Japanese anime series is thrilling to watch and very emotional. The finest thriller anime all have one thing in common: they always keep you on the edge of your seat. From Death Note to Psycho-Pass, this list rates every good psychological thriller anime in order of preference.
Some of these programs are simply scary and grim, such as Satoshi Kon’s Paranoia Agent, which reveals some of the darker aspects of human social behavior. Other series include mystery thrillers like “Attack on Titan” and “Demon Slayer” which keep you on the edge of your seat.
1. Code Geass: Lelouch of Rebellion
Code Geass is one of those medium-pushers, particularly for anime, that invests to the utmost in its chosen medium; its animation and story are simply stunning, without wasting any moment in sight and no wasted time exploring its own self-invented alternate history, continuing the greatness of its predecessor, ‘Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion: R1’.
Suspending disbelief for this narrative makes it all the more like discovering and unraveling an age-old piece of Mythology before our eyes for the first time. Despite the evil guys in the episode wearing robot suits and Star Wars villain outfits.
After renouncing his claim to the kingdom due to his mother’s death and thinking his father failed to protect her, Lelouch Li Britannia, a Britannian Prince, is banished to Japan with his crippled sister Nunnally by his father. He travels to Japan and befriends Suzaku, a Japanese-born “honorary Britannian” who thinks that the only way to bring about development is to work from the inside out to improve Britannia and who opposes Lelouch’s “goals justify the means” worldview.
He despises Britannia in Japan (which was captured by the Britannians and is now known as “Area 11,” a high apartheid state), but he can’t act on it until he obtains a power known as Geass from a mystery female named C2.
2. Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer was turned into anime, and its 26-episode first season was aired in 2019. It was based on the hugely successful manga of the same name by Koyoharu Gotouge. Its plot, about a young boy’s struggle to save his sister during a violent conflict between humans and demons, was expanded into a feature film called Mugen Train, released in 2020.
It surpassed Spirited Away and Titanic to become Japan’s highest-grossing film of all time. According to box office statistics site The Numbers, it was also the first non-Hollywood picture to ever reign over the global box office. It was also the second-ever anime film to score No. 1 in the US box office, and according to box office data site The Numbers, it was the No. 1 movie from 2020 globally.
The epic narrative of Tanjirou Kamado, a kind-hearted kid who returns home one day to discover his whole family killed by invading demons, is told in Demon Slayer, which is set in Taisho-era Japan. Worse, he discovers that his sister, Nezuko, has been transformed into a violent demon. He swears to become a top-class demon slayer and discover a means to return her to human form, swearing to revenge her.
Tanjirou qualifies to join the Demon Slayer Corps after bone-breaking training by retired elite demon slayer Sakonji Urokodaki and meets fellow demon slayers who become his companions: the cowardly yet secretly skilled Zenitsu Agatsuma, and the fiery Inosuke Hashibira, a short-tempered boy raised by a family of boars.
Tanjirou soon finds his enemies’ actual name, the mastermind behind his parents’ heinous murder: Muzan Kibutsuji, the first Demon King and progenitor of all demons.
3. Hunter X Hunter
If you enjoy animes with character development through struggle and pain, you’d love this anime. Naruto fans may also find this interesting as it features a similar “entrance exam” battle-styled training. Hunter X Hunter is a recreation of the iconic anime series Hunter X Hunter, which aired in the mid-1990s and is based on a manga tale. The plot revolves around Gon Freecss, whose mission is to locate his father, Ging, a skilled double star hunter.
Along the trip, he encounters Kurapika, the last survivor of the Kurta clan, which was wiped out by the mafia gang Phantom Troupe, commanded by Chrollo Lucifer, Leorio, a hunter who wants to be a doctor, and Killua, a hunter in the elite Zoldyck family of assassins. Gon’s journey to becoming a renowned hunter begins as they set out to take the Hunter Exam together. The plot is intricate, with a large cast and incredible world-building components.
The plot follows Gon Freecss, a little kid who has been taught his whole life that both of his parents are dead. When Gon hears through Kite, his father Ging Freecss’ apprentice, that he is still alive and has progressed to the rank of Hunter, he leaves his home on Whale Island to take the Hunter Exam and become a Hunter like him. Gon meets and befriends three of the other applicants throughout the exam:
- Kurapika, is the only surviving Kurta Tribe member who desires to become a Hunter to revenge his clan and regain their scarlet-glowing eyes, which were stolen from their bodies by the Phantom Troupe.
- Killua Zoldyck, is a twelve-year-old child who has abandoned his past life as a member of the world’s most infamous assassin family.
- Leorio is a potential physician who craves the financial perks that Hunters earn to pay for medical school.
4. My Hero Academia
With its deep characters, inventive world-building, and dramatic turns, this shonen series has captured enthusiasts and casual viewers alike. This anime seemed to be produced specifically for individuals like me. It contains a lot of character development, a unique and inventive universe, and a plot that continues escalating the stakes as it progresses.
At first look, it appears to be your classic superhero narrative, in which a shy adolescent is given superpowers and must learn to control them as he grows to become a legend. That’s nice and dandy, but what sets this series apart is the environment it builds and the paths it leads these people down.
It was a dream to become a Hero and defend people from Villains in a world of Super Powers (called Quirks). Izuku Midoriya, a boy born without quirks, aspires to be a hero. In Japan, he idolizes the Super Hero “All Might.”
He loses hope when he learns that he can no longer be a hero. His pal Bokugo was kidnapped by a villain one day.
Midoriya valiantly saves his friend from evil when everyone else is hesitant to help. All Might bestowed his Quirk to Midoriya after witnessing his generosity in helping others. Midoriya was even accepted into a Super Hero’s School, where future Super Heroes are trained. Another key character, Bokugo, dislikes Midoriya since he used to be so weak in battle, but now Midoriya has earned this Super Power. He certainly has ego issues, as well as a gigantic god complex, which is a major plot point in My Hero Academia.
Nothing is more ill-defined, hazy, and ambiguous than the distinction between “good” and “evil.” The issue of “is said action more bad/good than another?” further confuses the situation. Why is it that we regard the murder of an innocent person to be a more serious crime than a bank robbery?
Is it more “good” to be a doctor who saves hundreds of lives than to be a simple volunteer at a homeless shelter? While Psycho-Pass may not be a genuine portrayal of today’s socio-economic situation, the study of human morality, psychological notions, and emotional fluctuations may all be used to our thinking approach and view on life.
People with a high and clouded Psycho-Pass are either deemed criminals or potent criminals, according to the setting of Psycho-Pass, which is set in a futuristic Japan. Criminals with a Psycho-Pass of more than a particular grade are considered dangerous and have little chance, although powerful criminals can serve as Enforcers with the police to apprehend other criminals.
You’d have to be patient a little, the reason being the story is that the first few episodes were mostly pointless and had little to do with the plot. The episodes themselves aren’t inconsequential; it’s the number of episodes they squandered in the process.
The series is set in a dystopian 22nd-century Japan where a cymatic scanner may be used to evaluate and quantify a person’s proclivity towards crime instantly. The Sibyl System, a hive-mind that oversees law enforcement in Japan, records and analyzes the data.
Sibyl’s oracular judgment determines one’s numerical crime coefficient, color-coded hue through time, and sociological profile, which results in an indexed Psycho-Pass, using multiple ways. This number defines your social worth, as well as your right to live freely, under surveillance, in detention, or not at all.
The story begins with Shinya Kogami, a former Inspector turned Enforcer, is on the lookout for his enemy, Shogo Makishima. It is recounted from the perspective of newly-minted Inspector Akane Tsunemori, who is appointed as his supervisor in the Ministry of Welfare Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Department’s Division 01
5. Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is such a well-crafted product that it possesses all of the main strengths that we all wish every series have. This refers to the plot, characters, animation, soundtrack, opening/ending sequences, art, direction, storytelling, character development, and, most significantly, the “it” factor. All of them are present, with “A” production values.
This anime has already shown to be well worth the anticipation since the first episode. The soundtrack is wonderful, the animation is lovely and flowing, and the censorship is done in such a way that it adds to the suspense and sense of dread that the manga has achieved so brilliantly. This is definitely worth seeing and will not let you down.
A natural predator of humanity emerge over 100 years ago: the Titans, huge humanoid but mindless beasts whose primary mission seemed to be to consume people. Because of an overwhelming strength difference between them and mankind, humankind was soon slaughtered to the point of extinction.
The survivors replied by erecting three encircling walls: Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina, which brought them tranquillity for a century. However, one day, a Colossal Titan considerably larger than any ever seen penetrated the outside wall, allowing lesser Titans to infiltrate human land and forcing the survivors to escape to the inner walls.
Eren Jaeger, a young boy whose mother was devoured during the invasion, pledged to eradicate every single Titan from the face of the Earth and enlisted in the military to take his vengeance.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist
This anime is unlike many others available now. This narrative has an overtly dark topic that is rarely seen in other popular anime, the violence is far more intense, and the ramifications of grievous wounds are accurately shown.
It does, however, have a wonderful cast of characters whose personalities are presented in such detail, and the tale is a perfect combination of seriousness and humor, as with much other excellent anime.
The discussion sequences aren’t overdone, and the action scenes aren’t played out for too long. The series’ music, as well as the voice actors employed in either Japan or America, are all well-chosen and properly match the anime and each character.
Edward and Alphonse Elric, often known as Ed and Al, are a pair of youthful Alchemists who have had a traumatic history. The boys attempted to resurrect their dead mother when Edward was eleven and Alphonse was 10 years old. Their effort failed, with Alphonse losing his entire body and Edward losing his left leg as a result.
Edward gladly gave up his right arm in exchange for Alphonse’s soul in a desperate attempt to keep his brother on Earth. Al’s soul was connected to a suit of armor by Edward. After that, Al transported Ed’s body to Rockbell Automail, a firm controlled by the Elrics’ close friends.
Edward’s arm and leg were replaced with “automail”– hefty steel prostheses that function as though they were real human limbs linked to the body after a painful surgery and rehabilitation process.
7. Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul Best AnThis could have been one of the best “mainstream” anime ever made. Still, due to the fast pace and a limited number of episodes per season, it lacks general character development except for a few characters (in my opinion, only Shuu, Kaneki, Uta, and Yamori were well-developed and written). Still, Rize was a disappointment, which is unfortunate considering how much better the series could have been overall.
In this narrative, Ken Kaneki, a college student, barely escapes a deadly meeting with Rize Kamishiro, his date who exposes herself to be a ghoul. In critical condition, he is rushed to the hospital. Kaneki realizes that he underwent surgery that turned him into a half-ghoul once he recovers.
This was done because portions of Rize’s organs were transplanted into his body, and he now has to eat human flesh to survive, much like normal ghouls. He is taken in by the ghouls who own the coffee shop “Anteiku,” who educate him on how to live with his new existence as a half-ghoul. Fitting into ghoul culture and keeping his identity disguised from his human friends, particularly his best buddy Hideyoshi Nagachika, are two of his everyday problems.
This show delves into every facet of human existence. There are themes of vengeance, betrayal, isolation, love, friendship, loss, deception, regret, sacrifice, generosity, misunderstandings, existentialist and moral concerns, among others. Naruto, as much as I enjoy Greek tragedies, surpasses them in intricacy and poignancy. It’s a genuine work of art.
It’s also a lot of fun, and it has some of my favorite comedy relief characters. It’s so nicely balanced that it never fails to impress me. The battles are thrilling, inventive, and clever! You’ll be blown away and entertained. If you don’t enjoy Naruto, you’re either shallow or impatient, in my opinion.
The Nine-Tails raided Konohagakure twelve years before the story began, devastating most of the village and claiming countless lives. The village’s leader, the Fourth Hokage, gave his life to seal the Nine-Tails into Naruto Uzumaki, a baby. Naruto, who had been orphaned by the attack, was ostracized by the locals, who mistook him for the Nine-Tails himself out of fear and rage.
Even though the Third Hokage made it illegal to discuss anything linked to the Nine-Tails, the children inherited their parents’ enmity against Naruto. Naruto pledged that one day he would become the greatest Hokage the village had ever seen because of his desire to be recognized.
Bleach had a lot of promise, but the lack of character development and random powers made it frustrating. One of my all-time favorite notions is Bleach. The Soul Society is fantastic, and the Gotei 13 are the show’s highlight. They are Shinigami(Soul Reapers) squads, and the show concentrates on the Captains and Lieutenants of those squads, as they are the most intriguing characters in the show.
However, there may have been fewer squads (such as 6) with fewer members (such as 5) in order to have a more focused cast of characters that receive more development. Hollows are also fascinating; they are souls that have either chosen to be captured by evil or have been captured by other hollows.
Ichigo Kurosaki is a 15-year-old kid with the unwelcome ability to see spirits. This ability enables him to recognize the Shinigami Rukia Kuchiki, with whom he unwittingly interacts as she does her duty. When a Hollow attacks Ichigo’s house and injures Rukia, Ichigo is forced to briefly use her Shinigami powers to fight the Hollow.
Rukia appears as a normal human at Ichigo’s school the next day. She informs him that she has lost all of her powers, not just the portion she planned to give him and that she is unable to do her tasks. While she heals, Ichigo must serve as Karakura Town’s Shinigami, escorting souls to the afterlife and safeguarding citizens against Hollow attacks.
10. Death Note
Death Note is a fantastic anime that raises important themes about justice and murder while also providing a highly thrilling story of tactical one-upmanship between a detective and a serial murderer. Death Note is unquestionably one of the finest anime series of all time, with a truly distinctive and engaging tale that few anime series can match.
It is without a doubt one of the greatest, if not the best, anime I have ever seen. The narrative is original. A notebook falls from the sky, and the person who writes a name in it is capable of killing the person seen in his head (I omitted all the irrelevant information).
This provides viewers with a very disputed moral and justice-related issue. Yagami Light, who has the ability to murder, intends to use it to create a utopia in which he is god.
The human world is polluted by ruthless murders, petty thefts, and pointless violence. The world of the death gods, on the other hand, is a mundane, unchangeable gambling den. Light Yagami, a brilliant 17-year-old Japanese student, and Ryuk, the cruel god of death, share one belief: their worlds are rotten.
Ryuk releases his “Death Note” into the human world for his own entertainment. Light comes upon it and laughs at the first of its rules: the human whose name is recorded in this letter will perish. Light, however, succumbs to the temptation and tries writing a felon’s name, which uncomfortably reenacts his first murder.
Light—under the identity “Kira,” aware of the dreadful godlike power that has fallen into his hands—follows his vicious sense of justice with the ultimate objective of purging the world of all evil-doers. The meticulous mastermind detective L is already on his tail, but when Light’s intelligence approaches that of L’s, the epic search for Kira becomes a gripping war of wits that can only finish when one of them is dead.
We hope you would try out all the animes mentioned in this list. Each anime is special, chaotic, and would completely captivate you and your loved ones. Watch them and let us know what you think.