These amazing historical anime can transport viewers to another era.
As well as fantasy worlds and outer space, various historical periods can be depicted in anime stories. Historical anime transports viewers back in time, allowing them to experience life as it might have been centuries ago.
Many historical anime are influenced by traditional literature, but some depict wholly new stories or construct unique timelines for viewers to explore. What are some of the best historical anime?
Mark Sammut updated this page on November 26, 2021: There aren’t many historical anime out there, especially ones that stick to the facts rather than make up stories about the past. The human mind can conjure up extraordinary worlds populated by exotic creatures and dreamlike environments, and anime has brought these worlds to life innumerable times. While historically based anime is fascinating, there is also something to be said for episodes that are simply fictitious. By highlighting previously unrecognized or forgotten periods of history, they provide an entertaining or heart-wrenching tale. Some of the best historical anime ever have been added to this list.
1. Remi, The Nobody’s Boy (Ie Naki Ko)
Ie Naki Ko, a 1970s anime that has been around for over four decades, is still worth watching today despite its age. It is based on Hector Malot’s work Sans Famille which has been a literary classic since its publishing in 1878 and follows Remi when he discovers that he is adopted and is sold to a traveling singer named Vitalis. Despite some deviations from the source material and a lack of historical accuracy, the show’s timeless story is destined to win over new viewers.
2. Emma: A Victorian Romance
There’s nothing quite as heartwarming as a romance set in the late 1800s or early 1900s, in which a member of high society falls in love with a member of lower class. Emma: A Victorian Romance tells the story of Emma, a young woman who falls in love with a guy named William. That this show was manufactured by the same studio that produced Bleach is hard to believe, but it is.
Even the Japan Media Arts Festival recognized Emma’s quality, awarding it the Excellence Prize in 2005.
3. Les Misérables: Shoujo Cosette
There have been numerous fantastic adaptations of Les Misérables since its publication in 1862 by author Victor Hugo. Les Misérables: Shoujo Cosette was born when Nippon Animation decided to take up the story as part of its World Masterpiece Theater collection.
It tells the story through the eyes of Cosette, the protagonist, rather than Jean Valjean, a prisoner 24601. Even if you’ve never seen anime before, you’ll recognize this as a familiar story with a new perspective.
4. Hyouge Mono
The Sengoku Jidai, or Warring States period, has been the subject of numerous legends throughout history. Unlike other historical novels, Hyouge Mono focuses on a tea-loving Oda Nobunaga’s subordinate, Furuta Sasuke, rather than the conflicts and political intrigue of the period.
The show’s concentration on aesthetics, philosophy, and creative silence sets it apart from any other anime.
5. The Rose Of Versailles
The Rose of Versailles is a famous animation that any anime fan will recognize. All the romance, drama, and political intrigue from 1775 are included in this historical recreation.
It’s fascinating for history buffs to see how the program deviates from historical events to create a spectacular plot. Even anyone with little prior knowledge of France’s turbulent 18th century will learn a lot from the show.
6. Romeo And The Black Brothers
Before Nippon Animation’s renowned ten-year break, Nippon Animation produced Romeo and the Black Brothers, one of the last World Masterpiece Theater productions. Die schwarzen Brüder, often known as The Black Brothers in English, is a beloved children’s book that has been translated into more than 100 languages.
Even so, the antics of Romeo and Alfredo as chimney sweeps are sure to enthrall adults as well as children.
Many people are turned off by Kingdom’s CG animation, which is a shame because this is one of the best war-themed anime in recent years. Kingdom Anime’s portrayal of China’s Warring States period through the eyes of orphan Xin, while not nearly as good as the manga, nevertheless makes for an interesting diversion.
After a poor first episode, Kingdom takes off in a big way. An extensive cast of characters is included in the anime, which examines the hardships and sacrifices that come with war. The third season of the sitcom recently wrapped up, and a fourth is scheduled to premiere in April 2022.
8. Golden Kamuy
The basic plot of Golden Kamuy, which includes a group of people hunting for a large cache of gold, is a work of fiction, although the anime’s setting is based on actual events. Ainu people, who live on Hokkaido Island, are given significant attention in the series, which follows the end of the Russo-Japanese War.
Respectfully, Golden Kamuy presents the diverse Ainu customs and cultures. In addition to delving into the psychological and physical toll of war, the show offers a fast-paced adventure packed with plenty of comedy.
9. Rainbow (Nisha Rokubou No Shichinin)
Although Rainbow is set in a more current time period, it is still a good fit for the genre. the abuses that a carceral system perpetrates on a group of younger Japanese boys in 1955. At Shounan Special Reform School, the students rapidly create a close friendship and do whatever it takes to live.
Corrupt practices were rampant during Japan’s post-war reconstruction, which made the story’s setting an especially fertile ground for them. There are more lighthearted historical stories out there, but Rainbow takes a more somber approach to the past.
When compared to other historical anime, Baccano! stands out because it covers so many different eras in its story. The show’s puzzles highlight how seemingly insignificant decisions may have a profound impact on the future.
In the 1930s, what impact did an alchemist have on a well-known transcontinental train? To find out, you’ll have to see Baccano!
11. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
If you’ve never heard of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, you’re missing out. During World War II, rakugo, a Japanese storytelling art, began to flourish. As the novel opens with two friends studying the art of rakugo from a master, the reader is taken on a whirlwind journey through the lives of these unlikely friends.
An important part of the show’s attraction to westerners who are unfamiliar with rakugo is the show’s authentic depiction of the art form. There are a lot of secrets and mythology to be discovered throughout the first season of the show, so keep an eye out for changes in the opening animations.
12. Kids On The Slope
Shinichiro Watanabe’s Samurai Champloo was a historical-leaning anime before 2012, but it wasn’t all that focused on accurately portraying Edo era Japan. Kids on the Slope, on the other hand, takes place in a period of post-war Japan that is rarely seen in animation.
Three teenagers, all of whom share a love for music, are the focus of the film Kids on the Slope, which is set in the 1960s. The anime does touch on the political and religious issues of the time, particularly Japan’s relationship with the United States, although it does so sparingly.
13. Grave Of The Fireflies
For those who only want to watch one historical anime, Grave of the Fireflies is the one to go for. Grave of the Fireflies, a Studio Ghibli production directed by Isao Takahata, depicts the perilous plight of two young orphans as World War II draws to a close.
Grave of the Fireflies does have a few scenes that focus on the war, but it is primarily concerned with the smaller and more insignificant tragedies that occur as a result of war. It’s a harrowing movie.
14. Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga is a must-read for everyone who like stories involving Vikings. The conflict between the Danes and the English, interspersed with raids by the Vikings, provides a fascinating backdrop to what appears to be a straightforward story.
As simple as it may seem at first glance, the story of Thorfinn seeking vengeance against the man who murdered his father is far more complex than the average fan might expect. There’s no doubt that anime fans will be riveted by the perils of a war-torn world in the 11th century.