Having watched a lot of sci-fi anime when I was younger, I have compiled a list of my favorite sci-fi anime of all time here. Keep in mind the list is in no particular order. Enjoy!
Anime "Best of" Genre List
Renton Thurston is a 14-year-old boy who lived with his mechanic grandfather in a backwater town. Every day he dreamed of being with the mercenary “Light Finding Operation (LFO)” aircraft pilot group “Gekkostate” and riding “Trapar” particle waves– a sport called “reffing”– with their charismatic leader Holland, especially when faced with his father’s acclaimed past or his grandfather’s desire to protect him.
When a young girl named Eureka riding the original LFO, the “Nirvash typeZERO”, asks his grandfather for a tune-up, she inadvertently brings the attention of the military to the garage; as a result, the garage is destroyed and Renton is forced to deliver a new type of interface– the “Amita Drive”– to the Nirvash. After a heated fight in which the Nirvash destroys the military LFOs by unleashing an immense amount of power, Renton is invited into Gekkostate. However, he quickly realizes that behind the facade of a traveling group of mercenaries is a very bitter reality.
The eccentric mad scientist Okabe, his childhood friend Mayuri, and the otaku hacker Daru have banded together to form the “Future Gadget Research Laboratory,” and spend their days in a ramshackle laboratory hanging out and occasionally attempting to invent incredible futuristic gadgets.
However, their claymore is a hydrator and their hair dryer flips breakers, and the only invention that’s even remotely interesting is their Phone Microwave, which transforms bananas into oozing green gel. But when an experiment goes awry, the gang discovers that the Phone Microwave can also send text messages to the past. And what’s more, the words they send can affect the flow of time and have unforeseen, far-reaching consequences—consequences that Okabe may not be able to handle…
In the not so distant future, mankind has advanced to a state where complete body transplants from flesh to machine is possible. This allows for great increases in both physical and cybernetic prowess and blurring the lines between the two worlds. However, criminals can also make full use of such technology, leading to new and sometimes, very dangerous crimes. In response to such innovative new methods, the Japanese Government has established Section 9, an independently operating police unit which deals with such highly sensitive crimes.
Led by Daisuke Aramaki and Motoko Kusanagi, Section 9 deals with such crimes over the entire social spectrum, usually with success. However, when faced with a new A level hacker nicknamed “The Laughing Man,” the team is thrown into a dangerous cat and mouse game, following the hacker’s trail as it leaves its mark on Japan.
Vash the Stampede is a wanted man with a habit of turning entire frontier towns into rubble. The price on his head is a fortune, and his path of destruction reaches across the arid wastelands of a desert planet. Unfortunately, most encounters with the spiky-haired gunslinger don’t end well for the bounty hunters who catch up with him; someone almost always gets hurt—and it’s never Vash.
Oddly enough, for such an infamous fugitive, there’s no proof that he’s ever taken a life. In fact, he’s a pacifist with a doughnut obsession who’s more doofus than desperado. There’s a whole lot more to him than his reputation lets on—Vash the Stampede definitely ain’t your typical outlaw.
The year 2071 A.D. That future is now. Driven out of their terrestrial eden, humanity chose the stars as the final frontier. With the section-by-section collapse of the former nations a mixed jumble of races and peoples came. They spread to the stars, taking with them the now confused concepts of freedom, violence, illegality and love, where new rules and a new generation of outlaws came into being. People referred to them as Cowboys.
Meet Spike and Jet, a drifter and a retired cyborg cop who have started a bounty hunting operation. In the converted ship The Bebop, Spike and Jet search the galaxy for criminals with bounties on their heads. They meet a lot of unusual characters, including the unusually intelligent dog, Ein, and the voluptuous and vexing femme fatale, Faye Valentine.
In the summer of 2006, Mutta Nanba and his younger brother, Hibito, witness what they believe to be a UFO, which flies off towards the moon. Hibito decides he will go onto the moon whilst Mutta decides he will aim for Mars.
Nineteen years later, in the year 2025, and Hibito has become a fully fledged JAXA astronaut assigned to go on a mission towards the moon. Mutta, on the other hand, has not been so successful in achieving his dreams. As Mutta eventually recalls his past ambitions, he receives a letter stating he has been accepted to join a JAXA training program for new astronauts. The series follows Mutta as he seeks to become an astronaut and achieve his longtime dream just like his brother did.
Gene Starwind and his partner Jim Hawking run a small business on the backwater planet of Sentinel III. But all that changes the day that Hilda hires them for a bodyguard job. Now, thrust into a mystery they don’t fully understand, they’re on the run from the cops, the pirates, an angry alien, and a mysterious assassin. But they’ve got one thing going in their favor—they have the galaxy’s most advanced ship, the Outlaw Star.
In 2075, space travel is no longer just a dream, but an everyday reality for mankind. Advancements in science and technology have led to the colonization of the moon, the commercialization of outer space, and the formation of large space corporations. Ai Tanabe, an upbeat woman whose interests lie in the cosmos, joins Technora Corporation as a member of their Debris Section, a department dedicated to the removal of dangerous space junk between the orbits of the Earth and Moon.
The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around the “enforcement officer” Shinya Kougami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world.
In the future, it is possible to quantitatively measure a person’s emotions, desires, and every inclination. In this way, it is also possible to measure a person’s criminal tendency factor, which is used to judge criminals.
This is the story of a team of policemen dedicated to maintaining public order. Some of them work in the Enforcement Division, responsible for the apprehension of criminals, while others belong to the Supervisory Division which oversees their colleagues in Enforcement.
(Source: translated and adapted from official site by Cranston)
Thought your life was bad? Sometimes, death is worse. There is no salvation, peace, nor god waiting to receive you into their care. But wait, a god? Maybe you are talking about that big black ball stuck in the room with you. Now you are thrown into a game, fighting green aliens and robot monsters for the chance to survive.
When Kei Kurono is killed, he thus finds himself caught in such a game—a test of his skills, morals, and will to survive. His life is not his own; his death is spat and trampled upon over and over again. What happens if he does not listen? God knows.
It is the year After Colony 195, and war between the Space Colonies and Earth has begun. To give the colonies an edge, they send 5 young soldiers, trained to perfection, to earth in the most powerful of Mobile Suits-Gundams. With their arrival, the tide of the war changes as they battle against the Earth forces and the Colonies of their origin.
It’s the dawn of the Golden Age of Aviation on planet Prester, and retro-futuristic sky vehicles known as vanships dominate the horizon. Claus Valca, a flyboy born with the right stuff, and his fiery navigator Lavie are fearless racers obsessed with becoming the first sky couriers to cross the Grand Stream in a vanship. But when the high-flying duo encounters a mysterious girl named Alvis, they are thrust into the middle of an endless battle between Anatoray and Disith—two countries systematically destroying each other according to the code of chivalric warfare. Lives will be lost and legacies determined as Claus and Lavie attempt to bring peace to their world by solving the riddle of its chaotic core.
After a tragic scene with the murder of his friends, Brandon Heat follows his only friend Harry McDowel into Millennion, the largest mafia syndicate. While Harry McDowel is striving for power, Brandon is only staying in Millennion to see the girl he loves whose custody was gained by the leader of Millennion, Big Daddy. But as the years pass and Brandon proves loyal to Millennion, Brandon learns the true purpose and passion of Millennion, and that’s when true conflict arises.
2199 AD: the human race will be extinct in one year’s time. Meteor bombardment by the mysterious Gamilas aliens has made the Earth’s surface uninhabitable. Young officers Susumu Kodai and Daisuke Shima retrieve a message offering aid from the enigmatic planet Iscandar. In answer, the revolutionary Space Battleship Yamato is dispatched on a 148,000 light-year journey to reach Iscandar and bring help back to Earth.
The year is 2977. Mankind has become complacent and stagnant. All work is done by machines, while humans spend all their time on entertainment. But when a mysterious invader from the stars catches Earth unawares, only the legendary space pirate Captain Harlock and the crew of the Arcadia have the will to stand against them.
On August 10th of the year 2010 the Holy Empire of Britannia began a campaign of conquest, its sights set on Japan. Operations were completed in one month thanks to Britannia’s deployment of new mobile humanoid armor vehicles dubbed Knightmare Frames. Japan’s rights and identity were stripped away, the once proud nation now referred to as Area 11. Its citizens, Elevens, are forced to scratch out a living while the Britannian aristocracy lives comfortably within their settlements. Pockets of resistance appear throughout Area 11, working towards independence for Japan.
Lelouch, an exiled Imperial Prince of Britannia posing as a student, finds himself in the heart of the ongoing conflict for the island nation. Through a chance meeting with a mysterious girl named C.C., Lelouch gains his Geass, the power of the king. Now endowed with absolute dominance over any person, Lelouch may finally realize his goal of bringing down Britannia from within!
The world is bigger than you think…
After the explosion of the methane hydrate layer, the remaining members of mankind are forced to live in isolated domed cities scattered across the arid and inhospitable planet. They live in a controlled society and are assisted in daily life by autonomous robots called AutoReivs. In one of these cities, Romdo, Inspector Re-l Mayer, granddaughter of the regent, leads an investigation concerning AutoReivs that have gone mad after being infected by the Cogito virus.
In the process, she comes in contact with a monster called Proxy. Elsewhere in the city, immigrant Vincent Law is on the run after being framed for involvement in several Cogito cases. Together, along with the adorable child-AutoReiv Pino, they set out on a journey to the dome city Mosk in order to unravel the mystery of the Proxies.
In a far away future, mankind lives underground in huge caves, unknowing of a world above with a sky and stars.
In the small village of Jiha, Simon, a shy boy who works as a digger discovers a strange glowing object during excavation. The enterprising Kamina, a young man with a pair of rakish sunglasses and the passion of a firey sun, befriends Simon and forms a small band of brothers, the Gurren Brigade, to escape the village and break through the ceiling of the cave to reach the surface, which few believe exist.
The village elder won’t hear of such foolishness and punishes the Brigade. However, when disaster strikes from the world above and the entire village is in jeopardy, it’s up to Simon, Kamina, a girl with a big gun named Yoko, and the small yet sturdy robot, Lagann, to save the day.
The new friends journey to the world above and find that the surface is a harsh battlefield, and it’s up to them to fight back against the rampaging Beastmen to turn the tide in the humans’ favor! Pierce the heavens, Gurren Lagann!
In the year 2015, the Angels, huge, tremendously powerful, alien war machines, appear in Tokyo for the second time. The only hope for Mankind’s survival lies in the Evangelion, a humanoid fighting machine developed by NERV, a special United Nations agency. Capable of withstanding anything the Angels can dish out, the Evangelion’s one drawback lies in the limited number of people able to pilot them.
Only a handful of teenagers, all born fourteen years ago, nine months after the Angels first appeared, are able to interface with the Evangelion. One such teenager is Shinji Ikari, whose father heads the NERV team that developed and maintains the Evangelion. Thrust into a maelstrom of battle and events that he does not understand, Shinji is forced to plumb the depths of his own inner resources for the courage and strength to not only fight, but to survive, or risk losing everything.