The idea of children getting stuck in a space station is a kind of plot that only the medium of anime can do justice to. This is precisely the case with The Orbital Children. Watching this group of kids deal with the hassles of being abandoned in such a foreign area is surprisingly engaging and heartwarming, especially when these young people group up to surpass immense odds and survive in such a precarious scenario.
The first part of this Netflix series is a joy, but it’ll take some time for the second half to come out. Until this happens, fans of The Orbital Children who can’t deal with the wait can bide their time with other popular sci-fi anime, with the most notable recommendations present below.
1. Astra Lost in Space
In the year 2063, eight high school students and a kid are flown out to Planet Camp, tasked with surviving on their own for a few days. But shortly after arriving, an ominous glowing orb warps them to an unknown quadrant of space, nearly 5,012 light years away. Now, the only way back home is a slow, dangerous trek across the universe—a journey that’ll test them in ways Planet Camp never could.
2. Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW
When Noriko, Amane and their friends left for a week-long summer camp experience in the countryside, they had no idea that they were about to embark on a galactic adventure! After helping a wounded, dog-like alien, the creature offers to take them to a spaceport on the moon where fantastical beings, flashy sights and new friends await them. Together, the gang will travel between worlds, dodge nefarious poachers and even encounter the most famous television show in the galaxy, as they embark on the best summer vacation of their lives!
3. Infinite Ryvius
In 2137 AD, the sun released a massive flare across the solar system, creating the Geduld, a dense field of plasma and debris. In the midst of a routine descent into the Geduld’s upper layers, the training ship Liebe Delta is crippled by a terrorist attack, killing the trainers and command crew – and exposing the vessel’s military secrets, which may hold the survivors’ only hope.
With nowhere to hide from their darkest fears, the young trainees must work together to navigate the ravages of a solar system filled with mysterious, powerful foes. Yet, as the ship is forced into greater isolation and its inhabitants become increasingly desperate, they must struggle to survive against not only the forces that pursue them relentlessly… but also each other.
4. Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall (2022)
On the first day of junior high school, Mato Kuroi happens to run into Yomi Takanashi, a shy, withdrawn girl whom she immediately takes an interest in. Mato tries her best to make conversation with Yomi, wanting to befriend her. At first, she is avoided, but the ice breaks when Yomi happens to notice a decorative blue bird attached to Mato’s phone, which is from the book “Li’l Birds At Play.” Discovering they have a common interest, the two form a strong friendship.
In an alternate universe, the young girls exist as parallel beings, Mato as Black★Rock Shooter, and Yomi as Dead Master. Somehow, what happens in one world seems to have an effect on the other, and unaware of this fact, the girls unknowingly become entangled by the threads of fate.
5. 7 Seeds
Natsu, Arashi and a few dozen others had gone to bed like any other night when they woke up… somewhere else. In this new post-apocalyptic future, mutated plants and animals lie in every direction and mankind is long extinct. Scientists of the past predicted that a meteorite would strike Earth and render the planet uninhabitable, so they devised a plan: they would cryogenically freeze five teams of young adults and have them revived by a computer when life is again sustainable.
Seven people formed each team along with a guide specially trained to survive in the wild, and seven caches of supplies were left to be found. Together, the teams must try to survive in a new and hostile world, inadvertently finding the other survivors and clues to their circumstances along the way.
6. Perfect Blue: Perfect Blue (1997)
Satoshi Kon’s directorial debut with Perfect Blue is his first. Perfect Blue, like all Kon’s work, explores the theme of perception.One’s perception of oneself, another’s perception and the perceptions of reality. Perfect Blue’s constant theme is the distinction between reality and illusion.Perfect Blue is the story of Mima, an idol from J-pop group CHAM!, as she transitions to being an actress. Mima has to let go of her innocent persona as an idol to make the transition. Mima is not ready to make the change. She is forced to confront her reality through a dark and difficult journey.
She is constantly wrestling with her inner, dialogue about whether Mima as an actress or Mima as an idol is the “real Mima.” However, she finds herself under the control of a stalker, who claims to be the real Mima. She begins to believe the fake reality as the internet Mima’s portrayals of her day become more dissimilar from her actual memories. During her confusion about what is real and false, Mima begins to see the deaths of several people who are essential to Mima’s transformation. Mima must accept her transformation as the deaths keep coming closer. Perfect Blue is a thrilling thriller about identity.
7. Wolf Children (2012)
Wolf Children (2012) is an anime film about a mother who is left alone to take care of half-human and half-wolf children after their wolf father passes away. The film is a unique combination of a coming-of-age story with magic realism, all from the perspective of a self-sacrificing mother. It is a film that easily can stir up emotions.
While there are no other films exactly like Wolf Children, there are definitely films that it can be compared to in its themes and animation style. These themes range from female protagonists, family drama, shapeshifting, motherhood, and finding a place where you truly belong, between the world of the wild and the world of man.