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Aiko Tachibana has had some bad luck lately. After a car accident in which her father died, she was left horribly injured so she has been in a wheelchair and lived in the hospital where they performed her life-saving surgeries since then. To make things worse, her mother and younger brother died in an event called “the Burst”, when an artificial life called Matter started eroding the Kurobe Gorge. But she tries to keep herself optimistic and works hard on her recovery. Things start changing for her when Yuuya Kanzaki is transferred to her class and tells her that she is the key to stopping the Burst. Should she trust him because he claims he can save her family? or trust her doctors who tell her he is a dangerous man?
A.I.C.O.: Incarnation is one of the latest additions to the Netflix-produced anime series, and it’s a very intriguing show. The Matter created by the burst is a great danger for our characters, but also gives the writers a chance to ask some deep questions about life, souls, and the right to live. The only real problem is that, being a Netflix series, it’s really easy to binge it complete and then leave wanting something more with the same kind of deep questions hidden in dangerous adventure. So to fill that void, here are 6 great series that have some points in common with A.I.C.O.: Incarnation.
Similar Anime to A.I.C.O.: Incarnation
1. World Trigger
- Episodes: 73
- Aired: Oct 2014 – Apr 2016
After a dimensional gate is opened in Japan, violent aliens called Neighbors start invading our world. Fortunately for the world, the world reacts quickly to the threat with the formation of a group named Border, where specially trained soldiers using weapons called Triggers, are the ones who keep the Neighbors in their own dimension and away from people. Unfortunately, they’re also quite young, so they are still in middle and high school and have to juggle their training with their classes. Osamu Mikumo is one of said Border agents and he tries hard to become a better one every day. But when Yuma Kuga transfers to his class, with little to no knowledge of the local laws, Mikumo is tasked to teach him how to blend in. What no one knows is that Kuga is much more than what he seems.
Both World Trigger and A.I.C.O.: Incarnation have very similar settings: the reaction of mankind to an unknown or new life form that may or may not be violent. The action in both also starts when a new transfer student meets the main character, and said new transfer student keeps a really important secret. Of course, once we move past the beginning, the differences start to appear. Still, there’s a lot of action in both, and if you loved the Divers in A.I.C.O.: Incarnation, you will adore the triggers used by the Border agents. There’s also a lot of politics about what to do with the Neighbors, which will remind you of the politics behind those who want to study the Matter, and those who want nothing more than destroy it.
World Trigger PV
2. Bounen no Xamdou (Xam’d: Lost Memories)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Jul 2008 – Feb 2009
Sentan Island is considered a neutral zone in the middle of the North and South’s war, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always safe. Akiyuki and his friends, Haru and Furuichi, learn this the hard way when a terrorist bomb catches them unaware. Unfortunately, while Furuichi and Haru come out relatively unharmed; Akiyuki ends up with a gem implanted in his arm that turns him into a Xam’d, a humanoid creature that is used as a weapon for war. While he has some help from Nakiami, a young woman who came with the bombs, he still has to leave his life behind as he tries to find a way to return to normal.
Just like A.I.C.O.: Incarnation, Bounen no Xamdou shows us a world pretty similar to our own but where technology has advanced to a point where we have artificial life forms that create a lot of philosophical questions for the viewers. While the Xam’ds are more human-looking than the Matter, they’re still treated like an object to be studied. There’s a lot of intrigue in the upper echelons of the military, secret experiments carried out without the knowledge of the civilians, and enough twists in the plot to make even the most jaded viewers surprised at the end.
3. Shinreigari: Ghost Hound (Ghost Hound)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct 2007– Apr 2008
The small mountain town of Suiten was the scene of a terrible tragedy. Two children were kidnapped for ransom, and only one was recovered alive. Soon after that, a local man committed suicide not long after, and was discovered by his young son. That tragedy managed to shape the town and the lives of the children involved, but eleven years after the fact, everyone has tried to go back to a normal life. But 15-year-old Tarou, the rescued child, has had many troubles reconciling with what happened. He suffers from narcolepsy and recurring nightmares where he can see whom he thinks is his sister and their kidnapper, but he can’t be sure since he can’t hear their voices. When a new transfer student, Masayuki, arrives, Tarou realizes that they all can project their astral bodies, and thus, starts a hunt to discover what really happened to him, and how his sister died.
While, at first, Ghost Hound seems more focused on the supernatural than in the scientific advances, it still has a lot of common ground with A.I.C.O.: Incarnation. Both Aiko and Tarou have confusing visions that will make sense once they start remembering their past, both have selective amnesia about a terrible accident that cost the life of one of their family members, and they’re surrounded by people who seem to know more than they do. There are also inhuman monsters that will chase the main characters relentlessly, as well as deep secrets that can only be discovered through sacrifice. This makes Ghost Hound a very good series to watch if A.I.C.O.: Incarnation’s politics and secrets caught your attention.
Ghost Hound - Trailer
Any Anime Like A.I.C.O.: Incarnation ?
4. Dennou Coil (Den-Noh Coil)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: May 2007 – Dec 2007
Yuko Okongi, also known as Yasako to her friends, just moved to the little town of Daikoku with her family and a virtual pet named Densuke. The town is quite special, as it’s there where a new Augmented Reality is being tested. Said reality is a cyberspace that overlaps with the town, and can be seen by wearing special glasses that also connect them to the internet. Because the project is still in testing, there are some glitches that have also given the chance to a hacker culture to emerge among the children of the city. Yasako quickly joins one of the groups, and meets Yuko Amasawa, known as Isako to her friends. Together, they start discovering the dark secrets behind the augmented reality project, and many secrets from the people in town.
Dennou Coil is a very intriguing series where the technology at times seems like magic, not only because it’s very advanced but also because the cyber world, invisible to those without glasses, acts very much like a secret magic world for children. Although it’s a lot lighter than A.I.C.O.: Incarnation, Dennou Coil still has some very dark twists and has similar subjects about what it means to be human and how technology has changed society.
Dennou Coil Trailer
5. Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Sept 2012 – Mar 2013
Saki Watanabe lives in a village where there’s no poverty, no crime, and no suffering. She knows that this is thanks to the rulers, those who have the power of psychokinesis and keep the citizens safe. Since she also has powers, she is enrolled in the Zeijin Academy to make sure that she can grow to help the village. However, things are not as simple as it seems. From time to time, students at the academy disappear, and rumors say that terrible monsters that look like cats kidnapped them. When one of Saki’s friends is abducted, it’s when she starts to realize that life in the village is not as idyllic as it seemed.
The main similarity between Shinsekai Yori and A.I.C.O.: Incarnation is that both start in a world that is apparently perfect. We don’t see much of Aiko’s life in the hospital and school before things get weird, but given how everyone acts, we can imagine it’s pretty idyllic despite the threat of the matter passing the wall. On the other hand, we do see a lot of the life in the village, and people seem to ignore that there was a terrible disaster in the past that killed most of the human race and was the origin of their life. Both series have amazing mysteries and very interesting messages of what means to be human.
Shinsekai Yori PV
6. Haibane Renmei
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 2002 – Dec 2002
Somewhere in the world, there’s a walled city where mysterious winged people named Haibane live. No one in the city is allowed to leave, and the city has only one entrance. The Haibane aren’t humans and thus, have fewer rights than everyone else. They erupt fully formed from cocoons with no memories of their past lives except for one dream that helps to name them. Rakka is the newest Haibane, so she has to come to accept her situation, since the other Haibane don’t really know much either, and the only ones who can give her information are the Renmei, a group of masked travellers who are the only ones who can leave the city.
While Haibane Renmei is the only story in this list that has no action, it has a lot of things in common with A.I.C.O.: Incarnation. There are certain parallels between the Renmei and the Divers: Both are the only groups allowed outside their respective walls and normal humans try to avoid them in various ways because they represent the fact that their lives aren’t quite normal. Given how Haibane aren’t human, they also have a certain likeness to the Matter and the Artificial Lifeforms created by humans. And of course, both series have the underlying theme of coming to terms with your sins and seeking redemption, so in that sense, if you were a fan of Haibane Renmei, you will probably like A.I.C.O.: Incarnation, and if you loved A.I.C.O., then you will surely love Haibane.
Haibane Renmei DVD trailer
As technology advances, and more and more life-like robots and simulations are created, sci-fi writers start asking where the line between human and artificial consciousness would be. What makes a soul when we can create intelligent programs that evolve and learn? And, of course, what happens when science advances faster than humans’ ability to control the results? And thus, we have great series and stories like the ones on the list. Some are more metaphysical –as they deal exclusively with the ideas of souls and the afterlife-, some are more scientific, but they all ask, what does it mean to be human?
We’d love to know what do you think of A.I.C.O.: Incarnation, as well as the other series in the list. So please, let us know what do you think of them and if you think there are other series that deserve to be here, down in the comments.