Death Note

Genre: Serious, Fantasy
Score: Excellent
Rating: PG for lots of death

Light Yagami is visited by a shinigami (and not a cute one like in Bleach but a big freaky supernatural gothy frankenstein-alike) who gives him the power to kill anybody in the world just by writing their name in a note-book. He decides to use it to clean up the world and punish the guilty, but finds himself pitted against a genius investigator whose identity is a secret.

This is one of the most tense and thought-provoking anime I’ve ever seen. Light is an anti-hero, somebody whose actions you know to be wrong and yet find yourself rooting for. Unlike ordinary shounen series, at no point does it rest on its laurels – the rules of the game keep changing every few episodes, keeping you guessing. The anime mirrors the manga almost exactly scene for scene, word for word, but the series is so tightly plotted that nothing needs changing. It also has a great art style – the people actually look Japanese, while the supernatural elements are outrageous.

What’s best about this series is that it’s something anime newcomers and outsiders can get into easily, while also being sufficiently deep and well-thought out to satisfy experienced fans.