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There’s no more romanticized weapon than the sword. Even though it’s military use is long-gone, it’s still firmly mankind’s collective memory and has an essential part in history. It only makes sense that so much of our media, anime and otherwise, is about swords and the men and the women who wield them. Here are 10 of the coolest.
10.’Zanketsu’ Ichigo’s Zanpakuto - Bleach
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: October 05, 2004 to Mar 27, 2012
The Zanpakuto are actually a series of sentient weapons, which draw out a users inner abilities. They’re wielded by Shinigami and, as well as abilities, have forms that derive from their users. They’re also all able to return souls wandering round the world to the afterlife. Zanketsu is the first weapon on the list that takes on a persona of it’s own, and represents Ichigo’s most base instincts and dark-side, capable of possessing Ichigo himself.
9. Scissor Blade – Kill La Kill
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 04, 2013 to Mar 28th, 2014
The Scissor Blade, when combined, form a giant weaponized scissor. Their key ability in Kill La Kill is to sever life-fibers, which are used to make the powered uniforms and also the Kamui, made completely of life-fibers. My favorite moment was when Ryuko comibes the scissors into an larger than life attack in Kill la Kill’s final OVA, giving the series it’s grand conclusion. It’s an essential part of Ryuko’s power, and though Senketsu might be Ryuko’s heart, the scissor blade is definitely her right arm.
8. Ragnarok – Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: Apr 07, 2008 to Mar 30, 2009
Ragnarok is one of the Mesiters of Soul Eater, living beings which serve as weapons. Unlike most of the Meisters, Ragnarok is a total jerk. However, he is very powerful. Composed of Chrona’s own black blood, Ragnarok is incredibly strong, capable of using Chrona’s blood to protect her, to using it as projectiles against enemies, as well as Scream resonance, which enables him to act almost as a saw. From the very first fight scene it was clear how big a threat that Ragnarok posed to the protagonists, and was intimidating all the way through Soul Eater.
7. Mugen – D. Gray Man
- Episodes: 103
- Aired: October 03, 2006 to Sep 30, 2008
Mugen is wielded by Yu Kanda, and has a whole host of supernatural powers. It’s derived from ‘Innocence’, the power that Kanda and others use to fight Akuma, demon like beings. Mugen has a number of it’s abilities which bolster it’s own strength as well as Imbue Kanda with greater abilities. From the very first time we see Kanda use ‘Kaiju: Ichigen”, it was clear that the abilities that Mugen has fit very well with the dark, fantasy universe of D. Gray Man
6. Dimensional Spirit Sword – Yu Yu Hakusho
- Episodes: 112
- Aired: Oct 10 1992 to Jan 7, 1995
Kuwabara’s spirit sword is a sword made from his own spirit energy. The dimension sword is sort of an enhanced version of the spirit sword, and it’s literally capable of cutting into different dimensions and psychic barriers. The dimensional sword is also awesome because, instead of relying simply on Kuwabara’s own ability, it’s basically able to cut through anything simply on it’s own power.
It’s a level of strength that surpasses the original spirit sword and just about any other sword in Yu Yu Hakusho.
5.Tessaiga - Inuyasha
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: October 16, 2000 to Sep 13, 2004
The Signature sword of Inuyhasha made from the fang of his own father, the Inu no Taisho. Where as the sword of Inuyasha’s Brother, Tensaiga, preserves life, Tessaiga is a true offensive weapon. Some of the best moments in Inuyasha were when he and Sesshomaru, his brother, square off with their very different blades.
It also has a mind of it’s own, not unlike the Zanpakuto from Bleach. It takes Inuyasha some time to master it, but the more he uses it the more it seems that Tessaiga has tricks up it’s sleeve. From the famous wind-scar, to it’s adamant and dragonskin forms, Tessaiga is a truly powerful weapon.
4. Toyako Bokutō (Gintama)
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: April 4, 2006 – March 25, 2010
Toyako Bokuto ‘Lake Toya’ can literally cut through anything, which is hilarious and fitting for Gintama given it’s totally nondescript appearance. Made from the bark of a 10,000 year old tree on a distant planet, it’s actually a Hoshikudaki which literally translates to ‘Star Destroyer.’ It’s a little wooden sword with a beyond audacious ability and pedigree, let’s hope the rebel alliance doesn’t come up against it soon.
3. Ea – Fate/Stay:Night
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jan 07, 2006 to Jun 17, 2006
Though Excalibur, Saber’s noble phantasm is much more famous and emblematic of the series, Ea, is more powerful. It’s the crown jewel of Gilgamesh’s noble armory. Gilgamesh himself see’s Excalibur as Ea’s only rival, one of the only counterparts that he deems it worthy enough of a challenge to use Ea, though he also uses it against Rider in Fate/Zero.
Both in Fate/Zero as well as Unlimited Blade Works, when Ea comes out, you know it’s serious business. It’s a magnificent weapon for one of Anime’s most magnificent jerks.
2. Sword of the Dragonslayer - Berserk
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 07 1997 to Mar 31, 1998
"Dragons are dragons because humans can't beat 'em. So, what's a man who beats dragons?" The Sword of the Dragonslayer is practically Iconic, as is Berserk itself and the character who wields it, Guts. Even though Gut’s first huge sword, which he uses in the Golden Age arc, was deadly enough, the Dragonslayer truly takes it to another level.
Legions of soldiers and demons have been ripped apart by it, and it’s a sword which signifies Gut’s larger than life status. In summation, I’ll leave us with maybe the most well-known Berserk quote that gives you a sense of awe the dragonslayer deserves, ‘That thing was too big to be called a sword. Too big, too thick, too heavy and too rough.’
1. Sakabato – Ruroni Kenshin
- Episodes: 94
- Aired: Jan 10,1996 to Sept 08, 1998
Sakabato is is just so cool and memorable it outclasses a number of more swords that are more powerful than It on this list. The reverse blade sword, a weapon designed not to kill, wielded by a man who wanted something beyond his bloody past. It’s a big part of what makes Ruroni Kenshin stand out as a series, as well as the heart of the show itself. Seeing Kenshin use Sakabato against the hardened killers of the Meiji era gave me thrills as a kid, and great memories as an adult.
One of the things to note is that I don’t always mean strongest swords, but often what’s cool, or more significant or meaningful within the series itself. I hope you enjoyed reading this list and the explanations. Let us know what you think in the comments below and let’s get a conversation going!