The world of anime has a wide variety of genres. While ‘fantasy’ is said to be the most popular in the industry, there is another genre that is widely loved but never talked about. We are talking about Historical Anime. The fanbase of this genre is pretty huge, yet it only is a small fraction compared to others. This is sheerly due to the fact that the larger audience that roots for newer shows these days. But, if you want to explore this section of anime and don’t know where to start, don’t worry. We are here to help you out. Hence, we have gathered only the best offers in the genre for you. So, here is the list of the 13 Best Historical Anime ever.
A small yet impactful watch is Katanagatari. The anime series is set in the Edo Period, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa in Edo. Meet Togame, the protagonist, who is on a quest to find a legendary weapon. Her journey to find the twelve swords makes her meet a master. This mentor becomes her ultimate guiding light in learning to become a legendary swordsman. The show is a 12 episode venture which was created by White Fox Studio in 2010.
12. In This Corner of the World
This one is a MAPPA studio production that is based in the late Showa Period, which was also the time of World War II. The one movie venture came out in 2017 and follows the life of a young woman named Suzu Urano. The plot centers around a young couple as they shift to a town near Hiroshima in hopes of building a new world for themselves. But only fate knows what is about to happen to Hiroshima in a few days.
In This Corner of the World is a dark period drama that translates the realities of war compellingly. Thus, this one gets a spot in this list of Best Historical Anime.
11. The Rose of Versailles
So, TMS Entertainment decided to make a historic show based on the events of the French revolution, called The Rose of Versailles. The anime series consists of a single season with 40 episodes and a feature film. The premise of this period drama anime revolves around Marie Antoinette, who is a proper-born royal. The story is about two women with contrasting goals in life. Fate makes them cross paths. One is a royal Princess, and the other is a mere soldier.
How the two learn important life lessons from each other makes up an intriguing plot of the show. The story set in the French Revolution is a beautiful verse of two women persevering in a men’s world.
10. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Based in the Heian Period, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a classic Japanese story retold with a twisty reboot. The show is created by Studio Ghibli. The plot tracks Okina, who lives an ordinary life in the outskirts of a kingdom and his wife. But this couple’s life turns upside down when they find a mysterious baby crying in the woods. After all their findings, they could not learn about the real parents of this child.
So they decide to adopt her and nurture her as their own child. This is a beautiful story of a family thriving to be happy in a kingdom full of chaos.
9. Sword of the Stranger
Studio Bones is famous for several popular anime series like Mob Psycho 100, Full Metal Alchemist, and My Hero Academia. Besides, these crowd-pleasing shows, this studio has a pretty underrated show called Sword of the Stranger. Set in the Chinese Sengoku Period, SoS is a single movie venture from Studio Bones. The plot follows Kotaro in a dark time of history. The theme of the show explores the lust for power. And Kotaro believes in equality in the face of justice.
These conflicting ideas will take Kotaro on a journey of self-discovery and introspection. Sword of the Stranger is a must-watch if you are keen on the details of history.
8. Black Butler
The Black Butler is a horror anime series that is based on the manga series written by Yana Toboso. The story is set in the Victorian England period. A 13-year-old minor boy, Ciel Phantomhive, decides to sell his soul to a demonic being. Well, he thinks of this deal as a way of avenging the murder of his parents. In exchange, he asks the demon for a bodyguard. Hence, we meet the man called the Black Butler.
The bond between the two protagonists is beautifully explored in the show. The show a single-season venture of 43 episodes and is produced by A-1 Pictures studios.
Another mini anime series that is based on the Edo Period is Mononoke. The show is created by the popular Toei Animation studios, which is responsible for legendary shows like Dragon Ball Z. The story of the series focuses on Kusuriuri, a normal townsman who lives his life selling medicine in the outskirts of the town. His monotonous life changes forever when he learns the shocking truths about exorcism.
With his newfound abilities, Kusuriuri must take the responsibility to eradicate the town from all mystical beings. Hence, Mononoke is a compelling horror-period drama that you should not miss.
6. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
A single-season Studio Deen venture which received great success was Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. As the title suggests, the series is based in the Japanese Showa Period. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu has a total of 25 episodes which are enough to make you fall in love with this show. As for the plot, we meet the protagonist Yotarou. The plot is set in a theatre world where Yotarou is seeking a mentor. But when he really finds his teacher, he learns that there are many secrets behind this man.
Thus, witness this perfect blend of mystery and theatrical drama as Yotarou learns to master his art of acting. The story is a beautiful artwork of emotional conflicts.
Brain’s Base studio made this classic anime series—Baccano is yet another mini anime series with 16 episodes. The show started airing in 2017, and its premise is based on the time of Prohibition America. We are in Chicago, where a train is about to begin its last journey. But we see the real examples of greed when people show up to this deathly journey only to earn a reward of life. Hence, greed, inhumane characteristics, and the lust for power are realistically explored in this masterpiece.
The Kingdom is an ongoing anime series that is currently in its third season. Studio Pierrot creates the show based on the legends of the Chinese Warring States period. We are in the legendary kingdom of Qin. Enters Xin Li, an ambitious poor man who wishes nothing but to become a general. Fate takes him closer to his dream. But as he gets to know the realities of the kingdom, he denies his dreams more and more.
See the journey of Xin Li, who challenges the concept of an ideal Kingdom through his willpower. Hence, we give Kingdom the fourth spot in our list of Best Historical Anime.
3. Grave of the Fireflies
Another period drama that came out from the sets of Studio Ghibli was Grave of the Fireflies. It’s a 1988 show based in the late Showa Period, which was essentially the time of World War II. The premise revolves around the realities of war and how it destroys life. Besides, the story is an engaging one that follows two siblings who have lost everything in the war.
Kingdoms fight for the sake of power, while the powerless lose their everything. Hence, Grave of the Fireflies is a beautiful story of hope that portrays the aftermath of wars quite realistically.
2. Rurouni Kenshin
The Rurouni Kenshin anime series is a multi-season show that started airing in 2001. Studio Deen is responsible for bringing this beautiful anime to us. Rurouni Kenshin is essentially set in the Japanese Meiji Period. In this historical anime, the protagonist Kenshin Homura is in deep grief after the murders he has committed in the past. As it happens, he is looking for a way of redemption all across Japan.
That’s when he meets Kaoru Kamiya. He is an assassin boy, and a generous girl bond along their way to learn the truths of life from each other. Thus, watch this beautiful show to see how love changes people and their perspective towards humanity.
1. Samurai Champloo
As expected, Samurai Champloo receives the first spot in our list of Best Historical Anime. Samurai Champloo was brought to us by Manglobe studios in 2005. The show only has one season with 26 episodes. Besides, it is also set in the Japanese Edo period. What’s the compelling story of two best friends who run into chaos accidentally. All authorities of Japan are looking for these two mischievous boys.
See the show for yourself to find out how two non-warrior boys became the most wanted criminals in Japan. Now they must look for help left, right, and center to save their lives. This one is a compelling story of a sincere search.
So, with this, we can conclude our list of the Best Historical Anime. Which of these shows do you plan on watching next? Did we miss out on any of your favorite shows? Let us in the comment section. For more such listicles, keep visiting The Anime Daily.