Cyberpunk and animated video are a match made in virtual heaven. While a live action series might not have the budget to incorporate cyborgs, future dystopias, and technocratic virtual realities, animated video allows for unique visual experimentation and storytelling. Let’s take a look at some of the best Anime Cyberpunk series from the last 20 years.
Authoritarian omnipresent government. Check.
Mental state of all citizens constantly monitored flr incorrect behaviour. Check.
Special enforcers recruited from the ranks of the most violent and damage. Check!
Set a hundred years in the future PSYCHO PASS tells the story of Akane Tsunemori, a newly recruited inspector for the Public Safety Bureau who must learn to control her squad of enforcers, latent criminals who hunt citizens that have been deemed current or potential criminals.
PSYCHO PASS presents one of the most prescient future dystopias in recent times. Public mental health in the world of PSYCHO PASS means hiding perceived negative emotions like ‘sadness’ and ‘anger’ for fear of setting off the Sibyl System, the overarching authoritarian force that determines the suitability of citizens.
Akane’s relationship with her enforcers highlights this problem. Akane is frequently told not to perform detective work herself, but allow the enforcers to do it, as engaging with the problem at hand might bring her closer to criminal thought.
Where much Cyberpunk focuses on an authoritarian force that keeps most people poor and in control, PSYCHO PASS looks at the cost of trying to create a society few of stress and fear.
Ghost In The Shell
On of the best know Cyberpunk worlds in the genre, GITS has spawned numerous books, films and series. Taking its name from The Arthur Koestler Book Ghost In The Machine, GITS is set in the mid twenty first century in the fictional Japanese city of Niihama (aka New Port City).
Drawing its influences from the Cyberpunk genre, many characters in GITS possess the ability to interface directly with networks. Cyberbrains are wholly or in part technological reproductions of regular brains. In the the case of Motoko, the main character of GITS, this includes computer body prosthesis as well. In part this is what makes Motoko the perfect agent for Section 9, a special branch of government.
GITS was created by Masume Shirow.
Serial Experiments Lain
Trying to explain this surrealist, avant garde take on the genre may be impossible, but we’re going to try.
Lain is a middle class school girl who encounters The Wired, a virtual reality realm that wants to break through the barrier into the physical realm.
Though it lacks the gritty urban violence and punk sensibilities of most other Cyberpunk, the philosophy and underpinning science fiction beneath the surrealism of the show makes Serial Experiments Lain a cyberpunk anime without peer.
Serial Experiments Lain was written by Chiaki J. Konaka and directed by the late Ry?tar? Nakamura.
After an earthquake splits Tokyo in two with massive wealth disparity and cyborg producing mega corporations. The Knights Sabres are an all female group of mercs in power armour who combat ruthless individuals and their robotic henchmen while the police is mired in red tape and political infighting.
Bubblegum Crisis is the perfect action driven Cyberpunk anime, and though it only rsn for 8 episodes, there are a number of spinoffs, including Parasite Dolls.
Created by Toshimichi Suzuki.
Sent in the underground city of Lux, Texhnolyze follows Ichise, a prize fighter who, after losing an arm and a leg, is given another chance through prosthesis. He meets Ran, a young seer, Onishi, head of the Organo corporation who wants to bring order to Lux.
Texhnolyze refers to the process of changing one’s organic flesh to synthetic. The anime has an ensemble cast, with interweaving storylines and several characters who have partially Texhnolyzed (like Yoshii) or completely (Like the formidable Shapes).
Texhnolyze has all the hallmarks of a great Cyberpunk anime. Written by Chiaki J. Konaka
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