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.
No Game No Life is an isekai that follows Sora and Shiro into a new world called Disboard. In this new world, every single thing from being housed and fed to becoming the leader of the human race and the entire world relies on strategic games. This is fabulous for the sibling team, who have won just about every strategy game they've ever participated in before coming to Disboard. Now, their skills actually matter, whereas before they brought them no real-world benefit since the games were strictly recreational. Rather than watching them waste away in their bedrooms, viewers get to see them unleash their full intellect onto magical opponents, as they compete for species supremacy.
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.