Survive, Die, or Thrive – Anime Dystopia edition

Here we are again to explore whether we could survive, die, or thrive but this time it is time to explore select anime dystopia scenarios. A dystopia is an imagining of the future that is frightening, disturbing, or undesirable. Dystopia translates as “not-good place” (as in the opposite of a Utopia). The characterization of an anime dystopia can contain dehumanization, environmental disaster, cataclysmic decline of society, and invasion. As you can imagine, these tales harbor dark tones but the heroes of such stories are the ones that fight to restore the world to a better place.

First, we found ourselves trapped in another world. Then later, we went back to school. In this examination of an anime dystopia, I find myself wondering what role in the unsettling future I should play. Stories about dystopias are there to warn us about what *could* go wrong if worst should come to worst. The only way I know to approach this is if I assume the role of one of the protagonists of each anime. The question I must ask is “can I return this world from the edge of oblivion”?

Spoiler: Per usual, there will be scraps of spoilers. I’m trying my best to minimize them as to safeguard the potential wonder for a new watcher. However, it is my belief that the best way to hook someone into a new story is to reveal just enough to whet the appetite. That “tell me more” desire is what I want to stoke with my descriptions.

Anime Dystopia – Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Anime dystopia - Gurren Lagann
Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – Gif: Aniplex

Humanity has taken refuge in subterranean cities. The surface of the planet is desolate. Not to mention, large robots piloted by aliens terrorize those unlucky souls that still live above ground. After finding a robot of his own to pilot, Simon is constantly encouraged by his “big bro” to break free of their underground existence. Then it is battle after battle for existence against the aliens.

Thrive – Piloting a robot and fighting aliens would be a tough life to live. Yet, I’m pinning my survival on the encouragement and support of Kamina. With his enthusiasm, I know I could believe in myself.


Anime Dystopia – Psycho-Pass

Anime dystopia - Psycho-Pass
Anime: Psycho-Pass – Gif: Funimation

This is a world where criminal potentiality is measured with an instantaneous scan and society is controlled by a hive-mind. Prediction isn’t quite the right term. Society is under constant surveillance and those close to “losing” their sanity are arrested or eliminated. Humanity is akin to sheep being led around.

Survive then die – While I don’t like the idea of being a non-thinking follower, I’m certain my psycho-pass number wouldn’t warrant my arrest or elimination. I doubt I’d make a good cop. However, I think I’d come to a different conclusion than the protagonists do, and I’d actively fight the system.


Anime Dystopia – Kill la Kill

Anime Dystopia - Kill la Kill
Anime: Kill la Kill – Gif: Aniplex

Back to a high school but the fact is that the human race is on the brink of ruin. What threatens humanity’s existence – clothes! There’re a few layers of mystery on how we get to the point where clothes are aliens that use humans as an energy source (like a Matrix-esque scenario). Eventually the hero of humanity uses her intense anger to combat the invading aliens!

Die – So the assumption is that I’m a protagonist in this scenario. I’m not sure I could pull off the looks that Ryuko or Nudist Beach use in their fight against the life fibers. At best I could survive in the background but going nude just isn’t in my tool chest.


Anime Dystopia – Darling in the Franxx

Anime dystopia - Darling in the Franxx
Anime: Darling in the Franxx – Gif: Crunchyroll

You’re telling me there are more mechas and now humanity is holed up in giant rolling cities! In this dystopia, humanity is harnessing the power of magma energy to achieve immortality. Not a bad future, huh? Too bad there are giant dragon/dinosaur machines attracted to the magma energy that powers humanoid society. Grown ups trade their ability to procreate for this immortality so the only defenders are children able to pilot mechas in boy/girl pairs.

Survive then die – I want to characterize this much like the Gurren Lagann decision. 002 isn’t as consistent as Kamina, but her abilities are greater. Just having a partner like that would make a significant difference in the fight for humanity’s survival. But in the end, is the enemy just too great to fight off successfully?


These scenarios for anime dystopia are a trip to think about. Where is humanity going? What will happen when we get there? Can we come back from the brink of extinction? Well, let me know what you think in the comment section below. Or connect with me via social media (FacebookInstagramTwitter). I’d love to talk more about these dystopias!


Featured image: Ufotable & Aniplex


The Otaku Antics

Hello there – I’m Steven. I’m some combination of otaku, hikikomori, nerd, weeb, dork, and geek. Within this passion comes a fact that I cannot ignore: I love sharing the things that I obsess over. That’s what I want to write about in these articles. There’s nothing more exciting than getting someone interested in the things I hold dear. I also love dogs and occasionally moonlight as a cosplay handler for some of the most creatively geeky people. I get caught in binge-spirals watching all kinds of wonderful things. But here in this space I want to share a bit of my mania for all things anime, manga, and light novels with you!

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