The word “Cyberpunk” holds a lot of intrigue in the pop culture world and is often associated with futuristic worlds with a lot of advanced technology, cyborgs, laser guns, and most importantly neon lights!
A major theme of every Cyberpunk title is how behind all of this state of the art world lies the true differences between different classes of people and shows how crime and corruption rise to the top thanks to corporal authoritarianism.
We have seen countless movies like Blade Runner and Total Recall, depict this genre in western culture but the Cyberpunk genre has its own prestige in the anime world and there are hundreds of titles that portray the true personification of the word itself.
We have compiled a list of more than 25 anime that you should definitely check out if you are interested in futuristic worlds where machines eventually replace humans.
Table of Contents
26- Mardock Scramble
The high tech word of Mardock Scramble might look thrilling and electrifying on first sight but soon we see the dark secrets behind all of the sparkly lights as we dive deep into the life of a fifteen year old girl who is forced into prostitution due to circumstances.
She is made to provide her services to a man called “Shell,” but due to some unforeseen events, she loses her life in a car explosion. Unfortunately for the people responsible for her death, society has reached the pinnacle of scientific technology that in drastic situations, humans can be brought back to life as cyborgs.
Due to the mysterious death of Rune, the investigation department agrees to bring her back to life. The story follows the life of Rune after coming back to life and her pursuit of revenge against her killers.
25- Armitage III
It isn’t very often that we see anime being heavily inspired by western movies but that was the case for Armitage III as it really took so many aspects from “Blade Runner”. The story starts off in a world where Elon Musk probably succeeded in bringing humanity to Mars, but there is another problem going around the world – robots!
The humanoids and humans are almost impossible to differentiate between and that’s why there is a special force created to hunt them down. The story follows one certain individual of the special force and takes a look at how society views humanity.
24- Last Hope Juushinki Pandora
The emergence of Cyberpunk as a genre has taken the world by storm and we are getting a lot more anime covering the topic now than in the past. In 2018, we saw The Last Hope which covered the story of a world where a highly reactive quantum reactor blew up.
The show covers how the life of the surrounding areas changed as the energy started emitting itself from the ground itself but along them, a new kind of organism makes its way onto the scene and it isn’t very fond of humanity.
The show encapsulates how it takes one moment for your life to change and that’s what happens to Daisuke Dojima, who somehow time travels to the futuristic world with a group of friends. It isn’t all fun and games here as they quickly find themselves trapped in a war with an advanced robotic race called the “Revisions,” that are adamant to erase humanity.
A big theme of the show is how quickly children grow up and are forced to take drastic decisions when they are thrown into such conflicts.
22- SoltyRei - The Red Lady
The name often goes under the radar while talking about Cyberpunk anime, but it is definitely a classic in terms of world building and social commentary. The story follows a bounty hunter who is saved by a girl who is definitely not a simple human being.
They explore the true intentions of huge companies responsible for assembling robotic parts in human bodies and how the rich always exploit the poor.
21- Speed Grapher
In a typical protagonist meets a helpless girl and saves her in the pilot manner, Speed Grapher follows the typical futuristic anime. Though, soon we witness a lot of secrets hiding in plain sight as the relationship between the two characters unveil so many secrets of the society they live in. What’s the true motive behind humanity’s struggle for technological advancement? It is definitely a character driven story and every character is there for a purpose.
20- Angel Cop
Angel Cop covers the story of a world where Japan has become the biggest powerhouse and is the most powerful country out there. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with this development and there is a communist group out there looking to derail this ever growing power of Japan.
But they soon have a new threat on their radar as members of the group start dying in unexplainable scenarios. It is one of the exceptionally written stories out there and despite the old chunky animation of the 80’s, you should have a great time with this series at the end of the day.
19 - Altered Carbon: Resleeved
A western animated series making its way to the list of anime isn’t a common occurrence but Altered Carbon is definitely in a league of it’s own and deserves a shout out on this list.
The death of a Yakuza leader forces our protagonist into the game while he is caught up protecting a tattoo artist from some people looking for her.
The series was definitely a breath of fresh air and made a great mark in the western world with its unique animation and storytelling.
18- Ai no Kusabi: The Space Between
Ever had a nightmare where you dreamt that you might live in a world where your position in the society will be determined by the color of your hair? That’s the reality of the world of The Space Between. The story follows Iason Mink, a top of the class blonde guy who comes into contact with Riki, a black haired young guy.
After Iason saved Riki from a bunch of attackers, Riki offers his body to Iason as a way to pay off the debt. Thus, began a very interesting relationship between the two. There are alot of taboo aspects presented throughout the anime and is definitely not safe to watch in your workplace considering it gets really steamy at times if you know what I mean.
17- Cyber City Oedo 808
If you are a fan of dark and gritty dialogues, then this is the perfect pick for you. You are bound to hear some of the most obscene profanities in every dialogue out there during the runtime of the series. The story is really simple and resembles Suicide Squad a lot. There are explosive collars attached to the caught criminals and they have to pay back the government for the damages their actions caused to the nation by working for them. It is really funny and if you are a fan of classic 90’s animation then you will have a great time with this one.
16- Ultraviolet: Code 044
This is one of the most creative stories out there in the cyberpunk world as a young soldier is turned into the strongest weapon with the help of gene manipulation. 044 is the main character of the show and we follow her journey after she fails to kill her target for the first time ever due to some unexplainable events.
It is one of the best thrillers out there and will have you on the edge of your seats until you have figured out what’s really going on behind the scenes.
In the far future, civilization and cybertechnology have fully melded together, giving birth to advanced cities. Unfortunately for humanity, a virus infects these artificial intelligent systems protecting humans, placing humanity on the verge of extinction as their own invention turns against them.
The show really highlights the fact that, the ever growing advancement in the technology world might not be a good thing, at the end of the day. And there would be some unforeseen consequences.
14- Dimension W
If you ever dreamt of finding an unlimited source of energy and how the world might change because of it. Then Dimension W is the perfect show for you as it will give you everything you wanted and more. The story follows a world where another dimension has been uncovered and how the world reacts to it for their ulterior motives.
The story of Paprika revolves around a device called DC Mini which allows the user to see other people’s dreams. The power of technology in the wrong hands is the central theme and shows how everything has its limitations. There are often some diehard fans debating for hours about how the story inspired Christopher Nolan’s Inception and it will be up to you to figure that out for yourselves after you are done watching Paprika.
12- No Guns Life
A cyborg with no memories of his past life is caught up in a nationwide controversy and this leads him into uncovering the repressed memories that were there all along. The show is the perfect commentary on the class differences and highlights the greed of multinational companies that only care about the profit at the end of the day.
11- Parasite Dolls
The thing that makes Parasite Dolls stand out among its competitors is that it has got a lot of emotion in its plot driven narrative and you feel attached to the world from the very first episode. We have the typical man with a mysterious past as our protagonist, who is part of a group that is responsible to look into the crimes committed by androids in this world. If you love some mind boggling revelations, then this is definitely the show for you.
10- Bubblegum Crisis
If you are a fan of nonstop action, then Bubblegum Crisis is the show for you as there is definitely no concept of slowing down throughout the series. It’s certainly one of the founders of the genre in the anime world but still feels like a modern anime when you watch it. Thanks to it’s outstanding animation and storytelling. The story follows a split Tokyo, which symbolizes the class differences in an advanced world like it portrays.
9- Serial Experiments Lain
If you are a fan of movies like Inception and Interstellar then you would have a great time with this show. It follows a young girl who suddenly develops a keen interest in the virtual world but more importantly touches on several philosophical questions along that. It is a show that might make you give a huge existential crisis out of nowhere and make you redefine your own life.
Texhnolyze is one of the most unique anime out there in terms of it’s plot driven story. You don’t get hundreds of dialogues in an episode but instead you get to witness some of the best animation out there devoid of the typical neon color palette. The ending is perhaps the thing that really makes the series stand out, and you will be an emotional wreck by the time you are done but it will be absolutely worth it!
The show is remembered as one of the most brutal and violent stories out there and that might throw off the viewers early on but if you stick to watching it, you will eventually be captivated by the mystery surrounding the show from the very first minute. It is definitely something not for the faint hearted as there is a lot of disturbing violence in every episode but if you can let that slide, then you should definitely check out the show.
Akira is one of the few anime that shaped up the future of the anime world in a way that not a single person can deny. It touches on various topics like: how the poor are exploited, what would religion be like in the futuristic world, and how a revolutionary movement is destined to come into place amidst all the scientific developments.
It is also going to get a movie adaptation soon so would definitely be a good time to witness the real deal for yourself.
5- Alita Battle Angel
Japanese Vers: Gunnm
You might have already watched Alita: Battle Angel, the movie directed by James Cameron but the fans of the original source material will always convince you that the movie wasn’t even close to the brilliance of the real thing. Alita covered the story of a cyborg girl who was a lot more special than it first seemed and how a humanoid’s life is perceived by others.
4- Ergo Proxy
If you are a fan of anime that aren’t really very fast paced and prefer to dive deep into the characters while surrounding their past with mystery then Ergo Proxy might be the perfect fit for you.
There is a strange darkness around the show that not many others can offer while still being relevant to its story.You will be so attached to the mystery of what’s really happening that at the end of it you just might agree with it being one of the most underrated anime of our time.
3- Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell is one of the most intriguing stories out there and follows a world where technology has reached its peak. The humans are easily able to transform themselves into cyborgs and the protagonist is one of these cyborgs herself. The thing that makes her stand out is that the only human part left is her brain and it indulges the viewers to think about how we might forget what it is to be human if all of this happens in our real world.
2- Psycho Pass
Psycho Pass is one of the most popular anime and for good reason. It covers the philosophical question of what happens if we let technology dictate our lives instead of us using it according to our own will.
The show presented some of the most well written characters in anime history and you will get to witness some of the most interesting scientific developments you can’t even imagine.
It is definitely a series that not only captures your attention but also makes you think about what would happen if it came true.
1- Akudama Drive
There is a strange amount of vibrancy around Akudama Drive which makes it one of the best mini-series of all time. You will absolutely fall in love with the characters in the very first episode and the plot itself will capture you until you have finished the whole story.
The plot covers a group of criminals coming together for a dangerous mission but unknowingly one girl gets caught up in the act and has to survive the mission without letting anyone know that she isn’t as big of a baddie as she is portraying herself to be.
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