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What are the best samurai anime?

A
Dave - Binge.co Contributor

The Samurai were a class of highly skilled warriors that rose in Japan after the Taika Reforms of 646 A.D. It forced many small farmers to sell their land and become tenant farmers. A few landholders that have amassed power and wealth rose. This also led to the creation of a feudal system that's sort of akin to that of the medieval times in Europe. Of course, with so much wealth at stake, these feudal lords needed protection and so they hired the first samurai warriors or "bushi". This dynamic changed during the Heian Era when the country's emperors lost control of rural Japan. The samurai quickly swooped and established a military government called the Shogunate. One of the most historic events in ancient is what was called the Warring States Period or "Sengoku". Daimyos (regional constables) led their clans to war to fight for national dominance.

This all came to a close when the warlord, Oda Nobunaga, defeated the 3 most powerful daimyos and unified the country. By 1605, Japan experienced a long period of relative peace and stability led by the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Meiji Restoration in 1868 marked the beginning of the end for the samurai. The Meiji Emperor rid the country of the samurai, reduced the power of the daimyo, and changed the capital city's name from Edo to Tokyo. The samurai have been the topic of various works throughout history even to this day. They've been depicted in various films, shows, and even manga and anime. From the code of conduct called "bushido" to their weapon of choice, the "katana", it's all fair game. The latter part, in particular, has produced some really great anime shows about the samurai. Check our list of some of the best samurai anime below and know a little more about their history and be entertained by the action at the same time.

  1. 1Samurai Champloo

    14

    Samurai Champloo follows the journey of these three eccentric individuals in an epic quest full of action, comedy, and dynamic sword fighting, all set to the beat of a unique hip-hop infused soundtrack.

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  1. 2Gintama

    11

    Gintama is a Japanese action-comedy anime produced by TV Tokyo that stars the voices of Tomokazu Sugita, Daisuke Sakaguchi, and Rie Kugimiya. The pilot episode premiered on Spring 2006. Each episode runs for a total of 24 minutes.

  2. 3Shigurui: Death Frenzy

    5

    Shigurui: Death Frenzy is a Japanese manga series made by Takayuki Yamaguchi. This animated action and drama series directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki, written by Seishi Minakami, and produced by Madhouse Studios.

  1. 4Bleach

    4

    Bleach is an anime series that is based on Tite Kubo's manga series of the same name. It follows Ichigo as he becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping spirits find peace.

  2. 5Rurouni Kenshin

    3

    Rurouni Kenshin (also known as Samurai X) is a samurai-based anime show. It tells the story of a master swordsman that is traveling around Japan during the Meiji era. He arrives at a martial arts school in era of the opium trade wars.

  3. 6Ninja Scroll

    3

    Ninja Scroll is an animated film written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Released in 1993, the film received favorable reviews from various critics and won the Citizen's Award at the 1993 Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival.

  4. 7InuYasha

    3

    InuYasha is a feudal fantasy romance anime based on the manga series of the same name by Rumiko Takahashi. This anime was broadcasted at the Weekly Shonen Sunday from 1996 to 2008. 

  5. 8Samurai 7

    2

    Samurai 7 is a 2004 action/anime television series set in a futuristic world, produced by Gonzo and based on Akira Kurosawa's highly regarded 1954 movie Seven Samurai. 

  6. 9Afro Samurai

    1

    Afro Samurai is a 5-episode action mini animated TV series created by Takashi Okazaki and stars Samuel L. Jackson, Phil LaMarr, and Yuri Lowenthal. It tells the story of a Black samurai goes on a mission to avenge the wrongful death of his father in a futuristic feudal Japan.

  7. 10Basilisk

    1

    Basilisk is a 24-episode drama fantasy anime TV series that was based on the manga written and illustrated by Masaki Segawa. Two ninja clans, Iga of Tsubagakure and the Kouga of Manjidani, battle each other to determine which grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu will become the next shogun.

  8. 11Sengoku Basara

    0

    Sengoku Basara is an action-adventure anime adaptation of the Capcom video game of the same name. Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura, two young warlords and heated rivals form an unlikely alliance to take down the "demon king", Oda Nobunaga.

  9. 12Brave 10

    0

    Brave 10 is a 12-episode action-comedy anime TV series that came out in 2012. As the Warring States era came to a close, Yukimura Sanada has been gathering 10 warriors known as Sanada's Brave 10, who have the power to change history.

  10. 13Hakuouki

    0

    Hakuouki, also known as Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: The Mysterious Tale of the Shinsengumi, is a Japanese anime series created by Studio Deen based on the manga of the same name. The reverse harem anime began airing on April 2, 2010.

  11. 14Ronin Warriors

    0

    Ronin Warriors is a Japanese anime series directed by Masashi Ikeda for episodes 1-19 and Mamoru Hanatsu for episodes 20-39. It originally aired from April 30 1988 to March 4 1989.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Did you know that despite the katana being the most iconic samurai weapon, the original sword they carried was called the "chokuto"? In contrast to the katana, the chokuto was a straight, slim, and single-edged sword. As the years went by, curved swords became the standard method of forging, and thus the katana was created. Despite being the hulking, brutish warriors that movies presented them to be, the majority of the samurai were actually well-educated, studying flower arrangements, calligraphy writing, and produced ink paintings as well as poetry. In addition to visual arts, the samurai were also expected to be knowledgeable in history and literature.

Presently, the samurai has gained a mythical status among modern society, partly due to their strict code of honor, called the "bushido". They became so popular in modern media and literature. Hence the growing popularity of samurai moviessamurai novels, and television series, especially in anime. Such is their popularity that these samurai warriors have been incorporated into action and romance anime and became a staple in almost all anime sites. Mostly prevalent in anime shows and films which feature sword-fighting, the samurai has been shown participating in both ancient and sci-fi battles. Even if not directly presented as a samurai, one can always expect an anime character to follow the bushido, at the very least.

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14 comments

  • #1
    A
    Anonymous
    February 22, 2019
    "I like that a lot of games based on this samurai anime were released and they are all multiplatform, like PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, and more. I have always believed that Gintoki Sakata has always had the heart of a samurai. And you can see in the episodes that they mainly consists of Gintoki and his friends. It is really one of the most comedic samurai anime of all time."
    Refering to:
    2
    Gintama
  • #2
    A
    Anonymous
    February 22, 2019
    "Compared to Cowboy Bepop, Cowboy Bepop has more of that spaghetti western genre. Yet both have the same aim to depict a multicultural pulp fiction, more than just a samurai anime. I was able to watch I think when it was still airing more than a decade ago. I have always loved Shinichiro Watanabe. Recommending this as one of the best samurai anime ever."
    Refering to:
    1
    Samurai Champloo
  • #3
    A
    Anonymous
    February 26, 2019
    "Story line was heinous. The ninja fight scenes are somewhat predictable as the entire plot can really be suggestive. Yet, the story isn't bad at all. Character development is awesome. Aesthetic wise, it succeeded to at least be at par with the other animes. Music and sound scoring classic and oldschool!"
    Refering to:
    6
    Ninja Scroll
  • #4
    A
    Anonymous
    March 12, 2019
    "any sword anime (anime involving swords) are a must-watch for me, even if its sci fi or medieval anime. as long as it involve swords, im cool with it. i never enjoyed samurai animes tho, but i watched a few episodes of this and it made me change my mind a little lol well see what happens"
    Refering to:
    13
    Hakuouki
  • #5
    A
    Anonymous
    February 26, 2019
    "Hell yeah, I am a sucker for any samurai anime that revolves around any historical theme. If I am not mistaken, this samurai anime is one of the most influential films in the japanese history. This was based on an old movie but it also has its own unique stories."
    Refering to:
    8
    Samurai 7
  • #6
    A
    Anonymous
    February 26, 2019
    "Well, this is one of your mainstream shonen anime. No wonder its samurai-themed plot is appealing to guys. This is comparable with two other famous anime namely Naruto and One Piece. The Shinigami or the Soul Reapers are the star in this anime"
    Refering to:
    4
    Bleach
  • #7
    A
    Anonymous
    February 26, 2019
    "Story itself is very weak if I can be very honest. But I am still recommending this samurai anime because InuYasha's character development is great. It is a classic shounen, even the sound pieces they are diverse and beautifully complex."
    Refering to:
    7
    InuYasha
  • #8
    A
    Anonymous
    February 22, 2019
    "Although shigurui s not a historically accurate show. Well, I can say that because Tokugawa era isn't really about fancy clothes and fairy tales at all. Yet, if we talk about samurai anime, this is rather on the dark side of the genre."
    Refering to:
    3
    Shigurui: Death Frenzy
  • #9
    A
    Anonymous
    March 12, 2019
    "I really enjoy any samurai anime movies or series that involves samurai fallen from grace. Makes you realize that even high members of society can fall and their struggles to get their honor back."
    Refering to:
    14
    Ronin Warriors
  • #10
    A
    Anonymous
    February 26, 2019
    "Nobody can never be too old for samurai anime, especially those anime which features historic events. Samurai X i think premiered in 2003 I guess? I feel old now but yeah, this is classic."
    Refering to:
    5
    Rurouni Kenshin
  • #11
    A
    Anonymous
    January 17, 2020
    "What happens when you mix Japanese culture and art with Western sensibilities? You get an kickass samurai crossover show in the form of Afro Samurai. Just go watch it. You won't regret it."
    Refering to:
    9
    Afro Samurai
  • #12
    A
    Anonymous
    January 17, 2020
    "This is one of the best samurai anime that you can watch. It's well-written, the art style is beautiful, and there's plenty of action to keep you entertained all the way to the end."
    Refering to:
    10
    Basilisk
  • #13
    A
    Anonymous
    January 17, 2020
    "This was a samurai anime that had a lot of potential to be great but lacked more development and proper execution. It's still a good series to give a try and watch."
    Refering to:
    12
    Brave 10
  • #14
    A
    Anonymous
    January 17, 2020
    "A great anime adaption of a video game that I loved playing. It's done really well with great animation and plenty of action. Give this samurai anime a try."
    Refering to:
    11
    Sengoku Basara
This list is about What are the best samurai anime
RankAnswersTypeVotesPrice
1Samurai ChamplooTV Shows 14 Paid
2GintamaTV Shows 11 Paid
3Shigurui: Death FrenzyTV Shows 5 Paid
4BleachTV Shows 4 Paid
5Rurouni KenshinTV Shows 3 Paid
6Ninja ScrollMovies 3 Paid
7InuYashaTV Shows 3 Paid
8Samurai 7TV Shows 2 Paid
9Afro SamuraiTV Shows 1 Paid
10BasiliskTV Shows 1 Paid
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