No one likes talking politics at the dinner table, and yet, so many anime fans love watching politics unfold in their anime. Maybe because it is such low risk or maybe it is because politics can be such an intricate area of moves and countermoves. Regardless of what it is you like about political anime, we have a bunch of anime recommendations for you.
Code Geass is a series that is about rebellion. However, while tactics and battles are important in any good rebellion, they all very much have a political element to them. Through the Code Geass series, you explore the politics that span over nations across the world. From a variety of different government types and ideals, Code Geass is very much about navigating this political world in order for the rebellion to move into a place of power.
Legend of Galactic Heroes
If space politics is your jam, then Legend of Galactic Heroes is, well, legendary for it. Unlike some other series that feature space politics, battle doesn’t always play a big part here. Essentially this series explores the intricacies of a democratic system and a monarchy. There is more of a focus on the characters in the series and their motivations once put in a place of power. Some might not want to corrupt democracy by taking too much power while another might feel taking power is the only way to ensure peace. Internal conflicts are common on bother sides, and, like a true political series, there are no real heroes or villains.
Kingdom takes place in a fictional era set in the Warring States period of China. You get to see a fair amount of battles, to be sure, but politics play a huge role even in times of war. With so many characters that it is difficult to keep track of, you get to learn much about the various different sects of people present in this world. If you like your politics to come with a big side of tactics and warfare, then this is probably your best bet.
Yona of the Dawn
Often you might find yourself wondering if people at the top even know what is happening with people at the bottom. Yona of the Dawn lets you discover that. After her father, the ruler, is assassinated, she is forced to flee. What she thought was a peaceful and happy kingdom turns out to be much different. However, was her father just ignorant of all these problems in his kingdom, or did he just not care? It’s interesting because both Yona and her father seem like good people, but it comes to light that many people think her father wasn’t so benevolent. While the show is about her trying to take back her throne, it is often more interesting to see what the common folk think of the monarchy.
This series is actually an interesting one. Most people like the idea of it, but one of the major complaints is that a lot of its politics are basically just Japanese military chest beating. You know, the JSDF is good and everyone else is bad. However, if that is a potential turn off, the fantasy world they enter has an interesting political system too, and it is interesting to see them clash. It’s actually pretty fun to see what a machine gun does to medieval armor.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan
In The Heroic Legend of Arslan, you watch the main character learn to be the many different things required of a good leader. After his father is betrayed and essentially his kingdom is lost, the young prince must take it back. However, he need not only learn how to become a good king, he needs to learn to be a warrior, a general, and a politician. The audience follows him on this journey as he not only learns, but gathers the money, soldiers, and power one needs to take back a kingdom.
The Rose of Versailles
Everyone knows what a den of opulence and intrigue the royal court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette was, but now you can watch it unfold in anime format! The story follows a daughter of one of the members of the royal guard that was brought up as a boy because her father wanted a son. She then joins the royal guard and is assigned to guard the queen. Of course, with the noble’s ignorance to the peasant problems outside their walls, things undoubtedly get pretty interesting. Despite the older animation, this one is as addicting as they come when it comes to politics.
Crest of the Stars
If there is one series that could rival Legend of Galactic Heroes as one of the best space political dramas it would be Banner of the Stars / Crest of the Stars. It follows the story of two different people from different space kingdoms that are thrust together by circumstance. While it is interesting to watch them grow closer, the overall world is growing further apart and on the brink of war. The politics are separated up by bits of character growth, making it a great fully realized series.
Mobile Suit Gundam
Is it just the original Gundam that is worth watching for its politics? No, definitely not. If you are interested in political drama, almost every Gundam series is worth watching to a varying degree. Yes, some focus on things other than politics, but in each series, the politics of the world play a major role on how the series will unfold. However, if you are looking for a pure unadulterated space political drama, the original does it well, though it does get a bit slow at times.
Night Raid 1931
This anime series has a bit of true history amidst its anime politics. It follows a few spies in China during the first Sino-Japanese War where Japan was trying to annex Manchuria to protect their interests from the soviet spread of communism. Unfortunately, those into history might have a few issues here since it portrays the Japanese as heroes, for the most part, and that might not necessarily be true. However, it is an interesting take on this rather obscure area of history.
Aldnoah Zero follows the war that ensues between those that live on Earth and those that live on Mars. This in itself is an interesting premise, but Aldnoah tends to stumble at times. While the political aspect of the series is a unique set up, the characters that carry it out leave a little more to be desired. Yet, if you want to see how these two factions separated by a bit of space co-exist in the solar system, then it is worth a watch.
You won’t be faulted if you read the title of this series and think that it definitely isn’t a political series, but really, it is! The series focuses on an empire that has been leeched by war. It left the nobles with the majority of the wealth and the regular citizens in the streets are starving. The story follows one area of the Section III military group created to deal with these issues. They try their best to make distrustful citizens trust them, but after years and years of war, that isn’t easy.
Gatchaman Crowds is a show about superheroes, a genre that innately has (or should have) a certain political aspect to it. However, unlike other series, the politics play a larger part in the overall story. It is not just about saving people, but whether or not the government allows them the rights to save people.
Joker Game is another tale of espionage set on the cusp of World War II. However, it is very much a story of changing times. Unlike in the Cold War when espionage was a crucial tool, it was not yet looked upon so favorably in this time. It is the story of an agency trying to break away from the old ways and show that espionage is a way for a country to gain the upper hand and paves the road towards victory. In essence, it is not just a show about spies being spies, but rather a show about showing governments how crucial spies can be.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
In Stand Alone Complex, the augmented detectives are investigating a series of cyber crime carried out by the Laughing Man. The crimes are exposing the immoral and illegal activities of the government, so naturally there are those that see him as a villain and those that see him as a hero. As he exposes these secrets, of course it tends to rock the political world. While the show is slow and dialog-heavy at times, there is nothing more gripping than the politics in this show once it gets going.
Did we miss any better political anime recommendations? Let us know about them in the comments section below!