It’s hard to imagine a better pairing than anime and science fiction. From the early days, the genre has been woven into the DNA of anime, from classics like Speed Racer and Astro Boy to milestone films like AKIRA. And Mobile Suit Gundam, anyone? How about Code Geass?
And Funimation is packed full of all of these classics and more, including contemporary sci-fi favorites and even some brand-new titles from this season.
Whether you’re revisiting a classic or want to dive into something new, we’ve got you covered. Here are a handful of sci-fi anime picks that should be next on your watchlist.
An original production from studio MADHOUSE and director Shingo Natsume (One-Punch Man Season 1), Sonny Boy is one of the newest titles on this list, debuting as part of the Summer 2021 anime season on Funimation.
The series follows Nagara, a third-year middle schooler who, after a mysterious event, is transported to another dimension with 36 fellow classmates. On top of that, each student has gained a strange superpower.
Some revel in their newfound abilities, while others work together to find a way home. With these mixed feelings come conflict and tension as the band of students quickly face life or death situations. Will Nagara and the others be able to return safely? You’ll just have to watch for the answer.
Watch Sonny Boy on Funimation!
Set in the fictional country of New Himuka, Scarlet Nexus follows main characters Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall (members of the Other Suppression Force, or OSF) as they face off against mysterious creatures known as Others.
The OSF is made up of soldiers with superhuman powers granted via a special “psionic gene” in their brains. It’s up to Kasane and Yuito to discover the truth about the Others and plenty more revelations about the world they live in.
And the game was great too! I absolutely loved my time playing it, and it’s certainly a surprise of the summer. The anime serves as a great companion piece for it, so what are you waiting for?
Watch Scarlet Nexus on Funimation!
The legendary Cowboy Bebop takes place in the near future of 2071, when humanity has colonized planets and moons as a result of Earth becoming uninhabitable.
The story at first follows Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, two bounty hunters who chase down criminals throughout the galaxy to get by. They quickly meet the smooth con-artist Faye Valentine and the prodigal hacker Edward. Oh, and of course, the genetically engineered corgi, Ein.
Together, the crew aboard the Bebop travel to Mars, Venus and beyond, as Spike deals with Vicious, a rival and member of the Red Dragon Syndicate criminal organization. This conflict comes to a head and brings about a showdown unlike anything else in anime.
Get ready for the space-faring adventure of a lifetime in Cowboy Bebop.
Watch Cowboy Bebop on Funimation!
The series follows Yomogi Asanaka, a young man who befriends Gauma, a “Kaiju User.” That means he can summon the giant robot Dynazenon to face off against the kaiju that appear in and attack the city.
Yomogi and his classmates are swept up in the fight against these giant monsters and work together to assist Gauma and figure out what’s really going on behind these attacks and put a stop to them.
Watch SSSS.DYNAZENON on Funimation!
Space pirates. Mecha. An A.I. that can transform from a hand into a humanoid figure. Nothing says sci-fi quite like The Defective, the latest donghua to join the Funimation lineup.
Based on the award-winning novel from author Priest, the series centers on Lin Jingheng, a former military commander who has been presumed dead after a deadly ambush, and Lu Bixing, a teacher who built his school from the ground up. The two work together with a group of outcasts to take on a society that’s become dependent on futuristic neural network technology.
There’s political deception. There’s shady criminal organizations. There’s a pet iguana. What else could you need?
Watch The Defective on Funimation!
Set in a dystopian cyberpunk future, Akudama Drive explores a world where criminals known as Akudama are actively pursued by the government and its troupe of Executioners.
The core of the series follows the young Ordinary, who is accidentally deemed an Akudama and is caught up in a plot beyond her wildest imagination. The series has a colorful cast of memorable characters, each branded with a criminal moniker: Hoodlum, Brawler, Courier, etc.
In avoiding spoilers, I won’t go into too much detail, but just know this is a wild ride from start to finish, complete with themes of found family, existentialism and betrayal that add layers to an already high-octane sci-fi adventure.
And the animation is beautifully produced by Studio Pierrot (Black Clover, Naruto) and Too Kyo Games (formed by the creators of Danganronpa and the Zero Escape series), and I absolutely love the ending theme “Ready” by Urashimasakatasen.
Watch Akudama Drive on Funimation!
The series follows a man named Okabe Rintarou who discovers a mysterious microwave imbued with the power of time travel. The story from there goes completely off the rails in a good way, revolving around the unintended consequences of using this power.
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It also has an incredibly satisying conclusion, one that incorporates and explores the concept of time travel and its many paradoxes. I’m personally a huge fan of stories like this, and Steins;Gate is pretty airtight in terms of its time travel rules. The anime adaptation, along with the alternate Steins;Gate 0 should both be experienced.
Watch Steins;Gate on Funimation!