The loss of anime filmmaker Satoshi Kon at the young age of 46 remains one of the greatest tragedies in the anime industries. Kon not only wowed moviegoers with provocative anime films like Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, and Paprika, but he stimulated TV viewers with his one-and-only anime series called Paranoia Agent.
For 13 episodes, Paranoia Agent enchanted anime fans with its chilling story of a supernatural juvenile assaulting the residents of Musashino, Tokyo with his bent golden bat. The series doubled as an engaging criminal mystery and a paranormal horror anthology. While the great Satoshi Kon is no longer here to deliver another entertaining mystery, the anime series listed here share the same twisted storytelling of Paranoia Agent with a few new tricks of their own.
10 Serial Experiments Lain
Much like Paranoia Agent, Serial Experiments Lain is a surreal anime series that explores the philosophy of life and the struggles that come with. In the case of the latter, Serial Experiments Lain analyzes the role technology plays in society through its elusive virtual world called the Wire. A 14-year old girl named Lain slowly becomes absorbed in the dangerous technological playground following a mysterious email she received from a classmate that committed suicide.
9 Boogiepop Phantom
If you enjoyed the horror anthology format of Paranoia Agent, then you'll love the creepy episodic storytelling of Boogiepop Phantom. Similar to Paranoia Agent, Boogiepop Phantom centers around a homicidal mystery that's more urban legend than reality. Five years after a series of mysterious murders engulfed a Japanese city in terror, rumors are spreading that a new string of murders is happening again. In the middle of this conflict is the Boogiepop Phantom, a boogieman rumored to kidnap anyone unlucky enough to meet her during a dark night.
While Monster is never as visually trippy as Paranoia Agent, it remains an engaging psychological thriller about a doctor consumed with guilt for essentially saving the anti-Christ.
No good deed goes unpunished as Dr. Tenma's decision to operate on a young boy named Johan Liebert over the town's mayor comes back to bite him nine years later. Tenma is framed for a series of murders committed by Johan, a handsome and cold-hearted serial killer who's been bred to become the next Adolf Hitler. Now, Tenma is determined to clear his name and put an end to the monster he saved so many years ago.
7 Death Note
In the same vein of Paranoia Agent and Monster, Death Note is another psychological thriller that revolves around an intellectually game of cat-and-mouse between Light Yagami and L.
Light was a bored high school student until a shinigami monster called Ryuk introduced him to the horrific powers of the Death Note: a book capable of instantly killing any victim who has their name written within the pages, in any manner penned by the author. Light uses the Death Note to create an ideal society, but the alarming number of murders draws the attention of world-renowned detective L.
Don't let its look fool you. While ChäoS;HEAd may seem like another highschool anime romance about a guy and a harem of girls, it's actually a cerebral anime thriller about a series of murders occurring in Shibuya, Tokyo.
High school student Takumi Nishijou develops paranoia and delusions after mysteriously receiving pictures of a "New Gen" murder online that later plays out in front of him. He then encounters several girls who have an interest in him, yet, seem connected to the murders.
5 Ergo Proxy
For a more cyberpunk take on Paranoia Agent, Ergo Proxy delivers an I, Robot style mystery in its futuristic yet apocalyptic world. The remaining human populace rests within the domed city of Romdo, but a series of murders committed by man-made androids now threaten humanity's last chance at survival.
"AutoReivs," androids created to speed-up the recovery of humanity, are contacting a strange disease that's making them self-aware. Inspector Re-L Maye and her AutoReivs partner Iggy are assigned to investigate these murders.
Similar to Paranoia Agent, Shinreigari isn't just another paranormal mystery. It's an anime that deals with the subject matter of repressed pain and the struggles of moving on in life. The town of Suiten is being overwhelmed with supernatural phenomenons, such as spirits roaming the mountains and a priest's daughter witnessing strange visions.
Tarou Komori, a 14-year old boy who has repressed memories of his kidnapping 11 years ago, is now suffering from strange dreams that may shed some light on what's happening in Suiten.
Shigofumi: Letters from the Departed is a supernatural drama that explores the melancholy of the afterlife. A shigofumi is a spiritual mail carrier that delivers the final words of the suddenly departed to a loved one in the living world. The 'after dead letters" often express feelings the dead could not say in life or reveal who their murderers are. While shigofumi mail carriers are deceased humans who no longer age, a young mail carrier named Fumika realizes she's still aging, meaning she could still be alive.
ERASED asks the age-old question: would you relive your childhood and do things "right" this time? For 29-year old Satoru Fujinuma, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is the only chance he has to clear his name and save a loved one from an unknown killer.
After being framed for the death of someone close, Satoru is transported back to his 11-year old self in 1988 to solve a murder that plagued his childhood. Whoever killed his classmate in the past may be the same murderer in the future.
1 From the New World
From the New World tells a story of a world dominated by psychokinesis. 12-year-old Saki Watanabe has just awakened her psychic powers and is ready to master them at Sage Academy. However, Saki begins to question the fate of those unlucky to be blessed with psychic powers. Her curiosity will lead her and her friends to the god-awful truth about the supposed utopia of their hometown: Kamisu 66.