12 Exciting or Suspenseful Full Anime That You Can Binge in a Single Weekend

Pictured: Mirai Nikki

Don’t know what you’re doing this weekend? How about binge-watching an entire anime? However, it can’t just be any full series – the show has to be exciting or suspenseful enough to keep you hooked on the next episode. Here are some shows that are capable of holding your attention as you watch it nonstop.

Caveats: These aren’t ALL suspenseful or exciting shows, and I’m not even saying they are the best. I’m just saying they lend themselves well to watching every episode in rapid succession. We will do another list with more of these, I promise! The shows won’t be in any particular order either. Also, these aren’t going to have many genres, just basically action/thriller/psychological. That’s because these genres lend themselves especially well to this particular list. Lastly, this list is for FULL anime series only. Anime that are too long to binge don’t count, and I’m not going to sever a season from the rest of the show, so I’m not going to be like “Season One of THIS.”

Anyway, if you want to have an exciting bingeathon, here are shows for that!

Death Note (37 episodes)

Death Note is a series about a brilliant high school student named Light who finds a notebook, the Death Note, on a ground. People who have their names written in the Death Note die of a heart attack. Light uses the Death Note to kill people he deems to be evil, and essentially decides that he now a god. A genius detective named L attempts to hunt down Light’s identity, leading to intense situations that will leave you physically unable not to click the next episode. This is a classic thrilling anime that I had to put on this list despite it being pretty lengthy for a single weekend!

Mirai Nikki (26 episodes)

Mirai Nikki is an anime about a young teenage lad named Yuki who is entered into a 12-person battle royale death match. Each contender has a “diary” with a special magical ability. Whoever eliminates the other contenders and is the last one standing literally becomes God. Yuki’s diary is his cell phone, which allows him to predict the future up to 90 days in advance. This is a wild thrill ride made a lot more exciting by the presence of his companion Yuno Gasai, who is obsessed with Yuki and is generally pretty terrifying. It’s not like a masterpiece of a show or anything but it is a rollercoaster of suspense.

Erased (12 episodes)

Erased is an anime about a 29-year-old man who gets sent 18 years into his past, becoming an elementary schooler again. He attempts to prevent the kidnapping and murder of his classmate. The suspense in this anime stems from the danger of the kidnapper and not knowing their identity. The theme song is also an absolute banger. Not too pleased with the ending (maybe you’ll disagree), but the journey itself is very strong!

Steins;Gate (24 episodes)

Steins;Gate follows Okabe Rintarou, a 18 year old self-described mad-scientist who runs a laboratory in an apartment building with a couple friends. Okabe accidentally discovers a way to send text messages back in time. The exciting parts of this anime involve the classic time travel issues of fucking up the past and also attempting to avert terrible events in the future. Fellow super genius Makise Kurisu, a woman Okabe’s age who is an expert in time travel, becomes a key companion on Okabe’s journey. This anime is incredible despite a bit of a slow start (it’s almost like a slice of life for a bit), but when it heats up, it heats up.

Death Parade (12 episodes)

Death Parade is about a bartender in the afterlife named Decim, who is one of several Arbiters – people who judge the souls of the recently deceased in order to determine whether these souls will be reincarnated or released into the void. This determination is made through a Death Game, which is connected to the lives of the people playing the game and helps to expose their true colors. Decim meets a black-haired woman and develops his capacity for human emotions. The opening is another banger, and hell, so was Steins;Gate’s and a lot of others on this list, so basically I’m saying watch all of these for the openings alone anyway.

Btooom! (12 episodes)

Ryouta is one of the best players in the world at a mobile phone game called, uh, “Btooom!” Btooom the game involves strategically throwing and placing bombs with different special characteristics in order to defeat all of the other players. Ryouta somehow wakes up in a real life version of this game, and to escape it must acquire seven crystals from seven other players. This is a battle royale and involves tense and action-packed bomb battles. Is it the best anime? No. Is the plot finished? No. But it’s still pretty entertaining, easily bingeable, and short!

Fate/Zero (25 episodes)

Fate/Zero is another battle royale, but does it the best out of the other battle royales mentioned on this list so far. Seven magicians called Masters compete in a battle royale, and the last one standing gets to make a wish for anything they want from the Holy Grail. Each Master summons a Servant, who must obey the Master and has a specialized class such as Archer, Assassin, or Lancer. These Servants have a high level of combat ability and are usually prolific figures from history such as King Arthur or Alexander the Great. The Fate Universe is huge, and Fate/Zero is actually a prequel to Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, which has the exact same set up for a second battle royale. Battle royales just lend themselves so well to action, and you’ll be hooked on seeing who comes out on top. The only thing I would say is that the first few episodes are a bit of a boring info dump. It’s like how roller coasters have to slowly ascend to the first drop before they really get going!

Akame Ga Kill (24 episodes)

Akame Ga Kill features a group of rebel assassins known as Night Raid, who fight the corrupt empire in control of their country. Night Raid members use Imperial Arms, which are unique and extremely powerful weapons that allow the main characters to really pack a punch versus their leviathan empire of an opponent. Protagonist Tatsumi joins Night Raid, although the focus is not so much on him but is rather on the group as a whole. What really makes this anime exciting is that they are not afraid to kill off characters. It almost gives it a Game of Thrones vibe, and makes you really fear that your favorite character is next. The show is pretty gripping, but unfortunately suffers from a very weak ending. Again, you may disagree, so why don’t you check it out yourself!

Kill la Kill (25 episodes)

Kill la Kill is a series about high school girl Ryuko Matoi, who is searching for her father’s killer. Ryuko fights with half of a pair of scissors, which she uses as a sort of blade or club. She is aided by a talking sailor uniform called Senketsu, and she puts on this uniform to augment her combat ability. The main antagonists are the members of the student council of Ryuko’s school, which is headed by the cold and powerful Satsuki Kiruin. The power system in this anime is based on clothing, and power-augmenting uniforms are issued by the student council to their underlings in order to maintain their power. Basically, Ryuko has to beat up all of these people. Again, like a couple others on the list, I thought this anime required substantial build-up, but it becomes very intense once it gets going. I enjoyed that the show features a badass female protagonist and antagonist, something sorely missing from anime as a whole!

Gurren Lagann (27 episodes)

Gurren Lagann is made by the same studio as Kill la Kill, Studio Trigger, and is a similar show in that they both feature strong-willed characters taking on the world against all odds and surpassing their former limits. The protagonist is Simon, a young boy from a small impoverished underground village sealed off from the planet’s surface. He emerges to the surface with the help of his older brother (basically) Kamina, and they quickly discover that it is infested with alien-like beings intent on destroying them. By joining a guerilla force and operating a small robot that Simon found underground, Simon, Kamina and guerilla friend Yoko attempt to fight the power and do the impossible to overcome this giant enemy force. This is one of the most motivational anime of all time, and I truly cannot understate that. Watch it and tell me you aren’t pumped up to punch a bear, rip a battleship in half, or accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Parasyte (24 episodes)

Parasyte is a show about high schooler Shinichi Izumi, who has an alien take over his right hand while he is asleep. The alien, who Shinichi names Migi, is a type of being called a Parasite. It meant to take over his brain, and so it’s sort of an awkward situation. Parasites have extremely powerful combat abilities and also typically devour humans. Other Parasites also arrive on Earth at the same time, and Parasites can sense one another, so Shinichi and Migi must work together in order to survive encounters with other Parasites. This series makes you really wonder what the hell Shinichi is going to do next in order to manage his relationship with Migi, defend against other Parasites, and protect those he loves from harm.

Madoka Magica (12 episodes)

This one is a magical girl anime. Yep, I meant to put this one here, don’t worry.

This anime centers on Madoka, a middle school girl who is offered a contract by a magic cat creature to become a magical girl. I’m not going to discuss it any further, and I will only say that this is not the straightforward magical girl anime it first appears to be. As more of a psychological anime, this one isn’t meant for young children like the rest of the genre. You’ll be hooked in trying figure out the mysteries of the magical girl system and the universe the magical girls live in!

List over, have fun binge watching! – Gray