Katsuhiro Otomo is a name that some may recognize and some may not. He is well-known for his work on the critically acclaimed Akira, but many fans struggle to name his works beyond it. However, he has worked on many series since then with Steamboy being another. Steamboy is a fantastic steampunk series that tells the story of Ray, a genius inventor who receives a package from his grandfather living overseas. Inside of it is a steam ball; a device which has so much power, essentially if something needs steam to work, it can work endlessly with it. Naturally, he gets a foreboding letter along with it telling him that under no circumstances, should he allow it to fall into the wrong hands. Now, when those wrong hands come after him, it is up to Ray to set out on a journey to do anything and everything to keep the steam ball from falling into the hands of the evil. If Steamboy sparked that steampunk fantasy that lurks in your mind somewhere, then this list is just for you! Join us as we look at six more anime movies just like it.
Similar Anime Movies to Steamboy
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: July 1988
In 1988, there is a boy with psychic powers who terrorizes Tokyo before triggering World War III. He is eventually subdued and that is the end of that. Tokyo, however, does not recover. Neo-Tokyo as it is known now, is ravaged by violence, gangs, and terrorism. The story is focused on Shoutarou, a leader of a pseudo-gang who ride around on motorcycles being loud and of course, trying to piss off their rivals, the clowns. When Shoutarou’s best friend Tetsuo is attacked one day, he starts developing weird, psychic-like powers. That is when he realizes that there is more to the attack than he realizes. Now as the government is hot on his trail to put a stop to Tetsuo and Shoutarou finds himself in a hard place.
This is the movie that launched Katsuhiro Otomo to stardom, so this movie has to be here. A lot of the themes, including the main of a corrupt organization chasing after the protagonists, are shared between the two movies. The bonus point too is that some of the staff from Akira also worked on Steamboy so things like direction and even some art, are similar. While Akira is cyberpunk as opposed to steampunk, both share niche markets and really do the most to drag the viewer into their worlds which are both open and sprawling. If you liked Steamboy, why haven’t you seen Akira yet?
2. Shisha no Teikoku (The Empire of Corpses)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: October 2015
Shisha no Teikoku is set in a world where corpses can be brought back to life. One never needs to be sad again over the loss of a loved one! Or so humanity thought. There is one major issue that has cropped up: corpses cannot and do not possess a soul. So they are more or less dolls, bending to the wills of humanity that still possess souls. That is until one day when Doctor Victor Frankenstein was able to bring back a corpse with a soul, or so the rumor goes. Now, our main character John Watson now aims to bring back a dead one with a soul. That person is his lost partner, Friday. As John works for the government doing research for them and pouring over the now disappeared doctor Frankenstein’s notes., he learns a truth that will rattle him to his core.
Even though these movies are more than a decade apart, if you love steampunk, you’ll love Shisha no Teikoku. One of the fantastic things about both movies is that they rip off the head of the concept of how a story should go or how characters should develop. Both movies are set in an industrial revolution/ victorian era with steampunk ideas. Ultimately too, the struggle of whether or not to use their gift for good or evil is something that both Ray and John face. If you are still not convinced, then know this, WIT Studio made Shisha no Teikoku.
Shisa no Teikoku Trailer:
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: May 2001
If you ever want a glimpse of what a future dystopian society could be, then you should watch Metropolis. Humans and robots live side by side in this sprawling, thriving metropolis. However with the rise of robots, humanity has now had to throw something out and that something was ethics. Shunsaku Ban & Kenichi are here in Metropolis to track down a doctor who was in organ trafficking. When they raid his lab though, they meet a girl. This girl has no memories, but it is clear she is at risk of being kidnapped, so he takes her hand and they run. Together with Shunsaku, they go too far and find out about Duke Red, a man who should not be, but is, running Metropolis. Now, Kenichi has to keep this girl he’s just met safe while others track her down. However, who she really is, and what she really can do, are all connected yet shrouded in mystery.
Just like with Steamboy, Metropolis features a massive, sprawling city that the characters make their way through as if it is no big deal. Both Kenichi and Ray are being pursued by individuals that would do them harm and both have something that needs to be protected. Not that it needs to be said, but both are overflowing with steampunk elements though Metropolis is a bit more modernized and closer to cyberpunk. If you love action and adventure in your punk movies, then this is one for you.
Any Anime Like Steamboy ?
4. Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa (Castle in the Sky)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: August 1986
Sheeta is a young girl who lives in a steampunk world. Life is not in plastic though, as she is being pursued by the government for her necklace. After she’s captured, she is somehow rescued by pirates who have a heart of gold, and makes her escape. It is here that she meets Pazu, a boy who just can’t leave her alone, and so taking the hand of a complete stranger, the two run off. Where are they going? Well, supposedly Sheeta is of an ancient race. Her necklace will guide her to a castle in the sky that she can access. However, she’s not the only one as the government wants the power in the castle for their own.
Starting out, both movies are set in a steampunk world and feature some of the greatest and most beloved directors of Japanese animation. Note, SOME; not all. Both main characters are being pursued for something that is in their possession that, should it fall in the wrong hands, could spell out doom for everyone around them. And of course, both sport rich, wide-open worlds with lots to enjoy.
Tenkuu Sora no Laupta Trailer:
5. Howl no Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: November 2004
Meet Sophie, a woman who works as the daughter of a hatmaker. When she tells the wrong customer that her store is closed one day, the customer reveals herself to be a witch! Placing a curse on her, Sophie is now old and unable to speak of her condition to anyone. Torn between what to do, she runs away to the countryside and somehow ends up seeing the strangest thing: a castle that moves. She picks herself up and heads on over to it climbing in. Inside, she meets Howl, the master of the castle and a wizard. Her life has just moved from cursed to extraordinary in the blink of an eye. Now, she tries to accustom herself to living in this new environment with a colorful array of characters.
If you love fantasy worlds, then the move from the Steampunk of Steamboy to the fantasy steampunk of Howl’s Moving Castle will feel almost seamless. Both movies feature a character who is being pursued to varying degrees while randomly picking up allies. Each has a duty to protect what they are around even though it feels more often that Sophie is being protected rather than protecting. A vast, open world is also shown in both movies lending to fantastic cityscapes.
Howl’s Moving Castle Trailer:
6. Layton Kyouju to Eien no Utahime (Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: December 2009
Layton is invited along with Luke and Remi to see a play about eternal life. They agree that it sounds like a good idea, and Layton and Luke go. The play is a fantastic story about a beloved queen who dies. Right after she does too, a cure is made for death in the form of an elixir of immortality. The people drink the elixir in hopes that they too will one day meet their queen again. When the curtain drops though, a mysterious individual appears saying that it’s time to play a game. The winner gets to have eternal life while everyone else will die.
At first glance, these movies seem worlds apart, but a look under the hood brings it all into context. Both movies have races against time and others and should the previous items, i.e. the steam ball and the elixir fall into the wrong hands, surely it will spell the downfall for both of our main characters. Both movies also overflow with steampunk elements and while the conclusions are not entirely the same 100%, they both end on a similar note.
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva Trailer:
Steamboy is, by all means, a classic. Sure, it is definitely overshadowed by the popularity of it’s predecessor, but that does not mean that Katsuhiro Otomo failed in his attempt to create another fantastic movie. Also, this is a fantastic gateway movie to get people who are not into anime, turned onto it with it’s fantastic story and characterization. While this list only has six movies, there are plenty more that are also similar. Let us know if you have suggestions! Till next time!