Sword-fighting anime series got some scenes that make your heart beat faster. If you are battle hungry with a preference for the sword, here is a compiled list of samurai anime series with unforgettable sword-fighting battles, great fight choreography, and epic clashes. This list has some good examples of pure, and a few over-the-top sword anime.
25. Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom
The story starts with a girl named Chizuru Yukimura who comes to Kyoto to look for her father who disappeared. Arriving in the city, a special welcome awaits her: she is attacked by red-eyed people who salivate a lot because there’s one thing we’ve learned from anime series: never trust red-eyed people who salivate a lot.
Just before all seems lost, miraculously – her life is saved thanks to a group of Shinsengumi members. Since the girl witnessed something that turns out not to be witnessed, the members of the Shinsengumi take her to their residence, where they will decide whether to kill her or not.
Hakuouki tries to be everything: a romance, drama, horror, sword fighting anime, and all of this starring a lot of bishounen characters. But along the way, something goes wrong, and we’re left with something strange and unclear. For starters, the “kill her or not” question is ridiculous. The attempts at humor were also quite ridiculous, and the dynamic reminded me of the same dynamic between the members of the Shinsengumi in Gintama.
Chances are that when the story takes shape, the anime will become better. But the first episode kept me away from it forever. If the plot still sounds interesting enough to you (and it really has the potential to become interesting), try it, and don’t forget to tell me how it was.
24. Brave 10
Saizo Kirigakure is an assassin ninja, he does his routine forest jog when suddenly he sees a bloody young woman who looks like a priestess running and literally falls into his arm. The priestess named Isanami escaped a bloodbath in her shrine, and her fellow priests were slaughtered left and right. Isanami seeks help from Saizo as she is being hunted down by Tokugawa Ieyasu’s ninjas.
She wishes to go medieval on the ninjas and asks Sazio to see Yukimura Sanada to avenge her fallen temple. By pure chance, what do you know? Saizo is Yukimura’s guy, and he makes it his mission to bring her to Yukimura, the only man who can keep her from danger.
Sanada Yukimura is the warlord who co-founded the Sanada Ten Braves, a sword startup that will truly “change the world”. The Braves 10’s mission is to fend off attempts by rival warlords to capture Isanami and the mysterious power of the Kushitama. Yukimura would take Isanami in after discovering her mysterious power so they can avenge Isanami’s temple and win the feudal war of Japan.
Brave 10 is a historical fantasy series, it takes place in the aftermath of the end of the Sengoku period when Japan was separated into territories that warred against each other in order to gain as much land and power as possible. My main issue with the anime is that the whole thing is based on assembling ten warriors, while a lot of the side characters get almost no development.
However, this is also a relatively entertaining series, it doesn’t take itself overly seriously. I’ve seen a lot of cool fights, with lots of grinning and awesome action scenes. It has a truly great soundtrack, and the sword and other weapon sound effects are suitably over the top.
23. Sengoku Basara
The anime takes place during the Sengoku period (in which many other series on this list take place) Its heroes are warriors from different dynasties and bitter rivals, who form a surprising alliance with other generals to overthrow the ruler Oda Nobunaga. The plot deals with the Sakigahara War at the end of which the next shogun of Japan will rule.
It is about characters, and somewhat history. You don’t have to get the full story to understand what it is all about. Simple. That is my biggest problem with Sengoku, it’s too simple. They tried to give a deep character development, but they get lost in all the battle scenes. They don’t progress or go anywhere interesting. Still, if you are hungry for action, Sengoku should be on your menu.
22. Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion
Jinzaburou is a skilled swordsman and of high status, or at least he was because now he is a prisoner, and together with other prisoners Jinzaburou is exiled to the remote island of Tsushima. Instead of living the rest of his life peacefully behind bars, he comes to know that someone wants him dead and that someone is Kublai Khan – the ruler of the Mongol Empire.
Khan has nothing personal against Jinzaburou, he doesn’t know him at all, but the Khan wants to add Japan to the collection of countries he conquered (he’s probably an otaku) and after the Japanese politely refused (twice) to accept a Mongolian identity card, he decided to do it Mongol-style; Tens of thousands of Chinese and Korean soldiers (who were under the control of the empire), and of course the Mongols themselves, are now making their way to Japan.
Those who expect a “300” style anime are in for a pleasant surprise: Angolmois is not at all similar to that horrifying movie. Jinzaburou’s group is made up of people some of whom have never held a sword in their life, and some of whom want to get away (and rightfully so) as far north as possible.
Angolmois, more than anything else, is a series about tactics, and Jinzaburou is a smart man who also calculates the way he fries an omelet. Although he is not a particularly sympathetic interlocutor (the murder of his family may have had a hand in it), he is the closest thing to the hope that the people of Tsushima and Japan as a whole have.
The bloodthirsty among you will be happy to hear that the series is brutal: dozens of characters lose their heads, and I mean that literally. War is not a pleasant thing, and the series does a great deal to show this. From a historical perspective, the anime is not true to reality, and that’s putting it mildly.
21. Joran The Princess of Snow and Blood
In the alternate year of 1931 in which the Tokugawa dynasty still exists, life in Japan has become terrifying because of mercenaries on behalf of the Shogun who executes opponents of the government. Sawa, the protagonist of the series, was only a child when her entire family was murdered and now she is looking for revenge.
Before the plot, before the characters, and before everything – the most striking thing about Joran is the style because it looks really (but really) good when every frame of the big, dystopian city made me whistle in admiration. I enjoyed the character design, the beautifully detailed backgrounds, the action scenes, and the complex dynamics of both sides of the fence.
This is a sword anime where the characters are not black and white, and Sawa, the heroine, also did terrible things in the name of revenge.
The main problem at the moment is that the successful premise of Joran is swallowed up by the fantasy element. The series could have been much more successful without the presence of OP characters which cheapen the whole thing.
20. The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Arslan is an innocent, kind royal heir who barely knows how to hold a sword. In another fantasy world, someone would probably poison him, or give him a pat on the back – no less effective in Arslan’s case, and also saves the need to buy toxic substances.
Our young prince never left the walls of Ecbatana, the capital city of the mighty kingdom of Persia. In the city, he has everything he needs from food, a comfortable life, slaves, shops full of goods, dental insurance, Kofix branches, and more. Yes, everyone in Ekbatana is happy, except probably the slaves.
All the inhabitants, the happier and the less, are faced with King Andragoras – a tough type, the type that prefers to growl rather than talk. He is a skilled strategist, one who stomps foreign armies for breakfast (and then growls at them). With a king like Andragoras, the stability of the kingdom of Persia seems certain. But, nothing is certain.
Following a dirty trick, dark magic, and betrayal, Andragoras was defeated in battle and above the royal palace now flies the flag of Lusitania, the neighboring kingdom and the great enemy of Persia. All seems lost for the good guys, but fear not! The young prince Arslan managed to escape from the battlefield, and all he has to do is defeat the Lusitania soldiers. Yay!
Although the series takes place in a universe where magic exists, everyone in this anime is human. The first sight of the existence of mystical powers comes only in the middle of the plot, and it leaves little impression.
Even so, I found myself drawn to it: even though it has more luck than brains, I got a sense of satisfaction watching Arslan gain more and more power. The series also does a good job of describing what happens in the enemy’s court, and although most of the commanders in Lusitania are bad people, some of them are there for justified reasons.
This is a series about a political conflict between people, and how one innocent boy gets caught up in the heart of the storm. Arslan thus brings a lot to the table: history, politics, swords battle, bloody wars, purposeful characters, strategic development, a journey against all odds, complicated relationships, and even surprising family drama. Pure entertainment.
19. Juni Taisen: Zodiac War
I still have no idea who the hero is (if there is one at all) and I doubt you will find anyone to cheer for, most of the death game participants should die. Well, luckily the angel of death is waiting for 11 of the 12 participants (all by the way are named after animals from the Chinese zodiac).
Juni Taisen will not challenge the wheels of your brain, but the creator of the light novel – on which the anime is based – is Nishio Ishin, who is responsible for the Monogatari series and Medaka Box. I mean, at the very least, it will be fun.
To watch or not: The series looks great and I like the sword scenes, but the characters are superficial and so is the plot. I will stick to it a little longer in the hope that it will get better.
18. Sword Art Online
Kirito is a young man who participates in a beta test of a virtual reality helmet game. He is one of the first winners to join the first released version, only to discover that the game very quickly becomes a death trap, if you die in the virtual world you die in reality, and there is no way out. Fortunately for Kirito, he is not called “The Black Swordsman” for nothing, he is the best player around.
SAO might not fit the “anime sword series” bill, there is quite a bit of romance in it. It was based on a real video game, I don’t know if it had a plot, but that’s how I would expect a realistic MMO to be. Episode after episode it continues to present the online games as they are, and that’s what I liked about SAO.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think that it got worse as the seasons went on, and I can’t say that they are completely wrong. At least until the end of its first part, it was abnormally epic, but from there the series went on the fast lane to nowhere.
Kirito’s character annoyed me a bit. Count how many characters fell in love with him, and look at how many characters just got attached to him, he’s just a magnet for women. From the moment Kirito started dating Asuna, she suddenly turned into a woman who belongs in the kitchen, it really bothered me because she was such a strong badass woman, and look what they did to her.
As a fan of MMO games, I found this series interesting, at least until the end of its first part which was abnormally epic.
17. Blade of the Immortal
Blade of the Immortal is one of the well-known manga series in the industry, but it has not yet had success in the field of adaptations: in 2008, a 13-episode anime series was released that did justice to the original.
Manji is a swordsman with a distinct advantage: no one can kill him. Manji previously killed 100 samurai and was therefore cursed – until he does not kill A thousand bad guys he will remain immortal (because it is known that to atone for a death another death is needed).
The series opens with a 16-year-old girl, Rin, who has lost her family to a not-so-nice group of people. Rin vows revenge, but she can’t go solo (I mean she can try, but then it will be a very short series) and so she turns to our Manji. Together they embark on a lovable adventure of murder, revenge, and severed limbs.
The first four episodes mark it as one of the more successful anime. The dialogues are sharpened like Manji’s sword, and unlike, for example, Dororo, the heroes of the Blade of the Immortal experience a streak of bad luck and lose a lot. Manji is not an all-powerful warrior who wins easily, and if it weren’t for the curse of immortality that was placed on him – he would have been super-dead already in the first episode.
Animation-wise, the series went hard for the Chanbara style (samurai cinema. The Japanese equivalent of Westerns) and the result looks great. Just keep in mind that if you have a sensitivity to blood and violence – you’d better look for something else.
16. Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis
2000 years after the war of Gog and Magog in which gods, demons, and humans cooperated to defeat Behemoth – the pastoral balance is under threat once again.
Favaro is a bounty hunter, who spends his prize money on girls and booze. Kaisar is also a bounty hunter, but he is tough and takes his job seriously. And no, Favaro and Kaiser are not partners or friends – they hate each other. Into their lives enters Amira, a stunning and mysterious young swordswoman looking for a way to reach the Kingdom of God, a dangerous kingdom that many bounty hunters have lost their lives trying to find. You already know where this is going.
Shingeki has all the elements to succeed: a large-scale story that focuses on a small but vital group of warriors, a rich fantasy world, and mesmerizing animation: this is one of the few anime that makes Fate/stay night sweat in terms of visuals. But the character design is problematic. Amira is the only female character who looks good.
In our world, there are thousands of gods, some of them high-spirited, some of them lunatics. Yato belongs to the ‘loser god’ school and his big dream is to open a temple in his honor, as big as possible. Another thing about the gods: each god has his own ‘Regalia’ which is actually the soul of someone dead, with no past memories, which functions as a weapon. Yato is such an unsuccessful god that his regalia asks him to resign.
Without knowing that Yato cannot die easily, Iki Hiyori tries to save him from being hit by a bus, and get hit. In an attempt to keep her alive, Yato turns Iki into a half-phantom, allowing her to see demons and do supernatural things, but also remain human with a beating heart. Now she helps Yato fight against demons perform hit jobs for hire, and fight against other gods who want Yato dead.
Noragami was one of the more pleasant surprises of 2014, and the truth is that I had no reason to doubt: it is an adaptation of a (relatively) popular shounen manga, with the animation work being done by people from studio ‘Osman’ (Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater and also my dear Gosick). Anyone who watches anime series for more than two days could have guessed that Noragami is a series that was created to stay.
It has high production value; Good action scenes; and Fun characters to watch.
14. The Twelve Kingdoms
16-year-old Yoko Nakajima attends an all-girls high school. Yoko comes from a home with a strict and very conservative upbringing, so much so that her father forbade her to wear pants (and this is in a completely modern era). She obeys and does everything like a “good girl”. As a result of the rigid and conservative education imposed on her, she does not express her true self.
At school, she is of course the chairwoman of the student council and an excellent student. The only thing that bothers the teachers – is her red hair, which she claims is a completely natural color, but they refuse to believe it.
One day, a mysterious man approaches Yoko in the middle of the classroom, and bows to her. He demands that she agree to a contract whereby he will serve her, and Yoko thinks “Coo, why not?”. Then a mess begins, during which Yuko is forced to use the sword that the mysterious man gives her, and with it, she kills a huge creature that looks like a demon. At the end of all this mess, Yoko and her other two friends find themselves in another world, the 12 Kingdoms.
While the plot progresses at a slow pace and in a very gradual manner, this does not detract from it at all. Each episode has amazing character development not seen in many anime series. Yoko herself goes through a long and crazy process, in which she transforms from a submissive and insecure girl to a skilled politician.
Welcome to the Edo period, a period full of conflicts, restless samurai, and especially many martial artists. The MC Shichika represents house Kyotouryuu, which is also a name for a unique martial arts practice based on pure fists and kicks.
Togame is a general manager of the Shogunate army, a bright strategist, and a girl who developed an obsession with finding 12 legendary swords. She convinces Shichika to join her in her obsession, and together they go on an adventure. On their way, they will encounter the blade’s owners, and pretty much like in video games, they need to clear each owner to take their swords. In addition, we meet the 12 leaders of the Maniwa Ninja Corps, they have their own fascination with the Deviant Blades.
Among all the action, and the killing, what stands out is the love story of the two main characters. During the journey, the characters develop, and this builds slowly with each encounter.
The series is more about the journey, the action in it comes from the fact that there are lots of martial arts fights but that doesn’t mean it has to be bursting with action. The fact that Katanagatari doesn’t have lots and lots of action that is not a disadvantage, and I wouldn’t call it a flaw.
Drifters is based on an interesting premise: a group of warriors and personalities from the ends of history are sent to a fantasy world where there are elves, dwarves, and maybe Sauron hiding somewhere.
The protagonist of the series is Shimazu Toyohisa – a samurai from the Shimazu clan who died in the battle of Skigahara (a battle that established the well-known Tokugawa shogunate) and then was sent to the same mysterious world where Oda Nobunaga who was killed years before is also found. Joining them is Nasu no Yoichi who has been dead for 360 years, and on these drifters, the name was given to that group of warriors, to fight against the Ends, another group of iconic people from history who harbor a grudge against the human race and therefore desire war.
Drifters advocate a fixed method: after half an episode they plan what to do next, then after an episode and a half we get bloodshed. The status quo does not remain the same, and there is a sense of satisfaction when you see how Toyohisa and his friends turn from a small and confused group into a destructive army.
All of this is done with grace and humor – yes, there is humor – alongside gruesome aspects such as looting, beheadings, and burning people.
I was about to give up on Drifters, the series is not exactly the height of intelligence, the writing is lazy and the characters are terrible (literally, each of the protagonists of the series is a terrible and terrible human being). And despite that, it was so – but so – much fun.
11. Afro Samurai: Resurrection
Like every legendary warrior, Afro is tired of killing life and decides to join Greenpeace. But all those who wish to kill him hinder him in this noble goal, and he becomes depressed, and like any depressed samurai, he grows old.
One night, when Afro is still depressed, Sio, his younger sister, and Kuma steal from Afro the title of “Number 1” and also the bones of his late father. Bruised in mind and body, Afro does not know what to do with himself now. An excellent opportunity to bring back “Ninja Ninja” – a creation of Afro’s imagination and the only creature that does not remain silent throughout the anime.
The two embark on a journey to recover his father’s bones, but before Afro can fight at his peak and rise, he must first regain the title of “number 2”, because only number 2 is allowed to fight with number one. And yes I know how it sounds.
The movie is equivalent to four anime episodes. In an hour and a half, it manages to cram in a number of flashbacks, quite cute actually, Afro’s past and Kuma. But the really impressive part is the considerable number of blows that go on here until you get to the last scene, and if you were wondering, it’s Afro against… his father! What do you think they stole his bones for? To hang on the wall? The idea itself is good, and the fight is also excellent, but the amount of kitsch that goes on here is indigestible.
But you don’t come to watch Afro Samurai for the plot. The plot is mainly a cheap excuse to see Afro slashing his way at anything that moves, breathes, chirps, and whistles.
10. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
A tournament between the Magi families takes place once every 70 years (minus exceptions) in which each family sends a representative who in turn summons a “servant” from history. It can be anyone: from Hercules to Medusa. All are sword-fighting for the grand prize, the Holy Grail. Not because he is beautiful, but because he can make any wish come true. Well, maybe there are those who fight for him because he is beautiful.
The released ‘Episode 0’ is actually a prologue starring Rin Tohsaka, a descendent of the Tohsaka dynasty, who invites Archer to the tournament – a servant who doesn’t even remember what legendary warrior he is supposed to be. But he’s really cool and has a sexy voice.
The series continues the aesthetic line that began with Fate/zero, to say it is a “beautiful anime” is the mother of the understatement. Those who thought that the pinnacle of animation was Fate/zero will be surprised to find out that it is not true.
The next sentence I don’t enjoy writing, but I must, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works is a closed club for those who do not know the universe in which it operates. The anime is a continuation series for all intents and purposes. There is no exposition, the prologue puts the viewer into the business knowing that he knows the rules of the game. This is why I advise newcomers to stay away from it until they complete Fate/zero; This is not a bad thing, god forbid, because watching Fate/zero is not homework but a right that every otaku must exercise.
Lord douche makes a deal with demons: the lord will receive power and prosperity, while the demons will receive the organs (all of the organs) of the lord’s eldest son. The Lord agrees, and sometime later his wife kneels down to give birth. As expected, the fruit of her chameleon, Hyakkimaru, looks like a baby without limbs; He has no eyes, ears, skin, or even a nervous system – he is a lump whose time in the world is limited to minutes, and therefore the poor thing is thrown into the yard (because that’s what they once did to unwanted babies).
However, a good Samaritan discovers and saves the evildoer, while Hyakkimaru, for his part, grows up to be a skilled warrior who is not sure what is going on around him – but he knows that he must kill as many demons as possible because each dead demon gives him another limb.
And who is Dororo you ask? Dororo is an orphan boy who meets Yakimaru and joins his journey.
Isn’t this one of the coolest plot summaries you’ve ever read? Dororo is a series that has everything: politics, drama, epic fights, action, adventure, horror, fantasy, humor, wars, and a quest (a twisted quest, but a quest). During its 24 episodes, the series delicately outlines a story based on a Greek tragedy – but in Japan and with samurai.
Dororo is saturated with episodic episodes alongside a storyline that leads its players to a particularly charged meeting point. My only issue with it is that we never got to have Dororo season 2. Then again, maybe it is best to keep it epic.
8. Rurouni Kenshin
Nobuhiro Watsuki is probably the first to show that there is a bit more to samurai than a katana and cool cosplay. The manga series he wrote – Rurouni Kenshin – unfolds the journey of Himura Kenshin, a murderous samurai who has repented and now lives in a dojo. The anime series was broadcast as early as 1996 and continued until 1998, although it met its demise much earlier.
Our MC Kenshin has been on the road for about a decade, trying to forget his past as the Battousai who is well remembered as a one-man army. Now, with a new identity, Kenshin tries to atone for his past, not an easy matter considering the fact that every morning in front of the mirror he encounters a large scar on his cheek, a reminder of the old era.
While visiting Tokyo, Kenshin runs into Kaoru, a young woman and the proud owner of a local dojo. After an incident in which Kenshin saves Kaoru from a group of thugs led by one posing as the legendary Battousai, Kenshin joins the dojo as a fairly permanent temporary resident. It doesn’t take long before they are joined by Yahiko, an orphaned thief boy that Kenshin rescues, and Sanosuke – a former private army soldier and current mercenary. Together they go through entertaining adventures for the whole family. Or not.
The many characters, the deep story, and the prominent elements of the Shonen that march the sword genre a step forward are the ones who made this part of the series so fascinating and good, that at the end of each episode, I didn’t wait a second for the next episode, and that’s how I ended the fascinating saga in less than a week.
The cheerful style of the series has been discarded in favor of a realistic and much more mature style. It’s not a coincidence that the OVA series alone is considered one of the ten best sword anime series of all time, but that’s already a subject for another review.
7. Kimetsu No Yaba
The story takes place during the Taisho period in Japan (the beginning of the 20th century) and follows a boy named Tanjirou, the eldest of six brothers, who all live together with their mother in a mountain hut, living a poor, but happy life. One day Tanjirou returns home, and he discovers a horrifying sight: all the members of his family have been slaughtered.
The only one left alive is his little sister. He discovers that she has turned into a demon. Tanjiro vows to take revenge on whoever did this to his family – and he joins a mysterious organization, called the Demon Slayer Corps. From now on, Tanjirou will find himself on the hunt for demons, hoping to find a way to bring his sister back to being a daughter Human again.
The main villain in Kimetsu No Yaba is none other than Michael Jackson, sorry I mean Kibutsuji Muzan – the first demon ever created and in fact the most powerful demon. He is the one who also murdered all of Tanjirou’s family.
The plot keeps developing, and new discoveries are made all the time; The main characters – each of them unique in their own right – undergo significant development. The comedy bits are quite bizarre but balance the dark and gloomy atmosphere of the story, and the sword battles over time become more and more intense and even brutal.
6. Ninja Scroll
Jubei is a member of the Omni-sword family and a brilliant fighter. He excelled from a young age and was destined for a bright career as the sword instructor of the Shogun family. But this career was abruptly cut short when Jubei abandoned the shogun’s palace, for no apparent reason.
One day he returns accompanied by a monk named Dakuan, Kagero, an opinionated and stubborn young woman, who has powers of which she herself is unaware, and a young thief whose portrait can appear in the dictionary next to the entry “thorn in the ass”.
This whole gang goes on a journey, and in each of the episodes of the series, a psychopath (or psychopath) on duty with supernatural powers confronts them, and Jubei slays them, one by one.
Plot sophistication is not the strong point of the anime. The episodes are usually divided between attempts to compress the entire plot framework into one episode which usually ends in an obviously incomprehensible episode. It takes one action scene and stretches it throughout an entire episode (which is often tiring).
Apart from a few exceptions Ninja Scroll does not provide much depth. The episodes work, and the battles are full of adrenaline, for the most part, but all according to the established formula: Jubei against the towering monster.
5. Gintama Season 5
Let’s say that every Gintama season is “the best season”, how does that make sense? Because this is Gintama, where logic is thrown to the wayside and gender-changed samurai fight against aliens. So if you don’t know Gintama, you certainly shouldn’t start by reading a review of a series with 367 episodes. Gintama’s mediocrity is still a league above most shounen series you’ll find. In its unique way, the series managed to create a great epic and interweave several plots into one epic war.
This time, I’ll write about Gintama Season 5, which is definitely, the ‘best season for sword anime’. The series continues with another grim saga and takes our heroes to the edge… of the galaxy: the planet Rakuyo, Kagura’s home. There, on the remote and chaotic planet that looks like my toilet after a bowel problem, Several giants collide.
This time we get a huge boost of epic battles and a great closure for Kagura and her family. Many battle episodes look like they’ve been marked ‘checked’. Gintoki in this season pulls out his sword a few times (and this is not an understatement), but one of the early fights that he stars in lasts eight minutes, and I counted from the moment he meets his opponent for the first time.
Bleach is one of those anime and manga series that you probably heard of, and I assume that a large part of you have seen or at least read parts of Bleach. Although it had 366 episodes, Episode 310 is considered by many to be the final episode of the series. I have no idea why this series continued after the 310 mark.
Back in the day, my brother made me watch Bleach, It had some redhead with a black kimono and a huge monstrous creature in order to protect his city. All this while in the background a red-haired girl with a respectable bust, some brown guy with an uninteresting grandfather story, a Koyenshi who shoots arrows and shares a voice with Sasuke from Naruto, a talking black cat, and a crazy shop owner. And if I forgot someone – who cares?
Friends, in my eyes and in the eyes of many Bleach fans, Ichigo’s battle against Aizen was supposed to be the last sword fight that would end the series for good. Bleach was exhausted countless times from all angles. Ichigo performed the move that caused him to lose his powers as a Shinigami, which was a good and fitting excuse to declare the end of the series. After all, there are no more villains left, no one left to defeat, and no reason to protect anything.
3. Sword Of The Stranger
In the anime, we follow Kotarou a shepherd, and his dog who run from their burned-down home. On their way, they meet a mysterious samurai, and out of necessity theygo on an adventure together.
It is a historic series set, you guessed it, in the Sengoku period. It is characterized by a lot of friction between the rulers of Japan and China. You will not find supernatural powers, but the intensity, and the great concentration that goes into the fights between the two main characters samurai, simply fascinates me.
Sword Of The Stranger can be described in one sentence: Ac classic samurai anime! Beyond the background of the story, the plot is excellently constructed. It remains focused on the personal story of its main characters.
Let’s talk about the action. The action is just phenomenal, every action scene is full of blood, brutality, severed limbs, and impressive chronography. Throughout all the battle scenes I found myself captivated, and filled with testosterone I never thought I had.
The music and effects succeed in instilling with great precision the right feelings of stress, fear, hysteria, and on the contrary, calmness, and peace.
The thing that makes this anime unforgettable is that despite the big things that drive the entire plot of the movie, things of huge magnitude, the Chinese emperor and his huge empire, rulers of countries, and the war between the two empires, in the end, they all boil down to a heroic showdown between two samurai who are not affiliated with any party. I won’t go on to avoid spoilers.
We have two sides of the same coin here. Both men are in a land where they are strangers. Both are warriors with supreme grace. But while Luo Lang draws his sword and looks for an opponent who will not be a challenge, Nanashi refrains and just tries to avoid blood and war.
You can probably guess that this is one of the best sword anime ever released.
2. Samurai Champloo
At the end of the fifteen years, since I first watched Samurai Champloo, I can say with certainty that there are better anime series, but none are as good.
Samurai Champloo follows a rather bizarre trio; Mugen is a disturbed vagabond with a slightly different sword fighting style, or alternatively: he knows how to breakdance with swords. In contrast, Jin is a quiet samurai who fights traditionally. I mean, traditionally he knows how to cut people in half without blinking. The last rib in the trio is Fuu: a fifteen-year-old girl who asks the two to help her Marco-style (to find her missing father).
The three set out when the final goal may be waving in the background, but it’s the people and places the gang encounters along the way that make the series what it is – cool.
It is not possible to point to one good thing about Samurai Shampoo. It is perhaps the composition between disturbed characters and a plot that does not take itself seriously that give it another dimension that does not exist in other anime series. Already at the beginning of the series, the creators warn that you will not find historical accuracy here.
In Champloo, you will find a style of music was taken that became an integral part of the series. Hip-hop in all its elements makes the samurai someone we would like to learn about in school, the kind of man who would break out into a breakdance or battle rap in the middle of a battle.
Relative to an anime from 2004, the animation and graphics do not fall short of many series that came out later in the years. I don’t get to define much anime as ‘must watch, but if you are tired of samurais who take themselves seriously (like Kenshin,) or those with whom you will start a relationship of over 300 episodes like in Gintama, Samurai Champloo is the address.
1. Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent
One day during the late 90s of the previous century, the executives of Studio 39.2°F sat and wondered how they could use their legendary graphic skills in the well-known and beloved franchise Berserk. The ambitious project would cover the plot of the entire manga through two anime series, trilogy films, and video games.
Berserk follows Guts, a six-foot of medieval muscles, with a sword bigger than him. Bad things happened to Guts, and now he’s looking for revenge (or some amusement park to clear his head. He’s not clear about that).
Our big guy wanders around the country and is chased by demons and monsters due to a curse. During his travels, he rescues Puck, a cute elf who makes up for Guts’ silence. The elf soon learns that his large friend is not an ideal travel partner; Unwillingly, Guts gets caught up in the church’s purification campaign against heretics, and he becomes an enemy of the “Order of the Holy Watcher” – an order whose only mantra is “Torture. Torture. Some more torture.”
To those manga geeks out there, I am well aware that any mention of Berserk in its anime version should be crucified, yet… I never read the manga, and I must include The Advent as the best sword-fighting anime to ever grace the screen. Please don’t send me to the torture chambers!
In the tried arc Guts returns to the team now commanded by Casca to help them rescue Griffith. The Band of the Hawk morale has never looked lower. And then something happens, that something is a solar eclipse. All of our heroes find themselves in an alternate dimension that looks like Hell as depicted in the Divine Comedy.
After a successful first and second golden arc that drove my five senses crazy – came the third and final arc of the Golden Age trilogy which sent me a clear message: Kid, you haven’t seen anything yet! It manages to almost touch perfection.