Imagine having a timepiece capable of manipulating time itself – what would you do with such extensive power? For Takasugi and Katsura, that power is needed to return Kyoto to the way it once was before the government was overthrown. Anime which takes place in historical times are plentiful and Bakumatsu is yet another to play on Japanese history. With time-manipulation, adventure, sword fights and mysterious artefacts at the heart of the anime, we figured we’d put together a list of 6 shows that are similar in content or even execution as Renai Bakumatsu Kareshi!
Similar Anime to Bakumatsu
1. Le Chevalier D’Eon
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2006 – February 2007
Lia de Beaumont, a servant of Versailles and King Louis XV is found dead in the River Seine in 18th century France. She was found floating in a coffin marked with the word “Psalms” and her body was poisoned with mercury, preventing its decay. However, according to legend, a soul belonging to a corpse that cannot be consumed by the soil will wander the realm of the living forever. D’Eon, Lia’s brother and a spy of the king vows to find the person who killed his sister. Things get strange; however, when his sister becomes the one to seek vengeance, using D’Eon’s body to do so!
Set in an earlier period in France, Le Chevalier D’Eon’s greatest similarity to Bakumatsu is its chronological placement, which is in an era long passed. The inclusion of intense politics in both series is yet another way in which Le Chevalier D’Eon and Bakumatsu relay similar aspects and D’Eon’s goal to avenge Lia’s mysterious death is comparable to the efforts of Katsura and Takasugi in liberating Kyoto from the god Susanoo.
2. Peacemaker Kurogane
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2003 – March 2004
After a traumatic experience witnessing the murder of his parents by the Choushuu, Ichimura Tetsunosuke greatly desires the strength to one day exact revenge. At 15, he approaches the Shinsengumi hoping to become a member. Soon Tetsunosuke realises that he lacks the skill and the mental fortitude to mindlessly kill people for the Shinsengumi and even then, he barely understands the brutality of the path he has chosen.
In Bakumatsu, the main characters are working towards resetting Kyoto to the way it was before Susanoo’s rule, but Peacemaker Kurogane’s protagonist, Tetsunosuke, aims to avenge his parents. In that light, the series share a common aspect in their goal-oriented protagonists. That being said; however, the series’ biggest similarity is most definitely their similar placements in Japan’s historical timeline.
3. Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Touken Ranbu)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2017 – September 2017
1863. Kanesada and his partner, Kunihiro, arrive in Edo from the future in order to investigate their master’s report of an incoming invasion. The two are humanoid manifestations of the famed Hijikata Toshizou’s swords and they exist in order to protect history from the Retrograde Army, who seek to alter history. The two battle the army throughout the Bakumatsu period, having to make incredibly difficult decisions in the process.
Aside from the obvious similarity in both series’ chronological settings (the Bakumatsu period), both Touken Ranbu and Bakumatsu are similar in the way in which they use time-manipulation and time-travel the main themes in their respective universes. Both anime feature protagonist pairs who work together in order to achieve some lofty objective – in Bakumatsu, it is liberation; in Touken Ranbu, it is to prevent historical tragedy.
Katsugeki Touken Ranbu PV
Any Anime Like Bakumatsu ?
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2017 – April 2017
Hasegawa Heizo is the chief officer who is tasked with protecting Edo against crimes such as robbery and arson. Nicknamed “Devil”, Hasegawa is an officer in the year 1783 who is offered the position of Chief Director of the department tasked with upholding safety in the Edo region. Using his expert abilities with the blade, the “Devil” suppresses some of the worst criminals, who soon hear of his influence.
Like Renai Bakumatsu Kareshi, Onihei is set in a period in Japan’s long and eventful history; however, unlike Bakumatsu, Onihei does not feature any elements of time-travel or time-manipulation. The protagonists of Bakumatsu, Katsura and Takasugi, are quite adept in combat and this fact is yet another thing the two shows have in common: main characters who can do more than just hold their own in combat.
5. Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: July 2002 – December 2002
1600. The Battle of Sekigahara, the famed conflict which led to Japan’s eventual unification. This battle was the site of a battle between Mibu Kyoushiro and the swordsman with hair the colour of blood, “Demon Eyes” Kyo. Their intense battle is cut short when a meteor annihilates the battlefield. The two vanished. Four years later, a bounty hunter named Shiina Yuya hunts down Kyoushiro, who has become a perverted travelling medicine-man with huge debt. On his way to claiming the bounty for his find, Yuya and Kyoushiro are attacked by a monster seeking to devour Kyou; however, the encounter awakens “Demon Eyes” Kyo, whose mind has resided inside of Kyoushiro since their unfinished battle. Trapped in a single body, the two legendary swordsmen embark on a journey.
Yet again we’re seeing the heavy influence of Japan’s famous moments in history as Samurai Deeper Kyo is based in the early 1600s. While Bakumatsu is slightly later in its chronology, the idea is the same. Another aspect which is similar is the pairing of protagonists; although Samurai Deeper Kyo’s situation is technically a trio of characters, Kyo and Kyoushiro are very much a similar setup to that of Katsura and Takasugi.
6. Hakuoki (Demon of the Fleeting Blossom)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2010 – June 2010
1864 in Japan. Yukimura Chizuru is a woman searching for her missing father, Kondo, a travelling doctor. Without having heard from in months, Chizuru disguises herself as a man and heads to Kyoto to look for him. When she arrives, she attracts the attention of ronin and tries to hide. Chizuru witnesses the ronin being brutally murdered by white-haired men, who are soon dispatched by the Shinsengumi. Saved by the Shinsengumi turns out to become capture by the Shinsengumi, who were not sure about what to do with her. When she reveals her father’s name, the Shinsengumi decide to protect her because they are also searching for Kondo; however, the search becomes much more than that in the growing political tension in Kyoto.
Hakuoki is an anime similar to Bakumatsu in… yep, you guessed it, historical placement! Based in a similar time period, the two series are also fairly riddled with a lot of politics, as would be expected in that period. The two series are also similar in how their main characters both have goals concerned with search and pursuit of individuals or relics.
Bakumatsu is quite fun if you’re a fan of the historical revision that it presents. The trope of taking a story and characters and placing them in earlier moments in human history. The list of shows of this nature is absolutely endless and that is the beauty of it! Are there other shows like Bakumatsu that you like that we haven’t mentioned? Drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts!