Top 10 Most Iconic Swordsmen in Anime
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Anime fight scenes are an essential part of many shows within Japanese media. Through epic battles, both internal and physical, characters grow and develop with a nod to the techniques and weapons that have deep roots in Japanese culture and history.
If you’re an Anime lover, you may already have a list of the top swordsmen and women in Anime. Compare your list to the top 10 listed here!
1 – Himura Kenshin | Rurouni Kenshin
Once used to kill for his feudal lord, Himura Kenshin grew tired of being a tool of mass destruction. He wanders the land as a rurouni striving to redeem his past sins. While he strives to be polite and passive, Kenshin’s use of a samurai sword is lightning fast. He cuts through limbs and steel alike with no hesitation.
2 – Mugen | Samurai Champloo
Another character choice from samurai tradition, Mugen is one of the leads in Samurai Champloo with a very unique fighting style. His freestyle technique leads to a savage, unpredictable fighting method that allows him to defeat all his enemies — except the one who becomes his partner.
Much of Mugen’s fighting style is inspired by hip hop and breakdancing, as well as a few dirty tricks that make him a dangerous samurai warrior.
3 – Clare | Claymore
Men don’t have a monopoly on iconic sword fighting skills when it comes to Anime. One of the top swordswomen on this list includes Clare from Claymore. She’s a demon slayer that hunts with an elite group made up entirely of women. Through harsh training (and a little bit of magic), they’ve become powerful enough to slay demons through superhuman strength and speed. Clare stands out because she isn’t actually the top fighter in Claymore, but she uses her wits and ingenuity to defeat monsters far above her skill level.
4 – Kirito | Sword Art Online
A fan favorite for many, Kirito is actually a nerd whose sword fighting skills are only achieved in a VR game. Trapped in an MMO gaming world by the game’s designer, he fights through many levels to help everyone trapped in the game escape back into the real world. Because he’s in a game, Sword Art Online, his improvement is much easier to track as he levels up, finds rare weapons, and gains unique abilities.
5 – Afro Samurai | Afro Samurai: Resurrection
Afro Samurai is another fighter who uses his brain just as much as his brawn. While he can deflect crossbow bolts and shatter bullets, he also uses his mind to develop new combat techniques in the midst of battle. His speed and agility are legendary, defeating opponents with a single-handed stance on his samurai sword.
6 – Guts | Berserk
In this show, a lot of this character’s power comes from his armor and weapons. Utilizing demon blood, Guts is a powerful fighter with an absolutely gigantic broadsword. He can tear into steel, man, and beast alike without any resistance. This character is known to be a force to reckon with — even without the berserker armor that ramps up his power, speed, and performance.
7 – Sesshomaru | Inuyasha
Sesshōmaru is Inu Yasha’s half brother in this classic Anime show. Frequent clashes between this full-blooded demon and his half-blood brother show him to be the superior swordsman. Even with only one hand, he wields his sword with such skill that none can defeat him. He does have a powerful demon sword, but his main opponent has a similar weapon, ensuring that their tools are well matched even if their techniques aren’t.
8 – Erza Scarlet | Fairy Tail
From a favorite show for many, Fairy Tail, here we have Erza – a woman who has some unique powers that ensure she always makes the list of top fighters. With a magical ability that allows her to equip her sword and armor at any time, she also has speed and healing boosts that make her a formidable opponent. She’s not limited by a single weapon and can summon various swords at any time — even in the middle of combat.
9 – Roronoa Zoro | One Piece
There are a plethora of powerful swordsmen among the many One Piece characters, but Zoro has always stood out due to his triple wield technique. In addition to fighting with three swords, Zoro also has the pride, drive, and discipline that is so often seen in characters emulating the samurai of Japan’s feudal era. He fights based on a philosophy that guides his every move and decision — much like a real-life samurai.
10 – Saber | Fate Series
The last on this list of iconic anime fighters is Saber, another amazing Anime woman who fights demons. With a huge greatsword, her training has proven over and over again that she’s a mighty warrior who can take on the best. Along with her fighting skills, she has a deep understanding of strategy and tactics, which allows her to beat enemies on and off the battlefield.
From fashion to video games, Anime has long been the inspiration behind many aspects of Japanese life. In recent years, the stories and shows have taken over the world. Do you think there’s an iconic swordsman missing from this list? Leave a comment sharing your favorites!