Otaku USA Magazine
How Does Batman Compare to These Great Anime Detectives?

DC says Batman is the World's Greatest Detective... let's find out if that's true

He’s one of the world’s most popular comic book superheroes, with decades of adaptations to his name. And, in the DC Comics universe, he’s known as the World’s Greatest Detective. So yeah, Batman is pretty good. But how good is he?

Because, see, anime has its fair share of top-tier detectives. Billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne may rule the roost in Gotham, but we’re curious how he rates against other sleuths with similarly bizarre gigs. We’ve lined up a few of the classics — let’s see how he fares.


Conan Edogawa (Case Closed)

Conan Edogawa

Batman tends to do a decent job keeping his secret identity… well, secret. And the same goes for Shinichi Kudo, a.k.a. Conan Edogawa of Case Closed. But where Bruce Wayne dons a costume and a super gravelly voice, Conan straight up turns into a kid. This is a bug, not a feature… or, rather, a poison. Fortunately, “Conan” keeps his teenage crime-solving smarts, even when he’s de-aged. So he can sleuth his way to the organization that poisoned him.

He does a half-decent job of not revealing that he’s actually teenager Shinichi Kudo. Usually. Sometimes he slips up, especially when he gets chatty about something he’s into. Acting like a kid all the time doesn’t come as easy as acting like a rich party boy, I guess. Meaning that while Bruce and Conan are a fair match in smarts, the former takes the lead in social stealth.


Inspector Zenigata (Lupin the Third)

Inspector Zenigata

Batman has his own personal rogues’ gallery of recurring baddies. But Koichi Zenigata just has one: Lupin the Third. This ICPO sleuth has dedicated his career to catching the third-generation thief. And he’s pretty energetic about it, too. It’s easy to forget that Zenigata is actually super competent, and lesser criminals don’t even stand a chance. But that’s because Lupin is just that good.

Like the Dark Knight, Zenigata knows his foe’s tricks. But unlike the Dark Knight, Zenigata does it all on a budget. No fancy dinners or bat-gadgets here: it’s instant ramen for lunch and confused extras as backup. We’ll give Bats the benefit of the doubt, though. After all, he’s got dozens of nemeses to bring in, while Zeni’s just got the one.


(Death Note)

L Lawliet

He’s a genius who loves sweets, and he’s at least 37% sure you could be Kira. Death Note‘s L is a brilliant investigator: even more so considering his opponent is committing crimes with superhuman powers. Fortunately, he gets assists from his butler, who’s also his handler and has been his father figure ever since he was a kid… Waaaaait a minute.

We’d label Batman and L as about even in terms of detecting skills. The tiebreaker? The butlers. We know Watari’s back story, which kind of tips the scales in his favor. But also… Alfred.

Need more superhero crossovers? Here’s why Deadpool: Samurai is for you.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. Beyond the world of anime, she's a writer for Doctor Who expanded universe series including Iris Wildthyme and the City of the Saved, as well as an editor for the critically-acclaimed Black Archive series.