With the upcoming release of the live-action, Ghost in the Shell movie, Major Motoko Kusanagi is gaining a resurgence of popularity. She’s a sort of cyborg or biological android but this got me thinking: Everyone knows her and most people are familiar with Android 17 and Android 18 in Dragon Ball Z, but what about those lesser known androids who don’t get as much love or attention? They do exist. Here are 5 awesome androids in anime, of whom you may or may not have been aware.
There’s a good chance you’ve never seen Metropolis which was created by Osamu Tezuka and directed by Rintaro in 2001 (and that’s okay.) It draws many inspirations from the 1927 Fritz Lang film, including its namesake. Honestly, including Miyazaki films and Akira, it’s one of the most beautifully crafted anime films that I have ever seen.
Like many things in Metropolis, Pero’s tale is a tragic one. As in, it will rip your heart out, stomp on it a few times, then shove it back in your chest, and potentially stomp on your foot on its way out (that’s actually just the whole movie). In this world, robots, no matter how human they may seem, are meant to serve humans and never be given true names. Pero works with a detective in the film and he accepts the name Pero because it seems more like a pet’s name than a person’s. It’s very adorable and you will fall in love with him and his relationship to the other characters in the narrative. This is one I don’t want to spoil for you because it’s just worth the watch. You need to see it for yourself.
Yuki (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
For anyone who’s seen The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya then they know that it’s an absolutely ridiculous and fun romp of a show with a very serious end of the world/science fiction twist. There are even two ways to watch it (release order vs. order in which the plot makes an inkling of sense).
But arguably one of the best characters, and my personal favorite, is an extraterrestrial supercomputer put into the form of a young school girl named Yuki. Think EDI from Mass Effect. Very intelligent with supernatural strength levels, she is not someone to be trifled with. But she follows the trope of the adorable, quiet, logical girl who has a heart of gold but doesn’t really understand how to emotion, for lack of a better term. She’s pretty cool and real adorable. I mean, just look at her!
Iggy (Ergo Proxy)
Ergo Proxy is a darker anime in tone and fits very much with a Blade Runner-style. It follows an investigator, Re-L and her partner Iggy while they hunt down AutoRievs (androids) who have a virus that allows them to become self-aware. Naturally, there are many android characters you come across through the anime but none of them quite to compare to Iggy (and an honorable mention of the adorable Pino).
Iggy is what it is known as an Entourage AutoRiev. He’s been given a version of the Cogito Virus that allows him to be self-aware and he works very closely with Re-L. His tale is a cautionary one that showcases what can happen when programmed to believe that your owner is your sole purpose for anything in life while also dealing with the complexities of free-will. I won’t spoil where this goes but it’s intrinsically fascinating and definitely worth watching the show for. Also, the show is all about government conspiracies, amazingly flawed characters, and robots. Iggy is one of many reasons to watch.
Growing up, I was a Cardcaptor Sakura fan and later on, I became a Tsubasa fan. What do these have in common? Well, they’re all by the wonderful ladies who call themselves Clamp. As I got more invested in their worlds, I eventually came across Chobits, which was admittedly pretty popular in the anime community in the early to mid-2000s.
The series focuses on a prep school student, Hideki, who discovers the ever-lovable, Chii (so named because she starts off only being able to say one word). Chii is what’s known as a “persocom” or personalized android, supercomputer. Chii is absolutely adorable but it’s a fun, slightly dark, story about an android learning how to navigate the human world and also learning to feel and how to deal with that. It’s a very intriguing story and Chii is a compelling leading lady who questions a lot about herself and who she is.
I’m coming back to Metropolis and it’s because of how fantastic it is and how you really should watch it if you haven’t already. Tima is one of the main characters of the film and really who the plot revolves around. She’s an android made to look like a young girl (the daughter of a rather wealthy character in the movie).
She’s caring, loving, kind, and just trying to escape her life, as well as, figure out her purpose. She, for all intents and purposes, is a young girl. That’s part of what makes the movie so heartbreaking. She’s being hunted by the character Rock, who is basically her brother, and he will stop at nothing to destroy all robots. The plot of the movie has to do with the various parties trying to track her down and either kill her or use her for their own personal gain. Just go watch Metropolis, right now. This is the end of this article. Just watch it!
Do you have any awesome androids you love? Or any fun anime recommendations that we just need to watch?! Tell us all about it in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: IMDb, Madhouse.
Blog Image Credits: Madhouse, Funimation, Sony/Funimation, Madhouse/Funimation.