The 10 Best Hard Sci-Fi Anime to Watch

Not too long ago on this blog, I made a list of my favourite hard sci-fi manga. You might want to check that out if you're into manga, but if you're looking for some hard sci-fi anime, then this is the list to read. Below are my picks for the 10 best hard sci-fi anime to watch. I hope you find something that piques your interest.

10) Rocket Girls

Set in the Solomon Islands, Rocket Girls follows the exploits of high-school girl Yukari Morita, who is pressed into service as an astronaut by the Solomon Space Association when it is unable to build a rocket that can lift the weight of an adult male. The story was originally a light novel by Hōsuke Nojiri, but was adapted into an anime series in 2007.

Source: Rocket Girls, used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

9) Moonlight Mile

Gorou Saruwatari and Lostman are mountain climbers who have ascended some of the highest mountains around the world. At the peak of Mount Everest, they see the ISA Space Station in the sky above and become determined to go into space. At the same time, ISA begins a program to research and obtain a new energy source which has been discovered on the moon. Gorou and Lostman attempt to join the program through different approaches: Lostman becomes a pilot and Gorou takes a job as a construction worker.

Source: Moonlight Mile (manga), used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

8) Flag

Saeko Shirasu is a 25-year-old war front-line photo-journalist who became a celebrity after taking a picture of civilians raising a makeshift UN flag in war-torn Uddiyana. The image then became an instant symbol for peace. However, just before the peace agreement is achieved, the flag was stolen by an armed extremist group in order to obstruct the truce. The UN peacekeepers decide to covertly send in a SDC (pronounced as "Seedac"—Special Development Command) unit to retrieve the flag. Because of her connection with the "Flag" photo, Saeko Shirasu was offered the job of following the SDC unit as a front line journalist. The SDC unit is equipped with an HAVWC (High Agility Versatile Weapon Carrier—pronounced "havoc") mecha armored vehicle.

Source: Flag (anime), used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

7) They Were Eleven

Ten young space cadets are put onto a decommissioned spaceship as their final test. If they pass this test, their lifelong dreams of being valued people in their respective societies will come true. Their orders are to survive as long as they can with what they have. However, once they arrive at the ship, they find that their crew has gained an eleventh member -- and no one can remember the original lineup well enough to recognize which of them is the newcomer.

Source: They Were Eleven, used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

6) Pale Cocoon

It has been many years since a group of humans retreated to an artificial colony below the planet's surface. An unspecified ecological disaster has left the surface largely uninhabitable, plagued by apparent pollution, cold from receiving little light and largely absent of signs of life. Much of recorded history before the move has been forgotten, despite the numerous advances in technology. The last remaining information lies in a vast archive of data, much of it in corrupted formats. Determined to recover this precious information, the "Archive Excavation Department" works specifically to restore as much of it as possible. Long ago, the Department used to be excited and full of energy. Now, some feel that knowledge of the lost past can bring only sadness.

Source: Pale Cocoon, used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

5) Patlabor: The Movie

Set in 1999, Tokyo is undergoing a huge re-development program: old suburbs are being demolished and man-made islands are being constructed in Tokyo Bay under the Babylon Project. Dominating the scene is the "Ark," a huge man-made island that serves at the Project's nerve center and chief Labor manufacturing facility. However, several of the Labors being used in Tokyo, specifically those built by Shinohara Heavy Industries - suddenly go haywire even while unattended.

Source: Patlabor: The Movie, used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

4) Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise

On an alternate Earth, an industrial civilization is flourishing amid an impending war between two bordering nations: the Kingdom of Honneamise and "The Republic". The story follows Shirotsugh Lhadatt, an unmotivated young man who has drifted into his nation's lackadaisical space program.

Source: Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

3) Eden of the East

On Monday, November 22, 2010, ten missiles strike Japan, but cause no casualties. This apparent terrorist act is referred to as "Careless Monday" and is eventually forgotten by the populace. The series begins three months later when Saki Morimi, a senior at university, visits Washington D.C. as part of her graduation trip. When she gets into trouble, a mysterious young Japanese man appears completely naked except for a gun and a cell phone, and rescues her. The man has lost his memory, but learns that he has a bunch of fake passports at his apartment; he chooses the Japanese one which names him Akira Takizawa. While he and Saki return to Japan, they learn that a new missile has hit.

Source: Eden of the East, used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

2) Dennō Coil

In 2026, eleven years after the introduction of internet-connected augmented reality eyeglasses and visors, Yūko Okonogi moves with her family to the city of Daikoku, the technological center of the emerging half-virtual world. Yūko joins her grandmother's "investigation agency" made up of children equipped with virtual tools and metatags. As their research turns up mounting evidence of children who have been whisked away to the mysterious "other side" of reality, they find themselves entangled in a conspiracy to cover up the dangerous true nature and history of the new technology.

Source: Dennō Coil, used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

1) Planetes

The story of Planetes follows the crew of the DS-12 "Toy Box" of the Space Debris Section, a unit of Technora Corporation. Debris Section's purpose is to prevent the damage or destruction of satellites, space stations and spacecraft from collision with debris in Earth's and the Moon's orbits. They use a number of methods to dispose of the debris (mainly by burning it via atmospheric reentry or through salvage), accomplished through the use of EVA suits.

Source: Planetes, used under CC-BY-SA 3.0

So those are my top 10 hard sci-fi anime. Do you know of any others that are worth taking a look at? Feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below.


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