10 Best Sci-Fi Anime Series, According To IMDb

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Much like the fantasy subgenre, sci-fi invites endless creativity in anime, with the likes of Mob Psycho 100 and Chainsaw Man soon show their own twists. Going to the distant future or alternate timelines are popular premise for fiction in general, animated or otherwise, but some of the best anime series have used science fiction to some degree.


IMDb curated the best sci-fi shows in the genre, building up an impressive list of diversity. anime like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and cowboy bebopare the most popular choices for enriching sci-fi elements, but others like Legend of Galactic Heroes and Steins;Door also help loosen up the depth of this subgenre.

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The Mysterious Cities of Gold (1982-1983) – 8.7

Stream to Amazon Prime Video

Key art to the Mysterious Cities of Gold anime featuring the main cast.

The mysterious cities of Gold is an old classic 80s anime that uses an alternate history angle in tandem with sci-fi for its setting. It tells the story of young Esteban, a Spanish boy from Barcelona who joins the expedition to the New World to discover the legendary Seven Cities of Gold and his missing father.

Esteban was born with the power to summon the sun, earning him the title “Child of the Sun”, and part of his journey to the New World is to uncover the truth of his parentage after the death of his son. adoptive father. The mysterious cities of Gold was well received for its adventurous tones that effectively balanced imagination with grounded realism, as well as attracting a generation of young fans into the anime space.

Gintama (2011-2012) – 8.7

Stream on Hulu

Key art from the Gintama anime featuring Gintoki and the supporting cast floating in space.

While the likes of A play and Hajime No Ippo take the lion’s share of the spotlight when it comes to excellent and extremely long shounen series, Gintama is a fan favorite anime more than worthy to be in this same conversation. He opts for a wild vision of science fiction, like Gintama is a colorful and vibrant mashup of multiple genres.

Blending sci-fi, comedy, and historical setting, the series is set in an alternate take on late Edo period Japan (1603-1867) being conquered by aliens. It centers on independent samurai Gintoki Sakata and his friends as they take on various jobs, which naturally turns into a series of wonderfully bizarre adventures. Gintama has been consistently praised for its balance of comic relief, creativity, and vintage shounen action.

Code Geass (2006-2008) – 8.7

Stream on Hulu

The colorful cast of Code Geass in key anime art.

Code Geass is another example of a beloved anime original series. The show mixes a dystopian sci-fi setting with an alternate history premise, telling the story of Prince Lelouch. He has been empowered by kings and forges a team of allies to fight against the tyrannical and imperial Holy British Empire.

Code Geass is a thrilling combination of spectacle-driven action and grand storytelling with thematic undertones to overcome the authoritarian rule of older, power-hungry generations. As long as audiences are willing to see the admitted melodrama charm of his dialogue, Code Geass should prove an engaging watch.

One Punch Man (2015-2019) – 8.7

Stream on Netflix

One-Punch Man Season 1 key art featuring Saitama and his supporting cast in space.

The ONE writer is mentioned above Mob Psycho 100 wraps up his thrilling coming-of-age sci-fi story with season 3 courtesy of studio Bones, but the creator is probably best known for his One-punch man series. The first season was particularly praised for its riveting, high-octane action in the animation work, but the world, story, and characters as a whole are a fun take on sci-fi and the genre. Super hero.

One-punch man is a satirization of the shounen demographic manga/anime series and the superhero genre, with the story focusing on Saitama’s exploits as a bored hero since he is effectively the strongest being in the world. The series is an impressive showcase of action, animation, and clever use of self-aware comedy.

Future Boy Conan (1978) – 8.8

Stream to Amazon Prime Video

Key art from the Future Boy Conan anime featuring Lana with Conan the rest of the colorful cast.

A vintage anime from the late 70s, Future Boy Conan is a series that has received a warm and welcome reception in retrospect. It’s a series that combines adventurous tones with post-apocalyptic and steampunk elements for its premise, with the story beginning in 2008 when humanity faces the extinction of its own madness.

Conan is the only child born on an island where people fled from the disasters caused by ultra-magnetic warfare weapons. Future Boy Conan is an endearing sci-fi adventure that has been well received for its nuanced themes and anti-war social commentary, making it a timeless story all these decades later.

Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996) – 8.8

Stream on Funimation/Crunchyroll

Dragon Ball Z key art featuring Goku and the anime's supporting cast.

Dragon Ball Z is an undeniable juggernaut within the community, as it is one of the the most notable anime classics of the 90s. Akira Toriyama’s story picks up after Goku defeats Piccolo at Tenkaichi Budokai, with DBZ exponential growth in world building with new heroes, villains and the concept of a Super Saiyan.

This upbeat and explosive animated series incorporates colorful sci-fi elements, from futuristic spacecraft to aliens to dinosaurs roaming alongside humans. While it’s far from being among the most nuanced anime out there, it knows exactly what it wants to be and excels at it.

Steins;Gate (2011-2015) – 8.8

Stream on Hulu

Steins;Gate key art featuring Okabe and Kurisu.

One of the most contemporary sci-fi anime hits, Steins;Door is one of the most captivating and subversive television series ever. It is arguably one of the anime worthy of being called a “modern classic”, as the story deftly incorporates the psychological thriller genre into its sci-fi premise.

Steins;Door follows eccentric, self-proclaimed “mad scientist” Okabe Rintaro and his friends as they help him indulge his wild personality and adventures, until they suddenly – and accidentally – discover time travel technology . Opening like an almost slice-of-life anime, Steins;Door lulls audiences into a sense of security before morphing into an intense sci-fi conspiracy story with a cast of invested characters. The show spawned a sequel movie, as well as a midquel/sequel series titled Steins;Gate 0 which explores a darker timeline.

Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999) – 8.9

Stream on Netflix

Spike, Ein, Ed, Faye, and Jet in key art from the Cowboy Bebop anime.

A striking series also from the 90s, cowboy bebop is an icon that still stands as one of best anime available on netflix. It stands the test of time even 27 years later, with this story taking a dark dystopian twist on the sci-fi genre. Even more creative, cowboy bebop combines sci-fi with western and crime-noir genres, as well as an irresistible use of acid jazz in its score to help set the mood.

The series follows the unlikely group Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and their corgi Ein as they work as space bounty hunters to make ends meet. Against the backdrop of a future where humanity’s corporate greed has rendered the Earth nearly inhospitable to all life, bebop intimately fleshes out its cast of characters through existential, emotional, and poignant social themes.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes (1988-1997) – 9.1

Stream on Hidive

Key art from the Legend of the Galactic Heroes anime featuring the main and secondary cast.

Should fans want a unique and retro anime icon with a tantalizing flavor of game of thrones– as a political intrigue, Legend of Galactic Heroes is an excellent choice. Adapted from the series of novels by author Yoshiki Tanaka, Legend of Galactic Heroes is an expansive sci-fi anime that details the adventures of Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li, two figures rising through the ranks of the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance respectively.

Set in the 36th century, the plot revolves around a war between these galactic political factions. Legend of Galactic Heroes was considered a historical anime, as it was widely acclaimed for its complex storytelling, cast of characters, and layered in-universe lore. The original anime ran for 110 episodes, effectively telling an engaging and sprawling story rich in space opera-themed character drama.

Stream on Hulu

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood key art with a collage of the main cast.

There was an original Fullmetal Alchemist anime before that, but the second tries to adapt Hiromu Arakawa’s manga with fraternity turned out to be the final take. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the most faithful adaptation of the source material, following the globe-trotting quest of brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric. They travel the world in search of the coveted Philosopher’s Stone to return Al to his human body.

The series has been widely acclaimed for its masterful blend of emotionally deep themes, nuanced storytelling, and immersive world-building punctuated with heart-pounding action sequences. fraternity uses alchemy at the heart of its sci-fi elements as well as fantasy and industrial aesthetics to set the stage for its world.

NEXT: 10 Best Seinen and Mature Anime, Ranked by IMDb


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