You know what they say, the best detective series are the ones that keep your guessing right up until the end. If you like solving mysteries just as much as the characters you watch do so, then detective series are always a tantalizing genre of anime. Whether you want just a simple mystery of the week type show or something with a more supernatural twist, there are plenty of detective anime recommendations out there to sate that thirst.
When most anime fans think of good detective anime series, they think of Detective Conan. It is about a teen detective that is trying to solve the mysteries of the how, the why, and the who drugged him with the intention to kill him but turned him into a kid instead. Along the way he solves other mysteries in a case of the week sort of formula while occasionally focusing on the main plot. As a long-running series with a whole bunch of episodes, it has got to be good, right?
What is ghost hunting if not mystery solving? That is pretty much the entire bent of Ghost Hunt. It follows a team of ghost hunters that use a variety of techniques to solve various hauntings. However, what you will find out about ghost hunting is that you often have to solve the mystery about why the place is haunted in the first place, and it can be as intriguing as they come.
Although Death Note is completely straight-forward with the audience about who the killer is, it still finds ways to surprise you. Whether it be with the entrance of new detective nemesis, other death note users, and most definitely with the masterful game of cat and mouse in the show, this is one detective series that swept the world
Bungou Stray Dogs
This anime follows the story of Atsushi, who was kicked out of his orphanage. He ends up meeting two very strange men and joins the Armed Detective Agency. While the characters are based off famous literary authors, which adds a bit of interest, but only if you are well-versed in Japanese authors.
Demon Detective Nougami Neuro
Have you ever been so into a mystery that you could just eat it up? Well, that is the premise of Demon Detective Nougami Neuro. It follows the story of a demon, Neuro, that feeds on mysteries. In order to get more food, he joins up with a human girl that has her own mystery to solve and together they become detectives.
At a glance, UN-GO is your typical detective series, the only difference being that they are solving mysteries in a more dystopian setting. However, as the series goes on, the biggest mystery becomes what Yuuki’s detective partner Inga is up to, which turns the intrigue to the extreme.
This is about a kid that ends up joining the Classics Club at his sister’s request. However, instead of studying classics, the club is more set on solving mysteries such as the 45-year-old mystery of the club room as well as other intrigues in their town. It is actually a unique series because it doesn’t go out of the way for its mysteries, but rather shows that mysteries can be part of your normal life.
Monster is like the ultimate thriller of the anime genre. You have a surgeon that saves the life of a boy instead of the mayor (as he can’t save them both), then suddenly comes to the realization that a number of brutal events that happen afterwards are tied to the life he saved. When the murders make him look like the suspect, this brain surgeon is forced down the rabbit hole to solve the mystery.
This was one of the more recent and well-received series into the mystery genre. When Erased really got going, it drew you in and never let go. It had just a touch of supernatural by allowing the main character to go back in time, but in its essence, it is a murder mystery. They even made it more involving by having it be a murder mystery primarily surrounding children.
Cops solving mysteries and catching criminals. There is no more classic mystery premise, but of course anime can’t just let it be simple. Psycho-Pass turns things up a little by putting a dystopian and technological twist on the whole trope that really works, but mostly because it is carried by its characters.
Ghost in the Shell
Like Psycho-Pass above, Ghost in the Shell deals with crime in a more classic police drama way, but in a highly technological setting. However, what makes Ghost in the Shell so beloved is the fact that it creates such a high-minded and thrilling case as the detectives hunt down a hacker by the name of Laughing Man.
The File of Young Kindaichi
Kouta Kindaichi is kind of like the Sherlock Holmes of Japan, but this isn’t the story of him, but rather his grandson who is also a young detective. The File of Young Kindaichi is a lot like Detective Conan, but with a less overarching plot. Each week they get a grizzly case to solve and you watch them solve it. There is no finer situation for the detective purist.
Heaven’s Memo Pad
This series kind of starts off looking like it will be something else. Initially the main character is invited to join the gardening club, and then BAM, it is actually a detective agency lead by a genius hacker. Aside from that odd start, it actually does end up going through a number of intriguing mysteries.
Persona 4: The Animation
Although Persona 4 has its silly moments, it is a murder mystery with a highly stylised supernatural twist. Perhaps the best part of the Persona 4 anime is not only the many different smaller and overall mysteries to solve, but once you finish you also have a quality game to play afterwards.
Danganronpa: The Animation
Like Persona 4, Danganronpa is also based on a game, so if you like the anime, you can also play the games. Again you have another great murder mystery with an overarching plot to discover. This is one of those series that can really have you on the edge of your seat as you get attached to the characters and try to figure out who killed your favorites.
Although it looks older, Master Keaton was made in the late 1990’s and hoped to grabbed some of the popularity of Detective Conan. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite catch. However, it doesn’t make it any less of a good detective series. You follow a half-British, half-Japanese detective and former SAS member who travels around the world solving a number of mysteries.
Terror in Resonance
Terror in Resonance isn’t your typical detective series, but it is full of mysteries to solve. Essentially you have to figure out the how and why of it all, but it places very little emphasis on the detectives, but rather the terrorists.
Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok
This is one of your more innovative set-ups. It follows the story of Norse God Loki who, of course, gets kicked out of his realm for a bad joke. He is sent to Earth where the Gods state he can come back if he can collect the auras of evil that take over human hearts. So, naturally, to do this, he starts a detective agency, because why not?
The set up for Gosick sounds kind of contrived since it features a semi-average guy meeting an incredibly intelligent girl at school that doesn’t go to class. However, when you get into the mysteries, it presents some truly innovative ones. If you are sick of your typical detective cases, Gosick can help mix things up.
Psychic Detective Yakumo
Similar to Ghost Hunt, Psychic Detective Yakumo is about solving supernatural mysteries instead of your typical crimes. While it can be a little more character-focused at times, it does have some interesting cases where Yakumo uses his ability to see ghosts in order to help them move on.
Did we miss any more good anime recommendations for the serious mystery hound? Let us know in the comments section below.