Berserk is a dark fantasy manga by Kentarō Miura. The manga was adapted into an animated series of 25 episodes between October 1997 and March 1998 by the OLM studio. A trilogy of animated films produced by Studio 4°C was released between 2012 and 2013. A new animated adaptation was released between July 2016 and June 2017. Aimed at a mature audience, Berserk enjoys solid popularity in Japan. Its intensity, its extremely rich and detailed visual style, as well as the seriousness of its themes made it one of the most popular seinen of its time, especially abroad.
To honor the legacy of Berserk, we have decided to compose a list of the best anime series like Berserk that every fan needs to see. The list is going to include a total of 30 different titles which resemble the Berserk anime in one way or the other.
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, finding himself alone, then decides to follow her in her bloodthirsty adventures, as a cook. He will gradually discover the secrets and the tragic destiny of these singular women.
Original Run: April 7, 2004 – September 28, 2005
Number of Episodes: 74
The story begins in Germany in 1986, at the Eisler Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf. Kenzô Tenma, the main character, is a young Japanese neurosurgeon with exceptional skills. He is engaged to Eva Heineman, the daughter of the director of the hospital, and is destined for a brilliant career. However, one day, he refuses to give priority to his care to the mayor of the city and prefers to operate on a boy injured by a bullet in the head, who arrived at the hospital before the mayor.
3. Ninja Scroll: The Series
Original Run: April 14, 2003 – July 15, 2003
Number of Episodes: 13
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, for him to give it to Shigure and protect her from it. 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.
4. Black Clover
Original Run: October 3, 2017 – March 30, 2021
Number of Episodes: 170
Black Clover follows Asta, a determined young boy who lives with his childhood friend, Yuno, in an orphanage in Clover Kingdom. From a young age, Asta’s ambition was to become the most powerful magician in the kingdom, “Emperor-Mage”, which also inspired Yuno to want the same.
But unfortunately, Asta was born without any magical talent, while Yuno has spectacular predispositions. Asta and Yuno both vow to fight for the title of Emperor Mage. As their paths separate on the Knight-Mage route, their goal is still the same: to become the next Emperor-Mage.
5. 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 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 eliminated 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 limbs even though the loss happened hours ago.
The death of his sister leads him to accept the mission that will end his immortality: he must eliminate 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 brought down 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.
6. Fist of the North Star
Original Run: October 11, 1984 – February 18, 1988
Number of Episodes: 152
After the Third World War, the planet became a desolate and hostile place, few people have 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.
7. The Twelve Kingdoms
Original Run: April 9, 2002 – August 30, 2003
Number of Episodes: 45
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.
8. Hunter × Hunter
Original Release: October 16, 1999 – March 31, 2001 / October 2, 2011 – September 24, 2014
Number of Episodes: 62 / 148
Gon Freecss 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.
9. Tokyo Ghoul
Original Run: July 4, 2014 – December 25, 2018
Number of Episodes: 48 (+2 OVA episodes)
The story of Tokyo Ghoul revolves around the student Ken Kaneki, who falls in love with a young woman named Rize Kamishiro. After meeting her, she bites his shoulder in a secluded alley and reveals that she is a ghoul, which shocks Ken.
As Rizeis about to eat Ken, several large metal poles fall on her from the construction site of a building. Roze perishes in the process, while Ken is rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries. After recovering, he is released from the hospital. On the day of his release, he finds out that he is no longer human. He looks in the mirror and shivers run down his spine because he now has one “red eye”.
He realizes that Rize’s organs were transplanted into him in the hospital. Since he now owns Rize’s organs, he is a so-called and very rarely occurring “half-ghoul”.
10. Samurai Champloo
Original Run: May 20, 2004 – March 19, 2005
Number of Episodes: 26
Fuu, a 15-year-old girl, worked in a tea house until it was destroyed after a 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. 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, Adidas and Converse logos, baseball, and references to the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
11. Deadman Wonderland
Original Run: April 17, 2011 – July 3, 2011
Number of Episodes: 12 (+ OVA)
A powerful earthquake ravaged mainland Japan and largely destroyed Tokyo, submerging three-quarters of the city in the ocean. Ten years later, the story centers on Ganta Igarashi, a seemingly ordinary student who attends Nagano Prefecture College.
Although a survivor of the earthquake, Ganta has no memory of the tragedy and has lived an ordinary life. All of this changes when a strange man wearing purple armor floats outside the classroom windows. Smiling like a madman, the Man in Red attacks Ganta’s entire class and, rather than eliminating him, embeds a shard of red crystal in his chest.
A few days after the incident, Ganta is declared the sole suspect and, after a speedy trial, is sentenced to life in prison in Deadman Wonderland, a prison lined with an amusement park.
Original Run: October 3, 2006 – September 30, 2008 / July 4, 2016 – September 26, 2016
Number of Episodes: 103 + 13
D. Gray-man is a shōnen manga by Katsura Hoshino. It was published between May 2004 and April 2009 in the weekly magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump and then in the monthly magazine Jump Square between November 2009 and December 2012 due to the author’s health problems. After three years of absence, the publication of the series resumed in the quarterly magazine Jump SQ.Crown from July 17, 2015. An animated television series adaptation produced by TMS Entertainment aired between October 3, 2006, and September 30, 2008, on TV Tokyo; a 13-episode sequel, named D. Gray-man Hallow, aired from July 4 through September 26, 2016.
The story follows the young Allen Walker, an exorcist belonging to a special order called the Shadow Congregation. The goal of this order is to confront and eliminate living weapons called Akuma, as well as their creator, the Millennial Count, whose goal is to destroy the world and the human species.
13. Hellsing Ultimate
Original Run: October 10, 2001 – January 16, 2002
Number of Episodes: 13 (+10 OVA episodes)
The Royal Knights of Protestant Order are a noble house of London led by Abraham Van Helsing. For generations, he has been fighting against creatures that most ordinary people are unaware of like vampires, ghouls, and any non-human entity that is generally referred to as a “monster”.
The Order operates in great secrecy and has long been a paramilitary organization in the service of her Majesty. Leading the organization is Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, a direct descendant of the first Lord Hellsing. Still a teenager, she is forced to take control of the Order.
Her father Arthur, sick and close to his death, orders his daughter, should she feel threatened, to go down to the basement of the mansion, where there is something able to protect her.
Original Run: October 3, 2001 – March 27, 2002
Number of Episodes: 24 (+ OVA)
Kamui Shiro is a sixteen-year-old boy who returns to Tokyo after a long absence of six years; his mother died in a fire and in the flames she begged him to go to the capital because his destiny will be fulfilled there. And so, in fact, it is, since waiting for him are his two sister prophetesses, Hinoto and Kanoe, who identify him as the tip of the balance for the final battle between two ranks of fighters with ESP powers called Sky Dragons (or Seals) and Dragons of the Earth (or Angels). Kamui also reunites in Tokyo with his old childhood friends and playmates Fuuma and Kotori Mono, whom he treats gruffly (later we will discover that he does this to keep them away from his dangerous issues).
15. Vinland Saga
Original Run: July 7, 2019 – present
Number of Episodes: 24
Combining historical figures and events with many fictional elements, Vinland Saga is the story of the life of a young Icelandic man, Thorfinn Thorsson. This son of an illustrious repentant warrior will see his life turned upside down when his father is assassinated by pirates led by the cunning Askeladd. Driven by revenge, Thorfinn will follow and then integrate this gang, with the displayed desire to eliminate his father’s assassin in a loyal duel. Thorfinn’s vengeful quest is the common thread of the story’s prologue.
It will lead him, in particular, to participate in the invasion of England by the Danes at the beginning of the eleventh century. This part of the story brilliantly treats various subjects such as war, politics, and religion, and paints a convincing and human portrait of the daily life of the populations’ victims of the war but also and especially of the warriors, far away from the clichés usually conveyed by the Vikings.
16. BLACK LAGOON
Original Run: April 9, 2006 – December 19, 2006
Number of Episodes: 24
Rokuro Okajima, a young Japanese employee of a large company, is 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.
17. Record of Ragnarok
Original Run: June 17, 2021
Number of Episodes: 12
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.
18. ΛFΓO SΛMUΓΛI
Original Release: January 4, 2007 – February 1, 2007
Number of Episodes: 5
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.
Original Run: April 12, 2005 – September 20, 2005 / January 8, 2018 – June 18, 2018
Number of Episodes: 24 / 24
When the feudal lord Ieyasu Tokugawa 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, with 10 ninja masters from each clan fighting for one or the other of his sons.
The winning clan will determine who will succeed to 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 the contest.
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.
20. Akame ga Kill!
Original Run: July 7, 2014 – December 15, 2014
Number of Episodes: 24
Tatsumi is a fighter who leaves for the capital in search of a way to earn money to help his poor village. After being robbed by a woman and losing all of her money, Tatsumi is taken in by an aristocrat named Aria.
The following night, Aria’s mansion is attacked by a group of assassins known as the Night Raid. As Tatsumi attempts to defend Aria from assassin Akame, another member of the group ends the fight.
Original Run: October 7, 2003 – March 30, 2004
Number of Episodes: 26
The story begins and a truck is surrounded by human-looking monsters. A scientist and a young girl find themselves on board in a very delicate situation. Fortunately, the scientist wakes up Brandon. The man is a real war machine, he easily exterminates the crowd of monsters using his two huge weapons (the Cerberus). But what is behind this attack, what is the story of our protagonists, and who is really Brandon alias “Beyond the Grave”. This is what we discover during a long flashback retracing the lives of two young thugs entering the criminal organization that runs their town.
Original Run: April 12, 2004 – November 18, 2004
Number of Episodes: 26
Kei Kurono is a relatively cynical and selfish high school student from Tokyo, a big consumer of magazines. One day, while waiting for his subway, he meets a childhood friend, Masaru Katô, whom he had lost sight of and who happened to be at the station. He is then pushed against all odds to make a heroic gesture: to save a drunken tramp who has fallen on the tracks.
But this rescue does not go perfectly, and Kurono and Katô die. They then find themselves mysteriously in an apartment room with a view of the Tokyo Tower, in the center of which is a strange black sphere by the name of Gantz. They are not alone in this room and will ask many questions: are they dead? Are they on a game show? Or a secret military experiment?
23. Darker than Black
Original Release: April 6, 2007 – September 29, 2007
Number of Episodes: 25
Ten years ago, a mysterious area known as Hell’s Gate appeared in Tokyo, devastating the landscape and altering the sky. The celestial bodies disappeared, replaced by false stars. Shortly after, we discover the existence of human beings endowed with supernatural powers called “pactisants”.
Today, a vast wall has been built to prevent anyone from approaching Hell’s Gate. Each false star corresponds to a contracting party, vibrates when it uses its power, and disappears if it dies. Pactisants are therefore generally designated using an identifier from an astronomical catalog. Many nations use pactisants as secret agents or assassins.
Original Run: August 25, 1992 – June 25, 1993
Number of Episodes: 6
Four hundred years after the fall of modern civilization in July 20082, in a world that has become medieval again, where war is raging… To save the kingdom of Meta-Licana, Tya Note Yoko, 14, daughter of the country’s great mage, resurrects the legendary magician Dark Schneider [DS], who 15 years earlier attempted to take over the world at the head of demonic troops.
DS, a demonic magician if ever there was one, when he was defeated, pronounced a formula allowing him to come back to life, but saw his soul locked up by the great magician in the body of Luche Renren, also 14 years old, an orphan raised alongside Yoko, and unfailingly kind. Strangely, D.S., resuscitated, obeys, willy-nilly, Yoko, and helps the kingdom of Meta-Licana, attacked by the troops of Kal Su, who, 15 years earlier, was one of D.S.’s own lieutenants. Kal Su’s goal is to resurrect Anthrax, the legendary God of Destruction, who 400 years ago destroyed the opulent civilization.
Original Run: July 19, 2007 – October 12, 2007
Number of Episodes: 12
The sword style of the ruthless master Kogan Iwamoto is renowned for its invincibility: all the daring who have challenged the school have in fact lost their lives or been marred. 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, sadisms, military rigor, madness, and mysticism.
26. Cowboy Bebop
Original Run: April 3, 1998 – June 26, 1998
Number of Episodes: 26
In the year 2071, the crew of the spaceship Bebop travels the solar system in search of bounties. In the slang of the time, these bounty hunters were called “cowboys”. Most episodes revolve around a bounty; however, the focus of the story is on each character’s past and more general ancient events, which connect as the series progresses.
The first story is that of Spike Spiegel, a former member of a criminal organization, the Red Dragons, who is haunted by a love triangle he experienced with his former teammate in the Red Dragons, Vicious, and a mysterious woman named Julia.
27. Rurouni Kenshin
Original Run: January 10, 1996 – September 8, 1998
Number of Episodes: 95
The story 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.
28. 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.
29. DEVILMAN crybaby
Original Run: January 5, 2018
Number of Episodes: 10
Akira Fudo is informed by his best friend, Ryo Asuka, that the ancient race of Demons taking possession of the bodies of humans in order to possess them, has returned to Earth to take them back. Believing that the only way to defeat the Demons is to prove their existence to humans, Ryo suggests that Akira accompany him to see Demons take possession of humans.
Merging himself with Amon, the Lord of Demons, Akira transforms into the Devilman, a human with the powers of a Demon while retaining his own heart.
30. From the New World
Original Run: October 3, 2012 – March 27, 2013
Number of Episodes: 25
The story of this anime takes place in Japan, a thousand years after our era when war dominated the world. The world is ruled by people who have the power of the gods, and psychic gifts. We will follow the lives of Saki, Satoru, Maria, Mamoru, and Shun, who grew up in a quiet little town that can only be described as a utopia. But after an incident, the children discover the true nature of the world. Will they be able to change their destinies?