8 of the Best Historical Anime Series

You might be surprised that not all of historical anime are about samurais and ninjas. There are a few notable series that also feature important historical events in other parts of the world, mixed with elements of fantasy, action, and science fiction.

Here are eight titles that you should start with.

Souten Kouro (2009)
The series is based loosely on the Three Kingdoms with a focus on Cao Cao (Sou Sou). In the famous historical fiction book by Luo Guanzhong, Cao Cao was portrayed as an antagonist, but in the anime, Cao Cao is seen as leader who wants to break away from old systems and thinking that rest on empty ideals.

Le Chevalier D’Eon (2006)
From the title of the 24-episode series, the anime focuses on the exploits of Chevalier d’Eon during the reign of Louis XV before the French Revolution. Chevalier d’Eon was known as a soldier and a spy during the Seven Years War and was known for his androgynous features, but in the anime he was portrayed as a woman.

Arslan Senki (2015)
Although the series was influenced by various historical figures and events, the lead character Arslan seems to mirror the achievements and qualities of Cyrus the Great. Anyone familiar with the Crusades, Byzantine-Persian Wars, and the epic Shahnameh, will find this series interesting.

Joker Game (2016)
If you’re looking for an anime which doesn’t feature characters with differently-colored hair, Joker Game is for you. The story takes place just before World War II when tensions were high, and it was common for nations to send spies to different countries. It focuses on a group of spies from Japan who were sent to different missions.

Junketsu no Maria (2015)
Set against the events of the Hundred Years’ War in France, the anime focuses on a witch named Maria who uses her gifts to maintain peace. But her meddling garnered the attention of the divine beings, and they sent an archangel to tell Maria not to interfere. However, Maria did not relent and continued to find a way to keep the peace.

Kingdom (2012)
Based on the manga of the same title by Yasuhisa Hara, Kingdom was inspired by the events of the Warring States Period of China. Focusing on the story of Xi and his friends, the anime chronicles the boy’s rise to become a skilled general who would unify China.

Otogi Zoshi (2004)
The story takes place during the Heian period in Kyoto, with a focus on Minamoto no Hikaru who wants to save the capital from destruction. The second part of the story on the other hand, focuses on the reincarnation of the lead character in modern-day Tokyo.

Hyouge Mono (2011)
One of the vassals of Oda Nobunaga, Furuta Sasuke, was obsessed with tea ceremony. He decided to follow the way of the hyouge mono after meeting a tea master. It is a fresh take of the Warring States period because it focuses instead on tradition and art.