15 Best Steampunk Anime Series & Movies Ever Made

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Steampunk tends to exist in a mold of 19th and 20th century industrial powered Europe improved by modern day tech.

However there are some works that break the mold, unique in their own rights, but still very much steampunk.

The same can be said for anime series which place themselves under the steampunk genre. And there’s a lot to choose from!

This list covers a whole bunch of awesome series and should set you on the right path to some steampunk-y good times.

15. Metropolis

Metropolis Animated Movie

Metropolis is one of those movies that doesn’t fully fit the steampunk mold.

The story, very loosely based on the 1949 manga by Osamu Tezuka (also known as the “Father of Manga”) is set in a futuristic world similar to 1920s America.

Unlike the real 1920s, the technology evolved to produce robots who coexist with people.

But not so peacefully, as the robots are being discriminated against.

A class war, an existential crisis,and a lovely jazz soundtrack make this film an interesting steampunk blend to check out.

 

14. Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden Anime Series

This series is set in a post World War I country.

Violet was a soldier who lost both of her arms in the line of duty. She is ambiguously human, as we question the possibility of her being a humanoid or if she is just a girl terribly affected by war.

Whichever case it is, this is a touching story of a soldier trying to integrate herself back into a society where she doesn’t need to fight anymore.

 

13. Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind)

Kaze No Tani No Nausicaa Scene Screenshot

It is unavoidable that a Ghibli movie would make it onto a list of best anime (spoiler alert: several listed below).

Nausicaa takes place 1000 years after the collapse of industrial civilization.

And as such, it presents us with a new twist on the steampunk genre.

It’s not set during the industrial revolution, but rather it shows the catastrophical aftermath of it.

In a world threathened by the Sea of Decay and a humanity that’s clearly dwindling, we get to see Nausicaa’s chase for knowledge that could save humanity set on the backdrop of everyone else’s fear that breeds the desire to destroy.

 

12. Kaiketusu Jouki Tanteidan (Steam Detectives)

Kaiketusu Jouki Tanteidan Anime Trailer

An anime with steam in it’s name has to be steampunk.

And that is certainly true for Steam Detectives.

In the London-like Steam City, all technology is powered by steam. And because of it the city is often covered in mist. Nice ambiance!

An interesting bunch of bad guys use this cover to commit evil deeds, and the one who fights them is Narutaki, a child detective, with the help of his two assistants, Ling Ling, a nurse, and her Megamaton Goriki, a steam powered robot.

A fun mix of the detective crime genre overlapping a steampunk vibe.

 

11. Princess Principal

Princess Principal Japanese Anime Preview

In the 20th century, Albion (a different England) decided to take over all the resources of “Cavorite“ to make an Air Fleet.

And with this Albion becomes the most powerful country in the world.

After internal conflict, the country was divided by a wall into the Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

The internal war, continued in secret, is now led by spies. The Princess who was supposed to be replaced by a spy, Ange, makes a deal to work with them in order to become a Queen afterwards.

Five girls, in a strange twist on the mahou shojo genre, work together as spies while attending the prestigious Queen Mayfair school.

One heck of an interesting watch.

 

10. Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee)

Tegami Bachi Clip

Tegami Bachi or Letter Bees are couriers who, with their “dingos“ (bodyguards) traverse the dangerous land to deliver letters.

All while fighting against Gaichuu, metal armored insects which are attracted to human hearts.

The story is set in an uknown land called AmberGround which is only weakly illuminated by an artificial light, otherwise set in perpetual darkness.

We follow the adventure of Lag Seeing, a boy who was once a letter to be delievered by Gauche, a Letter Bee.

Afterwards Lag decides to become just like Gauche and join in to help. During this time Gauche ends up lost, and Lag swears that he will do everything to bring his heart back.

 

9. Samurai 7

Samurai 7 Sneak Peek

Samurai 7 presents another twist on the steampunk genre.

Based loosely on the Seven Samurai by the infamous Akira Kurosawa, the story is set in traditional Japan.

Which differs from the generally used European setting and makes this quite an interesting watch.

After the end of a war, poor villagers suffer from Nobuseri bandits which are samurai that have merged themsleves with robots to become more powerful.

The only ones that can stop them are, of course, other samurai… of the non-robot kind.

If you like swordfighting, especially between giant robots and samurais, then this anime is a must-see.

 

8. Fishigi no Umi no Nadia (Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water)

Fishigi No Umi No Nadia Steampunk Japanese Anime

This series is inspired by the works of Jules Verne, one of the pillars of steampunk literature.

The story is set in an alternate universe in the 19th century and follows a girl Nadia, who doesn’t know where she comes from, and Jean, an inventor who helps her escape the thieves who are trying to steal her blue pendant.

They are rescued by Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus (the names are taken straight from the Verne novels) and go on to fight the forces that are trying to take over the world.

Adventure and intrigue abound in The Secret of Blue Water.

 

7. Hauru no Ugoku Shiro (How’s Moving Castle)

Hauru No Ugoku Shiro Fantasy Film

Howl’s Moving Castle is a mix of both magic and steampunk.

And I’d imagine most hardcore anime fans have seen this many times over.

Howl’s Castle itself runs on an ingenius replacement for coal, fire produced by the demon Calcifer.

Hayao Miyazaki’s favorite creation follows the adventures of Howl, Sophie, and an eclecit group of characters.

All of them go through thick and thin and come out the otherend as a family.

Even through hardships, the movie never makes you too sad, always keeping a positive outlook of a life worth living.

 

6. Steamboy

Steamboy - Animated Action Film

“Steamboy” is the epitome of steampunk.

Set in 19th century England, the story deals with the struggle inventors have between profit and morals.

Ray’s father and grandfather had found the most pure water to improve steam engines.

However their opinions differedover time. And Ray, as a young inventor himself, is forced to choose the right path amongst the greediness of most of the people around them.

 

5. Last Exile

Last Exile Anime Series Preview

On a world reminiscent of Europe during the Industrial Revolution, two vanship couriersstruggle for survival.

However this isn’t the only struggle we witness across this anime.

Two opposing sides, Disith and Anatoray, declare war. This is overlooked by the seeming neutral third party the Guild and descends into chaos.

These two struggles intertwine when the two orphans take up an important mission that leads them to the safest place on earth: a battleship Silvana.

Full of betrayals, new alliences, and deep secrets, this anime will keep your interest in it’s search for the mysterios Exile.

 

4. Kotetsujo no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress)

Kotetsujo No Kabaneri Drama And Comedy Anime

During the Industrial Revolution, an outbreak ofan unknown virus occuredthat turned people into zombies.

Ikoma, who realizes that humanity is slowly turning into monsters by killing and sacrificing other humans out of fear, gets infected. Talk about a rough start!

However his strong desire to not run anymore and his quick thinking stop the infection before it reaches his brain and he becomes a Kabaneri.

But how will he handle the hordes of steampunk zombies? Only one way to find out!

 

3. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Episode Screenshot

FMA Brotherhood continues to be a fan favorite for very good reason.

Set after the European Industrial revolution, this story follows two brothers Edward and Alfonse, who are alchemists on a quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone.

The reboot differs from the original anime by being an almost 1:1 adaptation of the manga.

And many fans prefer it because of that.

But if you don’t mind the fact that the original sets off on it’s own path, why not watch both? They are sincerely both amazing animes with a deep steampunk atmosphere.

 

2. Shisha no Teikoku (The Empire of Corpses)

Shisha No Teikoku - Anime Series Clip

In the past of this anime we find Viktor Frankenstein, who managed to create “The One”to reanimate a corpse who could speak, who could feel, who had a soul.

This is getting heavy very fast.

In 19th century England, reanimated corpses carry the economy on their shoulders.

However they are soulless puppets who do what they are programmed to do.

John Watson is a doctor who reanimates the corpse of his friend Friday, in an attempt to reconstruct Viktor’s “The One” and prove that there is a soul in these creatures.

He sets off on a journey to find Viktor’s notes, but finds a lot more than he bargained for.

I won’t spoil too much but once you start this you won’t be able to stop!

 

1. Tenku no Shiro Rapyuta (Laputa: Castle in the Sky)

Tenku No Shiro Rapyuta Fantasy Adventure Film

Ghibli movies dominate the lists of fan favorites across many genres.

So it comes as no surprise that it tops this list too.

Castle in the Sky is a wonderful bag of stunning imagery, from the steam-powered cities and ingeniously creative aircrafts(there needs to be an honorable mention for the fly inspired aircrafts of the pirates) to the wonderful magic of the flying castle Laputa.

This anime deserves the first spot for being a wonderful adventure that takes us on a steam powered rollercoster of emotions.

The actual animation quality is also top-notch so there’s a lot to love here.

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