The Best Anime Films Like Attack on Titan – and Where to Watch Them

With its blend of science fiction and folklore, Attack on Titan creates a wholly unique dark fantasy tale. At the same time, it keeps one foot firmly planted in reality by drawing inspiration from real-life conflict. Like so many anime and manga, Attack on Titan exists because of the ramifications of World War II. The horrors seen during this time left the world reeling as man's capacity for total destruction was realized. It changed humanity, particularly Japanese society, and its people continue to express how it affects them and their loved ones through many mediums, including anime.

The final arc of Attack on Titan will be released early next year, much to the excitement of fans who are ready to see what Eren Yeager and the others have in store. For fans who don't want to start a new series but are looking for entertainment in the meantime, here are five excellent anime films with similar themes.

Promare: A War Against Flame-Throwing Mutants

promare anime

Set 30 years after a cataclysmic disaster known as the Great World Blaze, Promare follows the firefighting group Burning Rescue in the city of Promepolis. Their main goal is to extinguish the threat of the Burnish, a species of flame-throwing mutant monsters responsible for the Great World Blaze. Conflict breaks out when a new horde of these violent mutants appears, and the Burning Rescue must act fast to stop a repeat of the past.

Despite humanity's impending climate crisis, Promare's characters attack their challenges head-on and with zeal as the film's upbeat tone propels it forward. From the energetic soundtrack to the brilliant color scheme, viewers are sure to leave feeling like they can accomplish anything.

This trippy film was produced by Trigger (Kill la Kill, Darling in the Franxx) and XFLAG in 2019. It was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi (Star Wars: Visions) with the screenplay penned by Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Lagann), character designs by Shigeto Koyama and 3D animation by Sanzigen.

Promare is available for streaming on HBO Max and to rent on YouTube, Google Play, and Prime Video.

Blame!: A New World Cohabited By Humans & Cyborgs

In the future, human civilization has progressed to the point that all facets of society have merged with technology, resulting in The City: a vast artificial structure inhabited by humans and cyborgs. While on the surface this appears to solve all of man's problems, it also leaves people vulnerable to -- and in the absence of -- technology. Blame! is not so much about closing the door on hardship as it is about opening up another Pandora's box.

Conflict emerges when a virus causes the system to spiral out of control, culminating in a multi-leveled metropolitan structure that copies itself in all directions indefinitely. Having lost control of the city, a cyborg defense system seeks to eliminate all humans. This leads the protagonist Killy on a quest for the Net Terminal Gene, the genetic key to the "Netsphere," The City's computerized control network.

2017's Blame! is a Netflix original film produced by Polygon Pictures (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and was adapted from the manga written and illustrated by Tsutomu Nihei from 1997-2003. Blame! features some early Y2K vibes and is a great addition to the cyberpunk genre.

Blame! is available for streaming exclusively on Netflix.

Genocidal Organ: A World Run By Surveillance Governments

Genocidal Organ anime movie

Genocidal Organ starts off with a major bang: war erupts and the world is devastated by a homemade nuclear bomb. Like Attack on Titan, powerful countries have become total surveillance governments, while the underdeveloped world has been wracked by genocides. An enigmatic American of the "first world" appears to be responsible for the ongoing suffering of those in the "third world." Clavis Shepherd, an intelligence operative, courses through the world's wreckage to discover the monster that bears this heart of darkness — a genocidal organ.

Manglobe began production of Genocidal Organ but halted in 2015, subsequently filing for bankruptcy. It was later finished by Geno Studio (Star Wars: Visions - "Lop & Ochō") and distributed by Toho Animations (Jujutsu Kaisen). It is based on Project Itoh's debut novel of the same name, published in 2007. Set in the real-world city of Sarajevo, Genocidal Organ draws inspiration from the Bosnian War and the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The city was shut off from the outside world for 1,425 days, which is the longest siege of a major city in modern history.

Genocidal Organ is available to stream on Crunchyroll and available to rent on Vudu.

Grave of the Fireflies: A Tear-Jerking Ghibli Masterpiece

Grave of the Fireflies begins in Kobe, Japan during World War II as a firebombing destroys the home of teen Seita and his younger sister Setsuko. They are forced to leave permanently and move in with their distant aunt, and tensions run high as rations shrink and the war advances. Grave of the Fireflies, the most realistic film of the bunch, is a tear-jerker that will leave the audience with a sense of gratitude for what they have.

This 1988 film was animated by Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away) and its only anime to be written and directed by Isao Takahata (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya). It was inspired by a short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka, which recounts his experience of World War II while taking some creative liberties.

Grave of the Fireflies is available for purchase on Amazon, and is available to rent on VUDU and Apple TV.

Wicked City: Where Humans & Demons Cohabit in Secret

Wicked City features the human and demon worlds cohabiting in secret, with a mysterious police organization known as the Black Guard securing the Black World. Few humans are aware of this other dimension populated by superhuman demons. Set in the late 20th century, Wicked City feels eerily prophetic with the Black World resembling a physical manifestation of the Dark Web. Like Blame!, it shares apprehensions about humanity's over-reliance on technology, seeing it as a portal to another world best left alone.

This dark fantasy OVA film was produced by Video Art and Madhouse (Hunter x Hunter) in 1987. It is based on the first book in a six-part novel series of the same name by Hideyuki Kikuchi. Along with the Attack on Titan crowd, fans of cel animation should definitely give Wicked City a watch because its artwork is spectacular.

Wicked City is available to stream for free on Pluto TV.

The Pokemon Anime Almost Had a Bizarrely Dark Ending
About The Author