Some of the best anime series are set during medieval times when fantasy elements and political themes come together. The best parts about fantasy and medieval anime are the complex character development and the intense fight scenes throughout the series. If you’re a fan of The Lord Of The Rings, you will love these popular anime shows and light novels!
Here’s the scoop on the best medieval anime of all time!
1. Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga is one of Makoto Yukimura’s most popular works with the manga series eventually becoming an anime. The historical fiction and Epic revolve around the main protagonist, Thorfinn who is a former warrior of Askeladd’s band. He also just so happens to be the son of the great warrior, Thors.
With the second season in the works, the team behind the anime has released a character design for the adult version of Thorfinn. Get ready to watch the second season of the violent, action-packed anime that everyone has come to love.
2. Goblin Slayer
Goblin Slayer, a fantasy series, follows a young priestess, an elf archer, a dwarf shaman, and a lizardman priest. The group of adventurers goes on a quest to destroy the dangerous goblins that threaten to take over the land. The goblin slayer is a silver-ranked adventurer who hunts goblins with his best efforts, but he is often underestimated due to his appearance.
Although Goblin Slayer does a phenomenal job at creating a medieval world, the anime has recently come out as controversial due to the overwhelming amount of violence. If you can look past the sexual violence and take the anime for what it is in terms of characters and dark fantasy elements, Goblin Slayer may have everything you could ever want in a good medieval anime.
3. Yona of the Dawn
Yona of the Dawn by Mizuho Kusanagi makes the top of the list of the best medieval anime due to the detailed world-building and complex fictional characters. The adventure and romance anime follows the perspective of Yona, the princess of Kouka who lives a peaceful life in the palace. 2000 years after the near extinction of the world, the sheltered princess wants to reveal an important message to her father about Soo-won.
However, Yona discovers that Soo-won has a grand strategy for taking over the kingdom that may involve a Coup d’etat. Even though Yona of the Dawn is set in the medieval period, the princess goes on a journey to save her country.
4. Spice & Wolf
Spice and Wolf is a light novel series written by Isuna Hasekura and has been adapted into a 13-episode anime. This Japanese fantasy series is considered to be unique with a heavy focus on economics and trade rather than magic and swords.
The story follows, Kraft Lawrence, a traveling merchant, who carries goods from town to town. Although Spice and Wolf is created in a fictional world, a majority of the setting reminds anime fans of medieval Europe with subtle influences like small villages.
5. The Rising of the Shield Hero
The 2019 anime, The Rising of the Shield Hero, follows the main protagonist, Naofumi Iwatani. Naofumi is summoned into a parallel world along with a group of people to eventually earn the title of the ‘Cardinal Heroes’ while fighting hordes of monsters. He is the only young man to receive the Legendary Shield while the other men are given weapons. His luck only seems to get worse once he is betrayed by the princess.
The light novel turned anime started off quite controversial due to hints of sexual violence and slavery, but the medieval fantasy anime gained enough attention to renew for a third season.
6. The Seven Deadly Sins
The adventure and fantasy series, The Seven Deadly Sins, tells the story of a group of knights in the kingdom of Britannia who were framed for plotting a coup towards the Liones Kingdom. Moreover, the Holy Knights take control in their act of rebellion. Princess Elizabeth of the Liones Kingdom joins forces with the leader of the knights, Meliodas, to clear the names of his comrades. Meliodas and his band of knights may seem like bad guys for representing sins, but we can’t help but cheer them on.
As the Sins fight against the Ten Commandments, Meliodas soon discovers that he’s the Demon King’s son who just so happens to be cursed alongside sharing a destiny with Elizabeth.
Berserk is considered to be one of the best anime of all time due to the enticing elements of dark fantasy as well as the chemistry between the characters. Besides the intentional character arcs and the use of two characters as plot devices, Berserk is also known for the artwork.
Guts as the ‘Black Swordsman’ appears as the main character who has a dark history. As a former mercenary taken in by the Band of the Hawk, he used his energy to fight until the leader decided to sacrifice his followers by mutilating their body parts in order to rule a kingdom of his own. Now, Guts must live with branded marks that attract evil spirits.
8. Code Geass
Many anime fans argue that Code Geass is the perfect introduction to the world of anime as it effectively blends in slice-of-life, horror, and even political intrigue. Code Geass also attempts to create a medieval setting that seems both realistic and otherworldly when adding in robotic weapons.
The Holy Empire of Britannia conquered Japan and now takes the name, Area 11. The residents of the area are unable to self-govern themselves when faced with powerful, destructive robotic weapons. However, Lelouch has a few things up his sleeves that could help the residents seek a better place to live, one in which using the power of the Geass to build his ideal world.
9. Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight
Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight revolves around courageous adventurers who defend the realm of Lodoss from evil forces to bring a demon back to life. The main characters, Parn and Spark receive their own tale of adventures. The heroic fantasy introduces elves, witches, and even gods to form some of the best tv shows and films.
The first eight episodes are based on the conflict happening at Fire Dragon Mountain in which Parn finds new allies to help him hunt down the fire dragon Shooting Star. Later on in the series, Spark sets on his own journey to recover the Soul Crystal Ball and Staff of Life.
10. Guin Saga
Written by Kaoru Kurimoto, Guin Saga is one of the best-selling heroic fantasy novels. The epic fantasy follows a mysterious warrior, Guin, who has a serious case of amnesia. Although, he can recall his fighting instincts and the word ‘Aurra.’ Guin comes face to face with a dangerous yet intriguing world.
The main character Guin not only has inhuman strength but is also well versed in battle strategies for military forces. His knowledge of battle has the Mongauli army fearing and wishing that they had the same skills as a warrior.
11. Snow White with the Red Hair
A shojo manga written by Sorata Akizuki, Snow White with the Red Hair follows the fictional character, Shirayuki who is a herbalist in the Tanbarun Kingdom. The young girl has a unique feature that tends to draw a lot of attention: her red hair. Shirayuki is used to being independent and keeping herself under the radar. However, Prince Raj becomes attracted to her at first sight due to her beautiful red hair.
In her efforts to escape the life of a concubine, Shirayuki cuts off her hair and runs away to the kingdom of Clarines. Her life changes when she meets Prince Zen Wistaria and his two aides. Shirayuki and the trio become best friends as she establishes herself as a herbalist in the royal court of Clarines.
12. Fullmetal Alchemist
The steampunk adventure anime by Hiromu Arakawa focuses on two brothers who desperately wanted to bring their mother back to life. Due to their forbidden practices, the brothers, Edward and Alphonse both suffer the consequences of losing parts of their bodies. The brothers spend a long time searching for the Philosopher’s Stone to restore their bodies.
Roy Mustang takes note of Edward and eventually invites him to become a State Alchemist that grants him prosthetic limbs.
13. The Heroic Legend of Arslan
A historic fantasy written by Yoshiki Tanaka, The Heroic Legend of Arslan takes place in a world similar to ancient Persia. The story follows Arslan Senki, the crown prince of the prosperous kingdom of Pars. The kingdom of Pars is conquered by a neighboring nation, Lusitania with the crown prince barely able to escape with his life. Arslan joins together with his loyal servant and a few others to create an army to take back his nation. The feudal kingdoms battle one another until Arslan becomes the king of Pars in the second part. Will Arslan’s destiny as the king of Pars end on a good note or end in bloodshed?
Yoshiki’s inspiration behind the character, Arslan, stems from the popular Persian epic, Amir Arsalan. The majority of this medieval anime has limited magical elements, heavily focusing on the repercussions of slavery and absolute monarchy.
14. Fairy Tail
Natsu, a Dragon Slayer wizard searches for his missing father in the Kingdom of Fiore. Being a member of the popular Fairy Tail Guild, he invites a young wizard, Lucy to join missions involving criminals and deadly demons. This fantasy world has the perfect blend of comedy, action, and friendships. Many anime fans deem Fairy Tail to be one of the best anime of all time with careful attention to character development even among the side characters.
15. Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is a dark apocalyptic fantasy about Eren Jaeger’s revenge against the gruesome titans. Once a colossal Titan enters the human safe zone, Eren gathers a group of friends to support him in fighting the titans before they make humans go extinct. The Japanese anime has swept up many awards since its release in 2013 and is on nearly every streaming platform.
16. The Twelve Kingdoms
The isekai and epic fantasy, The Twelve Kingdoms, is a novel inspired by Chinese mythology. The series centers around Yoko Nakajima, a high school student, who finds herself confronted by a strange man swearing his allegiance to her. After witnessing her first battle with demon-like beasts, she is transported to another world along with two of her classmates.
Once she enters the new world, Yoko’s appearance changes with the ability to understand the language. But there is a lingering threat to her and her classmates as earthlings, so they must survive and figure out why they were brought to the new world.
Inuyasha tells the story of a girl and a half-dog demon falling in love. Written by Rumiko Takahashi, Inuyasha centers around a middle school girl named Kagome Higurashi. One day, she finds herself transported into the Sengoku period after accidentally falling into a well in her family’s shrine. Kagome encounters Inuyasha just as her body shatters the Shikon jewel. Kagome and the half-dog demon set on a quest with their companions to recover the jewel before Naraku covets it for himself.
The blend of the fantasy, adventure, and romance genres makes Inuyasha a classic that anime fans will return to again and again. Set in feudal Japan, Inuyasha approaches darker matters compared to Takahashi’s previous works. The series has gone on to create adaptations and video games.
18. Tears to Tiara
Tears to Tiara, adapted from a video game, focuses on The Divine Empire which rises to power and conquers lands. The 26-episode series is set in the middle ages where The Empire plans on ruling over the small island of Erin. The priestess of the island is kidnapped and sent to the demon king as a living sacrifice. In the midst of her brother planning to rescue her, Arawn disguises himself and pledges loyalty to the tribe.
The in-depth storytelling and complex character development make Tears to Tiara one of the best medieval anime of all time!
19. King Arthur
Based on the Arthurian legend, the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table anime series ties in medieval life with Arthurian characters, relics, and lore. The series even goes as far as to include the royal castle, Camelot. Directed by Masayuki Akehi and Tomoharu Katsumata, this adventure story is not entirely faithful to the original legends and instead adds in more characters with less violence.
The half-human and half-youma, Claymore, arrives in Raki’s village to kill the shapeshifting demons terrorizing the people. The young boy, Raki, comes across the silver-eyed woman when she saves him, and the pair travel to every town exterminating the monsters along the way. Even though this series might not be the best medieval anime, there is a well-balanced mix of fantasy and the supernatural.
Maoyu (Maoyuu Mao Yuusha) is a Japanese fantasy novel that blends in medieval themes and demons. More than a decade after the war between demons and humans, the Hero makes his move toward the Demon Queen’s castle, but he is caught off guard by her beauty and her call for help. Eventually, the queen convinces him to partner up with her in ending the war and saving the world.
22. The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody
This heroic fantasy and isekai first came out as a light novel but is now a popular anime. The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody is about the powerful Demon Lord Varvatos who decides to reincarnate by tampering with his magical strength to be average.
In figuring out how to be average, he is reborn with the royal family desperately wanting him to become king. Set in a medieval dynasty with ladies fawning over him and a former minion trying to kill him, will he ever achieve his goal?
23. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit follows the sorrowful warrior, Balsa, whose job is to guard Prince Chagum. His connection to a legendary power has him plotting to escape from his father’s orders. There is evidence that the first emperor alongside eight warriors diverted a water demon to save the land.
The stunning fantasy is a journey into the unknown as the warrior and the prince develop a platonic relationship. The best thing about Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is the art style of anime characters like Balsa.
24. Scrapped Princess
Scrapped Princess is a Japanese light novel about Pacifica Casull, the princess of the royal family, who discovers an apocalyptic prophecy about her destroying the world when she turns 16. Pacifica happens to be in the right place at the right time, escaping death with the help of her kindly family.
However, she is unable to hide for long when news of her surviving reaches the God Mauser’s worshippers. The three siblings continue to run from danger, but they start to question whether running away is worth it. This royal nightmare is considered to be one of the best medieval anime that attempts to pull on everyone’s emotions.
25. Fushigi Yugi
Mysterious Game or also known as Fushigi Yugi centers around two teenage girls who are pulled into a mysterious book. In reading the book, they are transported into ancient China. Yui is immediately sent back to the real world but Miaka becomes the Priestess of Suzaku. She soon learns about her destiny and ends up falling for Celestial Warrior Tamahome.
26. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
The Japanese fantasy series, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is based on stories from Arabian Nights. Set in an alternate recreation of the ancient Old World, every living being possesses an essence that becomes reincarnated once dead. Even when people go through emotions, their essence can change. Shinobu Ohtaka builds an elaborate magic system that has anime fans wishing they could live in the magical world.
27. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is a dark fantasy novel written by Ao Jumonji. The story begins with a group of people who find themselves in a fantasy world unable to recall memories before their arrival. The anime mainly focuses on their struggles to survive in an unknown world. They become volunteer soldiers to fight monsters and earn a living for themselves.
28. Record of Gancrest War
The light novel series written by Ryo Mizuno is a table-top role-playing game and an animated television show. The anime takes place in a world ruled by Chaos. Record of Gancrest War explores the laws of nature and the man with the holy seal needed to stop Chaos. In order to complete the creation of the seal, a wedding arrangement was set in place to ensure eternal peace. But there is bound to be war when there is peace.
29. Maria the Virgin Witch
Maria the Virgin Witch is a comedy and historical fantasy by Masayuki Ishikawa. Taking place during the Hundred Years’ War, Maria made a name for herself as the most powerful witch of her era. She uses her magical powers to manipulate the opposing factions for maintaining peace in the land. Not only is she receiving hostility from the church, but she is also seen as an idol by the villagers.
When word goes around that Maria is a virgin, Archangel Michael forbids her from using her powers or she will lose her virginity.
30. Lord Marksman and Vanadis
Lord Marksman and Vanadis is an Epic fantasy revolving around King Faron and the Brunish dukes. In response to the conflict with the Brunish dukes, the rival kingdom, Zhcted, places war maiden on the battlefield. This Epic fantasy anime offers the perfect combination of action, comedy, and fan service.
31. The Beast Player Erin
The Beast Player Erin follows a little girl who finds her mother’s work interesting and admirable. However, their peace is suddenly stripped away when danger befalls the Grand Duke’s strongest Touda. When Erin tries to save her mother, she ends up drifting down a river toward Shin-Ou. When she is unable to return home, she is forced to lead a new life while learning the truth about humanity and the beasts.
Based on the Japanese video game, Castlevania is a dark fantasy series about vampires and witchcraft. The story follows Count Vlad Dracula who plots revenge against the people of Wallachia for killing his wife. He manages to summon a demon army that elicits fear among the people, but the monster hunter, Trevor stops Dracula in his tracks. He forms an alliance with a magician and Dracula’s son.
33. Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin, a martial arts adventure by Nobuhiro Watsuki, is about a former assassin who trains to become a wandering swordsman. He vows not only to protect the Japanese people but to also never take another life for as long as he lives. This anime and manga series features a blend of genres with a captivating main character at the center of it all.
34. King From Now On!
King From Now On (Kyo Kara Maoh) is a series of light novels by Tomo Takabayashi. This fantasy comedy centers around the adventures of Yuri Shibuya who finds himself in another world as the demon king. He is forced to confront discrimination and fear in kingdom come. Even though King From Now On is mainly focused on fantasy and humor, the series does have hints of romance between Yuri and Wolfram making it one of the best medieval anime to exist!
35. The Sacred Blacksmith
The Sacred Blacksmith is a light novel that has been adapted into a 12-episode anime. Written by Isao Miura, the epic fantasy tells the story of Cecily Campbell, a 3rd generation knight of Housman. After the Valbanill War, the demon contracts destroyed the land causing the existing nations to choose peace over violence. After her father’s death, she works to become a knight in order to protect her city.
While she is fighting a veteran of the war, she is saved by a mysterious blacksmith, Luke Ainsworth, who just might offer her the adventure of a lifetime!
36. The World is Still Beautiful
A manga series by Dai Shiina, The World is Still Beautiful blends romance, fantasy, and adventure all in one. The fourth princess of the Rain Dukedom, Nike, has a special power that allows her to call forth the rain. For the sake of her own country, she is sent to marry Sun King Livius. At first, Nike and King Livius are enemies, but they soon start to grow fond of each other.
37. Rage of Bahamut
The Rage of Bahamut is one of the best medieval anime with hints of adventure and dark fantasy. Due to the threat of the land succumbing to the demon beast, Bahamut, the humans, gods, and demons come together to seal away the beast’s power. Two thousand years of peace go by before a woman named Amira appears with the god’s key and no memory. The endless battle begins between the people who want Bahamut locked away and the people who want the creature to be released. This dark fantasy anime comes from a collectible card game with the same name.
The Japanese series, Kingdom, heavily focuses on China’s history, especially the Warring States Period. Although the series is fictional, Yasuhisa Hara opens the doors to exploring history in China. Many of the characters are based on historical figures.
The story follows the war orphan, Xin, who fights to become the greatest general under the heavens. His achievement allows him to unify China after 500 years. While pursuing his goal as a general, he joins his business partner, King Zheng of Qin, to end warfare.
39. The Story of Saiunkoku
A novel and an anime, The Story of Saiunkoku centers around Shuurei Kou, the daughter of a noble and poverty-stricken family. She dreams of becoming a government official for her country but realizes that her dream may be out of reach as women are forbidden to hold positions in the government. However, an invitation to become the emperor’s consort opens the door to challenges and new opportunities.
40. Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
Gate is a fantasy series that follows Japanese self-defense forces officer and otaku, Youji Itami, who travels to a doujin convention in Ginza. But he is suddenly confronted by a strange portal in the shape of a gate. Youji realizes that the gate is dangerous when creatures with medieval armor terrorize the city. With his prompt actions, he tries to save as many people as possible.
After dealing with the attack on the city, Youji ends up leading a special team that will be sent into the mysterious world beyond the gate. They are tasked to travel through the special region in order to learn more about the world in hopes of creating a peaceful truce.
From historical fantasy to romance, there is a medieval anime that will fit everyone’s taste! Hope you loved this list of the best medieval anime!
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