By Yali Perez
Imagine: You’re living in the near future in a world overflowing with possibilities and splendor. OK scratch that. You’re a mercenary who spends your days bounty hunting in a city packed with neon-colored signs and the only true light is the reflection off your cybernetic arm. Welcome to Night City!
If you’ve been playing Cyberpunk 2077 (or are a fan of the original tabletop game) and have found yourself immersed in its world of android enhancements and branching stories, then the cyberpunk genre is likely right up your alley.
Whether a longtime fan of the genre or Cyberpunk 2077 has sparked your fancy, let’s take a look and some anime you can watch next, and maybe even some characters that will influence how you’re playing the game!
No Guns Life
Set in a world where cybernetic enhancements are all the rage, No Guns Life is a noir crime thriller with a dash of humor that explores what happens when the tech goes too far. The series follows Juzo Inui, an “Extended,” or weaponized cyborg whose enhancements were utilized during the Great War. Yes, he has a gun for a head.
After the war, however, there was no need for this specialty, so many Extended tried to live normal lives or fell to a life of a crime, the latter of which are considered “rogue,” and Juzo tracks them down as a “Resolver.”
Much like Cyberpunk 2077, enhancements and bionics aren’t a surprise to anyone in the world, they’re a way of life. Couple that with a fear of cybernetic weaponry, and you’ve got even more similarities.
If Cyberpunk 2077 is your jam, No Guns Life might just be the perfect next stop once you’ve rolled credits on the game’s story.
Watch No Guns Life on Funimation!
Like most on this list, PSYCHO-PASS takes place in the future, a future where detectives work in teams made up on Enforcers and Inspectors. Enforcers focus on taking out criminals, while Inspectors make sure their partners don’t cross the line.
Weapon of choice? The Dominator, a gun that predicts when a citizen will turn criminal by analyzing their “Hue” for latent criminal energy. Sounds like a well-balanced system with no potential for things going wrong, right?
The first season follows rookie Inspector Akane Tsunemori and Enforcer Shinya Kogami, as they work to take down a criminal mastermind. This proves to be an issue, however, when said mastermind is “criminally asymptomatic.” See? Things going wrong!
The cyberpunk dystopia of PSYCHO-PASS will likely remind you of Cyberpunk 2077, and beyond its techno-colored world, these titles are both about struggling with choice, and lines will blur.
Watch PSYCHO-PASS on Funimation!
A bit less neon than its futuristic counterparts, Trigun is packed with a whole ‘lotta action. The series follows Vash the Stampede, a man with a $60 billion bounty on his head. Why? Well, he’s allegedly the one who destroyed the City of July. But to be honest, mass destruction tends to follows Vash wherever he goes.
If you’re not already familiar, you may be imagining a tough-as-nails criminal, but Vash is actually a charming, goofy pacifist. Throughout the series, he tries his best to save lives, not take them, while avoiding a barrage of bounty hunters.
As Trigun progresses, more about Vash’s past and the history of human civilization in the wasteland of Gunsmoke are revealed. And though it might not be as high-tech and shiny as Cyberpunk 2077, it certainly emulates the core aspects of the game.
Watch Trigun on Funimation!
Gene Starwind is a mercenary who will take on any job—as long as it pays. Like many of the protagonists on this list, he also has a troubled past. Then one day he gets a job that he thinks is a simple protect-and-escort mission (like in video games!).
Unfortunately for him, the woman he’s being hired to protect, Hilda, is an outlaw wanted by the police, space pirates, more outlaws, assassins AND a race of humanoid cats. Oh, and he doesn’t actually get paid for it…
Hilda leads him to a suitcase with a bio-android who is the key to a galactic mystery, and what transpires next is an intense journey to uncover the truth, while also avoiding certain death.
With an array of unique characters, each with motives, personalities and skills, the colorful universe of Outlaw Star draws some clear comparisons to Cyberpunk 2077. In both, the protagonist is under constant threat, and yet, they must stick to their mission!
Watch Outlaw Star on Funimation!
It likely won’t surprise you to see AKIRA on this list. One of the most iconic films (anime or not), this epic body horror thriller looks to have been cut from the same cloth as Cyberpunk 2077, with both the film and the original Cyberpunk tabletop game releasing within a year of one another.
AKIRA is set in Neo Tokyo in a post-apocalyptic 2019 (that was last year. Wow.) packed with capitalist corruption, an anti-government movement, terrorism and an abundance of gang violence. You know, cyberpunk.
Kaneda, the protagonist, leads a bike gang just trying to survive in a world overtaken by anarchy. Though outwardly a hothead, Kaneda has a good heart under his edgy shell. After a motorcycle accident triggers telekinetic powers in his friend Tetsuo, he becomes a target of the government. You can imagine where it goes from here.
Throughout AKIRA, Kaneda works to uncover the government’s secret experiments on children with psychic abilities, and how it all connects to the destruction of Tokyo. It’s a full-fledged cinematic masterpiece that is a MUST on your list.
Watch AKIRA on Funimation!
Armitage III: Poly-Matrix
The year is 2046. Earth is overpopulated, and in response, there are colonies now on Mars. Humans and androids live together in Mars’ main city, Saint Lowell…and then a man hacks the television broadcast system and kills a famous country singer. Um, what?
It’s not a regular murder. No, the singer’s death reveals that she was an android, one of a new type that look and have emotions just like real humans. Mass confusion and fear ensue, but amidst it all is our main character, Naomi Armitage.
A member of the Saint Lowell Police Department, Naomi and her partner from Earth, Ross, must work together to take down the big bad in the face of direct danger. The film is stocked with high-octane action, mystery, plenty of twists and a unique style and soundtrack that truly elevates it.
Like Cyperpunk 2077, the relations between humans and cyborgs is explored. And it all comes down to an ultimate question: What really makes someone human?
Watch Armitage III: Poly-Matrix on Funimation!