Cybernetic Dystopian Sci-Fi Anime On Hulu Is The Best Series You Never Heard Of

By Nina Phillips | Published

Akudama Drive 1

Akudama Drive is a cyberpunk-style anime set in a dystopian future. It follows a group of criminals, known as Akudama, who are sent a message about freeing a death row prisoner. Those who accept the call find out there’s much more in store for them as they are sent on a mission to steal something important from a train. An innocent woman accidentally becomes wrapped up in the plot when she tries to save a cat.

Akudama Drive

Akudama Drive

Pierrot and Too Kyo Games produced Akudama Drive, with conceptualization by Kodaka Kazutaka (Danganronpa). Taguchi Tomohisa (The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes) directed the show and helped with the script, storyboard, and series composition.

Seven characters make up the bulk of Akudama Drive’s cast. They’re all villains, with nicknames based on their crimes and personalities. They are Swindler (Kurosawa Tomoyo), Courier (Umehara Yuuichirou), Cutthroat (Sakurai Takahiro), Hacker (Horie Shun), Brawler (Takeuchi Shunsuke), Doctor (Ogata Megumi), and Hoodlum (Kimura Subaru).

Numerous Accolades Early

This series was released in October 2020 and received a lot of hype. During the 2021 Anime of the Year Awards by Anime Trending, Akudama Drive won several awards, including “Best Original Screenplay,” “Best Sci-Fi,” “Best Anime,” and “Best Mystery.” On MAL, it has a rating of 7.6, is ranked #1511, and has a popularity ranking of #523.

Unfortunately, though the show did well and had a strong fan base when it came to streaming, the Akudama Drive was considered a commercial failure in Japan. There were almost no sales when it was released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Pulling From Different Sources

Akudama Drive

Akudama Drive pulls from several different sources. Taguchi felt a spark of inspiration after seeing Danganronpa by Kodaka. They decided to work together to make a new series. The two found inspiration in Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino, similarly using villains as the main protagonists and giving them all nicknames.

Cyberpunk World

Akudama Drive

This story was set in a cyberpunk world, with bright colors and highly stylized visuals. The visuals, color, plot twists, setting, and main characters came together to create an entertaining series that made viewers want to keep watching episode after episode to figure out the ending.

When I started Akudama Drive, I didn’t really expect much. It was colorful, and I thought it would be something to pass the time. It ended up being one of those anime that live rent-free in my mind.

Fascinating But Short

Akudama Drive

While all of the characters were fairly predictable, the story threw them into such interesting situations that I could never figure out what was happening next.

My only real downside was, because it was such a short anime, there were times the story was rushed, and topics were not explained fully.

Recommending Akudama Drive

Akudama Drive


Still, it’s one I would recommend to anyone who likes a little chaos, color, and cyberpunk elements. It’s not a 5/5 for me (that ranking is reserved for Mushi-shi, Violet Evergarden, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood), but it’s one I would watch again, and be quick to suggest when someone was looking for something new. For that reason, I think it’s a solid 4/5.

Akudama Drive is available to watch on Hulu. If you want a colorful anime that takes you for a ride, this one should definitely be on your list.