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Swords are some of the most magnificent weapons ever created. It takes great skill to master the art of crafting a fine sword. However, it takes even more skill, time, and effort to master swordsmanship. Today’s Top Ten List brings you a much needed update of such sword fighters. Some are young and relatively inexperienced with swords, while others are fairly proficient despite their young age. That’s to say nothing of the older sword fighters with years of experience and weight to their names.
While the list from four years ago still holds many fantastic and famous sword fighters, such as Kenshin and Zoro, Honey’s would like to point the spotlight on some favorites not mentioned before as well as some newcomers. All of these sword fighters are primarily known for their sword skills, which is one of the requirements for this list. The character’s proficiency in using the sword as well as other factors such as their powers and the rules that govern their worlds were also factored in when creating this list.
10. Hyakkimaru from Dororo
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2019 – Ongoing
Sword fighters trust their senses and training in the heat of battle. Knowing how their body will react, their weapon becomes an extension of themselves. Hyakkimaru takes this concept and embodies it with he himself being a weapon outfitted with bladed prosthetic limbs. Robbed of his senses at birth by a curse, Hyakkimaru can’t hear, smell, or even see when he fights when he is first introduced. He can only sense the presence and temperment of the souls of living things nearby.
Against all odds, Hyakkimaru goes from battle to battle. He can’t even feel pain so he never backs down. Unfortunately, why this seemingly unstoppable swordsman doesn’t rank higher on the list is that he is actively becoming weaker. As he slays more demons, his lost senses are being returned to him. Hyakkimaru has lived and learned to fight without them, so now strong smells, the pain of wounds, and other factors are distractions to his berserker-like fighting style. It’s hard to say if Hyakkimaru would be as frighteningly strong as he is if he had learned to fight with his senses intact in the first place.
9. Trunks from Dragonball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: April 1989 – January 1996
Dragonball is a legendary franchise known for bare-knuckle brawls and energy blasts, so where do swords fit in? The introduction of Trunks is among the most memorable moments in anime and it’s because of some sweet sword moves. After countless battles and powerups, we’ve seen Goku and the gang struggle against Frieza. Now, Frieza is back, along with his father, King Cold. Surely this is the beginning of another long story arc? Trunks thought otherwise.
Trunks wields his sword and seemingly effortlessly slices through Frieza. He continues fighting with it, even incorporating his ki energy into his sword strikes. Unfortunately, even if he can beat Frieza without going Super Saiyan, Trunks doesn’t rely on his sword all that much in future fights. In his attempts to train with Goku and fight against Android 18, his sword is all but useless. He mostly adopts a fighting style closer to that of Goku and Vegeta. It’s unfortunate that after such a cool display of swordsmanship Trunks doesn’t keep it up.
8. Kirito from Sword Art Online: Alicization
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2018 – March 2019
Kirito’s journey as a swordsman has gone through ups and downs. From his time in various VR worlds, he has enjoyed a reputation that preceeded him and the skills to back it up. While not having to start over entirely from square one, the Alicization story arc puts Kirito into a situation where he needs to learn the rules of engagement all over again. Dual wielding, Kirito’s signature skill, seems to be off the table. It doesn’t seem to be a problem for him, though. The adaptability he shows is a big part of why Kirito shines as a swordsman.
At the same time as Kirito is understanding how his techniques apply to the Underworld, he steps into the role of a mentor for Eugeo. Kirito has always watched over his allies in the past, but with Eugeo, it’s the first time he shows that his skill isn’t all just a game. It’s the knowledge that he has become proficient enough at his swordsmanship to impart what he knows to someone else. Eugeo’s growth as a swordsman reflects back on Kirito, and Kirito certainly has come a long way.
7. Akame from Akame ga Kill!
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2014 – December 2014
While being a technically proficient swordsman is great, having a sword with a special powers certain makes life easier. Akame’s sword is pretty killer, literally. A single cut from Murasame will cause someone’s heart to stop shortly thereafter. This is Akame’s greatest strength, but also a weakness. Akame is still just a girl who went through a terrible ordeal in her childhood. While trained as an assassin, her emotions still tend to get the better of her as she uses them to fuel her battle sense.
Murasame, while terrifying to take on, is also known to many of the people Akame faces. Knowing that a single cut from the blade is certain death, her opponents choose carefully how to engage her. Murasame’s curse is ineffective against a mostly mechanical enemy, and another foe who could predict and anticipate her movements would simply avoid her cuts altogether. With the help of her fellow Night Raid members and her do or die attitude from her assassin training, Akame is up for the challenge.
6. Kagura Karatachi from Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
- Episodes: 99+
- Aired: April 2017 – Ongoing
In the world of Naruto, the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist are famous wielders of powerful swords with their own special abilities. Kagura is the latest wielder-in-training of the sword Hiramekare, and candidate to be the 7th Mizukage. These opportunities, along with Kagura’s outwardly shy personality, mask his struggles against his past and destiny as a swordsman.
Kagura is a prodigy with the sword, but in combat he is overtaken by a bloodlust so violent he cannot distinguish between friend and foe. There is only the kill. He is the descendant of Yagura Karatachi, the 4th Mizukage, who is also reviled in the village as a bloody leader. This legacy of his blood leads Kagura to be afraid to even hold a sword, for fear of that side of him overtaking the peaceful nature he wants to have. In spite of this, Kagura receives support from his mentor Chojuro and his friends in order to face his inner demons. His skill and training with a sword are his own and they don’t belong to his past.
5. Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: October 2004 – March 2012
Ichigo one day entered a world full of magical sentient swords and has stood toe to toe with some of the most powerful people there. While at first he simply borrowed his power from Rukia, his Zangetsu and full repetoire of other abilities fully come to be his own as Ichigo faces new enemies. Zangetsu itself is the perfect representation of Ichigo. In its first form, its odd shape and large size match Ichigo’s brash and combative personality. As he grows, trains, and takes more responsibility, his deep inner strength reveals itself. Zangetsu’s Bankai form is a sleek and slender blade. Unassuming at first glance, just as Ichigo is to the people of Soul Society as a human.
Ichigo’s progression of opponents serves to show his growth as a swordsman. Many swordsmen characters are portrayed as already being powerful from the start, but the audience watches Ichigo go from struggling against normal Hollows, to fighting and overpowering captains of the Gotei 13 and beyond. In his first encounter with Byakuya, Ichigo is completely defeated. After infiltrating Soul Society, fighting against Kenpachi, Renji, and more, Ichigo prepares to fight Byakuya again. This time, Byakuya does not have such an easy time, and this rematch is the ultimate payoff of the path paved by that first loss over 30 episodes earlier.
4. Saber from Fate/Stay Night
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2006 – June 2006
Excalibur is one of the most well-known swords and its most famous anime incarnation is a magical powerhouse capable of destroying anything with a great beam of light. Its wielder is no slouch either. Saber, known as such because of the “Class” system of the Fate franchise, is in actuality a female representation of King Arthur. Saber is a tactical fighter, always looking for a decisive way to end battles without causing collateral damage or involving innocents. As The King of Knights, Saber embodies chivalry and will go out of her way to ensure a fair fight so long as her opponent is willing and not evil.
Of course, this collected way of dealing with conflict might lead you to believe that Saber is trying to make it fair for herself as well. On the contrary, as she is often at a disadvantage against foes who don’t care about chivalry in the least. Usually, if she were to use the full power of Excalibur at one time, she could obliterate almost anyone in her way. The damage to the surrounding area would be massive, though, so she sparingly uses this destructive power, only as a last resort. After all, a king has an obligation to defend his people.
3. Jin from Samurai Champloo
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: May 2004 – March 2005
The story of the student training with their master and later surpassing them is a staple in tales of swordsmen. Prior to the start of Samurai Champloo, Jin has already done this and is set in his resolve. Having witnessed his master and fellow students betray the principles of honor and tradition he believes in only hardened those beliefs. Jin likes to put on a front that he doesn’t care about people, but in truth, he cares about them more than anyone else.
On the run from assassins and his former classmates, Jin proves he is a survivor. He even intervenes in his companions problems as well, as an honorable man should stand up for his friends. He may not “win” every battle he fights, but his technique is so proficient that there is always a way out to live to fight another day. Other swordsmen on this list may be paragons of honor as well, but Jin holds honor above all else. He is uncompromising in his sword style and in standing against those who look down on others.
2. Yami Sukehiro from Black Clover
- Episodes: 74+
- Aired: October 2017 – Ongoing
Yami, a master swordsman before he was even a mage, is near the top of Honey’s list. A newcomer to the world of sword fighters, Yami starts off strong with his skill set as a master magic swordsman. Before receiving his dark magic Grimoire and becoming a mage at fifteen, Yami practiced sword fighting for most of his youth. Being a commoner and a foreigner on top of that, he had to fight his way to the top and is now the captain of the Black Bulls squad of the Magic Knights.
While Yami does use magic to enhance his swordplay, he has skills that make him formidable even without it. During his battle with Patolli, the leader of Eye of the Midnight Sun, he fights evenly with him, using only his swordplay and dark magic, which just increases the area of damage and destroys everything around it (episode 35). His ability to use ki, something that is distinctly from his homeland, also gives him a huge advantage at being able to read his opponents’ attacks and allow him to easily counter them.
Compared with other sword fighters on this list, not only are Yami’s sword skills on point, but he’s continuously surpassing his own limits and acquiring new skills—like in the Temple Battle Royale arc (episodes 42-50)—that make him a swordsman to beat. Nothing can be more intimidating than a hot-headed swordsman that keeps on getting more and more powerful! This is why Yami Sukehiro takes the number two spot on the updated list of top ten sword fighters.
1. Dracule “Hawk Eyes” Mihawk from One Piece
- Aired: October 1999 – Ongoing
If anyone is going to hold the title of the best sword fighter other than Kenshin, it’d be Mihawk. In the One Piece universe, he already holds the title of the “Greatest Swordsman in the World.” The abilities Mihawk possesses are numerous, including seemingly inhuman strength, incredibly sharp eyesight, and he is a competent fighter on top of his mastery of his sword. Mihawk’s ability to flawlessly use all of his abilities has gotten him accused more than once of being a devil fruit user, but as far as anyone knows, he isn’t one.
In the beginning of the One Piece series, Zoro goes after Mihawk as Zoro’s dream is to become the world’s greatest swordsman and to do that he needs to defeat the current owner of that title—Mihawk. However, Mihawk takes Zoro down with only a dagger, but spares his life because he sees potential within him. Later, during the two-year time skip, Zoro apprentices under Mihawk and becomes far stronger, proving Mihawk to not only be a skillful swordsman, but a skillful teacher as well.
All other scenes of Mihawk show him fairly unscathed. In the Battle of Marineford, even when other strong fighters were gravely injured or killed, Mihawk remained relatively untouched. In fact, Mihawk has only been depicted with a few scratches and light injuries at most, portraying him as someone who rivals even a yonko. Mihawk’s abilities on top of his track record prove him to be the most skillful and formidable sword fighter of this list.
There are tons of good sword fighters in anime, manga, and games, but this is just Honey’s updated list of the top ten, not including any of the ones from the previous list. All of these sword fighters have worked hard for their spots, either through talent, skills, or hard work. That’s not to say there aren’t other great sword fighters out there, though. This list isn’t about who would beat who, but which sword fighter has the best combinations overall.
We at Honey’s love a good sword fight and admire those who wield the blade. If you see someone you don’t know much about, we encourage you to check out the anime. Of course, there are more sword fighters out there than we can put in our top ten list. If you think we’ve overlooked a worthy sword fighter, please leave a comment below!
There are few tools whose use is less important to the development of Human History than the sword.
Used for millennia in Europe, North Africa and Asia, the sword, though now obsolete as a weapon is an crucial part of history and folk-lore for cultures all around the world.
In Japan, the sword has even a greater significance, and of course that means there’s no shortage of incredibly powerful and memorable swordsmen (and women) from series all through anime history.
10. Levi (Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin))
So much about swordsmanship and martial arts in general, is about the perfect strike. The right amount of force, at just the right time that can be delivered because you’ve put yourself in the right position, in the right stance.
When you think of great swordfights, you think of a flurry of steel, hacks and slashes, perfectly timed and to strike the enemy, and protect yourself. You don’t think of, necessarily, the type of fighting done in Attack on Titan, the masterful single strike.
But when you think of it, the enemies of Attack on Titan, may be more fearful then a human opponent wielding a blade. Furthermore, the characters in Attack on Titan have to rely on only their human ability, no supernatural magic or power.
For this, we have to rank Levi into our top 10. No one can master the difficult 3-D maneuver gear, putting themselves in the perfect position for a perfect strike on the huge, monstrous Titans, quite like Levi.
9. Gintoki Sakata (Gintama)
Gintoki of Gintama defeats most of his enemies not with some type of magic or ultra-powerful weapon, but with a bokutou, a wooden Katana.
Despite this, Gintoki is an insanely powerful swordsman, and while he’s used a normal katana, he prefers to use the wooden one to avoid needless loss of life. Gintama’s style is all his own, he doesn’t really use anything passed down to him, but has basically perfected his own style of swordsmanship over time, and boosts tremendous strength and endurance.
8. King Bradley (Fullmetal Alchemist)
King Bradley took down a tank with just a sword, that shows you how amazingly strong he is. Bradley is strong enough to turn-around entire battles just from his skill and power.
King Bradley is one of the most powerful characters in the Full Metal Alchemist universe and for good reason. His sheer dominance, the fear he inspires in his opponents, and his ability to turn around entire conflicts and intimidate entire armies earns him a spot on this list.
7. Ryuko Matoi & Satsuki Kiryuin (Kill la Kill)
We had to pair some characters because of their relative equal footing, and their shared awesomeness. Ryuko and Satsuki are here for shall we say, related reasons.
They’re on this list for their power, force of will, and their ability with two awesome weapons, Ryuko wielding a scissor blade, and Satsuki with her katana-style ‘Bakuzan.’ The hero/antagonist pair of Kill La Kill go at it in some of the most memorable anime clashes in recent years, most of the times blade to blade.
They’re two equally inspiring warriors, capable of demonstrating leadership through unsurpassed skill in a fight.
Moreover, what makes then fun to watch is their total desire to beat and best one another in combat.
6. Inuyasha & Sesshomaru (Inuyasha)
The feuding brothers from Inuyasha, both do some serious damage with some deadly weapons. Fighting demons-galore in a mythical version of Feudal Japan, both wield awesome power and awesome ability with swords.
Often getting new mythical and magical blades that are on pace with their internal development as characters, as well as power, they both represent that a fighter’s strength most come from within themselves.
Warriors can’t just be good fighters; they must be at peace with themselves and have connections to the world around them and relationships with the people that live in it.
After some major character development, the initially strong but very flawed pair of brothers becomes super-powerful, and even more skilled with their various blades.
5. Erza Scarlet (Fairy Tail)
Erza has done some seriously impressive things in Fairy Tail.
She’s cut through metal with just air pressure from her sword, was able to trounce 100 powerful monsters at once despite being injured, and defeats some of the most powerful characters in the Fairy Tail universe.
Her signature‘re-quip’ style allows her to use different arms and armaments seemingly at will, and her mastery with a diverse amount of swords, armor and fighting styles, all used to deadly effect, makes her one of the best swordsmen, or swordswomen in anime history.
4. Guts (Berserk)
Remember that time when Guts fought off one hundred enemy soldiers practically single-handed?
Guts boasts ridiculous strength, wielding a sword that’s less like a sword and more like a human-sized ultra-sharp slab of iron. Often it’s only enemies twice his size that just force him to make a modest effort in a fight, he’s that dominant.
Guts is the perfect swordsmen for the brutal world of Berserk, hacking apart enemies like they’re mincemeat. Guts is Definitely a guy you want on your side in a fight.
3. Zoro Roronoa (One Piece)
One Piece fans might think this controversial since the greatest swordsmen in the universe is Zoro’s rival, Mihawk.
However, Mihawk has now had a hand in training Zoro, and believes Zoro to become his successor and an even greater fighter than him. We take Mihawk’s word for it, and we think that Zoro is going to overtake Mihawk for the title of the greatest swordsmen in the One Piece universe.
Formidable even before the time skip, Zoro has gotten immensely powerful after Mihawk’s training, easily dispatching some of the most powerful enemies around. His 3-sword style is extremely powerful, and his later sword style of Kyutoryu, a spirit-based power which renders him so powerful it’s as if he’s wielding 9 swords at once.
2. Hiei (Yu Yu Hakusho)
Hiei once sliced his enemy 16 times in the blink of an eye, Hiei often rushes into battles not so much with strategy, but sheer force of will and brute strength used to overpower his opponents
His extreme speed can outwit other opponents, leaving him almost impossible to hit. His Sword of the Darkness Flame power is one of the coolest ever seen in anime, Hiei channels a dragon-power into his sword and is so powerful that Hiei almost finds it cheap, and only uses it twice.
1. Kenshin Himura (Ruroni Kenshin)
What list of great swordsmen would be complete without Kenshin Himura. Kenshin is a legendary character, probably one of the most famous in the anime world.
He is to swordsmen in anime what Amuro Ray is to mecha pilots. He deserves every bit of the fame. Kenshin is another of those characters that gets by on raw-skill.
The absolute master of Battojutsu, unsheathing your sword in a way to perform a masterful strike, Kenshin is the absolute best fighter of his universe. Kenshin is a practitioner of Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu style, which takes near super-human speed, reflexes, control and power to master.
Kenshin possesses the mental and physical excellence to use such a dominant style; he’s so quick he often moves quicker than the human eye can track.
There you have it, there’s our top 10 swordsmen and women in anime.
There are so many great characters and strong fighters who use a sword, so be sure to let us know in the comments below if we missed any of your favorites!
Do you think we have the most powerful fighters on here?
Have someone you think can mop the floor with our selections?
Be sure to say so in the comments below! We want to hear your feedback.