Anime series have always tried to imagine what the future will look like. Often, these visions of the future have involved commercial space travel, cyborgs, sentient robots, and other concepts that still seem just as outlandish today as they did when they were first conceived. While these descriptions of the future have mostly not come true, others have.
It can be fun to look back at older anime series and see what they got right and wrong about the future. Some have accurately predicted the rise and popularity of certain forms of technology, while others have predicted how humanity reacts to new technology.
10 Cowboy Bebop Predicted Delivery Drones
Cowboy Bebop, the beloved sci-fi action series that’s captivated countless fans of anime and beyond, takes place in a futuristic setting where space travel is the norm. In the episode “Speak Like a Child,” a drone arrives at the Bebop, delivering a mystery package to the crew.
Drone deliveries are being used today, and they offer a quick and driverless method to help people get what they need. Cowboy Bepop aired at the end of the ’90s, predating the widespread use of any drone-powered delivery service.
9 Ghost In The Shell Investigated Tech-Based Crimes
the Ghost in the Shell franchise, including the movies and the series, Stand Alone Complex, focus on technology-based crime. Cyborg law enforcement agent Major Motoko Kusanagi and her team investigate cases of cybercrime and terrorism.
Set in the mid-21st century, the series’ cyberpunk world is far ahead of the real-life modern-day world in terms of technology. Still, the franchise has predicted the ways in which criminals take advantage of technology, especially in instances where advancements happen faster than the law and other institutions can keep up with.
8 Chobits Featured Realistic Androids
Chobits takes place in a reality where human-like personal computers called Persocoms are all the rage. Hideki Motosuwa comes across an abandoned Persocom one day and takes her home, discovering that she’s defective. Naming her Chii, he decides to help her learn about the world.
Having aired in 2002, Chobits predicted the invention of realistic androids. While the lifelike human robots in the real modern-day world may not be as advanced or have human emotions like the ones in Chobitstechnology has certainly come a long way since the series aired.
7 Neo-Human Casshern Envisioned Robot Dogs
Neo-Human Casshernalso known by the name casshan, is an action-adventure sci-fi series that aired in the early 1970s. Set in a world where robots have revolted against their human creators, the series follows an android named Casshern who sets out with his robot dog, Friender, to destroy the robots that threaten humankind.
Neo-Human Casshern and many other sci-fi anime were ahead of their time in their imaginings of dog-like robots. While modern-day canine robots can’t transform into tanks or aircraft like Friender can, they’re still quite realistic and impressive.
6 Serial Experiments Lain Foresaw The Internet’s Effects On Society
Serial Experiments Lain came out in 1998, a time when the internet was just gaining popularity. It imagines a future where society has completely integrated with the internet, called the “Wired.” High schooler Lain Iwakura becomes curious about the Wired after a deceased classmate mysteriously sends a message through it.
The series has predicted many of the effects the internet has had in the real world. For example, Lain develops a distinct personality in the Wired, much like how people behave differently on the internet than they do in reality.
5 Sailor Moon Anticipated Modern Phone Tech
Sailor Moon, the beloved magical girl anime that started airing in the early ’90s, predicted the future with the technology that Sailor Mercury uses. Sailor Mercury is highly intelligent and skilled at utilizing technology to fight against evil. She possesses a tiny computer called the “Super Computer,” which can quickly analyze data and assess situations and enemies.
Today, Sailor Mercury’s Supercomputer doesn’t look too out of place, as it looks almost exactly like a smartphone with a keyboard. With the real-world advancements in phone technology, almost everyone owns a “Super Computer” of their own in the form of a smartphone or laptop today.
4 Megazone 23 Featured Popular Virtual Idols
before Macross Plus‘ virtual idol Sharon Apple, there was Mega Zone 23‘s Eve, who predates the popularity of modern-day virtual idols such as Hatsune Miku. Mega Zone 23, an OVA series that began airing in 1985, is set in the 24th century after Earth has become uninhabitable. Humanity now lives on giant spaceships called Megazones.
Unknown to the public, the singing idol Eve is actually part of a computer program, and her purpose is to surveil the public and keep them ignorant about the true nature of their society.
3 éX-Driver Predicted Self-Driving Cars
éX-Driver is an OVA series that aired in the early 2000s. It’s set in the far-off future where all vehicles are now run by AI. However, AI-powered transportation isn’t without its flaws. éX-Drivers, a group of people who drive non-AI cars, chase down malfunctioning AI vehicles, protecting the members of the public.
The series was ahead of its time with its description of self-driving cars. Today, self-driving cars are a reality, and one day, just like in éX-Driverall forms of transportation might be AI-controlled to eliminate traffic congestion and human-caused accidents.
2 Dragon Ball Z Had The Scouter Long Before Google Glass
Long before Google Glass was conceived, Dragon Ball Z popularized the concept with the scouter, a piece of wearable technology worn by many members of Frieza’s army. Dragon Ball Zone of the most well-loved shonen series to date, first began airing in 1989 and follows the adventures of Goku, a member of the powerful Saiyan race.
When worn, the scouter can assess an opponent’s power level, making it a useful tool for information-gathering. Google Glass uncannily resembles the scouter, leading many to wonder if it was inspired by this fictional wearable computer.
1 .hack//Sign Foresaw Virtual Reality Gaming
While the sci-fi fantasy series .hack//Sign aired back in 2002, it predicted a world where virtual reality gaming is possible. A precursor to Sword Art Online, .hack//Sign foresaw the popularity of VR gaming, even if real-life VR isn’t quite as immersive yet.
The series follows the story of Tsukasa, who wakes up and realizes he’s trapped in a virtual reality MMORPG called The World. Unable to log out, he can’t remember what he was doing before waking up in The Worldand he can feel pain, unlike other players.
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