Samurai, being an extremely vital part of the Japanese, can be seen in a lot of anime out there. They were the most honourable men back then with amazing sword skills and were feared by everyone. Having a strong sense of justice and honour, there are no men like samurai in this whole world.
Today, we’ll be talking about Top 10 Anime About Samurai and how modern day animations have incorporated this theme. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
What is a ‘Samurai’?
Samurai were the hereditary military officers from mediaeval and early-modern Japan. Only people of nobility were titled as 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 has attempted to bring back the legendary samurai to modern entertainment.
Archetype Of 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!
10. 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 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 realised how much of a masterpiece it was!
This anime revolves around Sakata Gintoki, a man who still lives by the code of the Samurai (his own version of it at least). He looks like a slacker (mostly is) and always carries a wooden sword. He’s probably the weirdest of all Samurai in anime.
At first sight, this man might seem as a disgrace to all warriors, but as the story goes on you’ll get to love him and see his respectable way of living.
Gintoki works as a ‘Yorozuya’ (a person who does ‘Odd Jobs’) and lives with a bunch of weird people who have their specific quirks.(I mean, this is Gintama after all. You can’t just expect a normal character in the cast.)
While doing all sorts of odd jobs, Gintoki always lands himself in a bit of a pickle which leads to many hilarious situations. This anime is extremely funny , but gets super serious when it must.
Gintama is my personal favorite and will always be number 1 in my heart, but we’ve listed it at the bottom since it is not an anime about samurai through and through.
Drifters isn’t your average samurai anime. It is also a time travel anime. It’s characters are references of 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, into another battle.
In some sense, it is like Gintama where you get to see swsord weilding samurai fighting against guns. Which is a good thing in this case. I mean, what’s more thrilling than seeing legendary historical figures going against other historical legends?
8. 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 do 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 to accomplish his goals.
7. 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 years 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 1000 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 in order to kill those who killed her parents. Manji is reluctant at first but then decides to protect Rin for 4 years. The two go on a long journey, full of blood and gore in order to have both of their goals accomplished.
6. 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.
5. 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.
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.
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 of him but his name still terrorizes everyone. Nobody knows but Hitokiri had 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 for that. Lol no.) People eventually find out about his past and his enemies from the time when he was a manslayer comeback to take him down with vengeance in their heart.
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 1 fighter of 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 and 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 having prosthetic limbs with blades embedded in them. He’s on a demon hunting spree to get his body parts back, even if it meant 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 to 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 protagonist, but secondary main 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 Top 10. We hope you liked this list. We’ll come back with more!
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