A lot of people are fond of the Samurai warrior and tend to search for information about their history, past, and culture.
Because of that, various series have been appearing today, whether it’s a TV, movie, or anime series. This is why the best Samurai series of all time are popular among fans and enthusiasts.
A popular genre in Japanese animation and TV series is the Samurai historical drama or Taiga. These vary from fantasy to somewhat historically-accurate pieces, but no matter what, there are a number of excellent productions available.
So now, we’re giving you a list of some of the best Samurai series of all time that every history enthusiast can enjoy.
The Best Samurai Series of All Time – In Animation
Rurouni Kenshin is a Japanese period action-adventure anime released in the year 1996. It’s based on the manga with the same name and is written by Nobuhiro Watsuki.
It’s one of the widely-loved and best-known Samurai anime to-date and is set after the end of the Samurai era. Specifically, this was during the Meiji era of 1870 – the time of Japan’s early moments of modernization.
Kenshin, the hero, was a former assassin who soon became a wanderer or Ronin. From utilizing a regular Katana, he wielded a symbolically reverse-edged sword to display his oath not to kill ever again.
Later on, Kenshin joins a female Kendo instructor, her enthusiastic student, and a brash warrior. They all became Kenshin’s friends whom he swore to defend against people from his dark past.
Rurouni Kenshin is an excellent anime adaptation of a lot of people’s most favorite manga series. This is why it became one of the best Samurai series of all time. Although the third season is not entirely related to the main story, it’s also still worth watching.
This Samurai anime also has OVAs of its prequel and sequel. Additionally, there’s an animated movie continuing the main plot. Aside from an anime, there are also live-action movie adaptations for this series.
Sengoku Basara is a fictional depiction of the Sengoku Period, focusing on the era’s later years. A lot of its characters were based on historical figures. However, there were several changes on their past and personal relationships.
The generals during the Sengoku period were constantly struggling for power, but one of them was a huge threat. He was the Nobunaga Oda, who was called the dark lord in the story. Masamune Date and Yukimura Sanada, two young warriors from opposing clans, formed an alliance to defeat the Devil King.
This Samurai anime offers extreme action scenes where you can expect a lot of fun and excitement. Although highly-fictional and mainly for entertainment, it’s more than just a series of exciting battles. Because of that, Sengoku Basara has become one of the best Samurai series of all time.
Samurai 7 is a 2004 anime series by Gonzo. It was an adaptation of the classic 1954 film of the same title by Akira Kurosawa.
This Samurai anime series was set in a vague, futuristic setting, but the main idea is retained. The story focuses on a village threatened by the attack of bandits and seven warriors who will defend the villagers. However, these seven Samurai are only getting a few meals a day and the thrill of battles in return.
If you know the original movie, you’ll be amazed with this anime adaptation. If not, it’s still a great series to watch since it portrays the honor and courage of these warriors.
The Best Samurai Series of All Time – TV Series
The 2007 NHK Taiga drama series, Fujin Kazan, is one of the best Samurai series of all time. It has everything you’d want from a Japanese historical series – characters, plot, action, and philosophy delivered by an amazing cast. Furin Kazan was an adaptation of a 1959 historical novel of the same title, written by Yasushi Inoue.
Furin Kazan is all about Yamamoto Kansuke, a one-eyed limping Ronin who excelled in strategy. His tactics brought about the rise of the Takeda Clan.
Although most films and shows about the Takeda Clan focus on Takeda Shingen, this series is centered on Kansuke. The series is set in the Sengoku period during the mid-16th century when provincial warlords were at constant war.
The benefits of sound and precise strategy was immense. And the shrewd manipulation of Kansuke over the enemy acquired the upper hand for Takeda Shingen.
Gunshi Kanbei or Strategist Kanbei is NHK’s 53rd Taiga drama series. This 50-episode Samurai TV series started airing on the 5th of January 2014, featuring Junichi Okada as the main character. He depicted the life of Kuroda Kanbei, a historical figure from Japan’s Sengoku period.
Kanbei was a retainer of Harima Province’s Daimyo, Kodera Masamoto. He was also one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s brilliant most trusted strategists.
Also, he had an involvement in the military conquests and political intrigues of the three unifiers of feudal Japan. These great warlords were Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu.
One of the best Samurai series of all time is Tenchijin (Heart of a Samurai), a TV show aired in 2009. It was NHK’s 48th Taiga drama and aired every Sunday from January 4 to November 22. The series had a total of 47 episodes.
The story focuses on the life of Naoe Kanetsugu, a 16th-century Samurai from the province of Echigo. In his early childhood, he went through training under Kenshin Uesugi. After Kenshin’s death, Naoe served his son, Kagekatsu Uesugi.
Naoe was known for his great loyalty to the Uesugi clan and made every effort to protect Echigo. He had a strong sense of justice and sympathy for commoners.
The production of this Samurai TV series started on April 27, 2007. It was based on the novel of the same title by Masashi Hisaka. The fourth episode, “An Older Woman”, is the highest-rated episode among all dramas in the year it was aired.