Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction that typically features advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as cybernetic implants and computer hacking. The genre’s settings are usually dystopic and often set in a post-apocalyptic future.
The best cyberpunk anime movies are the 25 best cyberpunk-themed anime of all time. These anime were chosen based on their popularity, critical acclaim, and influential aspects in the genre.
Few sci-fi subgenres are more enticing than one that combines urban, dystopian, and technological themes to the point that they’re virtually symbiotic.
After all, Cyberpunk often takes on challenges that other genres are unable to.
And that’s how you respond to the very real question, “What if?”
It’s only reasonable to question where we’ll wind up in the near future as technology advances left and right, providing gradual and systematic improvements in how our society works as a whole.
And Anime is a great medium for expressing these concepts.
For example, which anime gives us the most unique views on cyberpunk themes? Here are a few of the finest that you should certainly look into.
Gokuu, Gokuu, Gokuu, Gokuu, Gokuu, Gokuu, Go
Here’s an anime masterpiece from the 1980s that’s considered one of the forerunners of the cyberpunk genre.
This anime’s protagonist is a former detective who went too far in his investigation into his colleague’s murder. Not to be confused with the particularly likable musclehead main character of the Dragonball series, this anime’s protagonist is a former detective who went too far in his investigation into his colleague’s murder.
He was on the brink of death when he was given a cyborg-like artificial eye that enabled him to connect to any computer network on the planet, thus giving him “God’s eye.”
Isn’t it amazing?
Midnight Eye: Goku may be a shorter movie than most of the films on our list, but it is rife with the future crime-fighting concept that is reminiscent of another timeless classic of a film — Robocop.
It’s still worth keeping an eye on, however.
Angel Cop (number 24)
Angel Cop is one of many OVAs that were released during the “golden age” of anime.
It has a few strong elements that make a cyberpunk anime, well, a good cyberpunk anime.
It’s also not hesitant to display them in the form of unapologetically violent and gory action sequences.
This anime is worth seeing for the more tough and open-minded anime viewers, with just a few flaws (notably, its uneven music and rather contentious plot).
Appleseed is number 23.
Have you ever pondered what would happen to mankind if a third global war were to occur?
Deunan Knute and Briaeros Hecatonchires – companions in the battlefield/former lovers who discovered a plan unfolding behind the scenes — are given an intriguing potential account of the events by Appleseed.
The tale takes place in a world where half of the population has been transformed into Bioroids, half-human, half-machine hybrids.
Surprisingly, the AI isn’t the antagonist in the film.
SKYNET’s creators had best pay attention!
However, I would strongly advise you to see the more current versions of this game, since they are all much superior than the original OVA in nearly every way – without straying too far from the source material.
Serge, the Virus Buster, is number 22.
Virus Buster Serge has a few things to be desired in its implementation, despite a potentially intriguing narrative set in Neo Hong Kong in the not-too-distant future of the year 2097.
The story follows Serge Train, a member of the anti-virus group “STAND,” as he and his colleagues confront the deadly menace known as “The Incubator.”
Despite some apparent faults, the story this anime tells about the possible applications and hazards (primarily) of biotechnology is an intriguing concept in and of itself.
Virus Buster Serge is also Masami Bari’s first TV series, and he is a household figure in the Japanese sci-fi business.
If you like his previous works, you may be interested in this.
Cybernetics Guardian (number 21)
Are you a fan of blood-curdling, rage-inducing, metal-themed action sequences that scream murder?
If that’s the case, here’s one for you.
Cybernetics Guardian, like Virus Buster Serge, has a narrative that is teetering on the edge of biotechnology.
The main character, John Stalker, unwittingly set in motion circumstances that sent the narrative into overdrive.
Specifically, after putting a demon-possessed mecha suit to the test, which was intended to be a solution to increasing urban crime.
In some ways, it did turn out to be just that.
After all, who knows how many bad people you’ll murder if you ever go on a spree as a cyber-beast killing machine.
Ultraviolet (Code 044): 20.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of Agent 47 and 007 before.
However, 044, the series’ protagonist, is a superb codenamed agent/soldier/assassin.
Despite being situated in an interesting future civilization where scientific progress is at its pinnacle, the narrative focuses mostly on 044’s growth as a character.
Naturally, this includes her quest to find her more “human” side – as well as how she interacts with the world in light of her previous position as an augmented soldier.
The series, like many of the sci-fi titles from the early years of anime, has a lot to be desired in terms of action sequences and battle choreography.
On the other hand, the main character’s design and character development more than make up for the anime’s other faults, making it a must-see.
Do you ever grow weary of sad tales about humanity’s greed and how it ultimately leads to our demise?
After all, one of our more commendable characteristics as a species is our capacity to both wallow and find comedy in our own self-deprecation.
Enter Genocyber, a story about how humanity’s need for control and power leads to the creation of a corporatocratic society (quite a mouthful, I know) that threatens to destroy the planet.
Genocyber did a fantastic job at presenting itself in a unique and compelling manner, even with the somewhat complex and ambiguous final OVA episodes that left the fates of many characters up in the air.
Of course, Genocyber is unquestionably the goriest and most graphically violent game on the list.
In fact, it’s not one I’d suggest to anime lovers with sensitive stomachs.
However, if you don’t mind some R-rated moments in your watching experience, I would recommend it.
Dirty Pair (number 18)
What about something a little more seductive and charming?
Dirty Pair is a series with many translations that captures the vintage feelings of 80’s anime pretty darn well. It’s one of the few light-hearted entries on our list.
The characters Yuri and Kei are most known for the nickname, which was originally code-named “Lovely Angels.”
Something they’ve unwittingly developed as a result of their galactic escapades as…
You guessed correctly.
The “Dirty Pair” is Yuri and Kei.
Trouble Consultants (wow, that’s a mouthful) who often create more issues than they solve.
This is the primary concept from which the anime gets most of its comic kicks, which isn’t a terrible thing in and of itself.
It includes two fantastic waifus, as well as a narrative that isn’t too serious.
What more could you ask for?
17. The Crisis of Bubblegum
Attention, baby boomers! No way.
This isn’t the sort of dead meme I’m talking about.
Bubblegum Crisis is one of the most well-known cyberpunks with a girl-with-guns theme that was released prior to the 1990s.
It tells a tale of the increase in the number of Boomers, who are basically mechanical constructions developed with the purpose of assisting humanity.
But, surprise, these Boomers were ultimately converted into weapons by Genom, the game’ primary hostile force.
The stakes are wonderfully set up for the main heroes of the vigilante organization known as Knight Sabers to beat the wicked Boomers back to where the sun doesn’t shine, with the whole planet facing a catastrophe.
Styled after the Power Rangers.
16. Oedo 808 Cyber City
This cyberpunk series has an animation that places a strong focus on the word “punk.”
Cyber City Oedo 808 is a wild and boisterous watch set in the far future of 2808 — in all the wonderful ways.
Leading a cast of three convicted criminals who have served hundreds of years in prison, they are compelled to work together to become do-gooders in order to reduce their imprisonment term.
It’s a concept that’s not entirely new.
However, the story’s three vibrant and distinct main characters (combined with the high stakes that drive the plot) are more than enough to pique anyone’s interest.
After all, what could be more tense than bursting collars in the manner of an old-time high school battle royale?
Dimension W: 15.
Finally, the first title not released before to the year 2000 makes its appearance.
This program, in my opinion, is one of the most underappreciated on the list.
And it’s without a doubt one of the best cyberpunk games that have come out lately.
Rather of focusing on the science fiction aspect of things, this anime concentrates on Kyouma Mabuchi’s day-to-day experiences.
It chronicles his odd but steadily growing connection with a Coil called Mira Yurizaki, who is a Coil-hater.
The anime includes a total of 12 excellent episodes.
And, although some may say that the adaptation didn’t do the manga justice, it’s still a good watch – and well-deserving of its spot on our list.
As a result, Proxy
You’ve undoubtedly noticed that the majority of the anime on this list has a gloomy tone to it.
Ergo Proxy, on the other hand, is black in a psychological and philosophical sense.
To put it another way:
It’s the sort of show that makes you think after you’ve finished viewing it.
Do you like watching a complicated, near-masterpiece dystopian series that will almost certainly stir your existential beliefs?
As a result, you should look at Ergo Proxy.
You will not be sorry.
Texhnolyze (Texhnolysis) (Texhnolyze) (
Texhnolyze is another cyberpunk game targeted towards adults.
In the dark and harsh city of Lux, its characters represent many archetypes, each with their own goals and motivations.
The program revolves on Texhnolyzes, people with altered physiology and superhuman powers, and offers an intriguing idea.
The show’s success, however, is based not only on its central concept, but also on its characters and how they (each in their own way) interact with the environment around them.
Aside from the show’s intriguing characters and central concept, the show’s gradual but steady storyline and genuine roughness make it well worth watching.
Megalo Box (#12)
Megalo Box and texhnolyze share one feature:
Both feature a main character who is an archetypal “warrior.”
But that’s about the extent of their resemblance.
Megalo Box is a show about a guy struggling to make ends meet in a neo-boxing world where only the finest fighters with the best gear can succeed.
This is a little odd, since “Gear” is also a word for steroids in real life, but that’s beside the point.
Megalo Box is essentially an anime about an underdog.
It has fantastic blood-pumping action sequences as well as a rivalry narrative that further adds to the appeal.
Akudama Drive is number eleven.
Here we have Akudama Drive, a wild, loud, and adrenaline-pumping title.
This tale follows a gang of hardened professional criminals known as the Akudama in a dystopian future where crime is at an all-time high and public executions have made a return.
Oh, and a regular civilian female who was persuaded to join their wacky gang.
Akudama Drive is worth every minute of your watch time since it is filled with exciting action sequences, amazing characters, and a realistic storyline in which not even the major characters are immune from being murdered off.
Dennou Coil is number ten.
Dennou Coil is a strong candidate for the title of “most deceptive anime of all time.”
Don’t be misled by the show’s youthful cast.
Although not to the same degree as, say, The Promised Neverland, this program does touch on some rather serious topics.
The plot revolves on a group of youngsters who are frantically attempting to repair the virtual world that has been damaged.
This pushes them to work together while simultaneously pitting them against one other at certain points along the way.
9. Lain’s Serial Experiments
For this slot, we’ve chosen Serial Experiments Lain, an anime that, like other cyberpunk titles, is strongly influenced by philosophical ideas.
For a tale that begins with a detailed, obviously complicated explanation of the storyline from the beginning, it ultimately comes to a satisfactory conclusion by the end.
And it does it in such a manner that it more than compensates for whatever hassles you may have had throughout its execution.
This anime is definitely not for everyone, since it has nearly every dark/controversial subject imaginable.
However, I would strongly suggest it to older anime lovers looking for a really fantastic cyberpunk series.
Macross Plus is number eight.
It’s no surprise that Macross Plus has flashes of potential brilliance all over it, thanks to screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto (who also worked on Cowboy Bebop and Tokyo Godfathers).
Macross Plus is a pseudo-cyberpunk anime with a fantastic music, amazing gunship fights, and a love triangle subplot that adds an additional spice to the mix, with a narrative and concept that deviates slightly from most of the titles on our list.
Oh, and the famous meth overlord Heisenberg, played by Walter White himself, appears in the OVA.
No, not really… However, one of the major characters, Isamu Alva Dyson, is voiced by Brian Cranston in the English version.
So that’s another reason you should look into it.
Paprika, no. 7
Let’s go inside the world of Paprika’s dreams.
It’s a strange and thought-provoking anime film that fulfills and entertains while sometimes making you scratch your head.
The tale presents the idea of how technology influences us and, in turn, how it alters our perceptions of reality and dreams.
It’s all wrapped up in a nice, adult-oriented package that I can only suggest to mature audiences.
The unsettling ambiguity of its visuals and narrative is what makes this anime stand out – so much so that putting it into words is difficult.
It reminds me a lot of Inception.
Years later, debates rage on the internet over what the spinning top at the conclusion of the movie signified.
It intended to be exactly as it is in the end.
A film that is inherently hazy and perplexing.
It is, after all, a film about dreams.
Dreams, on the other hand, aren’t exactly one of the most easily explained notions.
6. The Neo-Tokyo
Neo Tokyo, set in the same world as the events of Akira, joins our list with a totally different experience than the other anime we’ve watched thus far.
Neo Tokyo is a compilation of three tales, each with a unique narrative and subject matter.
Because it’s based on Akira, you can anticipate a dark but strong storyline, distinctive and intriguing characters, and amazing artwork evocative of the cyberpunk masterpiece that came before it.
5. Pass Psychologically
Each of the anime listed below gets a strong recommendation from me.
And Psycho-Pass has unquestionably earned, if not demanded, its place in the discussion.
It features an exciting and compelling narrative that works hand-in-hand with a psychologically stimulating concept set in a dystopian future – characteristics that are similar to those found in the classic sci-fi film Minority Report.
The show’s two main protagonists and the primary antagonist — all of whom wear the already-remarkable title on their backs — are the show’s best points, highlighting how important excellent characters can be in any anime.
Who says a minimalist piece of art with little to no speech, narrative, or explanation can’t be entertaining?
No one had done so.
Or at least that’s what I’m hoping, since Blame! exists.
And it’s fantastic.
Blame! is a black sheep in a way, with its narrative set in a huge, unnamed location just known as “The City.” Mostly because, unlike every other anime on this list, it manages to give away relatively little information.
At the same time, it seems to give more away.
Its mastery of nuance, in my view, is what distinguishes it as one of the best-crafted anime and manga series — not only in the cyberpunk genre, but in all of anime.
Alita, the Battle Angel
Battle Angel Alita is one of the most well-known and carefully written female heroines in anime, so it’s no surprise that it’s this high on the list.
It’s further bolstered by fantastic writing and great narrative, which recounts the story of Alita, the series’ primary cyborg waif— I mean protagonist.
If you liked the live-action remake, which came out only last year, I highly advise you to see the anime series as well.
After all, the source material is (without a doubt) superior than the film in almost every way.
2. The Phantom Tollbooth
Ghost in the Shell is closing in on the top of our list.
It’s the only other game that has made this rating very difficult for me.
I’m sure it’s the same for the majority of anime lovers.
After all, it’s easy to understand why this anime has spanned many media.
It’s just that wonderful.
It features animated films, OVAs, an anime series, novels, and even a live-action version featuring Black Widow in the lead role!
If you haven’t seen Ghost in the Shell, you should certainly do so.
After a lengthy and agonizing deliberation, Akira emerges victorious for the coveted title of “The Best.”
Sure, anybody might argue that someone else deserved to be here.
But I’m certain that none of them are as evocative of what the term “cyberpunk” truly means.
After all, Akira is the first manga series devoted entirely to the cyberpunk genre.
Its anime series, on the other hand, helped to promote the genre for years to come.
Even to this day.
Overall, the godfather of all cyberpunk anime is well worth seeing — and rightfully so.
The 25 Best Cyberpunk-Themed Anime Of All Time is a list of the best cyberpunk anime movies and series on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, Funimation, and more. Reference: cyberpunk anime 90s.
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