Most samurai anime series or movies are deeply derived from The Japanese culture, which holds significant historical importance. Therefore, most manga and anime creators skillfully incorporate the Samurai culture and history into their works, presenting fans with epic katana fight scenes and profound discussions on honor and friendship.
Samurais are more than just military members; they are characters that embody a unique code of ethics and honor that sets them apart from other Japanese cultural figures, and even the rest of the world.
With that said, here are the top 36 best samurai anime of all time that you should check out right now.
First on the list of the most iconic samurai anime is Gibiate, an action-packed and epic series that combines themes of fantasy and horror. First aired in 2020, the story is set in the year of 2030 and revolves around a viral disease called “Gibia” that has taken over the entire world, turning infected people into monstrous creatures based on their age, sex, and race.
To help find a cure for this deadly disease, a samurai and a ninja from the early Edo period time travel to a ruined Japan. Alongside a professor, they embark on a perilous journey that involves fighting numerous Gibia monsters, outlaws, and other formidable enemies.
Bakumatsu is a historical action samurai anime series produced by Studio Deen and based on a game. The story is set during the Bakumatsu era, a time when the fate of Japan was uncertain and young men were anxious about the future of their country. The main character, Takasugi Shinsaku, and his comrade Katsura Kogorou, are on a mission to find a powerful “timepiece” that can manipulate time.
They fear that the government wants to keep the artifact for themselves and plan to destroy it, but it gets stolen. In order to retrieve it, they follow the thief to the capital city of Kyoto where they discover that the government has been overthrown by the deity Susanoo. Despite the changed times, Takasugi and Katsura remain determined to reset time and save their nation from the forces trying to control it.
34. Samurai Harem
Samurai Harem is a 12-episode anime series produced by AIC. The story revolves around Yoichi Karasuma, a young man who has spent his entire life training in the mountains in the Soaring Wind, Divine Wind swordsmanship style under his father’s guidance. Once he masters the technique at the age of 17, his father sends him to a new dojo in the city to continue his training and to learn about modern society.
However, Yoichi is completely unfamiliar with modern-day social norms, speaking and acting like a samurai from ancient times, donning traditional attire and speaking in an archaic language. As he begins to live with the Ikaruga sisters at the dojo, Yoichi often finds himself in comical situations due to his cluelessness and inability to understand the modern world.
Samurai Harem is a romantic comedy with ecchi scenes, and follows Yoichi’s hilarious journey as he tries to adjust to his new life, learn to communicate with others, and find love in a modern society he is not used to.
Bucchigire! is a samurai anime series produced by Geno Studio that aired in 2022. The series falls under the action genre and features samurai warrior characters. The story follows Heisuke Toudou, the sole survivor of a brutal attack on the Shinsengumi’s Eighth Division, who decides to rebuild the squad with the help of eight convicts who must become substitutes for the eight Shinsengumi captains. However, the reformed criminals struggle to become loyal servants, and other factions start to put their plans in motion to seize power at the end of the Edo period.
Yasuke is a 6-episode original net animation (ONA) series that aired on April 29, 2021. The series was produced by Studio Easter and animated by MAPPA.
The story is set in Japan where magic and mechs exist, and follows the adventure of Yasuke, the first African samurai, as he encounters a village in peril, a young girl with mystical abilities, and powerful daimyos in the midst of war.
The series falls under the action and fantasy genres, with the theme of samurai being mainly focused throughout the whole story.
31. Kochouki: Wakaki Nobunaga
In Kochouki: Wakaki Nobunaga, a 2019 samurai anime by Studio Deen, which follow the journey of a young Oda Nobunaga, who seeks to unify Japan and become a powerful warlord.
Nobunaga is joined by his loyal brother, Nobukatsu, and other allies as they confront challenges and enemies in their quest for power.
Alongside political alliances and military conquests, the show also explores Nobunaga’s personal struggles and relationships with the women in his life.
Orient is a new 2022 samurai anime, where Hinomoto’s people live under the rule of demons who once saved them from the samurai. Musashi, a miner fated to feed the demons with rocks, knows the truth: humanity is enslaved, and only the samurai can offer true freedom. Despite keeping his true feelings hidden from his peers and friend Kojirou, Musashi yearns for a different life.
When the Takeda samurai clan saves him from certain death, Musashi decides to become a samurai and form his own clan. Along with his new allies, Musashi embarks on a dangerous journey to fight the demons and save humanity.
29. Juubee-chan 2
In 2004, Madhouse Studio released the anime Juubee-chan 2, a martial arts samurai series filled with comedy and drama. The story follows Jiyuu Nanohana, a middle school student who becomes friends with Freesia, a transfer student from Siberia who is actually a skilled warrior from 300 years ago. Freesia is searching for the Lovely Eye Patch, a powerful artifact that she believes is rightfully hers. Alongside Jiyuu, Freesia faces challenges and battles to obtain the coveted artifact. Will she succeed, or will the power of the Lovely Eye Patch fall into the wrong hands?
28. Samurai Deeper Kyou
In 1600, two skilled swordsmen, Kyoushirou Mibu and “Demon Eyes” Kyou, clashed on the fog-covered battlefield of Sekigahara. Their battle was cut short by a meteor from the heavens, leaving both to vanish. Four years later, Yuya Shiina, a bounty hunter armed with a gun, hunts down Kyoushirou, now a perverted, traveling medicine-man with a large debt. But during their encounter, they are attacked by a monster that seeks to devour Kyoushirou, awakening “Demon Eyes” Kyou whose mind has been trapped inside Kyoushirou’s body since their battle. Thus begins the legendary tale of these two swordsmen and the discovery of their secrets. Samurai Deeper Kyou, a 2002 anime by Studio Deen, follows their journey, filled with adventure, comedy, and supernatural themes, and set in a historical samurai world.
27. Samurai Girls
In 2010’s Samurai Girls anime series, Great Japan is a prosperous nation protected by enigmatic guardians known as Master Samurai. Muneakira Yagyuu, a young samurai, arrives at Buou Academic School at the request of the student council. The school, run by the Tokugawa Shogunate, educates the children of warriors and is led by Yoshihiko Tokugawa and his sister Sen, Muneakira’s childhood friend.
Upon his arrival, Muneakira is caught in the middle of a fierce battle. In the midst of the chaos, a strange girl named Juubei Yagyuu appears and kisses him, unlocking a mysterious power that protects them. As Muneakira tries to unravel the secrets of the Master Samurai and Juubei’s kiss, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous threat that threatens to bring Great Japan to its knees.
26. Time of Shura
Time of Shura is an action anime that aired in 2004, produced by Studio Comet, and adapted from a manga of the same title. The story follows the Mutsu family, known for their mastery of the invincible martial art style called Mutsu Enmei-Ryu. This unarmed style allows its user to defeat any number of armed opponents with incredible speed and strength. The anime highlights the encounters and battles of three generations of the Mutsu family with the strongest sword fighters of their era, making it a must-watch for fans of historical and samurai-themed anime.
25. Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto
Produced by Sunrise in 2006, and featuring themes of drama, historical fiction, and samurai culture, Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto is really a good one to watch. The show follows the story of Yojiro Akizuki, a mercenary who roams around Japan during the final years of the Bakumatsu era. Using his sword and supernatural abilities, Yojiro relentlessly searches for mystical artifacts, often leading to violent confrontations. Along the way, he meets a traveling theater group, whose members harbor their own hidden motives. As Yojiro’s path intersects with theirs, he discovers the possibility of a sinister conspiracy behind their encounter.
24. Katsugeki Touken Ranbu
Katsugeki Touken Ranbu, a 2017 historical anime produced by ufotable, takes place in the year 1863, during the Bakumatsu period. The story follows two powerful swordsmen, Izuminokami Kanesada and Horikawa Kunihiro, who travel from the future to the streets of Edo to investigate their master’s reports of an upcoming enemy invasion. As Toshizou Hijikata’s swords given human form, they must protect history from the Retrograde Army, who seeks to alter it.
The duo enlists the help of other sword warriors as they engage in continuous battles with the Retrograde Army. However, their journey is filled with blood and betrayal in a chaotic era that holds a special place in their hearts. They will be faced with difficult decisions that put everything they care about on the line.
23. Peace Maker Kurogane
2003’s Peace Maker Kurogane is a historical samurai anime produced by Gonzo, based on the manga series of the same name. It follows the story of Ichimura Tetsunosuke, a young boy who witnessed the murder of his parents by one of the Choushuu. Driven by his thirst for revenge, Tetsunosuke wants to join the Shinsengumi, a group of samurai who protect peace and justice.
However, Tetsunosuke is not skilled enough to become a member of the Shinsengumi. He lacks the proper mindset and willpower to fight and kill his enemies without emotions. Despite this, Tetsunosuke is determined to become stronger, and with the support of his brother and new friends in the Shinsengumi, he embarks on a journey filled with blood and pain.
22. Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki is a 2018 historical anime based on a web manga. It is set in medieval Japan during the Genkou era, which was marked by a significant military conflict. The story follows the arrival of a fearsome king from across the sea and the impact of his invasion on Japan. The anime depicts the historical events in a unique and original way, highlighting the beginning of the Samurai culture. The studio behind the show is NAZ, With themes of action, drama, and military, the anime promises to be a thrilling and engaging watch for samurai fans.
Kurozuka is an anime adaptation by Madhouse of Takashi Noguchi’s manga which was also based on the supernatural romance novel by Baku Yumemakura. The original novel is about Minamoto no Yoshitsune (Kurou), a 12th-century man. He runs away to the mountains after losing against his brother Minamoto no Yoritomo, who is the first Shogun to rule all of Japan.
Rumour has it, that he committed suicide, but instead, Kuroo meets a mysterious beauty named Kuromitsu in her mountain hermitage. Kurou falls in love with Kuromitsu, but then learns she hides a dark secret–his inability to die. Then, He continues to live for a thousand years as Japan evolves into a futuristic society.
20. Samurai 7
Up next we have a Gonzo’s anime show called Samurai 7, set in the future on a world that might have been called “Earth”. After there was a war of samurai who had mechanized their bodies. Now people become able to enjoy a short period of peace.
With rampant starvation and being terrorized by fearsome mechanical bandits, the farmers of Kanna Village took the dangerous step of hiring samurai for protection.
Struggling to find a suitable samurai to protect them, Kirara, Komachi and Rikichi set off in search of anyone willing to take on the quest. Although all they have to offer is some rice leftover from the previous harvest.
Hence, Seven Samurai of varying strengths and experience have come together to aid in an epic battle against the bandit and merchants who influence them.
Revenger is a 2023 anime that follows the story of a righteous samurai named Raizou Kurima, who is tricked into assassinating his own prospective father-in-law. Raizou is consumed with guilt and vows to seek revenge on the lord who gave him the order. He is joined by Yuuen Usui, a self-proclaimed merchant-of-all-trades who is actually one of the Revengers – a group of assassins who seek justice for the wronged and dispense bloody revenge on their behalf.
As Raizou works alongside the Revengers, he becomes increasingly entangled in the complicated web between the corrupt Japanese political elite, the unscrupulous Europeans, and the Revengers themselves. Tragedy seems to follow Raizou as he struggles to uncover the truth and seek justice. He soon realizes that justice is as elusive as the honor he sought to redeem, and the line between right and wrong becomes increasingly blurred.
Mushibugyou is a 26-episode anime set in an alternate version of Japan, where giant insects known as Mushi are attacking and causing chaos across the land. To combat this threat, skilled samurai warriors are gathered to fight against them.
The story follows Jinbei Tsukishima, a young samurai and member of the City Patrol who steps up to take his father’s place as he can no longer fight. Jinbei is a formidable fighter, and he joins forces with other warriors to protect their city and drive back the Mushi threat.
17. Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran
Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran is a classic anime series produced by Madhouse in 2000. Set in the Edo or Tokugawa period, the story follows Ran, a skilled female samurai who has a strong passion for his sake. Along her journey, she meets Lady Meow of the Iron Cat Fist, a Chinese martial artist, and the two team up to have adventures and engage in epic battles.
The show features individual episodes that each tell a short story about their exciting escapades. With its blend of historical, martial arts, and comedic themes, Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran is a fun and thrilling anime for fans of adventure and samurai stories.
Onihei is a 2017 anime produced by Studio M2 and based on a novel. The story is set in Edo, where Heizou Hasegawa serves as the chief officer responsible for maintaining peace and order by fighting against criminal activities and arson. He is known as the “Devil” due to his exceptional blade skills used to strike down any evil threatening the city.
The plot takes place during the Tenmei era in 1783, when Heizou faces off against some of the most notorious thieves and criminals in the region. His reputation as Devil Heizou makes him a feared and respected figure in the city.
15. Brave 10
Brave 10 is a good historical action anime about samurai that you must watch in order to be able to follow an epic story set in the Warring States period.
The series follows Saizou and Isanami as they stick to Yukimura’s company, fighting for the land of Japan. They are tasked with looking for various brave warriors within the war-laden lands, each possessing powerful skills of their own.
The dark power she wields means she will always be chased by others. Hence, they travel far and wide, while there are always those who would show up to try and steal her power.
14. Hyouge Mono
Hyouge Mono is a historical samurai series that highlights the chaotic world of the Sengoku period, one where constant military conflict keeps social upheaval at a high level and political intrigue flourishes.
Hyouge Mono is a show that, despite being simplistic at times, is of great quality. The more you watch it, the more you understand how integral aesthetics are to the appeal of this series. The character backstories are incredibly gripping and provide a strong narrative background for the series.
Set during Japan’s Sengoku Jidai (Era of the Warring States), this story focuses on Furuta Sasuke, a faithful vassal of the great warlord Oda Nobunaga and someone obsessed with tea ceremony and material desires in his pursuit of success. Furuta, after learning from Oda and Sen no Soueki, walks the way of the Hyouge Mono.
13. Saraiya Goyou
Saraiya Goyou is a drama mystery anime by Manglobe with a huge cast of samurai characters. It follows the story of Masanosuke Akitsu, a wandering samurai in Japan’s peaceful Edo period. Despite being skilled in battle, his meek personality is often said to be his downfall and he has been fired from many of the jobs he has taken.
As Yaichi approaches the unsuccessful Masa and offers him a job. Initially impatient about the unusual offer, Masa eventually becomes Yaichi’s bodyguard. Unknowing the gravity of his situation, Masa finds himself drawn into illegal activities.
As he becomes more entangled in the Five Leaves gang, Masa struggles to keep up with his principles- and his curiosity drives him to discover their past and motivations.
12. Sengoku Basara
Produced by Production I.G, Sengoku Basara Known also as Samurai Kings is one of the most famous samurai anime that you should not miss!
The series shows us that the conflict for power and unification in the Sengoku period has resulted in continuous bloodshed. However, out of all the warring generals, Nobunaga Oda has established himself as an overpowered ruler.
The only two who try to defeat Oda are Masamune Date and Yukimura Sanada. Even though they share the same goal of resisting unification for their domains, these two warriors don’t agree on how to fight.
Equally skilled in combat, these two warriors couldn’t help but form a fierce rivalry. They deeply respect one another and try to thwart any plans of forming a united front against the Demon King of Owari.
With Oda’s forces closing in fast on their territories, Masamune and Yukimura reluctantly learn to put aside their differences to face the approaching usurper.
11. Shigurui: Death Frenzy
If you’re looking for a gore anime centering around deadly samurai battles, then Shigurui is the right one. This madhouse series is set at the beginning of the Edo era when people enjoyed a time of peace, Lord Tokugawa Tadanaga used to hold some fighting events. In the past, matches were fought with wooden swords. This time, real swords will be used. One-armed Fujiki Gennosuke and blind Irako face off in this extraordinary scene of putting their lives on the line.
Both of these samurais are students of the same master’s. They both want to be crowned champions, but only one of them can be the true successor. This is a tale about their intertwined destinies, full of conflicts, and unpredicted outcomes.
Made by Gonzo, Basilisk is a thrilling anime series consisting of 48 episodes across two seasons. The story revolves around two feuding ninja clans engaged in a deadly battle that ends in the annihilation of both sides. The plot also features a captivating forbidden love story that adds to the anime’s appeal.
This action-packed romance anime has been well-received by fans, who have praised the series’ violent samurai characters. Though some fans wished certain characters had a longer on-screen presence, the anime is still a must-watch for those who enjoy ninja clan battles and an engaging plot.
Drifters is a 2016 anime that combines action, adventure, comedy, and fantasy genres. The story begins with Toyohisa Shimazu, a samurai from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, who finds himself in a strange world after being critically wounded in battle. Together with other warriors from different eras who were thought to be dead, Toyohisa forms a group of “Drifters” to fight against the “Ends,” who are responsible for the creation of the Orte Empire and seek to destroy the Drifters.
As Toyohisa and his group, including the infamous warlord Nobunaga Oda and the ancient archer Yoichi Suketaka Nasu, learn more about the political unrest in the continent and the persecution of elves and other demihumans, they must fight in a new world war to protect the Empire’s subjects and challenge the Ends.
Dororo is a 2019 anime series about samurai and demons, produced by Tezuka Productions and MAPPA, and based on the popular manga of the same name. The story takes place in a time of war-torn Japan, where the samurai lord Daigo Kagemitsu makes a pact with 12 demons to gain power and prosperity for his land. However, when his first son is born, he is born with no limbs, nose, eyes, ears, or skin, and is abandoned in a river.
The child is saved by a medicine man who provides him with prosthetics and weapons, and the boy sets out to defeat the demons that took his body parts. He is joined by a young orphan boy named Dororo, and together they fight to survive in a world infested with demons. As they travel and defeat each demon, the boy regains a part of his body, and they uncover the truth behind Daigo Kagemitsu’s pact with the demons.
Berserk is an anime that features so many genres including sword fighting and samurai themes. Guts the skilled swordsman joins forces with a mercenary group named The Band of the Hawk, led by the charismatic Griffith. They battle their way into the royal court
It is a story about the seedy and brutal world, with its accompanying dreams and despair. Where people find themselves in this chaotic world, much less define what it means to be human.
Friendship and love take a while to grow, but when it does you can be sure that these relationships will be meaningful and last forever. It’s only one of the deepest features in Berserk that set it apart from other anime.
6. Afro Samurai
The Afro Samurai anime series was a collaboration between Samuel L. Jackson, Gonzo, and Takashi Okazaki with the music scored by RZA (of the Wu-Tang clan). The success of the anime series led to an animated movie, game, and live-action movie.
The story follows Afro, who as a child, witnessed his father being defeated in a duel by Justice. One day, before an important event in which they were going to represent their respective numbers, Justice came to challenge his father. Tragically, the result was Afro’s father’s death and the Number 1 headband going to Justice as the mightiest fighter.
Years later, Afro got the Number 2 headband and is now moving forward in his quest to defeat Number 1. But there’s just one problem—everyone wants to challenge him first.
The number one can only be challenged by the number two, but the number two can be challenged by anyone. As enemies and fighters gather to challenge Afro, he must fight through a series of foes and obstacles if he hopes to make it out alive and finally stand against number one to exact his revenge.
5. Blade Of The Immortal
If you are looking for good historical fiction, then Blade of the Immortal is the right anime to binge-watch in one night. The story is about an immortal samurai who has to kill 100 evil men in order to free himself from his curse. Luckily for him, he meets a girl, and the two form a sort of friendship/partnership as he helps her carry out her own killing sprees.
The art is good! and the setting is really eye-catching. The protagonist spends most of their time in Japan during a period when samurai were an important part of society.
The story sounds pretty simple, but it has some themes that make the series so entertaining enough to keep your interest. It has a dark setting, and some gory moments and is the perfect anime if you’re a fan with a higher sensation-seeking trait.
4. Sword Of The Stranger
Trust me, you need to watch this awesome anime movie. It was so good! I couldn’t believe some of the scenes, they were shocking and mind-blowing, and emotional. I definitely recommend seeing this movie if you like action anime movies with a strong plot, character development, and realistic dialogue.
Sword of The Stranger is an anime film by studio Bones, that tells the story of a samurai who embarks on an adventurous journey, during which he reluctantly takes in two people- a poor boy and his dog. However, moral conflicts arise and man must face them.
Gintama is a long-running anime that blends samurai culture with comedy, drama, and epic battles, offering a unique mix of emotions and genres. The series follows the adventures of a former samurai named Gintoki Sakata, who has been living in an era where aliens have invaded Earth and taken over.
The story takes place in Edo, where the samurai who once ruled the country are forced to live in a society with aliens and are banned to use swords. The series centers on Gintoki Sakata, a former samurai who lives with Kagura and Shinpachi Shimura. Together they run a small business called Yorozuya Gin-chan.
The Yorozuya crew’s ups and downs are throwing out even more dirty jokes, tongue-in-cheek parodies, and shameless references to other anime and manga series in a vibrant world.
2. Samurai Champloo
Next on our list, is Samurai Champloo, which is a popular samurai anime. One of the main characters is a break-dancing and fierce warrior named Mugen who has to deal with Jin, who is conceited and cold-blooded, and a samurai who thinks he is above all. Fuu reunites these sworn enemies for a quest she designed for them.
The Samurai Champloo anime series is set in the Edo Period and follows three eccentric characters who travel around Japan on a mission to find what Fuu is looking for. Their journey is full of action, comedy, intense sword-fighting scenes, and epic moments – all set to the beat of a catchy hip-hop soundtrack.
1. Rurouni Kenshin
Wrapping up our list with Rurouni Kenshin, a classic samurai anime set in the Meiji era of Japan. The series follows Himura Kenshin, a legendary assassin who became a wanderer who carries a reverse-blade sword and seeks to atone for his past sins by using his skills with a blade for good instead of evil. He has vowed never to kill again.
This tv show is a great masterpiece that tells the story of Kenshin as he strives to save those in need and also does his best to stop those who want to cause harm to innocent people. While more powerful enemies from both past and present emerge, will the reformed killer manage to uphold his new ideals?