Knights have always been some of the most interesting characters in history, and they only get even more interesting when you consider the legendary paladins of folklore and fantasy.
While knights and paladins have traditionally been more of a Western thing, they do appear in anime—to surprisingly great results.
Their tasks, quests, and journeys fall right into the template of the Hero's Journey, with compelling stories of characters fighting monsters, traversing dangerous terrains, and overcoming insurmountable odds.
Here are my picks for the best anime series that feature knights and paladins as main or prominent characters!
10. Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Originally aired 2019 to 2020
24 episodes (2 seasons)
All right, this one might be a controversial pick. Sure, it's far from the greatest thing Netflix has ever put out, but Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya isn't as terrible as public opinion might have you believe.
While the original manga Saint Seiya was adapted into an anime series back in 1986, Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya is a reboot with some changes (most infamously a change in one character's gender).
The story is simple enough: a young man named Seiya is recruited to become a Knight of the Zodiac, who have the sacred duty of protecting Athena, the Goddess of War. This takes them on a quest to fight and defeat all kinds of powerful adversaries.
9. Seven Knights Revolution: Hero Successor
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Originally aired 2021
12 episodes (1 season)
Based on the Seven Knights video games by Netmarble, Seven Knights Revolution: Hero Successor is the most recent anime series featured on this list. It's about as good as you'd expect a game-to-anime adaptation would be: pretty good but not amazing.
Seven Knights Revolution: Hero Successor follows Faria, a young female knight who's one of the inheritors of the powers of the ancient Seven Knights. One day, when she saves a young boy named Nemo from evil, he also ends up inheriting those ancient powers.
But the hero from whom Nemo inherited his powers is unknown to the annals of history, which leads him on a journey to learn the truth while mastering his powers in an increasingly evil world.
8. NG Knight Ramune & 40
Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai
Originally aired 1990 to 1991
38 episodes (1 season)
NG Knight Ramune & 40 is an absolute classic anime series and one that's worth watching today if you haven't yet.
This anime centers on a fourth grader named Baba Lamune, who's given a video game by an enigmatic young woman. He ends up being sucked into the game and transported to Harahara World.
There, he's revealed to be a relative of the great hero Lamuness, making him the knight who's destined to save the world by defeating the evil Warlock Don Harumage.
If you're looking for a great anime about knights for young kids, it's hard to think of one better than NG Knight Ramune & 40. It's a well-known classic for good reason!
7. Chivalry of a Failed Knight
Action, Ecchi, Fantasy, Romance
Originally aired 2015
12 episodes (1 season)
This knightly anime series is kind of exactly what it says in the title: it follows the story of an apparent failure, whose best attempts to conjure magical powers end up failing at every turn.
Ikki Kurogane is the failed knight of this story. However, when he meets the prodigy known as Stella Vermillion, they're able to help each other by supporting each other's weaknesses and bolstering each other's strengths in their quest to become great knights.
Over time, the incompetent Ikki develops skills, prowess, and fortitude, enabling him to climb the ranks.
Chivalry of a Failed Knight may be laden with fan service, but overall it's a feel-good anime series that showcases the importance of grit, determination, and persistence. You'll be smiling, for sure!
6. Black Clover
Action, Comedy, Fantasy
Originally aired 2017 to 2021
170 episodes (4 seasons)
Black Clover is one of the best coming-of-age anime series with knights, a combination that's sure to catch anyone's attention.
The protagonists of this series, named Asta and Yuno, are both orphans who want to become powerful wizards. They dream of being chosen as Magic Knights so they can ultimately rise through the ranks and become the next Wizard King.
So, what's the problem? Asta was born without any magical abilities, which is unheard of in this world where everyone can perform magic of some kind. Yuno, in fact, is a born prodigy with incredible talents.
Thus begins the intense rivalry at the heart of Black Clover, an anime series that showcases the importance of competition but also the power of friendship even amongst rivals.
5. The Vision of Escaflowne
Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai, Romance
Originally aired 1996
26 episodes (1 season)
The Vision of Escaflowne follows the adventures of a young high school girl named Hitomi who's whisked away into a different land.
When Hitomi is pulled away from Earth, she arrives on a planet called Gaea, a place where boys battle dragons amongst wars between the local magistrate and the Zaibach Empire.
However, Hitomi won't resign herself to letting this new world get taken over, so she resolves to help the knights fight against—and defeat—the evil Zaibach Empire.
And when she discovers that she has the ability to tell fortunes, it makes her an important player in unlocking the power of Escaflowne.
Not only is this an iconic anime series about knights on a noble mission to save the world, The Vision of Escaflowne is one of the first prominent examples of the isekai anime genre.
4. Garo: The Animation
Originally aired 2014 to 2015
24 episodes (1 season)
Garo: The Animation isn't just an anime series about knights. You'll also finds tons of witches in this one! So if you like knights and witches, you're in for a double dose of mythology here.
Mendosa, who's the chief advisor of the Kingdom of Valiente, has engaged in a new policy of witch hunting.
A number of prominent knights sign up to be a part of the program, but it's soon revealed that these so-called witches are more powerful than they were led to believe. As a result, the expedition ends up being much more dangerous than originally thought.
Garo: The Animation is a great anime if you want a series that delves into the politics and power dynamics of a kingdom full of knights, princes, and advisors. Oh, and don't forget the witches.
3. The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Originally aired 2015 to 2016
33 episodes (2 seasons)
The Heroic Legend of Arslan is one of the best anime series about medieval knights to come out in recent years.
Arslan is a prince who doesn't know if he has what it takes to be a king. Unfortunately for him, that decision no longer matters when his father is betrayed by his closest advisors.
After escaping death with his loyal servant Daryun, Arslan is pissed that his birthright was stolen from him—so he trains as a knight while planning to return one day and save his kingdom.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan is the quintessential hero's story and one of the most satisfying tales of heroism and revenge.
2. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Action, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Originally aired 2006 to 2008
50 episodes (2 seasons)
We've mentioned Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion a whole lot on this site, and it really doesn't need an introduction. But in case you still haven't seen it for some reason, let me give you a quick rundown of why this anime series is so dang awesome.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion twists history and shows an alternate path that world politics could've taken. This alternate history is infused with sci-fi, mecha, fantasy, and knights.
The Holy Britannian Empire has grown immensely powerful, conquering numerous countries and turning the world into a dystopia. This world's version of Japan, now referred to as Area 11, is one of many nations that have fallen under the Empire's control.
One man decides to fight back against these robotic knights and get vengeance for the sufferings of his family, friends, and country. His name is Lelouch vi Britannia, also known as the Black Prince.
Lelouch possesses a special ability called a Geass, which allows him to command anyone to do whatever he says. With this special power, he's able to fight back—but even though his goals may be noble, his path isn't always one of moral purity.
While Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion does feature knights, this is a darker anime series than you might expect. It's also has one of the more unique spins on the mecha anime genre.
1. The Seven Deadly Sins
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Originally aired 2014 to 2021
100 episodes (5 seasons)
Netflix has distributed many stellar anime series over the years, but few have been as compelling as The Seven Deadly Sins.
The show follows the story of seven knights, all of whom are accused of a crime they didn't commit. But instead of wasting away in prison cells, they take it upon themselves to vindicate their names.
Like many stories that involve knights, The Seven Deadly Sins also involves a princess and lots of magic, but it stands out for the way it turns your usual fantasy tropes on their heads.
Fun, exciting, and heartfelt, The Seven Deadly Sins tops our list as the all-time best anime series involving knights.