Anime swordsmen are some of the best fighters in animation. They feature prominently as a common staple within Shonen anime, and they help define modern Japanese fan culture through epic battles that show viewers what it means to be honorable.
There’s just something about a man wielding steel that makes anime characters so enthralling: their quiet strength, the way they dig into themselves to find it. So today, we’re running down our favorite sword fighters in all of anime!
Keep in mind that this list is made with certain criteria such as likability and character design, and is not necessarily the strongest swordsman in anime.
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- Kirito (Sword Art Online)
- Reinhard van Astrea (Re: Zero)
- Askeladd (Vinland Saga)
- Mugen (Samurai Champloo)
- Stain (My Hero Academia)
- Yami Sukehiro (Black Clover)
- Nobunaga Hazama (Hunter x Hunter 2011)
- Killer Bee (Naruto: Shippuden)
- Mi-Ra Yu (God of Highschool)
- Anri Sonohara (Durarara!!)
- Yato (Norigami)
- Akame (Akame Ga Kill)
- Hyakkimaru (Dororo)
- Lay Glanzudlii ( The Misfit of Demon King Academy)
- Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach)
- Guts (Berserk)
- Saber (Fate / Zero)
- Zoro (One Piece)
- Sakata Gintoki (Gintama)
- Hiei (Yuu Yuu Hakusho)
- Levi Ackerman (Attack On Titan)
- Afro Samurai (Afro Samurai)
- Kenshin Himura (Rurouni Kenshin)
- Nanashi (Sword of the Stranger)
- Teresa of the Faint Smile (Claymore)
- Otono-Tachibana, Makie (Blade of the Immortal)
Kirito (Sword Art Online)
In Sword Art Online, the protagonist, Kirito, has a vast knowledge of RPGs that makes him a very powerful character. He had numerous abilities, such as his Dual Blades ability, and defeated big bosses like Gleam Eyes that no one had been able to beat before. Using his real-life kendo training, he goes on to be one of the very OP anime swordsman characters. OP enough to play shooting games with a sword!
Reinhard van Astrea (Re: Zero)
The Sword Saint Reinhard van Astrea is currently among the Royal Guard. Even when he’s off duty, he wears his uniform with his flaming red hair and blue eyes. Although we don’t see him in many fights when he is present, there isn’t a lot of tension since he always wins. Because of his immense power, he’s called the Knight of all Knights, but he’s also a chill dude who helps strangers enforce justice when needed.
Askeladd (Vinland Saga)
Askeladd, a man without any flashy moves to rely on, has serious feats under his belt. Thorfinn never managed to challenge him in combat, and Askeladd was able to take out multiple enemies at once, which shows how deadly he is in battle.
Mugen (Samurai Champloo)
Mugen seems to be a naturally talented fighter who can take down trained samurai with ease. He’s probably as powerful as Jin, but he hasn’t quite tapped into his full potential yet, which is why he is the best in Samurai Champloo. His unpredictability and parkour are very entertaining.
Stain (My Hero Academia)
Stain is a unique character and uses his quirks to their full potential. Although he has average power, Stain’s skills with the blade allow him to take down dozens of pro heroes without sustaining any injuries himself.
Check Out: Must Watch Anime Like My Hero Academia
Yami Sukehiro (Black Clover)
Being a skilled swordsman, Yami can defeat most people with just a simple stick. Because of his magic, every swing packs a huge punch, and he uses it to perfectly predict any incoming attack. Additionally, due to him having ki, he is able to deflect light attacks while holding conversations with no problem at all! Personally, I don’t think that Yami is skillful, but we can agree on the fact that she, without doubt, has power.
Nobunaga Hazama (Hunter x Hunter 2011)
Nobunaga has a quick speed and can react to any movement in an instant. Once he is close enough, Nobunaga will not miss your vital organs because of his honed mastery of the sword. The fact that Nobunaga was comparable to Ubogin shows just how powerful he really is!
Killer Bee (Naruto: Shippuden)
When it comes to who is a superior swordsman, I believe the answer is self-evident. Killer Bee couldn’t be content with just one weapon. As a result, he chose seven instead. To me, the simple fact that he can move around, let alone face off against Sasuke while wielding seven swords, is awe-inspiring. His rapping is also quite entertaining.
Mi-Ra Yu (God of Highschool)
The 25th Master of the Moon Light Sword Style, Yu Mi-Ra, is invited to participate in a high school tournament. She shows potential for greatness but doesn’t progress much as she didn’t reach her full mastery by the end of the season. But it is undeniable that she is on her way to being a great anime swordsman. Read the source material.
Anri Sonohara (Durarara!!)
Anri Sonohara holds a lot of power, but she hasn’t mastered the wielding of her sword just yet. She has complete control over anyone within reach and can basically create an army with this ability. It’s mentally taxing to use her powers like this, so if she ever starts jumping around on the battlefield while using them, then it’ll be near impossible for opponents to beat her in battle.
The god Yato attempts to build his own shrine. He wears a jersey and a fluffy-puffy scarf, referring to himself as “Yato God”. A so-called delivery god who puts his cell number in common places in case someone needs help from him. He usually charges 5 yen for helping people, but don’t be fooled: he used to be a feared war god known as the “God of Calamity.”
Akame (Akame Ga Kill)
Akame became the most powerful character in her entire series after we learned that, despite popular belief, she could tap into a hacking category of fighting. She achieved this by having incredible speed, agility, and precision with her sword. This made it possible to predict what would happen next, but then everything changed when Akame’s special abilities started going towards an OP category where a single cut is basically a guaranteed victory.
Check Out: 8 Of The Best Anime Like Akame Ga Kill
The expression “may the sword be an extension of your arm” is repeated often when someone is learning how to become a master swordsman. However, Hyakkimaru didn’t need much help since his arms were actually swords, and he was all alone in storming castles with demons.
Lay Glanzudlii ( The Misfit of Demon King Academy)
The most powerful character in the entire anime series is Lay, because he has incredibly high stats all around. With incredible speed, strength, and waifu taste, it’s extremely difficult to defeat him in 1vs1 combat.
Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach)
Everyone’s favorite Substitute Soul Reaper and edgy, orange hair teenage heartthrob: Ichigo Kurasaki from Bleach is infamous for blending the gentle Kurosawa swordplay with immense Shonen-level power. In particular, Ichigo has been part of some epic battles using all kinds of abilities to embrace his greatest transformations in swordsmanship while wielding Zangetsu.
Check Out: 15 Of The Best Anime Like Bleach
Guts is a skilled yet haunted warrior who has been known to tear man and beast alike into tiny pieces with or without the berserker armor. He carries with him an enormous broadsword that’s always at the ready in case of danger; he doesn’t hesitate when it comes time for battle.
Check Out: 14 Gruesome Anime Like Berserk
Saber (Fate / Zero)
The mighty King Arthur is a great English sword fighter, bearing his own powerful magic and incredible training. In addition to being an amazing warrior on the battlefield, Saber also has extensive experience in battle strategy, which makes her incredibly dangerous outside of combat. One can not deny that she deserves to be classified as one of the top-tier servants of the whole anime franchise – it would take some serious power or knowledge for another servant to stand up against Saber.
Zoro (One Piece)
Zoro, one of the Straw Hat pirates in One Piece, takes pride in his swordsmanship abilities. He has a unique three-sword style that will leave you mesmerized. However, be careful when fighting him, because stabbing Zoro is like throwing your sword into his hands, and he’ll slice you up with it!
Sakata Gintoki (Gintama)
Being a samurai and wielding wooden swords, Gintoki Sakata is certainly one of the most badass characters in anime. His reputation as an expert at combat and one of the strongest swordsmen earned him the name “White Yaksha” for his white hair, which he gained from single handedly wiping out Amanto hordes during the Joi War. He continues to be awesome by taking on Shinsengumi steel with his Lake Toya sword made of wood! In addition to epic battles against Yato King Hosen, Oboro, or Takasugi, they make for some amazing action scenes and drive home how much of a badass Gin really is.
Hiei (Yuu Yuu Hakusho)
In Hiei’s possession is a sword, which he can employ both as a combat weapon and as a means of securely channeling the evil fires of the underworld, though he only sometimes employs this ability because he considers it “barbaric.” On top of a well-muscled frame, he possesses exceptional speed, accuracy, and pinpoint precision. The type of special ability in which his opponent slashes his afterimage, and he ends up on the top of them faster than you can blink.
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Levi Ackerman (Attack On Titan)
Attack on Titan redefined how sword fighting works in the anime realm. Sword fights normally require close-quarter combat with subtlety, but, in Attack on Titan, the swordsmen physically launch themselves at their targets to hack them down with explosive and exciting speed. Levi Ackerman is a man who is both admired and feared. Levi’s tactical thinking can more than level the playing field when partnered up against larger foes, despite the fact that he is significantly smaller than both the Titans and his comrades.
Afro Samurai (Afro Samurai)
Afro Samurai is a popular anime series that you don’t want to miss. The show features an amazing protagonist with many opportunities to demonstrate his incredible fighting skills, which are unlike anything ever seen before. Afro makes for one of the best characters in anime and also happens to be well-written as he’s just so cold and powerful that everyone else is looking up at him wanting what he has achieved – revenge on those who murdered his father, together with becoming one of the finest and bloodiest blades in anime. The series offers bloody and brutal animated sword fights within the first nine minutes of the first episode that set the tone of the anime.
Kenshin Himura (Rurouni Kenshin)
The most iconic and influential swordsman in the anime universe is Kenshin Himura, who once served as a tool of mass death for his feudal lord before wandering the land as a rurouni. However, despite his polite demeanor, he should not be underestimated since he has risen through the samurai ranks and is known as one of the strongest swordsmen at an early age with some of the fastest slashes in history that can cut limbs cleanly, it seems that they are still attached.
Nanashi (Sword of the Stranger)
Nanashi is an exceptionally skilled swordsman, even though he doesn’t possess any super powers. As with Kenshin Himura, Nanashi is also an elite warrior who has given up his sword and attempted to seek redemption. Yet, once they start fighting, they easily outperform everyone on this list.
Teresa of the Faint Smile (Claymore)
Teresa of the Faint Smile offers a deadly smile as she effortlessly kills enemies. She is the most powerful breed of her age and is considered to be among the strongest Claymores. In addition to her great speed, she also has an unmatched ability to sense the Yoma aura; she can even predict how their opponents will react in battle! Teresa never used more than ten percent of her power, even when she faced awakened former number one Rosemary.
Otono-Tachibana, Makie (Blade of the Immortal)
This last anime sword fighter is a bit tricky since she doesn’t use swords. Known as Haru-no-Okina (Old Man of Spring), her weapon is a three-sectioned staff with double blades. The weapon is concealed inside a hollowed-out mandolin-like shamisen. But despite that, she is the best fighter that uses blades in the anime series. And if you disagree with this pick, remember the whole underlying premise of why the Itto-Ryu were going around starting chaos in the anime.
That’s it, anime fans! We hope you enjoyed our list of the best swordsmen the anime industry has to offer. If we forgot your favorite sword-wielding fictional character, whether they’re the main character or supporting, let us know, and we will add them to the list. Until then, go forth and enjoy some more awesome samurai action with these badasses on screen! Comment below who you think should be on this list if they are not already included.