Anime is perhaps the most synonymous word with Japanese culture today, but prior to the explosion in anime popularity, it was samurai that Japan was most commonly noted for. What’s great these days, however, is how the two have been combined to produce a quite amazing archive of samurai anime which in essence delivers the very best of both worlds. Some are funny, some are quite tragic and others contain a dose of romance. The following represents a list of the very best samurai animes of all.
10 Best Samurai Anime That You Can't Miss
The quartet of undeniable anti-heroes at the heart of Saiyuki includes the man who turned into a demon Cho Hakkai, the half-demon Sha Gojyo, the monkey king Son Goku and the monk Genjyo Sanzo. A pretty eclectic mix, the plot follows the group as they make their way into India, having learned that the terrible Ox-Demon-King, could soon be brought back from the dead. And of course, the journey isn’t nearly as straightforward as any of them hoped for!
Basilisk is the work of Fūtaro Yamada who is one of the most famous and influential Japanese authors of the 20th century. He puts together a striking and unique blend of marital arts and science fiction, which creates a fantasy work that’s quite fantastic in every way. He’s already taken on the job of putting together a unique twist on Romeo and Juliet, so it’s really no surprise that this rather brutal tale of samurai honor is a standout example to say the least.
This is perhaps one of the best examples of samurai anime long before it became somewhat mainstream and reached international fame. Much more brutal and graphic than any kind you can see today, it pretty much tells the story of nothing more complicated than Kibagami Jubei who in the name of all that’s honorable challenges his enemies and slashes the living hell out of them all.
If you never thought you’d see the day when samurai traditions would collide head with an unmistakably hip hop attitude, you really need to take time to see Samurai Champloo. The storyline is of course brilliant, but what really stands out is the way in which the writer has blended influences from the East and West to come up with something that has simply never, ever been done before.
The storyline in Peacemaker centers on Tetsunosuke Ichimura who is a short yet energetic15 years old boy but very childish in both appearance and behavior. However, after his parents have been brutally murdered, he’s left alone with his brother Tatsunosuke, and the two decide the time has come to seek revenge.
Set in a future world of fantasy, there’s a rule whereby the person with the Number 1 headband will be declared the most powerful fighter on the planet and be granted more power than God. Only the fighter with the Number 2 headband is permitted to challenge the supreme champion, while anyone with the will to do so can challenge the individual wearing the Number 2 band. Suffice to say, the Number 2 band holder does not have an easy life!
Samurai 7 is a brilliant piece of cinema, so it stands to reason that this anime is something special. It tells a story of a village which is threatened by a group of bandits dispatches 3 of its members to search for the right warriors to help protect them. The story has been changed slightly in places from the original, though is guaranteed to delight newcomers and long-time fans alike.
Gintoki Sakata tells the tale of a former Samurai who once worked freelance but is now living among aliens in a futuristic world of fantasy…quite the intriguing setting. As for whether he or anyone else can find true peace in the weird and wonderful world they’re living in…well, let’s just say there will be plenty of blood spilled on the way to finding out.
Gintoki Sakata is an eccentric samurai who helps save the sister of Shinpachi Shimura after finding out she’s to be sold to aliens who want to use her in a brothel. Having impressed his new contact, Gintoki Sakata finds his talents being nurtured and put to good use doing all manner of freelance jobs and saving many a girl from an unpleasant future. Futuristic, colorful and with a heavy dose of sci-fi thrown in, it’s a truly unique resulting recipe.
Perhaps the most famous and certainly one of the most enjoyable examples of samurai anime ever brought to life, Rurouni Kenshin tells the story of a former assassin who is living in the Meiji period. He makes a promise of never to kill again, but he finds himself in a situation where a number of people he’s bound to protect may in fact call upon his retired skills once again. Rurouni Kenshin presents a great tale of honor and conflicting emotions from beginning to end.