Ever since Vinland Saga released, it has taken the world by a storm. The revenge story comes straight from the studio behind Attack on Titan, i.e, Wit Studio. There's nothing to hate in Vinland Saga, absolutely nothing we can pick on. Not only is it 2019s greatest, but it is easily one of the best of all time.
If you are into coming of age stories with historical touches, you will love Thorfinn's story. He's the revenge-driven protagonist in Vinland Saga who goes after a man who killed his father, Askeladd. Vinland Saga prides itself on Thorfinn's character development, along with a heartbreaking backstory. Due credits are to be given for stunning artwork, amazing action scenes, and top-notch description of a historical tale.
If the above-mentioned criterion is your cuppa tea, here's ten more anime to look out for.
10 SPICE AND WOLF (2008)
Spice and Wolf finds a place in the list as it is historical fiction like Vinland Saga. Spice and Wolf deals with the story of a merchant, Kraft Lawrence. At one of his pitstops at Pasloe, he meets Holo, a wolf-goddess. Holo proposes to help Kraft in his dealings so long as he keeps his promise to take her to her Northern home of Yoitsu.
As the two begin their adventure, we are introduced to numerous economic challenges that commoners face daily. The struggles of everyday life resonate with those in Vinland Saga.
9 GOLDEN KAMUY (2018)
Another series that rests deeply in the figments of war and survival, Golden Kamuy details the story of Sugimoto. A war veteran, he lived through the Russo-Japanese conflict, earning the moniker 'Sugimoto the Immortal.'
Now, Sugimoto is on a journey to find a treasure in order to help the widow of his deceased friend, Toraji. He is saved by Asirpa, an Ainu girl from the wilderness. As they develop an alliance, their symbiotic relationship is deeper than you think it is.
Golden Kamuy is particularly lauded for the accurate historical representation of Ainu culture, woven intricately into the story. It makes for one of the most accurate historical anime of all time.
8 ARSLAN SENKI (2015)
Arslan Senki traces the chronicles of a young prince, Arslan. As his father is betrayed by his trusted general, the prince is forced to be a fugitive. In a bid to reclaim his kingdom, Arslan must make allies and at the same time, defeat the foreign armies eyeing his kingdom. In the journey, Arslan is joined by an able general, Daryun.
Arslan Senki is set against themes of political warfare, intrigue, and historical fantasy; something you will find in common with other entries in the list.
7 BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL (2008/2019)
Blade of the Immortal is about an immortal samurai, Manji, who is under the curse of living an eternal life. Manji is cursed because of the atrocious killings he's committed in the past. The only way he can break this curse is to kill a thousand more men. Although he now chooses to live amorally, he must regain his morality back.
Manji meets a young girl and promises to avenge her parents' murder by killing those involved in the act. One thing leads to another, soon Manji is involved in a bloody conflict.
Blade of the Immortal draws parallels with Vinland Saga as both properties are historical dramas featuring protagonists seeking to avenge the wrongs done. Another resemblance is the existence of an over-arching violent conflict.
6 DRIFTERS (2016)
A Seinen historical drama, Drifters traces the story of Toyohisa Shimazu who fights valiantly in the Battle of Sekigahara. Just when Toyohisa is about to die, he finds himself in a white corridor face to face with a quaint man sitting at a desk. Toyohisa is then transported into a new land through one of the doors. He finds he is a drifter, a deceased war hero and certainly not the only drifter to be present there.
Drifters is violent and ruthless, just as any historical anime would be. The characters are well developed and there's an additional dose of humor too.
5 YONA OF THE DAWN (2014)
Yona of the Dawn traces the coming-of-age story of Princess Yona, who is in a bid to reclaim the throne usurped by her treacherous cousin Su-won. Initially, Yona is a spoilt princess who hasn't stepped out in the real world. That is until what she holds dear is taken away from her. As she comes face to face with the real world, she sees what role poverty, strife, and corruption play in her kingdom. With her childhood friend, Son Hak by her side, Yona must not only take back what's hers but must restore the kingdom to pride and glory.
Yona of the Dawn is based upon Akatsuki no Yona by Mizuho Kusanagi, it promises political vengeance, betrayals, and battles. Additionally, the anime score is every is mesmerizing.
4 KINGDOM (2012)
Much like Vinland Saga, Kingdom traces the story from wars, although premises differ. It is based on China's warring states period, where a raging dragon has burnt the cities to the ground. Amidst this chaos and confusion, kingdoms rise and fall. The succession war is ultimately won the kingdom of Qin.
The story starts with best friends, Li Xin and Piao rendered orphans by war. Piao's recruitment into the king's army and his subsequent death lead Xin into the scene. As Xin takes on his destiny to become the Great General of China, he discovers himself along the way.
You will love Kingdom for capturing the true intensity of large scale battles.
3 BERSERK (1997)
Berserk traces the story of Guts, the Black Swordsman, who's suffered unspeakable abuses at the hands of his foster father, Gambino. Guts flees his past life, only to be discovered by Griffith, the leader of a merc band called Band of the Hawk. Guts joins forces with Griffith's mercs, who become more invincible than ever before. As they take on the world, Griffith's dark secrets and power lust are revealed.
Berserk (1997) was the first adaptation of Kenpuu Denki Berserk by Kentaro Miura. The anime poses deep existential questions as Guts' story arc progresses, such as those on humanity, existence, ambition, and love.
2 ATTACK ON TITAN (2013)
Attack on Titan is the marriage of a fantasy story in action-packed scenes. It is touted to be one of the most captivating anime series to be created ever. The story deals with a survival bid against monsters called Titans who have wiped out the majority of humanity. The remnants of the human population live within a three-layered heavenly wall. As the wall is breached by the Titans, a survivor named Eren joins elite soldiers to try an attempt to keep the Titans out.
Attack on Titan and Vinland Saga constantly remind us of the prime importance of survival and the fear of destruction. Both Thorfinn and Eren have a huge responsibility to shoulder. The bigger question is, will they make it to the end?
1 RUROUNI KENSHIN (1996)
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan is a historical tale of the legendary slayer Battousai who played a pivotal role during the Japanese revolution. Although he disappeared later, his name and deeds are etched in people's hearts. Now living as Kenshin Himura, the man is on a path of redemption. Kenshin's reverse-blade is a symbol of atonement he feels is long overdue; however, his journey is beset with numerous challenges, such as the ghosts of his past.
The glaring similarity between Rurouni Kenshin's Kenshin and Thorfinn is that both are set on an arduous path. They both have been involved in bloody conflicts, Kenshin in the past and Thorfinn in present.