For centuries, people have been longing for the suspense of mysteries. Stemming from the original book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Sherlock Holmes series have been regarded as one of the best mystery crime fiction of all time and have along the way, sparked many other writes to come up with intriguing crime fiction with an enigmatic detective as their main character.
The smart and quirky character of Sherlock Holmes has also influenced some characters in the anime world! So here’s a list of Top 10 Anime Detectives, the Sherlock Holmes of the anime world!
10. Kyuu Renjo (Tantei Gakuen Q)
- Episodes: 45
- Aired: Apr 15, 2003 to Mar 20, 2004
After getting kidnapped by a bunch of criminals, Kyuu Renjo was eventually rescued by a man Satoru Renjo, who was his mentor. From that point on, Kyuu became inspired to become a detective. Kyuu eventually grew out to be a sharp person, with great sense deductive mind. Kyuu then enrolled in DDS (Dan Detective School) to pursue his dream of becoming a great detective.
Gifted as a detective, Kyuu became the leader of the Q class and with his friends, they solve crimes together. Kyuu’s mother, Sayuri Renjo, was originally against the idea of Kyuu being a detective, knowing that being a detective draws inevitable danger to himself. It was later revealed that Sayuri also hid the fact that Kyuu’s former mentor was his father.
9. Kouichi Zenigata (Lupin III 2015)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 2, 2015 to Nov 30, 2015
After his encounter with Arsene Lupin III for the first time, Kouichi Zenigata became obsessed with apprehending Lupin who was said to be the greatest master thief ever lived. Zenigata even went as far as quitting his job as the Tokyo Police Inspector to join the ICPO or Interpol to gather leads and information to catch Lupin.
Having a serious nature and demeanor, Zenigata often receives respect from his fellow colleagues, having proven his abilities of a detective as he solves numerous gang related crimes and criminals. Even Arsene Lupin himself respected Zenigata for being a good detective, as he was always close to apprehending Lupin. The story also shines on both characters, as they both resemble the human version of “Tom & Jerry”.
8. Yakumo Saitou (Shinrei Tantei Yakumo)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 3, 2010 to Dec 26, 2010
Being born with a special ability, Yakumo Saitou was able to see apparitions and ghosts thanks to his left eye. This enables him to communicate with apparitions, and thus helped him in his investigation on cases such as murders or kidnappings. Although Yakumo seems to have a cold demeanor towards other people, deep down he is willing to help others in need.
Saitou, armed with his incredible intelligence and observant skills was able to solve cases together with his partner Haruka Ozawa ahead of the police. This becomes the testament of his abilities as a detective, a spiritual one at that. It was revealed on the series that even though Yakumo was able to see and communicate with the spirits, he was unable to exorcise them.
7. Houtarou Oreki (Hyouka)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Apr 23, 2012 to Sep 17, 2012
Houtarou Oreki is a lazy typical high school student who spends most of his time at home either reading the news or napping. Houtarou likes to conserve his energy and would not spend it on anything that doesn’t interest him. But even though Houtarou lives a very laidback lifestyle, underneath it all was his knack for solving mysteries very much like a detective.
After his little sister sent a request to Houtarou to join the Classics Club to save it from disbandment, Houtarou became acquainted with other members of the club; Chitanda Eru, Fukube Satoshi, and Ibara Mayaka. Together with Houtarou, they begin to tackle a case that occurred 45 years ago which somehow related to a collection entitled “Hyouka”.
6. Shinjuurou Yuuki (UN-GO)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Oct 14, 2011 to Dec 23, 2011
The Last Great Detective, The Defeated Detective, these are the names that Shinjuurou Yuuki earned as a self-proclaimed detective. Having superior deductive and reasoning skills, Shinjuurou Yuuki has made a reputation for himself amongst society and earned the respects of the authorities. Shinjuurou appears to be lean and very serious when it comes to handling cases.
It was revealed in the series that Shinjuurou earned his nickname “The Defeated Detective” after failing to prove Rinroku Kaishou’s deduction were false. Accompanied by Inga, a mysterious kid that’s very loyal towards Shinjuurou, with the ability to transform into a mature woman, they both take on tough mysteries and uncover the truth behind those cases.
5. Yuuko Shionji (Kamisama no Memochou)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 2, 2011 to Sep 24, 2011
Yuuko Shionji is the mysterious girl who lives on the third floor of a ramen shop. Usually referred as ‘Alice’, she is a NEET (a young person who is "Not in Education, Employment, or Training".) and a self-proclaimed detective. It is unclear as to how Yuuko gained her unique skillset, but she is an expert hacker and a great detective. Utilizing her abilities and her network of NEET Detective Team, she uses gathered information to solve crimes and other mysterious cases.
It was seen on the series that Yuuko was always surrounded by a pile of teddy bears, implying that she seem to really like them. It was also revealed that she is hikikomori and tend to avoid social contact. This was probably one of the reason why Yuuko chose to solve cases from afar, in her bedroom. But nonetheless, this hacking genius would definitely get to the bottom of cases!
4. Hajime Kindaichi (Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo)
- Episodes: 148
- Aired: Apr 7, 1997 to Sep 11, 2000
Hajime Kindaichi by default might seem to be the run of the mill high school student, often times mischievous, lecherous, and acts aloof. But in fact, Kindaichi is a very intelligent, and have high quality deduction skills thanks to his I.Q. of 180. It was revealed on the series that Kindaichi looks up to his grandfather, who was also a great detective by the name of Kosuke Kindaichi. This became apparent because whenever Kindaichi solves a crime, he would always mention his catchphrase, “In the name of my grandfather…”
Kindaichi’s more serious nature is drawn out when he takes on cases, showing his capabilities as a decent detective. It was speculated that Kindaichi’s prowess as a detective and intelligence was passed down from his grandfather.
3. Victorique de Blois (Gosick)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jan 8, 2011 to Jul 2, 2011
In the year of 1924, Victorique de Blois exists as the enigmatic girl who spends most of her time in the library of the prestigious school, Saint Marguerite Academy. Despite her young age, Victorique de Blois has extremely good sense of observation skills, as she is keen to details making her an incredibly good detective. Besides her abilities to observe, Victorique also has a perfect eidetic memory, making her remember everything she has seen or read easily without repetition.
Her skills and abilities as a detective even gained respect of fellow authorities. She is also seen in the series to be smoking a pipe, a trait similar to the original Sherlock Holmes character. Underneath all those intelligence, Victorique appears to be the typical tsundere character type, often times having a sharp tongue and is not afraid to be blunt towards others.
2. L Lawliet (Death Note)
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: Oct 4, 2006 to Jun 27, 2007
L Lawliet, or more commonly known as Ryuzaki, is the world’s greatest detective who operates under the mononym L to help solve the Kira case. Ryuzaki or L, like many great detectives possess a high level of observant and deduction skills. With little and almost none leads whatsoever, Ryuzaki was able to pinpoint the location of Kira. One of the main characteristics that people might remember of this character is the way that Ryuzaki moves around; always sitting and walking in a weird position.
In the Death Note series, L eventually lost the battle with Kira or Light Yagami, and Yagami took on L’s identity. It was revealed that the closest candidate to succeed L was Near and Mello. Both young at age, but very gifted. Later in the series, Near became the leader of SPK (Special Provision of Kira) and Mello became the leader of the mafia.
1. Conan Edogawa/Shinichi Kudo (Detective Conan)
- Episodes: 805 - Counting
- Aired: Jan 8, 1996 to Ongoing
Taking the number one spot on this list is the well-known protagonist of the Detective Conan Series, Conan Edogawa or Shinichi Kudo. Shinichi Kudo is a brilliant high school detective with a sharp mind able to solve crimes that the police could not. During a date night with his girlfriend, Ran Mouri, Shinichi ran into a mysterious pair of suspicious looking men. Upon investigating, Shinichi was ambushed from behind and forced to take a drug that shrunk his body into of a little boy.
To protect his loved ones, Shinichi takes on a fake identity, Conan Edogawa, and acts as a distant relative of Dr. Agasa. Ran Mouri took in Conan afterwards, and Conan uses the opportunity of her father Kogorou Mouri who owns a detective agency to solve crimes. Besides his deductive skills, Conan was armed with several gadgets invented by Dr. Agasa to aid him in his case solving.
That’s all for the Top 10 Anime Detective list! Does the characters above intrigue you in some way? Perhaps you would like to be a detective yourself one day? Wouldn’t it be awesome if those characters exists in real life? Be sure to leave suggestions if you know any other anime detective characters out there!