Anime with war and military themes are pure classics. They have been entertaining us from the very origins of anime. From historical fantasies to futuristic sci-fi stories, there are a wide variety of anime about war.
If you like these kind of shows, here’s a list of the 20+ best titles that I could think of!
Note: The list is ranked in a random order. I’ve just listed them down as they came to my mind. But rest assured, each of the following shows have top notch stories.
20+ Best War Anime Of All Time
Utawarerumono is one of my most favorite anime about wars that deserves a higher spot in this list. However, this anime is so underrated, I had to mention it right at the start of the article to get your attention.
I’m sure most of you have not heard about this golden series. It has a total of 3 seasons so far. The first one is kind of unrelated to the second and third as it is only loosely connected.
The first season is a stand alone story that is all about a village of people fighting for their lives.
The second season is the beginning of a grand war but feels very light hearted at start. You will really think it as a fantasy harem story, but there’s a twist!
It becomes a full blown action-adventure story with mind blowing revelations and brutal warfare in the second half of the season.
22. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings
In the historical turmoil of Japan’s warring states era, Oda Nobunaga emerges as a powerful warlord, aiming to unite Japan.
Samurai Kings depicts this brutal quest, portraying Nobunaga as a formidable, if controversial, figure.
The series emphasizes large-scale samurai battles and relatively accurate historical combat.
If you are a fan of the medieval Japanese military (samurai), or just love a good war anime with swords and bows, this show is for you!
21. Angolmois: Genkō Kassen-ki
In the 13th century, the Mongolian Empire targets Tsushima Island, prompting Japan to brace for defense.
The show focuses on this conflict, featuring a diverse character pool, including former prisoners. Unlike heroic figures, they portray a realistic, gritty perspective on battles.
If you are looking for a historical war anime to binge on this is the show is the perfect pick for you!
Zipang is a military themed story set in World War 2 period, but with a unique twist! The heroes of the anime are actually from the future.
During a navy training exercise, a modern destroyer and its crew mysteriously time-travel to the 1942 Battle of Midway.
Fearing their interference in the timeline, they choose to stay hidden. After all, their advanced battleship can easily dominate the machines from the 1940s. But it would make the future to change drastically if Japan used the modern battleship.
Yet, when they witness the final moments of a respected historical figure, their minds change. They realize they can reshape the present for the better.
19. Macross Delta
The plot begins eight years, after the events of Macross Frontier transpired. A mysterious disease called “Vár Syndrome” begins to infect humans and Zentradi alike, causing them to go berserk, resulting in massive loss of life and property.
It is up to the new generation of highly capable Valkyrie pilots to suppress the Var syndrome. However the “Aerial Knights” Valkyrie fighter team from the Kingdom of Wind, have found a way to exploit the Var syndrome and poses a threat to the Delta squadron.
18. Grancrest Senki
This is an absolute war anime. Despite the boring start, it becomes good as the story progresses.
Theo Cornaro, a wandering lord is offered a contract with Siluca Meletes, an Alliance mage, after he “rescues” her.
Thus Theo is swept away from his humble goal of saving his home town, to a grand task of forging the Grancrest and put and end to the madness caused by “chaos”, a dark energy from another dimension that corrupts the land and brings forth monsters and demons into the world.
17. Altair: A Record Of Battles
Discover the anime Altair: A Record of Battles, a historical delight for war anime enthusiasts.
It unfolds in the Ottoman Empire, spanning 1300-1922 CE. Focused on the medieval era, it features Islamic iconography, realistic battle tactics, and strategies.
Follow Tughril Mahmut, the protagonist defending his land against the Ottoman Empire’s expansion.
Drifters is a time-travel isekai anime featuring historical legends in an epic clash. The dark yet entertaining story unfolds as these warriors confront each other.
Witness a blend of ancient and modern with swords battling guns. Samurai history comes alive as “Drifters” face “Ends”, protecting and prospering in a different timeline.
15. Valkyria Chronicles
Explore the overlooked stories of smaller nations caught between larger forces in Senjou no Valkyria.
Watch as protagonists face sudden war, emphasizing character development and romance.
Enjoy impressive battles without mechs or demon kings.
The anime adaptation, though imperfect, showcases heart, great music, and compelling characters, making it underrated yet noteworthy.
14. Knight’s & Magic
Knight’s and Magic is a schi-fi, isekai, war anime that you simply shouldn’t miss! The story unfolds in an Isekai world with advanced technology featuring Silhouette Knights—giant robots piloted by skilled magicians.
Follow the main character, a magic school student turned mech pilot, on an extraordinary journey to defend humanity from demons. Despite the seemingly impossible task of creating a Silhouette Knight, the determined protagonist, armed with magical abilities and modern-world knowledge, is ready to tackle the challenge.
13. Knights Of Sidonia
Knights of Sidonia illustrates how people unite against a common threat, surviving on the colossal spacecraft Sidonia after abandoning Earth due to an alien war.
Despite challenges, humanity’s victories are heartwarming. The series, though lacking in CGI at times, is brilliantly executed.
This is a wonderful sci-fi anime with mecha that focuses on the military aspect space colonization.
12. Nobunaga Concerto
Nobunaga Concerto is a historical anime with time travel and war themes. Our main character, Saburou, a high school student, faces unexpected adventures in the Sengoku Era.
Thrown into the past, Saburou becomes a decoy for Nobunaga Oda, transitioning from a student to a legendary general. Can his modern experiences aid him in filling Nobunaga’s shoes?
11. Saga Of Tanya The Evil
This is a war anime where after challenging “Being X”, a self proclaimed god, a cunning business man is reincarnated into another world as a little girl named Tanya Degurechaff.
In a world where the only way to survive and climb the ladder of the society is by taking part in the magical warfare, Tanya is forced to become a military solider.
She soon ranks up in the military, and becomes infamous for predatorial-like ruthlessness and an uncanny, tactical aptitude, earning her the nickname of the “Devil of the Rhine.”
10. Seraph of the End
Seraph of the End is an anime about war centered around the fight between humans and vampires. In a post-apocalyptic world, Yuuichirou, our MC, vows to exterminate vampires after witnessing a massacre. However, things get complex, revealing a plot twist.
Yuuichirou joins the Moon Demon Company, led by the impressive Lieutenant Guren, to combat vampires.
There’s several plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Also, brace yourself for flashy battles!
G.A.T.E is an Isekai show where a portal to another world in the shape of a huge gate opens in Ginza.
Youji Itami, an off duty military officer and an Otaku takes quick action to save the civilians from the invading forces of the another world.
Three months later, he was chosen to lead the special recon team, who’s task was to cross the gate and explore the another world inorder to create a friendly relation with the people of the another world.
But if they fail, a devastating war between both the sides of the gate was assured.
This a modern warfare anime that features battle between technologically superior humans and magic using people.
8. The Legend Of The Legendary Heroes
“Alpha stigma” bearers, are mages who can analyze and use all kinds of magic.
However they are despised and hunted by the people as they are believe to be only capable of death and destruction.
Ryner Lute, a talented mage and an alpha stigma bearer who has sworn to make the country peaceful, journeys along with Ferris Eris, a talented swordswomen in order to find all the legendary hero relics.
7. 86 (Eighty Six)
For those not keen on giant robots in mecha stories, 86 breaks the mold. This niche series offers more than just mecha battles, captivating audiences.
With expert pacing and adept source material adaptation, 86 exceeds anime standards.
Graceful execution of plot themes yields a thought-provoking, underrated gem for many fans.
If you liked Attack on Titan or any other survival anime, then you will definitely love 86.
Kingdom is a straightforward war anime that focuses on a young orphaned slave, Li Xin, who’s dream is to become a Great General of the Heavens.
He has to take part in the bloodstained warfare of China in order to carve his own path to realize his dream of becoming a great general.
5. Code Geass
Unlike the other war anime in this listing, Code Geass involves mecha or robots. However, Code Geass goes beyond from just being yet another Mecha battle story.
The show is known for its multi-genre appeal and for its diverse cast of characters who face many moral dilemmas over the course of the series.
Japan after losing its independence to the Holy Empire of Britannia, it is renamed as Area 11.
However, the flames of war still burned with the resistance groups trying to regain Japan.
Lelouch Lamperouge, a Britanian student, gets caught in a crossfire and is almost killed.
That’s when he meets a mysterious girl named C.C who bestows upon him Geass, “the power of the king”.
With his new power of “absolute obedience”, he forms his own rebellious group and wages a war against the Holy Britannian Empire.
4. The Heroic Legend Of Arslan
The heroic legend of Arslan is a historic war anime. Arslan, the prince of the kingdom of Pars, is forced to flee with his respected general Daryun after his father was betrayed by one of his most trusted official and the capital was besieged.
Now it is in Arslan’s hands to gather allies and to regain his homeland.
Above all, the mastermind behind Lusitania’s victory, an enigmatic man hiding behind a silver mask.
He poses a dangerous threat to Arslan and his company as he possesses a secret that could jeopardize Arslan’s right to succession.
Can he overcome the obstacles and regain his home country?
3. Legend Of Galactic The Heroes
Despite the slow start, this show is hands down the best war anime to ever exist.
With the rise of the new generation leaders, the 150 year long stalemate between the two interstellar superpowers, the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance, comes to an end.
In order to free his sister from the Kaiser and unify humanity under one genuine ruler, Reinhard von Lohengramm climbs the ranks of the Empire with the support of his trusted friend, Siegfried Kircheis.
However, Reinhard on suspicion of imperial favouritism and nepotism is facing resistance from his peers.
Meanwhile, Yang Wen-Li, the unwilling hero of the opposite faction, has to stand firm in his beliefs and, show his pupil, Julian Mintz, that autocracy is not the solution.
2. Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga stands out in the anime realm, uniquely delving into the Dark Ages and Viking era post-Roman Empire collapse.
Central to the plot is Thorfinn, son of the legendary Thors, whose life takes a turn when his father is slain. Adopted by his father’s killer into a Viking army, Thorfinn navigates complex relationships amidst chaotic Scandinavian politics and fights.
Vinland Saga is a top tier anime about war that also explore several other themes that any mature person can appreciate.
1. Attack On Titan
In Attack on Titan, a fantasy world blends Victorian and Industrial Ages. Initially, the story is all about the last of humanity surviving man eating giants callde “Titans”.
However, the show evolves into something bigger. Eventually, we will get to see full blown war between two factions that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The anime finally ended in 2023 after a long run since 2014. So, this is the perfect time to watch it if you haven’t already.
That’s it for this post! These were some of the best war anime out there that you must definitely watch if you enjoy wars. Hope you found this post useful.