescent detective to uncover the secret organization behind the incident while unraveling any mystery that comes his way.
2. The Millionaire Detective Balance: UNLIMITED (2020)
The mystery is one of the least appreciated anime genres, so it’s great to see one of the best mystery anime series get the recognition it deserves.
The Millionaire Detective Balance: UNLIMITED follows Daisuke and Haru Katagiri, two Modern Crime Prevention Task Force members.
While investigating some murders thought to be linked to the Black Organization, they meet with an eccentric billionaire named Kazutaka Hyodo, who claims to have solved the case already.
Haru initially dislikes Hyodo for his power-hungry attitude and reckless ways, but he eventually becomes friends with him.
3. Death Note (2006)
The series revolves around Light Yagami, A genius high school student who discovers a mysterious notebook; The Death Note, belonging to Ryuk; A Shinigami (Death God).
Furthermore, The Death Note grants its user the power to kill anyone whose name and face he knows by writing the name in the notebook while picturing their face.
After experimenting with The Death Note; Light meets another Shinigami named Rem, who strongly advises him not to use it too much.
The light then decides that he will start a crusade against all evil to create an ideal world without crime. He is soon known throughout Japan as Kira (キラ, translated as “Killer”).
4. Un-Go (2011)
Un-Go tells the story of Shinjurou Yuuki, who calls himself “The Last Great Detective” — although his moniker isn’t precisely accurate.
He’s not the greatest detective globally, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to be. His assistant Inga is his partner in crime and an all too willing accomplice.
Furthermore, Together, they’re out to solve whatever mysteries are thrown their way.
5. Paranoia Agent (2004)
Paranoia Agent is a psychological Best Mystery Anime Series that follows an elementary school student and a social worker, both victims of an infamous boy named Lil’ Slugger.
The child with the golden bat attacks adults at random, leaving them with severed limbs and broken bones.
As the story unfolds, it becomes more evident that this boy does not exist; instead, he is a manifestation of others’ paranoia.
Additionally, Paranoia Agent dives into themes like the myth of innocence, childhood trauma, and even the existence of Satan in society. You will never see anime the same way again after watching this critically-acclaimed series.
6. PSYCHO-PASS (2012)
In a futuristic world where an online test can measure people’s mental states, criminals are tracked down by police officers known as Enforcers and their leaders called Inspectors.
During the first season, the main character, Akane Tsunemori, is an Inspector who works with two Enforcers – Shinya Kogami and Shusei Kagari.
She later meets Nobuchika Ginoza and Mika Shimotsuki in the second season. These characters work together to solve crimes to maintain stability in society.
7. Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace (2015)
This show is based on the life of Japanese author Edogawa Rampo, who’s known as the Edgar Allan Poe of Japan.
The series follows a high school student who claims to be a detective and his classmate Kobayashi; who keep stumbling upon bizarre murders that remind them of popular stories written by Edogawa.
8. Blood-C (2011)
Blood-C is a 2011 television anime series produced by Production I.G and directed by Naoyoshi Shina. The mystery show is a spin-off of the 2000 anime film Blood: The Last Vampire, although it features a separate cast of characters and setting from the film.
9. Steins; Gate (2011)
Steins; Gate is one of the top Best Mystery Anime Series. The show follows Rintaro Okabe, a self-proclaimed mad scientist who inadvertently invents the time machine that allows him to send text messages to the past.
In addition, The series has several arcs with varying tones and moods, including some that are lighthearted and fun. However, at its core, Steins; Gate is a dark and twisted tale fueled by paranoia and regret.
10. Black Butler (2008-2010)
Black Butler is one of the best mystery anime series that revolves around the life of Ciel Phantomhive, a thirteen-year-old head of the Phantomhive family, an aristocratic family known as the Queen’s Watchdog. He is entrusted with solving crimes in London’s underworld.
11. Danganronpa: The Animation (2013)
The story follows Makoto Naegi, a student who finds himself in an elite high school with fifteen other hand-picked students. The school is run by a teddy bear named Monokuma, who declares that the only way to escape the school is to kill another student without being caught.
12. Persona 4: The Animation (2011-2012)
The story is told from multiple perspectives and eventually centers on Yu Narukami, an orphaned teenager who moves to Inaba for a year to live with his uncle and cousin.
Subsequently, When he discovers his ability to summon an inner persona — another personality that reflects his own — Yu reluctantly joins forces with others who have similar powers. Together, they must solve the case and bring peace to their town.
13. K (2012)
An unlikely boy is caught up in a spiritual battle between seven Knight members when he is falsely accused of murder.
14. Serial Experiments Lain (1998)
The show follows the life of Lain Iwakura. This ordinary middle school girl discovers she has a connection to Wired, a virtual world of communication networks similar to the Internet.
ThereAfter being exposed to the Wired by her classmate Chisa Yomoda’s suicide, Lain becomes paranoid about her own identity and begins questioning whether or not she truly exists.
15. Gosick (2011)
Gosick is a historical mystery anime series with a supernatural twist. Set in the early 20th century, it follows Kazuya Kujo, a student at St. Marguerite Academy located in the small European country of Sauville.
16. Case File nº221: Kabukicho (2019 – 2020)
If you love mystery anime, then Case File nº221: Kabukicho is the perfect show. The story revolves around the life of young men, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, as they work through each case in the shadow of a mysterious heist in London. Most of the issues are set in Japan, with some flashbacks to Holmes’ early life in England.
17. Chaos; Head (2008)
The story follows Takumi Nishijou, a high school student who stumbles upon a gruesome murder scene while suffering from delusions of being watched. This causes him to become entangled with a series of events that are somehow in link with the serial killings occurring throughout Shibuya.
18. Psychic Detective Yakumo (2010)
Psychic Detective Yakumo is a mystery anime series that revolves around the life of an introverted college student named Yakumo Saito. He can see ghosts, and he uses them to solve mysteries.
19. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia (2012)
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is a supernatural mystery anime series based on Maybe’s manga written and illustrated. Also, the series follows Yuuko, who died in school and became a ghost.
In addition, Teiichi Niiya is a first-year middle school academy student who has recently enrolled at Seikyou Academy, where he meets Yuuko, who claims to be an apparition.
By chance, he finds out that she can be seen only by him and that she dies every night. Together with his friend Kirie Kanoe, they decide to unravel the mystery surrounding her death.
20. Future Diary (2011-2013)
Future Diary follows Aoba Takamiya as he investigates mysterious deaths at his high school. The story begins when Aoba discovers a message written in his future Diary — he will die on December 31 if he fails to rescue someone named Yukine, who two boys kidnapped at the beginning of the episode.
21. The Files of Young Kindaichi (1997)
Based on the manga of a similar name, The Files of Young Kindaichi features a young high school student named Hajime Kindaichi, who is supposedly the descendant of a famous detective. With a brain for solving mysteries, he is joined by his companion Miyuki Nanase in crime-solving adventures.
22. Hyōka (2012)
Hyōka is the story of Oreki Hotaro, a high school boy who joins the Classic Literature Club at his elder sister’s request.
The club has declined, and Hotaro is the only member until Eru Chitanda, a beautiful girl with an inquiring mind, joins him.
However, despite this reputation and his initial reluctance to join the club, he begins to solve many of the mysteries that his classmates face, which include the 45-year-old mystery that surrounds the club room.
23. Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha (2007)
The story takes place in Tokyo, which now resides above a mysterious and ever-expanding Hell’s Gate. Contractors, people who made deals with the Gate’s supernatural powers, use their abilities to do things normal humans can’t.
But they must pay the price each time they use their powers: smoking, drinking alcohol, or even killing someone may be their “price.”
After that, Enter Hei (Black Reaper), a contractor who works for the Syndicate. He is an assassin who specializes in taking down other contractors.
He is also haunted by his past and the death of someone significant to him. Above all, It’s challenging to say more about this series without spoiling plot points.
Suffice it to say that Darker than Black is one of the most intriguing anime series you’ll see this year.
24. Mayoiga (2016)
Mayoiga is a mystery anime that reminds us of a horror movie. The story begins with a group of 30 people who arrive at the Nanaki village to start over, leaving what they thought was a bad life behind.
But as they begin to settle in, they discover they are not alone. The place has its dark history! Are you ready to go on this mystery trip?
25. Pandora Hearts (2009)
Oz Vessalius, an heir to the Vessalius Duke House, just turned fifteen. His life is rich and carefree, only obscured by the constant absence of his father. However, everything changes at her coming-of-age ceremony.
In addition, For no apparent reason, he is thrown into the prison known as the “Abyss,” only to be rescued by a “chain” named Alice, the blood-stained black rabbit.
Furthermore, Why he was thrown into the abyss, how Alice affected all of this, and what the organization known as “Pandora” wants from him are unknown.
26. Ghost Stories (2000)
Ghost Stories is a supernatural anime based on the Japanese urban legend of “Obake,” ghosts that haunt human beings.
The story follows the main characters, who are led by Satsuki, the daughter of the school principal, as they face off against ghosts haunting their school.
In addition, the anime is filled with unique monsters, eerie events, and ghostly encounters. Ghost Stories may be a bit old-fashioned compared to other mystery anime series, but it’s worth checking out.
27. ID: Invaded (2020)
ID: Invaded is a new anime series in which a detective enters the dreams of serial killer victims to investigate and solve their murders.
Furthermore, the series doesn’t hold your hand or spoon-feed you information; it assumes you are intelligent enough to keep up with its maze-like plot without needing constant exposition.
ID: Invaded may be a little too complicated for anime newcomers, but if you like mysteries that challenge your brain, this cerebral thriller will have you hooked from start to finish.
In conclusion, the best mystery anime series are a few of my personal favorites. They have beautiful stories that keep you guessing until the very last moment.
Even when you think you have the culprit, there is still one more twist in the tale that you cannot see coming.
They are all series to be admired and treasured by any anime viewer, whether or not they are considering becoming an otaku.
Furthermore, this list is intended for people looking for a way to kill time. It is ranked as per the public popularity and critics’ reviews/ratings.
We have also included a brief note on some of the mystery anime series so that you can increase your knowledge about them. I hope you like it!