One thing that fans of Mind Game anime have in common is finding good ones to watch. I was introduced to the concept of psychological mind game animes with Death Note. The wits’ battle in the anime really surprised me, and it instantly hooked me on to watch some more similar anime. However, I had really a lot of trouble finding good ones to watch. However, now a lot of years have passed since I watched Death Note for the first time. And my knowledge about anime has grown; therefore, I bring you a list of the top 12+ best mind game anime that we recommend you watch.
12+ Best Mind Game Anime
Before you start reading, I must tell you that all the anime on the list is judged solely. And that is how much they emphasize the Mind Game part. Personally, I love all the anime I put on this list and would recommend watching all of them. Some of them rely more on the psychology and intellect of the main character instead of focusing on wits’ battle. I will explain everything about the individual seriously (without spoilers) as we go on.
14. Darwin’s Game
Darwin’s Game is one of the best shows to come out of 2020. It’s a death game anime that surrounds Kaname Sudou, a high school student. Unknowingly accepting a game invite, he ends up in a brutal survival of the fittest. This anime will have you biting your nails at each fight and twist. Seriously, you won’t even realize that 20 minutes have passed because of how the anime jumps straight into the action. This, paired with the mystery aspect, makes for a delightful anime!
Encompassed by a forest and a gated entrance, the Grace Field House is occupied by orphans. They are contentedly living together as one big family, looked after by their “Mama,” Isabella. Even though they are asked to take tests daily, they are allowed to spend their time as they see fit. It means usually playing outdoors, but as long as they do not go too far from the orphanage, this is a rule they are supposed to follow no matter what. However, all happy times must come to an end; every few months, a child is adopted and sent to live with their new family… never to be heard from again.
Hyouka is a slice-of-life anime with a good storyline and an unsatisfying ending (for me). Don’t get me wrong, and I do not think the ending is bad; I just wanted something else to happen. Don’t let this demotivate you from watching it. Hyouka is an excellent anime, and it mainly focuses on the intelligence of the main character. You might have come across this anime already. However, if you have not, then it’s a definite must-watch if you love slice-of-life.
This is one of the best psychological anime there is. However, it was put a bit down on the list. And that is because it focused more on the psychological aspects of the characters than the mind games themselves. The story follows Dr. Kenzou Tenma. A brilliant young surgeon and definitely a prodigy. Praised by all of his colleagues and happily married. Although, that all changes when he is forced to abandon his patient ( a young boy) to save the town’s mayor’s life. Kenzou believing in his morals, decided to save the boy instead. He believes all life is equal, which caused his life to go down the drain.
See Also: Top 5 best Wuxia Novels
10. Steins Gate
Steins Gate is probably among the top of lists everywhere, and it has many fans. And that is not without reason. Do not hate me for putting it so low on the list if you’re a fan. I love this anime, although it does not have that many mind games. The story does revolve around the psychological development of the character. Therefore I recommend you watch it because it’s really an interesting pick among all here. If you have not already seen it, then what are you waiting for?
09. Mirai Nikki
Mirai Nikki is a great anime, and I do recommend watching it. However, just like most anime after this point, it was put down on the list because it has some mind games elements, but it does not focus on them. Mirai Nikki takes the ninth spot on our list for best mind game anime, as it really drives the characters to the edge. The story focuses on Yuki. He is an average male student that loves to write his own diary. Although his life seems normal, everything changes drastically one day and puts his life in danger.
Danganronpa is an anime-inspired by a video game, and I am recommending the first season of Danganronpa. The full name of the anime is Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei The Animation. The characters enroll in Hope’s peak, an elite school that only accepts the best out of the best. However, the main character (Makoto Naeigi) has no special trait. He is nicknamed “Super High School-Level Luck” for enrolling in such a prestigious school. The anime is good and has some pretty interesting games of wit. So I do recommend watching it. However, if you want to understand the full story, you will have to play the games or read it up. I personally have not read them because I was satisfied with how the show ended.
07. No Game No Life
No game no life is an Isekai anime, and one of my favorite ones at that. The story starts when Shiro and her brother Sora enter a mysterious new world and are forced to play games. The world works in a system where you can obtain anything through games and gambling, and it really focuses on the mind games part. And it has some pretty intense moments. If you’re looking for some good mind game anime and the battle of wits, then this anime is definitely for you.
Kakegurui is a new anime that has been released in 2017 and unexpectedly climbed it’s way up the list of the best mind game anime. The story revolves around gambling in school. The whole school is designed on gambling, similar to Kaiji, yet so much different. If you love a different kind of story, mind games, and the battle of witts, you will definitely enjoy this anime. The opening theme song is catchy as well, so be sure to check this one out.
See Also: 15 anime similar to Kiss x Sis
Next, we got Psycho-Pass, which is definitely an excellent mind game anime. If you love psychology, crime, and detectives, you will definitely love psycho-pass. The story is set in a futuristic world, where your crime potential is rated through machines. To be able to get a good job, you have to have a clear psycho pass. Those with unclear ones are rated as potential criminals and locked up. It’s a very unjust system where people who have not done anything often get locked up. However, the anime is definitely worth watching.
04. One Outs
Many people ignore this anime just because it’s about baseball, but let me tell you one thing. This anime is everything but baseball, alright, that might have been a bit too dramatic. However, this show definitely deserves to be at the top of the mind game anime list. The story revolves around Okinawa. He is a genius that relies on wits to win and tries to lead his below-average team to win. The anime was only 25 episodes, and if you want to continue it, you will have to read the manga. Although I still think it’s worth watching.
I was debating with myself for 10 hours before writing this post if I should put Kaiji higher on the list, but I just couldn’t put it above Code Geass and Death Note. Even though it’s my 3rd most favorite one on the list. Kaiji revolves around Kaiji. Who would have guessed that? Kaiji is an average male that got into trouble when his friend’s debts became his. Due to his huge debts, Kaiji is forced to gamble for his life. Will he make it out alive? Watch and find out. You will love the mind games in this one.
02. Death Note
My second pick for the top 12 best mind game anime definitely goes to Death Note. Death Note is a classic among anime that can not be overlooked. Even though most have probably already seen it, I am still putting it on this list if you haven’t. And if you have not seen this anime yet. Then what are you waiting for? A masterpiece is waiting for you. The story revolves around Light Yagami, another student whose life drastically changed. However, this time, it was after meeting a male grim reaper!
01. Code Geass
Many people will disagree with me and say that Death Note is much better. And I would agree, as a series itself, I definitely do think that Death Note is better. However, I think that Code Geass is much better if we’re talking about Mind Game anime. It relies more on war tactics and Lelouch’s confrontation with various opponents throughout the series. The story follows Lelouch Lamperouge, a student who meets a girl named C.C. that drastically changes his life. Sounds like a cliche? Well, probably, but it’s worth watching regardless.
This brings us to the end of the list of best mind game anime. Do let us know if you recommend anything to be added here.