One of the best manga and anime of all time? Anime series that features medieval times. It’s so old school, you’d feel you teleported back in time.
Medieval anime and manga often have fantasy elements combined with some historical facts. Story and character development revolve around kings, knights, war, princesses, princes, slaves, and of course magic!
If you’re a fan of the medieval era, you’d never run out of anime to watch. So, I collated a list of the best medieval anime that you should watch. This list contains Spice and Wolf (Ookami to Koushinryou), Maoyuu Maou Yuusha...
1) The Heroic Legend of Arslan Senki
The Heroic Legend of Arslan is a story of two kingdoms with tyrants as kings. These two have been at war, battling one another to prove who is mightier and stronger.
One day, Arslan Senki, the main male protagonist, has to go to a battle. But, one of the kingdom’s advisors betrayed the king.
Now, he must do all his best to become stronger and take back the kingdom he lost.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan has the classic setting and genre: clashing swords and steel armors, dashing heroes and damsels in distress. Could you ask for more?
2) Guin Saga
Guin Saga is the story of a powerful man with a leopard head and two siblings: Princess Rinda and her brother Remus. They are the Twin Pearls of Parros.
The prophecy says that the siblings would become great. However, the evil enemies destroyed the kingdom they knew.
Rinda and Remus have to take refuge in an asylum even though the place is teeming with ghouls.
Then, came a powerful man named Guin, who rescued the two heirs from death. After the death-defying escape from the asylum, the trio journey towards the kingdom of Parros. They battle enemies and gain allies along the way.
This medieval anime is a fantasy series with a semi-dark, horror theme.
3) Goblin Slayer
This anime takes place where goblins and guilds exist. Persons from all walks of life, but most priests and priestesses join a guild to fulfill a job.
In this series, Onna Shinkan is a new and inexperienced priestess. She embarks on an adventure with her guildmates. However, ruthless goblins killed all members, leaving her as the survivor.
The anguish of seeing her guildmates killed is too much that she wanted to die right there and then.
But, the Goblin Slayer, who was once a young energetic boy, saves her. The 15-year old priestess joins the vicious Goblin Slayer in killing all goblins.
This medieval anime is a dark fantasy, with gore details on killing goblins. Still, this could become your next favorite as the pacing is quite unique.
4) Seven Deadly Sins
Nanatsu no Taizai is the Japanese title of this medieval anime. It is one of the best medieval anime TV shows.
It follows the life of Meliodas, Princess Elizabeth, and the remaining Seven Deadly Sins.
This medieval fantasy is a classic battle between evil and good. It has a light-hearted theme with a tint of dark fantasy.
In the story, the Seven Deadly Sins are exiled mages who were framed for killing the king of Liones Kingdom. Despite this obvious fact, Princess Elizabeth seeks their help in conquering the demonic forces of the Holy Knights.
The Seven Deadly Sins (or Nanatsu no Taizai) is an excellent combination of betrayal and redemption. It’s a must-watch for any anime fan of the medieval period and a must-read if you like the manga version.
5) Spice and Wolf (Ookami to Koushinryou)
Ookami to Koushinryou or Spice and Wolf is Holo and Kraft Lawrence. The main theme? It’s about entrepreneurship, actually, with a hint of magic and romance.
In this medieval anime, Holo is a forgotten wolf deity while Lawrence is a merchant. The two meet in a chance encounter.
The lovely goddess asks Kraft to help her get home since she lost her power after people forgot about her.
Being a traveling merchant, the intelligent young lad seizes the opportunity. He knows that by helping her, he could gather enough money to open his own shop.
Another excellent aspect of the Spice and Wolf anime is the historical information you could learn during medieval times.
6) Yona of the Dawn
Yona of the Dawn is a coming-of-age series in the medieval period. The female protagonist, Princess Yona, had lived a sheltered life until her 16th birthday. No one told her the horrors outside the palace.
But, a week before her birthday party, she witnessed her cousin whom she had a crush on for nearly 10 years killed her beloved father, the king of the Sky Tribe. It was the start of a coup d'état.
Despite her devastation, Yona and her bodyguard Yak have to flee the kingdom. To win back the throne from her cunning cousin, she has to trace back the history of the four kingdoms.
During their journey, the naive princess discovers the harsh reality outside the kingdom.
This anime is set in a fantasy world with a touch of unrequited love, betrayal of trust and so much more.
7) Lord Marksman and Vanadis
In this medieval harem anime, Vanadis defends their country and attacks other kingdoms. One of these Vanadises is Eleonora Viltaria who obtained power from a dragon.
Europe is depicted differently in this fantasy anime. People during these times rely on powerful beings (the Vanadis) to defend them from neverending wars.
Eleonora Viltaria is one of these powerful beings. She got her super-powers from a dragon. Then, the brave girl found Tigrevurmud Vorn (aka Tiger).
The two conquered the old world, forging a relationship that their people will remember in history. Lord Marksman and Vanadis is one great story of adventure, love, and ecchi.
8) Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
Seirei no Moribito (Guardian of the Spirit) is about a myth that many people in the Shin Yogo Empire believe. This myth involves a water demon.
On the brink of famine and drought, the star readers of the kingdom advised the emperor to slew this spirit. But, the demon manifested in the emperor’s son, Prince Chagum.
Desperate to save the empire and its people, the emperor ordered the assassination of the prince. But, the prince survives the attempt because of Balsa, a skilled warrior.
The two journey together in finding a solution to the prince’s predicament and fighting off assassination attempts on his life.
9) Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is the most thrilling and gripping story I have ever encountered with a medieval period theme. Probably, this anime is the best medieval anime in my opinion.
It dates back to prehistoric times if you’re going to look at the timeline.
In the story, Titans have been hunting down humans to survive. This act causes mankind to build walls as tall as the Founding Titans to prevent the extinction of their race.
For decades, the communities within the walls experience until someone huge (a Titan) breaks the wall. Their lives are forever changed.
The long-forgotten feud between mankind and Titan resurfaces or you think so. The anime is still ongoing for its final season. So, why do you start watching them now to catch up?
10) Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga, under the Wit Studio, is about Vikings during the medieval period. Unlike other medieval shows, this series is based on historic events (at least for the most parts).
This series is the story of Thorfinn and his thirst for revenge. A band of mercenaries killed his father when he was just a young lad.
When the main protagonist is old enough to leave his hometown, he joins the same group that killed his father. The vengeful lad vows to become stronger than the leader, so he could kill the murderer.
Well, it’s a classic revenge story, sprinkled with amazing sword fights. Why is the title Vinland Saga?
Mr. Thorfinn dreams of settling in a lush, peaceful place called Vinland. He plans to go to that place after his revenge.
11) Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, a medieval anime, is a classic story between a hero and his enemy helping each other for a better cause (or maybe falling for each other).
It follows the life of Maou, the Demon Queen, and Yuusha, a warrior from the Southern Nation.
Yuusha and thousands of knights from their kingdom embark on a journey to find the Demon Queen and stop the war between demons and humans.
But, their advance is so slow that the valiant soldier abandons the group and sets forth alone.
To his surprise, the Demon Queen is so beautiful and sexy. Surprisingly, she needs his help. Reluctant at first, Yuusha agrees to help her for the world and mankind.
The Berserk manga series has been adapted into TV twice. One was in 1997 and the sequel was in 2016. Both anime shows take place in medieval times where wars and witchcraft are normal occurrences.
The first adaptation is concentrated in Guts, Griffith, and the Band of the Hawk. It’s about power dynamics, battlefield politics, and strategies.
On the other hand, the 2016 adaptation is more on witchcraft and religion. It takes place after Griffith betrays the band for a chance to rule as a god.
This series is dark and horrifying for anime fans. But, if you like medieval so much, the dark theme won’t bother you that much.
13) Twelve Kingdoms
Twelve Kingdoms is a pure fantasy series. It takes place in a fictional world but uses the medieval period as its world theme.
Youko Nakajima is an ordinary student who has trouble fitting in because of her red hair. One day, a strange man appears before her and tells her she was his rightful master.
Then, crazy things happen. The redhead girl finds herself in a strange land that is quite similar to medieval times.
The crazier things? Two of her classmates were caught up during the escape.
What’s the craziest? Youko and her classmates must learn to wield a sword to defend themselves. They must discover how to survive and go back to their real world.
14) Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
This manga and anime series began with the story of Aladdin. I know that you know this fictional character, except that he has this magic power. The boy we know with the lamp is quite different from this one.
Set in the medieval ages, this young magician scours the different dungeons for treasures (much like the Aladdin of the Caribbean). Anyways, he embarks on an adventurous journey, armed with his magic flute.
In his journey, the spritely young man meets a slave named Morgiana. As a team, they face a lot of enemies but manage to survive.
Do you know the popular video game Castlevania? Yes, it’s the same. Among all video games adapted to TV animation, this is one of the most successful.
The medieval anime is to take place in Transylvania. But most of the setting is in Romanian regions.
Alucard and Trevor Belmont would face off against the most popular enemy in Vampire history, Dracula. It’s a gripping story of son vs father and good vs. evil.
If you're a fan of video games, you would surely love this anime TV adaptation.
16) Tears To Tiara
This medieval fantasy is about Riannon, a priestess in the Gael Tribe. The beautiful lady becomes an offering to Arawn as the Holy Empire seeks more power to conquer the world.
Surprisingly, the demon lord pledges his allegiance to the priestess and her group of friends, which includes Arthur and some pixie fairies.
Despite Arawn’s enigmatic appearance, the priestess accepts the alliance.
Together, they fight against the Empire and take back what was lost because of wars.
This anime is a classic genre on love, war, and friendship. Kagome and Inuyasha were caught up in a sticky predicament.
Inuyasha is still in love with a vengeful priestess who is the predecessor of Kagome. A thief turned demon with a personal vendetta tries to kill them all.
The thing binding the characters is a Shikon Jewel that scattered across the land. Kagome, who is the only person to detect the presence of the jewel, must restore it.
It has a hint of time travel genre, unrequited love, and adventure. The series shows in Japan during the medieval period.
Claymore features amazing fight scenes and a female protagonist who could wield a sword. It is a dark fantasy with a supernatural theme.
The main character, Clare, is a human but because of some circumstances, she has to choose a difficult path. Becoming a claymore is not an easy thing.
This young woman has to accept demon blood to become strong and invincible.
This medieval anime is pure action and adventure. It shows the darkest secrets in human history (at least in the anime shows).
19) Samurai Champloo
The Samurai theme has been the foundation of countless anime/manga series. This is one of them.
The characters are fictional, but the setting of the story is based on historic facts. Samurai Champloo took place in Meiji Era (Japan), which coincides with the middle ages.
The story revolves around the adventures and misadventures of the three characters. These adventurers are looking for a Samurai who smells like sunflowers.
Despite the uncertainties, they don't intend to give up because they might end up dead if they don't fight.
This series is a combination of modern and medieval times. Suddenly, a gate or portal appears in modern Tokyo.
Through the gate, the strangers, dressed in medieval garments, came out. These medieval individuals kill everyone on sight.
Youji Itami along with other Off-duty Japan Self-Defense Forces managed to stop the invasion. He became the commander of the group.
Did you find anything to watch in the list? Comment below the show/s that you'd want to watch again or start watching.