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20 Best Anime Series That Take Place in a Post-Apocalypse World


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

Nothing thrills fans more than a good post-apocalyptic story. While the trope has been translated to the screen in movies and television shows, it is anime that has delivered some truly memorable visuals of a world on the brink of extinction. The genre isn’t light on the eyes; there are scenes of extreme violence and an enormous scale of devastation. But anime studios reimagine survival in dystopian futures in the most creative and mesmerizing ways.

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From humans fighting Titans in Attack on Titan to teenagers fighting zombies in High School of the Dead, these post-apocalyptic anime series showcase the very depth of human desire and conflict heightened by the end of the world. Meanwhile, they also serve as a cautionary tale about how humanity is still too fragile and vulnerable in the face of global catastrophe.

This list pulls together 20 of the best anime series that portray a thoughtful and innovative portrait of civilization’s ultimate fall. These series are renowned for their character development, jaw-dropping animation, and the potential of storytelling within the dystopian genre.

20 God Eater (2015)

Before the anime released, God Eater was a series of Playstation Portable games. Set in 2071, humanity is almost extinct because massive monsters known as “Aragami” have wreaked havoc on land. To defeat them, humans form an elite force of fighters equipped with “God Arcs,” which are basically the only weapon that can kill an Aragami. The central character of the anime is Lenka Utsugi, a teenager who wields the most impressive God Arc, one that can morph from a huge blade to a gun and back.

Once three or four episodes in, it becomes obvious just how incredible the series is. Made as a complement (and compliment) to its source material, the anime boasts unbelievably beautiful and fluid animation. It also features some dynamic action sequences and an exceptional sound work that makes even the horrifying and bloody scenes more delightful than ever. God Eater also stresses deeper themes of teamwork, found family and hope, which is rarely seen in other post-apocalypse anime tales.

Stream God Eater on Crunchyroll

19 Ergo Proxy (2006)

After a massive ecological disaster consumed all of Earth and its population and made it inhabitable, humanity was left with nothing but the domed city of Romdo. Now that life outside these domes is impossible, humans create humanoid-like robots named “Auto-Reivs” to help them in their day-to-day activities. But technology is never without its disadvantages, and when these robots begin to contract a virus that gives them self-awareness, they go rogue. And now it is the responsibility of Inspector Re-l Mayer to investigate the matter and contain it.

Related: 35 Greatest R-Rated Adult Anime Series of All Time

The anime’s overarching post-apocalyptic narrative acts as a background for its top-notch psychological storytelling. By using groundbreaking visuals and a series of complicated and traumatized characters, it poses questions about humanity’s race to contain what is perhaps the uncontainable — artificial intelligence. The dystopian setting of Ergo Proxy genuinely enhances the overall vibe, and the haunting score makes it a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

Stream Ergo Proxy on Crunchyroll

18 Girls’ Last Tour (2017)

In a world that slowly loses all signs of life without any explanation, two young girls, Chito and Yuuri, break the silence by traveling through empty streets on their Kettenkrad motorbike. While foraging for food and amenities in the vast snowy wastelands together, they ponder the meaning of life and indulge in playful as well as philosophical activities.

A rather light-hearted adventure, Girls’ Last Tour takes you to a desolate city but never reveals what caused the ruin. Which is why the anime’s minimal aesthetic is so impactful. While several other series focus on action, this one chooses to explore the friendship between two girls, and their curiosity about the world around them. The air of mystery is thick throughout, but nothing bad ever happens. Overall, Girls’ Last Tour is about finding light even in dystopia.

Stream Girls’ Last Tour on Prime Video

17 School-Live! (2015)

Yuki Takeya is a fun-loving high school senior who looks forward to seeing her friends and spending time at the School Living Club. Consisting of Yuki, a bunch of other girls, and the club dog, this place protects the girls from a horrifying truth — the world outside the school walls is overrun by zombies. The girls have taken up residence on campus, but with Yuki facing dire side effects of the situation, it gets harder to survive.

School-Live! proves that anime as a medium is truly exceptional by taking a well-worn genre and injecting new life into it. Behind its adorable characters and cute animation lies a brilliant plot about zombie-horror and visceral action. But the most remarkable aspects of the series are the plot twists that delightfully blindside viewers.

Stream School-Live! on HIDIVE

16 Trinity Blood (2005)

Released in 2005, Trinity Blood takes place after Armageddon. The event was not only riotous and devastating, but it also paved the way for vampires to exist alongside humans. The world becomes divided in two factions, the vampires under Methuselah and the humans under the Vatican Papal State. There are attempts to smooth things out, despite the tensions between the two groups. At the center of it all is priest Abel Nightroad, a formidable vampire slayer working for the Vatican.

Back when it aired, Trinity Blood was appreciated for its gorgeous art and intricate world-building. But few choose to agree that the storyline of the anime is very underrated as far as post-apocalyptic stories are considered. It stands out for its perfect balance of action as well as thoughtful character development, regardless of it being about humans and vampires. Abel, the main character, is a charming and complex protagonist who represents both factions in a way with his clever narrative.

Stream Trinity Blood on Crunchyroll

15 Guilty Crown (2011)

After the Apocalypse Virus spreads across Japan, several people are found dead, and the survivors are in total disarray. Seeing this, the United Nations sends the GHQ to maintain order and quarantine people. A rebellion starts among certain factions of Japan to regain its lost independence. Amid it all, a seventeen-year-old Shuu Ouma finds himself a target because of his exceptional power to extract “Voids” from other people’s psyche.

The early 2010s were when anime was seeing a surge in post-apocalypse narratives. Had it not been for its phenomenal production value and elaborate world-building, Guilty Crown could have easily flown under the radar. Thankfully for fans, the teen drama/action spectacle intrigued many. Despite the use of clichéd tropes and lack of emotive character development, the series remains a must-watch in the genre.

Stream Guilty Crown on Crunchyroll

14 Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)

Neon Genesis Evangelion is the best cyberpunk anime out there. It helps that the anime has a compelling story where a cataclysmic event leads to celestial beings called Angels invading Earth. To salvage whatever is left, humans forms a secret organization, NERV, and they use giant mechas called Evangelions to fight the massive aliens. 14-year-old Shinji Ikari is coerced into piloting Evangelion Unit-01, a new robot.

Praised for subverting mecha anime tropes through its emotionally complex characters, Neon Genesis Evangelion is filled with beautiful monologues and experimental animation techniques. The series also excels in its monster design, where the Angels appear in the unique and phenomenal forms. Its cryptic and unsatisfying ending has continued to fuel discussions for years. Overall, the haunting themes and iconic visuals make it extremely entertaining.

Stream Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix

13 Made in Abyss (2017)

In a mysterious and giant abyss surrounded by perilous lands lies several relics, charms and fortunes. Even though no one has come out alive, the abyss draws divers in search of fresh discoveries all the time. Riko is a young girl whose mother reached the deepest corners of this place, but went missing. Riko is determined to find her, so she befriends a mysterious robot named Reg and descends into the forbidden chasm.

Related: 10 Anime Series That Are Highly Realistic

The mystery factor in this show is dialed up to a solid 11. Made in Abyss manages to win the hearts of its viewers through the compelling questions provoked. Whether it is the mystery around the origin of the abyss or the brave characters involved, the series is a beautifully crafted gem — and highly bingeable.

Stream Made in Abyss on HIDIVE

12 Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (2013)

With all the modern-day talk about leaving Earth to form a colony elsewhere, but it is Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet that actually explores the idea — though superficially. Now that humanity has achieved the highest level of technology, it’s possible to travel across planets and keep pet robots. But with the prosperity comes a significant threat — strange creatures called Hideauze, who wage an all-out interstellar war. 16-year-old lieutenant Ledo of the Galactic Alliance leads the battle.

Despite its flashy plot, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet is actually fun and lighthearted. The characters get their own fish-out-of-water stories where they’re mistaken, betrayed, and expected to fight back. The oceanic visuals as well as intergalactic enemies make for compelling tools to enhance the narrative. Overall, it is a fascinating sci-fi anime.

Stream Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet on Hulu

11 Revisions (2019)

Set in a futuristic Tokyo where Shibuya City is ravaged by gigantic mechanical monsters, Revisions tells the story of a high school student named Daisuke Dojima. As a child, he was told a prophecy that stated he’d become the only one to protect people when a grave adversity befell the world. With a robot suit on and a pink-haired girl by his side, Daisuke must fight back and restore Shibuya to its original state.

Revisions is among the few anime that aren’t based on a manga or a video game. Having no source material means having nothing to compare the story to for how it was adapted. Directed by Gorō Taniguchi and animated by Shirogumi, the series is a true science-fiction thriller at heart, and its seamless CGI animation allows the main character to achieve the unthinkable.

Stream Revisions on Netflix

10 Dr. Stone (2019)

The world, especially the city of Tokyo, was thriving before a mysterious phenomena turned all of it into stone. 3700 years later, high-schooler Taiju is revived in modern-day Japan, where civilization is almost non-existent. He encounters a familiar face in Senku, his genius science-loving friend from school who has a scheme to rebuild civilization from scratch. Using their knowledge to make fire, tools and more, the pair try to achieve the impossible.

So far, the post-apocalypse narrative has only ever served fans of action, thrills, and pure entertainment. But Dr. Stone steers away from the ordinary, and received a lot of praise for making education cool — the main subjects being physics and chemistry. The anime takes two heartwarming heroes, puts them in the heart of a petrified world, and forces them to tackle it using real-world principles of science.

Stream Dr. Stone on Crunchyroll

9 Gurren Lagann (2007)

In a post-apocalyptic world threatened by humanoid “beastmen” who spread terror on the remaining Earth with the help of their giant robotic suits, Gurren Lagann takes viewers underground, where humans have set up isolated villages to stay out of harm’s way, below the surface. Simon and Kamina were born and raised underground, but their dreams of visiting the surface lead them to make strange discoveries and unlock phenomenal powers.

Once again, Gainax manages to craft an epic anime that blazed its way into the hearts of fans. Whether it is the subtle moments of humor or the blood-rush of watching battles buzzing with energy, the series can shake your bones. But most impressive is the jaw-dropping scale of production and the character development, which is both grand and inspirational.

Stream Gurren Lagann on Hulu

8 Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song- (2021)

The possibility of artificial intelligence taking over the world and controlling humanity has been explored several times on television. But never is it shown that the clock is turned back on this grave danger. Directed by Shinpei Ezaki, Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song- presents such a scenario, and bets everything on an experiment. It introduces us to Vivy, an AI assistant and a songstress who is helpful, harmless, and honest.

Related: The 15 Strongest Women in Anime, Ranked

Genuinely profound and thought-provoking, Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song- takes animation’s ability to create rich worlds to brand-new heights. While the action and sci-fi mysteries are a major draw, it is the philosophical ponderings through the eyes of Vivy that are the most engaging and emotionally stirring. The anime shines light on AI and its scope with solid storytelling.

Stream Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song- on Crunchyroll

7 Heavenly Delusion (2023)

Fifteen years ago, a massive disaster left Tokyo destroyed and in ruins. Now that the land was depopulated, a band of mysterious creatures roamed the land. Civilization found the means to thrive in an isolated facility, where children were given the best possible treatment and kept protected from the outside world. Maru and Kiruko are two survivors outside the facility walls, searching for the supposed “heaven.”

The most recent anime on this list, Heavenly Delusion is a poised and tender series that is sometimes overwhelming. Fans of HBO’s The Last Of Us will find certain similarities in the basic plot, where two reluctant strangers must bend together looking for a safe place. The series’ complex characters and enigmatic visuals deepen its quality and ultimately make it bingeworthy. One of the best anime series to come out in 2023, Heavenly Delusion is one fans adore.

Stream Heavenly Delusion on Hulu

6 Trigun (1998)

Based on the manga series written and illustrated by Yasuhiro Nightow, Trigun follows an outlaw named “Vash the Stampede.” Notorious for destroying entire cities and anyone who stands in his way, Vash has a $60-billion double dollar bounty on his head. Despite his reputation, Vash is actually a big ol’ softie, who protects human life and faces the seedy criminal underbelly in No Man’s Land alone.

Releasing the same year as Cowboy Bebop and being overshadowed by the latter’s widespread popularity, Trigun ended up underseen and underrated. The series helped pave the way for the “space western” genre in anime and remains highly regarded for doing so. Vash is one of anime’s most beloved antiheroes, too. From its intricate exploration of virtues and morals to the mind-blowing shootouts and explosive action sequences, Trigun wins by crafting 26 unforgettable episodes.

Stream Trigun on Crunchyroll

5 Black Bullet (2014)

It is ironic how Black Bullet’s narrative is set in 2021, and it revolves around a virus named “Gastrea,” which has infected humans and turned them into deadly monsters. Tokyo has barricaded civilians within a wall. The virus has also given birth to “Cursed Children,” which are basically females who carry small traces of virus in their blood, but instead of mutating, it grants them superhuman abilities, which they use to rival the monsters.

Having an entire team of female characters as main protagonists is what Black Bullet wins the most points for. The series outshines its use of the traditional vampire/zombie fare by adding depth, emotion, and imagination to it. Rentaro and Enju are the main duo that embark on perilous missions, indulging in combat and showcasing resilience.

Black Bullet is currently not available to stream or rent

4 Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (2016)

Wit Studio is known for creating the most visceral anime series ever. The same technique elevates Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress from a “good” series to an absolutely epic one. During the industrial revolution, a virus outbreak turned humans into zombie-like creatures, where one bite from the infected would turn the other too. Survivors have built an impenetrable wall on the island of Hinomoto, where Ikoma has built a weapon that can end the Kabane once and for all.

One of the most exhilarating post-apocalyptic series out there, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress thrills the audiences with its pulse-pounding action sequences and the perfect aesthetic. As the main character, Ikoma is both a goofball and a wizened man. His capacity for winning in the most dangerous situation and finding hope in the bleakest of all hours is what unifies the narrative into a stirring one.

Stream Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress on Prime Video

3 Seraph of the End (2015)

More revenge-oriented than survivalist drama, Seraph of the End starts when a mysterious virus has killed all of Earth’s population over the age of 13. What’s left are children, who are enslaved by power-hungry vampires. Among the survivors are two boys named Yuuichirou and Mikaela Hyakuya who plan a rebellion. But when one of them dies, the other is fueled by revenge.

Related: 10 Anime Series That Blend Multiple Genres

The brutal world of the dark fantasy manga written by Takaya Kagami and illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto comes to jarring life under the sublime animation by Wit Studio. Its Gothic-infused supernatural setting paired with the characters’ ambiguous morality constructs an immersive viewing experience. Moreover, the gorgeous action sequences across two seasons really makes it one of the best anime of all time.

Stream Seraph of the End on Hulu

2 High School of the Dead (2010)

Does it ever get old seeing teens fight their way out of a zombie apocalypse? High School of the Dead focuses on the onset of a mysterious outbreak that transforms humans into flesh-hungry monsters. As the zombies enter the premises of a high school, Takashi Kimuro and Rei Miyamoto are among the teenagers who must fight to survive while also trying to avoid getting infected.

The plot of High School of the Dead is subtle and unoriginal, but the treatment it gets from the animators makes it extraordinary. The series has a perfect blend of tense action sequences as well as lighthearted moments between a brilliant ensemble of characters. The zombie mayhem is over-the-top, but entertaining. Sure, the extreme fan service stirred some debate, but it did nothing to diminish the anime’s value.

Stream High School of the Dead on Hulu

1 Attack on Titan (2013)

As one of the greatest and most popular anime series of all time, Attack on Titan barely needs an introduction. Its post-apocalyptic premise is formed by the attack of gigantic humanoids called Titans who begin devouring people one after the other, leaving the rest to scurry behind a towering wall that keeps the giants out. But when a Colossal Titan breaches the wall, the humans fight the ultimate fight to death, with Eren participating in the major struggle.

The massive scale of production of Attack on Titan stunned millions of fans. Its phenomenal storytelling was paired with astounding world-building, perfectly complex characters, and layers of mysteries. Moreover, the animation techniques used to create the carnivorous giants as well as the breathtaking battles is nothing short of a crowning achievement in the medium.

Stream Attack on Titan on Crunchyroll

For more anime recommendations, check out this video on the best anime series that are highly realistic:

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