Are you an anime fan drawn to dystopian visions of the future? This article is for you. In the growing world of cyberpunk, we bring you the 21 best cyberpunk anime of all time.
Even if you haven’t seen any of these titles, this article will help you explore a genre that has produced some truly awe-inspiring masterpieces.
Get ready for stimulating action; mind-bending philosophies; complex characters; moral dilemmas; thrilling battles; and thought-provoking themes. What are you waiting for? Check out “21 Best Cyberpunk Anime of All Time” today:
21. Genocyber (1994)
Genocyber is one of the most beloved and exhilarating cyberpunk anime of all time. Released in 1994, Genocyber follows the story of two half-sisters, Diana and Cathy, as they battle against a world filled with a powerful military complex and dangerous criminals.
The atmosphere of dread and chaos stands out amongst its contemporaries, amplified by the realistic animation style and an electronic score that lures the viewer into its dystopic realm. Set within a future where no one is safe from any form of corruption, Genocyber provides a thought-provoking look at how selfishness and greed consume mankind.
As the story continuously builds suspense, eventually culminating in its epic showdown, viewers are left reeling from emotions brought forth by the show.
20. Accel World
Accel World is an iconic anime series that captivates its viewers with a unique blend of futuristic technology and cyberpunk elements.
Set in the year 2046, Accel World follows protagonist Haruyuki Arita and his adventures in a virtual reality Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game called “Brain Burst”. To reach the top of Brain Burst, Haruyuki must battle other players who can control time and soldiers called “NPCs” to gain points.
Along his journey, he teams up with Kuroyukihime, a mysterious girl who introduces Haru to the “Accelerated World” full of highly dangerous experiences. As players progress through the Accelerated World and Brain Burst game, they discover strange powers within themselves, along with terrifying enemies from another world entirely.
With beautiful animation, deep soundtracks and relatable characters, Accel World has quickly become one of the most popular cyberpunk anime among all ages.
Despite being released almost ten years ago, the series still manages to entertain all those intrigued by flashy fights between players with unbelievable skills that emulate classic cyberpunk stories in a modern setting.
19. Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 is one of the most beloved cyberpunk anime series of all time. Set in a future version of the city, it follows the adventures of a female mercenary team known as the Knight Sabers.
Through high-flying action and an exploration into themes such as consumerism, corporate greed and artificial intelligence, Bubblegum Crisis established a place for itself amongst fans. Revolutionary for its time, Bubblegum Crisis was praised for its ambitious art direction that helped to blur the line between reality and fantasy.
For passionate viewers looking to explore some serious manga sci-fi, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo2040 stands out as a timeless classic to share with new generations.
18. Gunslinger Girl
Gunslinger Girl has earned its place among the top cyberpunk anime around. Set in a futuristic Italy, this sci-fi show follows teenagers who have been turned into cyborgs to serve as agents of an anti-terrorist organization.
Gunslinger Girl follows their struggles as they grapple with morality, identity and how best to survive in a grim and futuristic world. The characters are realistically realized – neither heroes nor villains but rather struggling individuals trying to find some peace and purpose while navigating the dangers of the shadowy world they live in.
Visually, the animation brings an original yet somehow brutally realistic look that resonates with viewers. Moreover, the amazing musical score brings out all these elements together and makes Gunslinger Girl a memorable experience.
Texhnolyze is a fascinating cyberpunk anime about a chaotic, post-apocalyptic futuristic metropolis where the citizens are deeply divided by class and struggles to survive in the ever-changing city.
Drawing heavily from classic cyberpunk film tropes, Texhnolyze follows orphaned protagonist Ichise, who is pulled into the deep underworld of human augmentation.
Teaming up with the underground resistance group “The Scarred Man,” Ichise’s life changes drastically as they attempt to prevent the dystopian nightmare that would befall their city.
Featuring gorgeous animation and lots of intense action sequences, Texhnolyze is one of the most revered cyberpunk anime of all time. With its complex narrative and intricate characters, it’s no surprise that Texhnolyze has gained a large following since its original 2003 airing.
16. Battle Angel Alita
Battle Angel Alita is an iconic cyberpunk anime that will have you captivated from the first episode. Set in a dystopian future, this anime follows the story of Gally and her journey to reclaim her identity and uncover her mysterious past.
During her journey, she is exposed to a variety of off-world technology and cultures while fighting in brutal battles as a cyborg bounty hunter protecting the citizens of Scrapyard City.
The animation is brilliant, drawing heavily on its Manga origins with detailed character designs and action sequences to please even the most hardcore fans of cyberpunk anime.
With several story arcs, intense fight scenes and a thrilling narrative, Battle Angel Alita has been lauded as one of the best cyberpunk anime ever made; it’s no wonder that it has spawned various adaptations across different media. It won multiple awards throughout its run and deserved mention alongside other acclaimed titans in this particular genre.
Trigun is a classic cyberpunk anime that blends its art and science fiction aesthetic to create an unforgettable classic. Considered a post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and western story simultaneously, this anime centres around a mysterious gunman called only ‘Vash the Stampede.’
He is a kindly man that seeks to restore peace amidst chaos while being aggressively pursued by two insurance agents who never quit trying.
The episodes of Trigun deliver exhilarating action sequences and intense drama set in a beautiful cyberpunk world with touching moments of humanity woven into the story. The vast landscape of the series is filled with strange technologies and more advanced abilities allowing it to stand apart from classic cyberpunk anime.
With such unique illustrations, well-developed characters, considerable philosophical notions, and deep questions about morality, Trigun surely stands tall among some of the best works within its genre.
14. Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop is a classic anime that is beloved by fans the world over. The series, which follows a group of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts through the solar system, has been praised for its fun characters, immersive atmosphere, and smooth jazz-inspired score.
Expressing independence and freedom, Cowboy Bebop takes viewers through stunning settings as they explore themes of existentialism and destiny.
From its unique characters to its intriguing stories, this cyberpunk anime delivers action-packed moments while also exploring profound questions. It’s no surprise Cowboy Bebop has become one of the most influential and celebrated works in anime history.
13. no guns life
“No Guns Life” is an anime series following the story of a man named Juzo Inui, who has been modified against his will with a cybernetic weapon in the shape of a gun for his head.
This anime is considered to be one of the best cyberpunk animes out there because it contains elements of both science-fiction and action which makes it very enjoyable for fans of either genre.
From its edgy visuals to its creative plotline, this anime reveals an interesting dystopian world. The characters are intriguing yet complicated, and viewers get to enjoy their journey as they navigate through obstacles posed by their environment or by forces seeking domination over their lives.
This anime is set in a post-cyberpunk landscape filled with intense drama, thrilling combat scenes and fascinating technological concepts, making it impossible not to become enthralled from beginning to end.
12. Ghost in the Shell – Border:1 Ghost Pain
‘Ghost in the Shell – Border:1 Ghost Pain’ is one of the most memorable and popular cyberpunk anime. This iconic movie follows Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg soldier who works for an organization dedicated to protecting society from computer-related crimes.
Featuring stunning visuals, amazing music, and intense action sequences, this movie is a masterpiece of the Cyberpunk Anime genre. The story and characters take us on a thrilling ride that defies easy classification as Motoko & her team of operatives struggle with trans-humanism and identity in a future world filled with secrets and deception.
What keeps viewers glued to their seats is the suspenseful and often unpredictable plot which unfolds gradually over time as themes of mortality, technology, free will, and politics become interwoven.
Based on the classic 1927 animated film of the same name, Metropolis is a must-watch cyberpunk anime that combines elements of action, drama and science fiction in a thrilling way.
Set in a fictional world populated by humans, robots and strange creatures, the story follows detective Shunsaku Ban seeking to unravel the mystery behind an evil scientist’s sinister plot.
With breathtaking animation and complex characters, this critically-acclaimed anime paints a vivid picture of a futuristic dystopia where technology is both incredibly advanced and incredibly dangerous at times.
Highly detailed visuals blend together with luscious soundtracks to create memorable scenes, from dramatic standoffs to fast-paced fights. The foreboding cityscape provides an exciting backdrop for exploring deeper themes such as identity and how humans relate to robots.
10. Bubblegum Crash
Bubblegum Crash is the quintessential cyberpunk anime. Taking place in the futuristic city of MegaTokyo, it follows a group of hackers as they uncover a corporation’s devious plot. Directed by Manabu Ōhashi and produced by Youmex Animation Inc., Bubblegum Crash has become a cult classic since its release in 1991.
Fans praise its visually stunning art style that seamlessly blends cyberpunk aesthetics with traditional Japanese animation.
It offers an exciting yet dark atmosphere with brilliant characterization, captivating storylines, gripping suspense, and mind-blowing action sequences. If you enjoy gritty dystopian stories and stylishly crafted visuals, then Bubblegum Crash is sure to be right up your alley.
9. Mardock Scramble
Mardock Scramble is one of the best examples of cyberpunk anime. Featuring a rich aesthetic and an intriguing story, this series truly captures the cyberpunk genre in all its glory.
Set in a dystopian future populated by powerful megacorporations and corrupt politicians, it follows Rune Balot, a young girl assimilated into this world after being brutally attacked.
With advanced prosthetics covering her body, she must face off against the forces of evil to uncover her past and take revenge. The series follows Balot as she fights for her own justice within a complex world full of corporate espionage and deadly secrets.
Every episode offers viewers thrilling plot twists and stunning visuals with exciting action sequences that showcase the gritty noir-style future.
From its captivating sci-fi visuals to compelling, thought-provoking themes, Blame! is rightly regarded as one of the greatest cyberpunk anime ever made.
Set in a distant future ruled by massively interconnected megastructures, the movie follows the fast-paced and often violent journey of Killy, a stoic loner on his mission to find the source of nightmare creatures that plague humanity.
His mission is successful only when he meets Cibo, an intelligent scientist whose advanced knowledge helps him deal with both technological and biological threats in this barren dystopian world. The fluidly animated fight scenes hail futuristic weapon technology while enthralling audiences with intricate and, oftentimes, graphic violence.
Furthermore, despite this film’s dark tone and gritty vibes, it also manages to be thought-provoking when introducing centuries-old political systems embedded in the despairing world and Killy’s actions as an outsider who disrupts them.
7. Psycho pass
Psycho-Pass is a thrilling cyberpunk anime full of mystery, intense moments and psychological exploration. At first glance, the plot appears to be set in a dystopian future world where people’s life choices and personalities are scanned, judged and monitored by a pervasive AI system known as the ‘Psycho-Pass’.
This intense sci-fi series follows an enigmatic detective named Akane Tsunemori as she fights off enemies who target those deemed ‘latent criminals’ by the Psycho-Pass.
Psycho-Pass does an excellent job of keeping things fresh and interesting; each episode drops viewers into emotionally charged investigations with plenty of plot twists that keep the tension high throughout.
The show manages to explore ethical dilemmas and complex philosophical ideas in a very compelling way while never losing sight of the action elements that give it its unique edge.
6. Megalo box
Megalo Box is an amazing anime series that centres around a character named Junk Dog. He lives in a dystopian future and participates in underground fighting tournaments, hoping to be remembered as one of the greats.
The artwork and animation style perfectly captures the cyberpunk aesthetic, and the show’s themes of identity and freedom amidst societal structures make it even more fascinating and captivating.
Watching these characters grapple with their situations, strive for greatness, and try to create something meaningful resonates with viewers on a personal level.
For anime fans looking for a captivating experience clearly inspired by cyberpunk artistry and themes, Megalo Box offers an engaging, unique way to explore these topics.
5. Megazone 23
Set in a dystopian world ravaged by war and chaos, Megazone 23 stands tall as one of the most iconic cyberpunk anime out there. The story follows Shogo Yazma, a bored otaku who suddenly finds himself entrusted with an experimental military mech known as ‘Bibel’.
As Shogo travels on the course of strange and unexpected events, he slowly unravels conspiracies that endanger not just himself but also the entire city.
One of Megazone 23’s appeals is its unique world-building. The anime takes us through both futuristic cities alongside post-apocalyptic wastelands where life can be turned upside down at any time without warning.
With its stunning visual effects and unique set pieces, combined with a thumping music soundtrack, Megazone 23 immerses the audiences into its dark yet thrilling universe with ease. It’s no wonder the anime has won both critical acclaim from critics and fandom alike for decades since it first came onto the scene in 1985.
4. Ergo Proxy
Ergo Proxy is one of the best cyberpunk anime out there, blending together horror and science fiction elements into a captivating narrative. Set in a future dystopian world, Ergo Proxy follows the story of investigator Re-l Mayer as she unravels the mystery behind a virus that has begun to infect humanoids known as Proxies.
Though dangers lurk around every corner, Re-l and her companion Vincent Law set off on their own mission to discover the truth behind the virus and its origins.
With chilling music and stunning animation, this psychological thriller takes viewers on a suspenseful rollercoaster ride while also exploring themes like identity, loneliness and despair. What’s more, Ergo Proxy challenges its audience to further question mankind’s relationship with technology.
3. Serial Experiments are a part of the
Serial Experiments Lain is often noted as one of the best cyberpunk anime ever made. The groundbreaking series follows the story of a teenage girl, Lain Iwakura, as she dives deep into the world of technology and its effects on our lives.
Set in a speculative version of present-day Japan, Serial Experiments Lain is an engaging exploration of how modern communication technologies can be used for both good and evil.
With beautiful animation, intense scenes, and thought-provoking writing, Serial Experiments Lain paint a picture of a future where technology is both dangerous and powerful. This cyberpunk anime revolutionized the genre with its focus on intimacy, identity, and connectivity in what was still a relatively new territory at that point.
While cyberpunk fiction typically focuses on government control or corporate domination, this series takes a more subtle approach by emphasizing humanity’s relationship to its devices.
Akira is a classic cyberpunk anime that has become an acclaimed classic. Its story expertly combines dystopian themes of government corruption with social issues, politics, and humanity to create a world of suspense and adventure.
Set in the future post-nuclear apocalypse of 2019 Tokyo, Akira follows the struggles of Shotaro Kaneda and Tetsuo Shima on their quest for freedom from forces bigger than them.
As they come face to face with corrupt power structures using advanced technology to gain domination, they must take on the superhuman form to battle rival motorbike gangs, rogue military groups, and powerful psychic powers.
Their journey is fraught with peril and danger as they discover the dark secrets hidden within Neo-Tokyo’s urban sprawl and its ancient past. Even after all these years, Akira’s groundbreaking animation continues to be highly praised among anime fans around the world who idolize its characters, gripping storylines, and awe-inspiring visuals.
1. Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex
“Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” is an anime classic that sent shockwaves through the cyberpunk genre. Featuring a cybernetically enhanced human agent, Major Motoko Kusanagi, and her investigative unit, the series follows their hi-tech investigations that often lead to uncovering of corporate corruption and conspiracies.
With stunning visuals and intense technology-related themes, this cyberpunk anime captivates viewers with every turn of the episode. It also spawned a successful movie as well as additional series following up on the adventures of Major Motoko and her team.
The cyberpunk genre has exploded in the last few years, with some of the best anime to turn out of the industry receiving tons of praise and attention. The 21 shows mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg, each offering its own distinct story and atmosphere.
All in all, each title provides a unique view into futuristic worlds that defy imagination. So if you’re new to the dizzying array of anime offerings out there or simply can’t get enough cyberpunk, this list should have something for everyone to enjoy.