Most anime stories wouldn’t be complete if there were no good guys fighting for what’s right, up against villains and their heinous plans. Often, anime heroes are extraordinary with special abilities—but sometimes the heroes of anime are ordinary cops and detectives.
Especially in mystery anime series, the protagonist is usually a detective (or a team of detectives) aiming to solve cases and chase down culprits. When done well, such anime series can be as thrilling as any other.
Whether equipped with superhuman strength, unnaturally high IQ, or just pure talent and a solid moral compass, here are some of the best cops, detectives, and law enforcement organizations in anime.
12. The Commission of Counter Ghoul (Tokyo Ghoul)
The Commission of Counter Ghoul (CCG) is an organization that investigates Ghoul-related crimes in Tokyo Ghoul. They are composed of the best Doves (CCG Investigators) and are equipped with Quinques and the will to fight their non-human enemies.
Their base is located in the 1st Ward but they operate in almost all places where Ghouls are present. In the latter part of the story, their forces grow with the addition of the Quinx Squad—a group of hybrid One-Eyed Ghouls with Haise Sasaki (Kaneki Ken) as the leader.
11. Akane Tsunemori (Psycho-Pass)
Akane Tsunemori is an inspector who investigates cases with a group of Enforcers that help her do the hunting in the field.
Known as a law-abiding officer, Akane is polite, courteous, and kind to others. Despite all these traits, she thinks of herself as a cold-hearted person because of her fast recovery after traumatic situations, such as the deaths of her loved ones.
She’s professional with her work—like when she chose to remain calm and composed even after the death of her friend in front of her eyes—and tries to arrest criminals instead of killing them out of vengeance.
10. Hajime Kindaichi (The Files of Young Kindaichi)
Though he’s seen as unmotivated, lazy, and a bit lascivious, Hajime Kindaichi—the grandson of a famous detective in town—is known as one of the most intelligent and proficient detectives in Japan.
With an IQ of 180 and deductive prowess, Kindaichi solves complex murder cases that deal with human psychology.
Cracking leads, finding evidence, and understanding the motives of murderers in each case, he enlightens each mystery and even tackles unsolved crimes as he travels around the country.
9. Daisuke Kambe (The Millionaire Detective Balance: Unlimited)
Daisuke Kambe was born into a wealthy family and works as a detective for the Metropolitan Police Department. Daisuke believes that everything can be solved with money and solves different cases by spending huge sums of financial resources and using the latest technologies.
He’s clever with his own methods of solving cases, all while maintaining his calmness and composure, even when everyone around him is nervous under the pressure of any given situation.
8. Ciel Phantomhive (Black Butler)
Ciel Phantomhive isn’t an investigator, but ends up becoming one after taking the role of his dead father, solving various mysteries and cases as the Queen’s watchdog—including the mysteries in the Book of Circus series and the Book of Murder movie.
Ciel’s involvement in these cases started when he gave up his soul to a demon, Sebastian Michaelis, in exchange for one deal: to help him find and punish all the people involved in his family’s death.
7. The Konoha Anbu (Naruto)
The Konoha Anbu is a group that works alongside the Military Police Force to maintain the peace in Konoha Village. Because they’re involved in dangerous and secretive black ops, they cover their faces and use code names to hide their identities.
The Anbu operate in groups led by squad leaders, who act directly under the orders of the Hokage. Trained to be emotionless, they’re usually given tough tasks like assassinations, reconnaissance, and eliminating threats within the Village and even in foreign lands.
6. Armed Detective Agency (Bungo Stray Dogs)
The Armed Detective Agency is an agency full of eccentric people, who mostly have supernatural abilities. They use their incredible powers in solving complicated cases.
They usually step in to tackle crimes that are difficult for the ordinary police to handle, such as when a particular case is associated with supernatural (or “gifted”) people.
They are even allowed to act against the law, such as intervening in the investigations of authorities, falsifying information, or secretly filming facilities or wiretapping phones.
5. The Marines (One Piece)
One of the Three Great Powers in the world, the Marines are the military sea forces of the World Government. They are responsible for law enforcement, international securities, and military operations.
The Marines consist of many men scattered all over the world, and their main duty is to bring justice to any criminal—particularly pirates.
In order to watch out for the pirates’ whereabouts and actions, Marines infiltrate various pirate crews to maintain or stop the recruitment of ordinary people joining pirates.
4. The Hero Association (One Punch Man)
The Hero Association is composed of heroes of different rankings, with S-class as the highest rank and C-class as the lowest. The heroes operate individually, but there are times when they have to work as a group.
As their city is subjugated by monsters, the Hero Association was created to fight against the growing numbers of monsters in the city.
Beyond fighting off monsters, they exist to give citizens peace of mind and a nice place to live by protecting them—even from small-fry monsters. Their headquarters can even act as an evacuation center in case of wide-scale invasions.
3. The Pro Heroes (My Hero Academia)
Like the Hero Association in One Punch Man, the Pro Heroes in My Hero Academia use their Quirks to maintain peace and justice.
But not all individuals who have awakened their Quirks can become Pro Heroes right away. They have to undergo training, academy lessons, and licensure exams to become bona fide heroes whom people can trust.
Notable Pro Heroes of My Hero Academia include Endeavor, Nighteye, Gran Torino (retired), Eraserhead, and the all-time favorite All Might. They all devote themselves to protecting society from villains who use their Quirks to kill, destroy, and spread terror.
2. Shinichi Kudo (Case Closed)
Shinichi Kudo was a famous high school detective in Tokyo who was turned into a child by the Black Organization. Although he physically looks like a child, his analytical and deductive skills remain—he’s essentially a boy with an impressively advanced mind.
What makes it difficult for him to solve cases is that no one believes him… because who would believe what a kid says in grown-up affairs?
With the help of Professor Agasa, he now has the tranquilizer watch and a voice-changing bow tie, which helps him in solving different cases, though the credit always goes to the “Sleeping Kogoro.”
1. L (Death Note)
L is a world-renowned detective who becomes interested in the Kira case—particularly how Kira manages to kill and commit violent crimes without ever appearing to be at the crime scene.
He’s also the type of guy who will do anything to solve complex cases, even to the point of becoming an obsessive insomniac. He’ll use all available resources, technology, and even risk human lives.
With the singular goal of bringing down Kira—who he suspects is Light Yagami—L designs a plan to apprehend Kira. It eventually works, but it costs him his life, resulting in a bittersweet end for the genius.