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The Best Samurai Anime of All Time

Updated April 18, 2021 28.6k votes 10.6k voters 806k views30 items

List RulesVote for your favorite samurai anime- don't downvote something if you haven't seen it!

 

It's hard not to love an anime with epic sword fights and Edo period ideals. Here is Ranker's list of the best samurai anime of all time, as voted on by fans of the genre. With so much great samurai anime out there, it's hard to say what the best one is. If you're more interested in some good old fashioned shootin', then you'll want to check out these top western anime series instead. People often cite Shiniciro Watanabe's Samurai Champloo as the greatest samurari anime, but there are plenty of other greats, such as Samurai X, Afro Samurai and Ninja Scroll. We've included the first episode of each show when available, so check out a few you haven't seen before if you're looking for a new anime to watch.

If you add a new show to the list, make sure it falls under the specific "samurai" genre. Shows like Bleach may have swordplay, but you wouldn't consider it to be a true samurai series.

 

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  • Photo: Manglobe
    Samurai Champloo (Manglobe, 2004), often stylized as SAMURAI CHAMPLOO, is a Japanese action anime series. Fuu, a waitress who works in a teahouse, rescues two master swordsmen, Mugen and Jin, from their execution to help her find the "samurai who smells of sunflowers."...  more
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  • Video: YouTube
    Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story (Studio Gallop, 1996), also known as Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai X, is a Japanese action anime series based on the manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki. A wandering samurai with a past embarks on a quest to uphold justice and help the innocent using his sword, but slay no man....  more
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  • Video: YouTube
    Sword of the Stranger is a 2007 Japanese anime film directed by Masahiro Andō and produced by animation studio Bones. The film follows Kotaro, a young boy who is hunted by a group of swordsmen from Ming Dynasty China for mysterious reasons. Among the group is a fearsome Western fighter named Luo-Lang, whose only desire is to find a worthy opponent. Kotaro and his dog meet "Nanashi", a nameless ronin who is haunted by memories of his past which have led him to avoid drawing his sword ever again. When the Ming clash with a Sengoku-era feudal lord, a proud general, and monks torn between faith and survival, the reason behind the Ming group's pursuit tests the bond between Kotaro and Nanashi....  more
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  • Video: YouTube
    Ninja Scroll: The Series is a 2003 Japanese animated television series based on Yoshiaki Kawajiri's Ninja Scroll. The series is directed by Tatsuo Sato and animated by Madhouse Studios....  more
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