Is there anything cooler than a trained fighter who wields a sword? I don't think so. The world has long moved on from swords as a practical weapon, but they remain popular for good reason.
Swords lend themselves to stylish fight scenes, especially when paired with an anime studio that knows how to bring those action scenes to life. If you're looking for a great anime with lots of sword-fighting heroes and villains, you're spoiled for choice.
Not only are sword fights fun to watch, but lots of narrative information can be conveyed with nuanced details—like the different ways fighters can wield these weapons. Are they brutish? Are they elegant? Do they have a unique sword-fighting stance?
Here are our picks for the best anime series with swords that are packed full of swordsmanship and sword-fighting action.
Originally aired 2021
6 episodes (1 season)
Based very loosely on the real-life African samurai who served Oda Nobunaga, Yasuke is a wonderful story of redemption and connection between two people whose destinies become intertwined.
Despite his best efforts, Yasuke can't seem to leave his past behind—one where he was a member of Oda Nobunaga's violent forces. He strives to live a peaceful life, but ends up being drawn into conflict when he's tasked with protecting a mysterious child.
The fights in this series are beautifully animated by Mappa, the animation studio known for many other anime hits, including Yuri!!! on Ice, Chainsaw Man, and the final season of Attack on Titan.
9. Sword Art Online
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai, Romance
Originally aired 2012
25 episodes (1 season)
Although it would eventually incorporate guns and other modern equipment into the story, Sword Art Online started off with a focus on Kirito's dual-sword technique in the first season of the show.
This style allows him to deal massive damage to enemies, which comes in handy on his mission to free the people who are trapped in the virtual reality video game that they can't log out of.
Sword Art Online emphasizes the blinding speed that Kirito can attack with and how he manages to upgrade his blades over time.
8. Afro Samurai
Originally aired 2007
5 episodes (1 season)
Afro Samurai takes place in a world where there's an undisputed champion swordfighter who bears the title of Number One.
Only one person is allowed to challenge him for that title—the one who bears the title of Number Two.
But anyone can try to take the title of Number Two, and this opens up all kinds of possibilities for conflict and action in this incredibly fun and stylish anime.
Afro Samurai is brilliantly animated and skillfully mixes swordfights with futuristic weaponry to create an incredibly unique world.
7. Blade of the Immortal
Action, Adventure, Drama, Supernatural
Originally aired 2019 to 2020
24 episodes (1 season)
When you're a swordsman who cannot be killed by any wound, you've got a pretty distinct advantage over your enemies.
Blade of the Immortal follows the story of Manji, who's on a quest to remove his own immortality—and along the way, perhaps even to atone for his past sins and selfishness.
This anime is both graphic and violent, but the story is engaging and well worth visiting if you're looking for epic and visceral swordfights.
6. Samurai 7
Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi
Originally aired 2004
26 episodes (1 season)
If you're a fan of Akira Kurosawa's films, you've probably seen his epic film Seven Samurai. Well, Samurai 7 takes the characters and locations from Seven Samurai and gives them a sci-fi twist.
This anime is set in a world with nanobots, which bandits have used to augment their power and strength. When these bandits invade the small village of Kanna, a group of samurai band together to protect it.
The fights are gorgeous as they combine samurai blades with futuristic tech, making each scene a spectacle to behold.
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Originally aired 2004 to 2012
366 episodes (16 seasons)
If there's one anime that's all about swords, it has to be Bleach. These Soul Reapers of the afterlife trade in traditional scythes for badass swords, each with their own distinctive look and feel.
Every character's personality is summed up beautifully with how their blade looks and what special powers rest within it.
With hundreds of characters across the series, there are so many awesome swords and abilities to discover.
From Ichigo's huge sword to Kenpachi's brutal serrated blade, Bleach has a heavy focus on the relationship between sword and wielder.
4. Revolutionary Girl Utena
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
Originally aired 1997
39 episodes (1 season)
Revolutionary Girl Utena is a magical girl anime that follows the exploits of Utena Tenjou as she trains and competes in a legendary swordfighting tournament held by her boarding school.
The prize for winning? The hand of the Rose Bride, who has the mysterious power to revolutionize the world.
There are several surreal moments mixed in with romance, and the series works to deconstruct the magical girl genre while celebrating the best aspects of that very same genre.
Each fight feels bright and vibrant as Utena slowly advances through the tournament and gets closer to the prize she seeks.
Action, Adventure, Supernatural
Originally aired 2019
24 episodes (1 season)
Dororo tells the story of a ronin named Hyakkimaru who was born without any limbs, facial features, or major organs—all as a result of his own father making a pact with multiple demons.
After being abandoned, Hyakkimaru is found by a medicine man, given prosthetic limbs, and trained to defeat demons using a magical blade that's attached to his arm. Every time he cuts down a demon in battle, he regains a part of his body.
Along the way, he also meets a young orphaned boy named Dororo who ends up following him, so he teaches him how to survive and fight demons in order to aid villages in need.
Dororo is a wild tale with a clever mixture of emotional moments and high action, making it a fascinating swordfighting anime to watch.
2. Demon Slayer
Originally aired 2019 to Present
55 episodes (3 seasons)
It's impossible to overstate how popular Demon Slayer has become since it first released in 2019.
With the highest-grossing anime film of all time (Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train) and consistently highly-rated anime episodes, it offers high action and comedy that's all centered around the Demon Slayer Corps and their use of swords in killing demons.
In addition to having special blades, each Demon Slayer has mastered a breathing technique that allows them to unleash elemental fury upon their foes, making each fight a visual spectacle.
1. Samurai Champloo
Action, Adventure, Comedy
Originally aired 2004 to 2005
26 episodes (1 season)
Oftentimes, you can tell everything you need to know about a fighter by how they wield their swords—certainly true in Samurai Champloo.
Mugan is wild and unpredictable, incorporating breakdance moves between sword slashes to keep his opponents guessing. Jin is technical and precise, making effective use of his blade to end fights quickly.
The two expert swordfighters are in stark contrast to each other, whether they're fighting each other or other people. That's a huge part of what makes Samurai Champloo so fun to watch.