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Top 10 Cyberpunk Anime

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Alex Crilly McKean
Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean Technology may have advanced, but humanity never changes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cyberpunk Anime. For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that primarily exist in or heavily borrow inspiration from the sci-fi subgenre known as cyberpunk.
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Top 10 Cyberpunk Anime


Technology may have advanced, but humanity never changes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cyberpunk Anime.



For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that primarily exist in or heavily borrow inspiration from the sci-fi subgenre known as cyberpunk.



#10: “Bubblegum Crisis” franchise (1987-91; 1998-99)


It may be a little cheesy by today’s standards, and the English dub has gone down as one of the dodgiest of the lot, but looking back on this show, we’re quite surprised by its quality. Battling against cybernetic life forms and a wicked megacorporation, a group of female mercenaries utilize advanced tech in order to save the day. Often via smashing in some heads.

You can practically feel the Blade Runner vibes from the very first frame.



#9: “Blame!” (2017)


This Netflix remake gets bonus points for not only giving us an apocalyptic thriller, but for also striking the right balance between typical animation and CGI, painting a bleak portrait of a world where human beings are on the verge of extinction. In order to give their species a chance at survival, two strangers take on the daring task of finding a way to the heart of the ever-expanding City, all the while trying not to get massacred by those creepy as hell silicon creatures!



#8: “Armored Trooper Votoms” franchise (1983-1984; 2011)


Giant robots may be at the front and centre of this show, but when it comes to the dark side of combat, politics and conspiracy, Votoms more than excels. During a period of uneasiness between two factions, our grizzled protagonist Chirico finds himself unknowingly part of a dubious plot to steal secrets, only to be abandoned and left for dead. With both sides now after his head, his only option is to hunt down the truth, and wreck a whole lot of shit.




#7: “Serial Experiments Lain” (1998)


Talk about depressing. Due to the isolation felt both at school and with her family, teenager Lain already leads an introverted and socially-awkward lifestyle. Things, however, soon take a dark twist when she discovers the existence of the virtual world known as the Wired, a place where humans abandon their flesh and apparently find absolute happiness. Of course, we all know that any kind of world wide web contains some pretty messed up stuff, and perhaps the same could be said for the wired.



#6: “Ergo Proxy” (2006)


A running theme throughout all great cyberpunk series is a line that separated humans from their artificial, with said line slowly blurring. Ergo Proxy is no exception in this regard, focusing on inspector Re-l as she investigates several murders committed by the sub-servant AutoReiv androids, only to find that, surprise, surprise, not everything is as its appears. This leads her to try to uncover the truth about the mysterious Proxies, and who is really pulling the strings.



#5: “Texhnolyze” (2003)


One dishevelled city, three warring factions, a whole lot of messed up people. This is not the kind of future where happy endings exist. With the three groups each eager to tear the other apart in the hopes of controlling the remains of the city of Lux, a cast of broken souls do what they can to survive the hostile terrain. Dripping with neo-noir motifs as well as plenty of violence, this slow burner is sure to tick a lot of boxes for fans of weaving narratives and symbolic settings.



#4: “Psycho-Pass” (2012-14)


A dystopian future where humans have traded individuality for safety, this anime is a masterclass at painting a picture of the dark consequences that come from supressing free will.

As Akane and her partner Kogami find themselves pursuing those who pose a threat to the Sybil System, they discover how this new way of life still finds a way to create monsters and victims out of everyone. The action scenes are awesome, the mysteries are wholly engrossing, and it’s clear that despite having a stellar villain, there are no clear lines between good and evil in a false utopia like this.



#3: “Cowboy Bebop” (1998-99)


Now, normally Spike and company would easily make the top of our list, the only reason they don’t this time is because Cowboy Bebop is such a perfect mesh of genres, it’s hard to consider it a pure cyberpunk anime. As the space cowboy tracks down bounties and deals with the horrors of his past, we’re treated to a spectacular interpretation of what interstellar travel and colonisation could look like. It’s a must watch…but you already knew that.



#2: “Akira” (1988)


Look no further than Neo-Tokyo if you want to have a glimpse at quintessential cyberpunk. You have gang warfare, extreme inequality, teenagers riding around on motorcycles shooting laser rifles, and of course the occasional psychic monstrosity. While Tetsuo’s powers certainly make something of a leap to fantasy, it’s the portrayal of the world that both he and Kaneda inhabit that highlights what makes Akira special. Beautiful and barbaric in equal measure, its no wonder that this is seen as a landmark anime.



#1: “Ghost in the Shell” franchise (1995; 2015)


No matter which iteration you prefer, this series of films and animated shows each offer a sci-fi experience that few have ever managed to duplicate.

While the narratives tend to focus on Major Kusanagi’s various investigations into cyber criminals and terrorists, they also do a magnificent job of putting a spotlight on subjects such as gender, singularity and what it means to be human. Whether you love the original or think the later entries perfected the formula, the face of all great cyberpunk anime is that of the Major!
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