Vinland Saga is a historical manga written and drawn by mangaka Makoto Yukimura.An anime adaptation first aired between July 8 and December 30, 2019. A second season is in production by studio MAPPA. While we’re waiting for the second season of this great anime series, here is a list of the 20 anime series you need to watch if you like Vinland Saga.
20. The Twelve Kingdoms
Original Run: April 9, 2002 – August 30, 2003
Number of Episodes: 45
We start off our list of best anime like Vinland Saga with The Twelve Kingdoms. The story takes place in the parallel world of the Twelve Kingdoms, a series of islands divided into twelve kingdoms, whose society is comparable to that of ancient China. Each kingdom is ruled by a king or queen, chosen by the kirin, a sacred animal sent from Heaven, and assigned to a particular kingdom.
During major hurricane-like natural disasters, shoku, this world, and ours interact, and out-of-control exchanges between the two occur. And if the inhabitants of this world vaguely know the existence of ours, the reverse turns out to be inaccurate.
19. Record of Ragnarok
Original Run: June 17, 2021
Number of Episodes: 12
In the Record of Ragnarok every thousand years, all the gods, all pantheons united, meet in Valhalla, the paradise of souls, during an assembly presided over by Zeus, the supreme Greek god, in order to decide the fate of humans. However, that year, it was almost unanimously decided to destroy humanity. But the Valkyrie Brunhild interrupts the conference and proposes to the gods to measure themselves against mortals during the Ragnarök tournament, to determine if they are really worth destroying.
This tournament will pit 13 gods from various mythologies against 13 powerful humans who have made history. If humanity wins at least seven of the 13 duels, then the gods will spare humanity. But faced with the extraordinary abilities of gods such as Zeus, Poseidon, or Shiva, the human representatives will have to surpass themselves to hope to have a chance of winning.
For this, they can count on the help of the Valkyries. By the principle of Volund, each of the 13 sisters will fuse with one of the 13 mortal fighters and take on the form of a weapon capable of injuring the gods. This is how the gods will realize as the tournament progresses that humans are not as weak as they thought.
Original Run: July 19, 2007 – October 12, 2007
Number of Episodes: 12
Shigurui introduces us to the sword style of the ruthless master Kogan Iwamoto which is renowned for its invincibility. All the daring who have challenged the school have in fact lost their lives or been marred by horrible mutilations. However, Kogan is now elderly, and the day is approaching when he will appoint among his disciples the one who will succeed him and will marry his daughter.
Gennosuke and Seigen are the two best samurai in the dojo, but nothing else unites them. Indeed, the two are divided by a burning rivalry, and ambition and greed will lead to the ruin of one of them, whose revenge will drag the entire school of Kogan into the abyss. The Swords of Revenge is a scabrous tale that tells the dark side of the samurai, in an era of excesses, sadism, military rigor, madness, and mysticism.
17. Hunter × Hunter
Original Release: October 16, 1999 – March 31, 2001 / October 2, 2011 – September 24, 2014
Number of Episodes: 62 / 148
Hunter × Hunter revolves around Gon Freecss who is twelve years old and dreams of becoming a hunter. Hunters are elite citizens authorized to do almost anything they wish on simple presentation of their membership card: they can thus acquire free of charge any object for sale on the funds of the association; requisition all vehicles, accommodation, and tools for their work; and are de facto entitled to exercise all trades in the world, being able to become bounty hunters, chefs, archaeologists, zoologists, vigilantes or consultants in various fields as well.
His father, Ging Freecss, whom he does not know directly, is considered one of the greatest hunters of his time. It is also to find him that Gon wants to become a hunter.
16. Ninja Scroll: The Series
Original Run: April 14, 2003 – July 15, 2003
Number of Episodes: 13
Ninja Scroll: The Series immerses us in feudal Japan, 14 years after the defeat of Himuro Genma the immortal warrior, showing the hidden and mystical world of the ninjas (also known as shinobi), the honorable and brave world of the samurai and rōnins, in which highlights the duels to the death and the camaraderie between rivals with a common goal.
In the story, there are two clans, the Hiruko and the Kimon that face each other. One of the members of the Hiruko (Roga) steals the sacred stone of the dragon from the clan and tries to find the princess of light, Shigure, to give it to her. However, during the escape, he is chased by the two clans who want to get hold of the stone and destroy the princess’s village.
When the Kimon clan destroys her, Jubei, the protagonist, defeats them while the princess escapes. The thief of the stone, Roga, entrusts it to Jubei before he dies. During her journey, she must face multitudes of enemies from both clans, until they discover that the Hiruko really only wants to defend her and the stone and lead them into a new age. However, the ambition of the Kimon clan destroys the Hijoko clan and everyone who crosses their path.
15. BLACK LAGOON
Original Run: April 9, 2006 – December 19, 2006
Number of Episodes: 24
In BLACK LAGOON we follow Rokuro Okajima, a young Japanese employee of a large company tasked with traveling the seas of Southeast Asia to deliver a disc containing secret and vital data on the company for which he works.
Unfortunately, his boat is attacked by a band of freelance pirates wanting to recover his property and he himself will be taken hostage on their boat, the Black Lagoon, an old torpedo boat. Thinking that his company will do everything to help him, he is not overly worried.
What he does not know is that his superiors hired mercenaries to silence him and destroy all evidence of the record’s existence. At the end of this incredible first episode, he decides to give up his life in Japan to join the adventure of these modern-day pirates.
14. Rurouni Kenshin
Original Run: January 10, 1996 – September 8, 1998
Number of Episodes: 95
The story of Rurouni Kenshin takes place in 1878 in Tokyo. Kenshin Himura, a former assassin nicknamed Battosaï, literally “master in the drawing of the sword”, during the time of the Tokugawa reign, hides a very heavy past. Become a wanderer since the establishment of the Meiji era, he travels the country equipped with his sword with an inverted blade, with the desire not to kill again.
13. Fist of the North Star
Original Run: October 11, 1984 – February 18, 1988
Number of Episodes: 152
In Fist of the North Star after the Third World War, the planet became a desolate and hostile place, few people survived this catastrophe and water became the most precious resource in the whole world, just as strength is the most necessary skill, because Only the strongest rule the world.
This will change when a man, who is known by some as “the savior of the end of the century”, appears and practices the Hokuto Shinken, which is a martial art with devastating effects on opponents. With this, he will help himself to understand and fulfill his destiny in this new world, while he helps the defenseless survivors to achieve a more dignified life.
12. ΛFΓO SΛMUΓΛI
Original Release: January 4, 2007 – February 1, 2007
Number of Episodes: 5
ΛFΓO SΛMUΓΛI is set in a futuristic Japan with the feudal system still in force, it is said that the one who wields the armband called Number 1 will be the proudest fighter in the world and will have in his hands a power equal to that of the gods. The only way to get this armband is to challenge the current owner to a fight.
11. Blade of the Immortal
Original Run: July 13, 2008 – December 28, 2008 / October 10, 2019 – March 25, 2020
Number of Episodes: 13 / 24
The story of Blade of the Immortal is set in Japan in the Edo era. The protagonist, Manji, is a warrior who has a great advantage over his rivals: no wound can kill him. In the past, he killed 100 other samurai, including his sister’s husband. An elderly nun, who is said to be 800 years old, grants him the gift of immortality through worms called kessenchū, which heal any wound and even restore amputated limbs even though the amputation was hours ago.
The death of his sister leads him to accept the mission that will end his immortality: he must kill 1,000 evil men to redeem himself. Manji crosses paths with a young woman named Rin Asano and promises to help her avenge her family, who was killed by a group of expert swordsmen led by Kagehisa Anotsu. Anotsu killed Rin’s father and her entire dōjō.
Anotsu’s mission is for his dōjō, the Ittō-ryū, based more on individual skill than technique, to unify all fencing schools in the country, and he has already begun to take or destroy other fencing schools. In addition, another group called Mugai-ryū is created and opposed to Ittō-ryū. His true leadership and motivation are a mystery, but his methods (any tactics that lead to victory) resemble those of the Ittō-ryū.
Original Run: April 12, 2005 – September 20, 2005 / January 8, 2018 – June 18, 2018
Number of Episodes: 24 / 24
Basilisk revolves around the feudal lord Ieyasu Tokugawa who finds himself unable to decide which of his two sons should replace him at the head of the empire, his adviser suggests an atypical contest. Just let the Emperor’s two ninja clans (one from Iga province and the other from Kōga province) fight to the death, with 10 ninja masters from each clan fighting for one or the other of his sons.
The winning clan will determine who will succeed in the throne. Ieyasu accepts this competition, stating that the Iga clan will represent his eldest son Takechiyo, and the Koga clan his second son Kunichiyo. The leaders of both clans happily accept the fight, having been in a Cold War situation for generations until then. Finally freed from the non-aggression pact forged by leader Hattori Hanzō, the members of the Iga and Koga clans immediately begin killing each other with almost sadistic abandon.
However, to complicate matters a bit, the heirs of each clan – Gennosuke of Koga and Oboro of Iga – are deeply in love with each other. Thus begins a cruel war in which two lovers are turned against each other, forced to confront their loyalties and meet on the battlefield.
9. Attack on Titan
Original Run: April 7, 2013 – ongoing
Number of Episodes: 70 (+8 OVA episodes and several movies)
The plot of Attack on Titan revolves around the young Eren Jäger, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackermann and his best friend Armin Arlert, who live together with the rest of humanity in cities that are protected by huge walls from the attacks of the so-called Titans, gigantic humanoid beings who devour people for no apparent reason.
The walls that promised peace have existed for 107 years. But one day the Titans break through the outermost Wall Maria and the people are pushed back further. Eren’s mother dies and he and many other people flee behind the second wall, Wall Rose. Eren swears when his mother dies that he will wipe out the Titans.
8. Samurai Champloo
Original Run: May 20, 2004 – March 19, 2005
Number of Episodes: 26
Samurai Champloo follows Fuu, a 15-year-old girl, working in a tea house until it was destroyed after a violent three-way fight between Mugen the vagabond, Jin the wandering samurai, and the bodyguards of the Daikan’s son from that town.
At the end of the fight, Mugen and Jin are arrested to be executed the next day. Fuu helps them escape in exchange for helping her find the “samurai who smells like sunflowers.” Despite agreeing to the deal, Mugen and Jin are always trying to end each other, in an almost professional rivalry. Both samurai have a blurred past.
Thus, the story tells of their travels between paths and dark passages, and how they fix the trouble they get into. Samurai Champloo employs a mix of historical settings from the Edo Period, with modern styles and references.
It incorporates various elements of modernity, especially hip-hop cultures, such as rap, graffiti, bandits with “gangstas” influences, Adidas and Converse logos, baseball, and references to the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Original run: October 16, 2000 – September 13, 2004 / October 3, 2009 – March 29, 2010
Number of episodes: 167 + 26
InuYasha is set in Japan, at the time of countries at war, and was known as Sengoku (before 1600). In these times, humans live alongside “Youkai” or “Mononoke” (also called “demons” “monsters” or “spirits”). These have different powers and appearances and are very varied; however, most share the same thing in common: the envy of human flesh.
This is why they regularly attack the villages and why the humans are all afraid that one of them will attack theirs. Inu-Yasha is a hanyō, that is to say, a being half-demon, half-human.
One day, he attacks the village protecting the pearl of Shikon, then steals it and runs away. The Pearl of Shikon (her real name is Shikon No Tama) would possess unimaginable powers, including greatly increasing the powers of the demon who possesses it. Inu-Yasha, meanwhile, wants to use this power to transform into a full-fledged demon.
Original run: June 4, 2012 – present
Number of episodes: 108
Kingdom is set in China, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, the story follows young Shin on his journey to fulfilling his dream of becoming a Great General under the heavens. In this ancestral China, Shin is originally from the State of Qin, which has been plagued by many upheavals both inside the kingdom and outside.
Indeed, the story takes place during the Warring States period, when China was divided into seven kingdoms: Qin, Zhao, Han, Wei, Chu, Yan, and Qi. Through Shin’s story, we also follow the story of Ei Sei, the man who would later be known as Qin Shi Huang, the unifier of China.
Original Run: July 2, 2017 – December 30, 2017
Number of Episodes: 25
The story of Fate/Apocrypha takes place in a world parallel to the original Fate/stay night, where the House of Einzbern has summoned a Ruler rather than an Avenger in the Third Holy Grail War, and the Holy Grail has been removed from the city Fuyuki to send him to Romania after the war. Thus, the events of Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night never happened. The story focuses on the conflict between the two opposing factions, the Reds and the Blacks, each calling on seven Servants and the Grail itself calling on a special Ruler-class servant to mediate the Holy War.
Members of the Red faction are mages sent by the Clock Tower Mages Association, while members of the Black faction are part of a Romanian family of mages, the Yggdmillennia. And so, the curtain rises on the advent of a new era for the Holy Grail War, with its changed system; a great war on an unprecedented scale is about to break out.
4. Fate/stay night
Original Run: January 7, 2006 – June 17, 2006
Number of Episodes: 24
The Holy Grail War features seven Masters battling it out in the city of Fuyuki in Japan. Using their magical powers and their previously summoned Servants, the last of them will be able to appropriate the Grail and make their dearest wish come true. FATE is the first accessible scenario, but also the most popular.
The story revolves around Shirō and his Servant, Saber. Here, the hero will believe in his ideals until the end, even if he has to deny reality. The popular view sees Shirō, in this scenario, as a child. The first 2006 anime series by Studio Deen is based primarily on this storyline, although it also picks up some minor elements from the other two.
Datto Nishiwaki’s manga is also a mix between this scenario and Unlimited Blade Works. Unlimited Blade Works is only unlocked after finishing the FATE scenario, preventing Saber from attacking Archer. One can also access this scenario by refusing to cooperate with Rin in FATE, but this inevitably leads to a Bad End. The story focuses on Rin, Shirō, and Archer. The past of the latter, of which we knew nothing in the first scenario, is here considerably developed.
Shirō learns to master his abilities and even manages to defeat several Servants. In this scenario, Shirō becomes much less naive but still wants to follow his ideals: purists see in him the vision of a teenager, halfway between adulthood and childhood.
Original Run: October 1, 2011 – June 23, 2012
Number of Episodes: 25
The story takes place 10 years before the events of Fate/stay night. During the Holy Grail War, seven great mages (Masters) appointed by the Holy Grail will summon seven mythical spirits (Servants) to engage in a fierce battle until only one remain. After three unsuccessful wars, the fight is about to resume for the fourth time, and the mages rush to join Fuyuki, on the battlefield, each praying for victory.
Indeed, the Holy Grail will offer the winner the possibility of granting his dearest wish. Among these seven Masters, one of them, Kirei Kotomine, does not seem to show any determination to acquire this Holy Grail, while on the contrary, Kiritsugu Emiya fights with all his might to obtain it. The rivalry between these two men, as well as the course of the various struggles between Masters and Servants, forms the heart of the story.
This story traces the truth of the fourth Holy Grail War which took place 10 years before that of the famous Fate/stay night video game, where it had already been presented in fragments. Light will be shed on the fight that involved Kiritsugu Emiya, Shirō’s adoptive father and hero of this story, Tokiomi Tohsaka, Rin’s father, and the young Kirei Kotomine, the main antagonist.
Original Run: April 4, 2007 – September 26, 2007
Number of Episodes: 26
Claymores are half-human, half-demon warriors called upon by villagers to protect themselves from monsters such as demons. Feared and dreaded, they are distinguished by their silver eyes and the gigantic sword they carry on their backs, hence their names by humans of “silver-eyed witches” or “Claymore” (the name of the type of sword they use). Claire is one of them.
Called to a village to eliminate the demons that attack and devour the population, she kills the penultimate member, who has become a monster, of an already decimated family. The last survivor, Raki, finds himself alone, then decides to follow her on her bloodthirsty adventures, as a cook. He will gradually discover the secrets and the tragic destiny of these singular women.
Original Run: October 7, 1997 – March 31, 1998 / 1 July 2016 – 23 June 2017
Number of Episodes: 25 / 24
Berserk tells the story of the meeting of Guts and Griffith, leader of the Falcon Troop, a band of mercenaries in the pay of the kingdom of Midland. From this meeting will be born an ambiguous friendship, but nevertheless efficient: the presence of Guts, warrior with the disproportionate sword, will quickly prove essential to the ambition of the young Griffith, swashbuckler and outstanding tactician.
The anime is thus the account of the rise and fall of the Falcon Troop, and of the relation between Guts and Griffith, particularly complex, between the relation of interest (Griffith uses the force of Guts), mutual respect ( both see each other as soldiers), and deep affection (each inexplicably needs the other’s presence).