If there is one thing the anime industry is good at, it is taking a new perspective on the same thing. This is why we have anime like Rurouni Kenshin, but they also have their own identity. The series is quite old but has counterparts even in the modern-day anime industry. We will look over 25 anime like Rurouni Kenshin or similar. Many entries on the list will be old, but they will be worth the watch.
Most importantly, these are the best animes out there in the industry. Though modern Anime has become opaque due to repeated genres, the shows mentioned in this list are not. So, without further ado, below are the Anime that are worth watching if you like sword fights, badass protagonists, or a rich cast of characters dealing with morality.
Top 25 Anime Like Rurouni Kenshin You Must Watch
A solitary swordsman out in the hostile world to seek answers. The two stories coincide on this, and being from the same era has a lot to do with that. But while the Anime is like Rurouni Kenshin, the two deal with completely different themes. On top of that, Berserk manga has reached heights that no one will ever be able to reach anytime soon. So if you are watching it for similarities with Kenshin, you should also read Berserk’s manga.
2. Sword of the Stranger
The name of the title gives away a stranger with a sword on a long quest to seek answers. Moreover, this time they take place in the same country as Japan. But unlike Kenshin, Sword of the Stranger is a movie that doesn’t have a lot of spin-offs or sequels. But the fight choreography is on another level, you will be hard-pressed to find sword fights like in this movie. But the movie does so in competition with Samurai Champloo in that regard.
3. Ninja Scroll (Movie)
One of the biggest Anime movies of the 90s, you can argue that it was better than Akira, the movie in reception. The movie is so popular that fans of it still wish for a sequel. Despite not being a big hit in Japan during release, the movie became a cult favorite and later got into an anime series. However, the series is not as good and is even less of an anime like Rurouni Kenshin.
4. Get Backers
A duo of supernatural-powered teenagers gets in trouble every time they go out on an adventure. The story follows two protagonists and is less bloody compared to other entries. The show is light-hearted but gets dark from time to time. You will find their tendency to get into trouble similar to Kenshin.
Similar to the previous entry, Gintama is about a trio of people who live in a fictional historic Japan that aliens have taken over. Despite the weird premise, the show is one of the action and comedy show out there. And this one has sword fights and great lines now and then. You can never know where the plot will go in Gintama, but you will eagerly wait to know where it will lead. This might be one of the best for people wanting to watch Anime like Rurouni Kenshin, but it’s long.
Guardian of the Spirit The anime series is adapted from a novel that came out in 1996. As you might guess, the edgy and dark undertones of the story are present in the story. But unlike Rurouni Kenshin, the show has two protagonists that are on a journey for the same reason. The simple synopsis also creates curiosity about how things will proceed in Anime. Though there are fewer sword fights, watching a spear maiden in action is fun in itself.
7. Cowboy Bebop
This Anime holds up to this day and even got a live-action adaptation, which was not well received. And despite that, people still love the original Anime and the movie. Bounty hunters in space have a colorful crew, each with a different past and unique personality. The show is fun from start to finish, but it is slow-paced. However, once it picks up speed, there is nothing like this show, and quite frankly, never will be. If you like Rurouni Kenshin, you will love this Anime.
8. Shaman King
The show got a reboot in 2021, but the original series was the one that started it all. It has become one of the well-loved series in Japan among anime fans. Though the western audience does not like it as much, its popularity in Japan led it to have a remake. You can watch the original or the new one, the story is more or less the same. However, some details are cut in the new version, while the original kept the nuanced approach of manga.
Based on the game of the same name, the series is like Rurouni Kenshin, but at the same time, it follows a different route to things. Where Kenshin willingly helps people and sets out on a new path in life, Utawarerumono’s protagonist is helping people because they helped them. However, unlike Kenshin, the main lead in Utawarerumono has amnesia and is simply willing to pay back the debt to the people for nursing him.
10. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings
The lore of this Anime is very popular in Japan. To this day, live-action shows depict that period and are popular among the male demographic. Kenshin works in a fictional setting, but with real-life problems, and like Rurouni, Kenshin Sengoku follows the same approach. However, the beginning of Anime follows history’s course before taking a different direction in history. If you like samurai, wars, and samurais in a war, give this series anime series a go.
This series is one of the odd ones on the list because, on the surface, it is nothing like Rurouni Kenshin. It is set in a sci-fi future with powers and structures, unlike in Kenshin. Though, it is similar to Gintama as it has future technology mixed with old traditions. The protagonist, however, is similar to Kenshin as he is a mercenary who is on bad terms with the government and gets in trouble with them. The main plot revolves around the mystery of their world.
12. Shura no Toki: Age of Chaos
The story is straightforward and puts characters against adversary rivals for their fame, much like Kenshin. You will like it for the action and the generational wisdom of the family that is considered to be the strongest. And since the story takes place in an era where one tries to prove their worth with strength, they have many people coming after them.
Give Kenshin a gun, and this series is just that, or close. Personality-wise, Vash, the protagonist of Trigun, and Kenshin can’t be any more different. What both have in common is their mysterious yet troubling past that brings all sorts of troubles for them. The two have character depths that are not seen anywhere. And if you are someone who enjoys Trigun, there is more good news for you. The series is getting a new adaptation coming out in 2023.
A girl lept through time in an era that is very much like Rurouni Kenshin but with the supernatural into the mix. It is Isekai by nature, but it isn’t a power fantasy by any means, and the characters are much more nuanced. You could say back then Isekai wasn’t done to death, and you could have stories like InuYasha, but then again, they just followed a different. Alice popularised the Isekai genre in Wonderland (we were shocked to learn, too), so you would only see female protagonists going to another world. What set InuYasha apart was its male lead and old era that focused on fights as well as character growth.
Would it be an overstatement to say of the big three that Bleach is an Isekai, which might be one of the reasons it’s still regarded as one of the best shonen anime? That aside, the series is primarily a sword fight leading to the sword with training arcs, power-ups, and transformations. It also has one of the best collections of songs and OST of the big three. We will be looking forward to what else the series will add to the playlist now that it is coming back.
16. Samurai Champloo
This show is undoubtedly the first one that comes to mind when people compare Rurouni Kenshin to other animes. The setting, the fights, and the dispute are similar to the redhead Samurai series. However, the key difference between the two is the vibe, this show saw the birth of Lo-Fi, which has become a niche in the music genre. Nujabes was a legend( rest his soul) who created music that continues to soothe the ear of anyone who listens. The story is alright, but the overall journey is worth experiencing.
Not to be confused with the creature with the same name, the series is a must-watch, like Rurouni Kenshin. While the main plot of Basilisk came out in 1960, it gained an anime and manga adaptation much later. Famous not only in Anime related circles but also in the literary sector, this story has everything you want in the old-era Japanese period.
18. Samurai 7
Based on the movie that came out in 1954 but with a sci-fi twist. Though the series subverts the audience’s expectations with a futuristic setting, the core of the series is the same. And anyone who has watched Kenshin will certainly enjoy a modern take on the old film. The series carries on the legacy of the old and delivers a good story.
While not exactly on the same wavelength as Rurouni Kenshin, the two do share similar settings. However, that is where the similarity ends, and the two shows go their separate ways in plot and characters. Down the line, Sasuke gives a more grim look at the world, but there is no gore in the story. However, Anime has the best fights in the entire industry that not even the other big three or even dragon Ball can rival. Must watch it if you have a love for anime fights.
20. Fullmetal Alchemist
There are two versions of this show, the one that came out in 2006 and Brotherhood. Brotherhood follows the source material to every detail, while the 2006 one diverges after a certain point. The reason for that was that mangaka had not written the full story back then, and the studio decided to make their version. This original version doesn’t get as much love, but its dark ending sets it apart from the manga. You will never forget it once you have seen the show.
21. Dororo (2019)
This Anime is so old it had to get a modern remake for the modern audience. But why is this Anime like Rurouni Kenshin? For one, they take place in the same setting, and two, the main protagonist of Dororo uses a sword style that would put every swordsman in awe. We are not going to explain what that means because that is one of the coolest aspects of the show. And we recommend this show for its edginess and gore moments over any.
22. Ranma 1/2
There is not much similarity, and in the first few episodes, you will find the two series opposites of each other. The two also have different tones and genres that put the two series further apart. But the main similarity between them is the cast of characters, as they are similar in their relationships. Not the best thing to be common in, but it is a nice break from the norm.
23. Full Metal Panic!
The action series has lots of laughs and seriousness, making it well-liked by the audience. Adapted from the Light Novel, the Anime was well-received and hugely popular in Japan with just two seasons. It got its third season in 2018. But given the show’s popularity, the fans already want the fourth season, so it will be a good idea to check the Light Novels as well.
24. The Twelve Kingdoms
One of the old Isekai’s where the girl is transported to a different world and must go through challenges to return to hers. The show is filled with magic, action, politics, and much more. The main protagonist is an unhappy girl who is hunted for belonging to earth along with her two classmates. They are on the run from the forces of the world, and at the same time, they must learn they were brought there. If you like Rurouni Kenshin, you will also like this.
25. History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi
Last entry on the list but certainly not the worst. The story is about a boy who decided to join a Dojo after being bullied in school for a long time.
His life only gets more difficult as the Dojo went into brings nothing but trouble for itself.