Probably one of the most underrated anime of 2021-2022, Heike Monogatari is a gem that not many immediately loved. However, with its breathtaking visuals, epic narrative steeped in political intrigue, and shocking storyline, it quickly became a fan favourite. The Heike Story is a lyrical depiction of the historical epic of the same name, and since the story has unfortunately reached its conclusion, we’re sure you guys must be feeling its absence on your watch lists. But worry not, we at Honey’s Anime have a roster of some truly wonderful and historical shows for you to check out to fill the Heike-shaped hole in your hearts. So without further ado, here are 6 Anime like The Heike Story!
Similar Anime to Heike Monogatari / Similar Anime to The Heike Story
1. Hakuouki (Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2010 – June 2010
Samurai swords, the tragic downfall of a powerful institution, and the fallout of shifting political superpowers are just some of the compelling elements that make both The Heike Story and Hakuoki great watches. Through MCs like Biwa and Chizuru, who aren’t directly involved but work as lenses for us viewers, we get to follow epic journeys that explore political tensions, shady players behind the scenes, and some seriously spooky supernatural elements.
Much like the Taira Clan’s considerable influence, the Shinsengumi in Hakuoki were once a grand cornerstone of the Shogunate’s power. However, with the machinations of some sinister shadowy forces, not to mention the rough circumstances of the era, the Shinsengumi and the Shogunate have both entered a period of decline. When Chizuru Yukimura comes to Kyoto in search of her missing father, a series of unfortunate events lands her right in the heart of the conflict: that is, she becomes part of the Shinsengumi.
Similar to Biwa from The Heike Story, Chizuru finds herself embroiled in a conflict that’s far more complex than it seems, and while she doesn’t particularly want to get involved, her fate is tangled up with that of a group that seems to be destined for tragedy. So if nerve-wracking drama and plot twists that you have no way of expecting set against a beautiful, period background inspired by real Japanese history is your cup of tea, then check out Hakuouki!
2. Kaguya-hime no Monogatari(The Tale of the Princess Kaguya)
- Episodes: 1 (Movie)
- Aired: November 2013
While watching The Heike Story, any anime fan worth their salt will find an instant connection to the Tale of the Princess Kaguya. An anime classic (is any Ghibli film not a classic?), the two hold many similarities not the least of which is on an aesthetic level. With dreamy visuals that seem to be straight out of a fairytale (the plots for both are practically legendary), both Princess Kaguya and The Heike Story spin tales steeped in mysticism.
Just like Biwa’s prophetic powers, Kaguya too holds a ‘blessed’ (is it really?) backstory. A bamboo-cutter finds Kaguya borne from a bamboo shoot. Convinced that she is a ‘divine blessing’, he and his wife decide to raise her like a princess, they take her to the city away from their humble origins. However, this blessing is more like a curse. And much like how Biwa’s gift lands her in hot water, Kaguya’s mystical origins, not to mention the ‘divine blessings’ she brings, traps her in an unwanted gilded fate that's part and parcel of becoming royalty.
The misfortune of circumstance, its resounding consequences, and the idea of cursed fate are themes that echo across both these stories, and we’re certain that if you enjoyed The Heike Story, Princess Kaguya should definitely be next on your list!
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Trailer
3. Dororo (Dororo)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2019 – June 2019
MCs in tough spots seem to be a prerequisite of the historical anime genre, though Hyakkimaru hands down has the shortest end of the stick. Born to a greedy Daimyo who makes a pact with demons to ensure the prosperity of his land, Hyakkimaru, unfortunately, has to bear the sins of his father. As a result, he’s born with quite literally, nothing— no limbs, no eyes, no ears, not even skin— it’s a miracle he’s even alive.
Set in the blood-soaked Sengoku era, Hyakkimaru’s tragic circumstances (did we mention he was born with nothing?) leave him abandoned by his family. However, after being taken in by a healer and set with magical prosthetics, he sets off on a journey to reclaim what has been stolen from him (we can’t even begin to explain how that goes) and meets Dororo, another abandoned orphan. Together, the unlikely pair begin to navigate the cruel demon-infested world in search of some peace (and in Hyakkimaru’s case, a semi-functional body). If plucky protagonists going up against the odds to simply survive are more your speed, then give Dororo a shot. We guarantee it won’t disappoint.
Any Anime Like The Heike Story / Any Anime Like Heike Monogatari?
4. Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan (Rurouni Kenshin)
- Episodes: 94
- Aired: January 1996 – September 1998
At the peak of the Bakumatsu era, there was once a warrior. The notorious Hitokiri Battousai was a demon of the battlefield. A merciless killer feared by all, he was an unmatched swordsman, however, he mysteriously disappeared. Cut to ten years later, and here's Kenshin Himura, a skilled swordsman of unknown origin (take a wild guess everybody).
A man intent on repenting for the sins of his past, Kenshin has vowed to never kill again and instead devotes himself in service of defending the weak, with a cheery can-do attitude to boot. Upon meeting Kaouru Kamiya and giving her a helping hand, Kenshin decides to hit pause on his wandering ways and hang around a bit longer to continue saving those who need saving. But when the skeletons in his closet begin to stir and some sinister forces come to play, this blood-stained man who used to be a legend, who’s now in the midst of a redemption arc, is faced with choices that will put his past self and present self at odds with one another. If the political intrigue, the nail-biting drama, and the fallout of The Heike Story is what drew you in, try out Rurouni Kenshin, it’s a classic for a reason.
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan - Official Teaser for Reboot 2021
5. Katanagatari (Katanagatari)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2010 – December 2010
Set in the Edo era, Katanagatri is a visual treat for those of you who enjoy non-traditional art styles with your stories. Vibrant, poetic, and objectively gorgeous, this anime is captivating, from the way it's drawn to the narrative itself, and will draw you in just like The Heike Story. From compelling MCs to overarching epic journeys, this one is an underrated treat that is a feast for the eyes, ears, and heartstrings, just like Heike Monogatari.
When Togame sets out on her mission to retrieve the 12 Deviant Blades for the Shogunate, she recruits Shichika Yasuri who uses Kyotouryuu, a sword-fighting technique where the user wields his own body like a blade. The two set off on a perilous journey of epic proportions, encountering formidable foes each of whom are masters of supernatural, overpowered sword techniques. If The Heike Story was a bit too on the intense side for you, Katanagatri is a great change of pace. While the story also has high-stakes and some serious overtones, the fun dialogue and art make it a seemingly light-hearted adventure (though don’t let that fool you).
6. The Hakkenden (The Hakkenden: Legend of the Dog Warriors)
- Episodes: 6 (OVA)
- Aired: October 1990 – March 1991
Set during the Feudal Wars of Japan, Legend of the Dog Warriors is yet another tale soaked in blood, sweat, and tears. Just like the Taira Clan, the Awa Clan from Legend of the Dog Warriors are faced with extinction (extinction-decline, potato-potahto) by virtue of a rival clan and some demonic forces (no biggie, right?). However, their salvation comes in quite an unsettling form: their family dog brings back the head of the enemy in exchange for marrying the lord’s daughter (don’t get us started, it only gets weirder)! The fruit of this unholy union is eight offspring all of whom are killed off and then reincarnated as the Dog Warriors representing each of the eight virtues of bushido. These warriors each follow their own violent journeys and eventually band together to redeem the honour of their clan. Much like the Taira Clan who’s intent on maintaining their power, the Awa Clan seek to regain what was lost through a path soaked in blood, suffering, and sacrifice.
And that rounds out our list of 6 Anime like Heike Monogatari! While The Heike Story is fairly unique, right from its visuals all the way to its narrative, we’re pretty sure that the shows on this list will definitely scratch that very same itch. So try a couple of these anime on for size, there’s a little bit of something for every Heike fan on here!
So what did you think of The Heike Story? Do you think our recommendations make the cut? Did we miss any anime that deserves a spot on the list? Let us know in the comments below! We love to hear from you!