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Anime Cyberpunk


James
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[font=franklin gothic medium]I should start this thread by saying that, more than anything else, I'm actually looking for recommendations from anime fans.

I was thinking about this recently; many of the anime (and films) that I like would generally fall into this style of storytelling. In terms of anime, one of my favourite films is definitely Ghost in the Shell. I haven't really pursued this series as much as I'd like (for instance, I've only seen a few episodes of Stand Alone Complex and I haven't seen Innocence yet).

One of my favourite films is The Matrix and I love the way that it shares several core concepts with Ghost in the Shell (not to mention that GitS is absolutely gorgeous - I love the almost film noir atmosphere).

So I wanted to ask the learned anime fans of OtakuBoards a simple question: what anime (film or TV series) do you consider to be the best example of cyberpunk? And if you're a fan of cyberpunk yourself, which anime would you recommend to an anime lightweight like myself?

While I am a fan of certain anime I know there's a great deal more out there to sample. And I'm particularly interested in the cyberpunk genre, so I thought I'd see what you guys have to say about it.[/font]
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I'd love to help, but I don't know cyberpunk. :animeswea Hm... feel free to ask more about any of these if they sound like they're up your alley, I guess.

[b]Ergo Proxy:[/b] Ambitious; not always successful, but it's fun to watch it try. Typical dystopian dome-city setting. Includes androids who catch the "virus" of self-awareness. After the first few episodes, almost every episode takes on a radically different storytelling approach. Production values are up and down, but when it looks good, it looks really good.

[b]Gilgamesh:[/b] Another dystopia. The main characters are young people with psychic powers; it's set apart by its intensely developed backstory. The problem with this show is that while some people tolerate or even like the artwork, to most eyes, it looks pretty hideous. I can promise that the writing does reward continued watching, though. The fallacy of man as exposed through science, etc.

[b]Gunslinger Girl:[/b] I dunno if this is cyberpunk per se, but it's a damn good anime. Little girls get turned into cyborg killers, but they still have the hearts and minds of children. Mostly character-driven.

[b]Jin-Roh:[/b] Elegiac story of political protest, terrorism and tragedy humanized by incorporating threads of Little Red Ridinghood. Beautiful & depressing.

[b]Texhnolyze:[/b] A personal favorite, although it can be hard to take. The setting is a hopeless underground city. Unique in its agonizing portrayal of how the main character acquires & gradually gets used to his mechanical arm and leg. Very violent show, but not exciting; you really feel the weight of the characters' destructive boredom and despair.

[b]009-1:[/b] An episodic series, interesting in that it's quite retro in its stylization and cheesiness, yet at the same time very much aware of this (which has the reverse effect of making it seem oddly smart & savvy). Noir up the wazoo. Bond-style spyjinks set in a world in which the Iron Curtain never came down.

Other names I might throw out there (some not quite cyberpunk): Big O, Paranoia Agent, Serial Experiments Lain (don't like it, but everyone else does), maybe even Boogiepop Phantom.

~Dagger~
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I'm not quite good at defining "cyberpunk" as an entire genre quite yet, but I'll do my best. Forgive me for potentially not keeping anime on-to-near-target. I'm usually into more shonen anime, but still want to help.

Just about anything Satoshi Kon has done leaves me with a grin on my face and a little bit of a WTF-like thought in my brain, so I certainly back up Dagger's reccomendation of Paranioa Agent.

Similar feelings on 009-1, although I have to take a stand for the precursor, [b]Cyborg 009[/b]. The English dub's a little iffy now that I go back and rewatch some of the episodes, but the story is pretty fun and depending on which verison you get, the backgrounds of the characters differ. Although the story is not like a prologue to 009-1, both have similar elements such as visual effects and international intrigue. Just skip the parts about the "Greek Gods". They were the only unnecessary things in my eyes. Than again, that's just opinion. You might like them.

[b]s-CRY-ed[/b] is kinda cool if you think about it like a Japanese version of X-men. I like the manga better than the anime though, as the manga art is more detailed and things like that.

Hmm... would the almost-mecha shows [b]Eureka seveN[/b] and [b]RahXephon[/b] count? Eureka seveN was pretty good at keeping my attention while it ran on the television, despite the boy-meets-girl undertones. It had some pretty deep thinking and politics woven in and out throughout the story. I never did finish RahXephon though, but that was also good at keeping my eyeballs glued to the television. Not many mecha shows can do that, as I am the one who is bored by Gundam for no apparent reason.

I also have the first disc of [b]Innocent Venus[/b] on my bed, waiting to be watched so that I can give it back to my friend who loaned it to me a few weeks ago. I watched the first episode and thought it was fairly spiffy, but one episode isn't an entire series.

I hope that was of at least [i]some[/i] help.
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[COLOR="DarkOrange"]Dammit, I knew that is Dagger has been here all the good recs would be done XD Although I'd never consider Gunslinger Girl even remotely cyberpunk... it's modern-day and all, and even theough the girls are cyborgs, you don't usually see them running on rooftops or anything (until season 2 that is!!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!)

Boogipop also takes place in modern day, but Lain does have a really big technological edge. I doubt it's what James is looking for though, but since it's one of my alltime favorite anime period he should watch it anyway XD I still can't wrap my brain around how you can dislike that series...

Anyway, while I also don't think it could be called cyberpunk, Gankutuou probably deserves to be metioned since it's got uber-future technology and some just-plain-awesomeness stuff. Can anyone say The Count of Monte Cristo 3000 years in the future? Yeah, that's the good stuff.

But yeah, I second Ergo Proxy and Texhnolyze since they're prolly more what you're looking for. though within the 4 eps I've seen of each, neither impressed me at all. [/COLOR]
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[font=franklin gothic medium]I'd look up cyberpunk on Wikipedia if you're not sure exactly what it is.

But basically if you think about anime that have a similar sensibility to Ghost in the Shell or The Matrix - in other words, they'd generally be set in the near future and would have a distinctly film noir/dystopian quality. But it's not just being set in the future that creates a cyberpunk theme - there's usually some element of resistance or some kind of underground movement...there's also often a conspiracy element (usually government or corporate-based).

Anyway it sounds like there are some good suggestions here. I actually just bought the first DVD for Stand Alone Complex yesterday (I'd seen later episodes but I hadn't started at the beginning), so we'll see how that goes.

I'll look out for these other recommendations as well.[/font]
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Just thought of the [b]Metropolis[/b] movie. That might count.

I'm not familiar with the stuff that usually pops to mind as being pure cyberpunk anime (like the Bubblegum Crisis OVA and Armitage, I guess), so although they're probably a better fit, I couldn't recommend them personally... :/

It's funny, though--even though anime is pretty strongly identified with cyberpunk in the West, I feel like few serious cyberpunk anime have been made in the last decade (I'm guessing you'd find more in the 80s and early 90s?).

~Dagger~
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[color=darkred][size=1]

I don't know how popular it is in Australia, but a big one in America is [b]Cowboy Bebop[/b] which is pretty awesome. Great music, blending the adventures of a rag-tag group of space bounty hunters with Jazz music. Starring a grizzled cop, a sex-pot gambler, and a Bruce Lee-esque ex-mobster. The show's mostly episodic (though done pretty well), but several episodes dispersed through out deal with the main-characters' pasts. The show's overall theme is how it's hard to run from past problems, but you usually find happiness after confronting them. Even the self-contained episodes share the same theme usually. All of the episodes have a rather interesting and deep story line, so most of them are worth watching, even just for entertainment value (see episode "Cowboy Funk").

One of my favorite series, ever.

I'd give a look into [b]Eureka Seven[/b] if you like fun music and brightly colored, smooth animation. And mecha, lots of mecha. I love the show, its art and music style, and overall theme. Its kinda like a hippie take on Cyberpunk/Giant Robot shows. I liked it.

[b]Kikkaider[/b] is by the same people who did [b]Cyborg 009[/b] with the exact same art-style and a slightly different message. Despite the old-school, Astro Boy/Metropolis art style, I liked the series a good bit. Its designs were a bit strange, but once you got past it, the Pinochio-like theme was kind of poignant.

I would suggest [b]Mobile Suit Gundam: 008th MS Team[/b] and [b]0080 War in a Pocket[/b], but I'm not sure how much they fit the Cyberpunk theme. They're both very realistic with the technology, and brutal. While it plays on Giant robots, being Gundam and all, the real story revolves around the characters and the technology all looks like it works. Both have a very poignant story about how war effects different people, all in negative ways.

Thats all I can think of right now.[/color][/size]
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[font=franklin gothic medium]I'm not sure if I'd call Cowboy Bebop cyberpunk at all, but I'm pretty familiar with it - it's one of the regular series here.

Dagger: Yep, I think most of the cyberpunk stuff is 80's/90's era. Something like Akira would probably be the definitive cyberpunk anime, I guess.

Anime is fairly prevalent in Australia so most of these things won't be hard to find. I'll just have to make the effort to go to the city to buy the less popular stuff.[/font]
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[quote name='James'][font=franklin gothic medium]I'm not sure if I'd call Cowboy Bebop cyberpunk at all, but I'm pretty familiar with it - it's one of the regular series here.
[/font][/QUOTE]
[color=darkred][size=1]

Well, since one main character is a Cyborg, one is a pre-teen hacking genius, and they all have a pet 'data'-dog, I thought it kinda counted. On Wiki, it's classified as Sci-Fi and Space Western, but yeah.

Try [b]Outlaw Star[/b], I think that fits the bill a little closer. Kinda like Bebop, but with more technology and weirder space-ships. [/color][/size]
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[font=franklin gothic medium]I guess the main element that's missing is both the film noir and dystopia aspects; both are pretty crucial to the cyberpunk style.

Anyway I will definitely give some of these suggestions a try. I've seen a little of Cowboy Bebop when it aired here...and it didn't really grab me, but admittedly I never watched it from the beginning.[/font]
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[COLOR="DarkOrange"]By your definition, then, I'd say Ergo Proxy, Gilgamesh, and Texhnolyze will be fitting truly. Which should be enough - the first 2 are 26 eps and the latter is 23. So I'd say go finish those (or watch as much as you can stomach, lol) and come back for more recs if you still want to see more.

I'd definitely say to start with Ergo Proxy. I've only seen 4 eps, but it gave me a very The Matrix feel (and I'm a pretty big Matrix Trilogy fan)[/COLOR]
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  • 3 weeks later...
[color=indigo]Ghost in the Shell has to be the quintessential cyberpunk anime, although, just as relative (and as old-school) is Akira. You have probably seen it James, but so few young anime fans have that I thought it might be relative to bring up.

It is odd, I think that the cyberpunk motif (along with DBZ) really brought light to the anime genre in America (and the west as a whole) yet it seems to have been replaced by strictly mech or strictly coming-of-age tales. I guess I am just surprised that there aren't more cyberpunk animes being produced (then again, there could be a ton that I am not familiar with, though I would be hesitant to describe a lot of what has been mentioned (many of which are great series) "cyberpunk".

Anyway, "Stand Alone Complex" is pretty decent.

(edit) missed the previous mention of Akira.

[/color]
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