Samurai anime you need to watch are The Age of Samurai Champloo, Demon Slayer, Katanagatari, Samurai 7, and Mushibugyō.
Samurai aren’t always the focal point as distinct characters in anime. Rather, “samurai anime” frequently alludes to the comprehensive aesthetic of medieval Japan or the core principles of bushido.
This enduring theme weaves its way through a wide array of anime genres.
Whether a movie or TV series takes place in Japan’s history, the essence of the samurai often permeates the atmosphere. The samurai’s legend surpasses time and location constraints, and with anime’s limitless imagination, it can seamlessly blend into any adventure, no matter where it unfolds.
A Curated Collection of the Best Samurai Anime
We’ll explore the diverse range of stories, from those steeped in historical accuracy to modern reinterpretations that blend samurai traditions with science fiction and fantasy elements.
Expect to discover tales of legendary warriors, supernatural encounters, and heart-wrenching dramas as we embark on this journey through the world of samurai anime.
18The Age of Samurai Champloo
Enter the world of Samurai Champloo, a perfect fusion of traditional samurai ethos and modern hip-hop culture. This unconventional anime, directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, will have you grooving to its beat while you witness the adventures of Mugen, Jin, and Fuu. As this trio traverses Edo-era Japan, you’ll be captivated by their distinct personalities and extraordinary fighting skills.
Samurai Champloo is a thrilling ride with a dash of humor, and it’s a true treasure among samurai anime. Prepare to slice through the mundane as you embark on this unforgettable journey.
17Rurouni Kenshin: A Tale of Redemption
Next up, unsheathe your sword for Rurouni Kenshin, a legendary anime that revolves around a wandering swordsman named Kenshin Himura. Once a feared assassin, Kenshin seeks to atone for his past by protecting the innocent. This brilliant series masterfully blends gripping action with a heartwarming story of redemption.
The show’s memorable characters and emotionally charged plotlines will get you hooked from the first episode. Rurouni Kenshin is a must-watch for a unique samurai experience that tugs at your heartstrings.
16Gintama: The Hilarious Samurai Adventure
Hold on to your katanas because Gintama is here to make you laugh! This hilarious samurai anime, created by Hideaki Sorachi, follows the adventures of Gintoki Sakata, an eccentric samurai-for-hire who lives in an alternate-history Japan where aliens coexist with humans.
Gintama’s unique blend of action, drama, and comedy makes it a delightful watch that entertains you. The anime’s quirky characters and witty dialogue will have you chuckling non-stop.
15Sword of the Stranger: A Cinematic Masterpiece
Prepare to be mesmerized by the stunning visuals of Sword of the Stranger, an extraordinary samurai film directed by Masahiro Ando. This anime follows a skilled, nameless ronin and his young companion as a fearsome Chinese warrior hunts them.
The breathtaking animation, meticulously choreographed fight scenes, and emotionally charged storytelling will leave you breathless. Sword of the Stranger is a testament to the power of samurai anime, and it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.
14Demon Slayer: Samurai Spirit Meets Supernatural
Last but not least, dive into the mystical world of Demon Slayer, where samurai spirit and supernatural forces collide. This captivating anime, based on Koyoharu Gotouge’s manga, tells the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a young swordsman on a quest to save his sister from a demonic curse.
Demon Slayer skillfully combines samurai lore with supernatural elements, resulting in a spellbinding series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Brace yourself for a thrilling adventure that beautifully showcases the indomitable samurai spirit.
13Dororo: A Gripping Tale of Revenge and Humanity
Get ready to venture into the eerie world of Dororo, an enthralling samurai anime based on Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga. The story follows Hyakkimaru, a young warrior who sets out on a quest for vengeance after his father makes a pact with demons, resulting in his body being dismembered.
As Hyakkimaru hunts down these demons to regain his body parts, he befriends Dororo, a resourceful orphan. Together, they navigate a treacherous world filled with danger and moral dilemmas.
12Katanagatari: A Journey Through the Twelve Deviant Blades
Unleash your inner samurai with Katanagatari, a visually striking and thought-provoking anime series by Nisio Isin. The plot revolves around Shichika Yasuri, a martial artist, and Togame, a cunning strategist, as they embark on a quest to collect the legendary Twelve Deviant Blades.
The duo encounters formidable foes, fascinating characters, and complex moral quandaries on their epic journey. Katanagatari’s unique art style and compelling narrative make it an exceptional addition to the samurai anime realm.
11House of Five Leaves: Intrigue in Edo-Era Japan
Step into the shadowy world of House of Five Leaves, a slow-burning samurai anime that focuses on character development and psychological intrigue. The story follows Akitsu Masanosuke, a skilled but timid ronin who becomes entangled with a mysterious gang called the Five Leaves.
As he delves deeper into their secretive activities, Masanosuke is confronted with moral dilemmas and questions of loyalty. This beautifully animated series, based on Natsume Ono’s manga, is perfect for those who enjoy thought-provoking samurai tales with a touch of mystery and suspense.
10Afro Samurai: Stylish Action Meets Futuristic Feudal Japan
Embrace the stylish and brutal world of Afro Samurai, a groundbreaking anime series that combines traditional samurai themes with futuristic elements. The story follows Afro, a skilled swordsman seeking revenge for his father’s murder. Guided by the enigmatic Ninja Ninja, Afro battles powerful foes and confronts his inner demons.
With its dynamic animation, compelling story, and Samuel L. Jackson’s memorable voice acting, Afro Samurai delivers a thrilling samurai experience like no other.
9Samurai 7: A Sci-Fi Spin on a Timeless Classic
Venture into a futuristic universe with Samurai 7, an imaginative reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s iconic film, Seven Samurai. Set in a world where mecha and samurai coexist, this action-packed anime follows a group of seven skilled warriors as they protect a village from bandits.
Samurai 7 combines the essence of the original film with a unique sci-fi twist, making for a thrilling and visually stunning experience.
8Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings – A Battle for Supremacy
Enter the thrilling world of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings, an anime that brings the tumultuous Warring States period to life. This action-packed series follows the epic battles between powerful warlords as they vie for control over Japan.
With its larger-than-life characters, fluid animation, and intense fight scenes, Sengoku Basara delivers a heart-pumping, adrenaline-fueled adventure.
Rediscovered from the treasure trove of 1993, this classic anime stands out among numerous exceptional titles that initially failed to gain attention due to localization issues. Bearing the full title of Brave Sword Legend Yaiba, this anime series draws inspiration from a manga series published between 1989 and 1994.
Falling under the shonen anime category, Brave Sword Legend Yaiba ranks as one of the finest historical samurai anime suitable for children to enjoy. Yaiba, the protagonist, is a young samurai residing with his father in the wilderness. An unfortunate encounter with local wildlife propels them into the city, where Yaiba’s swordsmanship earns him recognition as a local hero.
6The Ambition of Oda Nobuna – History Meets Hilarity
Take a lighthearted dive into Japan’s historical past with The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, an anime that mixes samurai action with a hefty dose of comedy. The story follows Yoshiharu Sagara, a modern-day high school student who is transported back in time to the Sengoku period, where he meets the legendary warlord Oda Nobuna – who turns out to be a teenage girl!
As Yoshiharu navigates this strange new world, he finds himself entangled in the political intrigues of the era. With its charming characters, humorous moments, and engaging storyline, The Ambition of Oda Nobuna is perfect for those seeking a lighthearted romp through samurai history.
Another movie rather than a series, the original samurai anime became popular enough to spawn an entire franchise, which might be worth considering. Released in 1993, Ninja Scroll joined the anime invasion of that era alongside classics like Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Its authentic, albeit highly mythologized, portrayal of medieval Japan in design, sound, and music set it apart at a time when people saw anime as a cyberpunk medium.
The story tracks the journey of a ronin named Kibagami Jubei. His innocent cross-country trip transforms into a dangerous adventure as he battles the Eight Devils of Kimon and their leader, Genma, his sworn enemy who now reigns as the ominous Shogun of the Dark.
4Blade Of The Immortal
If fans find the anime’s title dramatic, they should check out the original manga’s wild title, The Inhabitant of Infinity. The story follows a samurai named Manji, who bears a curse of immortality and must slay 1000 evil men to regain the ability to die naturally. Aside from the incredible curse, the anime remains historically accurate in other details.
The anime television series spanned thirty volumes instead of episodes, with an impressive run from 1993 to 2012. A live-action adaptation hit the screens in 2017, followed by another anime adaptation in 2019, featuring 24 traditional episodes that lasted about 22 minutes each.
3Hakuoki: A Supernatural Romance in the Samurai Era
Immerse yourself in the supernatural world of Hakuoki, a samurai anime that masterfully blends romance, action, and historical fiction. The story follows Chizuru Yukimura, a young woman searching for her missing father in Kyoto during the turbulent Bakumatsu period.
Along the way, she encounters the Shinsengumi, a group of skilled samurai with supernatural abilities. As Chizuru becomes entwined with the Shinsengumi, a complex web of secrets, loyalties, and emotions unfolds.
2Brave 10: A Band of Warriors and the Power of Friendship
Discover the power of friendship and teamwork with Brave 10, an action-packed samurai anime set during the Warring States period. The story centers on Saizo Kirigakure, a skilled ninja, and Isanami, a shrine maiden with mysterious powers, as they gather a group of ten warriors to protect Isanami from the dark forces pursuing her.
Brave 10 is a thrilling exploration of camaraderie and heroism in the face of adversity and is filled with dynamic battle scenes, colorful characters, and an intriguing plot.
1Drifters: Time-Travelling Samurai and Epic Battles
Embark on a time-bending adventure with Drifters, a captivating samurai anime that transports legendary warriors throughout history to a mysterious new world.
The story follows Shimazu Toyohisa, a samurai from the Sengoku period, as he finds himself in this strange realm alongside other historical figures like Nobunaga Oda and Yoichi Suketaka Nasu. As they confront formidable foes and form alliances with other Drifters, these warriors are drawn into a grand battle between good and evil.