Samurai, being an extremely vital part of the Japanese, can be seen in a lot of anime out there.
They were the most honorable men back then, with amazing sword skills, and they were feared by everyone. With a strong sense of justice and honor, there are no men like samurai in the whole world.
Today, we’ll be talking about the Top 10+ Anime About Samurai and how modern-day animations have incorporated this theme. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
- A Brief Overview of Samurai Animes
- The archetype of the samurai in anime
- List of the best Samurai anime of all time!
- 13. Orient
- 12. Gintama – Most Hilarious Anime About Samurai
- 11. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna
- 10. Drifters
- 9. Sword of the Stranger – Best Samurai Movie There Is
- 8. Blade of the Immortal
- 7. House of Five Leaves
- 6. Hyouge Mono
- 5. Nobunaga Concerto
- 4. Rurouni Kenshin – Legendary Anime About Samurai
- 3. Afro Samurai
- 2. Dororo – Anime About Samurai Fighting Demons
- 1. Samurai Champloo – Most Popular Anime About Samurai
- Other Anime Where Samurai Is A Side Character
A Brief Overview of Samurai Animes
Samurai were hereditary military officers in medieval and early modern Japan. Only people of nobility were titled “samurai”.
They were the daimyo’s (feudal lord’s) well-paid retainers. Samurai enjoyed high status and exceptional rights, such as the ability to carry two swords.
They honed the bushido codes of martial qualities, indifference to suffering, and unwavering allegiance by fighting in numerous local skirmishes. Just hearing about them sounds cool, right?
Which is why several anime series have attempted to bring back the legendary samurai to modern entertainment.
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The archetype of the samurai in anime
Most of the samurai in anime fall into one of the following archetype.
- The righteous rounin – A master-less samurai is called a ‘rounin’. These characters are usually very concerned with protecting people.
- The neutral one – These characters are not concerned with being good or bad. They do what they want. They are not necessarily evil. But they don’t care about being righteous either.
- The evil samurai – These characters are usually very ambitious and plot to gain power.
- The villain’s grunt – These samurai don’t care about what is right or wrong. They simply work hard for their master, regardless of whether he is a good man.
List of the best Samurai anime of all time!
Orient is not your traditional samurai anime because it has supernatural elements in it. As you can see, flaming swords and tower sized monsters are all natural occurrences in this show.
However, the main group in the anime called “Bushi” has the spirit of a samurai. They are the protectors of the nation who sacrifice their lives to save innocent people.
With their world infested by alien monsters, Bushi are the only ones who fight against them. However, the majority of the people have submitted to these monsters and pray to them as gods.
In such a world, these brave warriors wield swords and use special powers that they acquired from items created using a meteor.
12. Gintama – Most Hilarious Anime About Samurai
Gintama opens with some aliens named “The Amanto” invading Japan and putting a ban on the use of swords, thus disregarding and disrespecting the Samurai.
I know most of you are like, “Aliens in an anime about samurai with a historical theme? Really?” At least I was like that. As a matter of fact, I even dropped this anime because it felt too random. It breaks the rules of storytelling and…and is just weird. But when I finally gave it another shot a few years later, I realized what a masterpiece it was!
This anime revolves around Sakata Gintoki, a man who still lives by the code of the samurai (or at least his own version of it). He mostly looks like a slacker and always carries a wooden sword. He’s probably the weirdest of all the samurai in anime.
This anime is extremely funny but gets super serious when it must.
Gintama is my personal favorite and will always be number one in my heart, but we’ve listed it at the bottom since it is not an anime about samurai through and through.
11. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna
“The Ambition of Oda Nobuna” is an interesting isekai anime series with Samurai. The show is about the Japanese historical hero, Oda Nobunaga. However, the twist is that Nobunaga is a girl.
Oda Nobuna, a young girl with a blond hair, plays Nobunaga. The main character is a male from modern Japan who somehow gets teleported to feudal Japan. He meets Nobuna there.
In this intriguing series, Nobuna conquers feudal Japan’s warring states to achieve her goals. She recruits loyal and skilled warriors to help her.
“The Ambition of Oda Nobuna” is a gripping drama with factual and fictitious elements. The show addresses strategy, devotion, and power.
Through bright animation and fascinating character development, viewers are transported into feudal Japan and Nobuna’s quest to change history. “The Ambition of Oda Nobuna” vividly resurrects the past.
Drifters isn’t your average samurai anime. It is also a time-travel anime. Its characters are references to real-life historical figures from various nations like Japan, America, France, etc.
What makes Drifters special is the fact that it is not bound to a particular timeline. Instead, the characters are “drifted” to another timeline and into another battle.
In some sense, it is like Gintama, where you get to see sword-wielding samurai fighting against guns. Which is a good thing in this case. I mean, what’s more thrilling than seeing legendary historical figures go against other historical legends?
9. Sword of the Stranger – Best Samurai Movie There Is
Sword of the Stranger revolves around Nanashi, who is an aspiring samurai. He is training with a monk, who is teaching him the ways of life.
Nanashi yearns to search for the meaning of life, and while doing so, he is forced to commit horrible acts to save himself from the corruption of China and Japan.
As much as he hates it, he is forced to put on a dark mask in order to save humanity and accomplish his goals.
8. Blade of the Immortal
Samurai in anime always carry a heavy, gruesome past. This anime revolves around Manji, who was known as “The 100-Man Killer” as he killed a hundred innocent men. He’s extremely powerful and also immortal, as an 800-year-old nun placed bloodworms in his body that can heal any of Manji’s wounds.
To atone for his horrible acts, Manji decides to kill a thousand evil men. This is the only way his immortality curse could be lifted. Yes, people. Immortality is a curse.
Manji meets a 16-year-old girl named Rin who wants his help to kill those who killed her parents. Manji is reluctant at first but then decides to protect Rin for four years. The two go on a long journey, full of blood and gore, in order to have both of their goals accomplished.
7. House of Five Leaves
The story revolves around Masanosuke Akitsu, who is a very meek swordsman. His meekness often leads to his employers firing him and making him question himself as a samurai.
Masa’s life is at its lowest point when a man named Yaichi hires him as his bodyguard.
His job as a bodyguard is not an easy one. He is forced to take part in illicit activities, and as he further gets involved with a group named “Five Leaves” under Yaichi, he begins to question his resolve even more.
He decides to unveil the mystery behind Yaichi and his group.
6. Hyouge Mono
The story opens in the Sengoku Jidi era, where Furuta Sasuke, who is a vassal of the great warlord Oda Nobunaga, is constantly chasing material things to live a life of comfort.
He’s also accompanied by the tea master, Sen no Soukai, and the three go on different adventures to get what they want.
5. Nobunaga Concerto
Nobunaga Concerto is an anime about a guy who time travels to the warring states period of Japan. There, he has to play the role of Oda Nobunaga, the legendary historical figure who aimed to conquer all of Japan.
Saburo, a regular high school student who hated studying history mysteriously got teleported to feudal Japan. There, he meets the real Oda Nobunaga who shares the same appearance as Saburo.
Nobunaga asks Saburo to take his place as the leader of Oda clan and runs away. Before Saburo could understand what was happening, he became the lord of thousands of Samurai willing to die for him.
This anime is about this lazy main character overcoming his hurdles and conquering Japan little by litte. While fans eagerly wait for the season 2 of the show, there are other mediums to enjoy the story as well. Nobunaga Concerto is available in manga and live action which is pretty popular in Japan.
4. Rurouni Kenshin – Legendary Anime About Samurai
Rurouni Kenshin was the first manga I ever read, and it was mind-blowing! For those who are not willing to watch anime with ‘old animation’, I strongly recommend you give the manga a try. It is really good.
Also, this classic 90s anime is getting a remake in 2023, so you can watch this version if you prefer a newer animation style.
At the peak of the Japanese Revolution, a legendary samurai titled “Hitokiri Battousai,” which translates to “Sword-drawing Manslayer,” mysteriously disappears.
10 years pass, and there’s still no clue about him, but his name still terrorizes everyone. Nobody knows, but Hitokiri abandoned his life as a killer, and now he lives as Kenshin Himura, who is a roaming swordsman.
What’s more? He has sworn to never use a sword again. At least not a sword that can kill. Which is why he always carries a blunt-edged sword with him.
Will he be able to get away from his dreadful past and live his new life peacefully? Well, we all know the answer to that. Lol no.
People eventually find out about his past and his enemies from the time when he was a manslayer, who come back to take him down with vengeance in their hearts.
3. Afro Samurai
Afro Samurai’s story opens in futuristic Japan, where Afro Samurai seek revenge from a man who killed his father and is also the number one fighter in the world.
He gained the position of the number 2 fighter, and now he wanted to challenge the number 1 fighter.
On his way to revenge, he comes across a bunch of bounty hunters, thugs, and monks. He’s also accompanied by a cheerful ninja.
2. Dororo – Anime About Samurai Fighting Demons
The story opens with a greedy samurai named Daigo Kagemitsu offering the body parts of his newborn baby to 48 devils in order to gain complete domination of the country.
After that, Daigo ordered a woman to throw the baby in the river, but the woman couldn’t do this awful act and put him in a boat.
Miraculously, the baby without eyes, nose, skin, tongue, limbs, or literally every other organ somehow managed to reach the hands of a prosthetics maker.
That’s how the boy survived, and now he’s all grown up and has prosthetic limbs with blades embedded in them.
He’s on a demon-hunting spree to get his body parts back, even if it means destroying his real father’s empire.
1. Samurai Champloo – Most Popular Anime About Samurai
A young girl named Fuu works as a waitress at a tea shop and is bullied by a group of evil samurai.
She is saved by a rogue named Mugen and a ronin named Jin. Mugen and Jin start fighting afterwards, which leads to the death of the local magistrate’s son.
It is decided that both of them must be executed. Fuu helps them escape execution.
In return, she asks them to help her find the samurai who smells of sunflowers.
Other Anime Where Samurai Is A Side Character
Samurai shine, whatever the role they play in an anime. Here are a few anime where the samurai characters are not the main protagonists but secondary characters.
- Shaman King
- Soul Eater
- Fate/stay night
- Brave 10
- Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
- Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy
- Demon Slayer
- One Piece
- Record of Ragnarok
So, here’s our list of the top 10 anime about samurai. There were so many of them, but we had to narrow our list down to only the top 10. We hope you liked this list. We’ll come back with more!