10 Best Sci-Fi Anime Series, According to IMDb

10 Best Sci-Fi Anime Series, According to IMDb

Much like the fantasy subgenre, science fiction invites endless creativity in anime, with the likes of Mob Psycho 100 and Chainsawman soon to show their own twists on it. Going to the distant future or alternate timelines are popular premises for works of fiction in general, anime or otherwise, but some of the best anime series have used sci-fi in some capacity.


IMDb has curated the best sci-fi shows in the genre, making for an impressively diverse list. Anime like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Cowboy Bebopare the most popular choices for enriching sci-fi elements, but others like The Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Stein’s Street also help to bend this subgenre’s depth.

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10/10 The Mysterious Cities Of Gold (1982-1983) – 8.7

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

The mysterious cities of gold is an older anime classic from the 80s that uses an alternative story angle in tandem with science fiction for its setting. It tells the story of young Esteban, a Spanish boy from Barcelona who joins the New World expedition to discover the legendary Seven Cities of Gold and his missing father.

Esteban was born with the power to summon the sun, earning him the title “Child of the Sun”, and part of his journey to the new world is to uncover the truth behind his parentage after the death of his adoptive father. The mysterious cities of gold was well received for its adventurous tones that effectively balanced fantasy with grounded realism, as well as ushering a generation of young fans into the anime space.

9/10 Gintama (2011-2012) – 8.7

Stream on Hulu

While such as One Piece and Hajime no Ippo take the lion’s share of the spotlight when it comes to excellent and extremely long-running shounen series, Gintama is a fan-favorite anime that is more than worthy of being in the same conversation. It chooses a wild take on sci-fi, which Gintama is a colourful, vibrant mix of several genres.

The series mixes science fiction, comedy and a historical setting, and takes place in an alternative rendering of the late Edo period in Japan (1603-1867) which has been conquered by aliens. It centers around freelance samurai Gintoki Sakata and his friends as they take on various jobs, which naturally spin off into a series of fantastically bizarre adventures. Gintama has been consistently praised for its balance of comic relief, creativity, and vintage shounen action.

8/10 Code Geass (2006-2008) – 8.7

Stream on Hulu

Code Geass is another example of a beloved anime original series. The show mixes a dystopian sci-fi setting with an alternate history premise, telling the story of Prince Lelouch. Granted the power of the King, he forms a team of allies to fight back against the tyrannical and imperial Holy Britannian Empire.

Code Geass is an exciting combination of spectacle-focused action and grandiose storytelling with thematic undertones to overcome the authoritarian rule of older, power-hungry generations. As long as the audience is willing to see the charm in the admitted melodrama of the dialogue, Code Geass should prove to be an engaging watch.

7/10 One-Punch Man (2015-2019) – 8.7

Stream on Netflix

Author ONE is mentioned above Mob Psycho 100 concludes its exciting sci-fi story with Season 3 courtesy of studio Bones, but the creator is probably best known for his One Punch Man series. The first season was particularly praised for its fascinating and high-octane action in the animation work, but the world, story and characters as a whole are a fun take on the science fiction and superhero genre.

One Punch Man is a satirization of the Shounen demographic of manga/anime series and the superhero genre, with the story focusing on Saitama’s exploits as a boring hero since he is actually the strongest being in the world. The series is an impressive showcase of over-the-top action, animation and clever use of self-aware comedy.

6/10 Future Boy Conan (1978) – 8.8

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

A vintage anime from the late 70s, Future Boy Conan is a series that has received a welcome and warm reception afterwards. It’s a series that combines adventure tones with post-apocalyptic and steampunk elements for its premise, with the story beginning in 2008 when humanity faces extinction from its own folly.

Conan is the only child born on an island where people fled from the disasters caused by ultra-magnetic weapons of war. Future Boy Conan is an endearing sci-fi adventure that has been well received for its nuanced themes and anti-war social commentary, creating a timeless story all these decades later.

5/10 Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996) – 8.8

Stream on Funimation/Crunchyroll

Dragon Ball Z is an undeniable juggernaut in the community, as it is one of the most notable anime classics of the 90s. Akira Toriyama’s story picks up after Goku defeats Piccolo at Tenkaichi Budokai, with DBZ exponentially grow the world building with new heroes, villains and the concept of a Super Saiyan.

This upbeat and bombastic anime series features colorful elements of science fiction, from futuristic space travel to aliens to dinosaurs roaming alongside humans. While far from being among the more nuanced anime out there, it knows exactly what it wants to be and excels at it.

4/10 Steins;Gate (2011-2015) – 8.8

Stream on Hulu

One of the more modern sci-fi anime hits, Stein’s Street is one of the most gripping and subversive TV series out there. It is arguably among the anime worthy of being called a “modern classic,” as the story expertly weaves the psychological-thriller genre into the sci-fi premise.

Stein’s Street follows eccentric and self-proclaimed “mad scientist” Okabe Rintaro and his friends who help with his wild personality and ventures, until they suddenly – and accidentally – discover the technology of time travel. Opens almost like a “slice-of-life” anime, Stein’s Street lulls the audience into a sense of security before unraveling into an intense sci-fi conspiracy story with an investing cast. The show spawned a sequel film, as well as a midquel/sequel series titled Steins; Street 0 which explores a darker timeline.

3/10 Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999) – 8.9

Stream on Netflix

A landmark series that also comes from the 90s, Cowboy Bebop is an icon that still stands as one of the best anime available on Netflix. It stands on its own 27 years later, with this story taking a dystopian spin on the sci-fi genre. Even more creative, Cowboy Bebop combines sci-fi with western and crime-noir genres, as well as an irresistible use of acid jazz in the score to set the mood.

The series follows unlikely band Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and their corgi Ein as they work as space bounty hunters to make ends meet. Set against the backdrop of a future where humanity’s corporate greed has made the Earth almost inhospitable to all life, Bebop develops its cast intimately through riveting existential, emotional and poignant societal themes.

2/10 Legend Of The Galactic Heroes (1988-1997) – 9.1

Stream on Hive

Should fans want a unique and retro anime icon with a tantalizing flavor of Game of Thrones-as political intrigues, The Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an excellent choice. Adapted from author Yoshiki Tanaka’s series of novels, The Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an expansive sci-fi anime detailing the ventures of Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li, two figures who rise through the ranks of the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance, respectively.

The action takes place in the 36th century and revolves around a war between these galactic political factions. The Legend of the Galactic Heroes has been regarded as a landmark anime, as it has been recognized for its intricate storytelling, its cast of characters, and layered in-universe stories. The original anime ran for 110 episodes, effectively telling an engaging and sprawling story rich in character drama with a space opera theme.

Stream on Hulu

It was an original Full metal alchemist anime before this, but the second goes on to adapt Hiromu Arakawa’s manga with brotherhood proved to be the definitive take. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the most faithful adaptation of the source material, following brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric’s worldwide quest. They search the world for the coveted Philosopher’s Stone to give Al his human body back.

The series has been recognized for its masterful blend of emotionally deep themes, nuanced storytelling and immersive world-building characterized by exciting action sequences. brotherhood uses alchemy at the core of its sci-fi elements, as well as fantasy and industrial aesthetics to set the stage for its world.

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