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10 Anime Like Darker Than Black For Fans Of Gritty Supernatural Thrillers

anime like darker than black

Darker Than Black gave us a supernatural and psychological mystery kicker, with awesome characters like Hei and Yin. And it is for you mystery buffs that we have created a list of 10 anime like Darker Than Black that will keep you bingeing. In 2007, Studio Bones released the anime Darker Than Black, created by Tensai Okamura. This supernatural anime is set years in the future after an incident that creates two uninhabitable zones: Heaven’s Gate in South America and Hell’s Gate in Tokyo, Japan. It is in this pseudo-dystopian setting, that contractors Hei and Yin operate through tasks unravelling the mysteries of Hell’s Gate. 

List of Anime Like Darker Than Black

  1. Death Note
  2. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
  3. Psycho-Pass
  4. Cowboy Bebop
  5. Durarara!!
  6. Bungou Stray Dogs
  7. Tokyo Ghoul
  8. Witch Hunter Robin
  9. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
  10.  Black Cat

1. Death Note (2006)

On how many occasions have you wished someone would just disappear? What if there was a notebook that granted these dark wishes? Death Note is exactly that, and it is found by a teen named Light Yagami who takes it upon himself to write the corruption away from the world, one death at a time. But when the lines between social and personal justice begin to blur, and the police set out to catch the “serial killer” Yagami has become, it becomes a real test to figure out which side of justice you stand on. 

Both Death Note and Darker Than Black came out in the same era, portraying similar dark and supernatural themes, and vigilantes with questionable morality. If you enjoy a good psychological thriller there is a good chance you have already heard of  Death Note, and it is one of the best anime like Darker Than Black you can watch.

2. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom (2009)

This 26-episode action-packed anime follows a young man, Zwei who gets kidnapped and has no memory of his life upon awakening. As he is brainwashed and trained to become a Phantom- an assassin for a syndicate named Inferno, he must deal with this new situation while also battling his newly manufactured personality.

This dark thriller will at some points make you wonder what just happened. Both Hei and Zwei are similar characters with little to no emotional strings working them, the only difference being that Darker than Black is supernatural while Phantom is not. If you enjoy dark mystery anime like Darker Than Black, then this will surely match your vibes.

Also Read: Anime like Noragami

3. Psycho-Pass (2012)

Set in the year 2113, Japan has enforced the Sibyl System that requires citizens to take a test that examines how likely they are to become a criminal, known as Psycho-Pass. Akane Tsunemori, a young inspector, soon learns that this test is not as perfect as it appears. This anime will have your mind reeling over what justice even is, and if a system that can uphold it truly exists.

Both of these animes, Psycho-Pass more so than Darker Than Black, feature a significant number of characters who are investigators and are set in a futuristic Japan. Both have elements such as the fast-paced nature of crime-solving and the back-and-forth between the “good” guys and “evil” ones. If it is the characters you miss in anime like Darker Than Black, then Psycho-Pass won’t disappoint.

4. Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Cowboy Bebop is a neo-noir science fiction anime that follows interstellar bounty hunters Spike Spiegel and Jet Black as they sweep through the galaxy hunting criminals. As they meet new members, Ein, Faye Valentine and Edward Wong, the crew sets off on thrilling adventures that help break down everyone’s dark and mysterious past one by one. 

This anime is a personal favourite because of the perfectly balanced feel-good nostalgia along with the dark investigative tone. Both Cowboy Bebop and Darker Than Black are episodic escapades with well-established characters. Not to mention both anime have amazing musical scores by Yoko Kanno.  After an anime like Darker Than Black, you should definitely consider Cowboy Bebop for a winding down. 

5. Durarara!! (2010)

Durarara!! Also known as DRRR!! is a 24-episode supernatural suspense series that was based on a light novel by Ryohgo Narita. In this show, Mikado moves to Ikebukuro to attend high school with his friend, Masaomi. Soon he goes from navigating new relationships to dealing with a growing storm that threatens to sweep him away.

If it is the animation style that caught your attention in Darker Than Black, then you might like DRRR!! as both have similar styles with pretty neat fight sequences. Both anime are quite dark and have complex stories that start off seeming quite disjointed, but as the episodes go on, they all come together. This is one of the best in the supernatural and mystery genre if you are looking for shows like Darker Than Black.

6. Bungou Stray Dogs (2013)

Bungou Stray Dogs is a supernatural action series that follows the members of the Armed Detective Agency, which is made up of people with supernatural abilities based on literary characters. Osamu Dazai and Atsushi Nakajima become unlikely companions as they solve mysteries, go about their daily lives, and battle the Port Mafia while trying to protect Yokohama from the mafia.

The crime/mystery/superpower themes are comparable in Bungo Stray Dogs and Darker Than Black, with BSD also being more comedic. They also have darker themes in common than the typical superpower series, using them to further the story rather than as just the central topic. If you enjoy the slow build-up of the plot in anime like Darker Than Black, then you’re gonna want Bungou Stray Dogs as your next pick.

7. Tokyo Ghoul (2014)

Created by Oscar-nominated director Shuhei Morita, this seinen anime series is set in an alternate reality where ghouls eat human flesh and live in a society, disguised as humans. Ken Kaneki is transformed into a half-ghoul after he goes on a date with a ghoul who tries to eat him. The series follows Kaneki as he adapts to his body’s changes and clings to his remaining humanity as he deals with the bloody conflict between the monsters and the government that wants them hunted.

Personally, I love the animation style in Tokyo Ghoul because somehow, there is a great balance between the dark and the light. It has an amazing storyline that ties together very well in an urban setting. There is ambiguity, supernatural and suspense- everything about this anime is great. If Darker Than Black was your introduction to the psychological genre, then Tokyo Ghoul is perfect for your next choice.

Also Read: Anime Movies like Howl’s Moving Castle

8. Witch Hunter Robin (2002)

This anime series is an occult thriller that follows a fictional secret organisation known as STN-J, which fights the harmful use of witchcraft. A young girl named Robin, who possesses the same power that she is assisting in controlling, is its newest member. While they are efficient at swift detention, the number of witches continues to seem to rise, and the abuse of power intensifies, raising questions about what is actually happening. 

The secretive institutional setting in Witch Hunter Robin is similar to the syndicate that Hei works. Both anime involve supernatural beings in a mysterious premise, but Darker Than Black is grittier and more complicated. Regardless, the way the plot lays out makes Witch Hunter Robin a great watch if you are looking for anime similar to Darker Than Black.

9. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (2006)

The Britannian Empire conquers Japan in 2010 in this alternate history anime. As a result, Japan was renamed Area 11 and its inhabitants began a difficult and dreadful existence. Britannian student Lelouch, who resides in Area 11, has always detested the Empire and everything it stands for. One day, in the midst of a terrorist assault, Lelouch encounters a mysterious female who gives him the power to influence people’s thoughts. New powers prove to be a dilemma as he must now decide how he wants to use them.

The animation is pretty cool even if it’s old. Both of the main characters share a lot of similarities while having slightly different plots. Like Lelouch, Hei has superhuman abilities, covers his true self while on missions, and wears a mask. Even Yin looks physically similar to Anya. If anti-hero anime like Darker Than Black is what you’re interested in, then Code Geass is the way to go.

10. Black Cat (2005)

This shounen anime tells the story of Train Heartnet (codenamed Black Cat). In the wake of a sad incident, he begins to doubt his life’s purpose. Train then accepts a position as a bounty hunter along with Sven Vollfied, a struggling bounty hunter, and Eve, a living weapon. He does this while evading the other Erasers and Creed Diskenth, a crazy man who wants him to join the Apostles of the Stars, an organisation created to destroy Chronos.

Black Cat and Darker Than Black share quite a few similarities- the general concept involves an organisation with assassins, however, while Hei has supernatural powers, Train is a highly skilled individual who is very fast; they are also both action-packed suspense thrillers. So if want to watch anime similar to Darker Than Black, this is a great choice.

P.S. Not to get into a dub vs sub debate, but the English voice cast for the MC in both Darker Than Black and Black Cat is the same Ernesto Jason Liebrecht. 

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few similar animes like Darker Than Black that didn’t make the list, but be sure to check ‘em out too:

  1. Eden of the East
  2. Hamatora The Animation
  3. Speed Grapher
  4. Ergo Proxy
  5. Fullmetal Alchemist

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.

Lost

The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake


The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan


The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward