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8 Animes Like Death Note: Try These Psychological Animes

Updated on September 25, 2015

8 Great Animes Like Death Note

Death Note is a standout anime series that follows the adventures of Light Yagami, a young adult who gains possession of a death god's notebook that can kill any human who has their name written within its pages. Light goes about cleansing the world of criminals to make a 'perfect world.' Death Note is a psychological and supernatural thriller mystery with excellent character development and an amazing level of polish and atmosphere which has made it one of the most beloved animes.

This story ignited my love for anime and made me want to explore others. I watched dozens of series and included my favourites here. Let me know in the comment section which is your favourite or share one that isn't on this list.

Are you a fan of Death Note? Are you looking for an anime that can compare? Check out my list below.

8 Animes Like Death Note


1. Monster

Monster features 74 episodes and is considered by many fans to be one of the best animes like Death Note available.

This anime follows Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a renowned and respected brain surgeon who is truly blessed in life. One night he is faced with the tough decision of saving a young child or the town's mayor. Ultimately his ethics lead him to save the young child, but that is when his life is turned completely upside down. Soon after, he begins to lose everything and everyone close to him. All evidence for the cause of this bad luck points to the young boy that he saved.

Monster has been praised by critics as being an intelligent anime that features excellent plot weaving along with a sophisticated storyline. It does take a few episodes to really kick off, so be sure to give it the time it deserves before deciding it's not for you.


Naoki Urasawa's Monster Box Set 1
Naoki Urasawa's Monster Box Set 1

Follow the journey of Dr. Kenzo Tenma in the psychological mystery adventure of Monster.

Dr. Kenzo Tenma is a brilliant Japanese surgeon working in Germany who defies his superiors to save a boy. Little does he know that this boy has a dark disregard for human life and a murderous past.

Can Dr. Kenzo Tenma stop the monster that he unleashed onto the world?


Monster Anime Review


2. Code Geass

Many people recommend Code Geass when the topic of animes like Death Note comes up. Although Code Geass is an amazing mecha-style anime, its similarities with Death Note are minimal (but it still definitely deserves inclusion).

What Code Geass does offer is a mind game adventure between the Rebels and Empire (similar to that of Light and L). Along with plenty of suspense and plot twists that make you want to keep moving through the episodes.

The tale is set in an alternative present that contains three separate superpowers (Britannia, the Chinese Federation, and the Euro Universe) fighting for control. It takes place after the conquest of Japan by the Britannia Empire which leaves the citizens without rights and freedoms.

The story follows Lelouch Lamperouge and his sister (exiled Britannia royalty) as he tries to find the person behind his mother's murder. In the process, he gains support and popularity amongst the Japanese rebellion.

The Code Geass Collection - Code Geass DVDs

Code Geass Trailer


3. Ergo Proxy

Ergo Proxy is a post-apocalyptic anime that offers a great battle of wits and a dark scientific setting filled with mystery and philosophical undertones.

The story is set in a futuristic city called Romdeau, built after a global disaster as a safe haven for humans who now live in this utopian city alongside androids known as AutoReivs.

The story takes place after a series of murders are committed by several androids infected with a virus that makes them self-aware. These murders threaten to destroy the delicate social balance and bring the city to ruin. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the government is conducting secret experiments on a humanoid-type life form known as the Proxy, which is believed to hold the key to mankind's survival.

Ergo Proxy is a top anime series that pairs a beautifully deep and dark fantasy world with a thought-provoking storyline.

Ergo Proxy

Ergo Proxy: Box Set (Classic)
Ergo Proxy: Box Set (Classic)

Ergo Proxy takes place in a utopia where humans coexist with androids. But utopias never last and the robots are infected by the Cogito virus and begin to attack people.

This Cogito virus makes androids self-aware, creating plenty of problems for the city. Is the city of Romdo doomed?


Ergo Proxy (Opening)


4. One Outs

If you are a fan of sports or baseball, this anime will have particular appeal.

One Outs follows the story of a star batter and star pitcher on the same Japanese League team, known as the Lycaons. After losing a bet, the pitcher is placed in an unusual contract where he receives 5 million yen ($46,000 US) for every out he pitches but loses 50 million yen ($460,000 US) for every point he loses.

From here, you are taken on an epic battle of wits as parties try to gain the upper hand, leading to a great psychological journey. This anime is filled with suspenseful moments and character development that makes it an experience similar to that of Death Note (although in a completely different setting).

One Outs Review


5. Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning

Spiral follows the story of Ayumu Narumi as she tries to piece together the disappearance of her older brother, a well-renowned detective and pianist.

Her only clue is the words 'Blade Children' and when they are connected to a string of murders two years after her brother's disappearance, she and her school's journalist try to figure out.

The Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning anime features 25 episodes and a different ending to the original manga series. The anime itself has been highly praised for its suspense and mystery.

Spiral is a gripping anime to watch and will have you quickly hooked (and disappointed that there are only 25 episodes). While it lacks the action of other popular animes, Death Note fans will feel at home with this intelligent anime.


Spiral - The Complete Series (The Viridian Collection)
Spiral - The Complete Series (The Viridian Collection)

After the disappearance of her brother, Ayumu Narumi is left with only one clue, that clue is merely whispered rumours of a strange group known as the Blade Children.

Two years later, a series of murders begin with all information pointing once again towards the Blade Children. Who are the Blade Children and how do they fit into this mystery?


Spiral Trailer


6. Umineko no Naku Koro ni

Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a supernatural thriller that takes place in the year 1986 on the remote island of Rokkenjima. The head of a wealthy family, Kinzo Ushiromiya is near death and his family members take an annual trip to the island to discuss how his assets will be divided upon his death, along with other family matters.

Little does his family know that Kinzo is desperate to see his deceased true love one last time. By studying various forms of black magic for the later years of his life, Kinzo discovers a ceremony by which he can revive his beloved. After beginning the ritual, a violent typhoon strikes the island and traps the eighteen inhabitants on the island.

Soon after, a string of murders takes place, leaving the residents to fight for their lives as they struggle to separate reality from fantasy.

Umineko no Naku Koro ni

Umineko no Naku Koro ni Collector's Edition Note.02 [Limited Edition] [Blu-ray]
Umineko no Naku Koro ni Collector's Edition Note.02 [Limited Edition] [Blu-ray]

Umineko no Naku Koro ni (or When They Cry) is a great thriller anime.

The story takes place on the remote island of Rokkenjima as a wealthy family gathers to discuss their financial affairs. Little do they know that the head of the family has a dying wish to see his true love and plans to use black magic to achieve it.


Umineko no Naku Koro ni Trailer


7. Shiki

Shiki is a small town horror anime that takes place in Sotoba, a quiet village with a population of only 1300 people. One hot summer, a particularly strange family moves in, and the village begins to experience a series of bizarre deaths. These deaths are first thought to be normal until there are too many to ignore. The cause ends up being corpse demons, or vampires, and the lone doctor of Sotoba goes about attempting to stop further deaths.

Both Death Note and Shiki examine the psychology behind murder, and both contain an incredibly dark atmosphere. Just like Death Note, this anime series presents viewers with the grey areas of morality that will have them questioning right and wrong. The psychological thriller journey that Shiki offers will not disappoint.

Shiki - (Part 1)

Shiki: Part 1  (Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Shiki: Part 1 (Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

From the studio behind Fullmetal Alchemist comes Shiki, a psychological thriller involving vampires that will both scare and mystify you.

The story takes place in a small secluded village where life is calm until residents begin to die off. The head doctor of the town desperately tries to save as many patients as he can, with little success.

The dead are quickly found to blame. Will their thirst for blood destroy the town?


Shiki Trailer


8. Zombie Loan

Zombie Loan focuses on Shinigami (death gods) and will feel very familiar to fans of Death Note. Unfortunately, the anime only has a total of 13 episodes and does have a full manga series.

The story follows Michiru Kita, a girl who possesses a set of Shinigami Eyes that allow her to see a person's destined time of death. She notices that two boys in her class should both be dead. They reveal that they made a 'deal with death': In order to cheat death, these boys must hunt down zombies on behalf of the loan office. After Michiru Kita joins the two boys, their journey quickly becomes more complicated.

Zombie Loan has a clever and intense plot that has several interesting twists in its short but exciting number of episodes.

Zombie Loan

Zombie-Loan, Vol. 1 (v. 1)
Zombie-Loan, Vol. 1 (v. 1)

Michiru Kita possess the power of Shinigami eyes which give her the power to see the lifespans of other humans. When she encounters two boys in her class that should be dead, she soon discovers they have made a deal to extend their life but it comes with a heavy debt.


The Opening of Zombie Loan

What Is Your Favourite Anime Similar to Death Note? Can You Recommend Other Animes?

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    • profile image

      Potato 8 months ago

      Not a single one can be close to death note

    • profile image

      Eshaan Arekar 10 months ago

      Not even a single anime is close to a death note

    • profile image

      no 12 months ago

      What? Umineko No Koro Ni instead of Higurashi?!

    • profile image

      lel 14 months ago

      i agree in here with:

      koko and Gitonga Mwaniki

      and for this page, there is no anime that even comes close to death other than code geass. Dont get me wrong it is almost not to compare because death note really is unique but if you take away the bad art style and voice acting stuppid happyness and mind that makes no sense in code geass you have both main characters that are rlly similair to each other.

      I have a seen quite alot of animes and here is my top

      Death note 9/10

      code geass 8/10

      hunter x hunter 6/10

      Fullmetal alchemist 5,5/10

      I know alot of ppl will disagree with me on code geass getting 8/10 but idm the bad artistic and voice and dumbness + the ending is really well made compared to death note

      hunter x hunter, no idea why i like this one so much...

      out these top 4 all other animes are 5/10 or less

      *sry for grammar and stuff*

    • profile image

      Shatabdi 16 months ago

      Monster is the fabulous one..

    • profile image

      00000000 16 months ago

      i still love death note, even though i dont like the ending.

    • profile image

      blue jewel 18 months ago

      I have finished watching Death Note, Attack on Titan and Future Diary.............what do you recommend next because I absolutely love Death Note and don't wanna get disappointed

    • profile image

      Koko 18 months ago

      XYZ, child, you are so close minded. On the miniscule chance you will read this comment, I urge you to think about the stupidity of your own remark. Death Note is a physiological anime that even after my, perhaps six, years of anime, cannot be replicated and compared. I believe you're only basing your statement "the more fantasy you like, the more childish you are" on the basis that you believe only children love anime. While it is true that I indulged myself in the genre at a young age, I must disagree with your point. You are very close mindedly grouping an entire fanbase as children, I would say Naruto for example. Fantasy themes don't make shows childish. Death Note is considered a fantasy anime believe it or not, an anime you enjoy seeing as you've clicked on this page.

      I truly believe you are a child yourself for claiming something without much evidence, other than yourself or maybe the other children you surrpund yourself with. thank you.

    • profile image

      Gagan Agrawal 21 months ago

      Can't believe. Blood plus deserves to be in top 5. Amazing Anime...

    • profile image

      Ryuk 21 months ago

      there isnt an anime like Death NoTe... but i could've been better... there were some certain things that should've changed to give the viewers a better show to Enjoy... i think they should Re-create it and change some parts of story

    • profile image

      Daniel Castro 2 years ago


      although what you say its kind of true, in the future, those "childish kids" will be the mayority of consumers of anime so... in the future those kinds of anime they like are going to become important in an economic matter so probably in a future not so far any of those animes "childish kids" like could become a MOVIE.

    • profile image

      Near 2 years ago

      For me, there is no anime that is similar to Death Note. Death Note is Death Note.

    • profile image

      skhang 2 years ago

      How do you guys think about Attack on Titan?

    • profile image

      ANIMEHOLIC 2 years ago

      HELLSING bro.

    • profile image

      swaroop 2 years ago

      include full metal alchemist brotherhood

    • profile image

      iskaminien 2 years ago

      oh boy, code geass is too awful to watch. The art style makes me want to puke. Ugh, I can't honestly see any image of it for more than 10 seconds without wanting to punch myself in the face.

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      Em 2 years ago

      Liar game isn't on the list because it's just a manga, and not an anime.

    • profile image

      Ari June 2 years ago

      Can't help but just love DEATH NOTE!

      greatest anime ever

    • profile image

      Kimmisenpai 2 years ago

      Why isn't Hell Girl on here? It's basically the same thing as Death Note but instead of writing names in a notebook, you type a name in on a website (._.

    • profile image

      Anaekin 3 years ago

      you should include Steins;Gate....Its thriller, suspense and Time travel..superb anime

    • profile image

      Anaekin 3 years ago


    • profile image

      Gitonga Mwaniki 3 years ago

      Monster is NOTHING like death note, don't bother watching it. There was such a huge unnecessary time gap which no one even seemed to age. Also the storyline is terrible. If you’re watching the first few episodes hoping the story will pick up, it Doesn't

    • profile image

      Demosthenes 3 years ago

      Why isn't Liar Game here tbh. That's the closest that I ever got to Death Note when it comes to intrigue and 'battle-of-wits' manga. There're live-action adaptations too, in Japanese and Korean. Monster, I do agree should be the #1 spot. Monster's in my top five anime of all time. The idea of post-WWII European powers and war criminals being at the beck and call of an antichrist figure (the kid in the description) and Dr. Tenma hunting him down had me so enthralled.

    • profile image

      XYZ 3 years ago

      Generally speaking, the more fantasy you like, the more childish and irresponsible you are. Most mature anime here is monster. You could make a movie out of "Monster" and present it to high class elite financial businessperson (you know those guys, who can't fool around like children) and they would eat it up. Present same people with Death Note, Ergo or whatever fantasy bullshit and they will leave the room and send their kids in lol

      Sad that majority of anime fans are childish. What's even more sad is that they don't even care about it. Like they saying goes "Only thing worse then imbecile is imbecile who's ok with being imbecile". Sad really...

    • profile image

      Nikru Gasai 3 years ago

      Death note is one of a kind

    • Chuck Dawson profile image

      Brandon Graham 3 years ago from Missoula, Montana

      I don't cry a lot but i cried at the end of Code Geass. Definitely my favorite anime of all time.

    • profile image

      Matt 3 years ago

      Watch Tokyo ghoul its wayyyy better than death note, trust me.

    • belleart profile image

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      Ooh such a great list! I would suggest adding Future Diary to the list. Its an amazing show, and after watching Death Note, anime like Bleach just wasn't the same, I found Future diary and it was amazing! The story, plot twists, suspense...just flawless, and with one of THE BEST anime characters ever.

      Monster sounds really good, so thanks for the recommendation :)

    • profile image

      l lawliet 3 years ago

      I've watched wayyyy too many of these. Ergo Proxy is best. Another is a great anime as well, that should definitely be on this list.

    • profile image

      Sherif 3 years ago

      i don't know why people don't want to understand that there is no anime like death note

    • The Ghostwriter profile image

      Peter Yexley 3 years ago from UK

      Anime heaven!

    • profile image

      Srsh 3 years ago

      If you like mind games definitely Liar Game. I can't emphasize that enough. I doesn't have an anime but no aime nor any other manga ha ever had me on the edge of my seat so much!!!

      Nice list they're all good anime but I think the only one that was close to death note is code geass (Also highly recommended).

      Monster is awesome too but it's only the bad guy who is actually smart. the main character is a brilliant surgeon but he's not smart. I also recommend reading "20th century boys" which is done by Orasawa (Monster). It's brilliant.

      I also like to recommend Ergo Proxy. It has a dark and mysterious theme and the storyline just takes you with it. If you do I recommend watching the English dub first and then watch it in Japanese. Some times the dialogs get so complicated that you might fall behind if you're reading suns. But the Japanese dub is so good that you should not miss.

    • profile image

      Lolo 3 years ago

      Before all these, try reading the manga of Liar Game..

    • profile image

      3 years ago

      Is there any anime that has supernatural things or has people with swords?

    • profile image

      3 years ago

      All of this anime are good but one out isn't similar to death note

    • profile image

      anime freak 3 years ago

      Monster , Ergo proxy , code geass , shiki ... Are certainly very psychological ..

      But i will also recommend


      Mirai Nikki


    • KingRezo profile image

      KingRezo 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      I think it is impossible to see every anime ever made in one lifetime there are so many good ones and I loved the psychological side of Death Note I am only beginning to discover the large world of anime.

    • williamslaw profile image

      williamslaw 4 years ago

      Wow... I think I might have to watch some anime movies.

    • Spirality profile image

      Spirality 4 years ago

      I like One Outs. I could never get through Code Geass even though I thought some episodes were excellent

    • aminebombom profile image

      Amine 4 years ago from Doha, Qatar

      detective conan is great anime, you have made a beautiful list here

    • profile image

      purplemadhatter 4 years ago

      zombie loan was tbe best i watched. also try Hellgirl , boogie pop phanton, and if your looking for a more cute anime try elemental gelade or fooly cooly..

    • boneworld profile image

      Jackson Thom 4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      These are some great shows. I love them all.

    • EzLoanLookUp LM profile image

      EzLoanLookUp LM 4 years ago

      I'm definitely going to check Ergo Proxy. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      dont forget case closed too

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Bleach is also a death god related anime

    • Baskerville LM profile image

      Baskerville LM 4 years ago

      Some awesome anime here. Especially Shiki. My anime list has most of these too, plus a bunch of action series. Check it out, if you have some free time.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Awesome ! i really hoped to find an Anime like Death Note and I'm happy to see this list. Monster will be my next choice, a friend told me about this one.

    • profile image

      selenabrandal 5 years ago

      Check Out My Lenses about internet security. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I think this list should also include Liar Game.

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 5 years ago

      Great info Thank you

    • Aja103654 profile image

      Aja103654 5 years ago

      You forgot Liar Game, It was made my Kaitani, which I suspect is also the one who made One outs? It doesn't have an anime sadly, but it does have a drama series.

    • profile image

      onepieceiszebest 5 years ago

      Mirai nikki is good. BUt seriously why isnt higurashi no here. It's soooooooooo dark and aswesome

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I want Mirai Nikki on here so bad QQ. Its way more simmilar than the rest.

    • SimilarSam profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: Thanks for the comment. I do admit it has been nearly a year since I watched Spiral, maybe its time for a re-watch!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Spiral deserves more credit then it was given in this review/article I feel like it just needed to be marketed better by Funimation. For example, the trailor was horrible and never once even showed the main character Ayumu Narumi (who is a guy despite what this article says). I would strongly recommend watching Spiral.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      yeah. mirai nikki aka future diaries is the comparably identical not generally but comparably. since my taste suites very much unto both animes.

      mystery. blood. psychological ANIMES rockxXx.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      does this thing work o3o

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow who ever made this page forgot the one anime that is most lik death note than all the rest. This is sad. You guys forgot Mirai Nikki.

    • Musicalcroc LM profile image

      Musicalcroc LM 5 years ago

      Have watched Geass, Spiral and Zombie Loan. Like them all. I've yet to watch the others.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      Love all Japanese anime!

    • digitaltree profile image

      digitaltree 5 years ago

      I found out about death note in the library, the 2 movies they made were great.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      I may need to check these out - Death Note is one of very few animes I've particularly enjoyed.

    • samsipet profile image

      samsipet 5 years ago

      Cool lens. i have to bookmark it since some of these animes seem very interesting.