In anime, Samurai don’t necessarily take the form of certain characters. The term “samurai anime” is a recurring theme that appears across a range of anime genres. It might allude to a general aesthetic of mediaeval Japan or the overall philosophy of bushido. The mythology of the samurai may exist at practically any time and location. Given how imaginative anime is, it can be a part of almost any adventure. It tends to be more prevalent as part of the setting if a movie or TV series is set in ancient Japan. Only to be clear, a samurai isn’t just a picture of a man with a sword from Japanese history.
In a feudal society, the samurai were the military officers who served the local or regional lord. As Japan developed, its roles became outdated and vanished into history. They are revered in films and other media, and contemporary animators and filmmakers mimic the brave and noble samurai persona. Although there are a variety of renderings, from the realistic to the ethereal, they are all enjoyable. Many samurai anime series are available as a genre, making even the most knowledgeable animation lovers feel taken aback. Additionally, some imaginative designers and animators have demonstrated to viewers that these tales don’t necessarily take place in typical feudal Japan. That impressive variety means we can add a few more to the list of the best Samurai anime.
For those who love samurai, here are ten anime you should watch.
Amatsuki is best characterised as a crossover between Sword Art Online and a history enthusiast.
It’s an isekai that starts in one of the funniest situations.
The main character, Tokidoki Rikugou, was a normal student who hated history and frequently failed the course. He was sent to a museum so he could learn more about the Edo era. This museum is distinctive because it used virtual reality goggles to accurately reproduce Japan’s Edo era.
You probably have a good idea of where this is going.
He loses himself in the game. He quickly joins forces with two swordsmen since demons are also at large, and the rest, as they say, is history. More specifically, the history of Japan.
Genres: Action, Historical, Fantasy
Studios: Studio Deen
Author: Shinobu Takayama
9. Hakuoki -Demon of the Fleeting Blossom
The samurai anime Hakuoki has a fantastical component. The story revolves around Chizuru Yukimura, who joined the Shinsengumi while trying to find her father. Because, well, why not? The Shinsengumi were a special undercover police unit that dealt with vampire-like monsters.
Aside from the vampires, the narrative is based on a number of real-life occurrences, such as the presence of the Shinsengumi, and it sheds light on the political environment of the Edo period. The use of lighting to create atmosphere is a huge advantage, even though the animation is just passably good. It’s nothing new, but it is a greater love story in many respects than Twilight.
Genres: Adventure, Historical, Drama
Studios: Studio Deen
Author: Ryōta Yamaguchi
Kurozuka has received a lot of conflicting opinions.
The animation, particularly during fight scenes, is pretty impressive because it was made by Madhouse. The narrative is hit or miss for different viewers. Kurou retreats to the mountains after losing a battle against his brother, the first Shogun to govern all of Japan. After that, he meets Kuromitsu and develops feelings for her.
Kuromitsu is immortal, and before you know it, vampires are involved.
In my perspective, the plot is neither bad nor shoddy. Simply said, it’s harder to follow than most stories.
What’s not to love about historical facts intertwined into a fantasy story featuring vampires, romance, gut-wrenching action and a post-apocalyptic world? Perhaps the fact that the story’s midpoint is absent.
Genres: Sci-Fi, Action, Drama
Author: Yumemakura Baku
7. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings
Sengoku Basara is a samurai-themed anime set in Japan during the Sengoku period.
It’s a battle-oriented series with a large number of historical figures. It’s true that many of them have been changed to fit the anime style, but it’s still wonderful to witness so many historical figures.
Because of the aforementioned, Sengoku Basara is able to examine the concept of warfare in detail. The programme frequently touches on the correct justifications for fighting and why men risk their lives. Similarly, making a commitment and keeping it comes up frequently.
Due to the incorporation of various fantastical elements, the battles are far from realistic. Think of front-flipping samurai horses, not gloomy, melancholy one-on-one battles.
Genres: Action, Historical, Fantasy
Studios: Production I.G
Author: Yasuyuki Muto
After seeing shows like Hakuoki or Sengoku Basara, you almost forget how brutal the Edo period actually was.
Although you know that people perished, you are unaware of the horrifying consequences. Shigurui steps into the picture at this point.
The conflict centres on an encounter between a blind samurai and a fighter with one arm.
Duelling to death was ordered by Lord Tokugawa Tadanaga after they both studied under the same professor.
Not for the weak of the heart, this series is explicit, brutal, and violent because it does not romanticise grief. You’ll learn new things about being a samurai if you can handle it.
Genres: Drama, Action, Historical
Author: Nario Nanjo
5. Blade of the Immortal
Think of “Blade of the Immortal” as Ban from Seven Deadly Sins crossed with Rurouni Kenshin.
Our main character Manji has been cursed with immortality since he leaves mountains of bodies in his path.
He can only return to mortal life by killing 1,000 evildoers for every good guy he has already killed.
While travelling, he encounters Asano Rin, a young girl on her quest for vengeance.
They finally form a group with the intention of purifying their souls and improving the planet. A range of everyday injustices is covered in this depressing series.
Genres: Action, Historical, Supernatural
Author: Hiroaki Samura
4. House of Five Leaves
House of Five Leaves is highly recommended for its original artwork alone, but the delicate story is also a compelling drama. The main character, Masanosuke Akitsu, is an independent samurai who is too kind-hearted to be a warrior, which is why he is a “ronin,” or samurai, without a master.
The leader of a band of robbers offers Akitsu a place as a bodyguard, and Akitsu has no choice but to accept. In a harsh criminal underworld, it may seem unexpected that Yaichi, who is powerful and charismatic, would engage someone like this as their bodyguard. Still, as the plot progresses, it becomes evident that he did so more for company and boredom than any real need for security.
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Historical
Author: Natsume Ono
3. Afro Samurai
Here is the gritty and stunning Afro Samurai, as if further evidence that Samuel L. Jackson appears in just about everything was required. In addition to lending his voice to the main character, Jackson contributed to the production. This five-episode miniseries was broadcasted between 2004 and 2005. The traditional action setup is present in the world of Afro Samurai.
The main character is named Afro, and we find out that a man murdered Afro’s father. And now he’s out seeking revenge. A full-length movie that is a direct sequel was released in 2009 and is titled Samurai Resurrection. With a fantastic background score and the most stylish delivery of a high-action anime, Afro Samurai presents its story.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Author: Takashi Okazaki
2. Samurai Champloo
Samurai Champloo is the closest thing to a historically accurate representation in anime and portrays Japan’s transformation from a feudal to an industrialised culture. It is created by Shinichir Watanabe, the same artist behind fan favourite Cowboy BeBop.
Teenage Fuu is employed by her aunt and uncle’s restaurant at the beginning of the episode, and at the end, the restaurant is burned down. Fuu is determined to prevent the perpetrator’s execution, so they can help her find her long-lost father. The Samurai Who Smells Like Sunflowers. Jinn and Mugen are two wandering samurai who come from very different regions; both point out that sunflowers have no scent, but they reluctantly agree to assist her.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Author: Masaru Gotsubo
1. Rurouni Kenshin
In terms of how samurai are portrayed and anime in general, Rurouni Kenshin is, without a doubt, a classic.
The story, set close to the end of the Japanese revolution, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what caused the war and what it left in its wake.
A violent assassin who supports the revolution, Hitokiri Battousai, decides to put down his blood-stained sword and atone for his transgressions. His new name is Himura Kenshin, and he makes an effort to maintain his happiness and defend those who are important to him while suppressing his background of murder and bloodlust. The anime is as classic as it gets.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama
Studios: Gallop, Studio Deen
Author: Nobuhiro Watsuki