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Springing forth from 2018’s Spring Season, Golden Kamuy is an awesome adventure based in a historical landscape; a series which quite notably features a depiction of the Japanese archipelago’s original inhabitants: the Ainu. The exciting adventure Sugimoto goes on with his companion Ashirpa is the kind that makes you crave something just as exciting. However, Golden Kamuy is still fairly sobering with its inclusion of difficult themes such as tribalism. Anything ring a bell? It does for us – so hang tight as we dish out 6 anime like Golden Kamuy!
Similar Anime to Golden Kamuy
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2010 – December 2010
Set in Edo Japan, Yasuri Shichika is a swordsman who practises a unique “swordless” style which uses the user’s very body as the blade. He is the Seventh Head of the Kyotouryuu school, living quietly with his sister Nanami. Then Togame, the strategist, sent by the Shogunate to retrieve twelve unique swords called the “Deviant Blades”, asks Shichika to help her in her mission. He accepts, interested by Togame herself, and sets out on a dangerous adventure where they will encounter formidable swordsmen and elites who seek the power of the blades themselves.
The main similarity between Golden Kamuy and Katanagatari is their fixation on the adventures the protagonists dive into. Both anime feature a female-male protagonist pairing which is established specifically so that their objective can be pursued and eventually achieved. Both series are set in historical settings, the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 for Golden Kamuy, Edo Japan for Katanagatari allow for interesting political nuances in both series. Yes, nuances.
2. Blade of the Immortal
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2008 – December 2008
Manji is a swordsman cursed with eternal life. Tired of all the death he brought with his own hands but caught with the dilemma of knowing only how to kill, Manji forms a plan to regain his mortality: he will kill 100 evil men for each good man he has killed in the past. The witch who cursed Manji with his immortality agrees with his idea and thus, Manji sets out to slay 1000 evil men. He meets a young girl named Rin who has vengeance to seek against a sword school whose members killed her family. Together with Rin, Manji travels under constant attack, trying to live their lives without being consumed by the revenge that fuels them.
At first glance, the main similarities between Blade of the Immortal and Golden Kamuy lies in the main characters: Sugimoto and Ashirpa’s pairing from Golden Kamuy is seen reflected in the pairing of Rin and Manji. Both stories are set in a historical period of Japan, with Golden Kamuy catching the Russo-Japanese War and Blade of the Immortal descending upon Edo Japan.
3. Samurai Champloo
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: May 2004 – March 2005
Kasumi Fuu is a young waitress who spends her time working at a small teahouse, until her clumsiness causes her to spill a drink all over a customer. The resulting commotion results in the outbreak of a sword fight in the small tea shop – the contestants being the wild Mugen and the ronin, Jin. Their fight results in the destruction of the shop and the death of the magistrate’s son. They are soon arrested and sentenced to death, but they’re rescued by Fuu who decides to hire them as her bodyguards as she embarks on a quest to find a samurai who smells of sunflowers. Initially disapproving of the idea, Mugen and Jin eventually agree to assist Fuu on her quest – all while reminding her that their fight never really ended.
Samurai Champloo is a textbook adventure story, featuring a trio of characters all of whom found each other by chance, much like Sugimoto’s meeting with Ashirpa in Golden Kamuy. Both anime have historical settings and explore various elements of the characters’ lives through historical representation for context. Another similarity is the high number of battle-ready characters in both series – Golden Kamuy is filled with characters with military experience, while Samurai Champloo offers us its share in samurai.
Any Anime Like Golden Kamuy ?
4. Shoukoku no Altair (Altair: A Record of Battles)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2017 – December 2017
Tughril Mahmut is a young pasha, a high-ranking officer serving on the Divan of the Turkiye Stratocracy, in a situation where war looms on the horizon due to the threat of a neighbouring empire. The country’s high-ranking officials split are between those who wish to wage war and those who wish to remain pacifists. Working hard to keep the peace, Mahmut will do whatever it takes; however, the further in he finds himself, the blurrier the lines separating friend from foe become.
Based on the real-life Ottoman Empire of the 13th century, the Turkiye Stratocracy of Shoukoku no Altair is the use of historical setting in order to define characters in relation to this point in history, much like Golden Kamuy’s use of the Russo-Japanese War. Shoukoku no Altair also shares Golden Kamuy’s taste for use of foreign words in order to add more markers of historical context, with Turkish words thrown into the mix in a manner reminiscent of Golden Kamuy’s use of the Ainu language.
5. Hitsugi no Chaika (Chaika - the Coffin Princess)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2014 – July 2014
The Taboo Emperor, Arthur Gaz, ruled the Gaz Empire with an iron fist for well over 500 years, conducting terrible experiments on his own citizens. However, five years ago, his tyrannical rule was brought to a close when the “Eight Heroes”, a set of mighty warriors, defeated Gaz in battle. Present day. Toru Acura is a former war saboteur who can’t quite get used to life after Gaz and struggles to find work that can put his combat skills to good use, at least until opportunity presents itself. A white-haired wizard named Chaika Trabant, sporting a coffin on her back, claims to be searching for the scattered remains of her father in order to give them a proper burial and hires Toru and his adoptive sister, Akari, to assist her. However, they soon realise that Chaika is none other than the daughter of the tyrannical Emperor Gaz himself!
Hitsugi no Chaika is an adventure anime much like Golden Kamuy, with both featuring the female-male protagonist pairing. While Hitsugi no Chaika is not necessarily based in any historical arena, it is most certainly inspired by various medieval themes, placing it in the same group as Golden Kamuy with historical influences. Both series contain a fair amount of humour in moderation and ramp up the stakes fairly quickly as they delve into their respective plots quickly. Given Chaika’s status as Gaz’s daughter, she, Toru and Akari soon find themselves on the run from the empire – much like the military’s pursuit of Sugimoto and Ashirpa in Golden Kamuy.
6. Stranger: Mukou Hadan (Sword of the Stranger)
- Episodes: 1 (Movie)
- Aired: September 2007
Sengoku period, Japan. An orphan named Kotaro and his dog, Tobimaru, steal from other villagers in order to survive; however, Kotaro must now live on the run when he is hunted by assassins of China’s Ming Dynasty for reasons he cannot quite name. When Kotaro is ambushed and Tobimaru poisoned, they are found by a Ronin named Nanashi, who Kotaro soon enlists as his personal bodyguard, at least until Tobimaru is better and they arrive at their destination. The three set out on a dangerous path as the Ming Dynasty remains in hot pursuit of Kotaro.
Much like Golden Kamuy, we are presented with a historical setting: the Sengoku era of Japanese history. Stranger also goes further to include the Ming Dynasty in its setting, further fleshing out the film’s universe. This is similar to Golden Kamuy’s depiction of the Ainu people. Another way in which Stranger is similar to Golden Kamuy is in the way in which the protagonists travel together. Kotaro being pursued by assassins is reminiscent of the consistent brushes with death that both Ashirpa and Sugimoto experience while on their travels as a result of the knowledge the military has on the prisoner tattoos.
Historical fictions are works with infinite potential to become interesting, surprisingly from the fact that we actually know what happens in real life. Seeing the parallels between fact and the imagination of an author to place characters in such an environment allows for exploration of elements and perspectives not quite covered by mainstream focus in our history textbooks and encyclopedias. This is great to see, a prompt which allows for the creation of incredible characters and plot which fosters curiosity in certain aspects of history, all while giving us anime that truly slaps! Are there any other anime like Golden Kamuy we might have missed? Help us out and drop a comment below – we want more too!