AnimeLists & Recommendations

Top 10 Mystery Thriller Anime That Will Blow Your Mind

The mystery thriller anime genre is long been a mainstay in anime world. When it might not be one of the most mainstream anime genres around, it comes with no shortage of moments to keep the fans anticipating.

In fact, all the mysteries and suspenseful moments often lies a chance for us to take a more introspective look at not just ourselves, but humanity as a whole.

In this blog post, we will be discussing a top 10 best mystery thriller anime series of all the time, so sit back, relax and read as we go through some of the best mystery thriller anime series in the genre.

Do take care though because a lot of these mystery thriller anime series can mess with your mind in more ways than one.

Mystery thriller anime meaning

Actually, what considered “Thriller” and “Mystery” is somewhat different to everyone. Now, let’s answer this question: what does mystery thriller anime mean?

Mystery thriller Anime series are, generally, gripping stories where people die, and the threat of death persists as we don’t know who the killer is. Mystery thriller Anime series are known as good death game anime.

Mystery thriller Anime series are also stories involving time travel in order to get something back or get past a point.

Mystery thriller Anime series have generally mysteries that need to be discovered, and that’s what inflame our interests, and catches our intention. This element is so important to a mystery thriller anime.

A great concept of mystery thriller anime show is death, or the threat of death. This topic is something that catches our attention. Storytelling is also extremely important in mystery thriller anime series.

Let’s see our list of Top 10 Best Mystery thriller anime series that will mess with your mind.

10- Mystery Thriller Anime: Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica)

Mystery thriller anime series: Madoka Magica
  • Episodes: 12
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Jan 7, 2011 to Apr 22, 2011
  • Premiered: Winter 2011
  • Producers: Aniplex, Mainichi Broadcasting System, Movic, Nitroplus, Houbunsha
  • Licensors: Aniplex of America
  • Studios: Shaft
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Psychological
  • Duration: 24 min. per ep.
  • Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Alternatives Versions:

Sequels:

  1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Movie 3: Hangyaku no Monogatari;
  2. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Movie 4: Walpurgis no Kaiten.

At number 10 we have Puella Magi Madoka Magica. This mystery thriller anime series is a magical girl anime starring Madoka Kaname, a regular middle school girl, whose life gets changed upon a chance encounter with a white cat-like creature called “Kyuubey”.

Kyuubey offers the school girls a chance to become magical girls in order to fight witches. All they have to do though is to make a wish.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica as legacy can still be felt years after finished. Well, I wouldn’t call it the first dark magical girl anime.

It seems to be the series that turned the conventions of succeeding magical girl shows upside down.

Madoka Magica isn’t just a magical girl anime with a dark twist. The series is so methodical and detailed in terms of character growth, symbolism and even the things that they put in the background down to the finest detail.

One starts off as a cute magical girl anime show quickly turns into an artistic tale of hope and despair.

9- Mystery Thriller Anime: Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance/Terror in Tokyo)

Mystery thriller anime series: Zankyou no Terror
  • Episodes: 11
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Jul 11, 2014 to Sep 26, 2014
  • Premiered: Summer 2014
  • Producers: Aniplex, Dentsu, Fuji TV, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, Kyoraku Industrial Holdings
  • Licensors: Funimation
  • Studios: MAPPA
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Mystery, Psychological, Thriller
  • Duration: 22 min. per ep.
  • Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)

The 9th mystery thriller anime series on the list is Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance/Terror in Tokyo).

Tokyo finds itself a victim of a shocking terrorist attack. The culprits are two teenagers who call themselves Sphinx.

The duo launched a series of terrorist attacks accompanied by a riddle. While the world continues to be baffled at finding out the identity of the culprits, Shibazaki Kenjirou of the police division succeeded in solving the riddles, and began engaging the duo in a battle of minds.

The mystery thriller anime series opens up several mysteries such as: why our main characters ended up becoming extremists?

The story behind the two is actually a lot more tragic than you would expect. Adding to that some moral questions and some political aspects.

With amazing music and animation, Zankyou no Terror is also filled with thrilling action that leaves you wanting more.

Zankyou no Terror Review: What makes Terror in Resonance a great Thriller anime?

8- Mystery Thriller Anime: Garden of sinners (Kara no Kyoukai)

Mystery Thriller anime series : Garden of Sinners
  • Type: Movie
  • Episodes: 9
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Producers: Aniplex, Kodansha, Notes
  • Licensors:Aniplex of America
  • Studios: Ufotable
  • Source: Light novel
  • Genres: Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Thriller
  • Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)

List of Movies:

  1. Kara no Kyoukai 1: Fukan Fuukei
  2. Kara no Kyoukai 2: Satsujin Kousatsu (Zen)
  3. Kara no Kyoukai 3: Tsuukaku Zanryuu
  4. Kara no Kyoukai 4: Garan no Dou
  5. Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen
  6. Kara no Kyoukai 6: Boukyaku Rokuon
  7. Kara no Kyoukai 7: Satsujin Kousatsu (Go)
  8. Kara no Kyoukai 8: Shuushou
  9. Kara no Kyoukai Movie: Mirai Fukuin

Coming up next at number 8, it is Garden of sinners. It is a series of movies starring Shiki. Due to her upbringing, she lives in isolation, and so she encounters ordinary high school student Mikiya.

Murders begin occurring in the city with Shiki becoming a prime suspect. Mikiya refuses to believe that the girl he befriended is responsible for everything, despite seeing her on the site of one such gruesome murder.

Garden of sinners has this nifty thing where the story isn’t told in order. They put a “Haruhi” on us, but more serious and edgy.

Bewitchingly captivating and with its unrestrained violence, boldness to tackle mature issues, and an ever-present air of mystery, Garden of sinners will be a draining experience that isn’t for the unprepared, but past all of that, it is one of the most amazing mystery thriller anime works.

Kara no Kyoukai Review: It is possible to contain the urge to kill?

7- Mystery Thriller Anime Series: Paranoia Agent (Mousou Dairinin)

mystery thriller anime series
  • Episodes: 13
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Feb 3, 2004 to May 18, 2004
  • Premiered: Winter 2004
  • Producers: WOWOW, Asmik Ace, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation
  • Licensors: Funimation, Geneon Entertainment USA
  • Studios: Madhouse
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Dementia, Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Supernatural, Psychological
  • Duration: 24 min. per ep.
  • Rating: R+ – (Mild Nudity)

The 7th mystery thriller anime series on the list is Paranoia Agent (Mousou Dairinin).

In Paranoia Agent, the police are on the trail of a legendary figure called “Shounen Bat”. Appearing as a team that wield two bent baseball bats, he sets off to attack the people in Musashino City.

Furthermore, his attacks don’t seem random at all as he only attacks those who fit a certain category.

If you are not aware, the creator of this mystery thriller anime show is Satoshi Kon. known for his mind-bending style, that’s putting it kindly in directing visuals.

if you come in looking for something easy to watch, you might end up disappointed here. Much like its main character, Paranoia Agent is not a show that can be easily digested and consumed.

Paranoia Agent showcases what made Satoshi Kon one of the most renowned personalities in anime world.

Surreal, fear-inducing visuals, a helpful dose of social commentary, and a mystery full of twists with a great ending are what awaits those who watch this mystery thriller anime series.

6- Mystery Thriller Anime: Death Parade

mystery thriller anime series: death parade
  • Episodes: 12
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Jan 10, 2015 to Mar 28, 2015
  • Premiered: Winter 2015
  • Producers: VAP, DAX Production, Nippon Television Network
  • Licensors: Funimation
  • Studios: Madhouse
  • Source: Original
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Game, Psychological
  • Duration: 23 min. per ep.
  • Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)

Our 6th mystery thriller anime on the list is none other than Death Parade. Death Parade’s premise is simple: after death, two people enter a bar named Quindecim with no memories of how they got there.

Then, the white head bartender Decim enters, and crosses the pan to play a game with their lives on the line.

As the game progresses more and more gets revealed about the characters and we begin to see that when it comes to people there is really more than we can imagine.

Death parade is interesting in its take of life after death. The Japanese afterlife has been a subject of interest for quite a while now with its various reimagination.

to have it imagined as a bar where people play death games is very creative and definitely a refreshing take on it.

Death Parade excels in how it essentially provides numerous character studies at the end of the day.

This mystery thriller anime series certainly teaches us not to judge a book by its cover or a person by his appearance.

5- Mystery Thriller Anime Series: When They Cry (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)

mystery thriller anime show : when they cry
  • Episodes: 26
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Apr 5, 2006 to Sep 27, 2006
  • Premiered: Spring 2006
  • Producers: Geneon Universal Entertainment, Frontier Works, Sotsu, DAX Production
  • Licensors: Sentai Filmworks, Geneon Entertainment USA
  • Studios: Studio Deen
  • Source: Visual novel
  • Genres: Dementia, Horror, Mystery, Supernatural, Thriller, Psychological
  • Duration: 24 min. per ep.
  • Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)

Sequels:

  1. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai
  2. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei
  3. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou
  4. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Sotsu

The 5th mystery thriller anime series on our list is When They Cry. It’s a mystery thriller anime show with cute girls who are chilling and hanging out in a quiet town setting.

When They Cry may seem unspectacular at first. It’s the tried and true visual novel of the main character Maebara Keiichi moving to a province where he befriends new classmates.

That’s look as if they can conveniently form a harem. the seeming peace and quiet abruptly ends after he learns about a murder that happens every few years.

Surely none of these cute girls that he just befriended can be the ones responsible, right?

This mystery thriller anime series is unique since its timelines keep getting reset. Some viewers might think that they are watching some kind of Erased or Re: Zero with a time-travel vibes.

Overall, this anime’s main selling point comes from urging the viewers to know more about the characters.

You get pulled into the mystery of how the seemingly sweetest characters can commit such heinous acts.

4- Mystery Thriller Anime Series: The Promised Neverland (Yakusoku no Neverland)

Top 10 Mystery Thriller Anime That Will Blow Your Mind
  • Episodes: 12
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Jan 10, 2019 to Mar 29, 2019
  • Premiered: Winter 2019
  • Producers: Aniplex, Dentsu, Fuji TV, Shueisha, CA-Cygames Anime Fund
  • Licensors: Aniplex of America
  • Studios: CloverWorks
  • Source: Manga
  • Genres: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Psychological
  • Demographic: Shounen
  • Duration: 22 min. per ep.
  • Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)

Sequels:

Number 4 on our list of best mystery thriller anime series is something that you should be quite familiar with: The Promised Neverland.

The Promised Neverland is about the orphanage Grace Field House. The kids live happily as one big family under the care of Isabella, the Mama of the orphanage.

After finding out the truth about the orphanage, two of the smartest kids there, Emma and Norman, begin to lay down the plans to run away from the Grace Field House.

The premise may sound simple enough, but The Promised Neverland is as thrilling as it gets. The game of twists is something to look out for, and a lot of character development unfolds as the series progresses.

While the anime adaption does have its shortcomings, its production, especially when it comes to setting the tone and atmosphere, is more than make up for it.

The Promised Neverland is one hell of a suspenseful ride, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats as they find out whether the children can escape the chains of fate.

3- Mystery Thriller Anime Series: Steins;Gate

mystery thriller anime series steins;gate
  • Episodes: 24
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Apr 6, 2011 to Sep 14, 2011
  • Premiered: Spring 2011
  • Producers: Frontier Works, Media Factory, Movic, AT-X, Kadokawa Pictures Japan, Nitroplus
  • Licensors: Funimation
  • Studios: White Fox
  • Source: Visual novel
  • Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Psychological
  • Duration: 24 min. per ep.
  • Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Sequels:

  1. Steins;Gate: Oukoubakko no Poriomania
  2. Steins;Gate Movie: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu

Alternatives Versions:

  1. Steins;Gate: Kyoukaimenjou no Missing Link – Divide By Zero
  2. Steins;Gate 0

Coming in at number 3 is Steins;Gate. Rintaro Okabe claims to be a mad scientist. In reality, he is just an eccentric, and a socially inept university student.

After discovering time-travel under strange circumstances, he and his colleagues must use their knowledge about time-travel to stop an evil organization in their diabolical plans.

Steins;Gate takes a concept that we have grown accustomed to: time travel, and masterfully applies its own take on it.

While most series take the concept of time travel, and use it merely as a plot point, Steins;Gate goes the next mile.

While Okabe deals with tough choices, we get to join the action, grappling with the concepts that the show presents us, theorizing on the fate of the characters, and waiting for the next major development.

Steins;Gate has the magical ability to keep its viewers completely engaged with every step, making this series the ultimate show to pick up if you want a mystery thriller anime series that deals with time-travel.

2- Mystery Thriller Anime Series: Death Note

Top 10 Mystery Thriller Anime That Will Blow Your Mind
  • Episodes: 37
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Oct 4, 2006 to Jun 27, 2007
  • Premiered: Fall 2006
  • Producers: VAP, Konami, Ashi Production, Nippon Television Network, Shueisha
  • Licensors: VIZ Media
  • Studios: Madhouse
  • Source: Manga
  • Genres: Mystery, Supernatural, Thriller, Police, Psychological
  • Demographic: Shounen
  • Duration: 23 min. per ep.
  • Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)

Is it any surprise that we have Death Note at number two in this list of top 10 Best Mystery thriller anime series?

Death Note tells the story of Light Yagami. His life changed when he stumbled upon the Death Note, a notebook with the ability to kill any person whose name’s written in it.

Recognizing the power that’s fallen into his hands, Light begins request of purging the world of criminals.

However, things aren’t that easy as the police turn their attention to apprehending the mysterious serial killer of criminals. Enlisting the help of the genius detective L, the game of cat-and-mouse begins.

Death Note tries to answer a lot of questions about morals, ethics and justice. Do criminals really deserve a second chance? Is the world’s judicial system flawed? should anyone have the right to take the lives of other people’s into their own hands?

For its success, Death Note also inspired a lot of spin-offs, side stories, and even musicals that doesn’t even include the seemingly endless live-action adaptations and retellings.

1- Mystery Thriller Anime: Monster

Top 10 Mystery Thriller Anime That Will Blow Your Mind
  • Episodes: 74
  • Status: Finished Airing
  • Aired: Apr 7, 2004 to Sep 28, 2005
  • Premiered:Spring 2004
  • Producers: VAP, Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Nippon Television Network
  • Licensors: VIZ Media
  • Studios: Madhouse
  • Source: Manga
  • Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Police, Psychological
  • Demographic: Seinen
  • Duration: 24 min. per ep.
  • Rating: R+ – Mild Nudity

Finally, we have Monster. This mystery thriller anime series takes the number one spot in our list of top 10 best mystery thriller anime series of all the time!

What a way to cap off the list with the critically acclaimed masterpiece of Urasawa Naoki!

Monster tells the story of Doctor Kenzo Tenma, a young surgeon disappointed at the politics, and bias within his hospital.

Doctor Tenma decides to ignore subsequent orders, and operates on a young boy named Johan Liebert saving his life.

Years later, Doctor Tenma encounters Johan once more, but this time as a murderer being referred to as a monster.

Seeking to fix his mistake of creating this monster, Doctor Tenma goes after Johann in order to catch him.

When it comes to mystery thriller anime genre, monster is by far one of the best in terms of setting the tone and atmosphere for the type of story that is trying to tell.

It’s without much of the supernatural elements and archetypal characters that anime often takes pride in, and it instead works as an amazing well-grounded look at the human psyche.

Filled to the brim with suspense deep characters and an intricate plot that would provoke you into thinking about life, monster is surely a must-watch.

Monster Anime Review: Why You Should Watch This Great Seinen?

Mystery Thriller Anime: Honorable Mentions

Well, that’s it for this blog post about Top 10 Best Mystery Thriller Anime Series of All The Time! I hope you can find a show that you really like among the ones on this list!

If you would like to recommend some other shows in the mystery thriller genre, then feel free to do so in the comment section below! 😊

Mannou-Sama

A self-proclaimed otaku who have watched more than 1300 anime and aim to watch more than 2000. Japan and its culture intrigue me. I will be recommending you anime that will add both value and entertainment.

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