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Some of the most exciting anime involves a tangled web 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 this only makes it more thrilling to watch. Get out your magnifying glass, and start piecing together the cases in these mystery anime series.
1. Case Closed
Case Closed is one of the most iconic mystery series in all of anime. 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 decides to conceal his identity, and go by the name of Conan Edogawa. He takes advantage of his youthful appearance, and manages to secretly solve mysteries under the guise of a child.
Satoru Fujinuma has the ability to jump back in time, but there’s a catch: he can only revisit the past when he encounters a deadly situation. After getting wrongly accused of murdering his mother, his Revival ability sends him 18 years into the past.
This puts 29-year-old Satoru into the body of an elementary school student. Satoru is sent so far back into the past for a reason—he must prevent the death of his mother, as well as solve the kidnappings that cost the lives of three elementary school students.
The dark, twisted mysteries in Monster aren’t for the faint of heart. It follows Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a neurosurgeon working at a hospital in post-Cold War Germany.
Dr. Tenma becomes frustrated with the hospital’s bias when it comes to treating patients, and decides to perform a life-saving operation on a child. Unfortunately, the town’s Mayor arrived at the hospital shortly after the child, and was left to die.
These events snowball into something even bigger, causing Dr. Tenma to lose his social standing, and eventually involves him in the mystery of a serial killer.
4. Ace Attorney
Even if you’ve never played the Ace Attorney visual novel video game series, you can still enjoy the anime adaption. The events in the anime closely follow the plot of the game, beginning with Phoenix’s rookie lawyering 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.
5. The Future Diary
The Future Diary, also known as Mirai Nikki, 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, and can put a stop to the impending apocalypse. 14-year-old Yukiteru Amano unknowingly gets involved in the dreadful Diary Game, and must work with an obsessive stalker, Yuno, in order survive.
6. Death Note
A list of mystery anime series wouldn’t be complete without Death Note. It’s just one of those shows that you can watch over and over without getting bored.
Death Note is a psychological race between academic genius Light Yagami, and the brooding detective, L. After Light finds the deadly journal, known as the Death Note, he’s given power to execute anyone at his will by simply writing their names inside the notebook.
Light uses this power to his advantage, and sets out 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.” As L works to solve the mystery surrounding Kira, he ends up crossing paths with Light.
More Cerebral Anime to Make You Think
These complex anime will definitely challenge your mystery-solving skills. Once you channel your inner detective, you just might be able to solve the mystery before the protagonist does!
Dying to watch more thoughtful anime? Check out these cerebral anime series that prove anime isn’t just for kids.