Historical anime can be very enjoyable, above all when the historical facts are very accurate and the historical characters are well-depicted. Some historical anime focus on the period and add fake characters while explaining the truth about those far away days; some of them focus on real characters and create a new story around them, making them even more interesting than they actually were. However, when you add a little bit of supernatural elements, a historical anime can become a real masterpiece! And you can find historical characters who can turn into demons, or samurai who can kick asses with a powerful sword, and so on. The purpose of this list is to talk about 10 historical anime that have some interesting supernatural elements that made them just wonderful, and impossible to forget. Stick with us until the end of this ranking, and you won't be disappointed!
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: April 2006 – March 2010
Let's start with Gintama that revolves around Gintoki Sataka, who is a proud samurai. Gintoki is a man in his late twenties, and has a somewhat mature halo around him. He never goes overboard, and even though he is very strong, he ends up with his ass kicked as well. Being Gintoki, a samurai living in a feudal Japan where the aliens – called Amanto – have prohibited the use of swords, he is constantly broke and up to every kind of job in order to survive. His helpers are Kagura, who is a girl belonging to the Amanto race, and Shinpachi Shimura, who is a talented swordsman looking like a quiet boy.
Gintama takes place in feudal Japan, as we said up above, so it's clearly a historical anime. There are some characters that really existed, too, like Toshiro Hijikata who was the captain of the Shinsengumi. So if on one side we find the truth of that era, about samurai and sword fights, on the other side the supernatural part is all up to the Amantos, who subjugated Japan, wielding the strangest abilities. There's a huge contrast between the old times and the aliens that become part of them; kimono, swords and ancient traditions clash with aliens and situations that will make you burst into laughter. Gintoki will face the aliens and their powers using only his sword and his skills as a swordsman. Aside from the historical background, Gintama is worth watching because it adds a huge amount of gags, as it's a comedy show as well. If you never gave a shot to supernatural, historical anime, but want to give it a try, Gintama should be the starting point as it's a comedy that will never make you feel bored!
9. Blade of the Immortal
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2008 – December 2008
Blade of the Immortal is an anime revolving around a ronin, whose name is Manji. Within Manji's body lives a parasite – kessenchu – that basically stops the process of decay of his body. To put it simply, Manji is immortal. Since he is tired of living with the thought of all the men he has killed, he decides to search of a way to have his mortality back. The witch who had cursed Manji agrees with his idea, but there are conditions; he will have to kill one hundred evil men, for each good man he killed. So Manji will start a journey, together with a girl – Rin – who seeks revenge against the ones who killed her family.
Blade of the Immortal is set in Japan, during Tokugawa shogunate. Manji is a decayed samurai. In those years, decayed samurai acted like mercenaries as they had lost everything. So in this show we have an accurate historical background, and a supernatural part that is up to the parasites. In fact, Manji is immortal and he wants to find a way to die. So his journey will be full of sword fights, and he will have to take care of Rin and help her, acting a bit like a bodyguard. It's not a stretch to say that if you like historical anime, and don't dislike supernatural elements, Blade of the Immortal won't disappoint you!
8. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2009 – June 2009
Sengoku Basara, as the title suggests, is set in the Sengoku period. The Sengoku era is also known as the “Warring States Period”, where feudal Japan was agitated by lords who kept fighting against each other in the attempt to create a unified country under a central government. In this setting, we find the dark lord Oda Nobunaga, who claims to be the most powerful lord and the only one to have the strength and military force to conquer Japan. Against Oda Nobunaga, we find Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura. These two young warriors were rivals who became allies to try to stop Nobunaga who wants to form a tyrannical reign!
Sengoku Basara depicts characters who actually existed, fictionalizing the Sengoku era. Even though the characters are based on historical figures, there are a lot of changes in their relationships, histories and personalities. It focuses specifically on the later years of the Sengoku period, and we find Oda Nobunaga who is a dark lord wielding the power of summoning the souls of the enemies he has killed. So if we can find a historical background like the Sengoku era, there are supernatural elements that make this show very interesting. In fact, the sword fights are characterized by various supernatural skills that each warrior holds. In the end, this is a show that makes an interesting presentation of the Warring States Period. Although there may be some historical inaccuracies, it's still very enjoyable and entertaining.
7. Brave 10
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2012 – March 2012
Let's switch to another anime set in the Warring States Period. Brave 10 revolves around Isanami, a young priestess of Izumo. One day, some evil ninja appear, burning her temple to ashes and killing the people within it. Isanami is left with only one choice: to run in the forest and save her life. While running away, she meets by chance Saizou Kirigakure. Isanami and Saizou have to ask Yukimura Sanada for help, so they head towards Ueda Castle where Isanami's devasting power is discovered. Sanada is willing to help Isanami, and that's how her trip, alongside with Saizou's, will start; they'll have to search for ten brave warriors who will be able to protect her.
As we said up above, this is another anime set in Sengoku period. We find in this show, once again, the historical figure of Yukimura Sanada. So the historical background is the same as in Sengoku Basara, but the story is totally different. The supernatural part, in Brave 10, is all up to the ten warriors who hold different skills while fighting. For example, Saizou is able to create afterimage-like illusions of himself; while Rokuro is able to emit ultrasonic waves that make enemies unconscious, and so on. Plus, the dark power wielded by Isanami is called Death Wave, and it can turn anything to ashes. If you enjoy supernatural, historical anime that are full of action, Brave 10 is definitely gonna be your piece of cake.
6. Maria the Virgin Witch (Junketsu no Maria)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2015 – March 2015
Let's head to Europe with a story that is set in France, during the Hundred Years' War against England. Undisputed protagonist is Maria, who is a witch tired of seeing people dying and struggling for their lives. As powerful as she is, Maria decides to interfere with the war, trying to manipulate both factions. Meddling with human affairs, though, Maria attracts attention from the archangel Michael. Michael forbids Maria to use her magic, and ask her to stop meddling with human affairs, and in the end, he decides that she will lose her magic once she will lose her virginity. Maria is not put down by what Michael said, so she keeps on helping others, even when the church starts to consider her a heretic!
As this story is set in France, during the Hundred Years' War, it's probably pointless to mention why this must be considered a supernatural, historical anime. If the historical part is all up to the war between the two nations – France and England – then the supernatural part is all up to Maria, the witch. There's been a moment, in Europe, when all those women who were considered heretics, were considered as witches. This anime takes the figure of the witch, and make it a reality of that era. Being Maria a witch, she will fight against the system in the attempt to put an end to a long war. If you like a European setting, with history mixed with magic, Maria the Virgin Witch is the anime you're searching for. Maria will meet heavenly creatures like the archangels, and will deal with her two familiars. Willing to succeed in her purpose, she will fight solidly while you'll cheer for her until the end!
5. Laughing Under the Clouds (Donten ni Warau)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2014 – December 2014
Let's go back in Japan, this time during the Meiji era, more specifically during the eleventh year. It's a time where the samurai population keeps dwindling and the swords are banned. Yet, there are those who cannot accept the swords ban, and cause violent ruckus. The only solution to put an end to this is to build a lake prison. This story revolves around the three Kumoh brothers – Tenka, Soramaru and Chuutaro – whose duty is to deliver criminals to the prison!
Laughing Under the Clouds proved to be a very good anime, as it is very emotional and talks about the three brothers relationship. The historical part is all up to the setting, as it is very faithful to the Meiji Era. As for the supernatural part, we find in this show the so-called “onmyouji”, who are shamans specializing in exorcism and dealing with forces that aren't human. Aside from the onmyouji, there's the evil presence of the Orochi, who is a demon snake descending on the Earth every 300 years, reincarnating in the body of a human and possessing them. Laughing Under the Clouds is a little masterpiece in the supernatural, historical genre. As it went a little unnoticed, we really think it's worth your time, moreover if you like emotional stories with a little bit of fighting elements.
4. Le Chevalier D'Eon
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2006 – February 2007
Okay, let's go back to Europe and France again. It's 18th Century and Lia de Beaumont is found dead with the word “Psalms” written on her coffin, and her body full of mercury. Since mercury avoids the decay of the body, according to the Church's belief, Lia's soul is bound to wander endlessly in the human realm, with no possibility to reach Heaven. Lia's brother, D'Eon – one of the king's spies – cannot really live with that notion, so he wants to discover why and by whom his sister's been killed. There's just one problem; Lia's soul possesses D'Eon's body to seek revenge by herself!
You need to know that, historically speaking, D'Eon de Beaumont once asserted to be born as a woman, but to have acted as a man for an inheritance matter. This anime takes de Beaumont's historical figure and what he said, and adapts it into a supernatural, historical anime that plays on the fact that D'Eon actually became a woman, being possessed by his sister. With a European background, and a supernatural part that deals with alchemy, plus historical events reinterpreted in a new perspective, this is an underrated anime that deserves consideration, as it is well-done and can never get you bored.
3. Samurai Jam -Bakumatsu Rock- (Bakumatsu Rock)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 – September 2014
It's the Bakumatsu era, and Ryouma Sakamoto wants everyone to know how much he loves rock'n'roll music. After learning how to play the electric guitar, he has only one dream: to become as famous as the Shinsengumi is. The Shinsengumi is a group of idols trying to brainwash Japan with songs called “Heaven's Songs”, while banning every other kind of music. Sakamoto has to stop them, but he needs some accomplices. When he manages to persuade Shinsaku Takasugi and Kogorou Katsura, they create a band and start to fight strumming away on their instruments!
During the Bakumatsu era, the historical figure of Ryouma Sakamoto opposed to the Tokugawa shogunate, and the Shinsengumi. In this show, that is a comedy by all means, we find a lot of historical figures and events, reinterpreted in a brand-new way. In fact, the Shinsengumi that was a special police force, here becomes a group of pop idols. The one who opposed them, Ryouma Sakamoto, here becomes a rock player who, by definition, clashes with pop idols. Aside from the historical part, and from the song contests, the supernatural part is all up to the power-ups that these idols and performers have during the live concert. Sakamoto fights the Shinsengumi jamming on his guitar, and for as idiotic as this anime may seem, it'll make you laugh with Sakamoto's gags, and will show you the Shinsengumi, for the first time, in a lighthearted way.
2. Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~ (Hakuouki)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2010 – June 2010
It's 1860 and Chizuru Yukimura lives in Edo, with her father. Being her father a doctor, his work takes him away from her, and to Kyoto. The two start exchanging letters, but one day, suddenly, the letters from her father stop coming. Chizuru is at a loss; trying and reach her father in Kyoto, or stay still and wait? Overly worried, Chizuru disguises herself as a man, and decides to head to Kyoto. Once in Kyoto, though, a bunch of samurai and a seemingly inhuman man attack her, and she is saved by a member of the Shinsengumi. Taken to the base of the Shinsengumi, her destiny of certain death changes when she states that she is searching for her father. Since even the Shinsengumi members are searching for doctor Yukimura, they allow her to stay and cooperate.
Having talked about Shinsengumi, it's pointless to mention where the historical part in this anime lies. The members of the Shinsengumi who historically were the most important, here are all depicted as honorable men. Plus, even though their histories are a bit fictionalized, they stick to the real characteristics and ends they all had. Honestly, if you like that part of history in Japan, this is an anime worth watching. If you like the supernatural part, as well, you won't be disappointed as all the member of Shinsengumi, to a certain point, will gain the power to turn into something like vampires – rasetsu – and increase their power. This is a supernatural, historical anime with a bit of romance in it. It can make you emotional and sad at times, but it's worth your time!
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2007 – November 2007
Let's fly to America, and deal with alchemists this time! It's 1711 and some alchemists summon a demon to try to obtain immortality. The summoned evil creature give them the immortality elixir, with the only condition that should they become tired of immortality, they will have to kill each other. The proportion of the matter is just too big; the alchemists decide that no one else shall come to know how to create the immortality elixir. Yet, on that same night, Szilard – the only alchemist who opposed the decision – starts and devour some alchemists. To escape the death, the remaining alchemists scatter around the world.
It's the early 1930s in New York, when Szilard manages to create the immortality elixir. A little thief steals it, and Szilard and Ennis start a journey to try getting it back. In the meanwhile, the transcontinental train Flying Pussyfoot starts a bloody journey all over the Country, and to make things worse, a mafia war strikes and worsens by the minute. A lot of seemingly unrelated events will entangle and show to alchemists in 1711 what is the price for immortality.
Our first position had to be Baccano!'s. This is a story that mixes together history and supernatural, wonderfully. The events take place in America, but they are a lot, and cover different times and places. So we find the historical figure of the alchemist, who wanted to be omniscient, and wanted to find a panacea for all the sufferings, and possibly a way to obtain immortality; in Baccano! all of this is possible, but there's a flip side that shows why immortality isn't exactly a good thing.
As Baccano! is a masterpiece in the supernatural, historical genre, we are sorry to say that it is a bit underrated, and probably it went unnoticed. Yet, we guarantee you that if you like the genre, or you want to approach to it, Baccano! will give you all what you're searching for in an anime, and will keep you glued to the screen until the end. It's time to give this show a try!
And so our ranking came to an end. How did you like it? We traveled here and there, and discovered a little bit of supernatural around the world. It was hard for us to choose only ten anime among all the supernatural, historical anime that were worth it, but we needed to pick the ones that had all sort of themes; romance, family, friendship, violence, and so on. We truly hope you enjoyed this journey with us. If you know other anime that had to be in this ranking, or if you simply want to share your thoughts with us, feel free to comment below!