9 Psychological Anime as Thrilling as Death Note

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Apples and Death Gods on your mind? 

Death Note, a psychological thriller and murder mystery series, is still a much-loved anime over a decade after its conclusion. The show follows Light Yagami as he comes into possession of a mysterious notebook and realizes that he can kill anyone whose name is written within. Episodes feature an edge-of-your-seat battle of wits with Detective L as the show spirals into a dark message about the corrupting nature of power.

The Death Note manga debuted in 2003 and ran for 12 volumes when it concluded in 2006. Wildly popular, the series was adapted that same year into an anime that ran for 37 episodes. Several novels, games, live-action movies, and even a stage play kept fans involved in the world of L and Light. However, over a decade after the 2007 anime finale, there have been no announcements for any sequels or continuations. 

For fans hoping to relive the excitement and drama they found in each episode of Death Note, there are plenty of other great shows that can remind you of this chilling classic.  

Are you ready? Here are 9 shows that are just as thrilling as Death Note!


Release: 2012-2019        Episodes: 41

The limitations of the law and its enforcers are once again challenged by a mysterious opposer in an alternative Tokyo. Here, people are assessed for mental stability by an advanced technology called the Sibyl System. Follow protagonist Akane Tsunemori as she faces a mysterious enemy that uses the very foundations of their society against them in an epic battle of wits. Psycho-Pass is a psychological thriller with unexpected twists and the same dark atmosphere that Death Note fans are sure to enjoy. 


Release: 2011        Episodes: 11

Where is the line between good and evil? Naive and innocent Shion questions this as he finds that the society he believed in has a much darker side. After being prosecuted for an act of compassion, Shion joins the talented outcast Nezumi to try to fix all that he loves about his home- but the odds are against them. No.6 is a beautifully executed anime that walks the fine balance of light and dark to remind us that, just like Light in Death Note, even the best intentions pave the road to destruction. 

Danganronpa: The Animation

Release: 2013        Episodes: 13

Born of an immensely popular video game series, Danganronpa: The Animation covers the horrific events of the first Danganronpa game. Protagonist Naegi Makoto finds himself locked in a school and forced to solve the continuing murders of his fellow classmates. With traitors and secrets hidden among them, Naegi takes on the role of detective to reveal a terrible truth. This murder mystery thriller has many of the same elements that made Death Note so memorable.

Code Geass

Release: 2006-2008        Episodes: 50

Scorned and abandoned, Lelouch vi Britannia finally gains the power he needs to seek revenge on his royal father. Lelouch learns he can now bend the will and control those around him from a power called the “Geass”. Plagued by challenges similar to those faced by Light, Lelouch’s quest for vengeance causes him to walk a very fine line between good and evil. Viewers will watch on the edge of their seats and question what actually defines a hero or a villain. 

Steins; Gate


Release: 2011        Episodes: 24

After accidentally inventing time travel in his home laboratory, Rintaro Okabe and his partners learn that they can send text messages and memories through time. What begins as an exciting discovery quickly spirals into a multi-timeline race against murder and heartbreak. Steins; Gate has a similar level of complexity and creative thought process to Death Note, making this psychological thriller just as enrapturing to watch. 

Future Diary / Mirai Nikki

Release: 2011-2012        Episodes: 26

Yukiteru Amano finds himself with a different kind of magical diary when the God of Space and Time gifts him with a cellphone that can predict the future. Thrown into a murderous competition, Yukiteru must rely on his future diary and a psychopathic girl named Yuno Gasai in order to survive. Death Note fans will find that the cutthroat strategies and survival game in Future Diary are reminiscent of the struggle between L and Light. 

The Promised Neverland / Yakusoku no Neverland

Release: 2019        Episodes: 19         (New season coming 2021!)

For the orphans at the picturesque Grace Field House, their dreamlike days are truly too good to be true. When the illusion shatters, the children find reality to be a cruel and monstrous place. Using all the knowledge they have, the children compete with their caretakers in a battle of trickery with their lives on the line. The Promised Neverland offers a similar race against time and the mystery-solving aspect that will make Death Note fans feel right at home. 


Release: 2007        Episodes: 12

Don’t let the bright colors and cheerful-looking art style fool you- this twisted series delves deep into the darkest aspects of humanity. With demons, spirits, and cursed tools, the main character- known only as the Medicine Seller- solves murders and mysteries alike. Working as a detective, the Medicine Seller is reminiscent of L with his calm and unperturbed demeanor even of the face of the most gruesome crimes.  

Terror in Resonance / Zankyou no Terror

Release: 2014        Episodes: 11

Lisa Mishima is shocked to find that the two kind-hearted boys who saved her from schoolyard bullies are actually the international terrorist group Sphinx. Caught up in their chaos against the law, Lisa realizes that things in society are not all they seem to be. Twelve and Nine are actually complex people that do not fit into the categories of good or evil. Terror in Resonance invokes nostalgia for Death Note in its thought-provoking nature and breathtaking action.

Death Note may be a complete story with no sequel on the horizon, but there are numerous other series capable of relighting the fire that this classic thriller anime sparked!

Since you finished Death Note, what other shows have you been watching? Can you think of another pair of characters that can battle wits like Light and L? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy watching! 🙂

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