Top 33 Best Sci-Fi Anime Of All Time (Series & Movies)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Technology is a marvelous thing, isn’t it? You can find out almost anything online, all from the comfort of your room.
But what happens when you truly push technology to its limits?
For that we have sci-fi. And here we’ll go over some of the best sci-fi stuff that anime has to offer.
Looking for a new sci-fi-related anime to sink your teeth into? There’s bound to be something here to keep you busy.
Is this cheating? Maybe.
Can I really call this a show when it’s six minutes long? Well it’s an anime, semantics aren’t important here.
I’m starting off this list with Shelter just as a nudge, to take a few minutes out of your day and enjoy this visually stunning music video-esque short.
As you can imagine, the story isn’t all that complex. But it is beautiful in its own way.
You’ll see how the sci-fi element comes into play once you watch it.
And what I’m really trying to say here is that video size doesn’t matter, it’s all about the motion of the audio waves.
32. Time of Eve
We’ve seen countless shows about androids becoming self-aware and destroying humanity.
But what happens when they don’t go down the aggressive route?
In Time of Eve we see androids used as mere tools, even though they are self-aware, and are thus like second-class citizens.
The only refuge for the androids is a café called Time of Eve, where humans and androids are treated as equals.
The movie portrays androids in quite the new light, and really makes you question why it’s always “OK Google” but never “Are you OK Google?”
31. Casshern Sins
This show is a very odd mix of action and philosophical discourse.
The story is set on a dying Earth where androids and humans cling to life any way they can.
The protagonist is an immortal android who gets hit with the amnesia stick, and has to relearn what it means to live, to die, to love, and to suffer.
The catch is that some believe devouring the protagonist, named Casshern of course, will grant them immortality.
So at least one person per episode tries to attack Robo-Ban, and between these fights we get to question what life means to us.
An odd pairing, but a brilliant one as well.
30. God Eater
I really didn’t think I would enjoy this show as much as I did.
At first glance, the art style might seem like a major flaw. But oh boy does it grow on you.
The story itself is your typical post-apocalyptic world where aliens run around and generally make people have a bad time.
So a special unit is created to deal with these monstrosities. That’s all you really need to know to get started.
The beginning is a bit slow, but once it gets going it doesn’t really stop for a second. And plot armor becomes thinner and thinner.
The story might not blow you away. But the amazing art style plus the balls to the wall action will keep you entertained.
29. Ergo Proxy
Some shows can have the most complex elements in their world, and still produce a very straight forward/easily digestible story… and then there is Ergo Proxy. The most constipating story you never knew you needed.
All I can say is that it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where a handful of humans live on with help of their androids.
But then the androids start becoming self-aware.
Beyond that point everything is a mystery… a blur and a spoiler-free zone.
So if you’d like some grimy, psychological, mechanical and ethical goodness, be sure to give this a watch.
28. Serial Experiments Lain
If Ergo Proxy sounded like a fun time, then odds are you’ll enjoy Serial Experiments Lain just as much. Maybe even more.
It’s less about androids, but it definitely has its roots set in technology and mystery.
The protagonist, Lain, gets an e-mail from a classmate that had recently committed suicide.
This leads her into a wormhole of conspiracies and the good old Internet, called “the Wire” in this anime.
Suddenly there are dudes in black after her. They seem to know way more than they should, and it’s a steep mystery-riddled ride from there.
27. Castle in the Sky
If we’re talking about immersion, Studio Ghibli stands far above the rest.
Castle in the Sky is no exception, as within the first few minutes of the movie we see an entire industrial revolution take place. Man discovers ways to build flying cities, who knew?
We then jump back to the present as our MC is being hunted by the government for her mysterious necklace.
I won’t go into more detail than that, as a spoiled movie is hardly any fun. But I will say this show takes you on a real journey… the kind that makes you look at the sky, and for a second, you actually see the flying castle Laputa.
It’s very common for sci-fi shows to present you with a lot of futuristic, mind-blowing tech stuff.
From flying cars to giant robot suits, and everything in between. So we can forget that we also have some pretty crazy tech nowadays!
GATE reminds us of this fact when the fantasy world (where monsters exist but not iPhones) ultimately clashes with the modern gun-heavy world.
It’s literally a battle between modern science and fiction. It would be a crime to not list this anime here.
25. Gantz: 0
I don’t frequently praise CGI, but I have to hand it to Gantz: 0.
The animation is slick. And it never broke my immersion with polygon pixel paloozas.
The movie has a very isekai feeling to it. But instead of the usual RPG fantasy world, our protagonists are locked, loaded and ready to kill some aliens.
The action is decent, as it manages to rarely slow down. But it also avoids the Michael Bay treatment.
Plus if the concept intrigues you, but you still have Berserk flashbacks, you can just watch the anime version.
Be it the story is not the same, but the concept is consistent.
This is the classic tale of alien abduction and body modification. But instead of getting the Cartman canal operation, our MC ends up a full-fledged cyborg.
To be honest, Ichirou gets the Walter White setup. I’m sure you’ll agree after watching the show.
But instead of going down the path of selfishness, he decides to help people with his new power.
That would hardly be a story, though. So another guy gets cyborg-ed and blows stuff up.
An epic battle of technology and ideals ensues, one that’s absolutely worth checking out.
With Steamboy, we get an alternative history plotline based in 19th century England.
Here a man discovers a way to fuel giant machines. And the government kind of loses its marbles.
The world itself is pure steampunk, go figure with a name like that… and this new energy source can be used in a plethora of “England is going to take over the world again” ways.
So the inventor’s son gives it his all to make sure this precious technology doesn’t fall into the hands of the wrong people.
22. Speed Grapher
In all of my years on this Earth, never have I seen an odder method for gaining powers.
You see, in this show, through some viruses and bodily fluids, you get a power that closely resembles your kinks. Yep.
Our main journalist boy can make people explode by taking a picture of them, to name just one example.
Speed Grapher is very odd in that way, but also somehow painfully realistic when it comes to the 1%.
It’s like Bernie Sanders wanted to make a gory anime action flick, and succeeded.
21. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
The best way to describe Ghost in the Shell is like CSI Tokyo where the “C” stands for Cyborg.
The story is set in the near future where mechanical augmentations have become quite common. So both the police and the criminals now posses a rich arsenal of weapons at their disposal.
The show is initially episodic, as the gang solves case after case. But it quickly becomes more narrative-heavy with the big hacker baddy coming to the scene.
From there it’s an amazing cat and mouse chase that’s sure to keep you entertained.
20. The Promised Neverland
As far as dystopias are concerned, The Promised Neverland definitely does not seem like one initially.
I mean, it just looks like some kids playing tag.
But soon enough, we learn that the world we’re seeing is far from sunshine, rainbows, and humans, for that matter.
The atmosphere of the show can only be described as eerie, and the plot is on par with shows like Death Note. Only with more heart strings to pull, because literal children are the main characters.
We currently have only one season of the anime, but hopefully the second one will arrive soon and we’ll learn the full extent of the hell hole these kids live in.
19. Dr. Stone
As far as sci-fi goes, you can’t really be more on the nose than Dr. Stone.
The setting is essentially a post-apocalyptic Earth where most of humanity is reduced to stone. And the driving plot element is science itself.
Besides the green light that caused the stone age, we haven’t seen anything outside of our real world technology.
But there is definitely something beautiful about watching how everyday items are made.
It’s like Bill Nye made it onto Survivor, but also grew an ego along the way.
Believe me, you might not even be aware of how interesting science can be until you have seen a show like this. There are even some cool fight scenes too!
It’s time for some good old alien hostile takeover action.
And I literally mean takeover, like they take over your brain and use you like a vessel.
Except in the case of our protagonist, who was lucky (or unlucky) enough to get a less than competent parasite on his arm.
And now they’re like crime fighting buddies, where the human(Shinichi Izumi) wants to live a normal life. But the parasite gets quite murder-y from time to time.
Good cop bad cop, I guess.
They do work out their differences and become an actual dynamic and heroic duo. So that’s fun.
17. Made in Abyss
Sentient robots and sci-fi go hand in hand. Like yandere love interests and Stockholm syndrome.
Now add to that the fact that the robot has lost his memories.
Even better, we get a good old adventure!
Okay but now, add a giant gaping hole in the middle of the Earth that leads to god knows what.
And your Made in Abyss souffle is done!
Just let it cool in the “way more dark than the art style would lead you to believe” fridge, and it’s ready to eat.
Cooking metaphors aside, the atmosphere this show holds, and the almost tangible mystery that comes with it, is top notch.
16. Code Geass
Underdog stories are cool and all. But revolution stories just take it to the next level.
Code Geass is probably one of the most famous shows that anime has to offer. And it showcases an attempt to topple an entire country from the inside-out.
You’ve probably seen tall boy Lelouch and his Geass, the cool eye thingy.
With it, he can issue a command to anyone he’s making eye contact with.
Which he uses to pull the biggest Brexit the world has ever seen.
There are also plenty of mechs flying around in this world, so be ready for some action and lots of explosions.
15. Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Not being an animation snob is probably the only real requirement for enjoying this show.
It has been compared to Game of Thrones, but in space. The story is so gripping and unexpected that you can’t help but binge the series for days on end.
So I guess that’s your fair warning.
The show has a vast cast, but also a large death count. So don’t get too attached.
And it has been crushing the ratings for decades. So if you’re ready for some Game of Space Thrones action, be sure to give it a watch.
14. The Irregular at Magic High School
Straight off the bat, you see the magic plus high school combo in the title and you know what you’re getting yourself into.
But in this universe magic is very systematic and technical. It makes the whole experience more futuristic than whimsical.
We get the usual set-up of underachiever and his prodigy friend, where the former is actually a hidden OP Kirito God. And that’s where the “Irregular” aspect comes into play.
The show is nothing special in terms of breaking new ground. But I’ll be darned if it isn’t just a blast to watch.
13. Black Bullet
Black Bullet was definitely more entertainment and less a “horror story” prior to 2020. But these days…
Let me explain. In the show, a virus starts spreading throughout the world at an alarming rate. And humanity has a hard time dealing with it… sound familiar?
Only this virus turns people into rampaging monsters.
So units are created to battle these monsters. They’re injected with the monster’s blood in order to gain some of their power, so amazing fight scenes will be in this show.
The explanation might seem all over the place, but trust me, it all makes sense inside of their world.
12. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
What would you do if you were given the opportunity to travel through time?
Would you pull a Morty and just do trivial things dozens of times, alongside way too many suicide attempts?
Or would you just ignore the power and live in the present?
Of course our MC, who was given these options, opted to screw around.
But those god darn butterflies and their effects always ruining our fun!
The movie is very fun to watch. It has this cozy feel to it. And plus, who doesn’t like some time travel shenanigans?
11. From the New World
With great power comes great responsibility… and decades of regulations and oppression if those responsibilities aren’t met.
You see, this New World isn’t filled with innocent Natives. It’s filled with sychics.
I say “filled” although they’re the minority, but stick with me.
With the initial wave of superpowered people, psychics have become feared and are now heavily ‘regulated’, with special academies and very shady organizations.
It’s a coming of age story that showcases this New World, as the MC and her friends try to fit in and uncover the secrets that surround them.
Akira is honestly a must-watch for any anime lover.
But in the realm of sci-fi it’s one of the kings.
This late 80s classic shows us the punkiest of worlds, and some of the most beautiful hand drawn animation there is.
It’s definitely a character-driven story. But the visual spectacle and detailed gore of some of the fights can easily sell the movie just on that.
I’m not going into too much detail, as this movie shows up constantly on my lists. Just go watch it if you haven’t already, you’ll probably love it.
“Do the ends justify the means?”
Probably the first thought that came to mind when getting into this show. Basically a group of children are used as lab rats, but with the end goal of achieving world peace.
Then I remembered, I was not a philosophy major. So I just enjoyed the show.
If you can’t get enough of that kuudere goodness, Kiznaiver is bound to be to your liking. The protagonist literally could not be bothered even if he tried to, because he can’t feel pain or emotions.
The experiments put this statement to the test later on, as well as some extreme group bonding.
8. Re: Creators
You sometimes hear how an author brought their work to life. Well what if we took that in the literal sense, then added tons of action? Sounds pretty hyped, right?
That’s the world of Re: Creators. After gaining popularity, characters seemingly glitch into the real world and can even meet their own creators.
So “it’s time to meet your maker” is a very normal thing to say.
But what really drove the plot for me was the antagonist, a crazy chick with a dope hat and flying swords.
I’m a simple man, and Re: Creators has all the sci-fi + action that my heart needs.
7. Terra e…
This anime is a proper space opera. So be prepared for large scale galactic battles, tons of drama, as well as some fantastical elements.
It’s set in the distant future where Earth isn’t inhabitable anymore, and humans have evolved into two distinct races: normies and psychic badasses.
And if there’s one thing I know about humans, it’s that they will fight over even the smallest differences. So you can imagine how they took the whole “you have powers and I don’t” scenario.
At least if we keep melting the ice caps and take Elon’s trip to outer space, we might be able to bend spoons, I guess.
6. Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann
Out of all the mecha shows, Gurren Lagann is by far my favorite.
It focuses on the battle between humans who have been forced into underground villages, and Beastmen who rule the surface.
This is all made possible by the mechs they found along the way, as well as a mysterious little drill necklace.
The character writing in this show is amazing. Kamina is the loudest, and somehow least annoying protagonist ever to grace the screen. And Yoko is an absolute red-headed babe.
I especially enjoyed the second half of the show, as the plot gets a bit more serious. And we even get some politics mixed in with our screaming mech battles.
5. Megalo Box
If you like sports anime and sci-fi, this show is sure to give you plenty of kicks. And punches.
Megalo Box is structured as your classic underdog story where the protagonist must climb the ladder to face the best of the best.
The name of the game is boxing. And the sci-fi element is the use of robotic enchantments.
Like Rocky meets Transformers.
And that’s all you really need to know to dive in.
The story is riveting, and each fight carries a lot of weight. So don’t be surprised if you end up binging the show in one go.
4. Neon Genesis Evangelion
I can’t really finish this list without throwing in at least one more big mech papa show.
From all the shows that were made during the 80s and 90s mecha phase, Evangelion is by far the best in my opinion.
That’s just personal preference, but I enjoy my robots fleshy with damage clearly visible.
On top of that, the story gets brutal. And honestly, the entire cast could go for a therapist at some point. So it also scores a lot of “same” points.
Plus can we remember best girl Asuka for a second? Now that’s what you call a strong female lead.
If sci-fi had to pick its favorite child, I’m pretty sure time travel would beat out the rest.
And Steins; Gate portrays time travel in such an amazing yet fun way.
Sure, there are plenty of tried and true plot points of the butterfly effect. Plus the catastrophic nature of time travel in general.
But it hits hardest on the personal level.
Seeing our “mad scientist” Okabe deal with time travel is the backbone of the show, in my opinion. And it isn’t really all sunshine and rainbows, to say the least.
By the way, Kurisu? Hands down one of the best female mains out there.
I’m prepared to fight to the death with the nay-sayers.
Psycho-Pass has such a simple yet brilliant concept, I’m just left in awe.
It simply shows a normal human society where one’s guilt can be proven with a machine.
They can scan you and determine whether you have any criminal intent, and judge you according to the results.
But as we all know, especially nowadays, justice is far from being so one-dimensional.
Our protagonist, Akane, realizes the faulty nature of this method and does her best to uphold actual justice.
You can’t tell me this doesn’t sound like the best series concept you’ve heard in a while.
1. Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop is probably one of the most beloved series in anime.
It’s just a show that really highlights what I’d define as good character writing, some funky music, and a meticulous art style (especially for anime).
It’s your typical “group of adventurers go and do what they do best” type of shows. But it simply works on so many levels.
The main cast is quite diverse, with each character getting a turn in the spotlight as their past is revealed bit-by-bit.
Having such a wide cast and then plopping them into a world where space travel is very much common practice, this just creates so many fun opportunities for the writers.
And I’m pretty sure they took each one.