Samurai Jack fans should check out this list of similar-themed animated and non-animated series, such as Castlevania.
Samurai Jack is one of Cartoon Network’s most popular and edgy cult shows. In 2017 the show was revived for a new season after four seasons with an open-ended ending. It is Aku, the shape-shifting wizard/dragon who transports the unnamed samurai hero (who goes by the name Jack) to a dystopian future. Throughout the show, Jack works tirelessly to return to his home.
In addition to its impressive animation and action, Samurai Jack’s ability to seamlessly blend different genres has been widely praised by fans and audiences alike. Despite its title, this isn’t just another samurai show. If Samurai Jack’s tone appeals to you, the following shows should be high on your priority list.
1. Afro Samurai
An amalgam of soul, hip hop, and samurai folklore, Afro Samurai is a violently beautiful mix of cultures. Rokutaro witnesses his father’s death at the hands of a gunslinger named Justice in the anime series. To avenge the death of his father, Rokutaro grows his hair out and acquires sword-slinging skills, becoming the titular Afro-Samurai.
Only five episodes and a movie are planned, but that’s more than enough high-concept action to leave an impression on any fan. The Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA provided the original score, while Samuel L Jackson voiced the protagonist.
One of the most popular and beloved video game franchises of all time, Castlevania is now available on Netflix as an anime adaptation of the original games. All of the show’s characters, regardless of which side they’re on in the battle between good and evil, appear to share a common humanity.
Alucard, the son of Dracula, is one of the three main characters, along with a brash vampire hunter Trevor and a kind and powerful wizard. It is revealed in the first season that Dracula’s wife was a scientist, and the Church burned her to death as a witch because of it. When Dracula is enraged by this, he unleashes a reign of terror on humanity, and the three of them unite in order to stop him. For a show based on a violent video game, Castlevania frequently questions religious dogmas, the guilt that accompanies violence, and sexuality.
For more than 300 episodes, Bleach was one of the most popular Japanese animes of the 2000s, making it an anime classic. Ichigo Kurasaki, a swordsman who has been cursed with the ability to see spirits, is the protagonist of this story. When such spirits kidnap his own family, he transforms into a Soul Reaper (a sort of spirit hunter), making it his mission to protect humans from evil spirits and lead the afflicted souls to the afterlife he so desires.
For decades, it has been widely regarded as one of Japan’s best animes, with a following that extends into the modern era. Even less than two years ago, a live-action film in Japanese was also produced (mostly for fan service).
4. Samurai Champloo
It was around the same time as Samurai Jack that Samurai Champloo became a cult classic. An alternate Edo period with heavy hip-hop influences like Afro-Samurai and Samurai Jack is depicted in the main plot of the film.
An unlikely group of adventurers set out on a mysterious journey that includes martial arts, comedy, and adventure. Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe’s previous work, Cowboy Bebop, was praised for its smooth blend of several tones and genres. Samurai Champloo’s soundtrack features some of DJ Nujabes’ early hip-hop works, which are seen as the earliest influences in the lo-fi music genre, as well as a number of other Japanese artists.
While in the 1970s, martial arts legend Bruce Lee tried to sell Warner Bros. on the idea of creating a Western-themed martial arts action series based on a Chinese man. However, it appears that Kung Fu, starring David Carradine, was ripped off by the studio. Lee was overlooked despite the fact that Kung Fu was a huge success at the time. In addition, the show appears to be racially and stereotypically offensive in today’s society.
Nonetheless, Lee’s legacy lives on in the Cinema show Warrior, a fast-paced action series that expands on Lee’s concept. Warrior is set in 1870s San Francisco’s Chinatown during the gang wars between rival factions. When Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) arrives in the United States to find his missing sister, he finds himself entangled in the gangland turf wars.
6. American Dragon: Jake Long
It’s a shame that American Dragon: Jake Long only lasted two seasons, but it was a positive step for diversity in a Disney production. It turns out that Jake Long, a Chinese-American high school student, has the ability to transform into a dragon with wings and fire-breathing powers. He frequently joins other magical creatures in Manhattan on their quests.
Jake’s coming-of-age and how he juggles his two cultures are examined in depth in the show, in addition to the usual fantasy tropes. An older Dante Basco and a pre-Parenthood Mae Whitman were among the show’s voice actors.
7. Samurai Gourmet
To put it another way, Samurai Gourmet is a different kind of show than the others. A retired old man, Takeshi, embarks on culinary journeys as he believes eating whatever he likes will awaken his inner personality in this Japanese Netflix series. This inner self is a samurai warrior who lived during Japan’s civil wars in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The show is a comforting and uplifting experience that features beautiful images of authentic Japanese cuisine.
8. Wolverine: Anime
Mariko Yashida and the Silver Samurai were two of Wolverine’s Japanese adversaries in his original comic book form. Because of this, he should get an anime makeover as well. For example, Wolverine: Anime was part of the Blade and Iron Man anime reinterpretations.
He can chop his way through his enemies in the 12-episode anime, which is heavily inspired by Wolverine’s debut storyline written by Chris Claremont. He takes on the likes of superhumans and the Japanese criminal underworld to keep fans interested.
9. Warrior Nun
It’s a mix of crusader-style warriors and nuns, inspired by the Warrior Nun graphic novel series. A cult of weapon-wielding nuns chose Ava as their prophetic leader to protect them from the dangers of the underworld when she was born with an angelic halo.
As Ava learns to control her powers, a conspiracy involving the church, a tech company, and forces of Biblical proportions erupts around her. Warrior Nun is a soapy melodrama at times, but Alba Baptista’s compelling lead performance makes it a compelling fantasy series.
10. Samurai 7
Samurai 7 is a modern reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai set in a post-war Japanese village. Robotic bandits are terrorizing the village, forcing the villagers to hire their remaining seven samurai to protect them.
Samurai 7 is a grim, violent, and gripping film that resembles Samurai Jack’s style and tone in many ways. To follow the sci-fi/adventure anime, you don’t need a lot of time and dedication, unlike other anime that require more time and effort.