Imagine finding a mystical notebook. Now, you can kill anybody whose name you enter into the book. That is the premise of this Japanese manga series. Death Note is about a high school kid who comes into the possession of a mystical book. Japanese culture is full of manga and anime series. Are there more shows like Death Note? Of course there.
Let’s start with explaining Death Note. Stylized in all caps, the Japanese anime series follows Light Yagami. He is a teen genius who discovers the mysterious notebook, “the Death Note”. It belonged to the Shinigami Ryuk. The book itself grants the user supernatural power to kill anyone whose name is written on its pages.
Light tries to use the book to carry out a worldwide massacre of individuals he deems immoral and to create a crime-free society. He uses a God-like vigilante named Kira to achieve his feat. At the same time, the elite Japanese police task force is trying to apprehend him.
Viz Media released the anime series in North America. Besides the series, the show has video games and soundtracks in its franchise.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at other best shows like Death Note.
Attack on Titan
We start with probably one of the best Japanese shows. Attack on Titan is a manga series set in a world where humanity lives inside cities surrounded by three enormous walls that protect them from giant humanoids referred to as Titans.
The story follows Eren Yeager. He sets a goal to exterminate the titans after one of them brings the destruction of his hometown and the death of his mother.
The manga has become a critical and commercial success. There are more than 100 million copies in print worldwide, making it one of the best-selling series. And the show is as successful as well. The show has won 10 awards and earned 15 more nominations for voice work and other feats.
The popular anime series spawned a short film as well, titled Death Billiards. The television series aired in Japan between January and March 2015. Funimation licensed it in the United States.
The show has a simple, yet complicated premise. Whenever someone dies, they are sent to one of the many mysterious bars run by bartenders serving as arbiters in a tower in the afterlife.
Once they get there, people have to compete in the Death Games with their soul on the line. The results reveal what secrets led to the situation and what will their fate will be.
Arbiters judge whether the souls will be sent for reincarnation or banished into the void.
The Japanese manga series was initially serialized in a magazine. Then, the TV show came. The series is set in the early 20th century in a fictional universe. In this universe, alchemy is a widely practiced science.
Fullmetal Alchemist follows the journey of two alchemy brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric. They are searching for the Philosopher’s Stone so that they can restore their bodies after a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life.
The series has generated many original video animations, video games, books, collectible card games, and many action figures.
The manga itself has sold more than 80 million volumes worldwide, making it one of the best-selling manga series.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
The series again follows the lives of the two brothers, Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric. This time, they travel the world to advance their alchemic training.
But after returning home, they try to bring their mother to life with alchemy. The failed transmutation results in Al’s body being completely obliterated and Ed losing his left leg.
So, as a last attempt to keep his brother alive, Edward sacrifices his right arm to bring Al’s soul back and houses it in a nearby suit of armor.
They then again try to find the Philosopher’s Stone under the direction of Colonel Roy Mustang.
Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion
Sometimes referred to as simply Code Geass, it is a Japanese anime television series produced by Sunrise.
The series is set in an alternate timeline, following the exiled prince Lelouchvi Britannia. He obtains the power of absolute obedience from a mysterious woman. And now, using his power, known as Geass, he leads a rebellion against the rule of the Holy Britannian Empire.
The series has been adapted into different manga, light novels, and spawned a sequel series, Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion R2.
The series also spawned a compilation remake film trilogy recapping the events of both popular anime series, titled Initiation, Transgression, and Glorification.
In Japan, the series has sold over a million DVD and Blu-ray discs. Both seasons have won awards at the Tokyo International Anime Fair.
This show might be one of the best anime series. It is also on the list of TV shows like Death Note. It is based on the original manga series of the same name by Tite Kubo.
Bleach aired from October 2004 until March 2012, spanning 366 episodes. The story follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper. He is the death personification similar to the Grim Reaper.
His newfound powers force him to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding souls to the afterlife.
While it is based on the Kubo manga series, the Bleach series also introduces original and self-contained story arcs.
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This Japanese cyberpunk psychological thriller anime television series aired in Japan between October 2012 and March 2013.
The TV show is set in a dystopia of Sybil System’s governance of Japan. The main hero of the show is a woman by the name of Akane Tsunemori. She is a novice Inspector assigned to Division One of the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Akane is in charge of solving crimes with latent criminals. The first season garnered critical acclaim in Japan and western countries. Most people praised the characters’ roles and interactions.
Akame Ga Kill
Every character in this show seems like is waiting to die one after another. So do not get too attached, like watching Game of Thrones.
The anime series covers the journey of the fighter Tatsumi. He travels to the capital to earn money for his village. But as he gets there, he finds out that the capital is corrupt and run by officials who want a world where only the strong rule.
There, he meets swordsman Akame and the group called Night Raid. Together, they try to bring peace to the world by killing the source of corruption.
The anime television adaptation was translated into Shigurui Death Frenzy in North America. The story begins in 1629 Shizuoka during Tokugawa Tadanaga’s rule.
At the time, the daimyo staged a tournament where the participants fought with real steel Japanese swords, not wooden swords.
The story follows the first match between the one-armed swordsman Fujiki Gennosuke and the blind samurai Irako Seigen. It then deals with the circumstances that led the two to participate in the tournament.
Eden of the East
The series premiered in the US at Anime Expo in 2010 with a panel discussion with director Kenji Kamiyama. The Japanese television series has spawned two theatrical films and many more TV series.
The anime series follows what happens after a terrorist attack with missiles in November 2010. Japanese university undergraduate Saki Morimi visits Washington DC three months later, where she finds a man suffering from amnesia. The story goes on from there.
The 2004 anime Japanese series is set in a fictionalized version of Edo period Japan. The TV show blends traditional elements with anachronistic cultural references, for example, hip hop.
The main characters include tea waitress Fuu, vagrant outlaw Mugen, and ronin Jin. Fuu saves the two of them from execution and then forces them to aid her in her quest to find a samurai who smells of sunflowers.
Monster has to be on the list of TV shows like Death Note. It has a dark theme and superb story that will leave fans craving for more. Adapted from a manga of the same name, the series tells the story of a surgeon by the name of Kenzo Tenma.
He enjoys a successful life and career in Germany. Yet, he doesn’t like the politics at his hospital. When two children arrive in critical condition, he disobeys the orders to care for a government official. This act of kindness proves to be a critical mistake in his life.
He then has to go on a long journey and destroy the monster that his good deed created. The show examines the reality of human nature. And fans love it for that.
Translated as Future Diary, the series tells the death-defying story of a bunch of tragic players bound to play a survival game made by god. That is the Future Dairy Game.
Each player in the game gets a unique dairy that they have to use to predict the future. And the goal of each player is to survive and become the next good of time and space. Yukiteru Amano is the main character who tries to navigate through the game. He finds an ally as well, a girl by the name of Yuno Gasai.
Filled with blood, twists, action, and mind games, the anime adaptation is not for the faint of heart. But then, neither is Death Note.
One Punch Man
When you talk about a show like Death Note, One Punch Man might be it. This guy has the same insane power as the main character of Death Note. He is the most powerful superhero in the world who can kill anyone with just a single blow.
Nothing can challenge him and his supernatural power. And while that might seem great, he struggles with ennui and depression. So far there have been two seasons of the show, each one split into 12 episodes. You can watch the first season on the streaming platform Netflix.