The sword and katanas are the most common items in Japanese battle stories. The Japanese sword that can fight evil demons and the legendary sword that has magical power…, there are many people who have played Chanbara (imaginary sword fights) with toys and handmade swords when they were children, yearning for the world of adventure.
The most popular of these is sword anime, in which swords and blades play an active role. Even if you’re an adult, the sight of these swords and katanas being used as weapons while characters engage in fierce battles is sure to stir your heart. In anime, you can enjoy the realistic clashes with the sound of metal flying around, which you can’t experience in manga or novels.
In this article, we selected 15 anime with cool action scenes that make use of swords in the most creative and entertaining ways possible. We will introduce the highlights of each work to help you choose the best one for you.
1. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online (SAO) is an anime work based on the light novel series by Reki Kawahara. SAO has 3 seasons each following their own individual storylines and shaking it up each time, for example in the first season we are introduced to swords, but then in the second season, we get hit with guns.
The main character Kirito is involved in the next generation VRMMO “SWORD ART ONLINE” in which game over is death in reality. He aims to log out (escape) from this game by using his skills to conquer the tough game.
Kirito’s warriors battles stand out in this work, and the “cheat setting” of the main character is one of the genres that everyone is excited about. Especially in the first season, which takes place in the world of swords and magic, there are plenty of fierce battles and cool sword techniques!
- Kirito unleashes a dual sword style which is a great call back to Musashi Miyamoto, a legendary Japanese swordsman known for creating the technique
- The opening for SAO is infamous globally for its nostalgia and was the gateway drug for many veteran anime fans
- Kirito develops a harem, but actually manages to pick 1 girl, stay loyal to her, and hit all 3 bases
Imagine being in Edo-era Japan, where the Shogunate rules, you wake up a country bumpkin with a very peculiar tasten in sword technique. The sword technique you exclusively practice is the kyotouryuu technique, in which you don’t use a sword, but you become it.
Shichika Yasuri is the 7th head of the kyotouryuu school. While living in exile with his sister Nanami, he is visited by Togame. Togame explains that she needs to gather twelve “deviant swords” for the Shogunate. Yasuri agrees not for the good of the Shogunate, but for the chance of getting closer with Togame.
Thus starts Yasuri and crews adventures and fighting with unbelievable foes. They forge together to become an unbreakable team that can take anything thrown at them.
- The concept of mastering swordmanship is vast, but becoming the sword shows true skill in one’s abilities as a fighter
- Some of the most adorable scenes between an MC and his Waifu
- One of the very small instances where simping goes right
Okinawa Japan, known for its rich history, wonderful delicacies, and creatures from hell? This anime combines vampires and the military to create what can only be described as a “hood classic”, or a situation where we take on our sleep-paralysis demons and win.
Saya Otonashi lives with her adoptive parents, her life is pretty stale and has nothing of grand substance. She has bouts of amnesia and her greatest mystery is her life beyond the previous year. One night while walking home, She’s attacked by a hellish creature. While stunned, a man named Haji appears and forces her to drink his blood, she powers up and slays the creature with ease. Teaming up with Haji, they take on these hellish beasts under the organization “Red Shield”.
- What I like about Blood+ is that despite being about vampires, it focuses on almost anything but the vampire aspects of the characters, with the latter being used mainly as a MacGuffin
- The OP/ED songs are great (aside the fourth OP, which was all but good), and the background music is just as it should be; moody. It sets the right mood to all the scenes, and it fits very good with the series’ sad tone
- The swordplay is done well and really emphasizes that “heat of the moment” feeling
They say when Madara Uchiha wiped the allied shinobi forces, he was watching Dororo because they are both black air force energy visualized. Dororo takes aspects of Samurai life/lore and combines it with Japanese Yokai to create an animated masterpiece.
The story follows a ronin named Hyakkimaru, who is born malformed and is required to kill demons to obtain his missing body parts. He is accompanied by a troublesome orphan thief called Dororo during his travel. From there the duo roamed around various parts of Japan, hunting for ghouls and demons.
- The action scenes are the prominent highlights of the show visually. They’re smooth, crisp and feel like authentic battles between swordsmen. The way the show adds tension to these moments is also noteworthy purely for how smart the staff were
- Dororo was adapted by the fantastic team over at Studio MAPPA, who have worked on adapting old forgotten manga for today’s audience
- It features the likes of Kazuhiro Furuhashi on staff, who directed classics from the 90’s such as Rurouni Kenshin and the original anime for Hunter x Hunter
5. Kill La Kill
Cute anime girls *check*, great visuals and sounds *check*, fanservice that could put Highschool DxD to shame *check*. If Sci-fi and Ecchi had a super kid, it would be Kill La Kill.
After the murder of her father, Ryuuko Matoi has been wandering the land in search of his killer. Following her only lead—the missing half of his invention, the Scissor Blade—she arrives at the prestigious Honnouji Academy, a high school unlike any other. The academy is ruled by the imposing and cold-hearted student council president Satsuki Kiryuuin alongside her powerful underlings, the Elite Four. In the school’s brutally competitive hierarchy, Satsuki bestows upon those at the top special clothes called “Goku Uniforms,” which grant the wearer unique superhuman abilities.
- Watching the story of Kill la Kill unfold was confusing, exhilarating, comical, lively, and goddamn refreshing. What began as a simple revenge story, with a shaky plot direction, overabundance of fan service, and obnoxiously flashy fight scenes, ended in a surprisingly competent and satisfying fashion
- Also check. Not only does the series poke fun at commonalities in anime, but it also fires shots at the oppressive nature of the Japanese education system
- The fight scenes are animated well. Ryuuko sword is iconic in the anime fandom for its peak design
First things first rest in peace Miura the G.O.A.T. Our main character here wields an arsenal of weapons, and his signature weapon is one huge big black sword.
Now branded for death and destined to be hunted by demons until the day he dies, Guts embarks on a journey to defy such a gruesome fate, as waves of beasts relentlessly pursue him. Steeling his resolve, he takes up the monstrous blade Dragonslayer and vows to exact vengeance on the one responsible, hunting down the very man he once looked up to and considered a friend.
Along the way, he encounters some unlikely allies, such as a small elf named Puck, and Isidro, a young thief looking to learn swordsmanship from the former mercenary. As the ragtag group slowly comes together after having decided to join Guts in his quest, they will face incredible danger unlike anything they have ever experienced before.
- There are also new characters that are really well made with a focus on their inner feelings. They are just humans after all and they act like that
- Gut’s sword is super iconic not only for its look, but for its fights it has been in as well
- Although meme’d to hell for it’s animation quality, the swordplay was done superbly well
7. Fate Series
One of the most impressive achievements a writer could make is to take an existing concept and make you look at it in a completely different light. This is a feat that is often demonstrated in the works of Gen Urobuchi, and perhaps Fate/Zero is the work that exemplifies this in the most literal sense.
The story is a battle of wits and strength. each master has a unique personality and each servant has a different measure of strength and heroism/anti-heroism. the servants’ fight for their masters and the masters command the servants splendidly. each master is a magus skilled in the arts of magic and the spirit of the masters and servants are connected.
- Story-wise, it’s been following the light novel consistently with great precision, picking up almost every single finest detail that is required to elaborate the story into a fine piece
- The battle scenes are just simply amazing, you could never get enough of the fighting scenes, some of the episodes filled with action just make your blood boiled when you watch them
- The OP and the ED are just simply amazing. Watching the ED especially brings you into the story, making you wanting to know which era and where does every single servant comes from, and the story behind them in their respective era
8. Samurai Champloo
For anyone who has watched Cowboy Bebop, they know that director Shinichiro Watanabe loves blending completely disparate elements together, be it science fiction, physical comedy, spaghetti Western, bebop jazz, or space epic, all into the same story.
Samurai Champloo is a beautifully made anime that shows us the power of fate and will also make you laugh your ass off at times. Fuu, an accident-prone waitress, Jin, a mysterious ronin and a badass Mugen all cross paths in the first episode, and after a series of comical mishaps, they begin their adventure together to find the Samurai “who smells of flowers” that Fuu is looking for.
- Samurai Champloo is the only anime to have featured music from the Japanese hip-hop producer Nujabes prior to his death in 2010.
- Samurai Champloo is a more wildly anachronistic mélange of Edo-period history and contemporary hip-hop and bohemian culture. “Champloo” itself comes from the word “chanpurū,” Okinawan for “something mixed,” and a source of Okinawa’s pride in multicultural acceptance
- This show is about entertaining this idea, this hope, that even back in Edo-era Japan there were open-minded people fighting for creativity, individuality and basic human rights. Sure, most of them didn’t last long, but they didn’t die without a fight. Banzai!
9. Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer has a great story. In a nutshell, it’s about a guy named Tanjirou with a sister who was the unique survivor of a massacre of a demon to their family but she turned into one and it’s Tanjirou’s mission to find a way to return humanity to his sister.
Tanjirou Kamado, a trained Demon Hunter set to hunt down the Demon who murdered his family, is a self-insert protagonist who is tediously prosaic. Thus far, his only known traits are his determination, his protective nature of his younger sister, and his good natured spirit. These character qualities can be seen in any number of action-oriented shows, and given the unfortunate circumstance of Nezuko Kamado (Tanjirou’s sister), her character will probably be relegated to an ‘unforeseen’ plot twist to stymie Tanjirou in his quest.
- Every Characters sword is soo well designed and they all carry unique builds in accordance with their wielders
- Animated by Ufotable, which clearly has great expertise in sword animes
- The creativity in this show goes “CRAYZINGO”, imagine having the seven ninja swordsmen of the mist in Naruto, but now they’re good, and lead groups of amateur swordsmen into refining their crafts as demon hunters/swordsmen
Bleach, the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time), the anime with some of the most die hard fans, and the anime that mad its grandeur comeback as well! This anime is sword action ecstasy with a scrumptious sotryline to add on.
Ichigo Kurosaki is an ordinary high schooler—until his family is attacked by a Hollow, a corrupt spirit that seeks to devour human souls. It is then that he meets a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki, who gets injured while protecting Ichigo’s family from the assailant. To save his family, Ichigo accepts Rukia’s offer of taking her powers and becomes a Soul Reaper as a result.
However, as Rukia is unable to regain her powers, Ichigo is given the daunting task of hunting down the Hollows that plague their town. However, he is not alone in his fight, as he is later joined by his friends—classmates Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, and Uryuu Ishida—who each have their own unique abilities. As Ichigo and his comrades get used to their new duties and support each other on and off the battlefield, the young Soul Reaper soon learns that the Hollows are not the only real threat to the human world.
- One thing Bleach was very famous for was the artwork. Between the first chapter and the last, the improvements of the drawings were incredible. It was surprising how far Kubo has gone since starting out in this manga
- Supernatural themes are expert swordsmanship are greatly displayed in this anime through the MC and his adversaries
- Bleach recently got renewed for a new anime season covering the “Thousand Year Blood War” arc
Heartless killing, never ending hatred, and forbidden love, This anime is simply built different for real. Watching this anime is not for those weak in their hearts, you got to put on your big boy pants for this action packed roller coaster!
Gennosuke Kouga, heir of the Kouga clan, and Oboro Iga, heir of the Iga clan, have fallen in love. Through marriage, both heirs aim to bring peace to the clans. But their hopes are dashed when flames of rivalry between their clans are reignited, and they are dragged into another war.
Ieyasu’s two grandsons have both claimed to be the next heir to the shogunate. To resolve this dispute, both the Kouga and Iga are ordered to send their 10 best warriors to fight in a bloody battle royale, with each clan representing one of the potential shogunate heirs. Two scrolls with the names of the fighters are given and are to be marked in blood upon the given fighter’s death
- This anime can be summarized in 3 words: “Kill, Kill, Kill”
- The characters all use unique techniques, from super sticky phlegm to blood sucking skin to deadly glances. These techniques gave spice to the already violent carnage.
- Imagine Romeo and Juliet, except on crack and ultra violent
12. Blade Of The Immortal
Watching this anime made me realize something, “maybe violence really is the answer and I’ve gotta stop putting it off”. Get ready for one sword wielding, sight stealing, revenge fenzied, depressed as hell MC.
Manji is an infamous swordsman in feudal Japan who is known as the “Hundred Man Killer,” as he has killed one hundred innocent men. To atone for his crimes, Manji resolves to kill one thousand evil men. Yaobikuni agrees to this proposal, saying that if he succeeds, she will undo his curse of immortality. Soon after this promise, Manji meets Rin Asano, a 16-year-old girl who requests Manji’s assistance in killing those who slaughtered her parents.
Initially reluctant, Manji refuses Rin’s desperate plea. However, owing to her evident lack of strength, Manji changes his mind and agrees to protect Rin for four years. With this partnership set in stone, the two embark on a perilous journey of bloodshed, vengeance, and redemption, each to fulfill their own life’s cause.
- Very similar to Rurouni Kenshin in my opinion but it’s way better
- The character designs were true to the manga
- The manga does a better job at exploring the concept of sword than the anime
This first InuYasha anime series, alternatively known as Sengoku Otogizoushi InuYasha, was broadcast in more than 30 countries outside Japan. In North America, it aired on Adult Swim, Toonami, and YTV’s Bionix. The series’ success led to over one million English-language DVDs being sold between March 2003 and November 2004.
Kagome Higurashi’s 15th birthday takes a sudden turn when she is forcefully pulled by a demon into the old well of her family’s shrine. Brought to the past, when demons were a common sight in feudal Japan, Kagome finds herself persistently hunted by these vile creatures, all yearning for an item she unknowingly carries: the Shikon Jewel, a small sphere holding extraordinary power.
Amid such a predicament, Kagome encounters a half-demon boy named Inuyasha who mistakes her for Kikyou, a shrine maiden he seems to resent. Because of her resemblance to Kikyou, Inuyasha takes a violent dislike to Kagome. However, after realizing the dire circumstances they are both in, he sets aside his hostility and lends her a hand.
- This series is episodic, therefore each plot brings changes, and the characters do a very good job of growing/evolving as a result
- It has its own sort of beauty, very reminiscent of Takahashi’s earlier works like Ranma 1/2 and the like, which aired in the late 1980’s
- Anime veterans consider this to be one of the more retro sword anime that will be a gateway for you in this genre
14. Akame ga Kill!
Man, if I had a waifu who kills on the regular, it would definitely be from Akame ga Kill! Welcome to a fantasy world where your government doesn’t care about you, and to cope with it, you join a band of assassins to get back at them.
Night Raid is the covert assassination branch of the Revolutionary Army, an uprising assembled to overthrow Prime Minister Honest, whose avarice and greed for power has led him to take advantage of the child emperor’s inexperience. Without a strong and benevolent leader, the rest of the nation is left to drown in poverty, strife, and ruin.
This merry band of assassins’ newest member is Tatsumi, a naïve boy from a remote village who had embarked on a journey to help his impoverished hometown and was won over by not only Night Raid’s ideals, but also their resolve. Akame ga Kill! follows Tatsumi as he fights the Empire and comes face-to-face with powerful weapons, enemy assassins, challenges to his own morals and values, and ultimately, what it truly means to be an assassin with a cause.
- Akame is the beautiful wielder of the Murasame, a sword that is guaranteed to kill its enemy with a single cut, and is a rather cold individual from the onset
- The Murasame work as if even the smallest cut can kill you, but not automatically, its more like a poisoned blade that will kill you over the span of a minute
- Akame ga Kill! is an above-average effort with a very modern style, vivid colors, and a few special effects thrown in for good measure
If you had Family Guys‘ random humour and anime, you would get the hilarious result called Gintama. Gintama parodies many other anime such as Dragon Ball, One Piece, Assasination Classroom and much more! There’s even a JoJo reference for you peculiar weeblets.
Gintoki Sakata, an eccentric silver-haired man who always carries around a wooden sword and maintains his stature as a samurai despite the ban. As the founder of Yorozuya, a small business for odd jobs, Gintoki often embarks on endeavors to help other people—though usually in rather strange and unforeseen ways.
Assisted by Shinpachi Shimura, a boy with glasses supposedly learning the way of the samurai; Kagura, a tomboyish girl with superhuman strength and an endless appetite; and Sadaharu, their giant pet dog who loves biting on people’s heads, the Yorozuya encounter anything from alien royalty to scuffles with local gangs in the ever-changing world of Edo.
- The swords used in this anime are hilarioulsy creative and suit their wielders well
- The Kiku-ichimonji sword has a built in MP3 player into it, Muramasha is a cursed sword with the vengeful spirit of an Otaku, and my personal favorite the “Z-Second” has a hair removing roller built into it
- Gintama can be considered a comedy as you will be exposed to various pop-culture allusions throughout your time watching it
Did you find an anime that interests you? In this article, we introduced 15 anime with cool action scenes in which swords of various kinds play an active role. “Swords✕Action” has been an important factor in a variety of genres, from royalty, to comedy, to dark fantasy.
They not only make the battle scenes more spectacular, but also reflect the resolve and way of life (personality) of the characters. When you are tired of your daily life, it might be a good idea to watch an anime that offers hot sword battle scenes that will make your hands sweat so much that you will forget about reality.
Be sure to keep checking back on our site for more great anime recommendations!