8 Books/Manga Like Death Note
Death Note is a thriller mystery manga written by Tsugumi Oba. It’s known for having witty protagonists, a well-crafted narrative, and chilling moments sprinkled throughout. Shueisha’s shonen manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump serialized the work between December 2003 to May 2006. Like other Shonen Jump works, Viz Media licensed the series for an English release in North America. Twelve volumes of Death Note were released between October 2005 to July 2007.
If you’re in the mood for more thriller mystery manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 8 books/manga to check out when you’ve completed Death Note. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Liar Game – Shinobu Kaitani
Similarities – Psychological & Characters
Fans looking for another series that follows a cunning protagonist should look no further than Liar Game. This psychological drama follows Nao Kanzaki, who inadvertently accepts an invitation to participate in Liar Game. It’s a tournament where the player’s goal is to deceive and betray their opponents to attain a good sum of cash.
Losing results in the player obtaining a lifetime debt. At the same time, Nao meets an infamous swindler and former prisoner named Shinichi Akiyama. He once led an entire company to go bankrupt but believes he can assist Nao in escaping her situation. The manga follows Nao and Shinichi’s quest as they learn about the horrors hidden within Liar Game and humanity.
Both manga center around characters outwitting each other to avoid further conflicts. While Death Note’s lead Light does so to avoid being caught for his crimes, Nao and Shinichi partake in these activities to avoid debt. Although Death Note’s art style has a gothic aesthetic, readers will enjoy Shinobu Kaitani’s artwork.
If you’re looking for a manga with a gripping storyline, intelligent cast, and decent art, I’d recommend Liar Game.
Monster – Naoki Urasawa
Similarities – Psychological Thriller & Themes
Monster is what happens when you remove Death Note’s supernatural elements and replace them with more realistic, dramatic, and psychological moments. This manga contains well-written characters, a powerful narrative, and excellent artwork. This tightly-packed narrative has everything you’d want in a crime-themed story.
It follows Dr. Kenzou Tenma, who can’t rid himself of his past mistakes. Instead of saving the life of his town’s mayor, he chose to save a child’s life. While this sounds admirable, the child goes on to become a wanted criminal mastermind, known for several murders. To make things right, Tenma vows to bring the child named Johan Liebert to justice.
Many readers may not adore Monster’s slow-paced storytelling at first. In time, the story picks up with its slew of mysteries, twists, and shocking developments. These three aspects will entice readers to continue flipping the page as they’ll find it challenging to stop reading. This is one of Naoki Urasawa’s best aspects in his tales.
He knows how to keep readers continuing with his careful planning and chapter conclusions. If you’re looking for a story with one of the best antagonists and narratives the world of anime and manga offers, check out Monster.
The Promised Neverland – Kaiu Shirai
Similarities – Characters & Mind-Games
When The Promised Neverland was first released in August 2016 in Weekly Shonen Jump, fans couldn’t help but draw comparisons to Death Note. From its cunning and intelligent young cast to its slew of satisfying mind games, it feels like a spiritual successor to Death Note in ways.
Despite harboring stronger fantasy and adventure elements, this series contains enough mysteries to keep you speculating. This manga takes place in an orphanage called the Grace Field House. In this house, the orphan children complete rigorous tests, play outdoors, and dine on a wonderous meal with their caretaker Isabella.
One day, a young girl named Conny gets adopted and leaves Gracefield House to meet her new family. The oldest of the children Emma and Norman grow mildly curious about the event and investigate. Upon their investigation, Emma and Norman realize that all isn’t sunshine and rainbows for them.
The Promised Neverland has a wondrous plot that’ll keep you on your toes. Despite being children, Emma and the others harbor strong planning and processing skills that will appeal to Death Note fans. The series’s artwork is astonishing and will send chills down your spine. Its artist Posuka Demizu knows how to draw bizarre yet effective facial expressions and locales to make Emma and her friends’ adventure feel grand. If you’re looking for a series with clever mind games and a wonderful cast, check out The Promised Neverland.
Bloody Monday – Shin Kibayashi
Similarities –Characters & Themes
Death Note fans looking for another mystery manga that tackles concepts like death and justice should give Bloody Monday a shot. This manga contains a fun cast, a decent storyline, and incredible twists and suspense. The manga doesn’t offer an accurate portrayal of computer crimes, but the story’s tension will entice you to continue.
Our story takes place in Russia, where a deadly virus has fallen into the hands of a woman named Maya. This toxicity can kill people within three hours of being infected. At the same time, we follow Fujimaru Takagi, a student who loves exposing high-profile individuals’ crimes and corrupt practices through hacking. Only select people know of his past actions as the infamous Falcon.
Furthermore, Takagi gets recruited by a secret division called Third-I led by his father to decode a chip left by a deceased KGB agent. His father looks further into the situation and learns of a mysterious code called Bloody Monday. Unfortunately, he gets framed for the murder, enticing Takagi to use his expertise to clear his father’s name and prevent the spread of terror in Japan.
Akumetsu – Yoshiaki Tabata
Similarities – Moral Justice
Akumetsu highlights the life of a woman named Shiina Nagasawa who takes on a prostitution role to financially support her family. She attends a party held by government officials who’d like nothing more than to get down with Shiina. At this time, an intruder with an exotic mask crashes the party. Shiina realizes that this person is her classmate Shou Hazama.
He declares himself an Akumetsu and persuades Japan’s former finance minister to squeal about the other’s evil actions. Afterward, he murders the man and drags his body to the lobby. Akumetsu gets shot by someone and decides to shoot his head off in response. In disbelief, Shiina attends school the next day and encounters Shou.
We follow the two’s various developments and uncover the mystery surrounding Shou’s well-being. This manga offers a well-written narrative that’ll make readers ponder what classifies as good or evil. Akumetsu leans toward gore and violence more than Death Note. However, Shou and Light aim to handle matters in their own hands, regardless of what others think. If you’re searching for a more action-centric themed crime manga with a solid take on moral justice, give Akumetsu a shot.
MPD Psycho – Eiji Otsuka
Similarities – Psychological Warfare
MPD Psycho feels like a grittier version of Death Note. It contains excessive gore, sexual imagery, and mentally unstable characters who’ll drive you insane. MPD Psycho’s protagonist Kazuhiko Amamiya has a maniacal and cunning persona that’ll remind Death Note fans of Light’s insane demeanor.
The series contains enough mind-numbing elements to keep you guessing. You’ll adore the psychological warfare taking place between its cast. The plot itself feels complex and readers may want to have a pen and notepad next to them. It’s very easy to get lost in the violence and miss out on the story’s key elements.
Our tale follows Kazuhiko, a detective who suffers from multiple personality disorder. Through the course of the narrative, you’ll get to see these distinct personalities affect the way Kazuhiko interprets and handles situations. With its complex storytelling and various conspiracies, this is a psychological manga you don’t want to miss.
Amnesiac Kid’z – Youichirou Ono
Similarities –Corrupted Worlds & Psychological Thrillers
Amnesiac Kid’z takes place in Tokyo during the year 2038, where a white light descends into the city and swipes many peoples’ memories. No one knows what and how this happened. The government creates an underground city to house the light’s victims and brands them as Kidz.
Having no recollection of anything, the Kidz must relearn everything from basic math to how to function in society. At the center of it all is Noa Ikurumi, a boy who lives in an isolated society and dreams of being allowed back into the real world. Noa’s life changes when a terrorist abducts him and shares shocking information about Noa’s true identity with him.
Despite having a cunning protagonist and an alluring world, many may not adore Youichirou Ono’s handling of the story. As you read the story, you may get the sense of it feeling rushed. Some developments discussed in the manga never gain proper explanations and some characters don’t get fleshed out as much as you’d hope. The plot twists are satisfying enough to keep you invested.
Noa’s character obtains a similar mastermind complex as Light. If you can overlook its rushed nature and appreciate the narrative Ono tried telling with Amnesiac Kid’z, you’ll find yourself enjoying this tale.
The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria – Eiji Mikage
Similarities –Thriller & Mystery
The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria contains a well-structured plot that builds upon its mystery and thrills with each volume. This story tackles multiple genres with excellence. It follows Kazuki Hoshino, a boy who values living and enjoys spending his days hanging out with friends. His world changes when he meets his school’s transfer student Aya Otonashi.
She threatens to start a war against Kazuki and admits to transferring schools over 13,000 times. Her words make Kazuki puzzled and a bit concerned. What started as a fun time in the sun devolves into a cycle of fear as Aya’s introduction causes unseens mysteries to occur around Kazuki and his friends.
In addition to the mysterious arrival of wish-granting boxes, Kazuki and his friends must keep their eyes peeled for the dangers lurking behind them. This series is filled with abstract ideas. They may seem complicated at first, but Eiji Mikage makes sure to explain things in a way that the reader can make sense of them.
The plot twists are unpredictable but feel authentic enough to warrant readers’ satisfaction. The series’ constant shift between protagonists allows it to feel fresh as it progresses. They’re all given enough depth and personality. Death Note fans looking for another entertaining story to read should look no further than The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria.
So there we have it, our 8 books and manga to read after you finish Death Note.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!