6 Sci-Fi Anime That May Have Been Inspired By Star Wars

It’s no secret that the original Star Wars franchise was heavily inspired by Japanese culture. From the power that parallels Zen Buddhism to the Jedi that is compared to the samurai warrior caste, elements of Japanese culture and ideas abound in the Star Wars plot and world construction. George Lucas himself even admitted that A new hope was heavily inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film, The hidden fortress, who told the story through the lenses of his peasant protagonists. In star wars, the ‘farmer’s perspective’ is seen through the two droids R2-D2 and C3PO.

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Fast forward to the present, the east-west cultural exchange is complete. It wouldn’t be hard for anime enthusiasts to point out various Sci-Fi anime shows that contain elements of Star Wars. From certain story elements to the iconic lightsaber being reinvented, it shows that nothing is truly original under the sun. That said, this doesn’t mean that reinventing the wheel means a boring and unoriginal story, it could be quite the opposite.

Most of these examples have not been confirmed to be inspired by Star Warsbut they have a few important things in common.


6/6 Star Wars: Visions

This item does not require a “might” qualification. Star Wars: Visions happens to be an animated anthology series made for Disney Plus. Released in 2021, the series is divided into nine self-contained short films set within the Star Wars canon mythos and it was intended to provide a new, diverse take on the franchise.

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Preserving the feel and theme of the Star Wars world, each film is directed by a different director and animation studio. While the series does not maintain a coherent storyline with each other, the series does allow viewers to witness Star Warsthrough an alternative lens. Maybe it evokes the idea and shows how the Star Wars legacy is round and has cemented itself as a cultural zeitgeist even today.

5/6 Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Rebellion

on the surface, Code Geass may not seem to share elements with Star Wars not at all. Sporting mechs, multiple political factions, and magical powers, albeit partly school-based too, it just doesn’t add up. However, if we look at the show from a macro lens, the series is basically about a rebellion against a tyrannical empire in which the protagonist must defeat his father who is at the helm of the autocratic regime.

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While Lelouch isn’t as altruistic and legal as Luke Skywalker, and the magical systems are vastly different in how they work, one can’t ignore the threads connecting both franchises.

4/6 Mobile suit Gundam

Released 2 years later A new hope, Mobile suit Gundam paved the way for Sci-Fi anime and its popularity. As the granddaddy of the “mecha” genre in anime, the series focuses on the political turmoil and conflict taking place in space. While there are no Jedi and evil Sith, the show features armored mech units wielding their versions of guns and lightsabers.

Although not talking Star Wars, the series bears similarities to its visual elements and plot devices – a revolt that arises against mighty empires with super-weapons. Sounds familiar? Mobile suit Gundam maybe also a lot to thank Star Wars because it gave the audience the taste and desire for more sci-fi stories.

3/6 Cowboy Bebop

A classic sci-fi masterpiece, Cowboy Bebop shares many elements with the original Star Wars trilogy. Both are space westerns, Cowboy Bebop captures perhaps the more “romantic” themes and spirit of its western counterpart, more than any other anime series on the market. Both have an extraordinary soundtrack that evokes the vast expanse, epic and solitude of space. You have to see both to find the connecting wires because, as they say, seeing is believing.

Cowboy Bebop also follows a gang of bounty hunters looking for their fortune and a way to escape their past. Other than that, there isn’t much else that binds the franchises together. Those who haven’t checked out this gem yet should do so immediately as it is quite an (emotional) ride.

2/6 My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia shares many similar tropes you’d expect from the superhero genre – interesting powers, several big baddies, hero school, and the good vs evil theme. All in all, it is a quintessential anime superhero series that is heavily inspired by its western superhero counterparts. While My Hero Academias characters and storylines are far from Star Warsseveral aspects link both franchises together.

Main character Deku’s training ground in the first arc of the story: Takoba Municipal Beach Park is a nod to Dagobah where Luke trains with Yoda. Speaking of Yoda, Deku (who is very similar to Luke in his outlook) spends time with an old, short mentor named Gran Torino, who is at the same time an extremely powerful yet eccentric mentor figure.

1/6 Legend of the Galactic Heroes

While some shows are inspired by or based on story beats and technological concepts from the Star Wars myths, Legend of the Galactic Heroes almost screams Star Wars. A politically heavy Sci-Fi space opera, the series explores the struggle between the democratic Free Planets Alliance against the monarchical Galactic Empire with a third power known as the Dominion of Phezzan that is in the mix. The show explores the conflict through the lenses of both sides plus neutrals trying to navigate the epic conflict.

With complex characters and intricate politics, the series doesn’t shy away from a great deal of epic space combat and great war strategies. It is actually Star Wars in all its glory as we delve deeper into some of the themes and concepts covered in the original trilogy. Some of the anime’s concepts even share similarities with the prequels. Talk about a crazy cultural exchange of ideas.

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