Science fiction stories, especially in anime, often show the future of humanity, but the future doesn’t always promise progress. Even if it’s just an alternate reality, the state of humans might make people in the real world feel lucky. Some stories have humans endure some horrifying events, whether it’s a natural disaster on a grand scale or an alien invasion, and trying to survive against the odds. In some stories, the human race might already be its own worst enemy.
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After all, it’s not unheard of for anime to even have the alien invaders turn out to be more sympathetic than the humans in the end. Regardless, there are plenty of sci-fi anime where humans might be nearing the end of their time on Earth, and the ones left might not be having a happy time.
10 Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō: There Aren’t Many Humans Around
This series, which later spawned an OVA, revolves around Alpha, a robot who runs a coffee shop after Earth has suffered a horrible ecological disaster, where most of the human population has already died out.
The tragic thing is that Alpha grows to become more social and confident, becoming more and more willing to make human friends. Unfortunately, being a robot, she is effectively immortal, meaning that she has to watch any humans she befriends age and die.
9 Cyborg 009: Being A Cyborg Isn’t Always Fun
In this classic anime, nine humans are kidnapped by the Black Ghost organization and made into cyborgs through experimentation. Now, they must fight against the organization to stop the threat of a world war.
The anime adaptations especially play up the tragic nature of the cyborgs, to the point that even the villainous ones are given cruel backstories and sympathetic backstories. For example, a spider-like cyborg is promised a return to his human body if he kills the heroes. That’s not to say the heroes have it much better; one of the nine cyborgs is a baby experimented on by his own father.
8 Witch Hunter Robin: It’s An Anime Based Around Witch Hunts
The “witches” in this series gain their power from genetics, giving this series a slight sci-fi edge with organizations devoted to hunting down witches after their powers drive them criminally insane. Unfortunately, it turns out that these rogue witches don’t reflect the majority, meaning that the group as a whole is unfairly hunted.
And it turns out that the organization fighting the witches is using a substance made from painfully taking bodily fluids from the captured witches.
7 Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Only An Apocalypse Can Stop The Apocalypse
Madoka Kaname is a young girl who gets caught up in a war between magical girls and evil creatures dubbed “witches.” Unfortunately, despite the cutesy magical girl set-up, things are not what they seem.
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For starters, the “witches” are actually magical girls who have been corrupted. And an alien race has been using the magical girls as an energy source, a scheme that seems to have been going on throughout human history. This is a series where an apocalypse can only be solved with another apocalypse; destroying the witches only causes wraiths to take their place.
6 Legend Of Galactic Heroes: Humanity Is At War In This Space Opera
This long-running space opera OVA involves humanity having split off into two great superpowers who are now at war. If the conflict wasn’t bad enough, the war setting means that audiences can already expect to see a few casualties.
Indeed, as the series draws to a close, most of the main cast ends up losing their lives. Even characters who achieve their dreams have no choice but to lament the loss of their comrades. And those who die can lose their lives in cruel, demeaning ways, as seen with Yang, who simply bleeds to death while all alone.
5 Ghost In The Shell: Your Loved Ones Can Be Imaginary
This anime takes place in a world where cybernetic bodies and brains have become much more normalized, leaving people in danger of hackers. That’s not getting into the fact that this takes place after various World Wars have reshaped society.
The anime adaptations tend to play up tragic implications here and there. Major Kusanagi goes from being rather juvenile and wild in the manga to a much more depressed character. A random man who was given false memories of a wife and daughter also appears to get over it in the manga, but it doesn’t seem to be the case in the anime.
4 Akira: There’s Crime, Corruption, & Government Conspiracies
A mysterious explosion destroys Tokyo and sets off the third world war. A few years later, the rebuilt city is filled with crime, corruption, and warring biker gangs.
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That’s not even getting into the government’s plans to create humans with psychic powers, failing to realize that, even if they succeed, people can suffer horrifying physical and mental atrocities.
3 Attack On Titan: Even The Titans Have It Rough
At the start of the series, it seems that humanity is in constant danger of being wiped out by the flesh-hungry Titans, who seem to eat humans out of desire rather than by necessity, what with their lack of digestive tracks
Then, things get complicated when it turns out there are Titan Shifters, who switch between a human and Titan form. Then, it turns out that all Titans are actually Titan Shifters and the cannibals eat humans in the hopes of regaining their lost humanity and sapience.
2 Neon Genesis Evangelion: Even Antarctica Wasn’t Safe From The Second Impact
An event known as the Second Impact has greatly changed the world. Antarctica is destroyed, the world sees horrific drownings, and the ensuing unrest ends up wiping out half of the world’s population. That’s not even getting into the bizarre, apocalyptic alien threats.
Humans eventually develop the technology to fight off against cosmic monstrosities, but it might turn out that humanity is its own worst enemy. This is a series where a happy ending could still take on a cynical light.
1 Space Runaway Ideon: The Series Is About The Destruction Of Humanity
A group of colonists on a remote planet discover a powerful starship and starfighters that combine into a powerful robot. The robot contains a powerful being called “Ide,” which seems to be the source of infinite energy.
What sets this early mecha series apart from other similar anime is its infamous, surreal ending: “Ide” wants the destruction of humanity. Not only did half the cast lose their lives as the series reached its conclusion, but the series also ends with the death of the surviving characters, the likely destruction of humanity, and the titular robot being destroyed.
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Hello, my name is John Witiw, and you may remember me as a writer for Viral Pirate, Frontrunner Magazine, or Co-Ed, but now I’m here for CBR!
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