When I did the review of The Detective is Already Dead recently, I began to think about what actually makes a good detective anime. Since The Detective is Already Dead is more of a harem than a detective anime. so it really got me thinking what do we like to see in a detective anime…
Well, here is the list I ended up with. I personally don’t think you need police or any complex setting or stuff like that to set a tone for a detective anime. You only need a good mystery and a good character to solve the said mystery.
Before we get started, I’d like to mention that I am not listing Death Note and Detective Conan on purpose. They are too obvious and probably the first anime that comes to your mind when thinking of detective stuff. So let’s get started.
I don’t think I have talked about Gosick in any of my articles till now. The anime is really unique and a classic example of a detective anime. The story has some good plot twists; it has good characters and good mysteries too. It feels like it’s going towards supernatural stuff at the time but no, Gosick is firmly grounded into reality for the most part. It has a middle-aged Europe-inspired setting which is really good for a detective anime, making it even better.
Erased is not a detective anime in the most traditional sense but it is technically still a detective anime as the protagonist is looking for his mother’s murderer. Erased does have a little bit of supernatural time travel blended in with the story but it only makes it better. It is a complete roller coaster ride with one twist after another. It is full of unsexed stuff. Considering how short it is, it’s just amazing how much content the anime has.
Hyouka really drives the point that you did need complex stuff to make a good detective anime home. On the surface, it is a rom-com anime but don’t let that deceive you. Hyouka is chock full of mysteries. Granted most of them are day-to-day rumors and mysteries but some of them are really serious. The anime can get unexpectedly dark at times. It is an awesome anime overall. Definitely one of my all-time favorites.
The first season of Psycho-Pass is still one of the best detective anime out there. The setting of the anime itself provides a beautiful backdrop for the twisted crimes that occur in Psycho-Pass. The main point of the setting, the SIBYL system itself remains a mystery for most of the anime. The grand reveal near the end is awesome. The ending itself is also just perfect even though it is not a happy ending.
Leaving Death Note out, this had to be number 1 for me. I agree that it turns into an action anime in the latter half but it certainly has that detective feel to it. The best example of this would be the Chuuya and Dazai flashback arc. Arcs like those, really add another layer of depth to the anime. Season 3 may be more focused on the action side of things but the anime still has some classic mysteries and detectives to solve them.
That is all for now. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments. Also, feel free to drop your picks for the list. This was just my opinion. With that said, I will take my leave here. See ya!