Some of the most exciting anime series involve tangled webs of mysteries. As the mysteries slowly get unraveled over the course of the series, you can follow along and try to make predictions.
Most of the time, the anime ends up outsmarting its viewers—but that's what you want because it only makes it more thrilling to watch.
Nothing is more engaging than being sucked into a grand mystery that pulls you into a rabbit hole of dark twists and turns. Whenever you think you've figured it out, the rug is yanked from under you once more.
Here are our picks for the greatest mystery anime series packed with suspense and questions that'll bend your mind.
12. Ace Attorney
Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Originally aired 2016 to 2019
47 episodes (2 seasons)
Even if you've never played the Ace Attorney visual novel video game series, you can still enjoy the anime adaptation.
The events in the anime closely follow the plot of the game, beginning with Phoenix's rookie lawyer days under the mentorship of Mia Fey.
When Mia is suddenly murdered, Phoenix forms a friendship with her younger sister, Maya, a spirit medium. Together, they work to solve a number of different cases, all of them involving strange characters and hilarious courtroom banter.
11. The Future Diary
Action, Supernatural, Suspense
Originally aired 2011 to 2012
26 episodes (1 season)
The Future Diary is a battle royale mystery that concerns something called the Diary Game. In this sinister game, Deus Ex Machina (the God of Time and Space) gives 12 people future-predicting diaries.
The goal of the game is to become the sole survivor—the last player standing gets to take the place of Deus Ex Machina in order to put a stop to the impending apocalypse.
In The Future Diary, 14-year-old Yukiteru Amano unknowingly gets involved in this dreadful Diary Game and must work with an obsessive stalker, Yuno, in order survive.
10. Case Closed
Adventure, Comedy, Mystery
Originally aired 1996 to Present
1,091 episodes (31 seasons)
Case Closed is one of the most iconic mystery anime series of all time. It follows Jimmy Kuda, a teenage detective who occasionally dabbles in police detective work.
While he's working on one of his cases, he's assaulted by the criminal members of the Black Organization. They force Jimmy to consume poison, only to realize that the poison doesn't kill him—it turns him into a child.
From then on, the younger-looking Jimmy starts going by the name of Conan Edogawa. He takes advantage of his youthful appearance to secretly solve mysteries under the guise of a child.
As the series progresses, the mystery of the Black Organization's leader gradually unfolds, along with their main goal as a syndicate and the purpose of the APTX 4869 poison.
9. Ergo Proxy
Originally aired 2006
23 episodes (1 season)
Fitting perfectly with its Gothic style and cyberpunk elements, Ergo Proxy is a nihilistic and mysterious anime that's dreadfully bleak.
The series follows Inspector Re-L Mayer and her AutoReiv partner Iggy as they investigate a novel virus that causes androids to murder humans, leading them into a complex and horrifying conspiracy plot.
With its Blade Runner-inspired plot, Ergo Proxy explores concepts of identity, immorality, and integrity. The deeper Re-L dives into this government conspiracy, the more she questions her masters and the world she inhabits—and the truth is terrifying.
8. The Garden of Sinners
Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense
Originally aired 2007 to 2013
8 episodes (1 season)
The Garden of Sinners is an eight-part anime saga that demands your full attention and investment.
Set in the late 1990s, the story of The Garden of Sinners centers on a demon hunter girl named Shiki and her classmate Mikiya, who become investigators for the Garan no Dou agency and deal with the various paranormal mysteries around them.
Beneath the darkness and gore of each case, the most unnerving part is how the paranormal elements tie to the pair. Shiki possesses the ability to see a person's death lines after a fatal accident—but that leads her to be corrupted and compromised.
Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Suspense
Originally aired 2011
24 episodes (1 season)
One of the gimmicks that makes Steins;Gate a fan favorite is its dismantling of murder mystery and time travel tropes while shrouding them with a twisted take.
The premise alone is a standout, and the characters—led by the mad scientist Rintaro—all have memorable moments to admire. But underneath it all is a mystery rooted in its time travel elements, particularly in its involvement of John Titor.
Rintaro has a deep admiration for Titor's theories, so he takes the risk of utilizing time travel, even if it leads to major consequences. But the more he learns about Titor, the less control he has over his fate.
Mystery, School, Slice of Life
Originally aired 2012
22 episodes (1 season)
This breezy slice-of-life mystery anime called Hyouka follows the ups and downs of Hotaro, who joins the Classic Literature Club. There, he befriends Eru, Satoshi, and Mayaka, and the group handles a series of cases—like missing earrings or lost chocolates.
But the one case that becomes a bonding moment for the club is a 45-year-old mystery involving Eru's uncle Jun Sekitani.
The struggle of Eri to remember her uncle's words is heartfelt, and it also brings a more sentimental feeling of striving to remember a faint memory and least expecting a bigger truth to see.
Drama, Mystery, Romance
Originally aired 2011
24 episodes (1 season)
Based on a mystery light novel, Gosick follows foreign exchange student Kazuya, who enters Saint Marguerite Academy and becomes a nuisance among other students.
However, while there, he befriends a smart girl named Victorique, who invests more time checking out the library. With Victorique's intelligence and Kazuya's boldness, they make up a fitting pair who can undertake the darkest mysteries.
Meanwhile, they learn to understand each other—and that's necessary since their deepest mystery involves Victorique and her family. Seeing that her ability is reconstructing chaos, the results are inevitable.
Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense
Originally aired 2016
12 episodes (1 season)
What do you get when you combine the setups of Se7en, The Terminator, and The Road? A gritty, hard-boiled mystery with time travel being the solution against an apocalyptic future—and that sums up Erased.
In this anime set in 2006, a man named Satoru gains the ability to go back in time to his younger self. He uses it to transport back to when he's an 11-year-old kid to solve the mystery of his mother's murder.
In doing so, he learns that his ability can stop other tragic events, too. Harrowing suspense unfolds for Satoru throughout every trace of his past, with all roads leading back to his mother.
3. Death Note
Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense
Originally aired 2006 to 2007
37 episodes (1 season)
Death Note is a psychological race between academic genius Light Yagami and brooding detective L.
After Light finds a supernatural journal known as the Death Note, he wields the power to kill anyone at will by simply writing their names inside the notebook (and, optionally, how they die).
Light uses this power to eradicate the world of criminals. The media soon catches on to all of these untimely deaths and starts referring to the mysterious killer as "Kira." Meanwhile, the genius detective L is brought in to solve the mystery of Kira's identity.
While Light pursues his vigilante justice, L is forced to outwit Light by analyzing the deaths and nailing down Kira's psychology. It becomes a cat-and-mouse game as their exploits unfold.
2. Higurashi: When They Cry
Horror, Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense
Originally aired 2020 to 2021
39 episodes (2 seasons)
Higurashi: When They Cry is the kind of anime where as the central mystery unfolds and resolves, the fates of its lead characters grow darker and darker. This is not one for the faint of heart.
In this oft-overlooked gem of a series, a boy named Keiichi moves to the fictional village of Hinamizawa. There, he befriends his classmates—and learns about the murders and disappearances that often occur during their annual Watanagashi Festival.
The tension of the mystery rests in us experiencing it from the perspective of Keiichi, who gradually grows paranoid over the revelations of the "Oyashiro Curse." And it doesn't help that his classmate Rika is the only witness of the incidents.
Drama, Mystery, Suspense
Originally aired 2004 to 2005
74 episodes (1 season)
The dark, twisted mysteries in Monster aren't for the faint of heart. The series follows Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a neurosurgeon working at a hospital in post-Cold War Germany.
Dr. Tenma becomes frustrated with the hospital's bias in treating patients and decides to perform a life-saving operation on a child—and in doing so, the town's Mayor is left untreated and dies.
These events snowball into something much bigger, causing Dr. Tenma to lose his social standing and get caught up in several murders around him. He always puts his morals before self-interest, and he fights against all odds to correct his wrongs and solve the crimes.
Many anime fans hail Monster as the most suspenseful mystery anime of all time. It's a classic worthy of its status.