Don't think anime can do sci-fi well? I find your lack of faith.... disturbing.
By
13 Dec 2016 - 1:16 PM  UPDATED 13 Dec 2016 - 9:20 PM

It seemed only fair to celebrate the rise of sci-fi back on our cinema screens, because superhero movies are dead (there I said it) and Rogue One is about to take over everything. And it seemed only fair to celebrate with anime.

Sci-fi anime is as vast as space itself. But if sci-fi has taught me anything, it's always leave room for a sequel.

Prepare for List Information Transfer! Here's nine sci-fi anime we can celebrate Star Wars with:

1. Space Battleship Yamato /Star Blazers

It has all the explosions, angst and grizzled captains making hard choices for the betterment of everyone that you need in your life!

The discerning anime fan has plenty to choose from with this franchise too. The first series was released back in the 70s (it was released as 'Star Blazers' for American audiences and you might have also seen it as 'Space Cruiser Yamato'). But since then, it's kept coming back as anime series, live-actions and animated movies. In fact, another live-action is scheduled for next year!

2. Cowboy Bebop

Before Firefly, there was another handsome devil who captained a band of misfits ....

The story centres around Spike - a bounty hunter from Mars with a mysterious past - and his crew aboard the 'Bebop.' If you love a good rag-tag crew of misfits, then Cowboy Bebop won't disappoint with the seductress, the surly mechanic, the impish kid with nowhere else to go and a super smart dog called Ein.

If Spike isn't quite your guy because you prefer pirates over cowboys, then I recommend checking out Space Pirate Captain Harlock. If you're into more computer generated animation, then the Captain Harlock movie is for you.

Speaking of pirates...

3. Bodacious Space Pirates 

A teenage girl discovers she is the rightful heir to the captaincy of a space pirate ship.

It's fun and at times incredibly cute, whilst appealing to the world builders amongst us who love learning the politics and rules of imaginary creations.

4. Ghost In The Shell

Does the Major dream of Electric Sheep? If so, those are some pretty intense sheep dreams...

Ghost in the Shell drops you into a cyberlicious future, to follow a special forces unit comprised of technologically enhanced individuals (cyborgs).

Before Scarlet Johannsen introduces you to The Major, I recommend watching the originals for yourself.


If you can, watch all that Ghost In The Shell has to offer you. The original movie is iconic. Fans of Blade Runner and The Matrix will get a lot out of it. The 'Arise' anime series is probably easiest for newcomers (you're feelings will be shattered). Whichever you choose, you will still be left wondering what it is to be human.

If that kind of thing takes your fancy and you want more, then I recommend checking out Akira.

5. Captain Earth

You can never go wrong with originals like Transformers and Voltron, but if you've already seen them then Captain Earth should be next on your anime list.

A boy sees a rainbow in the sky and after a series of strange events, becomes part of a team that works together to fight an alien force that looks to drain Earth of its own lifeforce. (Note: he's not as annoying as Jeff, in Voltron, who always forms the head. I hate you, Jeff).

If you're looking for something a little more like Big Hero 6, I recommend Hero Man.

Or, for superheroes who are owned by sponsors, Tiger and Bunny.

6. Nobunagun

A girl finds out she carries the gene seed of feudal lord, Nobunaga which leads her to develop super powers in relation to guns. She joins forces with other gene seed holders to fight off an alien invasion.

If you like the idea of hidden talents in science fiction, you might also enjoy Charlotte, Norn9 and Persona 5.

7. Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

It's the old story of boy fights aliens, boy gets thrown through worm hole, boy meets girl and realises he's on 'Earth' which he's only ever heard about in legends. DUN DUN DUUUUUN, PLOT TWIST!

There's a tonne of other mech stories out there, but I rate Xam'd: Lost Memory, Patlabor and Code Geass as other solid meta-on-metal action.

8.The Disastrous Life of Saiki K

This isn't set in space, but does deal with a psychic kid who has Dr Strange'd the entire anime universe. Why do anime characters have strange hair colours? Saiki K.


It's a less high stress anime than others. Not a lot of thinking is required, but there's plenty of laughter.

9. Gundam

There's no doubt Gundam is a definite requirement on any sci-fi anime list.

The stories within the Gundam universe centre around political drama and warring ideologies. I know that sounds like it might be boring, but just imagine if everyone's idea was actually just a giant mech. You see why that would make the debate team more interesting.

For younger viewers and gunpla fans, Gundam Build Fighter is a great series to begin with.

If you're interested in the actual universe, but don't know where to start, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team is still the best introduction (I think) to date. Well rounded characters, not too much angst and plenty of explosions, while explaining the universe.

Well, that's just about as many sci-fi anime as I can fit in one list. But I'm sure you know more!

So what's your favourite sci-fi anime?

For more geekly chat you can subscribe to WTFPod on iTunes and your favourite Android podcast player (rss), or listen HERE.

FOR MORE:
9 Asian Idols that look like anime characters
What happens when you mix Asian Idols and anime together...It's uncanny.
7 Feel-Good Anime to watch this Summer
Because it's hot and you deserve good things.
'Your Name' + 5 Oscar nominated Japanese anime films
Only five Japanese anime films have ever been nominated for an Oscar – will 'Your Name' make the cut?
What the Frak Podcast
Talking anime, manga, movies and more!