Otakus from distant lands, friends of old! Are you ready to get your heart racing, your mind twisted, and your adrenaline pumping? ‘Cause we’ve got a list of the 25 best thriller anime series that will blow your socks off!
We’ve searched high and low in the anime universe to bring you the cream of the crop when it comes to the best thrilling anime out there. And let me tell you, these shows are so suspenseful and mysterious, you’ll be glued to your screen from beginning to end!
We’re talking about the best psychological thriller anime like “Parasyte” and “Monster” that will make you question everything you thought you knew, and the best psycho thriller anime like “Perfect Blue” and “Psycho-Pass” that will make you wonder if you’re the one going crazy.
So, if you’re ready to go on a wild ride, grab your snacks, and let’s dive into the top 25 best thriller anime series!
25: Death Note
You should have spotted the big daddy Death Note coming if you’ve ever seen any anime.
Especially in the first part of the show, it’s possibly the most alluring cat-and-mouse pursuit ever shown.
Just two brilliant minds competing to outsmart one another.
There is practically no excuse not to watch this show (unless you’ve already seen it).
So watch Death Note if you have, for whatever reason, managed to avoid it up to this point.
Believe me, it is simply excellent and not overhyped.
I mean, that made me pumped to witness a dude wash another bro’s feet. Not many anime can pull that off.
The plot of Another is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing mysteries in all of anime.
The idea is as straightforward as it gets: There is a male protagonist, an odd female companion, and a curse that continues killing their peers.
They must solve a long-forgotten mystery and break the curse in order to stop more people from passing away.
Another is unquestionably a shorter and easier-to-follow series, but it works.
Character deaths on the show are also incredibly inventive because you hardly ever predict them.
especially when umbrellas are involved.
You won’t find a psychological thriller as experimental as Paprika.
This is due to the fact that it is focused on the most absurd aspect of human nature: dreaming.
The main characters must solve the mystery in both the real world and the dream world after a device that lets you access someone else’s dreams disappears.
Here, the animation and visuals are at best strange and occasionally outright strange.
But it’s this that makes paprika so vibrant.
You won’t regret entering this enigmatic realm because everything about it is insanely strange.
22: Promised Neverland
The first season of Promised Neverland contains some of the most gripping psychological 300 IQ action you’re going to see in anime.
The story revolves around a group of young people who live on a farm with their loving mother…
But like! Everything of that was a lie, and now their lives are all in danger.
The older kids must consequently come up with an escape plan.
The mother isn’t a pushover, but the kids are all great strategists, so it makes for an intriguing story where everyone seems friendly while simultaneously scheming ahead and attempting to find a way out of this suffering.
But speaking of hell, don’t watch the second season. Trust me, it’s not worth it.
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Although this anime isn’t classified as a thriller, I think it should be.
It presents a number of tales that take place in many places and eras and all come together on a single train journey.
Given that the focus alternates between a number of individuals and their distinct subplots, the tension that Baccano! manages to sustain over its entire length is almost amazing.
Certainly, the show has some S-class humor, which could ruin the suspenseful experience.
Yet, I firmly support it because I think the final result is greater than the sum of its parts.
Unquestionably one of the greatest thrillers ever produced is Monster. And the writing is nothing less than flawless.
The tale of two twins and a doctor who became entangled in their mess is at the center of the plot.
Although I say there are two twins, one is unquestionably more interesting than the other. Of course, I’m referring to Johan, the series’ adversary, and an S-class smart psychopath.
Over 70 episodes of this cat-and-mouse chase never let up in terms of intrigue or action.
The Monster universe is expansive and alluring. Therefore don’t be surprised if you become engrossed in the series after watching it for a day or two.
19: Death Parade
Death Parade explores a topic I’m sure we’ve all pondered about what happens when we die.
It follows an intriguing plot line: after passing away, individuals are taken to a jazzy Limbo club where their principles are put to the test.
It can occasionally be really severe, especially when a certain button is pressed. Yet the stories described seem quite human.
Yet, it’s a highly unique tale with a wide range of believable characters and the silliest of openings. So put it on your list of things to keep an eye out for.
It was time for a “strange village where people keep going missing” program.
In Shiki, an illness that transforms humans into vampires is the reason for their disappearance.
As you might have guessed, the protagonists are in a race against time to figure out what is happening as more and more individuals mysteriously vanish.
Shiki is a very typical premise. Yet it’s done incredibly well, giving the entire play a very weird and nasty vibe.
17: Eden of the East
Eden of the East is the kind of anime that initially just confuses you to no end before snatching you up and keeping you there with no chance of escape.
I mean, just look at the original setup:
No one is killed when a missile strikes Japan. Then there is a time jump in which a girl is on her way to America when she gets into some perilous seas and is rescued by a nude man with no memories.
And before you know it, the situation has evolved into a mobile phone-based Mirai Nikki-style show.
You might think, “This must be rushed as hell,” when you see the setup and the number of episodes.
But don’t worry, there are also two movies to help wrap up the narrative.
16: When They Cry
When They Cry has been a standard when it came to frightening an unsuspecting audience for quite some time.
It is possibly the most horrific series anime has to offer, and it justifiably has a loyal fanbase because of it.
Hence, if you want to stay as far away from PG as you can, this show is your one-ticket stop for everything gruesome and frightful.
Instead, if you want to slightly lessen the blow, you may choose the most recent iteration of the show.
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15: Psycho Pass
Psycho-Pass is another application that meets all the criteria for a thriller yet isn’t categorized as one.
It’s a standard cop movie with a huge trope-busting story element—a system that can tell you whether you’re a criminal even before you commit a crime.
Think of it as a thought crime.
Even without one of the best anime antagonists ever who is (for some reason) impenetrable to the system after committing multiple crimes, the mystery around this system will have you on the edge of your seat.
Rainbow is definitely the best place to start if you enjoy a good crime movie.
Especially since this one is a hitter when it comes to harshness, and presents a very realistic jail situation.
By that, I mean that the jail guards are anything but friendly, corruption is rife, Satan is ashamed of some of the antagonists’ actions, and the entire anime has a very melancholy and depressing atmosphere.
And yet it’s surprisingly encouraging, as the protagonist illustrates how far human goodness can get, even when behind bars.
13: Paranoia Agent
One elusive little crook named Lil’ Slugger is the focus of Paranoia Agent.
The moniker might sound comical, but you’re going to start considering him more seriously once you take a look, at hitting someone to an inch of their life with a golden baseball bat.
More and more people are killed by the little devil’s lethal swings while the two detectives make every effort to catch up with him, and rumors grow across the community.
Sometimes all it takes to create a successful thriller anime is to capture a single elusive, illogical criminal.
12: Denpa-teki na Kanojo
Hence, this two-episode OVA murder mystery tells a great story in less than an hour and a half.
It begins when a female approaches the protagonist and states that they are related because of the events from their prior incarnations that they have both experienced.
He dismisses her at first, but once a classmate is killed, he instantly accepts her as a partner.
Actually, I’d say he “teams up” because he honestly genuinely assumed her to be the murderer.
But the rabbit hole is seldom that narrow, so these two are in for a crazy ride.
11: Mirai Nikki
Mirai Nikki is perhaps internationally renowned for developing the yandere trope as prominent as it is today, alongside When They Cry, of course.
This anime is a form of battle royale where anyone can die at any time.
There are some very intriguing side stories, despite all the violence and guts.
Yuno’s backstory made me laugh out loud. Furthermore, the idea that God is in charge of everything gives this scenario a stronger feeling of legitimacy and high stakes.
Absolutely not for people who are faint of heart. Yet it’s a terrific option if you’re searching for pure anime action.
10: Shigofumi: Letters from the Departed
This show’s stunningly straightforward concept simply works on so many levels.
In Shigofumi, those who pass away while still harboring intense feelings toward something (or someone) may leave a letter for a living.
The onerous task of delivering each letter to its intended recipient falls to our protagonist, who is simultaneously attempting to find out how she came to be in this position in the first place.
Although brief and straightforward, the plot is quite exciting.
9: Talentless Nana
Even though the attractiveness of Among Us has diminished somewhat, the concept is still really cool.
This anime fills that void, to some extent.
The protagonist of the story is a girl who is exiled to an island populated by children with superpowers.
Her goal is to kill as many people as she can without being noticed.
The plot twist is that she is essentially helpless herself, so she will need to use her wits and plenty of vents to get through this one unharmed.
The tension is constant and incredibly alluring, even though the writing may not be the best in the world. This is especially true after a few students are slain and people start to become protective.
8: Terror in Resonance
The plot of Terror in Resonance sends us on a wild rollercoaster as we see two young men employ terrorism to communicate a certain message.
They always leave a coded message for the police when they blow something up.
as though they were joking with them.
Of course, everything is part of a much bigger story that you probably won’t fully understand until the final few episodes (no spoilers).
The guys’ schemes are fun to watch, and the mysteries they leave behind will pique your interest just as much as the detective who’s after them. There are many thrills here.
all in all, you just have to see Psycho-Pass
7: Re: Zero
Do you know how isekai shows normally have a laid-back vibe because the protagonist is usually outmatched and the environment is cheery and upbeat?
That doesn’t apply in this case, in fact.
Our protagonist is a typical individual with the unique ability to go back in time after passing away.
He also uses it frequently.
Re: Zero offers a depressing and remarkably fresh viewpoint on the isekai genre. Every step forward is earned since everything in this world is extremely difficult to do.
Also, the sound effect used when the protagonist travels back in time is absolutely suspenseful.
6: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
This anime is worth watching if you want to have all of your expectations completely dashed.
All things considered, it looks like your standard magical girl show.
Yet when the main character is cautioned that the cost of power is high and that nothing is as it seems, we get our first indications of its real story.
But since no one ever listens to cryptic warnings, we tumble into this frightening and seductive rabbit hole that’ll have you doubt everything you ever thought about the magical girl genre.
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5: Aoi Bungaku Series
If you’re looking for a psychological story but don’t want to watch the pool of blood in “When They Cry,” this collection series might be more suitable.
And sure, this is a compilation of sorts that comprises some of Japan’s most prominent writers.
In total, there are six stories, each of which explores the human mind or the human experience in a distinctive manner.
Each narrative receives approximately two episodes, which makes for an extremely fast-paced viewing experience where you’re plunged into a new story as soon as you’ve fully comprehended the previous one. Try at least one episode here and see what you think if you want something quick and to the point.
4: Moriarty the Patriot
This is the typical tale of a group of people taking on a directionless organization.
This time, the organization is the whole of Britain.
New restrictions have been implemented that disproportionately favor the wealthy, so it’s up to Moriarty and his brothers to generate some significant waves and advocate for a more just government.
The show is quite tight. Also, the fact that it is all fairly realistic makes it more interesting.
Superpowers are cool, but nothing compares to the suspense of a loaded revolver with a single bullet.
3: Steins Gate
Since we’re already talking about going back in time, the concept of death occurring repeatedly and witnessing a person spiral into mental insanity while being forced to deal with reality’s harsh realities…
Now let’s discuss Steins; Gate.
It’s one of those programs that begin kind of subdued and slice-of-life-like before picking up speed and delivering one of the best anime stories ever.
The stakes are always quite high. You must also struggle for every inch of advancement, much like in Re: Zero.
The plot of Steins; Gate is so full of shocks, twists, and turns that you’ll never feel as though you truly know what will happen, which is every thriller fan’s dream.
2: The Garden of Sinners
The Garden of Sinners is a show I think you’ll really enjoy if you’re seeking for something to watch.
It is a group of at least eight movies that work together to tell a single, sweeping tale.
Despite the fact that the majority of it is a supernatural murder mystery, it contains so much symbolism that an entire book could be written about it.
The fact that the films aren’t presented in chronological sequence actually improves the overall effect, with the main storyline becoming more clear with each new chapter.
It is a true masterpiece thanks to the incredible animation, voice acting, art design, and epic soundtrack.
So if you haven’t already, make sure to give Garden of Sinners a try.
Simply make sure you have a lot of popcorn on hand because you’ll need it.
1: Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song-
Anytime a show features artificial intelligence, you may be sure that major shenanigans could ensue.
Also, the primary character, Vivy, is an AI, as you have probably already surmised.
She spends her days performing in a park in the hopes of attracting guests, but instead, she is confronted with a separate artificial intelligence from the near future.
I mean, AI with time travel?
You should be aware of the direction this is taking.
Yes, the visitor is here to prevent a war between humans and AI from starting in exactly 100 years.
Compared to any theme park I’ve been to, that sounds like a lot more fun.
In conclusion, after diving deep into the world of anime thrillers, we can confidently say that these 25 titles will keep you on the edge of your seat and your heart racing faster than a cheetah on Red Bull.
From psychological mind-benders to pulse-pounding action, there’s something for everyone in this list. So, if you’re looking for a thrilling and entertaining experience, grab some popcorn, get comfy on the couch, and buckle up for the ride of your life.
Just don’t forget to keep a blanket nearby to hide under when things get too intense! Happy watching, and may your heart rate never return to normal.