Is there no mind better at challenging our own than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his character creation that is Sherlock Holmes? Internationally loved, Sherlock Holmes has been featured in multiple mediums including video games, film, novels, and now, television. If you are a Sherlock Holmes purist, Elementary may not be the series for you, but there is one series sure to appeal to all Sherlock Holmes fans: Sherlock.
BBC’s Sherlock is loved by many for its intriguing mysteries, the intellectual wars between Sherlock and Moriarty, and of course, the evolution of our very own Sherlock Holmes from socially awkward to somewhat empathetic yet sarcastic. Lastly, BBC did an amazing job with their casting choice of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as the protagonists, and Andrew Scott for the main antagonist.
No, this may not be an anime, but it’s a damn good television show! For many of you mystery geeks out there, it can be pretty tough to find a good series to keep you entertained for the two years between each season, so let us help relieve your Sherlock anxiety. Here is our list for 6 anime like Sherlock to help ease the pain!
Similar Anime to Sherlock
- Episodes: 74
- Aired: April 2004 – September 2005
Dr. Kenzou Tenma works in Europe as a renowned brain surgeon. Kenzou is highly praised and looked upon as one of the greatest young minds in the field. He has a beautiful fiancée and is just about to get promoted, but one day, Kenzou must decide between saving the life of the mayor or of a small boy. Ignoring the advice of those around him, Kenzou is compelled morally to save the boy. Soon after, a string of murders amongst the surgeons leads Kenzou to question his decision as all the clues point to the boy he saved. Now, Kenzou must figure out who the little boy is and if he really has something to do with the killer.
If gripping mysteries are your cup of tea, Monster will surely quench your thirst. Monster if a fan favorite when it comes down to anime mysteries and it will not disappoint Sherlock fans out there! From murder mystery to a boy who challenges our main protagonist, Kenzou, there is no end to how gripping Monster can be! You’ll soon find yourself floating alongside Kenzou, attempting to solve the puzzle before he can, but is it really as easy as Sherlock makes it out to be?
2. Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru (Beautiful Bones)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2015 – December 2015
The story of Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru follows Tatewaki Shoutarou who meets Kujou Sakurako. Shoutarou is just a high schooler, but his world changes when he comes across the bone-loving Sakurako who is a bit eccentric. Together, they come across a series of cases that require Sakurako’s great ability to analyze bones.
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru follows the same style as Sherlock in which each episode displays a new case in which we must attempt to unlock the case. Sakurako, much like Sherlock Holmes himself, is capable of discovering every clue down to the smallest detail, after everyone has already made their own assumptions. Using her power of analyzing, Sakurako is able to reveal what is the most likely scenario, but should she ever be wrong, Sakurako will quickly turn her assumptions around to get the right conclusion. Sakurako is also quite eccentric making her a difficult one to converse with. Does she sound like Sherlock Holmes to you?
3. Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: October 2006 – June 2007
A Death Note allows Shinigami to kill anyone so long as they can see the face of the victim and write their name down. Ryuk, a bored shinigami, decides to give a human a Death Note to see what would happen. Yagami Light is the highly intelligent young man who comes across the Death Note. He is disgusted with the current state of the world and tries out the Death Note on a criminal. When Light discovers that the Death Note works, he wants to use it to rid the world of criminals. The police soon catch on and believe there is a serial killer on the loose targeting criminals, so they recruit the help of a brilliant yet eccentric young man only known as L.
If we were ever to turn Sherlock around and view the entire situation from the viewpoint of James (Jimmy) Moriarty, it would follow something like Death Note (without the supernatural powers and good Samaritan mindset). The main similarity to Death Note and Sherlock would be the battle of wits that ensues throughout both series as we root for one side (usually the side that we see the world from). If you love a thrilling battle of wits between prodigies, you will more than enjoy Death Note. It’s a never ending competition between the youngest and most intelligent minds!
Any Anime Like Sherlock?
4. Detective Conan (Case Closed)
- Episodes: ?
- Aired: January 1996 - ongoing
Kudou Shinichi is an expert detective at the budding age of seventeen. While pursuing two suspicious men, Shinichi witnesses illegal activity. After catching Shinichi, they drug him with an experimental substance and leave him for dead. Shinichi is astonished to discover that not only is he alive, his body has reverted back into that of a seven year old! With his intelligence preserved, Shinichi keeps his state a secret from everyone. Working under the alias of Edogawa Conan, Shinichi is determined to keep solving cases while also looking for a cure to his condition.
Detective Conan features young Shinichi who, much like Sherlock Holmes himself, is able to find the smallest clue in a crime scene to discover what truly happened. Shinichi uses the same power of deduction that Sherlock Holmes uses to uncover the truth in every mystery. Much like Sakurako, Shinichi is capable of backtracking if his assumptions are wrong, to come to the proper conclusion. Hell, Shinichi pays homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by utilizing “Conan” as his alias. Now, this is an anime worth watching for many Sherlock fans out there!
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2012 – March 2013
Using the Sibyl System, each citizen in Japan is able to have their mental state examined to determine their criminal intent or “Psycho-Pass”. Anyone found with criminal intent is dealt with by Inspectors and their Enforcers, who were once Inspectors who developed a criminal intent and must work for Inspectors in exchange for their freedom. Tsunemori Akane is a conscientious woman who wants to carry out justice fairly, but she must work alongside Enforcer Kougami Shinya. While working, Akane learns of the errors with the Sibyl System which has her in a mental battle between what justice truly is and if the Sibyl System can truly keep people safe if it is corrupt.
Psycho-Pass may not seem similar to Sherlock, but let us consider a few things. First off, when a crime is committed, we have no knowledge on who the criminal might be since their Psycho-Pass checks out alright so our protagonist, Akane, led by Shinya, must figure out the mystery on her own. Each crime committed has not provided many clues yet somehow, Akane and Shinya are able to eventually figure out the criminal. Then we have our antagonist who just can’t seem to be shot down.
Psycho-Pass is quite clearly very similar to Sherlock, although it does have a darker tone that sets it apart as it criticizes the idea of a “utopia” and how the government treats its “criminals”. Psycho-Pass is not just a mystery, it is a statement on a utopian regime that may be more corrupt than we believe. If you love Sherlock, but also love darker stories, Psycho-Pass is one series that is for you.
6. Spiral: Suiri no Kizuna (Spiral: Bond of Reasoning)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2002 – March 2003
Narumi Ayumu is the younger brother to Kiyotaka who was once regarded as a renowned detective and pianist. One day, Kiyotaka disappeared leaving only a clue about “The Blade Children”. It’s been two years and there have been a series of murders and incidents that are related to the Blade Children. Ayumu teams up with the school journalist, Yuizaki Hiyono, to unlock the mystery.
Right from the start you have one clue: The Blade Children. While the following events unfold before you, you get to enjoy witnessing Ayumu and Hiyono unlock the mystery that is Spiral: Siuri no Kizuna. Along the way, much like Sherlock, you get to see just how all of the events affect their lives and how Ayumu changes. Not only is it about the mystery, it’s about the evolution of Ayumu and how he is able to converse with others. Ayumu may not be as awkward as Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes, but we get to see just how he changes all the same.
Many people may think that BBC’s Sherlock has no relation to do with Japanese animation, but you’d be surprised by how many mystery anime you can find that will quench your lust for a good mystery. From casual mysteries to darker tones, you will find an anime to fit any preferences that you might have. Sherlock is a great series, but we hope that you will find some enjoyment in these, whatever it is that drives your love of BBC’s Sherlock.
For many of you out there that have seen Sherlock, what are your thoughts on our list? Are there any that you disagree or agree with? Do you have any anime that you want to share for fellow readers out there? Please share so that we can all enjoy them as well!