As a long-time anime fan, I’ve seen my fair share of military sci-fi series. There’s just something captivating about seeing futuristic weapons and technology depicted in anime. The combination of gripping war storylines and imaginative sci-fi elements makes for an entertaining viewing experience.
In this blog post, I’ll be counting down my picks for the 10 best military sci-fi anime series that are must-watch shows for any fan of the genre. I’ve selected these shows not just for their high entertainment value, but also for the new ideas and perspectives they bring to the table. The series on this list range from classic franchises to recent hits, so there’s something for old and new anime fans alike.
1. Code Geass
(2006-2007, 2 seasons)
Set in an alternate timeline where the Holy Britannian Empire has conquered large parts of the world, Code Geass follows exiled prince Lelouch vi Britannia. After receiving the power of absolute obedience from a mysterious girl named C.C., Lelouch becomes Zero and leads a rebellion against the empire.
With its giant mecha battles and political scheming, Code Geass is a modern military sci-fi classic. The intricate plots and moral dilemmas make this a thinking person’s mecha anime.
(2021, 2 seasons)
In the Republic of San Magnolia, the 86ers are treated as subhuman drones piloting mechanical Juggernauts against the robotic legions of the Giadian Empire. The 86ers are the last hope for the corrupt republic that shuns them.
When handler Lena gets to know the squad and its Undertaker leader, she realizes the 86ers are more human than most citizens. Eighty-Six provides a thoughtful look at the horrors of war through its compelling characters. The emotional weight balances out the gritty mecha battles.
3. Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG
(2004-2005, 26 episodes)
A direct sequel to the first Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. series, 2nd GIG reunites Section 9 against new threats in a cyberpunk future. Corruption runs rampant as refugees flood futuristic Newport City.
Section 9 leader Major Motoko Kusanagi and her team must balance diplomacy, espionage, and force in this complex world. The cerebral sci-fi and multi-layered plots make Ghost in the Shell a staple for any anime fan.
4. Legend of the Galactic Heroes
(2018, 4 seasons)
This sprawling space opera depicts the epic conflict between the authoritarian Galactic Empire and the democratic Free Planets Alliance. It explores political machinations and military strategy on an interstellar scale.
Charismatic tacticians Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li command their forces in grand battles with fleets of thousands of spaceships. Legend of the Galactic Heroes has been called an anime Game of Thrones due to its rich world-building and multifaceted characters. This is the cream of the crop when it comes to anime war dramas.
5. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
(2015-2018, 6 episodes)
A prequel to the original Mobile Suit Gundam, The Origin reveals the beginnings of the One Year War between the Earth Federation and Principality of Zeon. It provides backstory on iconic characters like Char Aznable and Sayla Mass.
The Origin has all the hallmarks of Gundam – giant robot action, military strategy, and politics. As a re-imagining of the classic series, The Origin is a great entry point into the vast Gundam franchise. The amazing animation and fights bring the mecha combat to life.
(1982-1983, 36 episodes)
The original Macross series started the enduring franchise back in 1982. It chronicles the lives of civilians and soldiers on the spaceship Macross, as they get caught up in an intergalactic war between humans and the alien Zentradi.
Macross introduced hallmarks like transformable mecha, love triangles, and in-show idol concerts that defined later entries. With its military focus and sci-fi elements, Macross delivers an action-packed and influential space opera.
7. Terra e…
(2007, 24 episodes)
In the distant future, humans have abandoned an environmentally wrecked Earth to form an idealistic society called the Saint Empire of Ataraxia. However, this utopia comes at the cost of enslaving a new species called the Mu.
When a young Mu named Jomy begins exhibiting frightening powers, it could lead to war between the two races. Terra e… offers thoughtful social commentary on issues like racism and persecution through its sci-fi lens. The meticulous world-building provides a look at how humanity might progress in the future.
8. The Irresponsible Captain Tylor
(1993, 26 episodes)
Comedy may not be the first thing that comes to mind for military anime, but The Irresponsible Captain Tylor shows it can work incredibly well. Tylor is an unmotivated young man who accidentally becomes captain of the starship Soyokaze.
Although Tylor seems completely unfit for duty, he always manages to inadvertently save the day in hilarious fashion. Packed with satire and parody, Tylor provides a refreshingly lighthearted take on the sci-fi war genre.
10. Mars Daybreak
(2004, 26 episodes)
Mars has been terraformed and covered by one giant ocean, leading to conflicts over resources. Young mechanic Gram River finds himself joining up with the notorious pirates of the Skull Star crew as they plunder ships across the seas of Mars.
With ocean-faring ships that transform into robots, Mars Daybreak puts a fun twist on the classic mecha genre. The swashbuckling adventures combined with mecha action make this an immensely fun military sci-fi romp.
The shows above demonstrate the incredible variety found in the military sci-fi anime genre. From gritty mecha sagas to space operas to satires, there’s something here for every anime fan. With captivating stories and future tech, these series offer thought-provoking explorations of the human condition against the backdrop of war. So pick your favorite and get ready for an anime experience you won’t forget!