Japan has a rich culture and history. One of these notable events is the samurai or Edo period that lasted from early 1600 to mid-1800.
So, it’s not surprising that most of the anime manga and shows you watch today have a samurai background.
Now, let’s look at these anime adaptations and see if they are any good to include in your watch list.
Best Samourai Anime:
1. Samurai 7
After a long war, the people of Earth enjoyed a modest peace. But, starvation and abductions become normal happenings. Bandits (named Nobuseri) gain notoriety.
Now, Kanna Village's farmers made a critical choice. The village needs to hire samurai for protection against those bandits.
Priestess Kirara sets off with her younger sister and another villager on a journey. They need to find a willing Samurai in exchange for rice from meager harvests.
This is loosely based on the Seven Samurai classic anime, set in the futuristic world. It is an enjoyable watch featuring a mix of two periods.
As the episodes progress, you can see a significant improvement in the scenes and story plot.
2. Afro Samurai
In Afro Samurai, revenge is a dish best served cold. Afro’s father died at the hands of Justice (who claimed Number One headband after slaying Afro's dad).
He’s a skilled samurai who sets out on a hunt for vengeance against a man who took everything from him.
However, in this harsh world, lawlessness reigns over justice. No swordsman possesses any true respect for another outside their narrow rivalry or personal vendetta.
This samurai story is super short, which has 5 episodes only. If you like a quick anime that you can watch in one day, this is your guy.
3. Ninja Scroll
Jubei Kibagami is a traveling swordsman with an unbreakable moral compass. He now wanders feudal Japan.
A betrayal left him masterless. This idealistic man doesn't have the patience for self-serving political factions.
Unfortunately, his path crosses with a female ninja Kagero. This young ninja is on her final mission to investigate a mysterious plague.
The plague had wiped out an entire village. But does this job seem too good to be true?
If you're looking for a movie that will make your day, then I recommend this. It's only about an hour and a half long.
So, if it doesn't work out at least you lost less time by watching something else!
4. Hyakka Ryouran: Samurai Girls
Great Japan has long been a place of beauty and privilege. It is the envy of other countries, but its future stability hangs in the balance.
Master samurai are Great Japan's only defense against an unknown threat.
These guardians are students from Buou Academic school. At a young age, they learn leadership and the way of the samurai.
This series is a harem anime with lots of fan service. If you're into this kind of story, you will enjoy watching this.
Overall, this is enjoyable.
5. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings
Japan's Sengoku period was a time when many warlords battled for control of the country. One powerful ruler in this struggle is Nobunaga Oda who conquered all but one rival.
This is Kenshin Uesugi. Masamune Date led an army to thwart Sanada Yukimura and his sneak attack on General Kenshin.
The fight is a draw. Eventually, Sanada and Date had to work together to stop Oda.
This is a speedy, action-packed series with no filler episodes. The anime focuses on the present rather than flashbacks to past events.
Definitely, check out this amazing show! You won't be disappointed.
6. Peace Maker Kurogane
After witnessing his parents' deaths, Ichimura Tetsunosuke thirsts for revenge. It led him to strengthen his samurai skills.
When this young man reached 15 years old, he joined the gang that killed his parents. This is where the action and comedy began.
Peace Maker is an enjoyable and hilarious show that showcases a lot of action. The comedic aspect was not lost in the story.
There were some historical inaccuracies with this series. Still, the series had its strong points which made it worth watching all at once!
7. Blade of the Immortal
Manji is a swordsman in the feudal era of Japan who has killed one hundred innocent men. He was an outlaw with many names, including the "Hundred Man Killer."
There's something far more frightening than his ominous reputation: HE CANNOT DIE.
His immortality originated 800 years ago. Now, if he wants to die, this skilled samurai must kill a thousand evil persons on Earth.
But, Manji took him longer than expected to finish the condition of his death. Not all evil people wanted to die just for the sake of it.
8. Basilisk Kouga Ninpou Chou
The Iga and Kouga ninja clans have been fighting for centuries. In the hopes to reconcile their clan, Gennosuke and Oboro (the Lavander Princess) aim to marry.
But hopes for reconciliation vanish into thin air when flames of animosity flare up again. This has caused more violence than ever before against members on either side.
The characters were deep and three-dimensional. Each has an interesting backstory worth noting. This isn't Naruto or One Piece!
If that's what you're looking for, this show ain't got nothing in store for you.
9. Rurouni Kenshin
This series is more popular with the title Samurai X because of the MC’s scar on his face. It is about Kenshin Himura, a skilled samurai at a very young age.
Also known as Batusai, he was the best assassin during the Meiji Restoration.
When this handsome young man met Kaoru who nursed him when he was wounded, he vowed to never kill again.
Even after his promise, Kenshin still uses his sword but he never draws the shard edge. Instead, he uses the dull end of the sword.
10. Angolmois: Record of the Mongol Invasion
People survive on Tsushima Island through farming and fishing for their next meal. They weren't concerned with things like honor or glory.
These people only cared about whether the harvests would be good enough to feed them all another week.
But the Mongol clan, a powerful samurai from Kyushu island, threatens this simple way of life.
Then, Jinzaburou arrives. He is a thrill seeker and he likes to fight for the pure enjoyment it entails. He's not evil by any means, but his thirst for battle knows no boundaries or limits.
11. Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto
Yojiro Akizuki wanders the length and breadth of Japan. He uses his sword in the usual fashion to help him find supernatural items.
His quest is often bloody with consequences that are just gruesome.
Then, he crosses paths with a traveling theater group. It becomes clear there's more at play than "chance" meetings or coincidences.
The story was intriguing and well-written. It doesn't focus on any one aspect of Japanese history. The part with Yojiro's 'new' life showed all sorts of different perspectives.
12. Sword of the Stranger (Mukou Hadan)
Kotarou's life is a difficult one but he has a friendly dog that helps him always. He was an orphan who had to steal from villagers to make ends meet.
Then assassins sent by the Ming dynasty hunted him down for reasons unknown. Luckily, the young boy met Nanashi in an abandoned temple.
This mysterious stranger saved Kotarou when he needed help the most. After this incident, the samurai wants to part ways with the boy.
But, Kotarou hires Nanashi. Reluctantly, the swordsman accepted the contract. Their adventures begin!
13. Batman Ninja
The Dark Knight battles with the King of Apes to save Gotham City. Amidst the clash, Grodd's Quake Engine activates.
In an instant, Arkham Asylum vanishes into thin air along with all its inhabitants. Then, Bruce finds himself standing on unfamiliar ground: feudal Japan!
This movie is action-packed with two unlikely combinations: Batman and Samurai. Of course, this is enjoyable if you want to see Batman hold a sword and fight like a ninja.
His costume remains the same and a bit out of place. But this is still a good watch.
Jinbee Tsukishima is a striving young man to be the master swordsman like his father. In one of his pieces of training, a horrific accident happened.
With this fault in his conscience, this aspiring samurai must atone for his sins. This means Jinbee seeks out to take up his father's place as a member of the Insect Magistrate Office.
On his way, he meets Haru-san who manages her family’s tea house. Giant insects swarm around her.
This brave man has no choice but to help, which earned him an entry to the Office.
Amanto aliens invaded feudal Japan and outlawed swords. Samurai becomes extinct, except for Gintoki Sakata.
This handsome man is a skilled swordsman. But he's popular for his fondness of sweets and works as yorozuya (odd jobs).
Gintoki works with Shinpachi Shimura and Kagura whose unquenchable appetite matches her strength.
Gintama is a blend of all the hallmarks and tropes that shounen anime fans love. It has the ability to parody other popular shows like Bleach, Naruto, One Piece.
This is quite appealing even if you don't watch these series. Fans might appreciate how Gintama messes around with everyday concepts.
16. Samurai Deeper Kyo
Samurai Deeper Kyou follows the journey of two sword-wielding warriors. Their feud began in a duel four years ago. Now, their lives have changed.
A gun-slinging bounty hunter named Yuya Shiina hunts down Kyoushirou. Now, this legendary swordsman is an eccentric medicine man with large debts.
On her way to claiming the bounty, monstrous demons attacked them. This awakens "Demon Eyes" Kyo trapped inside Kyoushiro.
Thus, it begins to be an epic tale as they discover secrets hidden for centuries.
17. Samurai Champloo
Fuu Kasumi is a waitress in a small teahouse. Because of her clumsiness, people bully and harass her. In her desperation, she called Mugen to help her.
Unfortunately, Mugen picked Jin as his opponent. During their heated battle, the two killed the son of the local magistrate.
Their crimes warrant execution but Fuu saved them. In the end, the young woman hired the two. So, she could search for a samurai who smells like sunflowers.
At first, Mugen and Jin are reluctant but agree. Can they fulfill their mission before they kill each other?
Tokidoki Rikugou has not been a fan of history, and he doesn't know much about it either. Yet, his high school forces him to take up Japanese History to graduate.
He goes there as set by Edo Bakumatsu Walking Tour and Exhibition at the museum for this knowledge. Little does he know that it will end up being one heck of an experience!
The simulation is awesome because Toki feels like he's been transported back in time. Well, he did.
Yep, this is an isekai anime, too, with the Edo period and samurai as its main theme.
This story is about a love that transcends time and death. Kurou falls for Kuromitsu after trying to flee his pursuers.
Fast forward a thousand years, Kurou finds himself in modern Japanese culture. This distraught man doesn't know what to do because no matter what he does, he can't die.
His recollection of the past is not complete. So, he must fight the Red Army to protect what he loves the most and get the answers he needs.
This series is a sci-fi where time and death seem to defy the laws of nature. You should watch this samurai-themed anime.
The samurai lord Kagemitsu Daigo was desperate to find a way to save his land. He made the ultimate sacrifice and sold his soul for 12 demons who promised him power in return.
But, there is a price! His son was born without any limbs, skin, and face. Still, the poor boy lives with the help of a medicine man.
Every time, the boy defeats a demon that took his body and regains what he lost after the battle. In his search, he encountered a boy named Dororo.
Dororo is a bittersweet and inspiring story of friendship, betrayal, and greediness.
The Drifters are a group of warriors who fight against the Ends. They are all ghosts in a land where fantastical creatures live.
Toyohisa becomes a Drifter after a mortal wound claims his life in a battle. In this world, he finds many historical people.
One of them is Nobunaga Oda. Immediately, Toyohisa befriended him. Together with other Drifters, they fight the Orte empire.
In a world of swords and sorcery, the anime takes you on an exhilarating journey. It is rich in historical detail.
This features innovative storytelling techniques about samurai times. If you like some good entertainment with adrenaline-inducing fight scenes, then this is for you.
22. Asu no Yoichi!
Yoichi grew up in the mountains with his father. He mastered a sword technique at 17. All he knew is how to train in Soaring Wind Divine Wind style and fight like one of those Buddhist monks.
In the present day, Yoichi is a samurai with odd speech and traditional clothing. So, he needs help in learning how to act in society.
Things were going too fast for him when the time came for him to come down into society. The solution is to live with his Ikaruga sisters.
Unfortunately, this young samurai faces hilarious misunderstandings because of his lack of social graces.
23. Hyouge Mono
One day, Furuta Sasuke got a quest and was told to go kill someone. When he arrives at the house of his target, ornamental cherry trees surround the house.
This scenic view made him hesitant, so he waited until dark. He waits until nightfall when all are asleep before setting fire on the man's compound.
This cunning man vanishes into thin air as if nothing happened. With an original voice, Hyouge Mono may not appeal to everyone.
There are scenes in this anime where silence is the main plot device. Instead of fighting, it can be more contemplative and engaging.
As an ordinary high schooler, Ichigo's life changes drastically. A Hollow attacks his family.
It is then that he meets Rukia Kuchiki, who gets injured while protecting him from the assailant.
To save them all, Ichigo accepts her offer of taking her powers. He becomes a Soul Reapto to protect those close to him ever after.
This anime series is one of the most loved shows in the anime community. I can't blame you. The story is amazing and features many samurai techniques.
The difference is a shinigami's sword evolves based on the skills learned.
25. Saraiya Goyou
Masanosuke Akitsu is a wandering swordsman who has lost his purpose. After years of wandering, he finds himself in Japan's Edo period.
This meek samurai can't find an employer because of his personality. People think he's unreliable until Yaichi hires him.
Masa thinks that being a bodyguard to Yaichi is simple. Soon, this young samurai discovers a dark secret.
He thought that he could ignore this fact. But, as he discovers more about the gang's real activities, he becomes addicted to it.
Would he be able to turn back and forget it all happened?
26. Laughing Under The Clouds
A century ago, Japan banned swords and the samurai population began to dwindle. But some rebelled against this law.
This causes violent unrest that erupted throughout rural areas near Tokyo.
The government responded with an innovative solution. They build a water prison surrounded by four walls of solid stone.
Three young men of the Kumoh line were the "deliverers" for criminals sentenced there.
This is the story of weighing the significance of duty and ethics. Could the brothers have the courage to discover why more and more youngsters become prisoners?
27. Shura No Toki
In Shura No Toki, three generations practice the Mutsu Enmei-Ryu UNARMED fighting style. The Mutsu family uses their fist to fight.
They wanted to show that unarmed fighting is as good as armed fighting.
The series is a prequel to the manga. It has three story arcs that you'll definitely love, especially if you love martial arts and samurai.
Its animation is its weakest point. But it compensates with incredible martial arts sequences. This art shows off intricate and technical moves not seen in any other series.
No flashy elements like blood or special powers getting in the way.
Chizuru Yukimura is a young girl who seeks revenge with the courage to do what she wants. She disguises herself as a man and heads out into Kyoto.
This brave pretty girl wants to find her father who has been missing for months. On her way through town, she witnesses two men brutally murdering other people in their path.
Unfortunately, the murders discovered her. Chizuru becomes a captive. But when she mentioned her father, the gang leader decided to keep her safe.
They too are looking for her father.
This anime is an adventure of a lifetime for young girls like Chizuru.
29. Fuyu no Semi
Fuyu no Semi is a story of boys' love and tragic circumstances. The lovers come from the opposite ends of society.
They fall in love with each other, but can never be together. Their actions will cause some terrible consequences.
What makes this story different are its historical details. It focuses on Japan's Boshin War. This war changed everything from politics to the roles of men and women in families.
Yes, this is a Yaoi anime. So, if you love the samurai and BL genre, you're in for a binge-watching mode. Fuyo no Semi is an OVA lasting for three episodes.
30. Brave 10
The story begins with Saizou and Isanami traveling throughout the war-laden lands. These two are in search of brave warriors with powerful skills.
So, the Brave 10 is assembled. They will fend off those who chase after the dark power she possesses.
The fight scenes are brief but exciting, with a lot of the plot happening during these sequences.
Though some parts can be predictable and shallow, it is easy to become immersed in this world that has so much detail.
I really enjoyed watching this anime based on the combat and ninja theme. There's nothing that makes it epic.
But if you're looking for a show to pass time with, I would definitely recommend it!
31. Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto
Yojiro Akizuki is a mercenary, sword for hire. He travels the length and breadth of Japan in search of items.
These items might have supernatural origins- bloodthirsty swords, cursed masks.
Alongside these odd jobs, he searches for something more personal.
Every night, this young man could hear screaming ghosts from his past haunt him. These ghosts exist only as shadows on the wall or moonlight.
The characters are accurate. Although the main theme is Japanese history, this is a great samurai anime for die-hard fans.
32. Mirage of Blaze
Mirage of Blaze is a shounen-ai genre. It follows the story of two lovers, separated by times and conflict.
Takaya Ougi is a typical student until Naoe comes marching to him. This beautiful young man is the reincarnation of Lord Kagetora according to Naoe.
As the poor boy remembers his past, he has now the duty to exorcise evil spirits. The Feudal Underworld is breaching the barrier. More devils are wreaking havoc on the land.
The art is not superb but the story is something you might enjoy. If you love shounen-ai, you'll binge-watch this. That I'm sure.
Other Samurai Anime Shows
Who is the best samurai in anime?
This one is so difficult to answer. But if I have to choose the best samurai anime, I would choose Samurai X or Rurouni Kenshin.
The series is a combination of many things. You get to watch romance and a bit of comedy. Most importantly, you learn the ways of a samurai.
The show is really a historical piece. There may be some inconsistencies but it is still one of the best.
What is the number 1 anime in Japan?
Right now, it is the series That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. But, some say it should be Tokyo revengers.
Either way, these shows are amazingly good anime. If you like fight scenes, the second anime would be your pick.
But, if you want supernatural anime, the first series is more likely your cup of tea.
What is the #1 anime?
Outside the best samurai anime list, Attack on Titan is the #1 anime. I think it deserves this title because the story development is excellent.
The art is amazingly good. Although many fans don't like the ending, I think it's one of the most mature shows I have ever encountered.
What is the No 1 anime of all time?
I think I would choose Dragon Ball Z. Its fandom has reached countries worldwide. There's also One Piece and its manga is still ongoing.
As for the best samurai anime, I think Bleach comes in second to Samurai X.
This is my opinion, but if you have other thoughts, please leave them below in the comment section.
The Samurai history is definitely one of the most colorful events in Japanese culture. In this list of anime, you can find sci-fi elements aside from historical elements.
From Samurai Champloo to Rurouni Kenshin, which do you think is the best anime in terms of animation style, the main character, and the depiction of samurai culture?