Animes Similar To Death Note – For horror, mystery, or Japanese anime and manga enthusiasts, Death Note stands out as one of the most widely viewed anime worldwide. Its captivating and distinctive storyline has left countless viewers thrilled and captivated.
Death Note, created by the famous duo of writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata, was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from 2003 to 2006. It spanned 12 volumes and a total of 108 episodes. Additionally, an anime adaptation consisting of 37 episodes was produced from 2006 to 2007.
In 2006, a live-action movie was released, followed by a sequel titled Death Note 2: The Last Name. Spin-offs, namely L: Change the World and Death Note: Light Up the New World, graced the screens in 2008 and 2016, respectively. Netflix also created and distributed another live-action film adaptation in 2017.
The central emblem of this manga and anime revolves around the Death Note, a potent notebook that allows its owner to eliminate someone by inscribing their name within its pages.
The story follows Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers the Death Note and encounters Ryuk, a Shinigami (a type of deity). As the plot unfolds, he becomes embroiled in a high-stakes intellectual battle with another key character known as L, engaging in a series of intricate mind games.
In this article, we will explore 15 anime series similar to Death Note that you should add to your watchlist.
List Of Animes Similar To Death Note
1. Code Geass (2007)
Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch is an original anime series produced by the Sunrise animation studio, featuring character designs created by the all-female Japanese manga artist group, Clamp. Kadokawa Shoten has published manga and light novels based on the show.
Code Geass has garnered immense popularity both in Japan and North America, selling millions of DVDs and Blu-ray volumes. The series is celebrated for its diverse cast of characters facing moral dilemmas across multiple genres.
Code Geass received several accolades, including the Best Anime TV Series award at the 2007 Tokyo International Anime Fair, the Best TV Animation award at the twelfth Animation Kobe, and the Most Popular Anime award at Animage’s 29th Annual Anime Grand Prix. To commemorate its 15th anniversary, the series was rebroadcast in October 2021 on the Animeism programming block.
It’s somewhat akin to Death Note, featuring mechs and an array of prominent female characters. While sharing certain thematic elements and a cat-and-mouse aspect, Code Geass maintains a more lighthearted approach. It’s a series worth giving a try if you enjoy Death Note.
Reas Also: 16 Best Animes Like Code Geass
2. Monster (2005)
Monster is very similar to Death Note, as both share a unique exploration of morality and the fine line between good and evil through intense psychological thrillers. While Death Note incorporates supernatural elements, Monster offers a highly realistic portrayal of a believable world.
In both series, viewers are compelled to ponder the true nature of villains and what defines an individual as evil.
The story follows Dr. Kenzou Tenma, a successful neurosurgeon engaged to the hospital director’s daughter, who is on the path to success within the hospital hierarchy.
However, a fateful night and a critical decision change the course of his life. Forced to choose between performing brain surgery on a famous performer or a poor immigrant worker due to a last-minute directive, Dr. Tenma’s decision haunts him.
When a similar situation arises, Dr. Tenma chooses to operate on a young boy named Johan Liebert rather than the town’s mayor. This choice has far-reaching consequences for Dr. Tenma, including a loss of social status.
However, as the hospital director and two other doctors die under mysterious circumstances, Dr. Tenma’s position is reinstated, leading to a complex and morally challenging narrative.
3. The Future Diary (2011)
The Future Diary is quite similar to Death Note, as both revolve around diaries that foretell events. While Death Note features a strong male lead who writes death futures, The Future Diary follows a weak male lead who glimpses his own future and potential demise.
Yukiteru Amano is a reserved middle school student who meticulously records his daily activities on his phone—a digital diary. Despite his lack of friends, Yukiteru converses with what he believes are imaginary friends, Deus Ex Machina, the god of time and space, and Deus’ servant, Mur Mur.
One day, Yukiteru awakens to find that his cell phone predicts upcoming events in his life. Initially dismissing it as a coincidence, he gradually realizes that these predictions are eerily accurate.
As he begins to benefit from this newfound ability, Yukiteru discovers that his classmate, Yuno Gasai, possesses a similar diary, setting the stage for a riveting and suspenseful narrative.
4. Terror in Resonance (2014)
In the aftermath of a devastating terrorist attack on a Japanese nuclear facility, only the word VON remains, painted in ominous red. The government grapples with its inability to respond, while the police race to uncover the culprits.
Six months later, an enigmatic video surfaces on the internet, featuring two enigmatic teenage boys, self-identifying as Sphinx. They directly challenge the authorities, promising chaos in Tokyo. As mass panic grips the city and the police hunt for leads, Detective Kenjirou Shibazaki finds himself in a desperate situation.
Set in a contemporary backdrop, Zankyou no Terror, like Death Note, delves into the depths of human psychology. The central characters engage in psychological warfare, displaying remarkable intelligence and an unusual sense of humor.
These male leads oscillate between the roles of protagonists and anti-heroes, while their adversaries match them in analytical prowess and intellect. Both series masterfully manipulate emotions such as fear and anxiety, creating a thrilling narrative.
Read Also: 15 Best Animes Similar Terror in Resonance
5. Psycho-Pass (2013)
What binds Death Note and Psycho-Pass is their exploration of societal dynamics in the context of crime. While Death Note unfolds in the present day, Psycho-Pass offers a glimpse of a future society, yet both share core themes of corruption and judgment.
The central question revolves around who is qualified to administer justice and how such judgment should be determined. If you appreciate these thought-provoking themes and compelling storylines, you’ll undoubtedly find satisfaction in both anime series.
The concept of justice and its enforcement has evolved in 22nd-century Japan, where the Sibyl System assesses citizens’ threat levels by scrutinizing their Psycho-Pass, a reflection of their mental state and potential criminal intent.
Inspectors maintain law and order, often using lethal force against those with even the slightest ill will. Enforcers, on the other hand, are Inspectors who have crossed the line, granted relative freedom in exchange for carrying out the dirtier tasks.
Amid this landscape, Akane Tsunemori, an earnest advocate for justice, partners with veteran Enforcer Shinya Kougami. She soon discovers that the judgments of the seemingly flawless Sibyl System are far from perfect.
6. Moriarty the Patriot (2020)
In the late 19th century, Great Britain stood as the world’s greatest empire. Yet beneath its success lies a rigid economic hierarchy that values lives solely based on status and wealth. The aristocracy reigns supreme, making it nearly impossible for the working class to ascend.
William James Moriarty, the second son of the Moriarty household, leads a double life as a nobleman and a consultant for the common people, helping them solve their problems. However, a burning desire lurks within him—to dismantle the oppressive social structure that favors the elite.
Moriarty the Patriot shares similarities with Death Note in their protagonists’ noble goals of reshaping the world, even if it means resorting to criminal tactics.
Both anime grapple with complex themes of morality and justice, offering nuanced storytelling that avoids a simplistic black-and-white morality.
7. Death Parade (2015)
Following death, most humans anticipate either Heaven or Hell. But for a select few, Quindecim beckons—a bar where pairs of individuals who died simultaneously find themselves.
Decim, the enigmatic bartender, serves as the arbiter, passing judgment on Quindecim’s patrons by challenging them to life-threatening games. These games determine the fate of the patrons’ souls, whether they will be reborn into a new life or vanish into oblivion.
From darts to bowling and even fighting games, the patrons’ true natures slowly unravel as they wager their very souls. However, the arrival of a black-haired amnesiac forces Decim to reevaluate his own judgments.
Death Note and Death Parade share thematic elements of passing judgment, albeit in different contexts. Both delve into the realm of morality and confront the darker aspects of human nature.
While Death Note revolves around a man’s pursuit of justice through a supernatural notebook, Death Parade explores the afterlife and the consequences of one’s actions.
If you enjoyed Death Parade, you’re in for a compelling journey with Death Note, offering more episodes and a riveting storyline.
8. One Outs (2009)
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if Light Yagami became a pitcher in a baseball series instead of using the Death Note, then look no further than One Outs.
Produced by Madhouse, the same studio as Death Note, this series bears a striking resemblance. From its subdued color palette and realistic art style to its focus on internalized thoughts, One Outs is challenging to watch without recalling Death Note. Even its opening and closing themes exude a dark psychological atmosphere rather than the typical feel of a baseball anime.
However, One Outs is not your typical sports anime; it is a psychological warfare series where every pitch becomes a high-stakes mental battle. The main character, Toua, bets everything on not giving up a single run, creating a genius similar to Light Yagami.
But his no outs contract bonuses end up costing his team a fortune, leading to sabotage from both his own team and the opponents. One Outs is more enjoyable when approached as a psychological thriller rather than a sports anime.
9. Inuyashiki: Last Hero (2017)
Meet Ichirou Inuyashiki, a 58-year-old man facing a challenging life. Plagued by frequent back problems and the indifference of his family, Ichirou finds solace in Hanako, an abandoned Shiba Inu that he adopts.
However, his life takes a tragic turn when a medical examination reveals that he has stomach cancer and only three months to live. Struggling to find support from his family, Ichirou experiences an emotional breakdown. As he embraces Hanako in a nearby field, he encounters a mysterious figure that changes the course of his life.
Inuyashiki: Last Hero brings together two unconventional character types and offers an exciting story set in a modern world with a unique twist.
10. Hell Girl (2006)
The Hell Correspondence website is a place where those seeking revenge can find solace. At midnight, you can enter the name of your tormentor, and Ai Enma, the Hell Girl, will send their soul to hell.
However, there is a price to pay; your soul will also be condemned to hell upon your death. Revenge and justice become blurred in this supernatural drama, where wrongdoers get their comeuppance, but the lines between right and wrong become increasingly ambiguous as the series progresses.
11. Another (2012)
In class 3-3 of Yomiyama North Junior High, transfer student Kouichi Sakakibara returns after taking sick leave. He is inexplicably drawn to Mei Misaki, a girl whom his classmates refuse to acknowledge.
Against their warnings, Kouichi befriends Mei and uncovers a sinister truth behind their class’s curse. As a series of tragedies unfolds, they must unravel the eerie mystery at a heavy cost.
Both Death Note and Another feature supernatural elements leading to untimely deaths. While both are thrilling, Death Note explores deep philosophical themes, whereas Another focuses on horror.
12. Parasyte: The Maxim (2015)
Suddenly, they arrived: parasitic aliens that descended upon Earth and quickly infiltrated humanity by burrowing into the brains of vulnerable targets.
These insatiable beings acquire full control of their host and are able to morph into a variety of forms to feed on unsuspecting prey. Sixteen-year-old high school student Shinichi Izumi falls victim to one of these parasites, but it fails to take over his brain and ends up in his right hand instead.
Unable to relocate, the parasite, now named Migi, has no choice but to rely on Shinichi to stay alive. Thus, the pair is forced into an uneasy coexistence and must defend themselves from hostile parasites that hope to eradicate this new threat to their species.
Both Death Note and Parasyte follow high schoolers who end up paired with unearthly entities. During this time, they must remain concealed from looming threats these unearthly beings pose. While Death Note is supernatural, Parasyte is science fiction. Both are brought to you by the same studio, Madhouse.
13. Aoi Bungaku Series (2009)
Aoi Bungaku Series offers a unique and lesser-known gem for anime enthusiasts. This series captivates from the very first episode with its captivating visuals and intriguing storyline. Let’s delve further.
The episode commences with a thought-provoking photograph, centering on a young boy surrounded by a group of enigmatic women. The narrative then transitions to a scene featuring a mysterious, human-like figure, all while a man narrates his shameful life.
Set in the Showa Era, fourth year, during the summer, the plot unfolds as a woman rushes into a bar, apologizing for her tardiness. The bar’s owners question whether she is searching for her husband again, and she admits to the fact. She hurriedly changes into her uniform, revealing her identity as Tsuneko, known by her stage name, Mayumi—an occupation she shares as a prostitute. Oba Yozo, our narrator, ominously claims, people called me the murderer of this woman.
Aoi Bungaku Series (comprising its first four episodes) is a hidden treasure that deserves a prominent place on any anime recommendations list, especially for fans of Death Note. Notably, Takeshi Obata, the character designer who originally worked on the Death Note manga, lends his talent to this series.
The animation studio Madhouse, known for their work on Death Note, also handles Aoi Bungaku. Fans will relish how Madhouse capitalizes on the animation style reminiscent of Death Note, particularly in the initial story contributed by Obata. Additionally, the main protagonist bears a striking resemblance to Light Yagami, which is sure to be appreciated by Death Note enthusiasts.
14. Bakuman (2011)
Bakuman unfolds a captivating story of ambition and dreams. Let’s explore the compelling narrative of this anime without giving away any spoilers.
Our protagonist, Moritaka Mashiro, as a child, aspired to become a mangaka, just like his childhood hero and uncle, Tarou Kawaguchi, the creator of a beloved gag manga. However, a tragic event shatters his dreams, leading him to abandon his aspirations and focus on a conventional path as a salaryman during his middle school years.
One day, Moritaka’s classmate, Akito Takagi, a top student and aspiring writer, discovers Moritaka’s detailed drawings in a notebook. Recognizing the immense potential of his artistic talent, Akito proposes a partnership to become mangaka together. Moritaka eventually agrees, driven not only by their shared dream but also by the hope of winning the heart of his crush, Miho Azuki, who dreams of becoming a voice actor in an anime adaptation.
Together, they embark on a journey to create manga under the pen name Muto Ashirogi, with the ultimate goal of becoming Japan’s most celebrated mangaka, a feat no one has ever achieved before.
Bakuman, created by the same minds behind Death Note, offers a compelling narrative filled with moments of rivalry and relentless pursuit of goals. For those intrigued by slightly eccentric characters, Eiji Nizuma in Bakuman might remind you of L from Death Note.
15. Darker Than Black (2007)
Darker Than Black is a masterpiece of the anime world that unveils a world where the laws of physics are defied and supernatural abilities are bestowed upon those who bear a heavy cost. Let’s delve into the enigmatic realm of Darker Than Black.
The story begins a decade after the mysterious appearance of Heaven’s Gate in South America and Hell’s Gate in Japan, shrouding the night sky with an eerie skyscape and defying the laws of physics. With the appearance of the Gates emerged Contractors, who, in exchange for their humanity, are granted supernatural abilities.
In the Japanese city surrounding Hell’s Gate, Section 4 Chief Misaki Kirihara finds herself at odds with an infamous Contractor codenamed Hei.
Called Black Reaper in the underground world, Hei, like his associates, undertakes missions for the mysterious and ruthless Syndicate while slowly peeling back the dark layers covering a nefarious plot that threatens the very existence of Contractors.
Both Darker Than Black and Death Note deliver gripping narratives that explore the transformation of seemingly ordinary individuals into something extraordinary. In Darker Than Black, the emergence of the Gates bestows powers upon its characters, stripping them of their emotions and remorse.
Similarly, in Death Note, the protagonist Light Yagami, upon discovering the Death Note, unleashes a world of moral ambiguity as he uses it to eliminate his targets without hesitation. These two anime series also share a common trait in their poignant and impactful conclusions.
For those of you who love Anime Death Note, and are looking for anime similar to Death Note. The list above is a recommendation for some selected anime similar to Death Note, which you might be able to watch. Thank you very much for reading this article, and see you in the next article. Enjoy watching and have a nice day.