Top 50 Best Mecha Anime [Must Watch List]
Top 50 Best Samurai Anime [Sword Fighting Anime List]
Ektaa-Updated May 28, 2021
Samurai is an integral part of Japanese history and culture. This military sect represented by some ferocious and brave faces was introduced to the world through Chanbara (Samurai Cinema) which is quintessentially Japanese.
Chanbara aims at showcasing the vital moral code the samurai and ronin hold deep within themselves as a sect of the military.
In a way, they celebrate the ethics and the path of bushido (the ‘way’ of samurai).
Ethics and moral codes imbibed in them such as Bravery, Honour, and Loyalty, are usually what these stories are based on.
The themes these cinematic experiences follow is very much deep-rooted in Japanese culture and how the ethics affect the modern-day citizen on Japan.
Animated chanbara, too explores the same themes often in a story set in feudal Japan with immaculate sword-fighting sequences, conflicts, and immersive storylines.
In modern times, chanbara not only focuses on historical elements, in fact, but it also fuses fantastical elements to give the plot an edge.
In this list of Entoin’s Top 50, we will explore some cult classics and modern-day samurai /ronin stories featuring riveting fight scenes, legendary characters, and plots that are unforgettable.
50. Ninja Resurrection
Based on the novel ‘Makai Tensho’ by Futaro Yamada, who has authored many ninja novels.
Ninja Resurrection is an OVA that released in 1997. The story takes place in the Tokugawa era.
This was the period when the Christians living in Japan were being persecuted. Jubei Yagyu is an infamous samurai who wields his blades against evil and the good as well.
This title in particular has some controversy connected to it. It was said that the animation style including the name was a tad bit too similar to another title that very popular at the time known as Ninja Scroll.
As much as the storyline was intriguing, it left the fans wanting for more as the series ended on a cliffhanger.
49. Basilisk Series
Serving some serious fight scenes and bloodshed. The Basilisk series is an anime where almost all of the characters are bloodthirsty.
In the year AD 1614, having the support of the Tokugawa government meant having the upper hand.
Two clans, the Iga and Kouga ninja clans, must battle it out in order to achieve control and support by the government for a thousand years.
Now each clan puts forth their potential shogunate heirs. They are given scrolls with the names of the fighters they must kill.
In a turn of events, the heirs of the Kouga and Iga clans shake hands and call it a truce.
Yet, some aren’t happy with the results. The series has two action-packed seasons with a great plot, a love story turned sour.
48. Black Lion
Written by sci-fi enthusiast Nagai Go, Black Lionis a story set in the Warring States period of Japan.
But with modern warfare technology. Nobunaga Oda is the prospective ruler of Japan. In order to achieve complete dominance, he resurrects Ginnai Doma – a samurai reborn as an indestructible cyborg.
The protagonist, Shishimaru of the Iga Ninja clan now sets on a quest to end Doma.
He wants to avenge the deaths of his comrades and end the cyborg warrior. This OVA which released in 1992, is only 44 minutes long and contains enough gore and blood to last a Mortal Kombat match.
47. Yoshichiro Salutes
Yoshichirou no Keirei is a classic animation example. The movie released in 1933 and is 11 minutes long.
The film speaks about Yoshichiro, a samurai, and the message we need to learn from his mistakes.
It explains how one should never lose their ground despite achieving the highest of successes.
Even if that means martial arts. Back then stories were made strategically to please or educate the audiences.
The complete focus was not just entertainment but cinema also meant taking away a bit of a lesson from the story.
This classic is must watch for any animation lover.
46. Gun-Dou Musashi
Another show on the list with a bit of a bad reputation. Gun-Dou Musashi is the story of Miyamoto Musashi who is a teenage boy in feudal Japan.
He is a skilled user of the martial art form of gun-doh. It includes using guns instead of swords.
We go on a journey with Musashi as battles through various obstacles. And eventually, win the heart of Kaguyahime.
The anime was made in 2006 when the budget allocation for anime was extremely saturated.
The story was picked up since it was unused from Monkey Punch, author of Lupin III.
The series is apparently botched by terrible animation, it used uncropped live background images. Its sound is out of sync as well.
But, the upside to Gun-Dou Musashi is that it’s a cult favorite! The reviews on the show are a 10/10 because it’s an absolute riot of a story!
45. Batman Ninja
This is what dreams are made of. If you ever dreamt of Bruce Wayne wielding a sword and fighting against Joker, you will not be disappointed.
Batman Ninja features all the classic DC favorites from the Batman universe in this immersive and intricately animated movie.
The setting of the movie is based in feudal Japan where Joker, the crown prince of crime has gathered the best of the villains to engage with Batman yet again.
In this traditional yet futuristic setup, the movie is actually this high up in our list because it wasn’t too well received by the fans.
The plot sounds great on paper but skipped the back-storytelling that we are so used to in the DC animated series.
That being said, DC tried and you can watch it once just to see a wooden Batmobile and Batman in Samurai Batsuit.
44. Hijikata Toshizou: Shiro no Kiseki
This OVA features the life of Hijikata Toshizou. The Vice Commander of the Shinsengumi fought against the unjust Shogunate in the Meiji revolution.
Yes, this is based on a real-life story. Yes, this is also the name of the vice commander of the Shinsengumi in Gintama.
Following his real-life events, the movie features his time in the Tennen Rishin-Ryu where he meets Kondo Isami.
Here he was said to have learned the Shinsengumi -Kenjutsu fighting style. He is responsible for leading the Shinsengumi into countless battles.
The anime does justice to Hijikata Toshizou’s legacy in creating a sort of attachment with him as an individual.
43. Akadou Suzunosuke
Another series from way back when. Akadou Suzunosuke released in 1972 and ended a year later.
After being outcasted in his dojo for using a forbidden style of fighting, Suzunosuke heads to Edo, to become a stronger fighter.
Once there, he is only ordered to complete chores from day until the night. Much later, when the family of the dojo gets attacked, Suzunosuke becomes instrumental in protecting them.
The film has a slow start and eventually picks up pace and action as well.
An interesting fact about the series is that some of the episodes, to be precise number 26, 27, and 41 episodes were storyboarded by Hayao Miyazaki!
It is also included in a compilation DVD/Blu Ray featuring his earliest works.
42. Miyamoto Musashi: Souken ni Haseru Yume
This is one title that is highly recommended, Miyamoto Musashi is a film that centers around the life of this famous swordsman.
Miyamoto was famous for using the Hyouhou Niten Ichiryuu style. A fighting style involving using two swords, how cool is that?
If you watch the trailers, it's amazing to see him using two swords to slash enemies.
What’s more, is that Miyamoto has even written a book called The Book of Five Rings.
If you still need a reason to watch this, this film is an original creation by Mamuro Oshii (Ghost in The Shell).
Directed and storyboarded by Mizuho Nishikubo (Otogi Zoshi). Character designs were made by Kazuto Nakazawa (Samurai Champloo) and the studio involved in the project is Production I.
G. That should be enough for you to check this title out, right now!
41. Gifuu Doudou!! Kanetsugu to Keiji
During the Sengoku era, legends like Naoe Kanetsugu, a brilliant military general from the Uesugi family.
And Maeda Keiji, a famous warrior from the war. Kanetsugu and Keiji have become lifelong friends, who have made a niche for themselves during one of Japan’s toughest times.
The series speaks of the hardships they went through in the early phases of their life and their time during the war that made them the men they are known for today.
This series exudes testosterone. It doesn’t feature too much fighting but it has an extremely strong and manly plot.
40. Legendary Armour Samurai Troopers (Ronin Warriors)
Released in 1988, Ronin Warriors follows the story of five ronin warriors. Each ronin gifted with an otherworldly weapon and armors.
With the onset of Talpa, a demon lord out to conquer the world. The warriors must protect this realm from the evil clutches of Talpa.
The five are assisted by a mystical warrior monk, Mia Koji, known as the “The Ancient”.
Now that seems pretty straightforward, right? But Ronin Warriors is somewhat of a cult classic, a childhood favorite too.
It has great fight sequences, stories about friendship, and huge amounts of nostalgia. It even has a video game series which released recently.
There are multiple seasons of the series that ended in 1991. A great way to experience the animation style from way back when.
39. Ninpuu Kamui Gaiden
Another classic title on the list is Ninpuu Kamui Gaiden. Ninpuu has worked his way up the peasant class order and has become a formidable ninja.
After achieving this level of success, his clan members begin to pursue him in order to kill him.
Now Kamui must save himself from his own people and runs from one end of Japan to the other.
Much later, Kamui becomes delusional and thinks that everyone wants him dead. He then ends up distrusting everyone around him.
Adapted from the manga series of the same name, this 26 episodic series released in the Spring of 1969.
The plot of Ninpuu Kamui Gaiden is exceptional and the anime is great for the time it was created.
This title is a little difficult to find, but YouTube should have some snippets for you to see.
38. Samurai Noodles
As much as it sounds unusual to hear ‘samurai’ and ‘noodles’ in the same sentence.
In Japan, it’s totally a thing. Samurai Noodles is an ONA created by Nissin. Yes, Nissin, to educate the world about the origins of instant noodles.
It is a beautifully created animation that encapsulates the journey of instant ramen as we know it.
The music is just right. The art is simply exceptional. You have to watch this commercial and grab a bowl of instant ramen, right now!
What are you waiting for?
37. Majikoi: Oh! Samurai Girls
An adaptation of the adult visual novel, Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! Majikoi got its anime adaptation in the Fall of 2011.
We follow the lives of the students of Kawakami Academy, from the Kawakami region. The region is famous for having many samurai ancestors that keep the city’s ethos intact.
These students exude the samurai teachings and traditions in every aspect of their daily lives.
Our hero Yamato Naoe along with six of his closest friends are the perfect example of friendship, hard work, and rivalry.
The true test of the balance of their friendships takes place when two new girls enter their group.
Being an adaptation of a visual novel, the anime isn’t exactly loved by the staunch fans but they found the characters loveable and the series enjoyable, nonetheless.
36. Brave 10
Isanami, a priestess of Izumo just watched her temple being burnt to the ground by a group of evil ninjas.
In the horror of the scene, she fled to the forest to escape being slaughtered by the group just as the people inside the temple met their fate.
In the forest, she encounters, Saizo, a ninja from the Iga school. Isanami and Saizo now travel to Ueda Castle asking for the help of the revered Yukimara Sanada.
Isanami is then detected to have possession of a strange and dark power to which Sanada readily agrees to help.
He then summons 10 warriors to aid her quest. Each of them with their unique skills travels far and wide, trying to fend off the evil forces who want the dark power Isanami possesses.
35. Samurai Girls
This is one anime that encompasses quite a few samurai and ronin legends into its storyline.
Based in an alternate reality where a country known as Great Japan exists. An era of the Tokugawa shogunate is active and is semi-isolated from the rest of the world after its defeat in WWII.
Our story takes place in Buou Academy, based near Mount Fuji. The academy is in the midst of a power struggle between, Yukimura Sanada and Matabei Goto along with Muneakira Yagyu, the owner of the Yagyu dojo.
And somehow Jubei Yagyu has also been dragged into this whole mess. Samurai Girls is a harem, ecchi, action, and comedy anime series.
It is also has a sequel known as Samurai Bride.
34. Mirage of Blaze Series
Based on the light novel by Mizuna Kuwabara, Honoo no Mirage got its anime adaptation in the Winter of 2002.
This shounen-ai story follows the life of Takaya Ougi, a possessor. The only thing he wants in his life is to protect his best friend.
But, when an older man calls himself, the reincarnation of Lord Kagetora. The powers within awaken, he has the ability to exorcise evil spirits and fight the Feudal Underworld.
Takaya cannot seem to remember his past which is a plus for Lord Kagetora. As he was abused and tortured by him.
As Takaya’s abilities begin to take shape, he too begins to remember the torment he suffered for his love for Lord Kagetora.
Now Takaya must fight the evil forces of the Hojo and Fuma clan as the Feudal Underworld begins to take over the living world.
33. Jubei-chan Series
From the creator of Fruits Basket, Jubei-chan is a story of a modern junior high school girl and an heir to the Yagyu Jubei school of swordsmanship.
During Jubei Yagyu’s last moments, he asks his closest confidant, Koinosuke, to give his eyepatch to someone with, ‘plump, bouncy bon bons’.
The eyepatch contains a lifetime’s worth of swordsmanship skills and techniques. 300 years later, Koinosuke finds Jiyu Nohana.
When he tries to give her that eyepatch, they are attacked by the Ryujoji clan members, she dons the eyepatch and kills the member.
Jiyu must now live a double life of being a normal high school girl and Jubei’s reincarnation.
In the next installment of Jubei-chan’s story, she encounters Freesia. Freesia had remained frozen under the ice for 300 years and awakens to find out that she wasn’t the chosen one for the eye patch.
What follows is a fight sequence between Jubei’s reincarnation, Freesia, and the Siberian Yagyu, who were exiled from Edo Yagyu.
32. Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru Series
When the historical revisionists begin to attack the past in order to rewrite Japan’s history.
A group in charge of protecting its history known as the Saniwa must do everything in their will to undo the power of the revisionists.
The Saniwa possess the ability to bring life into inanimate objects, their strongest animations are, historical Japanese swords but in the form of handsome young men.
Touken Ranbu centers around the fun lives of the boys and their daily activities. Touken Ranbu is based on a video game of the same name, which is extremely popular.
The series has 2 anime seasons, 1 film, and a 3-part film series. And it also has a spin-off series.
31. Hidamari no Ki
Based on the manga that released in 1981, it explores the story of the friendship between a samurai and a doctor towards the end of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Manjiro Ibutani, a lowly but gifted samurai, and Ryoan Tzeuka, a doctor trained in western-style medicine.
The 25 episodic explores their strong bond during the turbulent times of the shogunate period.
The series is written by Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy, Black Jack, etc. The story is actually based on Osamu’s great grandfather when physicians were pushing for western-style medicine practices in Japan.
The anime series is created by Madhouse and also been adapted into a Japanese television drama and a stage play.
Imagine you hate history so much that it, quite literally comes to bite you back.
So, was the case with history hating Tokidoki. He is sent to a special museum lecture that has a vast creation of the Edo Period.
It also has an intricate simulation of the Tokugawa shogunate with the Edo Bakumatsu walking tour and exhibition space.
As Tokidoki makes way through the installation, he disses all the gods and demons who existed from the time.
Out of nowhere, he then comes face to face with a demon who tries to attack him.
Tokidoki is saved by a swordsman named, Kuchiha and Kon Shinonome. He begins to realize that he cannot escape this simulation and even encounters a contemporary with him who is stuck.
The two must now survive the turbulent times of the shogunate era and find out the creator of the simulation.
It’s a very interesting plot and the characters are well developed too. Some fans are even expecting a sequel to come out.
Kurozuka is a post-apocalyptic romance novel by Baku Yumemakura. The anime is adapted from the novel and the manga in the Fall of 2008.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune or Kurou flees to the mountains after his brother, the first shogun of Japan, gets killed.
For everyone, they believe that Kurou has committed suicide. But in fact, he encounters a strange woman in the mountain hermitage known as Kuromitsu.
He eventually falls in love with her only to realize that she hides a dark secret.
Now that Kurou is unable to die, he lives through centuries of transformation as Japan evolves into a modern world.
It’s a great sci-fi story with a romance struggle and Kurou’s quest for mortality is engaging to watch.
28. Otogi Zoshi
Otogi Zoshi is a story based in the ancient capital of Kyoto in the year 972 A.
D. During the Heian Era, Kyoto has been plagued with rampant corruption and an uncurable disease killing its citizens.
Samurai and Onmyoji’s wanting political power to reap the hard work of those who suffer.
The Imperial Court decides on hiring a famous samurai with archery skills by the name of, Minamoto no Raiko, to retrieve a legendary gem that can eradicate all the hardships from Kyoto.
But Minamoto falls prey to the disease and his youngest sister, Hikaru secretly takes his place and continues the arduous journey.
This series has a great historical focus on it and a great balance of action, drama, and graphic content as well.
27. Onihei Series
The series follows the protagonist Hasegawa Heizo, who was the Superintendent General of the Investigation Agency that specialized in armed robbery and ransom.
He inherited the position of being a libertine who had jurisdiction over arson-robberies in Edo from his father.
Heizo was the son of a concubine, something his stepmother at the Hasegawa family always looked down upon.
Heizo ran away from home and later led a fast life. He was eventually named “Onihei” which meant “The Demon”.
He formed the samurai police and reformed discerning criminals as informants to solve crimes. As much as he was feared due to his title, he would bring to justice those who had been wronged.
The series released in the Winter of 2017 and is thoroughly enjoyed by the Seinen fanbase.
26. Intrigue in the Bakumatsu – Irohanihoheto
Irohanihoheto is an ONA by Ryosuke Takahashi (Astro Boy, Panzer World Galient fame). We follow a mercenary Yojiro Akizuki, who wields the Moon Tear Sword.
He is on a quest to find the Head of the Conqueror which seems to have appeared during the Boshin War.
Now determined to finish what he has started, Yojiro sets out on a difficult journey that often leads to bloody results.
But on his path, he encounters a group of traveling theatre. They seem to hide a dark agenda that could be potentially fatal for Yojiro.
The story is heavily influenced by Japan’s history. It makes for a great watch if you love epic warrior sagas.
Yaiba is a 52 episodic anime that is based on the manga of the same name.
The creator of the manga is Gosho Aoyama (Detective Conan fame). The manga first appeared in 1988 and ended in 1993 with a total of 24 volumes.
The anime series was created in 1993 that covered the manga storyline until the Kagyua Arc.
The story is pretty simplistic, Yaiba learns that he possesses the skills to become a legendary warrior.
He trains hard and by fluke ends up in the city where he meets some of Japan’s greatest legends.
These legends then help him train harder and overcome the odds that he thought he faced and help him save the planet.
The series is light-hearted and can make you laugh out loud in many instances.
24. Carried by the Wind
Our second female-oriented samurai title on the list is Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran. As the title suggests, Tsukikage Ran is a wandering samurai who is skilled in using the katana and her love of sake is immeasurable.
Alongside Ran, we have Lady Meow of the Iron Cat Fist. A Chinese martial artist.
The series has 13 individual episodes that explore the two ladies traveling across Japan, facing perils and learning about themselves.
If you’re looking for a no-brainer samurai anime, then Carried by the Wind should be your pick.
23. Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion
An anagram of the Old French word, ‘Mongolias’ (Mongolians) which indicates the great Genghis Khan.
Angolmois follows the story of a group of prisoners exiled to the Tsushima Land to aid the first line of defense for the Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274.
It is essentially a Japanese history chapter turned into an anime. If you have the time and understanding for a historical drama, then Angolmois is an exceptionally well-made series.
It released in the Summer of 2018, while some fans have absolutely loved the series some found it moderately alright as it is nothing out of the ordinary.
Much as the other samurai titles, we have now come to know. Angolmois is brutal but entertaining.
22. Samurai Harem
Of course, there has to be an Ecchi/Harem Samurai title! Asu no Yoichi is the story of Yoichi.
A young boy who spent all his life in the mountains learning the Soaring Wind, Divine Wind swordsmanship style.
Yoichi is sent to a dojo in the city to expand his knowledge and work on his skills.
But he has no idea how to live in the big city and nobody in the city acts or dresses like a samurai either.
Now living with, Ayame and Chihaya Ikaruga, he is absolutely clueless. We follow Yoichi as he struggles to come to terms with women wanting him and him learning to lead a normal life in the big city.
It isn’t meant to be a serious anime, so just kick back and watch this with your feet up.
21. Mugen no Juunin Series
Mugen no Juunin follows Manji, an immortal swordsman from feudal Japan who was known to kill 100 innocent men.
Thus, he was known as the ‘Hundred Man Killer’. He is immortal since an 800-year-old nun, Yaobikuni, was able to successfully place bloodworms that instantly heal any kind of wound in his body.
In order to redeem himself and rid him of this life, he decides to kill 100 evil men and die.
However, he is met by a 16-year Rin Asano who wants him to kill the murderers of her parents.
To which Manji reluctantly agrees. The story ahead is filled with blood, gore, and life lessons that Manji learns in order to fulfill their own lives.
20. Peace Maker Kurogane Series
Peace Maker Kurogane is a popular samurai series in Japan and overseas. In the 19th Century, a series of events led to an extensive change in the political and social framework of Japan.
Seeds of the revolution were sowed. Our protagonist, Tetsunosuke Ichimura joins the Shinsengumi in order to seek revenge for his parent’s death.
The series first appeared in Fall 2003 and since then has many sequels, spin-offs, and films made.
As you may have noticed many of the samurai anime are based on similar samurai and ronin, so does Peace Maker Kurogane.
It is a weird yet wonderful historical story that requires your desperate attention!
19. Mushibugyou Series
In Mushibugyou, we follow the life of Jinbee Tsukishima who is trying to be an admirable swordsman like his father.
But, when feudal Japan’s Edo is infested by giant insects who are eating people alive.
Jinbee must now take his father’s place in the Insect Magistrate Office, created by the Shogunate.
Jinbee along with Haru, Hibachi, Mugai, and the rest of the skillful samurai must put an end to the pests.
The title aired in the Spring of 2013 and is a fairly underrated title. If you find bugs disgusting, then this may not be the title for you.
Fans of the show love the storyline and how the characters have all developed together.
Many even want a season two to the series.
18. Shigurui: Death Frenzy
Shigurui released in the Summer of 2007. It follows the time in Japan when warring clans were an epidemic, women were looked at as objects and backbiting was a very common way of life.
Lord Tokugawa Tadanaga would hold fighting tournaments for his pleasure. The fights would be fought with wooden swords earlier, but now they were fought with real swords.
Enter, the one-armed Fujiki Gennosuke and the blind Irako Seigen. Blood and gore are the main themes of this 12 episodic show.
Fujiki and Irako must fight it until the last man stands. This is an extremely serious anime that features a lot and we mean a lot of slashing and hacking.
It is loosely based on some historical facts, with a few creative liberties. Watch this only if you can face the reality.
17. Samurai 7
Loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s (acclaimed Japanese director) film, ‘Shichinin no Samurai’. Samurai 7 is the story of 7 different warriors each having unique abilities who must help a farmer protect his land.
In the distant future, the samurai have mechanized their bodies in order to win the war amongst each other.
Now facing threats from the mechanized bandits, the farmers in the Kanna Village decide on hiring mechanized samurai to save them the looters.
They manage to gather 7 of the strongest samurai to have existed for the pay of rice that grew in their fields.
Now ensues an epic battle between the mechanized bandits and the merchants they are controlled by.
Released in the Summer of 2007, this anime was pretty well to do and is much enjoyed by the fans for its action and storytelling.
16. Sengoku Basara Series
Based in the Sengoku period of feudal Japan, when warring clans were at their peak.
One evil general known as ‘the Demon King of Owari’ became a threat to the others.
In their quest for unification, Oda Nobunaga, Date Masamune & Sananda Yukimura join forces in order to defeat him.
With Nobunaga’s own struggle for power. And the rise of Toyotomi Hideyoshi as the next in line as a unifier.
Along with Ishida Mitsunari, his subordinate who wants revenge. Masamune and Yukimura must fight a battle for the unification of Japan.
What’s great about the series; its action and typical good versus evil fare. Sengoku Basara is a much-loved anime series.
But overall, it’s an amazingly well-received series that is an absolute must-watch.
15. Afro Samurai
Inspired by the creator, Takashi Okazaki’s love for hip hop and samurai culture, he created Afro Samurai.
Initially created as an avant-garde manga that serialized in Nou No Hau from 1998 until 2002.
The anime came to fruition in 2007 created by Studio Gonzo. Afro was a samurai in training who witnesses the murder of his father in front of his own eyes.
As he grows up, it was a known fact that the one to possess the No.1 headband was the most powerful samurai of all.
As an adult, Afro wants to avenge his father’s death and moves ahead on the list to reach the top position.
It has some serious action, drama, and slashing going on. We cannot emphasize enough how much of an important anime this is.
Also, Samuel. L. Jackson, do you need anything more?
14. Laughing Under the Clouds
A fun little series about 3 brothers, Tenka, Soramaru, and Chutaro Kumo. A group of well-known samurai brothers is responsible for throwing criminals into a secluded prison built in the middle of a lake.
Later in the series, the boys learn that they are tied to a demon serpent’s spirit.
The three must destroy Orochi’s vessel, the human host possessed by the serpent, and be destined for it.
It’s actually a great series despite the serious plot. The character designs are catchy, the action is engaging and there are hints of romance in there too.
Another fun light watch to add to the list!
13. Shura no Toki
For all the martial arts fanatics, this one’s for you. Three generations of fighters practice the martial arts style known as Mutsu Enmei-Ryu.
A style where you do not fight with weapons but are completely unarmed and use incredible speed and precision to disarm an opponent with a weapon.
That’s essentially the story. We encourage you to explore the Miyamoto, the tournament, and the Meiji Revolution arcs as this is a definitive anime series that you must watch at least once.
The creators, Studio Comet, have given such attention to detail that the fight sequences look extremely real!
The story flow is amazing. It’s an old anime but a good anime.
12. Ninja Scroll
Inspired by western-style spy fiction and the works of the great, Futaro Yamada. Juubee Ninpuuchou is the story of Kibagami Jubei, a now mercenary swordsman for hire.
He battles the Eight Devils of Kimon, ninjas who wield supernatural abilities. Their aim was to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate.
Jubei is accompanied by Dakun, a government spy, and Kagero, a Koga kunoichi (killer ninja) whose body is infused with poisonous toxins.
Ninja Scroll is a critically acclaimed and highly influential anime film. Many have tried to emulate its success as well.
Alongside other popular anime titles, Ninja Scroll is one title that made adult-oriented anime films popular outside of Japan.
The film released in the Summer of 1993 and has since been watched by millions and continuing.
11. Hybrid Child
A skillful craftsman creates artificial humans known as Hybrid Child- they are neither dolls nor humans but only thrive if given enough love and affection.
Kotarou Izumi brings home an abandoned hybrid child to his household and gets looked down upon.
He names him Hazuki, but his family despises him. Kotarou and Hazuki overcome tremendous obstacles that come their way in order for the Hybrid Child to grow.
It is an OVA series of three different love stories featuring Hybrid Children emphasizing the relationship these artificial beings and humans share.
The plot is a mix of historical and sci-fi elements. Now if you’re wondering why is a shounen-ai so high up in the list, the story arc about the swordsman is a tear-jerker, and unlike the hacking and slashing this one pays attention to the emotions more than fighting.
10. Samurai Deeper Kyo
During the battle of Sekigahara, a fight ensues between two exemplary swordsmen. Demon Eyes Kyo, a much-feared samurai is in the search for his soul which gets sealed in his rival, Mibu Kyoshiro’s body.
Mibu holds the unique powers of the Mubi clan. Samurai Deeper Kyo is a classic title that released in the Summer of 2002.
Kyo is accompanied by Shiina Yuya, a bounty hunter, who also happens to be the heir to the throne of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Sananda Yukimura too joins in as a rival to the shogunate. Even though the plot seems a bit confusing at times, the action and the character journeys make up for it all.
If you have a keen interest in historical stories, you’ll like this title.
9. Hakuoki Series
A series that has its origins in a video game, Hakuoki is undoubtedly a much-loved samurai anime title.
In 1864 Japan, a young Chizuru Yukimura sets out on a journey to find her father, Koudou.
Koudou is a doctor by profession who has created the Water of Life that turns people into blood-lusting berserkers known as Rasetsu.
The Shinsengumi encounter Chizuru being attacked by a bunch of madmen and then use her as an aid to finding the doctor and the reason for the killings in the city.
Chizuru eventually becomes close to Toshizo Hijikata. Later a group who call themselves Oni is confronted by the Shinsengumi.
After their meeting, a pandora’s box opens and dark secrets are revealed. It’s a great action drama and makes for a decent watch to understand Japan’s Tokugawa shogunate history from an animation point of view.
8. Saraiya Goyou
Masanosuke Akitsu is a ronin roaming the streets of a peaceful Edo city. He is a skilled swordsman but people look down upon him due to his meek personality.
After a series of rejections, Masa begins to question his personality as a samurai. Then comes, Yaichi who hires him as his bodyguard on a whim.
As Masa begins to lead his daily life with him, he learns the mysterious ways the Five Leaves gang works.
Something that he was unaware of when he became his bodyguard. Now having to question his own principles as a samurai yet again, how does Masa confront the true intentions of the gang?
Now this title, may not show up in your top 10’s but it truly deserves a spot on ours.
It’s amazingly well made; the animation style is anything unlike what you’ve seen. There’s minimal action but the plot is immensely intriguing.
Take the time out to check out Saraiya Goyou.
One of the more recent titles to make it to the Top 10, we have Drifters.
Released in the Fall of 2016, Drifters has since become an immensely popular anime series. We follow Shimazu Toyohisa, a warrior who gets mortally wounded in the battle of Sekigahara and finds himself being transported to a completely different realm unwillingly.
There he meets other warriors just like him, who now call themselves the ‘Drifters’.
This new world is plagued by warring creatures and native humans whom the Drifters must stop.
Meanwhile, an evil group of supernatural beings known as The Ends must be dealt with as well.
The characters are well developed, the action is brilliant and the story keeps you hooked.
The series ended on a cryptic ending stating the release of a potential new season, which we haven’t heard of as yet.
6. Hyouge Mono
To fit Hyouge Mono in a paragraph will not do justice to the beauty that is Hyouge Mono.
This title may not have fans like Bleach or One Piece. But the nuanced and those who can read between the lines may just understand the simplicity this anime exudes.
The story takes place in the Sengoku period and follows Furuta Sasuke, a subordinate of Oda Nobunaga.
He dreams of a materialistic life. Furuta is obsessed with tea ceremonies and wants to walk the path of the Hyouge Mono.
It is based on actual historical recordings from Nobunaga’s reign. This isn’t a title you enjoy; this could be a title you imbibe and appreciate life as it really is.
A deeply touching story of a young ronin Hyakkimaru. The greedy samurai Lord Daigo Kagemitsu wishes to remain in power for the rest of his life.
He makes a pact with the demons in order to do so, who end up granting his wish.
The only cost of this wish was that Kagemitsu’s son would be born eyeless, limbless, with a nose or ears or even skin.
Now disposed of in the river. A doctor finds him and gives him a prosthetic body.
Hyakkimaru lives and grows up only to learn that he’s the son of a sacrifice.
Later he meets an orphan boy named Dororo. The two unlikely pair now set out on a journey killing the demons as Hyakkimaru regains parts of his body and attempts to lead a normal life.
We’re talking about the Winter 2019 Dororo and not the Dororo’s from the ’60s. However, you must explore both.
This modern adaptation of the classic is for dark fantasy lovers. The series is amazing even if you’re not a lover of all things dark.
4. Sword of the Stranger
A young orphan Kotarou and his dog Tobimaru steal from the villagers in order to feed their tummies.
But, Kotarou is being hunted down by assassins of China’s Ming Dynasty. As he escapes, the two come across a lone ronin known as Nanashi.
He manages to save them from the clutches of those chasing the two. Later Nanashi becomes their bodyguard and he learns the reason for the Ming Dynasty constantly attacking the two.
It’s an exciting story featuring a child, a ronin, and a dog. With that being said, this story packs a whole lot of punch, blood, and slashing, which is what makes for a successful samurai soup.
3. Samurai Champloo
Who doesn’t know of Samurai Champloo? If you don’t, well you’ve been living under a rock!
Created by Shinchiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop), he continues his love affair by mixing great music and storytelling together.
Samurai Champloo explores the lives of three individuals. Fuu Kasumi, a ditzy young girl. Mugen, who is a little scratched up and has a weird fighting technique.
Then there’s ronin Jin, the very essence of a traditional swordsman. However, the three end up killing a very important person.
What follows later is Fuu makes the two her bodyguards and they must help her find a samurai who smells of sunflowers.
This story is entertaining, tear-jerking, and has well-crafted fight sequences. Great characters, amazing background music by Nujabes (R.
I. P). You need to explore this title yourself to enjoy it. It is definitely one of Watanabe’s masterpieces.
2. Rurouni Kenshin Series
Rurouni Kenshin is one of the top-rated samurai anime series around the globe. It follows the story of a feared assassin by the name of Hirokiri Battousai.
He was a merciless killer. But he has now given up his life and wants to repent for his sins.
He now lives as Kenshin Himura, leading this happy-go-lucky life, and dedicates his life to protecting the weak.
After he learns that a dojo is being threatened by an imposter Battousai, Kenshin must help protect Kaoru and Yahiko.
With threats from the past and new enemies, how does Kenshin cope with his new morals?
Watching this series is an absolute visual experience. It even gives you life lessons to learn from.
Not to mention, the action is just so seamless! For a Winter 1996 release, this anime series is truly a gem.
1. Gintama Series
There couldn’t have been a better title to round up this list of the best samurai anime, with Gintama!
Gintama quite literally encapsulates the entire list and most of the anime titles out there.
Known as a parody show, Gintama explores the life of Gintoki Sakata and his yorozuya.
He along with Shinpachi Shimura, Kagura, and Sadaharu do odd jobs around Edo to make ends meet.
Gintama may not be everybody’s cup of tea but Hideaki Sorachi has definitely created an anime amalgamating every niche, pun, arc out there in the anime universe and made it so well!
The music on the show is extremely popular and so well chosen. The anime will never cease to not make you laugh.
It has its cliché moments but when there’s a parody of a film/anime/cartoon character you like, you can’t help but chuckle.
It has traditional, sci-fi, romance, and comedy elements. Gintama is the best anime out there, spanning over many seasons, tons of films, and merch.
And an even bigger fanbase. There are very few titles, that can make you laugh, cry and also give you instructions to watch the television screen from a distance!