How many of you like to go back in history and experience the lifestyle of that era? Since we are not blessed with a time machine yet, we Otaku have the privilege of immersing ourselves in the world of historical anime.
Historical genre or theme entertains the audience with the culture, norms, ways of living, and beliefs of a particular period in the past. Today, I’ll enlist the best historical anime of all time for my Otaku friends. So get ready to move back in time!
21. Yashahime: Princess Half Demon
You will enjoy watching Yashahime because it highlights Japan’s historical and modern-day time periods. To top or off, it’s a spin off of the anime InuYasha. It’s the story of two half-demon twins, Towa and Setsuna. Fate separates them during a fire incident, and Towa finds herself time-traveled to modern-day Japan.
14 years passed, and Towa accepted her new life. She tries to get used to her new life until she gets a chance to reconnect with her loved ones. She finally gets successful in meeting her sister and guess what? Setsuna doesn’t remember her at all.
The anime beautifully lights the sister’s bond and love for each other, which remains strong even after years of separation. The suspense will keep you glued throughout the anime. It gets better when twists regarding Towa’s time travel and the reason behind their separation are unveiled.
20. Kabaneri of The Iron Fortress
The anime highlights the period where we have some mysterious creatures called Kabane. They can be killed only if one destroys their stolen coated hearts. They are so dangerous that the victim of their attacks dies a brutal death.
Therefore, people live surrounded by walls that protect them from the attacks of Kabane. All thanks to Ikoma, who has created a deadly weapon that he believes is useful enough to pierce the creature’s heart. Though, things will not be easy for the boy, and how he will manage to fight them is absolutely fun. If you like watching zombies, thrillers, and suspense, you will like it.
The story highlights the Edo era in Japan, where different sword fighting techniques are popular. In this one, we follow Shichika Yasuri, who practices the Kyotouryuu. In this unique technique, the user uses their own body instead of a blade.
One day he gets a mission to collect twelve different swords. A girl named Togame is the one who gave him the mission. On their way, the duo encounters many foes and challenges opponents who try their best to stop them from collecting the blades. So my friends, if you like watching classic action sequences, then Katanagatari is right for you.
18. Black Butler
The anime highlights historical and mythical themes that I am sure you will enjoy watching. This is the story of a boy named Ciel who lived a life of slavery after the death of his parents. Things change in his life when he decides to form a contract with a demon to find an escape from his sufferings.
It was decided that Sebastian, the demon, would protect and look after him, but in return, Ciel would have to feed him with his soul. Sebastian proved to be an ideal Butler who would do anything but not let his master get scratched. There is action and a lot of drama that engages the viewers till the very last moment. The way their bond gets stronger wins the hearts of the viewers.
The anime highlights life in the year 1995 in Japan. In this one, we follow a guy named Mario who gets imprisoned based on criminal charges. He was accompanied by five others like him. In prison, the group befriends a former boxer and plans to meet out of the prison once they complete their jail term. The anime shows the sufferings of prisoners and what they have to go through in prison. A lot of drama accompanied by suspense will keep you on your toes effortlessly.
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Rainbow is known for making the audience experience a rush of emotions throughout. For those who like to watch serious stories filled with violence and thrill, Kingdom is the best historical anime recommendation for you!
16. Sirius The Jaeger
The anime highlights life in the year 1930. Vampires disturb the world’s peace by feeding on human blood. To make the world peaceful, the higher-ups hire a group of individuals to fight off the vampires. Yuliy is one of the best Jaegers on a mission to solve the problems linked with vampires.
Meanwhile, all the jaegers are on a mission to find an artifact before the vampires to stop them from achieving their evil motives. It’s one of the best action-thriller anime that engages the anime with the perfect balance of suspense and historical themes.
15. Akatsuki No Yona
In this anime, you’ll find almost everything one desires. Historical themes include romance, fantasy, adventure, and action. Yona Of The Dawn got its popularity from its manga. Fans loved the plot and the chemistry between the characters.
The story is set in a historical period where the world was divided into kingdoms ruled by kings. Yona was the gorgeous daughter of the King of Kouka. The princess was enthralling enough to make one lose balance, and her long red hair was enough to do the job. She was living a happy life all thanks to her loving father.
For Yona, nothing could have been worse than seeing her father killed by her lover Soo-Won. Before she can process what has happened, Soo-Won gives the order to capture her. Her bodyguard and childhood best friend Hak took her responsibility when she had no one to rely upon.
The duo ran for their lives and found shelter in Hak’s village. Amidst all the chaos, Yona cuts her red hair and vows to become a robust version of herself. Her character transformation and development are among the most worth-watching scenes in anime and manga. The story progresses, and the duo starts their journey to find the dragon warriors who can help them. Yona of the Dawn lets the viewer learn the norms, traditions, and lifestyle of the people of the past in the most charming way possible.
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Kazuya Koujo gets avoided by his academy fellows mainly because of his jet-black hair. Therefore the boy was living a monotonous life in the academy till he met Victrique, the blonde-haired beauty. He meets her while searching for ghost stories in the school library.
Victorique appears to be a mysterious young lady, all thanks to her demeanor and attitude. The duo becomes close with time as they help each other solve mysteries. Each episode is good enough that it effortlessly builds suspense. We learn about Victorique’s intelligence and how her observational skills help her solve mysteries that not even professionals can do.
13. The Case Study Of Vanitas
In this anime, we follow the world where humans and vampires co-exist. Noe is our primary leader searching for the book Book Of Vanitas. Vanitas was a vampire who created this cursed book and intended to return and use this book to seek vengeance on the vampires who scorned him all his life.
During his journey, Noe gets attacked by some vampires, but right in time, a doctor saves him. The doctor claims to be none other than Vanitas. On their journey to find the book, they encounter multiple vampires on the same mission to achieve it. The story progresses, and we learn the secret behind the vampire’s origin, and certain twists make the story gripping.
Kagome, a 15-year-old teenager, is the center of the story. Her life drastically changes after her 15th birthday when she gets pulled through the pool water and finds herself traveling back in the past. The era where people feared demons.
Soon there, all the demons get attracted to her, and amidst the chaos, she meets a half-demon, InuYasha. He tells her she holds a unique jewel that can bestow great power on the demons. The twists and turns begin, and we see that during a fight against the demons, her jewel breaks and spreads all over the land.
Now Kagome must collect all the shattered pieces before any demons; otherwise, they would have to welcome the worst. The duo begins their journeys together, facing specific ups and downs that strengthen their bond. This is indeed one of the best historical anime for a history lover.
What’s better than an anime that can make us laugh? Gintama is one of the masterpieces known for its humor, action, and historical themes. It highlights the age of warriors, and the anime is set in feudal Japan. People fear the aliens called Amanto, and to top it off, the government has forbidden swords and samurai.
Yet we have Gintoki Sakata, a wired guy who wanders here and there with his wooden sword despite knowing the rules. He runs his own business doing odd jobs and spends most of his time-solving people’s problems. He and some strange ones like him travel here and there fighting off the aliens. If you want to watch action comedy, give Gintama a chance to win your heart!
10. Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin highlights the Bakumatsu Era when people feared a man named Hitokiri Battousai as one of the brutal killers. Things changed when he suddenly disappeared, and no one knew his whereabouts. A decade after his disappearance, it’s revealed that Hitokiri is living with a new identity as Kenshin Himura.
He regrets his wrongdoings and now wants to live a pious life. One day he meets a girl named Kaoru, who claims that Hitokiri is threatening her. Kenshin instantly knows that this is an imposter using his name to create fear among people. The story progresses with Kenshin Vowing to help people the best he can.
9. Golden Kamuy
In their era, we experience the period after the Russo-Japanese war in the 1900s. Saichi Sugimoto is an ex-soldier struggling to fulfill his promise to his friend who lost his life on duty. One day, a drunken man tells him a tale that changes his life drastically. The man tells him about a guy who killed a group of Ainu, and before going to prison, he hides his stolen gold somewhere in Hokkaido. The only way to find the hidden treasure is by finding the map that the guy drew on the bodies of his prisoner fellows.
Am I the only one who is getting Prison Break vibes here? (XD)
The story begins interesting when he finds the map on the drunken man’s body. He starts his journey to find the hidden treasure and gets joined by an Ainu girl named Asirpa. The girl wishes to find the treasure because it belongs to them; therefore, she agrees to join Sugimoto in this adventure. Golden Kamuy was released in 2018, and from that onwards, it has won many hearts. Please give it a chance to win yours as well!
It’s one of the most heartbreaking anime I have watched so far. Dororo tells the story of a boy named Hyakkimaru, who was abandoned soon after birth. His father made a deal with the demons that if his wish gets fulfilled, he would sacrifice his son to them.
Therefore, when Hayakkimaru was born, he was surprisingly breathing without the body’s most crucial organs. He had no eyes, ears, or limbs and lacked many more. The maid who was given the orders to abandon him in the river was kind enough to abandon him in the boat instead of water.
The boy was lucky to be found by a doctor who raised him. Hayakkimaru is now living with the help of prosthetic limbs given to him by the doctor. One day, he saves a young boy named Dororo from the demon’s attack. This act of his impresses Dororo, and he vows to accompany Hyakkimaru on his journey to take back his body parts from the demons.
Though Hayakkimaru lacks eyes and ears, he is blessed with the senses that help him survive. In return for killing each demon, he gets his lost body part. Trust me, guys, you will be overwhelmed to see the boy getting back on his feet.
7. Blade of the Immortal
This is the story of an immortal man named Manji, who is known for taking the lives of 100 innocent people. Now Manji regrets his past and decides to atone for his sins by killing evil men. He is also tired of being immortal; therefore, he talks to Yaobikuni, a nun responsible for his immortality.
It is then decided that if Manji succeeds in his mission of killing 1000 evil men, the nun will end the curse of immortality. On his journey, he meets a 16-year-old girl named Rin, and on her request, he helps her take revenge on the murderers of her parents. The anime’s plot effortlessly enables the audience till the last episode. It entertains the audience with an engaging plot and characters.
6. Arslan Senki
This anime is known for its historical themes and is remembered as one of the best historical anime of all time. It is set in the year 320 when the Kingdom of Pars and Lusitania are at war against each other. Prince Arslan enters the battleground to prove his worth.
Things take a drastic turn when the king of Pars gets betrayed, ultimately destroying the Parsian army. Now Arslan must protect himself from the wrath of Lusitania, who are after his life. He is helped by Daryun, and the duo starts the journey to find companions. Things get complex for Arslan when he realizes that it’s not only Lusitania but other kingdoms as well who want to rule the capital city of Pars. The entry of the main villain simply makes the story compelling as it forces the audience to discover what will happen next.
This is the story of war-orphaned slaves and friends Xin and Piao. The duo has a shared dream and are very much closer to each other. Their lives change soon after Piao gets to work in the Royal Palace. One day Piao returns and surprises Xin with his brutal state. He was near death when he revealed to Xin about Prince Ying Zheng.
The prince’s resemblance with Piao is one of the biggest twists of the story. Xin vows to take revenge for Piaos’s death as he considers the prince responsible for his death. The story progresses in a way that puts Xin in challenging situations. Kingdom beautifully highlights the war, politics, thrill, and much more.
4. Samurai Champloo
Samurai Champloo is a very famous anime known for samurai and historical themes. The anime follows the lives of warriors named Mugen and Jin and a girl named Fuu. The story begins when Fuu, a waitress, gets harassed by her customers. She is helped by Mugen, who successfully defeats all the samurai customers in action.
The twists begin when he ends up fighting with a boy named Jin, who happens to be a Ronin. The duo starts a massive fight and destroys the place. Destroying the shop wasn’t a problem until they unintentionally killed the magistrate’s son.
Per predictions, the duo gets the orders to be executed, but in the nick of time, Fuu arrives and saves them. She demands them to protect her in return and help her find a samurai that smells like flowers. This anime highlights the Edo period of Japan, so you can expect great historical elements, spellbinding action, and adventure.
3. Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer is believed to be set in a Taisho period starting from 1912 and ending in 1926. The anime tells the tale of a boy named Tanjiro. He had a happy family and peaceful life. One day after returning from work, he witnessed the cruelest scenario.
Tanjiro found all his family members dead in a demon attack. Yet one person was breathing, and that was her sister Nezuko, but unfortunately, she was no more a human but a demon. He runs to find a cure for her and encounters a demon slayer who aims to kill Nezuko.
The firm will of Tanjiro impresses the demon slayer, and he sends the duo to his master. Their Tanjiro vows to be a demon slayer to be able to face the demons and take his revenge. The anime made its name with its out-class animation, plot, characters, historical themes, and action.
2. Hell’s Paradise
I hope you must have heard its name; it’s one of the best historical manga and is now known as the best historical anime. Hell’s Paradise revolves around the life of a ninja named Gabimaru. He is considered a cold and emotionless man who is now on the verge of death because orders have been given to execute him.
However, no matter what way of execution, nothing works for him because of his strong will to live. His life takes a sharp turn when a famous execution gives him a mission to find the elixir of immortality. For this, he should enter a land filled with dangers and mysteries.
Hell’s Paradise is all about Gabimaru’s life and his journey of facing the odds to bring the elixir of life. The anime will effortlessly push you toward the edge of your seat, so watch this bone-chilling anime!
1. Vinland Saga
Nothing can replace Vinland Saga when discussing the best historical anime of all time. In fact, it’s the first name that comes to one’s mind. Thorfinn is the main lead of the anime. We follow his adventures. His father always told him to not make any enemies. Unfortunately, his father’s death at the hands of Askelad ignited a fire inside him, and he vowed to take his father’s (Thors) revenge.
The anime reveals that Thors once used to be a warrior and was one of the mercenaries led by Askelad. Thors wanted to quit the life of Vikings and wanted a peaceful life instead. Unfortunately, some challenging situations force Thors to sacrifice his life for the sake of his loved ones.
The anime is about the journey of Thorfin and the land called Vinland, a peaceful place where war ends. During his Journey, Thorfin meets different people, including warriors, merchants, and much more. The anime’s plot is very complex and filled with themes of revenge, violence, adventure, and much more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Dragon Ball, Demon Slayer, FullMetal Alchemist, and Death Note are some of the most-liked anime in history.
Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, and Fairy Tail are considered the big five anime.
Did you find the best historical anime to binge-watch? I gave my best shot at recommending the best anime to my fellow anime lovers. All of them will intrigue you from the beginning. Try watching them all, and then share your views in the comments below!