As a medium, anime has found success in its ability to deliver wildly imaginative storytelling and artwork that just isn't possible in other forms of entertainment. When we think of fantasy and science fiction, we instantly think of the heavy-hitters in books and movies, like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. However, anime has a lot to offer in those genres as well. From supernatural fantasy to futuristic thrillers, there's something for everyone to enjoy!
We've compiled some anime shows that you should definitely check out, including some that are ongoing or currently airing. There are some fantasy and sci-fi gems in here, and we'll tell you why they are so awesome. So, without further ado: here are 9 sci-fi and fantasy anime series and why you should watch them. Take a look!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
This anime is about a pair of brothers, Edward and Alphonse, that attempt to bring their dead mother back to life with alchemy. The attempt costs Edward an arm and a leg (literally) and costs Alphonse his whole body. The story revolves around these characters' quest to get their bodies back.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is truer to the manga than the original FMA, and is slightly longer.I could go on for hours about why you need to watch this, but to sum it up: this anime features an incredible cast of likeable characters, action, drama, mystery, and a unique world that blends technology and magic.
Attack on Titan
If you haven't seen this amazing show, you've at least probably heard of it. Attack on Titan is the story of a fenced-in civilization struggling against human-eating giants called Titans. The main character, Eren Yaeger, is linked to a mystery surrounding the secrets of these creatures.
Attack on Titan has everything you want in an anime, including a varied heap of characters, beautifully constructed action scenes, and a story that makes you crave more. This anime isn't for the feint of heart though. There is a lot of blood and death, and characters you like will die. Still, do yourself a favor and check it out.
This sci-fi anime is a thriller revolving around time travel. Okabe Rintarou and his crew have to use a device to send messages to the past, in order to put a stop to an evil organization. This one is worth watching, because it's a unique take on time travel, and the voice acting and animation are fantastic. Plus, this anime is only 25 episodes long, so there's no huge commitment!
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
This anime is just an all-around fun show. This urban fantasy is about Satan getting trapped in the human world and having to take a part-time job at a fast food restaurant to pay his bills. If that concept doesn't intrigue you, I don't know what will. The show is hilarious, and has magic and action scenes that will appeal to even the most hardcore anime fans. And since The Devil is a Part-Timer! Is only one season long, you have no excuse not to watch it.
Another supernatural fantasy with an urban setting, Death Note is about a high school student named Light who finds a magical notebook. Light can kill anyone just by writing a name in the notebook, though there are certain rules in place that he has to follow.
This fantastic thriller follows the epic battle of intellect between Light and “L,” a detective with a hidden identity. It's full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The show tackles complex themes like justice and morality, and you'll definitely want to watch this intelligent and unique anime series.
This is a brand new sci-fi superhero anime that's currently airing, and it's the best new series I've seen since Attack on Titan. One-Punch Man features a hilariously indifferent hero named Saitama, who casually became the most powerful being on the planet with 3 years of basic strength training. To his disappointment, every villain Saitama fights is obliterated with a single punch.
This anime really has something for everyone, including hilarious self-aware anime tropes, a cyborg sidekick, and some of the most epic fight scenes and animation you'll ever see. One-Punch Man is a gem with a lot of potential, and I think you'll agree once you watch it. It's currently available on Hulu.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
This anime takes place in Japan, far in the future. Hackers and cyber security threats are as dangerous as terrorists, and a female cyborg named Motoko Kusanagi and her team battles these threats. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a cerebral and action-packed show, and will make you really think about the ethical implications of things like cybernetic implants and brain-hacking.
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
Fate/Stay Night is about a conflict called the Holy Grail War, where mage masters and their powerful servants duke it out for possession of the prized item. There are many anime series out there that involve high school students with supernatural abilities, but this one stands out, with stunning animation and ridiculously awesome fight scenes. Fate/Stay Night is a short series, so it's great for a light anime binge-watching session.
In this anime, members of the famous wizard guild Fairy Tail work together to take on some of the toughest jobs around. It follows Lucy, Natsu, Grey, Ezra, and more quirky characters, who have different strengths and magical abilities.
Fairy Tail can be serious at times, but is usually fun and lighthearted. You'll find funny anime trademarks, like the thin protagonist who is hungry all the time, magic-related puns, and overdramatic character monologues. I definitely recommend this show, especially if you're looking for a new fantasy fix.
People who enjoy western-style fantasy will likely enjoy Claymore, an anime where creatures called youma hunt humans in a setting similar to medieval Europe. Female human-youma hybrids called Claymores are tasked with eliminating the youma. And of course, they do so in style, with gigantic human-sized swords.
The protagonist, Clare, is a low-ranking member of the organization of Claymores, but is constantly pushing her limits on dangerous missions. If you like action, a great story, and strong female characters, you'll love Claymore!
Neon Genesis Evangelion
In this sci-fi anime, invaders called “Angels” begin attacking humans, and the only thing that can stop them is a giant robot piloted by teenager Shinji Ikari. The series is filled to the brim with conflict, both personal and large-scale. You won't find any annoyingly one-dimensional main characters in this series, as they are all complex and fleshed out. Since this show is widely considered to be one of the best sci-fi anime series out there, Neon Genesis Evangelion is definitely worth checking out!
If you're looking for an anime with over-the-top battles and goofy characters, you won't find it here. Instead, Planetes is a more mature and realistic hard science fiction series, about a space debris collection unit. In this anime set in the future, space travel is a daily occurrence, but creates debris that can be dangerous to spacecrafts. Definitely check this series out, because it's an intelligent and different take on animated science fiction.
When you think of the Grim Reaper, you don't usually envision a protector of humans with a goofy personality. That's exactly the case though in Soul Eater, where students at Death's academy are charged with the task of collecting tainted human souls and eliminating evil witches. These students, called meisters, pair up with shapeshifting weapons to take down bad guys. This anime has an interesting plot, tons of action, and explores psychology, with an animation style that is goofy and gothic at the same time. Go watch it!
Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online has a great concept that will hook you right away: a virtual reality MMORPG is hacked so that players that die in the game die in real life. If you are a RPG fan, you'll identify with many of the “game” mechanics in this anime, such as partying and dungeon exploration. But if you're not a gamer, you'll still appreciate the unique story and amazing artwork.
The second season of this anime (aptly named Sword Art Online II) takes place in a new virtual MMO called Gun Gale Online, which switches some of the dynamics by including guns. Don't worry though, it still includes the teamwork and coordination that makes the combat in Sword Art Online so awesome.
No self-respecting sci-fi and fantasy anime list would be complete without mentioning this anime. Cowboy Bebop is the story of Spike and his small ragtag team of space bounty hunters as they try to put away bad guys in order to secure their next meal. While the concepts of space travel, warp gates, and people being born on Mars are very sci-fi, the characters have depth and personality that makes them very real.
Cowboy Bebop has an awesome jazz soundtrack, engaging action sequences and dialogue, and a surprising amount of character development for a show that's only one season long. Quite-simply, this show is a must-see for anime fans and sci-fi fans alike.
So there you have it! We've listed 15 sci-fi and fantasy anime series and why you should watch them. From lighthearted wizard tales to dark sci-fi content, there are enough options out there to satisfy even the pickiest of anime fans. Have another fantasy or sci-fi anime series to suggest? Let us know in the comments below!