For those of you who wander aimlessly seeking for something similar to the thrilling story of the Death Note series, well, you're in luck because Hakomari not only fills that void, it expands it. In other words, in my opinion it's even better than Death Note in terms of complexity.
While there are countless dissimilarities between the two, I'll focus on the similarities which I'm sure would cause Death Note fans to try this series...
Hakomari captures Death Note's thriller and mystery aspect not through the battle of impeccable prodigies, but through an extremely intricate plot built layer after layer in each volume. Actually, we get a battle of wits in all of the volumes, but this is not what makes Hakomari stand out of the rest of novels/manga, it is the plot (or the premise) through which the characters move, in other words, it is the premises (the universe/world) of the novel.
While I have completely no idea how Eiji Mikage composes his plot, reading through the volumes with give you an idea to how the architecture of this novel is constructed. The author lays the framework and a rough conclusion of a volume before filling out the details of the story, that is to give him some sort of guide (a premise if you will) for his plot.
He rarely contradicts the premises he set unless you are hairsplitting/nitpicking enthusiast. Every turn or event in a volume is connected to a premise set forth or declared in a previous volume (in other words, everything that would happen, happened for a reason, and isn't of plot convenience) and the conclusions at each volume surprise you as it unravels Mikage's masterful play of plot lines.
While the main difference between Death Note and Hakomari is the romance aspect, I'd say that If you liked DN, there's a very high chance of liking Hakomari since every twist leaves you surprised and impressed. read more
Geniuses, psychopaths, mental and psychological warfare, strategic thinking, powers granted through a supernatural entity that potentially shape the world according to the user's wishes/desires/ideologies, both these series have these elements in common.
They both maintain a heavy grim mood throughout the story with little comedy. They both have a lot of mystery and twists. Both main characters are willing to go to certain extreme extents to live in what they see as the ideal world, even though their views are fundamentally opposite. They present accounts of people who acquire supernatural abilities that can change the world - either more directly (Utsuro) or indirectly (DN) - but end up being psychologically consumed by the power or their lack own lack of control. In a way they both touch upon the "be careful with what you wish for" trope (DN in a much more subtle way since Utsuro deals directly with those wishes and their corruption).  read more
First of all be careful that while Death Note is a manga, Hakomari (the short name) is a light novel. If you can't sit down and read a light novel, then please ignore this recommendation.
In both stories, prodigies with incredible skills of deduction play a deadly game of cat and mouse with each other, in a mysteriously supernatural setting. These are stories with complex story line and go in deep to explore each main character's motives.
After reading Death Note, I thought to myself that a series that matches up to its fantastic thrilling murder-mystery does not exist (that is not to say that Death Note is free of plot-holes because it is full of partial ones, but it manages to achieve its premise), that is, until I discovered Hakomari. The unpopular Light Novel surpasses Death Note in its best aspect -- complexity.
While the two are fundamentally different -- 'a story of a genius who accidentally comes upon a murder notebook', against 'the story of a rather normal folk who is dragged into a bizarre reality by mere circumstance', there are a lot of similarities between the two that are simply too eminent.
The most obvious similarity is of course the mystery aspect. Both series to progress the plot through events that can be described as carefully plotted. In Hakomari, this is achieved through a scattering of accurate and truthful red herrings throughout the plot that gets even more impressive as the author reveals the reasoning behind each one. The difference in this is, in Death Note, the viewer/reader is a spectator to the plot who only follows the direction of the plot, while in Hakomari, the reader is dragged to the pace of the story as you try to figure out the happenings of the story.
Do take caution when reading Volume 1 though as the beginning is intentionally confusing due to its atypical progression. But it'd be a shame if you'd drop it because of that because Volume 1 has to be the single best story I've every read. The immense entertainment value it brings will only be available to those who are patient enough go through it. In the end your efforts will be rewarded.
Generally, if you liked Death Note's thrilling mystery aspect, you'll definitely like Hakomari, especially volume 3 & 4 since it probably bears the most semblance among all of the arcs since it features a direct battle of wits with rules accurately written down.
The only downside that might cause some to misevaluate Hakomari's greatness is that it is too complex that some readers have trouble understanding the entire plot. Again, that is not to say that Hakomari is perfect. Like any show, I could make a list of endless plot-holes and unrealistic instances, but given that Hakomari is too complex but very well delivered, it is indeed a masterpiece and Death Note fans would probably enjoy this a lot read more
You enjoy time-travel with endless repetition of a certain event that the protagonist tries to change? If you enjoy the struggle followed by twists, strong protagonists, very well written pieces, good artwork then you just found two novels that share that. And both have "zero" in the title, which means you'll see them re-start a lot until you can feel sympathy for the protagonists while the story induces you into a "want to read more" to see what comes next.
Its hard to draw the similarities between these two novels without spoiling,
In both you will have
- Time travel
- Psychological thema
- Similar relationship between the main characters.
Main difference is the fact that 『Rezero』 is set in a fantasy world whereas 『Zero no Maria』 is set in modern Japan. Both are great novels to read and Im pretty sure you will enjoy both if you enjoyed reading one of them.
Both series delve into the characters' troubled psyche and their struggle for catharsis.
The time-travel setup, however intriguing, is ultimately treated as a backdrop for the human story the respective authors are trying to tell.
Despite the differences in style, both are masterfully written and unflinching in their boldness.
I happened to stumble upon this because it had the same translator, little did I know I was looking at something quite similar to Hakomari, yet complete different.
The obvious similarity is of course the mystery aspect, which I'll elaborate on.
What we have are uber-normal males who are forcibly dragged inexplicably by a certain beauty into a mystery by mere circumstance.
Unlike Death Note where we are most of the time spectators, both Hakomari and Gekkou involve the reader in trying to figure out the plot. Hakomari tries to wrap everything up, leaving no instance unexplained while Gekkou prefers to leave a lot of aspects for the reader to decide (Gekkou is somewhat disappointing due to sudden shifts that sometimes connect poorly).
With regards to the theme, Hakomari retains a constant dark ambiance while Gekkou retains it comedic aura throughout the series. At the end of the day, Gekkou remains as quite an odd and interesting read. read more
While one takes a realistic turn and the other a supernatural one, both novels have extremely well executed mystery, thrilling suspense, some romance, and great and smart characters. Both play with your knowledge of the story as the reader and require a bit of thinking to fully understand. Anyone who enjoyed one will surely like the other.
At first glance, we see the male leads as normal male high school students who are forcibly dragged into an explicable incident by the beautiful and intelligent female leads. Of course, the male leads are not average at all in that they possess an extraordinary quality, be it an abnormal obsession toward everyday life in Hakomari or a complete boredom of everyday life in Gekkou.
What unfold in both stories are complex yet thrilling plot, and epic romantic development between the male and female leads.
Jinsei Reset Button and HakoMari share an eerily similar premise with themes that go hand-in-hand. In addition to both being novels of a rare breed (i.e. they revolve around time loops), 'wishes' are a heavily important theme to both of these novels.
Jinsei Reset Button is very similar too HakoMari and the most similar novel I could find regarding the theme.
Similarities and Differencies:
- Both novels are about wishes and that humanity doesn't know what to wish for.
- In both novels the wish goes horribly wrong.
- Both novels have a mysterious person the grants wishes.
- In both novels time repeats itself. But in HakoMari its always the same day that repeats itself while in Jinsei Reset Button the person who wishes randomly goes back in time.
- In HakoMari they are searching for the culprit while in Jinsei Reset Button, the "culprit" is the narrator himself. read more
Both series share a similar sinister atmosphere and gradually become darker as they progress. Both also involve supernatural and mystery elements which result in an emotional mind-trip from start to finish. Complex plots are present in both and each features a detailed cast of characters. Maria and Alice look somewhat similar.
Both series have quite a dark atmosphere. Their stories answer some questions to their mysteries while at the same time adding even more mysteries along the way, gradually becoming dark as it progresses, not counting the great plot mixing mystery and fantasy/supernatural very well until the end, and the emotional load... damn, just try not to cry.
The characters of both? I particularly like all the characters, really, all the characters here have a full spectrum of emotion, both have such a great, wide and natural cast of characters. Everyone of them is like a real human, and not like a random fictional character. All are pertinent for the story and have their own backstory and motivation. Their is no good or evil.
If you're after a deep and complex story, Pandora Hearts and HakoMari are one of the most right choices. Both handles so many themes, like love, hate, life, death, existentialism etc. Both are much more than a simple mystery. If it were to define them with a single sentence, this sentence would be "beautifully tragic". Really, read them, they are the most deep and well written stories I ever read. If you've liked one, you should read the other.
P.S.: Besides these two, try 'Umineko no Naku Koro ni' (preferably the visual novel). read more
While HakoMari and Classmate, Kamiura Yuuka play out verrrrrry differently and deal with distinct themes, they are set up in incredibly similar ways. If you read the synopsis for Yuuka and then the one for HakoMari, you might very well confuse the two if you tried to pull one of these series out of your memory hours later. HakoMari is a lot better than Kamiura Yuuka and is given a lot more space to tell its story too, but Kamiura Yuuka shouldn't be discounted because of this. They are both unique, standout works, though Kamiura Yuuka has a tendency to give in to popular cliches and tropes while HakoMari does its own thing. read more
Even if Kamimura Yuuka is a manga and Hakomari is a novel, when I read Kamimura Yuuka it's always reminds me of Hakomari.
The role and the relationship within the female lead, the MC, an innocence, even the real culprit are all alike.
Kamimura Yuuka = Otonashi Maria
Shirasaki Shuushi = Hoshino Kazuki
Hiruma Takechiyo = Usui Haruaki
Inchou = Kasumi Mogi
The MC firstly realize that his day feels like the same, and there he met the female lead.
The difference is that Kamimura Yuuka is more hyperactive than Otonashi Maria.
But overall, these series give almost the same atmosphere about the origin of the world. And Kamimura Yuuka has much more fanservices rather than Hakomari (Of course, novel doesnt have an illustration). read more
Right off the bat, generally speaking they both have a grim, heavy atmosphere with hints of despair and hopelessness at times. Besides that, they both deal with wishes and dealing with the results/consequences of those wishes. A happy normal everyday
life is broken by said results/consequences.
There are further similar points but I'll refrain from mentioning them to avoid spoiling anything.
Looking for something similar? Seriously, this is SPOT ON while still being different enough to be a good read. I'd even consider this one better and I absolutely love Madoka.
The plots of both are very similar. They both are light-hearted at times, and then other times very, very dark. Both have very compelling stories that make you not want to stop reading. Both feature an item that you essentially trade your soul for to make a wish. In both, the main characters are trying to figure out what exactly is going on. Both of the protagonists have something very special about them that is the key point of interest for the villain. Both have complex characters and long lasting friendships. They even have similar characters.
Kyuubey = O.
Homura = Maria
Madoka = Kazuki
You won't regret it. Plus, it's free to download and read online from the author. You can't beat that! read more
"A cornered rat will bite the cat"
No other sentence would have fittingly yet succinctly described what the two have in common.
Human nature is such that when pushed to a tight corner, they terminate all perceptions of fear and focus on eliminating the source of it. That is to say, they would do anything to protect their existence in the least if it were threatened. But what if you haven't cornered a rat, but rather... a Lion.
This is what they have in common. Liar Game has a genius whose talents is constantly pushed to the limits, while Hakomari puts common folk on the spotlight, except for a single person who displays his full intellectual prowess on Volumes 3&4.
I will mostly be focusing on the similarities between Liar game and the 3rd and 4th volumes of Hakomari since they are similar on so many levels, but I'll have you know that these similarities can be extended to whatever volume.
The overarching theme for both pieces is of course the mystery, and what's good is readers can participate in it. Red herrings are intrinsic in all mystery stories, but both have different ways of using red herrings. Hakomari is flawless in its use of it, meaning all red herrings are true while in Liar Game, I would often encounter red herrings which would have been illogical backtracking from the outcome.
The plots are presented as puzzles - the characters are presented with do or die situations that they must overcome in order to return to a semblance of their normal lives. Liar game deals with it directly, its reasoning resembles "pure logic" more than anything else while Hakomari deals with it in a more subtle yet intricate way. If it couldn't get more similar, you'll come to a point where you'll come across a game about conquest (alluding to kingdoms) and domination/control.
Both pieces would often feature a cunning play of deception, strategy and counter-strategy.
Liar game has a rather naive conception for its premise while Hakomari has a more down-to-earth one. Both have their shares of cliche but you can't help but disregard them because the plot offers way more.
In a certain way both of these manga try to explore true human nature. Strong psychological element is present in both, with psychopathic behavior by some characters. Starting by isolating a group of people in circumstances that grant them a certain immunity from society's laws, these people are then thrown into a somehow twisted game with heavy psychological warfare, geniuses and a lot of mystery and twists.
Utsuro's story has more variations whereas Liar Game is stuck to a more formulaic structure in most of its arcs. Both have a heavy mood with hints of despair. Both have little comedy.
- Kiritsugu and Maria both share the same objective: to make everyone in the world happy;
- Both stories are complex, intricated and have mind blowing plot twists;
- Extremely dark and gruesome;
- Similar genres (Drama, Horror, Psychological)
- Superb characterization;
- Engaging dialogues, philosophy and clash of ideologies;
- Gilgamesh and Daiya are two of the best antagonists ever written;
- (The only bad point:) Predictable endings;
- And both series are not recommended for people with weak stomach oh and did I mention that they're both incontestable masterpieces?
Similar theme: about a boy and a beautiful yet mysterious girl who fight people who misuse double-edged magical devices; boxes in Hakomari and relics in Tsukumodo. Both have dark atmosphere, plot twists, interesting character developments, etc.
- Kazuki and Yoshino both are cunning and persuasive MCs;
- Maria and Aika are mysterious and seemingly emotionless girls;
- Daiya and Mahiro are prideful and exceptionally smart individuals;
- Similar genres (Mystery, Drama, Psychological);
- Hakomari has timeloops while Zetsuen has time-traveling;
- Mindscrewing storylines;
- Psychological warfare;
- Plenty of philosophical and meaningful dialogues;
Both series feature a charismatic and well-rounded cast of characters with distintictive personalities that develop and mature as the plot progresses.
- Emotionless, mysterious, badass and beautiful but unsociable female leads;
- Ordinary high-school students as male leads that shared the same conviction of "never hurting other people";
- Non-linear storytellings;
- Mindscrewing storylines;
- Dynamic P.O.V.s;
- Highly bloody and gory;
- Similar genres (Drama, Horror, Psychological);
- Daiya and Araya are well-developed antagonists that (somewhat) share the same objectives;
- Both series have dark and deep themes, plenty of philosophy and are undoubtedly masterpieces.
Most obviously, both feature a protagonist who experience phenomena that superficially resembles a recursion of time, or time-loop, from the perspective of that character. In both, the protagonist face and utilize supernatural phenomena that is ultimately the result of the deuteragonist's ability. Both depict the protagonist losing their humanity (either literally or figuratively) and sanity for the sake of said deuteragonist.
Hakomari and Kokoro Connect are two similar novels. Both novels revolve around a group of friends whose life dramatically changes upon the encounter of an unknown being--- someone who has no particular form/shape. Their goals are rather similar as well, to observe and understand the human nature. While they are similar, their differences lie on the depth and content of the story. Hakomari has a rather dark and mature tone particularly aim for teens-adult while Kokoro connect is a little bit light hearted. With its obvious romance oreinted genre, it particularly aims for the younger readers.
Both works are primarily driven by well-paced character development and use dramatic tension relentlessly and to great effect. They both build-up to their final arcs very well. While Onanie is set in the real world, Hakomari also succeeds in remaining "true to life", that is: gritty, ugly, and no reservations. Sex, violence, abuse, and redemption are neither glossed over or glorified in these works.
Onanie is; however, a story that dedicates a lot of time to dealing with the main character's guilt and his search for redemption. Is this the case in HakoMari? Not quite.
Both feature High School students that are forced into play-or-die circumstances by a strange/supernatural element that is unknown at the beginning of the story/arc. They both portray the despair of those teenagers before the situation their unable to understand, both have mysteries and psychological warfare or mind games through the "game". Both stories also have a weird "bear" explaining the rules and announcing the developments of the "game".
In Utsuro this is more applicable to one particular arc of the story but the feeling of despair is felt throughout the whole story. Danganronpa is a little sketchier, has more comedy to it, Utsuro has a constant heavy mood. read more
While the general feel of the two series of novels is considerably different - Haruhi is comparatively more light-hearted and has a considerable comedic element to it whereas Hakomari is more of a dark mystery thriller kind of story - there are a few similarities that are worth noting.
Starting with the 2 main characters. Both main male characters value their normal lives, and wish to proceed through High School maintaining said normality. The appearance of the main female character signals the end of their normal lives. Both female mcs are assertive, weirdly charismatic, beautiful but unapproachable, intelligent, forceful and able to do a considerable amount of different things without much effort, also similar is the apathy they show towards most people as of the beginning of the story.
Now concerning the setting and the story itself. Fundamentally speaking both series are set in a High School, in a supernatural world. They both contain at least one arc focused on time paradoxes or time loops. Both feature an entity/power that changes and shapes the world according to unconscious will. In hindsight, the entity possessing, controlling or manipulating this "power" is equated to God in both novels. There are also a few other smaller similarities, for example, it is only after interaction with the main male character that the female mc starts forming or expanding a group of acquaintances, acquaintances that willingly or unwilling end up involved with the supernatural elements of the story. There is more I could mention but I think this is enough to warrant submitting valid recommendation. read more
Both deal with a boy dealing with supernatural phenomenon caused by or dealing with. well, "unique" people from their surroundings. The interaction between the male and female MCs of both series is also a bit similar. Both male MCs have a some principles that they never sacrifice while trying to help their friends through the strange phenomenon.
Two young people, a boy and a girl, find themselves being tested by a supernatural being because they find them interesting. In No Game No Life, the siblings help protect the human race in an alien world by playing games with other races. In HakoMari, the supernatural being is interested in the behaviour of a single boy.
HakoMari and Ame no Hi no Iris are both dark, dramatic and gripping tales with well-crafted and engaging atmospheres. In spite of this, they are both ultimately forward-looking, though HakoMari is far sweeter (and perhaps even naive) in some sections than Ame no Hi no Iris. Similarly, they both toy with themes relating to repetition at some point, but use it to make different points.
As well, if you liked HakoMari's drama, you'll like most of Ame no Hi no Iris's drama, because it's very similar (and written in first person). If you thought that HakoMari's drama was cheesy, however, Ame no Hi no Iris offers different blends of drama throughout. Because of this, Ame no Hi no Iris doesn't feel nearly as cheesy (though it does start to go down that road in the last quarter).
Both are worth a read if you care for dark but ultimately optimistic narratives, though HakoMari will grip you from the first page while Ame no Hi no Iris takes a while longer to draw you in. read more
+ A time period of just over a day repeats inifinity and ends each time with someone dying before everything is reset with most people not realizing the repetition is happening
+ The character who remembers every repetition uses that to gain knowledge and skills as they try to find a way out of the repetition
- Hakomari is a novel series and has more than just the repeated schoolday while Kill is a manga that involves humans fighting against alien-like creatures for survival
+ Involve high schoolers in a survival game using medieval ranks like King, etc.
+ Both have yanderes, people who don't want to kill others, and similar protagonists caught in the middle of everything
- Hakomari is a light novel series and has other stories than just the survival game one (though the others do still have a similar feeling to Oukoku Game)
- There's no girl in Oukoku Game quite like Maria, the female lead in Hakomari
Both are mystery (as well as many other genres) stories involving characters that travel across multiple timelines of similar situations. They involve seemingly normal groups of students, and the main female protagonists are "interesting" to say the least. Both use some comic relief, but are more centered on drama for the most part. They also have some supernatural aspects to the stories (though Higurashi's is to a much lesser extent especially early on). They are very psychological and delve deep into the minds of the main protagonists (Keiichi in Higurashi and Hoshino in HakoMari).
Mikage Eiji writes particularly unique novels that delve deep into the psychology of its characters, with both HakoMaria and Kamisu Reina making liberal use of his trademark narrative trickery. Both series are gripping right from the first page, to the point where you'll have difficulty putting it down before reaching the end of any given chapter. They are extremely similar in tone, writing and their target audience. If you liked one, you'll like the other. There's no reason not to check the other one out; they both have fantastic English fan translations.