In the 22nd century, the justice system has changed. The Sibyl System now determines the threat level of each citizen by examining their mental state for criminal intent. This has become known as their Psycho-Pass. Once criminal intent has been identified, Inspectors like Akane Tsunemori, are in charge of subjugating them. However, this tough job is not without dangers. This is why Inspectors are paired with Enforcers, like Shinya Kougami, latent criminals with just the right amount of psychopathy to keep other criminals in their place.
Although widely agreed to take a downward turn in the second season, Psycho-Pass was widely lauded as Ghost in the Shell come again. If you are interested in dark cyberpunk stories, look no further.
For Fans of Dystopian Future
After a series of bloody wars, humanity retreated into six city-states. However, while everything seemed peaceful and perfect to the elite of these cities, the poor suffered. One day, Shion, a resident of the elite, encountered Nezumi, a fugitive from outside the utopia. After taking him in, Shion and his family were forced from their home and now learn the ugly side of their society.
In both worlds, you have a society that is seen as perfect, like in No. 6, or seeks to be perfect, like in Psycho-Pass. However, of course, things are not what they seem and there is actually a series of dark secrets buried underneath the surface. The difference between these two is that No. 6 maintains a light sort of color tone on its dark world while Psycho-Pass actively tries to be dark in all things.
Heat Guy J
In the city of Judoh, the Bureau of Urban Safety created the Special Services Division to keep the ever-busy crime syndicates suppressed. Consisting of Daisuke Aurora and an android named J, they both give crime in their city little room to breathe.
Needless to say, both shows are about police officers foiling crime in a city that has gone to shit. However, while crime is suppressed because of the system in Psycho-Pass, in Heat Guy J, the detectives are put in place because crime is so rampant. Both shows also deal with somewhat augmented humans, but Heat Guy J more so because J is an actual android.
Witch Hunter Robin
The world is filled with witches living low key among the population. With powers like ESP, mind control, and telekinesis, they are fiercely powerful. While many go undetected, the STN-J is responsible for capturing witches alive and turning them in for study in order to learn why they become witches in the first place. In order to aid in their investigation and replace the member they just lost, a witch named Robin from Italy is sent to aid them, much to the chagrin on the normal humans on the squad.
Witch Hunter Robin may seem like a slightly strange choice to compare with Psycho-Pass, but both series are about a group of people that are in charge of subjugating a group of people that are deemed different. While Witch Hunter Robin doesn’t show much advanced technology until the end, it does also have that semi-cyberpunk feel to the otherwise similarly dark world.
For Fans of Cyberpunk
The domed city of Romdo is the last bastion of civilization, Inside, humans are assisted by AutoReiv androids in their daily life. However, when the AutoReivs start going haywire, Re-l is sent to investigate. Elsewhere, an immigrant called Vincent Law is blamed for the virus causing the AutoReivs to go haywire. Through circumstance, the pair of forced together and strike out into the wasteland looking for answers.
In both worlds, you have a cyberpunk setting where humanity is overly reliant on technology in their daily lives and use it to further push the boundaries. However, amidst this, Ergo Proxy and Psycho-Pass are about two main characters that develop an increasing sense of self-awareness that alienates them from their otherwise oblivious peers.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
In the future, mankind is now in the business of replacing flesh with technology that allows for greater physical and cybernetic abilities. Unfortunately, even criminals can take advantage of this technology, and it is up to independent police unit Section 9 to deal with them.
When people aren’t saying Psycho-Pass is a better version of Minority Report, they are saying that it is a worse version of Ghost in the Shell. Or rather, it is the closest cyberpunk masterpiece that you will get to Ghost in the Shell. Both series are about organizations dedicated to stopping crime with a series of technology, but so much more important than the plot is the superb visuals that enhance it.
As an orphan that made his name as a street fighter, Ichise finds his way of life crushed when an angry promoter takes an arm and a leg. Before he dies, he is rescued by a scientist that uses him as a test subject. With new limbs at his disposal and a new mysterious girl that can tell the future at his side, he realizes the city is on the brink of destruction, and only he can save it.
The world is dark and full of cruelty – that’s the simplest way to put what Texhnolyze and Psycho-Pass in common. You get a vaguely futuristic city that has the advance technology, but it has only served to make things more terrible. However, both shows also come with some superb plot twists and engaging characters.
For Fans of Cool Anti-Heroes
In the year 2071, humanity has all but left Earth behind as it colonized several different planets. To keep the peace in the galaxy, the Inter Solar System Police established outlaw bounty hunters, or Cowboys. Jet Black and Spike Spiegel are two such bounty hunters, but ones with poor luck. As their crew grows with other misfits, so too do their misfortunes.
The similarities between these two series ultimately lie in their character, specifically the main characters. Spike and Shinya are both super slick, super cool anti-heroes that feature dark pasts and attitudes to match. They also both have white haired antagonists that are both kind of crazy, yet quite bishounen. However, you also have the whole noir theme to the settings in common as well.
Ten years after the Bubble War, an ever-widening gap separates the rich and the poor. Tokyo is now a city for the wealthy to satisfy their pleasures, and a city where ex-war photographer Saiga ends up. Infiltrating a club in Roppongi for an investigation, he is caught and brought before a woman in the middle of a ritual. His contact with this woman awakens a strange power in him – the ability to make things explode when photographed.
Generally I don’t like to use this term, but Psycho-Pass and Speed Grapher have the same “feel” to them. You have these futuristic worlds where advanced technology is obviously present, but neither series feels more than a skip away from reality. Yet, you still have this shroud of darkness about the city and unwilling heroes there to try to do something about it.
In the future, humans have discovered the fourth dimension, or Dimension W, which is supposedly a source of infinite energy. Harnessing this energy in coils, the New Telsa Energy corporation has now set up a monopoly on its sale. Ex-soldier Kyouma Mabuchi is skeptical of this energy and still drives a gas-powered car for his job to hunt down illegal coils.
In both series, you have primarily one organization that has a firm grip on the entire population. This means that if anyone goes against what they deem the norm, they are punished for it. Then, of course, you have cool older anti-hero main characters that don’t necessarily always play by the rules.
Did we miss any more potential anime recommendations for Psycho-Pass? Tell the weary fans what they are in the comments section below.