For decades there have been talks about dystopic and post-apocalyptic scenarios, be it how we will survive or how things will turn out. There have been several books, movies, shows, and animes about the same.
And while jokes about the apocalypse, zombies, and the world ending have also been made ever since we even knew what they were, it is something that is not true, or we shall hope not. Although that may not be true as of now, we cannot help but agree that dystopian animes provide us with some of the best storylines that are not only engaging but also very unique and exciting in their own ways.
Here we have assembled a list of 35 Best Dystopian Anime one must definitely watch. We range from a zombie apocalypse to nuclear powers to even the life after ruins. Our heroes tackle various challenges in these. With that, here are some of the dystopian anime that one can watch to escape the real world and get lost in these fictional worlds.
This anime is a reboot of the classic anime from the 1970s called “Casshern,” about a world where robots have taken over the human world after they became self-aware. But somehow, these robots start losing their immortality, the main part of their character, and suddenly start dying.
Suddenly a Mysterious character called Luna gets called in to save humanity and bring salvation to mankind. But Luna gets hunted down by cyborgs and ultimately dies to one of them called Casshern. We see how this Casshern disappears after the killing of Luna, but hundreds of years later, he returns again with no memory of Luna’s assassination. We follow along to this story and find out what happened and where the story will move to now.
Now and Then, Here and There
This anime, despite having a cartoon-like animation, is far from childish. This anime deals with serious and depressing topics like war and child labor, among many other disturbing topics.
This anime is about a young boy named Shu who finds a strange blue-haired girl one day who is being attacked for her magic pendant. But soon, they are both transported to another world suddenly where all the bad people are trying to find ways to use the girl. Shu decides that it would be his mission to save the girl.
This anime is about three girls, Ibara Naruse and her friends Aoi Fukasaku and Taeko Nomura, who, although they look like normal school girls are the only ones left in this ruined world which was whipped out by nuclear radiation that happened around 20 years ago.
These girls get scouted by the health care team to scout Tokyo and find out humanity’s last remains. But as they wander around, looking for humanity, they start questioning their own. And the main question arises, how are they surviving the once nuclear-radiated city without any protective gear themself?
When everyone was frozen by a one-of-a-kind ripple effect that turned people into stone, destroying everything around 3000 years ago, a young genius boy named Senku Ishigami found a way to get un-stoned, one might say. He tries to bring back the humanity that once existed. This is a comparatively light-hearted show to watch. As you continue watching, you will learn a lot of things about the storyline.
This anime is action-packed with many scenes of graphic violence, which makes it a big no for kids. This anime is filled with many dark tones along with some dark characters as well. The anime is like a carnival-style prison where money is earned via performances that are used to fund the Tokyo Recovery Project.
On a trip one day, the whole class gets killed by a mysterious man in red, for which Ganta Igarashi, the main character, gets landed in this prison, being wrongly convicted for a crime he did not commit.
But this only ends up being the start of things for Ganta. He gets pulled into this world of sadistic people and power, where he has to play a series of games to survive while also living in constant fear due to the band around his neck.
Highschool of The Dead
When you think of post-apocalyptic things, zombies are one of the few things that definitely come to your mind. This anime consists of people trying to survive the zombie attack that comes in waves while the protagonists try to find cures, distractions, and, most importantly, try to survive.
The main character, Takashi Kimuro, faces a lot of things, from having to kill his best friend after he was bitten to narrowly surviving the school only to realize that humanity has fallen. Despite all this, Takashi and the other students do not give up. They go out on a journey to find out what led to this and how they will be able to survive this apocalypse.
If zombie-themed animes are not a turn-off for you, this will definitely be your cup of tea.
Sirius the Jaeger
If vampires and werewolves are not your things, then Sirius the Jaeger isn’t an anime for you. This is an anime that brings back the stereotypical clash between vampires and werewolves. It is about the main character, Yuliy, who is the only surviving werewolf after his community is whipped out by the Vampires.
Using his werewolf strength, he decides to help Tokyo’s law enforcement hunt down these Vampires. He uses this helping out as a coverup for his real reason, locating the ark before it gets into the Vampire’s hands which could lead to mass destruction. This ark gives whoever has it massive powers. One might even say god-like powers. So Yuliy and his friends must locate it soon.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
While you can find various mecha anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of 90’s famous anime that talks about the post-apocalypse situation that people face. It is about a group of teenage kids who are personally recruited to become special pilot robots called the Evangelions, Evas, where they have to battle with monsters who are known as angels. This anime also talks about a very important topic that is faced by a lot of people who often cannot put a name to the feeling; of depression.
When the anime starts, it seems like any other typical high school life anime where these high schoolers have a mission on making the most out of their lives with one rule that they must live their lives on the school ground, but then you are made aware of the fact that zombies have taken over the world. This revelation makes a lot of things more understandable.
While everyone else in the anime is trying to stay alive due to this whole zombie apocalypse situation, the protagonist is still stuck in the phase where they believe that life is still all okay.
This anime’s storyline revolves around a strange virus that causes humans to develop a certain “void” when they go to sleep bringing utter chaos to the country. This specific void makes them change shapes. This is based on their personalities. The notable thing is that these voids sometimes cause the person’s body to crystallize, causing them to die, which implanted fear in the public’s mind.
The United Nation helps out and sends GHQ to the country, which ends up removing every political power in the country and giving all the power to that organization. But years later, people are frustrated and tired of this organization that is controlling them, unable to break free.
This is when Funeral Parlor, a group that seeks to break free their country from the GHQ, decides to steal a “Void Genome”. This vile ends up coming into Inori Yuzuriha’s hands, who was being haunted by the GHQ. She gets saved by Shuu and ends up getting the “power of kings” when the genome shatters in his hand.
We follow along the anime to see how things turn out after all this happens, how Shuu will deal with this power after being dragged into something he was never a part of.
Made in Abyss
This is a mysterious story. Here, a gigantic hole is found right in the middle of the earth. This leads to multiple adventurers wanting to seek and discover it. Similarly, our protagonists, too, try to indulge and try to find out about it. We follow their stories as they discover many things while also trying to find out why the protagonist’s mother disappeared.
Seraph of the End
We see a world where suddenly everyone older than 13 year of age start dying due to a virus when a saviour makes their way in the form of a vampire who gives these children a promise to protect them on the condition that they will give a child up occasionally that would be used as their cattle. In such a dire time, humanity accepts the deal.
They give up one to save everyone, and our protagonist ends up being the one that is given up. We follow along the anime to see how the protagonist tries to escape being stuck there as things get worse and worse.
Sunday Without God
As the name suggests, this anime is about a fictional world where God has officially given up on humanity. This further means that nobody can be born or die in this world. This is why everyone here is freaking out about not being able to die. Although, a plot twist is that before God left, he created people called the “Gravekeepers,” who are the only ones that can send the dead to the afterlife, and this is what the whole anime is about, amongst more.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Back in 2008, this anime was awarded the “Best Television Program” by the Tokyo Anime Awards and for all the right reasons as well. This anime is known for its epic fight scenes. It is about a protagonist and his childhood friend that lives in an underground village and finds a robot that can send them to the earth’s surface, but upon reaching, these two boys are directly in danger, and they try to survive.
Attack on Titan
One of the most, if not the most, famous anime on the list is Attack on Titan. Whether you are an anime fan or not, you would have definitely heard of it. This anime is set in the post-apocalyptic world where there are only a few remains of humanity that are living behind a great wall, trying to survive and stay protected from the Titans. We see as one Titan follows the protagonists and how they survive or try to.
Somali and the Forest Spirit
This wholesome anime is about a lonely young girl who has had a difficult and tough journey. She somehow meets a kind-hearted and sweet golem who decides that he will protect her. The golem acts like a father figure to that little girl. This is one the softest yet heartwarming anime on the list.
First of the North Star
If you were wondering when a classic anime would come, then we have this for you. First of the North Star is a simple story of our protagonist trying to get his fiancée back from the villain, or one can say his rival, while the world around him is all ruined. We follow along the anime to see him go on many quests as he fights along.
No dystopian world can be talked about without mentioning Berserk. Berserk is a dark anime that has a lot of dark themes like gore, nudity and betrayal, and a messed-up world, among other things.
Guts, our protagonist, is destined to be hunted by demons until the day he dies, so he starts a journey to defy this fate. As he goes forward with his journey, he has to face a lot of things, and he vows to bring vengeance with his blade, and dragonslayer, and hunt down the man he once considered a friend.
Along his way, he meets people and starts forming this group that will face a lot of danger, one might even say unlike anything before.
A fun fact about Berserk is that this anime was initially in adult magazines.
An anime about the post-disaster world where it is almost impossible to live on earth anymore. Here, because of the situations, humans are forced to adapt to harsh conditions with the great help of robots that help them out with daily tasks.
But suddenly, some robots start acting bonkers in a city called Romdeau. The protagonist makes it her mission to find out what is happening. One thing we can say about Ergo Proxy is that this anime was above and beyond its time. You might have to rewatch it a couple of times to understand what is happening.
Planetarian: Hoshi no Hito
In this anime, a lot of people die from the nuclear fallout creating this post-apocalyptic world in ruins. The main focus of this movie is the talking robots who hold a lot of interesting stories they suddenly start telling those. The protagonist travels with a mobile planetarium projector that shows people the stars. There are a lot of talks about astronomy as well.
Set in 2142. Where the world is filled with contaminated air making the world dreadful to live in and has led to a breakdown of human civilization, somehow, a technologically advanced city called Ecoban was built that gave mankind a chance to live again. However, Ecoban is reluctant to acknowledge all the new individuals. The people that reside inside Econad are either elites or labors with no space.
But Shua, our main character, wants another life for himself, and he needs to get through all the people who don’t want that to happen.
Darling in the FranXX
This is an anime where the world gets ruined by the monsters called Klaxosarus. These dangerous monsters force everyone to retreat to fortified cities for safety. But even humanity has things up its sleeves as they form units to fight these monsters while also learning many things along the way.
Girl’s Last Tour
This is an anime about two young girls’ adventures after they wake up to a post-war world that barely exists anymore. We see the protagonists, Yuuri and Chito, journey along the city, or rather what is left of it. This anime was also gifted the award for “Best Slice of Life” in 2018 for its amazing storyline. Do note that you would have to read the manga after the final episodes, as those scenes haven’t been added to the anime.
Psycho-Pass follows the protagonist, Akane Tsunemori, a young woman who seeks justice anywhere she goes, but we see as she works along with Shinya Kougami, she gets to learn about a lot of things she never knew about the system and realizes things weren’t as perfect and straight as she thought. We see her question of what justice actually is and whether justice can push past this corrupted system.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
One of the must-watch anime on this list is, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. This anime is often compared to Attack on Titans for various reasons. Some of them being the theme being giant monsters attacking humans.
In Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, you see a story about monsters who hunt and infect humans who were forced to live inside these fortified walls. The protagonist ends up becoming a human-Kabane hybrid which gives him a lot of power that he would use to get revenge on Kabane, who attacked his village.
Expelled from Paradise
Earth is completely ruined in this anime which makes people turn to the VR world where everyone present ditch their bodies to live in the alternative reality located on a space station, but what happens when a hacker suddenly hacks their virtual reality? It makes our protagonist return back to the ruined earth to get the hacker and chase him out.
Monsters called Aragami started killing and whipping out the human population. But with time, we find out a weapon that could kill these monsters, and it is no other than the protagonist, Lenka Utsugi, who is ready to fight these human-eater monsters and bring peace to humanity. This anime is filled with a lot of gore and sad content.
As an anime lover, it is impossible for people not to have heard of Tokyo Ghoul. It is an anime about Tokyo being ruined by blood-thirsty ghouls. Our protagonist, Kaneki, becomes a half-ghoul after a date with a Rize, who ends up being a monster. Kaneki faces a lot of suffering due to his transformation, stuck on the fine line between being a human and a ghoul at the same time.
Humanity Has Declined
This anime brings you back to your middle-aged roots with a simpler life. Where everyone has turned back to farming and agriculture. Here human civilization has low birth rates, but the only unique thing is the miniature fairies that live along with these human beings. Unlike all other post-apocalyptic animes, this one is fairly light and funnier. You will see many funny things that will make you laugh and just enjoy this optimistic side of the apocalyptic world.
Despite being almost thirty years old anime, Akira has gained a lot of popularity for its unique and epic storyline. This sci-fic post-apocalyptic anime follows a boy who suddenly got psychic power which resulted in the occurrence of WW3.
Many years later, when the city is reborn in the form of Neo Tokyo, another person gets psychic power which makes everyone worried in case a repeat of the past occurs. We follow along with the anime to find out what happens.
This anime starts with a deadly virus spreading all around, which, if infected, would turn you into a monster. To eliminate this monster, one would need special materials. Therefore, the government decides to inject some females with this virus and use them as a protective barrier, as any female with even traces of the virus grants them inhuman superhuman abilities.
This dystopian sci-fi anime is set in the future, where they have mechanical monsters called Revisions that destroy the city and everyone in it. The protagonist and his friends make it their mission to fight these monsters off. Revisions is a cool anime with interesting episodes and a commendable narrative.
This movie is set in the distant future, where AI has finally been constructed with fully automated cities, and as one can predict, they have turned against us. The protagonist, a young girl named Zuru, sets out to find food to feed her hunger. Where she and her team end up triggering the AI’s defense program and gets attacked by those machines, where she is saved by another character called Killy. Zuru and Killy end up partnering together and go on board on a mission to find mankind’s last hope of survival.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
What is the next best dystopian topic after zombies? That’s right. It’s nuclear fallout. This Studio Ghibli production is one of the best post-apocalyptic anime movies ever.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind talks about a world where after a nuclear war, the world is left in ruins. This world gets attacked by various things like monster bugs, dangerous breezes from trees, and a lot more.
The Valley of the wind resides near the sea with the queen Nausicaä as they find it more peaceful, but things are never as peaceful as they may seem when they see something again.
The Promised Neverland
This list cannot end without The Promised Neverland, my personal favorite dystopian anime. Although the story may seem happy and heart-warming at the start, it is just as quickly taken away. It may sound like an exaggeration, but this anime follows a story of
This anime goes from children having fun together in the orphanage to us finding out that it is not really an orphanage but rather a farm that is ripening their brains so the monsters can feast on them. The protagonists of this anime decide that they will be escaping from this hellhole, and we see how they prepare for that, among many more difficulties.
It is easy to say that you will definitely be on the edge of your seat while watching it. Every episode is jampacked with mind-blowing content and story. Again, this anime is a roller-coaster ride from start to finish and is definitely worth watching at least once in your life.