Few things are more gripping than watching two talented characters directly oppose each other. In some series, the rivals use their physical might to take each other down, but in cat and mouse anime, they rely on their intelligence, their strategic abilities, and more. While Naruto isn't a cat and mouse anime, the protagonists of these shows bear a striking resemblance to Shikamaru.
The best cat and mouse anime isn't Tom and Jerry, no matter how often the anime fandom makes that joke. Actually, there are a lot of anime that fit this category. The most well-known is probably Death Note, a series that pits a brilliant serial killer against the greatest detective in the world. More recently, there's The Promised Neverland, a show in which genius children try to escape a gruesome fate. If you're looking for something a little less violent, there's also Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, an anime that imports strategic thinking into the realm of romance.
No matter which of these shows you watch, they'll astound you with their characters' minds, and get you thinking about how you might handle the tough situations they face. Which of these are your favorites?
At its core, Death Note is a show about the clashing of two intellectual titans, and it's one of the strongest examples of the mind games subgenre. Light Yagami is a teenage genius who finds a magical notebook that takes the life of anyone whose name is written inside it. He uses it to eliminate criminals, intending to better the world but becoming intoxicated with power and dedicated to taking out anyone who gets in his way - particularly L. L is the brilliant detective whose job is to reveal Light's true identity. The best part of the series is the tension caused by their attempts to outwit each other.
Grace Field House is a seemingly idyllic orphanage where children grow up happy and well cared for. For Emma, her fellow orphans and her caretaker are her family. But things are not always as they seem. It turns out that the children aren't being raised with their best interest at heart - instead, they're being raised as meat for a race of man-eating demons. When Emma and her friends discover the terrible truth, they start planning their escape. But will they be able to outwit Mom, who is doing everything in her power to stop them? You'll have to watch The Promised Neverland to find out.
Lelouch Lamperouge has two major goals - to free Japan from the colonial control of Britannia and to protect his sister Nunnally at all costs. He has to deal with a lot of opposition when it comes to those goals - including the Britannian empire itself, his former best friend, Suzaku, who is working under Britannia despite being Japanese, and even his own father. Lelouch is smart, but so are his opponents, and just about every conflict he has involves a combination of intellectual clashing and impressive magical powers.
In a dystopian world where people's brains are monitored for signs that they might become criminals, and then punished before they've done anything, one man tries to bring freedom to humanity... except Makishima isn't the protagonist, he's the villain, and all of his methods for securing freedom are every bit as violent and horrible as the system itself. The Public Safety Bureau is in charge of upholding the system and keeping the city crime-free. As they continue to have skirmishes with Makishima, they not only have to try and stay one step ahead of him, they also have to consider whether or not he has a point. Is their system truly as flawed as he claims? If so, what should they do about it?
Psycho-Pass is not just a cat-and-mouse game, it's an anime that forces you to consider both sides of the story.