The Best Medieval Anime feature the stories of the past with some added elements of the Fantasy genre that results in an exciting storyline and a diverse range of magical characters. The way these shows present these stories, leaves us imagining more about their lives and struggles. Even though these heroes are very far from our reality, we can’t help seeing a part of ourselves in them. Today, I present you with a list of the best medieval anime that feature some magical characters and their flamboyant stories. Without any further ado, let’s get right into it.
Top 25 Best Medieval Anime Of All Time!
25/25. Nobunaga the Fool
There are only two planets with advanced technology and power sources in space. A connection (Dragon Stream) between them keeps the world in peace. However, the collapse of this system results in a grim war between them.
Nobunaga Oda is the successor of the Oda family on the eastern planet. He has a unique way of executing things, and because of it, people begin to call him “Nobunaga the Fool.” He meets Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc, a young girl born in a small town in the western country. She has continuous visions of a savior and ends up traveling across the planets to find him. Jeanne’s fateful encounter with the so-called Fool (Nobunaga) may change the dire situation of the world.
The first half of the medieval anime builds a lot of anticipation (If you are able to put together the plot mess) but the second half blows. But the art and character development compensate. It was a guilty pleasure of mine I guess, overall, my advice is to try it. Watch the first two episodes, and if you’re drawn.
24/25. Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion
Set in a medieval anime world when different islands and regions were fighting the desperate invasions of Mongols. The biggest target of the Mongol invasion in Tsushima island, one of the strongholds of Japan serving as a front-line defense.
Kuchii Jinzaburou is a famous samurai who finds himself in prison because of his irrational actions on the battlefield. Tsushima is an exiled prisoner. Jinzaburou and other prisoners meet Teruhi-Hime, the princess of the island. She asks for their aid to defend against the invasion of the Mongols. Will Kuchi Jinzaburo, an expert swordsman, take up his sword to protect the people of Tsushima from a doomed fate?
It’s not what I’d consider the best medieval animes. The series has a slow start, and I was about to drop it halfway through. But, I did like the battle scenes.
23/25. Junketsu no Maria the Virgin Witch
A ridiculous war between the two big forces of England and France going on for decades engulfed the lives of countless innocent people. The people of both nations fall prey to the chaos of war one by one, leading to a never-ending tragedy. Maria is a witch with various powerful abilities. The endless casualties bruise her heart. She decides to use her powers to control the flames of war, hoping for a peace treaty. However, soon her efforts deem alarming by heaven. Michael, an archangel, places a curse on Maria that can steal her powers if she loses her virginity. With this tragic curse in place, what will be Maria’s course of action?
An enjoyable medieval adventure with the most realistic armor and weapons. Most importantly, it stays true to its historic period.
22/25. Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)
The Kouka Kingdom is a vast territory with supreme power in the past. However, now the Kingdom of Kouka is reduced to a small territory because of the naive emperor of the Kingdom.
Yona is the princess of the Kouka Kingdom and the only daughter of the Emperor. She is a sheltered princess without knowledge of the outside world.
Her peaceful life changed when her crush Su-Won, killed her father for the throne. Hak Son is the general of the Kouka army. Yona takes the princess and fled away from the palace to save the princess from the army. Now, Hak and Yona must gather allies to take the besieged kingdom back and take their revenge.
In a josei anime series of this kind, I encourage the bad guys, and for me Akatsuki no Yona is a series about a brave man who decides to put an end to an annoying royal dynasty. The animation is reasonable. It’s not violent, not a sexy anime, just very mediocre.
21/35. Scrapped Princess
The newborn daughter of a royal family is declared a calamity for mankind by the church. The princess is left alone to die, but with the help of a generous family, she survives. Pacifica Casull is the princess known as “Scrapped Princess.”
She is saved by the Casull family who also adopted her. Pacifica is always troubled by her destiny as she doesn’t wish to be a child of calamity.
She is forced to run away with her adopted brother (Shannon Casull) and adopted sister (Raquel Casull) because of the church and people who chase her. The trio must work together to survive while discovering the truth about the history of mankind and prophecy.
A rare 2000s gem in the medieval anime genre. There are so many interesting twists and turns that it’s quite unpredictable. The visuals are nothing special but done well for a medieval setting.
20/25. Goblin Slayer
Adventurers are brave people with a variety of skills who take on various quests from the guild to make money while saving people. Most of the quests include fighting with monsters. Among these monsters are goblins, the lowest class of monsters.
Goblin Slayer is a man who takes quests related to goblins only. In his opinion, goblins are a grave threat to humanity because of their adaptive nature. His family and village are also victims of these dreadful creatures. He saves Onna Shinkan, a young aspiring priestess hoping to become an adventurer. She begins to assist the Goblin Slayer to pay back for his help.
As Goblin Slayer continues his journey, more and more people begin to accompany him on his quest of slaying goblins from the face of the world.
Goblin Slayer is pure action and suspenseful medieval anime, with no sections of insignificant dialogues. The plot is pretty basic, but it doesn’t matter. The emotional connection works exceptionally well, during each battle there’s always an interesting detail that reveals something about one of the nameless characters.
19/25. Shoukoku no Altair: Altair: A Record of Battles
According to history, there are always countries and kingdoms that seek war over peace because of their neverending lust for dominance and power. Shoukoku no Altair is a historical medieval series centered around the young Turkish general Mahmut Tuğru. The vast continent of Rumeliana is controlled by the Turkiye Stratocracy and Balt-Rhein Empire. However, Balt-Rhein Empire is power-hungry so they plan a great war to conquer the entire continent of Rumelia.
Mahmut Tugrul is the general (Pasha) of the Turkiye Stratocracy. His intellect and strategic abilities make him famous among military officers. He always executes his mission keeping the peace as a priority. Mahmut needs to gather allies from all over the continent as the Balt-Rhein Empire is planning to wage a war with horrible consequences. Mahmut must gather loyal allies from the continent while searching for a way to stop the war from happening.
Storywise, it’s a bit of a mess. If you are a historical-based buff, then you would find a lot of imaginary plots that don’t serve historic facts. However, the battle scenes reflect the green reality of the medieval war.
18/25. Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis: Rage of Bahamut
Dragons (Bahamut) are the most powerful mythological creatures of all time. When the peace of Mistarcia is threatened by the Bahamut, all three races living in Mistarcia worked together to seal away the dreadful Bahamut. Favaro Leone is a bounty hunter in the city of Mistarcia. He spends his days chasing after money for selfish reasons. However, he notices sudden changes when he meets Amira, a charming girl without any memories. Favaro discovers that Amira holds half the key to the sealed Bahamut. The destruction of the world may be near. With this situation in place, what will be Favaro’s course of action?
If I ever write a list of things I want to see in a medieval anime, Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis will be the closest to fulfilling my sections: Really good animation? check. Special and different from other series? Yep. Characters you can not dislike? Yes. An adventure against all odds set in a magical and dangerous country? Check. Epic medieval battle scenes? Hell yeah!
17/25. Arslan Senki: The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Set in a world where two big powerful kingdoms control the world. The kingdom of Pars is ruled by King Andragoras. The King of Pars is famous for his furious nature and absolute command over his army. Arslan is the son of King Andragoras. He is quite the opposite of his father as he is too positive about every situation. However, my strategic and leadership skills at Arslan are top-notch. He must run away when the king is betrayed, and the kingdom of Pars falls into chaos. Daryun is the legendary general of the Pars kingdom. He accompanies Arslan on his journey of gathering allies to take back the besieged kingdom.
With various factions and Lusitanian forces out there seeking the blood of Arslan, He must stay strong and gather allies to fend off the enemies while preparing for his comeback as the king. Those who love fantasy, will not find much of it in Arslan Senki. Although the series takes place in a universe where there is magic, it is not the main element. Even races like elves and dwarves are not part of the series universe. Magic is a marginal part of the epic war game. In its essence this is a medieval anime series about the political conflict between human beings, and how one innocent boy falls into the heart of the storm.
The medieval anime brings a lot to the table: history, politics, bloody wars, purposeful characters, strategic development, a campaign against all odds, and tangled interactions. It even has a surprising family drama. In some parameters, it fulfills everything it promises, in others, it has more room for improvement.
16/25. Tenkuu no Escaflowne: The Vision of Escaflowne
The life of an ordinary high school girl changed when she saves a prince from another world. Through a series of events, she finds herself in the world (Gaea) of the prince. Hitomi Kanzaki is a high school girl with an obsession with card games. She helps Van Fanel, a young boy who happens to be the prince of Fanelia Kingdom. Hitomi’s fate continues to interact with Van leading her to the world of Gaea. The kingdom of Fanelia is destroyed by the forces of the Zaibach Kingdom. Van piloted the ancient Guymelef Escaflowne (a Mecha similar to Gundam) but can’t stop the invasion of Fanelia Kingdom. Now Hitomi and Van must work together to survive while discovering a power that might help them in taking the Fanelia Kingdom back.
Quite an old anime (Produced 26 years ago), a special mix of early 1990s Shonen and Shojo. Both genders will appreciate it. An epic medieval anime that has enough variety to keep you interested. I liked it a lot and do recommend it, but be aware that many young viewers don’t find it attractive at all.
15/25. Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
The country of Japan face a dire situation when an interdimensional portal called Gate emerge in Tokyo. Beings of various races charge out of the gate leading to chaos. The government enforces emergency protocols and somehow manages to control the situation. Youji Itami is a middle-aged man officer in Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). He contributes a lot to saving people during chaotic situations. The Government makes a special team to explore the fantasy world inside the Gate. Youji leads a team of officers to explore this mysterious world and form a peace treaty with them if possible. Now, he must venture into the unknown world for the sake of peace and his beloved country while becoming an ambassador of peace.
The character designs from both the real world and the fantasy world are captivating. In most parts, the series is a good blend of action and lighthearted moments.
14/25. KanzakaDex: Slayers
Set in a fantasy world where legendary magic items are desired by everyone for their gains. Lina Inverse is a young girl renowned as a witch. She loves to collect magic items and treasures. Soon she turns several bandits against her as she takes their stolen magic items from them. Lina meets Gourry Gabriev, a muscular swordsman who mistakes her for a helpless girl and decides to become her protector. She finds him interesting, and the two start traveling together. However, their fateful encounter may prove to be more than just a coincidence.
Slayers manage to create a fun fantasy world full of monsters, dragons, and magic swords. What makes Slayers special is the relationships between the main characters.
13/25. Nanatsu no Taizai: The Seven Deadly Sins
This anime is set in a medieval world similar to ancient Europe. There lies the Holy Kingdom of Liones ruled by King Batra Liones. The kingdom has holy knights for its protection. Among these knights exists a group of people known as the Seven Deadly Sins because of their immense powers (sins). Meliodas is the isekai anime OP main charcter. He is the leader of Seven Deadly Sins who bears the sin of God’s wrath. He holds supreme powers among the holy knights. Meliodas and his comrades are framed for treason and thus banished from the kingdom by holy knights. Elizabeth Liones is the royal princess of Liones Kingdom. She runs away when the holy knights take hold of the empire by using underhanded schemes. She decides to find the legendary Seven Deadly Sins to take the sieged empire back. Will the efforts of Elizabeth be enough to save the kingdom?
The Seven Deadly Sins is a pure shounen full of fun battles to watch. It’s not the best show, to say the least, you will find the same tropes you see in this type of medieval anime genre.
12/25. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime: Snow White with the Red Hair
The story of this anime was inspired by the animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Although the concept is similar, the story and character are entirely changed. In the country of Tanbarun lives a young girl with rare red hair who had experienced troublesome situations because of the color of her hair. Shirayuki has a vast knowledge of herbs and medicine. She leaves her home country because of the Prince (Raji Shenazard) of Tanbarun. On her journey, she is saved by Zen Wistaria, the prince of Clarines Kingdom. Zen offers Shirayuki a place in the royal palace and she accepts his kind offer. However, living in a royal castle may be more difficult than Shirayuki imagined.
The medieval anime series is worth watching because of its characters, with the main pair a likable couple. If you are expecting lots of action and battle scenes, you’ll be disappointed. Snow White with the Red Hair is rather a predictable medieval anime. However, it has a good storyline in a fairytale setting.
11/25. Ascendance of a Bookworm
When a high school girl with a passion for books was close to achieving her lifelong ambition, an unfortunate accident led her to death only to be reincarnated in another world as a child. Motosu Urano was a high school girl who recently became a librarian. After dying, she was reincarnated in a world similar to the Medieval era. Her name in this world was Myne, a small girl living in a town. Myne found out that books in this world were a luxury available only to royals and nobles. With this situation in hand, what will be Myne’s scheme for obtaining books?
The setting is inspired by medieval Germany. This a decent historical summary of what happens when books become accessible and more available, and how technology can change a society, but not always for the better. A well-grounded storyline, nothing over the top.
10/25. The Twelve Kingdoms
The life of an ordinary high school girl changes when she ends up in the medieval era of another world. Youko Nakajima is a high school girl whose classmates have always manipulated her because of her naive personality. In a series of events, she gets pulled into a fantasy world with monsters. Keiki is a man who takes Youko with her to another world. He tells Youko about her right to the throne of the Kei Kingdom. With this sudden news about being the ruler of the world, what will Youko do?
The Twelve Kingdoms is full of everything you could wish for from a medieval anime. Themes of racial discrimination, xenophobia, corruption, and political infighting, it’s all there. The world setting is well-detailed, and some of the plot lines are interesting.
9/25. The Beast Player Erin (Kemono no Souja Erin)
In a world where beast people live in harmony with normal humans, lives a young girl who has to go through a struggling period because of a past tragedy. Erin is a girl who lives in the small town of Ake.
She lives a peaceful life with her mother. One day she inherited the ability of beast people as her mother belongs to the race of beasts. The mother of Erin is punished to death by the lord of the village. On the other hand, Erin ends up falling into a river. Fortunately, She survives and reaches the province of Shin-Ou. Now, Erin must come to terms with her reality to survive.
Kemono no Souja Erin is one of the best medieval animes. Easily placed in my top 10 medieval anime of all time. It’s also one of the best coming-of-age stories in all of entertainment. This show would appeal to anyone that likes slice-of-life about growing up.
8/25. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
A powerful water spirit fails to stop its destruction. However, years later the spirit reincarnated in the body of a boy. The boy is the prince of the Shin Yogo Empire, he holds the soul of the water spirit. The emperor ordered the massacre of his son to prevent his land from a devastating famine. Balsa Yonsa is a middle-aged woman working as a mercenary. She saved Chagum from the massacre on secret orders from his mother. What will be the fate of Chagum and the water spirit?
For a medieval anime that was released in 2007, it feels like a full feature-length movie animation. It is one of the best (If not the best) I have ever seen for a series. It has some of the best battle choreography I’ve ever seen from any anime. Moribito – Guardian of the Spirit has a beautiful story to tell, it explores the glorious intricacies of life.
The world is filled with bloodthirsty demons with the ability to transform, known as Youma. To fight these demons, a hybrid Youma exists known as Claymore. Raki is a young man living a peaceful life in his town until Youma attacks and killed his family. He is saved by Clare, a hybrid girl with Youma abilities. Clare is one of the Claymore warriors who were created artificially to fight these demons. The people of the town banish Raki from their village in fear of its affiliation with demons. He joins Clare on her journey of killing every demon. Will Raki be able to survive this deadly journey?
Claymore got me hooked from the first episode. At first, it seemed like another feminist attempt to destroy classics. But, I have to admit I loved that the Claymores are all swordswomen. The choice to place femalE warriors adds a special layer that just makes the series a lot better. It is such a bizarre show, it’s almost an extinct genre of anime. It should receive a top score for courage, and breaking conventions.
6/25. Ookami to Koushinryou: Spice and Wolf
In the small town of Pasloe lives a girl with a wolf-like appearance. She becomes known as the wolf deity when she uses her abilities to help the people in harvesting crops. Holo is a wolf deity living in the small town of Pasloe. She becomes quite popular in the town because of her wisdom, but over time, people forget about her. Ookami meets Kraft Lawrence, a middle-aged man working as a merchant. He travels from town to town in hopes of making a fortune. Holo decides to join the journey of Kraft, hoping to visit her hometown of Yoitsu along the way. The future of Holo and Kraft might be connected with the strings of fate.
If you read the plot above and you say “I’ve seen this cute anime couple too many times” then you are right. We all have seen the beautiful goddess complex that falls in love with the human being and follows him and there are adventures in the background. Now forget all you have seen because Spice and Wolf show how much can be done with character development and some creativity. If you are tired of orange ninja smearing you for 300 episodes or you just like a bit of romance, action, and laughter – do not hesitate to watch.
5/25. Sword of the Stranger (Mukou Hadan)
The story of this medieval anime is themed around the Sengoku period of Japan and contains several interesting stories related to warriors. In a small town in Japan lives an orphan boy who survives by stealing food and items from the people. Koutarou is the name of the child who lives in the village. He is accompanied by his dog (Tobimaru) on his journey. His life takes a drastic turn when an assassin tried to kill him. On the run, he meets Nanashi, a rogue samurai spending his days ideally. Nanashi saves Koutarou from the assassin, he becomes his bodyguard.
It is a required viewing by any fan of the medieval anime genre. The action is phenomenal, just glorious. It’s a lean mean action machine and feels Kurosawa-like in many ways. Sword of the Stranger wastes no time getting the adventure going, many scenes involve huge amounts of blood and flying decapitated heads. Phenomenal animation and production quality.
The story is set in a period when people considered science and wisdom evil acts of sorcery. A young girl travels the lands searching for true scientific knowledge. She ends up at the castle of Dracula, who holds vast knowledge of science. Lisa Tepes is the woman who becomes the wife of Dracula after falling in love with him. She uses her knowledge to cure diseases of people. However, the ignorant people of the church claim her to be the minion of Satan. Vlad Dracula Tepes goes mad in his rage and releases his army of demons upon the people for revenge. Now, the last hope of humanity is Alucard (Protagonist), the son of Dracula.
Castlevania is similar to The Witcher, but the violent parts of the series are downright terrifying. The scenes are so violent and artistically illustrated that they seem to soften the empathy we gained for Dracula / the devil. It’s a dark medieval filled with mystery that gives a strange feeling whenever it blends darkness with humor, which sneaks in from time to time. There were moments when I sat there and said to myself “This is crazy” and immediately I found myself laughing out so loud. I have not experienced it before in any series and especially not in anime, at least personally.
3/25. Vinland Saga
The story of this Vinland Saga is themed around Vikings, the barbaric warriors of the past. In a land located at the far end of the world lives a young boy who dreams of becoming an explorer. Thorfinn is a young child living in Iceland with his parents. His peaceful world is shattered when Thors his father is killed by a group of mercenaries. After the death of his father, Thorfinn becomes obsessed with revenge and begins following the man (Askeladd) who killed his beloved father. However, the path of vengeance leads to nothing but a hell of despair. Will Thorrfin be able to get his revenge? Vikings are guys who until recently were misrepresented in the media because they were often portrayed as bloodthirsty pirates with a horned helmet (which is a total myth, by the way). The TV series “Vikings” tried – and quite successfully – to restore the Vikings to their glory, but it bases most of its inspiration on the largely fictitious Ragnar Ludbrook saga, and less on historical events.
Vinland Saga does justice to the Vikings in the only way possible: no discounts. When it sticks to manga (about 95% of the time) the series does it well. The characters are ambivalent, the music epic, the plot suspenseful, and the dialogues are successful (especially when it comes to debates about Christianity against the Norse faith). The narrative does not jump between dozens of characters who are at different points but stays close to the same heroes and enemies we know, and so viewers see in real-time the forceps effect – as the chase between different camps tightens (and tightens, and tightens) to a charged point where everyone is in the same stressful arena.
2/25. Fullmetal Alchemist
In the country of Amestris, an intelligent alchemist lives there with his brother. Edward Elric is a young talented alchemist with vast knowledge. He and his brother (Alphonse Elric) try to resurrect his dead mother by performing a forbidden ritual, but the ritual backfired on them. Alphonse loses his body, but Edward saves his soul by binding it with a metal armor body. Now, Edward and Alphonse must discover the legendary philosopher stone that might help them recover their losses. However, the price for the stone may be more than this duo of brothers imagined.
The real “Brotherhood” only began in episode 14. Aside from bombastic production capabilities (thanks to Chumi Tsukamoto on the animated throne), the episode introduced the world to what the medieval series would have been if it had not been born under the shadow of its big sister: full of action and excellent characters intertwined. Fullmetal Alchemist began its journey to the grand finale, a journey through which the characters went through obstacles and more obstacles. And that’s why it’s my number two best medieval anime.
1/25. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen III – Kourin
No surprise that my top Medieval Anime is, of course, Berserk! The Kingdom of Midland is ravaged by demonic monsters. A band of warriors is formed to save people from the horrors of these monsters. The band becomes known as Band of the Hawk. Guts is a young skilled swordsman warrior who serves the band of Hawk in the past. On his journey to becoming a true warrior, he meets again with the members of the band. However, the members run from the kingdom as the nobles of the Kingdom accuse their leader. Guts and his comrades must challenge their leader while coming to terms with the tragic truth about him.
After a successful first film and a second film that drove my five senses crazy – comes the third film in the Berserk series (and the last in the Golden Age trilogy) it tells the fans: Sit still, you have not seen anything yet! It has a political plot, lots of drama, romance, violent fights, dangerous chases, hallucinatory flashbacks, a bit of humor, and a handful of fantasy in the form of a mysterious rider who looks like a death angel.