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Top 22 Best Psychological Thriller Anime

(Last Updated On: August 6, 2021)
Top 22 Best Psychological Thriller Anime

There’s nothing better than watching a good psychological thriller anime. Psychological anime tends to play with your brain and your thoughts. While thriller anime will make you fill with excitement to know what happens next. What’s better than both? Both combined in one anime. That’s the advantage of a psychological anime that will make your brain horses running while making you jump out of your chair, wanting to know what happens next. Here are some psychological thriller anime recommendations to make your horses running too.

22. Moriarty the Patriot

Top 22 Best Psychological Thriller Anime

Sherlock fans? This one is especially for you. Moriarty the Patriot is the anime adaptation of Sherlock Holmes but from the perspective of James Moriarty. Everything is kept faithful to the novels, even the side characters of Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, and others. Moriarty the Patriot follows the story of William James Moriarty, a regular noble, and the second son of the Moriarty Household. He is a consultant offering hands to common folk to solve their problems. But, deep down, he has the desire to destroy the current structure that dominates British society and those who benefit from it and will do anything to change the world.

21. Durarara!!

Best Psychological Thriller Anime

Durarara is an underrated mystery anime that you will not find that often. Durarara is an action-mystery anime that follows Mikado Ryuugamine, tired of his mundane life, has always longed for some thrill. When an invitation to Tokyo from his friend came, he took it as the best opportunity. Witnessing the urban legend “Black Rider” on the first day, he felt that life has taken the right turn. But as supernatural events begin to occur, ordinary citizens like himself, along with Ikebukuro’s most colorful inhabitants, are mixed up in the commotion breaking out in their city.

20. Classroom of the Elite

Best Psychological Thriller Anime

People who left off Classroom of the Elite after Season 1 have seriously missed out on some masterpiece-level action. Classroom of the Elite is a psychological school anime about Ayanokoji Kiyotaka, who enrolled in the government-based Advanced Nurturing High School. On the surface, he may look like an average student, but deep down lies something a lot darker. The school itself is built differently. Here, all the classes compete with each other to rise up to Class A, to achieve the promise of 100% job placement or high education.

19. Tokyo Ghoul

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Tokyo Ghoul is already quite popular in the anime community and has left its mark there too. Tokyo Ghoul may not be the best psychological thriller anime, but the manga version is certainly contending for the same. Tokyo Ghoul is a horror anime about Ghouls, who devour humans to survive. A shy boy, Kaneki Ken’s life gets turned out when his date with a girl turns out wrong. The girl turns out to be a Ghoul, and feasts on him. Miraculously, he survived as a dozen of beams fell on her. In order to save Kaneki, her organs were transplanted into his body, resulting in him becoming a one-eyed ghoul. Now, stuck between the society of humans and that of ghouls, Kaneki must find a place for himself.

18. Paprika

So, you don’t have enough spare time to commit to an anime series. Don’t worry, we have a solution to that too. Paprika is a 90-min long psychological thriller movie that will give you almost the same thrills and chills you expect while watching a psychological-themed series. Paprika is a story about two people. Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita, who developed a device to delve into other’s minds. They had originally developed it to cure patients of their psychological disorders. But, when this device gets stolen and the people around them start acting strange, they realize that they have a grave issue at their disposal. Enlisting the help of Officer Konakawa, who has been receiving this experimental therapy, they search both the real and dream worlds for their mental terrorist.

17. Shiki

Best Psychological Thriller Anime

Shiki is like a brother to Higurashi. Both share a very similarly themed setting, the only difference is Higurashi has more comedy scenes than Shiki. Shiki is a psychological mystery anime about vampires. Shiki, adapted from the horror novel written by Fuyumi Ono, goes beyond the average vampire story. It tells the tragic tale of survival in a world where one cannot easily distinguish between good and evil. Abandoned by God, the Shiki, as the vampires call themselves, have only their will to live as they clash with the fear of the paranoid/unbelieving villagers. Shiki explores the boundary that separates man from monster.

16. Higurashi

If you liked Another, you will surely love Higurashi. They both have a similar setting and Higurashi has more slice-of-life episodes, considering it is longer than Another. Higurashi is a psychological horror anime where Keiichi Maebara recently moved into the village of Hinamizawa. While the village was preparing for the annual festival, various strange murders and disappearances started happening, and they all seem to be connected to the village festival. When asked about these incidents, his friends remain silent and do not give him the answers. When madness and paranoia begin taking root in Keiichi’s heart, he will stumble straight into the mysteries at work in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, a story that is told across multiple arcs.

15. B: The Beginning

B: The Beginning Succession (Second Season) Coming Spring 2021!

Another detective-crime-themed anime for those crime lovers. B: The Beginning is a psychological thriller anime about a dangerous killer, “Killer B”, who runs amok, taking justice into his own hands. To catch him down, Royal Investigation Service (RIS) calls in Keith Flick, a seasoned detective. Keith begins to unravel plots involving secret organizations, domestic terrorism, and human experiments. When the involvement of the RIS extends beyond the scope of justice, the extent of the government’s corruption—as well as the trustworthiness of close allies—are thrown into question.

14. Paranoia Agent

Paranoia Agent is about an assailant named “Shounen Bat” who is terrorizing the residents of the city by flying around on his rollerblades and beating people down with a golden baseball bat. His first victim, timid Tsukiko Sagi is accused of faking the attacks. As the attacks begin picking speed, two detectives Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa begin to investigate the Shounen Bat case. But as the incidents increase, so does the fear. Who will catch whom first? The Detectives or the fear?

13. Terror in Resonance

 Thriller Anime

It is very rare to find a genuinely good anime that is not dependent on fanservice for its popularity. Terror in Resonance is an example of such anime that is good because of its plot and story-telling, and not for fanservice. Terror in Resonance is a mystery anime about two boys who identify themselves only as “Sphinx” and threatening to cause destruction and mayhem across Tokyo. Zankyou no Terror tells the story of Nine and Twelve, the two boys behind the masked figures of Sphinx. They should not exist, yet they stand strong in a world of deception and secrets while they make the city fall around them, all in the hopes of burying their own tragic truth.

12. Psycho-Pass

If you like some crime-police-themed anime, Psycho-Pass should be your next choice. Psycho-Pass is an excellent psychological thriller anime that would make you fall in love with dark-themed anime. Psycho-Pass is about Akane Tsunemori, a young woman with an honest desire to uphold justice. However, as she works alongside veteran Enforcer Shinya Kougami, she soon learns that the Sibyl System’s judgments are not as perfect as her fellow Inspectors assume. With everything she has known turned on its head, Akane wrestles with the question of what justice truly is, and whether it can be upheld through the use of a system that may already be corrupt.

11. Another

Want some horror anime? Another could be your next favorite horror anime. Set in Yomiyama Town, Another will send chills down your spine with every episode you watch. Adapted from the light novel, Another is a horror mystery anime in which Kouichi Sakakibara, a 15-year old student, transfers into Yomiyama North Middle School’s class 3-3 and immediately feels uncomfortable with the gloomy, strange atmosphere around the students. He finds himself oddly attracted to an eye-patched girl named Mei. But, the other students treat her like she doesn’t even exist. Kouichi and his classmates are pulled into a paradox that may cost them the ultimate price.

10. Parasyte: The Maxim

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Parasyte is an excellent underrated horror anime loved in the community. Parasyte is one of those anime that will make you hooked on from the first episode. The first episode packs enough action and suspense to make you want more. Parasyte is a psychological horror anime about strange creatures who came to Earth and started taking over human bodies. Shinichi Izumi, a school student, was also attacked by one. He managed to avoid it getting to his brain, forcing it to inhabit his right hand. Now, the pair are forced to cooperate in order to live in a world full of parasites and humans.

9. The Promised Neverland

Top 22 Best Psychological Thriller Anime

If The Promised Neverland’s Season 2 had not been that bad, it would have been a lot better, almost at Re: Zero level. The Promised Neverland managed to surprise all its fans with its marvelous Season 1 and surprised everyone again with its trash Season 2. The Promised Neverland is a psychological mystery anime about three orphan children who live together at Grace Field orphanage along with Mama and other children. One day, they uncover a harsh cruel truth about the orphanage. Together, they plan to leave the orphanage and rescue the other children from their Mama.

8. Death Parade

Another Death Note alike. Death Parade is another psychological thriller anime where all the deceased come to a bar before being reincarnated. There, they are challenged to a game that determines their fate of whether they’ll be reincarnated or fall into a Void. This game will bring out everyone’s true nature as everyone dances on the whim of the bar master. Death Parade is an excellent 12 episode anime that will take you on a ride full of thrills and chills. Death Parade is the TV version of the movie Death Billiards. Death Billiards is the original while Death Parade is an alternate version of it.

7. Code Geass

Code Geass and Death Note controversy are pretty common in the community. Each anime’s fan labels their one as better. Code Geass is better in certain areas but Death Note wins in the overall world-building and plot twists. Code Geass has better character development and the best ending in all anime. Code Geass is full of mecha robots, military, and mind games. Code Geass is a sci-fi thriller about Lelouch Vi Britannia, who is bestowed with the power of kings, Geass, by an unknown girl. Lelouch, with this new power, is determined to take revenge from his father, His Emperor, all for his little sister.

6. Mirai Nikki

Whenever an anime character gets a supernatural diary, he/she will try to become a God. Mirai Nikki shares a similar setting with Death Note. Both have supernatural diaries and with them, try to become God. Mirai Nikki is a supernatural thriller anime in which Yukiteru Amano, a lonely student, gets a diary that shows highly descriptive entries based on the future, and is forced into a bloody battle royale with 11 other diaries holders. Mirai Nikki is a much darker anime than Death Note. There are several 18+ scenes that include sexual assault too. Violence and gore are pretty common too. Definitely not a Shounen anime.

5. Erased

Erased is a super underrated psychological thriller anime. Erased has the potential of competing with Steins;Gate for the best time-traveling anime. Erased is also seinen, like Monster, not suitable for kids. Erased is a mystery anime about Satoru, who has a special ability, he is able to rewind back seconds before a life-threatening event occurs. When he is falsely accused of the murder of a closed one, he goes back 18 years into the past. Soon, he realizes that the murder is connected to the abduction and murder of his classmate, Kayo Hinazuki, that took place when he was a child. Now that he is given a chance to correct his future, he must make things right at all costs.

4. Monster

Monster anime recently got a lot of exposure which it certainly deserved. Monster is a psychological anime that shows the true twisted nature of man. Monster starts slow, becoming a true masterpiece by the end. Monster is a psychological thriller anime about Dr. Kenzo Tenma who saves the life of a young innocent boy over the life of the mayor. After that, his life goes upside down, as the boy he once saved becomes a serial killer, killing innocent people. Kenzo feels a lot of responsibility and guilt for this, prompting him to take the life of the boy himself.

3. Re: Zero – Starting Life in Another World

Isekai anime usually are not a psychological genre. They are fun, light, casual anime with a lot of fanservice. Re: Zero is an exception. Re: Zero is a psychological thriller anime that would make you re-check is it an Isekai or not. Re: Zero sometimes goes so dark, it questions the fantasy setting. Re: Zero is an Isekai thriller anime about Natsuki Subaru who gets transported to another world. There, he is met by some muggers but is fortunately saved by a girl named Satella. In order to thank her, he accompanies her in finding her stolen insignia. When they come across the whereabouts of her insignia, to their ignorance, a much darker fate awaits them as they both are brutally murdered. Natsuki wakes up to a familiar scene, repeating the whole cycle again.

2. Steins;Gate

Best Psychological Thriller Anime

Steins;Gate is an excellent example of a perfect psychological thriller time travel anime. The anime is ranked #3 at MyAnimeList with an overall rank of #11 in popularity. Steins;Gate is a masterpiece anime that fans would sell their souls for to watch again for the first time. Steins;Gate is a thriller sci-fi anime in which Okabe Rintarou, a “mad scientist”, accidentally comes across time-travel, enabling him to send e-mails to the past, altering them. Steins;Gate follows the story of Okabe as he shoulders the weight of altering the flow of time.

1. Death Note

Top 22 Best Psychological Thriller Anime

Every Psychological thriller anime list is incomplete without the masterpiece Death Note. Death Note literally defines what a psychological anime should be. Though the ending isn’t that good as the storyline the anime is still an overall banger. Death Note is about a high school student, Light Yagami, who comes across a notebook called “Death Note”. Death Note could kill anyone whose name gets written in it, as long as the user knows his face. Light uses the Death Note to become the “God of New World”. If you haven’t watched Death Note yet, you certainly are someone from a different world.


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Jayesh Punj
I am Jayesh Punj. I write about Anime, Indian Web Series, and Light Novels over at WeeBlade. Do check it out. Cheers
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