• Some CGI-only anime are raising the bar for their sub-genre, showing that there shouldn’t be a stigma against this visual approach.
  • “Girls Band Cry” stands out as one of the best CGI anime, showcasing smooth animation and music as its theme.
  • Shows like “Kengan Ashura” use CGI to enhance violence, making the fights more spectacular and engaging for viewers.

There is still a stigma attached to CGI or 3D imagery in anime. Because even now, it still doesn’t quite measure up to the gracefulness and emotion of 2D or hand-drawn animation. Even for the most popular anime like Attack on Titan, CGI sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s why some anime prefer only one way or the other. And just as there are 2D-only anime, there are also 3D-only titles (or mostly 3D).


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While these CGI-only anime aren’t as prominent or as well-recognized as 2D anime, that doesn’t mean they’re not good. In fact, the opposite is true for some titles. These CGI anime not only raise the flag for their own sub-genre and animation style but also prove that there needn’t be too extreme a stigma for such a visual approach.

Updated on June 18, 2024 by Sarah Prado: Having CGI animation is a bit of a risky thing to have in an anime. Some movies or shows have ironically fallen flat because the animation quality was poor and took away from the excitement of watching them. Thankfully, some of them have great quality and have gone on to become some of the best in their genres. A few have gotten the full CGI treatment, but some still have some 2D animation. Either way, their animations are pretty smooth and fluid which makes watching them easy on the eyes. If fans are looking for anime movies or shows with CGI, these are some great picks.

Girls Band Cry
is making waves as one of the
best CGI anime
of all time, and it deserves those accolades. The show is not ranked below as it is still currently airing; however, if somebody is craving a great demonstration of CGI anime and enjoys music as a theme, they should check it out.

23 Appleseed: Ex Machina

Two Special Force Agents’ Partnership Is Tested

Appleseed Ex Machina movie anime Deunan Knute Briareos Hecatonchires

Appleseed: Ex Machina

Release Date
October 20, 2007

Digital Frontier

MyAnimeList Score

Deunan Knute and Briareos Hecatonchires are partners who are members of E.S.W.A.T., an elite special force. Briareos is recovering and Deunan is assigned a new partner until he does. However, her new partner greatly resembles Briareos’ human form and finds out he’s a prototype of new Bioroids that were created without negative emotions. Deunan and Briareos find their partnership tested in ways they didn’t imagine and dark truths about the new Bioroids.

The sequel to the 2004 movie Appleseed. Both movies are great choices for anime fans who love a blend of sci-fi and action. Even though the CGI looks a little outdated, Appleseed Ex Machina still holds up even when compared to modern-day CGI anime.

22 Arpeggio of Blue Steel

A Crew Must Deliver A Deadly Weapon To Give Humanity An Advantage

Arpeggio of Blue Steel anime

  • Release year: 2013
  • Studio: Sanzigen
  • Genre: Sci-fi, action
  • Number of episodes: 13
  • My AnimeList Score: 7.35

Sea levels are at an all-time high and have swallowed most of the land due to global warming. Mysterious sentient warships (known as the Fleet of Fog) appeared and devastated the world’s naval and air forces, preventing humanity from traveling and putting a blockade up. Almost two decades after the blockade was put up, Gunzou Chihaya, a former student of the Japanese National Marine Academy now captain of his own Fog submarine, and his crew are given a mission to deliver a weapon that could give humanity the edge they need to fight back.

Arpeggio of Blue Steel is an excellent choice if fans are looking for a sci-fi show dealing with naval ships with some adventure and action in it. Even though it came out in 2013, the CGI effects still hold up pretty well compared to modern anime.

21 God Eater

A Young Man With A Godly Weapon Becomes The Key To Saving The World

God Eater anime

God Eater

Release Date
July 12, 2015


Number of Episodes

MyAnimeList Score

In the year 2071, humanity is at the edge of extinction after monsters known as the Aragami appeared who can’t be killed by conventional weapons. The only ones that can kill them are divine weapons known as God Arcs that can be wielded by those with Oracle Cells known as God Eaters. Lenka Utsugi is a New-Type God Eater whose unique weapon might be the key to wiping out the Aragami once and for all.

The show starts a little slow but when it picks up, fans are in for a treat. Once the action starts, it doesn’t slow down and has a great blend of fantasy and action to keep viewers entertained.

20 Hi Score Girl

Two Rivals Game Against Each Other And Their Relationship Becomes More

Hi Score Girl anime

Hi Score Girl

Release Date
July 13, 2018

J.C.Staff, SMDE

Number of Episodes

MyAnimeList Score
7.77 (Season 1)

Haruo Yaguchi wants to be a professional gamer, but there’s a problem: it’s 1991, the gaming industry is still relatively new, and no such job exists. But this doesn’t deter Haruo, and he’s a well-respected gamer in the local arcades. However, his confidence is shattered when his female classmate, Akira Oono, defeats him and finds him in a hilarious rivalry with her that might bloom into something more.


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This show is a nice simple watch for romantic comedy fans that’s a nice enemies-to-lovers. Some viewers might even get nostalgic from seeing the arcades and remembering life back in the 90s. If anime fans are looking for a sweet comedy, this show is worth checking out.

19 Blame!

Humanity Fights Back Against The AI That Has Taken Over The World

Blame anime

  • Release year: 2017
  • Studio: Polygon Pictures
  • Genre: Sci-fi, action, drama
  • Number of episodes: 1 (movie)
  • My AnimeList Score: 7.03

Living in a post-apocalyptic world run by machines, Zuru is a young girl who finds herself being hunted by them after she and a group of friends try to find some food. The only survivors are herself and her friend Tae, having been saved by a mysterious man named Killy. Killy reveals that he lives thousands of levels below the city and searches for humans with the Net Terminal Gene. This gene would allow the humans to take back control of the cities and the AI defense programs. Zuru and Tae agree to help him in his mission in hopes of stopping the machines.

Though quite different from the original manga, Blame! still managed to impress fans with its story, characters, and music. It has just about everything sci-fi fans could want in a movie with plenty of action and drama.

18 Gantz: O

The Deceased Must Win A Game To Come Back To Life

Gantz O Masaru Kato Reika Shimohira Anzu Yamasaki


Release Date
October 14, 2016

96 Minutes

Digital Frontier

MyAnimeList Score

Masaru Kato is a high student that dies on the way home after saving someone from getting stabbed by an attacker. He finds himself in a strange afterlife and is told that he and other people must participate in a “game” by killing monsters all around Osaka. Should they fail, there’s no chance of them coming back to life.

The movie doesn’t exactly follow the manga and puts the spotlight on Masaru, who is usually playing second fiddle to his best friend, Kei Kurono (the main character of the series). The changes to the original story are a bit drastic, but the movie’s animation and overall storyline make up for it. Plus, it’s nice to see Masaru get some attention as he is a pretty cool character that many Gantz fans love.

17 Expelled From Paradise

An Agent Must A Find A Deadly Hacker

Expelled From Paradise anime

  • Release year: 2014
  • Studio: Graphinica
  • Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Mecha
  • Number of episodes: 1 (movie)
  • My AnimeList Score: 7.30

The funny thing about CGI is that it fits so much better in sci-fi anime since it’s a relatively “new” technique and tends to produce a futuristic atmosphere. Such is the case for Expelled from Paradise as it combines the big two genres fit for CGI: sci-fi and mecha.

As is the usual case with sci-fi anime that have mechs in them, Expelled from Paradise tells a post-apocalyptic story of Earth. It’s a setting where humanity has left behind their fragile shells and lived as consciousness stored off-planet until some hacker decides to disturb everyone’s peace.

16 Lupin III: The First

Join Lupin And The Gang On Another Heist

Lupin III The First movie Lupin III Daisuke Fujiko Mine Goemon Inspector Zenigata

  • Release year: 2019
  • Studio: TMS Entertainment, Marza Animation Planet
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
  • Number of episodes: 1 (movie)
  • My AnimeList Score: 7.81

“Gentleman Thief” Lupin III returns with his comrades for another action-packed heist. Lupin sets his sights on a rare diary that has the location of a treasure, known as Eclipse, that his grandfather failed to steal. However, Lupin is not the only one after it and finds himself in the middle of a treasure hunt and a group trying to revive the Third Reich.

This movie is a treat for longtime fans of the series and a great introduction for new fans. Fans can expect Daisuke and Goemon to be there to help Lupin out when he’s in a pinch, femme fatale, Fujiko Mine, to be around to cause a little trouble for them, and everyone’s favorite overzealous detective, Inspector Zenigata, trying his best to arrest Lupin and his friends.

15 Kengan Ashura

Fighters Compete For Large Companies

Kengan Ashura cgi anime Ohma Ashura Tokita

Kengan Ashura

Release Date
July 31, 2019

Larx Entertainment

Number of Episodes

MyAnimeList Score
7.44 (Season 1)

In a world where business owners and merchants hire fighters or “gladiators” to fight for their businesses. Fighter, Tokita “Ashura” Ohma is recruited by Nogi Hideki, CEO of the Nogi Group, after defeating the group’s previous fighter. With the meek-mannered Kazuo Yamashita as his manager, Ohma fights his way to the number one spot in the Kengan Annihilation Tournament.

Bloody fantastic fights with smooth CGI, Kengan Ashura is everything fans would want in a boxing-esque anime. Sometimes CGI can be a little distracting and take away from what’s happening, but that’s not the case here. It just enhances the violence, blood splatters, and hits and makes it all the better to watch.

14 Trigun Stampede

Vash The Stampede Is Back In A New Style

Trigun Stampede Vash the Stampede

Trigun Stampede

Release Date
January 7, 2023


Number of Episodes

In Noman’s Land, reporters Meryl and Roberto are on a journey to find the legendary outlaw, Vash the Stampede. Expecting a violent man, they are surprised to see that this “outlaw” is a passive and goofy young man who gets along with almost everyone around him. Sadly, his horrible reputation is thanks to his brother, Millions Knives, who has been causing chaos. With a huge bounty on his head and destruction following, Vash and the reporters set out to stop Knives.

Some fans were a little concerned about this anime being CGI and had mixed feelings about Vash’s new look, but this anime has received positive reviews. Fans of the original anime should give it a chance as Vash is still the same goofy pacifist they all know and love.

13 Promare

A Firefighter Tries To Stop The Leader Of A Fire-Starting Group

Promare anime movie Galo Lio Fotia

Promare (2019)

Release Date
May 24, 2019

112 Minutes


Rotten Tomatoes Score

Thirty years ago, flame-wielding mutants known as Burnish appeared and a large number of people were wiped out. These mutants, the Burnish, have remained in the world and continue to cause chaos wherever they go. Galo is a young man who just became a firefighter and hopes to stop the Burnish group known as Mad Burnish from terrorizing the city. However, their leader, Lio Fotia, reveals to Galo that not all is what it seems.

The movie has some pretty sweet CGI scenes that are full of action and color that’ll leave fans wanting more. This is a perfect choice for fans of Gurren Lagann as it is a little reminiscent of it. Not too surprising since this movie was directed and written by the very same director and writer, Hiroki Imaishi and Kazuki Nakashima.

12 The Duke of Death and His Maid

A Cursed Duke Finds A Way To Break The Curse With His Maid’s Help

The Duke of Death and His Maid The Duke Alice

The Duke of Death and His Maid

Release Date
July 4, 2021


Number of Episodes

MyAnimeList Score
7.61 (Season 1)

The Duke of Death is a young man who was cursed by a witch when he was a child. This curse kills any living thing he touches. After being banished by his mother, the Duke spends his days playing the piano and finding a way to break his curse. Throughout this ordeal, his childhood friend, maid, and the woman he loves, Alice, is by his side to support him.


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This romantic comedy will send viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions from laughing to some tears. With beautiful imagery and animation, this anime is a great pick for romance fans who love having some comedy and drama.

11 Belle

A Former Singer Finds Her Voice Again In An Online Game

Belle anime movie Belle Bell Suzu Naito

Belle (2021)

Release Date
July 16, 2021

124 Minutes

Studio Chizu

Rotten Tomatoes Score

Suzu Naito is a high school student who lost her mother when she was younger and it’s heavily affected her life. From being distant from her father to no longer singing, a hobby she once enjoyed and was very talented at, Suzu’s life is rather unentertaining. Her friend Hiroka introduces Suzu to the popular virtual world of “U” to try and help her get out of her shell. Suzu manages to find her singing voice thanks to the “U” and becomes famous. However, after a player known as The Dragon crashes one of her concerts, Suzu sets out to find out more about him.

Belle might not be a complete CGI anime, but the CGI scenes are beautifully animated and pleasant to watch. It’s not every day that music plays an important role in an anime series or film so it’s nice to see that musicals aren’t completely out of the picture. If fans are looking for an anime film to watch with a great soundtrack or want to see a different spin on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, this one is worth checking out.

10 Captain Harlock

A Captain And His Crew Protect Humanity From Power-Hungry Figures

captain herlock movie

  • Release year: 2013
  • Studio: Toei Animation, Marza Animation Planet
  • Genre: Sci-fi, Action
  • Number of episodes: 1 (movie)
  • My AnimeList Score: 7.32

Captain Harlock is the prettiest CGI anime here since its animation quality rivals that of the Final Fantasy films, but it’s a stronger candidate than those because this anime film is based on a 1970s anime of the same name. Captain Harlock‘s story is then similar to Expelled from Paradise.


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Mankind grew tired of conquering the galaxies, so it was time to return to Earth. However, this retreat quickly became a race and power struggle to see who among the mightiest of the military factions can rule over humanity’s home planet. This forced Earth to enlist an elite group of defenders to stave off the returning power-hungry commanders and at the heart of that defense, force is the titular character himself.

9 Knights of Sidonia

A Young Man Is Forced To Wake Up And Fight Aliens

Knights Of Sidonia anime

Knights of Sidonia

Release Date
April 11, 2014

Polygon Pictures

Number of Episodes

MyAnimeList Score
7.64 (Season 1)

Netflix loves its experiments and Knights of Sidonia is one of those. One can argue that it was handled well compared to the other anime-related titles on the streaming service. Knights of Sidonia is a dramatic and riveting tale in yet again another setting where Earth has been destroyed.

This forced remnants of humanity to live in giant space vessels, typically while in cryo-sleep. That is until an alien race started waking up everyone with hostile motives. Now it’s up to the rudely-awakened Nagate Tanikaze to adjust to his new life and help his race survive against the aliens.

8 Ajin: Demi-Human

A Teen Boy Finds Himself In The Middle Of A War Between Humans And Immortal Beings

ajin anime scene

Ajin: Demi-Human

Release Date
January 16, 2016

Polygon Pictures

Number of Episodes

MyAnimeList Score
7.39 (Season 1)

isn’t a sci-fi anime which makes for a nice change of scenery, especially in a sci-fi-dominated animation mode. Ajin‘s story revolves around a titular group of immortal human beings who started appearing in Africa a few decades before the anime’s main timeline.


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One would think that they would be revered, but instead, the mortals feared them and each Ajin became an outcast and was imprisoned. The protagonist, Kei, used to think that the Ajin’s predicament didn’t concern him, but that changes when he survives a lethal accident and discovers that he’s one of them.

7 Dorohedoro

A Man With A Lizard Head Looks For The Sorcerer Who Cursed Him

Dorehedoro anime


Release Date
January 13, 2020


Number of Episodes

MyAnimeList Score

Caiman is a man cursed with a lizard and has no memories of his past life. With the help of his friend Nikaido, he works to hunt down Sorcerers in hopes of finding the one responsible for his change. Though he can’t remember anything of his past, Caiman is a strong fighter and has a magic resistance that makes him a target and threat to Sorcerers.

This is a great anime for fans who are looking for a mystery, comedy, and sci-fi show. But fans don’t have to worry about there being a shortage of action as there is plenty of it as well. The world is also fascinating, colorful, and immersive; hopefully, a sequel is produced.

6 Berserk: The Golden Age Arc Trilogy

A Mercenary And His Group End A War And Suffer Deadly Consequences After

Berserk golden age movies

  • Release year: 2012
  • Studio: Studio 4°C
  • Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural, Horror, Drama, Action
  • Number of episodes: 3 (movies)
  • My AnimeList Score: 7.71

Speaking of non-sci-fi CGI anime, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc trilogy is one of the franchise’s crowning achievements when it comes to anime. That’s because every other Berserk anime adaptation has been either lackluster or disastrous. In any case, this dark fantasy anime is about the struggles of the mercenary protagonist named Guts and his backstory and time with the Band of the Hawk.

Guts is a 6’3″ drifter sellsword who runs in with the said mercenary group and forms an odd bond with Griffith, the band’s leader. The anime trilogy film’s CGI is a little rough around the edges but that doesn’t detract from the masterfully-crafted drama and mature story plucked straight from the acclaimed manga.

5 Stand By Me Doraemon

A Cat Robot Helps Improve His Owner’s Life

Stand By Me Doraemon movie

Stand By Me Doraemon

Release Date
August 8, 2014

Shirogumi, Shin-Ei Animation

95 Minutes

MyAnimeList Score

A Doraemon movie likely wouldn’t have worked better if it kept its original animation style. The whole series rolled out like a colored manga flipbook since it’s pretty old. Thankfully, Stand by me Doraemon thought outside of that box and rendered the whole film in 3D CGI.


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It rivals Pixar movies when it comes to detail and fidelity but retains the anime’s soul as Nobita and the gang, along with Doraemon all look like modern upgrades of their old cartoon counterparts. It’s also a lot more dramatic compared to the anime series so be prepared for some surprise teardrops.

4 Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence

A Cyborg Searches For Answers After Robots Kill Their Master

Ghost in the Shell 2 Innocence dog

  • Release year: 2004
  • Studio: Production I.G
  • Genre: Action, Sci-fi
  • Number of episodes: 1 (movie)
  • My AnimeList Score: 7.78

Ghost in the Shell‘s premier was like the discovery of fire to the sci-fi genre that allowed for a better exploration of the cyberpunk theme. So it’s only right for its filmmakers to come up with a sequel even if it was nearly a decade late. It continues the events of the original film.

The difference is that Major Motoko Kusanagi is missing initially and the task of solving some cyber riddles and nefarious machine plans falls on Batou’s shoulders. Like the original film, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence set its own trend and tried something different, notably with its CGI.


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