Anime Underground The Best Samurai Anime of All Time  

Ranker Anime
Originally by
30k votes 8.7k voters 716.6k views 30 items

List Rules Vote 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.


1 4,420 VOTES

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Samurai Champloo is a Japanese anime series developed by Manglobe. It featured a production team led by director Shinichirō Watanabe, character designer Kazuto Nakazawa and mechanical designer Mahiro Maeda. Samurai Champloo was Watanabe's first directorial effort for an anime television series after the critically acclaimed Cowboy Bebop. It was broadcast in Japan on Fuji TV on May 20, 2004 and ran for twenty-six episodes until its conclusion on March 19, 2005. Samurai Champloo is set in an alternate version of Edo-era Japan with an anachronistic, predominantly hip-hop, setting. It follows Mugen, an impudent and freedom-loving vagrant swordsman; Jin, a composed and stoic rōnin; and Fuu, a ...more on Wikipedia

Also Ranked

#5 on The Best Adult Anime of All Time

#22 on The 100+ Best Anime Intros of All Time

#35 on The Best Anime on Crunchyroll

#22 on The 25+ Best First Anime to Watch for New Fans

3,683 737
Is this the best?
see more on Samurai Champloo
2 3,321 VOTES

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story, also known as Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai X, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The story begins during the 11th year of the Meiji period in Japan and follows a former assassin from the Bakumatsu, named Himura Kenshin. After his work against the bakufu, Hitokiri Battosai disappears to become Himura Kenshin: a wandering samurai who protects the people of Japan with a vow of never to take another life. Watsuki wrote this series upon his desire of making a shōnen manga different from the other ones that were published at the time, with Kenshin being a former assassin and the story taking a more serious tone as ...more on Wikipedia

Also Ranked

#30 on The Best Anime Series of All Time

#52 on The Best Anime on Crunchyroll

#23 on The 25+ Best First Anime to Watch for New Fans

#30 on The 50+ Best Anime Streaming On Hulu

2,792 529
Is this the best?
see more on Rurouni Kenshin
3 1,347 VOTES

snakeyes711 added

Ranker Video
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 on Wikipedia

1,048 299
Is this the best?
see more on Sword of the Stranger
4 1,486 VOTES

Ranker Video
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 on Wikipedia

Also Ranked

#52 on The Top Horror Anime of All Time

#20 on List of 10+ Good Anime Similar to Naruto

#58 on The Best Madhouse Anime, Ranked

1,130 356
Is this the best?
see more on Ninja Scroll: The Series