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Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
I went to the local grocery store one day and saw some pastry booths giving out free samples. I tried a very tasty chocolate cake and complimented the clerk that the cake sample was delicious. She paused for a moment and said it’s a brownie, not a cake, and gave me a vague explanation on what makes a brownie not a cake.
I eventually left the store and pondered on, trying to analyze what the clerk said to me. “It’s a mystery!”, I yelped. “I must find out what makes a brownie a brownie!”, I continued.
If you’re like me ever so curious, go grab a box of brownies and check out our Top 10 Mystery Anime. If you already know what brownies are, go grab a box of muffins or cupcakes, or something...
The list is very straightforward: we will list 10 mystery anime that have crime-solving elements and stories with mysterious plot going on which the characters must unravel. We’re gonna start with the staple police drama anime and act as an entry point, and then proceed to mystery shows with strange and bizarre themes and unworldly atmospheres to set the mood.
Hop into the Mystery Van and let’s go solve some mysteries!
10. Detective Conan
- Episodes: Ongoing
- Aired: January 1996-Ongoing
Already a great mystery expert, Kudou Shinichi age 17 has gained reputation for solving seemingly impossible cases. His life takes an unexpected turn when the two suspicious men he was following gave him a drug that reversed his aging to that of a seven year-old. Even with a body of a child, his intellect remained and continues to fight crime under the new name, Edogawa Conan, while hiding his identity to everyone including his childhood friend, Mouri Ran.
Detective Conan is HUGE with 800+ episodes and can get very overwhelming. However, it’s a very good police/detective story with tons of mysteries for Conan and his gang to solve. Stories range from murder mysteries, to catching a gentleman thief. Honestly, I was burnt out seeing Conan doing the “Conan tranquilizing ‘guy’ and use the voice changer to expose culprit” routine for the millionth time. Please don’t hate me for saying that.
The reason why Detective Conan is at top 10 because it’s an entry level anime for anyone who’s dying to be the next Sherlock Holmes… with an aging problem who won’t age after 800+ episodes… and manages to solve everything under everyone’s noses.
09. Punch Line
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2015-June 2015
What if a girl flashes her panties in front of Iridatsu Yuuta? The world ends! No seriously, this ‘guy’ can destroy the world if you flash them panties. Iridatsu Yuuta is your typical young man who apparently got his soul separated from his body. With the vague guidance of a cat spirit, he watches the tenants of an apartment building and oftentimes play pranks on them. Eventually, Yuuta decides to try and figure out why Earth will be destroyed.
At first the first few episodes made it seem like Punch Line is just another ecchi harem anime, but as soon as the story picks up, it’s rather a grim story of Yuuta failing to save those he loves in both past and present. Punch Line may not have the same story writing pedigree on the list, but it does show that not all mystery anime has to be something gloomy all the time with lots of blood.
08. Darker than Black
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2007-September 2007
It has been 10 years since Heaven's Gate appeared in South America and Hell's Gate appeared in Japan, and the purpose is unknown. What is known however is people with supernatural powers known as ‘contractors’, emerged after the gates appeared in the world.
In the Japanese city surrounding Hell’s Gate, Section 4 Chief Misaki Kirihara finds herself at odds with an infamous Contractor, codenamed Hei. Called "Black Reaper" in the underground world, Hei, like his associates, undertakes missions for the mysterious and ruthless Syndicate while slowly peeling back the dark layers covering a nefarious plot that threatens the very existence of Contractors.
The show is structured around Hei and his jobs assigned by the Syndicate. His tasks usually involve tracking down other contractors and eliminate them, and like any typical thriller, Hei is soon dragged into a web of conspiracies involving the mysteries of the gates and the nature of the contractors. Will Hei continue to become the Syndicate’s tool, or break away and become a free man?
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2012-March 2013
A crime solving mystery anime that takes place in the far future. Seriously, a majority of the shows that set in the future are either dystopian worlds of man merging with machine or post apocalyptic worlds where technology was lost and… I’m going off on a tangent here.
The story revolved around the Psycho-Pass system that determines the role of a person in society and detects people with criminal intent. These people with criminal intent, depending on the severity of the crime, will be brutally erased from existence using the Dominator gun. Like all technology, the system is abused by a lot of people and it’s up to rookie Tsunemori Akane and detective Kogami Shinya to stop them.
This show is not for the faint of heart and it has one of the most disturbing themes you can imagine ranging from typical murder to using corpses as works of art. If you want to see how far a human being can go to commit crimes, then you might want to check this out.
06. Mnemosyne (Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: February 2008-July 2008
Private investigator Asougi Rin has the gift of immortality given to her by the Yggdrasil, an enormous tree only immortals like Rin can see. Little is known about this tree, more so, why it gave Rin the gift of immortality. On a typical day at work, Rin saved the amnesiac Maeno Kouki from unknown assailants. Kouki has no recollection of anything that happened even though he remembers his name. Rin caught interest in Kouki’s problem and sets out to find out what’s going on. Soon after Rin discovered that Kouki is connected to a series of events that spans many lifetimes involving the mysterious man named Apos, and angels that are out to kill immortals like Rin.
We planned to put this in our Top 10 Yuri Ecchi anime, but decided not to because it’s more fitting on this list. What that means is Mnemosyne contains some lesbian sex. What’s that? You’re interested in checking this out?
We’re pretty sure not a lot of you are aware of this anime and that’s understandable because Mnemosyne is one of those hidden gems that got overshadowed by popular and mainstream anime. Mnemosyne is a psychological thriller that tells a grim story of an immortal woman living her life as a human and her job gets her into a lot of trouble with powerful beings that could finally end her life. This anime has gore, lots of gore, but not too obnoxious enough that makes anyone extra queasy. What’s the name of the fetish of getting eaten alive? Vore?
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: July 2010-December 2010
Shimizu Megumi has always dreamed of making it big in a big city, but she’s stuck in her hometown of Sotoba and hates the town because it doesn’t have the modern amenities a big city has, except for that huge Western-style mansion at the top of a hill, seemingly out of place against the mundane rural landscape. However, things turned out for the worse as Megumi met her untimely death, and a series of deaths followed after the Kirishiki family moved into the mansion.
Shiki, or Corpse Demon, tells the story of a town trying to survive from this undead plague that’s ravaging the town. Initially, the town doctor Ozaki Toshio thinks the town is suffering from an epidemic and soon after, they discovered the dead are walking amongst the living. It appears science is not enough to explain what’s going on.
Shiki is a good supernatural thriller that shows both sides and blurs the line of what is considered good and what is considered evil.
04. Dennou Coil (Cyber Coil)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: May 2007-December 2007
I know, I know, the list is kinda grim with these depressing stories, but don’t worry, this entry will lighten your mood!
Imagine cyberspace is part of real space and augmented reality is fully realized, and with the aid of special cyber visors, you can interact with things that are physically non-existent, this is the world of Dennou Coil. Okonogi Yuuko and her little sister, Okonogi Kyoko, moved to Daikoku City, the technological center of the emerging half-virtual world. Yuuko joins her grandmother’s investigation agency which helps the neighborhood find lost virtual pets to patching up corrupted space. Yuuko and the gang repeatedly cross paths with expert hacker Amasawa Yuuko who seeks to find answers to the mysterious computer virus that emerges from corrupted space.
That’s pretty much it. You follow Yuuko and the gang taking jobs that deal with problems emerging from the virtual space. As they dig deeper while crossing paths a lot with the hacker Amasawa Yuuko, they begin to see new things beyond the virtual visor.
Dennou Coil is one of those shows that’s one of a kind, very fun and emotional. It’s a ride I guarantee you will never forget.
03. Fullmetal Alchemist
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: October 2003-October 2004
The original anime adaption is way better than Brotherhood. There, I said it.Fullmetal Alchemist looks like it’s a shounen fighting anime at first glance, but once you get into the story and characters, it’s actually more of a psychological thriller anime with a dab of humor.
You follow the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, as they go on a quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone to undo the damage they had done and restore Edward’s arm and leg and Alphonse’s body after failing in transmutation. Edward rose up in rank and became a State Alchemist. With their rank, the Elric Brothers dug deep into alchemy and along the way they unraveled corruption, genocide, encountering the elusive homunculus, and discovering the true nature of the Philosopher’s Stone.
Don’t let the funny reactions of Edward after calling him short fool you because Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most thought-provoking, engaging and oftentimes depressing anime out there. Oh did I tell you FMA is one of my favorite anime of all time?
02. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2006-September 2006
Maebara Keiichi is an eccentric city kid who moved to the quiet town of Hinamizawa. He instantly became friends with the town’s kids, and the town openly accepted him. Seems like a great place to live until a murder took place, and the town went to a cheerful place with nice people into something more strange and sinister.
Figuring out the mystery will make your head spin in this anime. The anime has multiple scenarios telling a different story and showing different outcomes, and the outcomes usually involve the bloody brutal death of one of the key characters. You try and piece together the stories by finding something consistent. Keiichi is sort of the sacrificial lamb in these stories as he tries to make sense of everything. The best part of the anime is how unnerving it is, like the entire town of Hinamizawa is possessed by something. NO, KEIICHI! DON’T ENTER THE PHONE BOOTH!!!
01. Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: October 2006-June 2007
Yagami Light is the perfect boy scout: He’s good looking, smart, raised by an upstanding family, and is good at everything. One day he sees a peculiar-looking black notebook with the name Death Note on the cover after reading the instructions inside, Light discovered he can kill anyone just by writing their name in the notebook. With his new found power, Light took it upon himself to rid the world of evil. Is Light the world’s judge, jury and executioner ridding the world of evil or has he become so obsessed with his power to snuff everyone’s life at the flip of the pen?
This anime is the most unique in the list because the main character is also the main villain. It’s the change of perspective that makes Death Note such a joy to watch. Instead of figuring out how the villain got away with murder by investigating, in Death Note, you watch the villain hatch his plans to kill his targets and avoid getting caught by hiding the evidence and some supernatural help from Ryuk.
In order for Light to kill his targets using the Death Note, he must figure out the real name of the target or otherwise they won’t die. This can lead to some interesting scenarios that I won’t spoil. One of the best parts of the anime is the dangerous cat and mouse game between Light and a mysterious man with strange habits only known as L. The man known as L is equally smart as Light and their interaction as foe and friend is arguably the best part of the series. L knows Light took part in these murders, but he can’t connect the dots, and Light knows L is a threat, but he can’t dispose of him because he doesn’t know his name.
If you’re looking for a show that has a well-written story filled with intrigue, love, hate, deception, and betrayal, and a strong cast of characters, Death Note is an anime you should never miss.
And there you go.
If you failed to figure out the plot, don’t worry. Some shows tend to be sly about their plot twists and you either look up various books referencing the anime or cringe as the author of these works brags that you need to be in the same train of thought as them to figure out the mystery. It happens.
Admittedly doing a top 10 of this kind of topic is difficult because there are lots of great mystery-filled stories that are waiting to be solved, so here are some honorable mentions:
● Paranoia Agent
● Ghost Hound
● Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
● Kamisama no Memochou
● Umineko no Naku Koro ni