A 2022 Polish-Japanese cyberpunk digital animation series called Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is inspired by the CD Projekt Red computer game Cyberpunk 2077. Under CD Projekt’s direction, Studio Trigger produced the series, which made its Netflix debut in September 2022. The anime acts as a prelude to the game and is set inside the Cyberpunk universe established by Mike Pondsmith. It occurs around a year prior to the happenings of Cyberpunk 2077.
After losing all he owns in a drive-by shooting, an impetuous street kid named David Martinez decides to live on the illegal side of the law as an edge runner—a high-tech, underground assassin also known as a “cyberpunk”—out of a nightmare place plagued by fraud, lawlessness, and cybernetic implants.
In spite of their difficult financial situation, young David Martinez is persuaded by his mother Gloria to enroll in the elite Arasaka Academy. David illegally alters his software to avoid paying for an upgrade necessary for him to continue learning programs.
Gloria agrees to cover the costs when the upgrades cause the school’s computer system to crash. David and his mother have a brief quarrel on the way home before being involved in drive-by gunfire, leaving Gloria seriously injured. David is able to gain access to Gloria’s bank account to compensate for her health care expenses and learns that she had obtained a Sandevistan implant of military grade.
David is shocked to learn that Gloria’s health has deteriorated, and she passed away in the hospital after being attacked by his classmate Katsuo. Now very poor and furious with Katsuo for disrespecting Gloria, David comes face to face with Doc, a neighborhood ripper doc he frequently purchases contraband things from, and asks him to have the Sandevistan implanted within his own body.
20 Anime Like Cyberpunk Worth your Screen Time
Following are the 20 animes that live up to the same bar as that of Cyberpunk which in some way or the other share the same hype and fandom.
20. Akame ga Kill
This one totally deserves to be on this list because of the fantastic plot and character development showcased in this anime. Night Raid, an infamous band of world-class A-Grade Assasins made out of the Revolutionary Army as a branch to lead a coup against the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister, the man filled with greed and drive for immense power, has made him blinded to the point that he has started using the child emperor’s inexperience to his advantage. Now without a strong and reliable ruler, the whole nation has gotten into the dark corners of the shelve of poverty.
As a result, Night Raid took it into their hands the responsibility to save their world. The newest member Tatsumi, an inexperienced boy, is fascinated by the group’s resolve. With a determination to improve his living condition and that of his village folks.
This anime really goes deep into the matter of what is good and what is bad. It makes the viewer question if anything that exists or has existed is even meaningful. This is one thing that people usually don’t want to talk about because it makes them question their very existence that is why they make such anime to prove their points.
A secret military project to create bio-chemical humanoid weapons to reach the highest point of winning rate in the wars carries out gruesome experiments and their victim, a teenage biker. Now it is upon his biker gang also his best friends to save him.
His friends and a group of psychics have the power to save him and bring him back to the human world from the rampaging psychic psychopath he has evolved into. Will they be able to save him and more importantly, the world at hand on the verge of destruction?
18. Ghost in the Shell
Everyone nowadays has been talking about artificial intelligence and how it will change the world and the present that is about to come as we see it. However, have they ever wondered what might happen if all of it goes wrong and it becomes the biggest and deadliest nightmare of humanity, if not then this anime is what they need to see.
It is the year 2029, and cybernetics gives you the privilege to change or replace your body parts with that of robots and robotic limbs and live forever. As claimed by them, the way to bring back the dead and save people from dying. However, is this the only truth, or is it something more bigger than that?
An almost robotic police officer and her husband, along with a colleague, are assigned to find a hacker called ‘The Puppetmaster’. As they move forward and things start to surface, it really is nothing less than an insidious chapter. This is an anime set in a futuristic world. What we need to do now is to wish that our future is nothing like this.
17. Akudama Drive
This may look like a technological utopia at first glance, but the truth is far scarier than that. This anime is set in a metropolitan city bustling with advancements and contains all bright-lit buildings giving the perfect city-like experience. However, what lies beneath the dark alleys and sideways is what people ignore.
It is like the darkest of all places where all the criminals breed by salvaging the weak. Everyone is trying to compete every day and everywhere. It is like there is only one city with two different worlds in it. The one where everything is picture perfect and the other where everything just disgusts the person.
Which of the two would be chosen by anyone? Of course, the good one but life isn’t that lucky for all. As you watch this, you’ll be thrown into the deep dark abyss of reality and get a reality check of how cruel the world actually is when stepped out of the cozy warm blanket.
16. No Guns Life
This one is also set in the future where most of the population has turned into cyborgs, commonly known as “Extended”. A great war recently ended with a whole lot of casualties and leaving their world in nothing but ruins. Now what happens is with lesser resources and a lot of stomachs to feed, the world starts to feel like a battleground for food every day.
These “Extended” who were former war soldiers started to resort to criminal and illegal activities in order to survive the day. To stop this from further destroying the place, a “Resolver” an Extended mercenary who has the power and tries to solve problems and chaos caused by the likes of him and other Extendeds.
However, he is eternally confused and shocked to see another Extended barge into his office just to plead to him to save a young boy, this was unusual because every other Extended was neither interested in saving someone nor they ever tried to. Little did he know that this very moment was going to change him forever.
15. Bubble Gum Crisis
This series is set in 2030, right after Japan was hit by the Great Kanto Earthquake, leaving not only Tokyo but the whole world in turmoil. This earthquake, along with the inevitable damage it has done, also has split Tokyo into two parts. As the show starts, viewers are made to dive right into the harsh reality of financial disparities.
It takes the mold of inequality and really molds it right according to them, which is not very far from today’s situation. It shows how the disparities have increased since the periods of wars prevalent in Japan at earlier times. Then comes the main attraction of this anime series, Genom.
Genom is a metropolitan, immensely powerful megacorporation using all its power to create cyborg-like creatures to potentially serve humans when needed. These cyborgs are called cyberoids in their systematic language become ruthless savagery and start to wipe out the race of their masters, the Humans!
14. Serial Experiments Lain
People love to scroll online, always searching for one thing but clicking on almost every link. Some people do it for sheer fun and for timepass, whereas someone people take it to another level. They dive deep into everything, becoming psychopathically obsessed with things or people online.
Such is the case shown in this anime series where people around start to experience strange phenomenons after an isolated and withdrawn girl titled Lain with an interconnected virtual realm called “The Wired”. Lain really gets intertwined in the dark web of this virtual reality.
This may seem like a fictional story to the viewers, but looks can always be deceptive, isn’t it?
13. Devilman: Crybaby, You’ll Love it if you Liked Cyberpunk
Akira Fudo, a high schooler who lives with his one and only friend in her house along with her family. One day when Akira, in an attempt to save his friend, becomes the direct target of an infamous gang led by a rapper, he thinks it is the end for him. Just when he is saved by a childhood friend named Ryo.
Ryo introduces Akira to the hidden world of dark demons, and together they start fighting many demons, and everything is going pretty smooth till now. However, their friendship gets tainted as Akira finds out more about Ryo. After Ryo announces the existence of demons in front of everyone, it creates a lot of global panic.
Follow Ryo and Akira as they embark on a journey of testing out their mettle. However, beware because what lies ahead is far more pretty than all blood and wounds.
12. Ergo Proxy
The Cogito virus that makes one more self-aware infects some habitual hosts called the AutoReivs. These AutoReivs, now with a superior sense of understanding gained with more self-awareness, commit different and various murders benefiting their personal goals.
Also, the government is working on making humanoid life form superior to others and immortal, naming them “Proxy”. These Proxies hold the key for the humanities survival in the upcoming times. Iggy, the Regent’s grandaughter, is assigned the task of investigating the murders associated with the AutoReivs.
She discovers two very intelligent humanoids which whom she wasn’t familiar. Turns out they were Proxies. What she unravels next makes the whole base of the amazing narrative of this anime.
11. A.D. Police Files
This anime is kind of a prequel to the series that was discussed earlier in this article, Bubblegum Crisis. It focuses on the timeline of what happened five years ago in the city of Tokyo. This anime showcases the events that took place before in the Bubblegum Crisis series.
It follows the life story of Inspector Leon McNichol, who works in the AD Department of Police (Advanced Police), and provides us with the perfect back story which fans thought was missing in the Bubblegum Crisis series. After watching this, it was clear how it was never easy for her.
This show is set in a world where humans are nowhere to be seen and are considered illegal beings. The small number of people who survived the mass genocide are the ones who are in the most dangerous position. As robots to kill them on the spot are tracking them with all their special abilities.
Luckily there is a catch, and they might survive. One day this group of survivors meets up with a strange man named Kelly, who holds the potential to save the world. But nothing ever goes as planned in this accursed world, as said by Lord Madara holds for every situation, especially for this one.
They are made to go through extraneous challenges and not to spoil, but the survival isn’t looking very good.
9. Cyber City Oedo 808
As the good progress, the bad does too, The greater the right equally great becomes wrong. The same is the case is in this anime. Where the Cyber Police of futuristic and advanced Japan started hiring people who have been charged with high profile criminal records like murder as officers to combat cybercriminals.
They said “eye for an eye”. Three of these criminals were serving more than 300 years of jail time. The criminals who serve as an officer as a reward can reduce their jail time. As they were bored, they agreed to this offer. As a safety measure at all times, they have to wear a band which is also a bomb.
To understand this anime and what it wants to convey, one has to watch this three-episode-longtime series.
Just when all the nations of the world start to come together, and it seems that world peace is possible, it is threatened by the private troops of some individual corporations. Somewhere between this chaos, a company gets hold of a weapon that has the power to make the world kneel beneath them.
This weapon is nothing but a Genocyber. It is like a nightmare come true, made by the deadly combination of psychic potential and cybernetics. Every other person desires to get control of this and to rule the world with its help of it. However, not everyone is as talented as Naruto. Not everyone can control Hatred of someone or something.
As the desire for power remains and exponentially increases, deadly war with only violence everywhere breaks out, engulfing everything that comes in its way.
Texhnolyze explores an underground city named Lux, once created by the man itself but now in ruins and has crumbled due to ignorance and abandonment. The citizens of this city treat it as if it is an alive entity that has a soul, feelings, and mind of its own.
This city is run by three different sections of people, firstly people who are professionals and work for hand in hand with the criminals to ensure both things are separated, secondly the people who think the “professionals” are the wrong ones and try to destroy their fraction.
Lastly, the people who only work for their gain, trying not to pry into someone else’s business. A young boy who has lost his arm and a leg due to a fight and is on the verge of his end is saved by a doctor cum scientist who turns him into a Texhnolyze with prosthetic limbs.
He meets a girl who can see the future and predict what might happen next together tries to save their city, Lux, which is on the brink of collapse as they found out.
6. Kill La Kill
Honnouji Academy is an institution where the authoritative body is not that of teachers but students. The students wear exclusively made uniforms called Goku Uniforms. These uniforms are different from what you might see normally. The student body is disrespected and termed as ‘pigs in school uniforms’.
The school president and her loyal four-lieutenant take control of the whole campus and run it according to their needs and wants. Up until one day, a new girl approached the school president with a sense of familiarity, and that was the moment everything started to change.
The clash that took place between the two will engulf the whole campus before they even realize it!
5. The Animatrix, Totally Worth it like Cyberpunk
A sci-fi anthology movie released by the Wachowskis in 2003, The Animatrix features adult animated characters. The origin of The Matrix film series is explained throughout the movie through nine animated shorts.
The Animatrix is a collection of nine different stories featuring themes like the iconic movie, The Matrix. All of these stories are standalone but are kind of interrelated. The viewers might miss out on this, but if noticed carefully, they might see the reference given by the shows.
A world where it is possible to measure and quantify a person’s physical and mental state of mind right at the moment, and this information is stored and termed as psycho pass. The narrative of this anime is based on the police officer who is given the task of protecting and safeguarding the law in such a world.
In this world, one can also measure a person’s criminal intent, and this is how criminals are judged. As the police officer struggles to do his job, which is pretty understandable because everyone already knows what everyone else is thinking about.
This eliminates the element of doubt and brings clarity to the utmost peak, but as it is said famously by none other than me, You are most blinded when you see clearly. Because with a lot of options and clarity, confusion finds its way somehow every breathing time.
3. Cowboy Bepop
In the year 2071, when the old nation system has already been out of trend, people are just out in the mass as a jumbled puzzle and are out of there till now habitant home. As the new world was evolving, a concept of bounty hunters was called “cowboys”.
Spike Speigel and Jet Black have started bounty hunting as partners. As they move forward, they meet many new interesting characters like a peculiarly intelligent dog, a mad and obsessed hacker, and a full of love but frustrating woman on their journey.
Kurono Kei, a fresh-out-of-the-oven high schooler who is also a closet pervert, one day comes across a man who accidentally falls from the train platform. At first, he started enjoying the sight of the man suffering to even breathe properly because of the near-death experience he had just experienced.
When he goes to help that man along with a classmate just then, a train comes, and logically, that should have been their end, but the next thing they know is that they wake up in a room of condominium. What might have happened? Who saved them? How are they still alive?
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion
For the second time in 2015, Tokyo witnessed the arrival of powerful and mystical creatures like angels, alien war machines, and many more. The only key to survival is the humanoid war mission created and developed by NERV, an exclusive United Nations Agency.
With the ability to withstand any attack the angels may throw their way, the only con is the limited number of people able to pilot it. Only some teenagers around the age of fourteen can do it. So they are the only hope of humankind.
One of these teenagers is the son of the head of the NERV department, which is responsible for the creation and development of the Evangelions. Due to this, he gets dragged into a war he knows nothing about. Will he survive or lose everything at hand?