If you enjoy Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, here are 7 anime to watch
That is, except from Ghost in the Shell and Akira
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners has taken over the Internet. Studio Trigger’s next animation, directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, is based on the setting of Cyberpunk 2077 and Mike Pondsmith’s TTRPG. The 10-episode limited series not only grabbed the hearts of reviewers and anime fans alike as one of the greatest series to debut this year, but it also managed to re-energize the game’s fan base in an astonishing demonstration of post-launch synergy.
The masses have spoken: more cyberpunk is desired. While the anime has met its natural conclusion, and the first (and possibly last) DLC expansion for Cyberpunk 2077 is still a long way off, we’ve combed our databanks to bring you a list of some of the greatest anime to watch after Edgerunners, both cyberpunk and otherwise. Yes, we know Ghost in the Shell (on Roku) and Akira (on Hulu and Crunchyroll) are the usual go-tos for all things cyberpunk anime, but much like Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, we’re going off the main route and blazing our own with this list.
Edgerunners garnered obvious similarities to the 2009 sci-fi action movie Redline after its Netflix debut. Takeshi Koike, known for his work on Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and the Animatrix short “World Record,” directed the film, which follows Sweet JP, a daredevil street racer with a corkscrew pompadour hellbent on winning gold in the galaxy’s deadliest racing event: the Redline Grand Prix.
The resemblance between Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and Redline is particularly striking during the highway chase scene between David and a pair of Tyger Claw biker assassins in the former’s third episode, “Smooth Criminal,” with many viewers noticing the similarity between David’s speed-induced grimace as he weaves precariously through oncoming traffic and JP’s clenched-jaw expression while racing to the finish line at the start of Koike’
Redline is available for free on Plex and for advertisements on Vudu, Tubi, and Freevee.
CYBER CITY OEDO 808
Of all the anime on this list, Cyber City Oedo 808 is likely the most similar to the idea of Edgerunners. It also doesn’t hurt that Hideo Kojima, professed cinephile and developer of Death Stranding and the Metal Gear series, has approved the analogy.
This 1990 original video animation (OVA — trust me, you’re going to hear a lot about those on this list) follows a trio of criminals forced to fight superpowered monsters and hackers in exchange for time off their prison sentences. It was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who also directed Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Consider The Suicide Squad, but with more glam rock hairstyles. The three-episode limited series has a particularly rich history in the United Kingdom anime scene and is a valued landmark for lovers of both the cyberpunk genre and Kawajiri’s work.
Retrocrush has a stream of Cyber City Oedo 808.
If you like Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, chances are you’ll enjoy (or have previously enjoyed) Promare, Hiroyuki Imaishi’s prior directorial effort. The film follows Galo Thymos, a hotblooded member of the elite firefighting mecha group Burning Rescue who must save the city of Promepolis — and the entire world — from the threat of a cataclysmic event involving a new species of pyrokinetic humans known as the Burnish. It was written by Kazuki Nakashima, with whom Imaishi has collaborated on several major works, including Kill la Kill and Gurren Lagann.
Promare is a crowd-pleasing anime spectacle packed to the brim with explosive action, colorful characters, and magnificent set-pieces. It’s an unapologetic love letter to Imaishi’s most cartoonish, maximalist views and his aforementioned collaborations with Nakashima. Oh, and don’t forget about ridiculously named mecha like Deus X Machina!
Promare is now available to watch on HBO Max.
The original eight-episode OVA Bubblegum Crisis follows the Knight Sabers, an all-female army of mercenaries clothed in powered exoskeletons that protect a futuristic Tokyo from Genom and its mutant cyborg monstrosities known as Boomers. Did I mention that one of the Knight Sabers is a musician who performs in the band Priss and the Replicants? Yes, that is a reference to what you believe it is.
Bubblegum Crisis is a key work in the canon of ’80s cyberpunk animation and one of the most apparent examples of Walter Hill’s neo-noir rock musical Streets of Fire’s ongoing effect on the genre. If you like Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, you owe it to yourself to see Bubblegum Crisis. You will not be sorry!
Retrocrush has a stream of Bubblegum Crisis accessible.
Megazone 23 not only stands the test of time as an exquisite enduring example of ’80s cyberpunk animation, but it also stands the test of time as a breakout smash whose popularity catalyzed the Japanese home video market’s acceptance of the OVA format.
The three-part story follows Shogo Yahagi, a young homeless child who accidentally inherits a government prototype motorbike. Shogo wants to disclose the bike’s existence on a live TV show starring a prominent singing superstar, despite being relentlessly chased by government officials wanting to obtain it. While doing so, he discovers a horrific secret: it’s the 24th century, his entire existence has been a deception, and what remains of humanity is imprisoned onboard three huge spacecraft known as “Megazones,” which are fleeing a now-dead Earth.
Megazone 23 is an epic in every sense of the word, spanning several centuries and several protagonists who fight across the expanse of space and cyberspace on behalf of humanity’s future, co-directed by Noboru Ishiguro of Space Battleship Yamato and Super Dimension Fortress Macross fame, legendary effects animator Ichiro Itano, and future Appleseed and Blade Runner: Black Lotus director Shinji Aramaki.
As if all of that wasn’t motivation enough to watch Megazone 23, it’s also a huge influence on 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, one of Polygon’s favorite 2020 games.
Retrocrush has Megazone 23 accessible for streaming.