From secret identities to secret lovers, no one can resist the tantalizing allure of a secret – in anime or otherwise. If nothing else, by putting a main character with a secret in your show, it lightly entices the audience to stick around to figure it all out. Sometimes the more subtle you hint at the secret and how good you keep it from the audience, the hungrier we become for more. However, sometimes the secret isn’t kept from the audience, but it is so brutal or delightful, we can’t wait to see if it is found out and what will happen after that.
If you have a hankering for a main character with a secret, we have anime recommendations for that.
Tokyo Ghoul is all about secrets, but the main character has it particularly rough. After accidentally asking a flesh-eating ghoul on a date, she tries to eat him only to get killed. When he wakes up, he had an organ transplant from her body and is now a weird half-Ghoul. As these creatures live out of the public eye for their own safety, his voracious hunger for flesh alienates him from his friends.
This is a pretty obvious one, but while Light’s secret identity as the serial killer Kira starts off rather small, it grows on a grand scale. You know, as is the case with methodical mass murder in order to become a living God of a new world. While he lets some people in on the secret, albeit unwillingly, when that happens, it is the beginning of the end as his ego grows out of control.
In a similar situation with Light above, Lelouch must maintain his normal school life while also simultaneously being a masked leader of a revolution against an empire. Of course, it helps that he has the ability to control people with one look. Essentially, both Code Geass and Death Note excelled by keeping audiences on the edge of their seats with the suspense and the narrow misses of discovery.
Darker than Black
In Darker than Black, the series is carried in part by the fact that you get to follow Hei as he dons so many masks. Sometimes his personalities are good and timid like Li Shengshun, but none of them suggest that he is a vicious assassin by night.
Detroit Metal City
Detroit Metal City offers a more comical take on the secret identity genre as a whole. However, the entire plot does revolve around this hardcore metal singer Johannes Krauser II being an otherwise soft-spoken college student by day. A large part of the comedy also comes from seeing him switch between the two so frequently.
This is one of the more common examples of a secret, but it is done in a more extreme way. The main character is the son of Satan, which naturally would put him at odds with the exorcists that fight his influences in the human world. However, as he was raised by a priest, it influenced him to be a good guy, so he actually joins the exorcists, but they don’t all know he is the kin of their enemy.
Rosario + Vampire
Usually anime series focus on the main character keeping supernatural powers from his normal peers, but Rosario Vampire turns that to the reverse. The main character is a very normal human in a supernatural school. While he has a small supernatural harem that protects his secret, if he is found out, he could very well be kicked out, if not killed to keep the secret of the school.
If you are in for something with a more slice of life vibe, ReLife is a more recent series, but has a secret that is just as good. ReLife has the main character become a shut-in after having a tragic incident at his job. However, he is approached by a company that is rehabilitating these NEETs by giving them a second shot at high school. By taking a pill, he is transformed to his younger self, but has to keep it a secret that he is actually older.
My Hero Academia
The plot of My Hero Academia is actually about a kid keeping a secret about himself as well as about one of the most powerful heroes in the world. As his quirk is inherited by All Might, he has to keep that a secret, which is made difficult when people knew him as Quirkless. However, he also has to keep it a secret that All Might can only hold his hero form for a short period of time.
Ah, one of your secret identity anime series classics. The main character is a teenaged detective and extremely talented, but after seeing something he shouldn’t have, he is slipped a drug that turns him into a little kid. In order to solve his own mystery, he moves in with his girlfriend and her less successful detective father. However, he can’t let them know who he is as it could put them in danger if the wrong people find out that he was chibi-fied instead of dead-ified.
As an older series, Rurouni Kenshin is what a lot of people think of when they think of a secret identity. On the outside, Kenshin is a major goofball, but he actually had a very bloody past as an assassin. Throughout the series people find out about his secret and react in various ways, but his biggest challenge is keeping his murderous side in check to his new pacifist side.
Durarara is all about characters having secrets! It is a show that has one overarching mystery that gets unraveled, but it is told through half a dozen different side stories, all of them with characters that have a secret in one form or another. While it can be a little talky, it can be a thrill to learn those little secrets about everybody.
The Devil is a Part-Timer
The Devil is a Part-Timer takes what could have been a bland action series and turns it on its head by making it an isekai series where the people from this fantasy world are sent to the modern world. As it follows the villains who are without their powers, obviously they can flaunt their status because they would seem… Crazy. However, the main character slowly gets his powers back and that actually does blow his secret to some of his normal peers.
Super hero series are generally pretty fertile territory if you want to watch a character keep a secret identity. In Samurai Flamenco, it is actually a little more of a parody of this trope because the main character kind of sucks pretty hard as a hero.
When your hand is taken over by an alien and can morph into anything, including weapons, that is probably something you want to keep secret. However, one of the better reasons to do it is because the alien is still sentient and will kill anyone that finds him out without a second thought.
Don’t be fooled by the happy synopsis of Noragami, the main character and goofball deity may seem nice and ardently wants to be a good guy, but he has a dark past that is as bloody as they come. It is a lot like Rurouni Kenshin, but newer and about Gods.
Seven Deadly Sins
At a glance, Seven Deadly Sins doesn’t seem too interested in intriguing its audience with its character secrets. You find out that the characters are really the sins pretty quickly, and honestly, they don’t try to hide it from people as the show goes on. However, through Meliodius, it does show a power that is intriguing, but doesn’t explain it at first, which creates intrigue as the show goes on.
Ouran High School Host Club
If you want a bit of romance, but also want secrets, this is a pretty standard go-to for it. You have a main character that is a girl, but dresses like a boy so she accidentally gets pulled into a host club that entertains women. Her secret comes out among the club members, but is kept from their clientele so she can pay her debt to the club through work. Of course, your male leads also have their fair share of dramatic secrets that make each of them alluring.
Can you keep a secret? Yeah, us neither. Our secret is that we want more anime series the feature main characters with secrets. Do you dare to share your secret stash with the world in our comments section below?