The age of samurai in Japan lasted for a few hundred years (from the late 1100s to the late 1800s to be exact). So, it’s not too surprising that the influence of these brave warriors is still felt in a lot of Japanese media, including anime. There are plenty of shows that feature some samurai as supporting characters or minor villains. However, there are quite a lot of anime shows, too, that involve chronicling the lives of the samurai during their heydays.
If you’re looking for the most exciting and action-filled samurai anime to watch, here are a few suggestions that might pique your interest:
Blade of the Immortal
Manji, the protagonist of the show, is known as the hundred-man killer. It’s a moniker well-earned because he killed a hundred innocent people during his glory days as a cruel katana-wielding warrior. He tries to set things straight by vowing to go in the right direction now and try to kill a thousand evil men. However, even with his immortal body, this task proves to be quite difficult to pull through, especially after taking in a helpless child who happened to ask for his assistance.
Shigurui: Death Frenzy
Peace ironically brings anxiety to warriors who crave the thrill of fighting and hunger for the smell of blood. That’s why a tournament to determine the strongest swordsmen was held. Unlike any other tournaments, though, this one will be fought with real katana and not bokuto (wooden swords). The fight to the death makes the men’s blood rush, and words simply fail to describe the excitement they feel when facing another warrior who they can cross swords with to their heart’s content.
Hyakkimaru was cursed to death when he was a child because his father sacrificed his body parts – from his eyes to his skin – to the demons who will bring fortune to the lands. The love from his mother and the pity from an attendant saved his life that time until he was found by a traveling doll maker. He was given prosthetic arms and legs and was taught to defend himself against danger, and when he was finally able to understand his condition, he set out on a journey to find the demons who stole his body parts.
He had no eyes, no nose, no ears, no tongue, no skin, no legs, no arms, etc. All that’s keeping him alive is the sheer strength of his will, but that’s more than enough for him to survive!
For many years now, Gintama shows have dominated a few spots from the top-ranking anime, according to My Anime List. And that’s for a good reason. The slapstick comedy was top-notch, and the action scenes peppered all throughout were pretty superb, too. However, it’s the main story that captured the hearts of many viewers.
This anime has a weird premise about aliens and some odd jobs done by the main character’s crew. But the deeper impact of the show can be felt as it progresses. It portrays why Gintoki, after all these years, never let go of his “samurai heart.”
Hitokiri Battousai was a young samurai who terrified people because of his unparalleled skill with the sword. His excellent swordsmanship allowed him to kill people mercilessly, but he mysteriously disappeared one day and never returned. His adversaries were elated at the very least, but even ten years after he was gone, the mere mention of his name makes everybody tremble in fear . . . except perhaps one person: Himura Kenshin.
Kenshin was a pretty skilled samurai in his own right, but there’s a huge difference between him and the infamous Battousai: he didn’t want to kill his enemies. There are too many secrets to unfold in the series, which fuels the viewers’ excitement. Indeed, this anime deserved to be one of the most popular shows today even though it first aired over 25 years ago!
What’s Your Favorite Samurai Anime?
Of course, there are other shows that might not be included here. Samurai Champloo, Ninja Scroll, Sword of the Stranger, and many other samurai shows are out there. Tell us which among them is your favorite, and let’s have a discussion in the comments’ section. #