Top 25 Fantasy Anime
Nothing beats the awe-inspiring story, setting an animation of Japan’s top fantasy anime series and movies. Parts of this genre can be found anywhere, but more classic fantasy anime is where it’s at. This best fantasy anime list brings you the top twenty-five series that take the good old elements sword ‘n’ sorcery great new levels. Whether it’s strictly traditional swordfights and incantations, or whether it gives magic a new spin, this list brings them all together.
Resting at the top of our fantasy list is a classic anime that changed how fantasy anime would be for a long time. But it’s not about huge battles and world-rending spells; it’s all about the laughs.
Lina Inverse is one of the most notorious sorceress anyone’s ever known, but it’s not her incredible magic power that makes her dangerous. She’s a violent treasure-seeker with an endless appetite and no lights on upstairs. But that doesn’t stop wandering knight Gourry from “saving” Lina and escorting her on their adventures to strike it rich in the laziest way possible. While they accidentally pick up a key to reviving the dark lord, Lina and Gourry are way more about finding ways to make a quick buck.
Slayers is first a comedy show and then a fantasy show, though it parodies a lot of fantasy tropes. Everything about the show is about as unusual as its characters, and it’s completely lovable because of it.
Why it made the list: Slayers is the kind of show that gives you what you thought you never needed. Its focus on comedy is unrelenting, and though the series has that classic swords ‘n’ sorcery feel (with bonus 90s look), it’s the fantasy anime that changed how fantasy anime are done today.
Watch if you like: Comedy; magic; older anime; standard length series; parody; treasure; unconventional characters; female leads.
Next on our top fantasy list is the political fantasy anime about nothing being as it seems, and about how one girl comes to realise that pretty much everything is shitty.
Yona is a spoiled princess who hates her red hair and loves her cousin, Soo-won. But when her sixteenth rolls around, she’s met with the sight of her crush killing her father. Now a fugitive, she must flee the castle with only her bodyguard and embark on a journey to discover the truths of the world and to take her rightful place on the throne back.
Despite being a princess character in an anime, Yona grows to hold her own during the series, becoming one of the few female leads capable of learning and protecting herself.
Why it made the list: Yona of the Dawn is perhaps a bit more thoughtful than the usual fantasy anime, going into one girl’s discovery that her whole world isn’t what she thought and that there are larger things happening that she never knew about, despite being the princess.
Watch if you like: China; princesses; strong female leads; politics; adventure; bodyguards; childhood friends; romance; growing up; discovering the truth.
You can't have a best of traditional fantasy list without acknowledging Berserk, one of the hugest sword and sorcery stories to hit Japanese manga and anime. Its popularity is a sign of how immensely good it is, even when the anime is as dated as it is.
Guts wields his oversized sword in the name of being a mercenary, but when he's scouted by the leader of a band of rogue soldiers, his days as hired muscle turn to being part of the land's great wars. But Guts isn't an ordinary man and Griffith, the leader of the Band of the Hawk, isn't one either – both of their fates are tied in great ways and both are on the path to eternal struggling.
Make no mistake, Berserk's animation and art style is clearly dated, but beneath appearances is the story that has captivated hundreds of thousands of watchers and countless readers. The story of Berserk is bigger than life, but expertly woven into a tragic tale that does a great service to the dark fantasy/action genre.
Why it made the list: The show's combination of action, plot and characterisation almost make it too good to be true, but by god does it pull it off. It's heavier on the action than most of the titles on this list, but if you need that overwhelming sword 'n' sorcery subgenre feel, this is your show. Look, Beserk is so damn good it just about makes the Top 5 for any damn list you could it it on. If you haven't seen it yet, just stop now and start watching. Your would will never be the same.
Watch if you like: Blood, manly men fighting manly battles; well-set up plot; rushing to read the manga afterwards; older anime; muscles; depressing dark anime; bad shit happening.
Perhaps the most mixed genre series on this list is The Vision of Escaflowne, a classic anime from the 90s that mixes fantasy with a bit of mecha, all wrapped up as a shoujo series with more to it than sparkles and romance.
Hitomi Kanzaki is an ordinary school girl with her share of high school crushes. But when her tarot card reading hobby gives her a vision of a young man slaying a dragon, the last thing she expects is to see it play out and then be whisked away to a whole new world because of it. Now in the world of Gaea, Hitomi’s latent psychic powers awaken and she’s caught up in a huge political struggle before she can find a way home. Also, giant mecha.
Escaflowne is an interesting mix of genres, giving a standard shoujo show a fantasy twist with a fair bit of mecha thrown in. While the fantasy aspect is strong, get used to frequent mech fights.
Why it made the list: Escaflowne’s mix of genres makes it stand out, but it’s how the show and its characters grow from these basic building blocks that makes it great. Characters change and grow from tropes into people with compelling relationships. It’s a 26 episode-long ride like no other.
Watch if you like: Older series; mecha; shoujo anime; mix of genres; standard length series; destiny; romance; visions; battles; politics; other worlds; ageing art style; serious anime.
We're living in a post-Hunter x Hunter world, but perhaps the good part of it is you can now marathon this absolute gem of a fantasy series. It may be continued in the future, but for now, we'll have to satisfy ourself with what we have -- all 148 episodes of it as of 2015.
Gon Freecss might be young, but being twelve-years-old is old enough to leave home and embark on a journey to become a hunter. Spurred by his desire to find his father, Gon begins training for the Hunter Exam and meets three odd friends who will stick together for a lifetime. But it's not easy being a hunter in this world, and there's more than a fair share of monsters and people up to no-good who want to get in Gon's way.
Hunter x Hunter is heavy on the action/adventure aspect of fantasy (as well as plenty of shounen anime elements), but it has a touch of something no other show really has. It's not afraid to skip training arcs, focus on strategy or show plenty of losses, but in the end its realistic and mature approach makes the series stand out.
Why it made the list: Hunter x Hunter seems like it could be another Pokemon anime, but if you look at it for more than a second, it unravels to show you a thoughtful story that doesn't lose itself in trying to imitate everything else. Gon's journey is the focus on the series, and what a journey it is.
Watch if you like: A break from action; hunting; little boys; journeys; being different; tone shifts; smooth arcs; unpredictable series; not being overpowered; character development; strategy; long series.
Floating islands, Neo cities and cross-dressed super heroes aren’t exactly what you think of when Shakespeare comes to mind, but it’s exactly the kind of thing you can expect from Romeo x Juliet, anime’s own version of the classic play.
Neo Verona is where our two star-cross’d lover live, but while Romeo is much the same, Juliet is a cross-dressing hero of justice, Red Whirlwind, as well as one of the few remaining members of her family. She and Romeo can’t help but be drawn to each other, but since their families are at war, these two kids can’t be together. As if that’s going to stop them though.
Even though Romeo x Juliet is based on the play we’ve all had to see over and over again, it’s an incredibly loose adaption that plays with more interesting things than will-he-won’t-he. Sure, their fate is inevitable, but it’s the whole trip there that really makes this series stand out.
Why it made the list: A loose adaptation can be a hit or miss, but Romeo x Juliet knocks it out of the park with its approach of mixing fantasy into the well-known story of two kids in love. It’s really the kind of show you don’t expect it to be, and that’s what makes it so great.
Watch if you like: Shakespeare; romance; drama; cross-dressing; fate; destiny; loose adaptions; historical feel; standard length anime.
You can't have fantasy without a bit of alchemy. Changing the laws of the world and losing an arm is all part of this magical genre, and none does it better than the version of Fullmetal Alchemist that adapts the whole original manga.
The principle rule of alchemy is that in order to gain, you have to sacrifice something of equal value. That's why, when Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse try to revive their dead mother, the whole procedure culminates in Alphonse losing his body and Edward losing two of his limbs. Barely escaping with their lives, the brothers set out to find the Philosopher's Stone: the alchemical amplifier that seems to be the answers to their prayers.
While the series has two shows to its name, Brotherhood triumphs over its older brother by being self-contained and true to its original nature. It feels more like a fitting show than its dreary predecessor, expanding its cast of characters and developing the core cast at a steady pace. It's also handled by one of the most talented animation companies, so you know it's going to look fantastic.
Why it made the list: Very few anime based on light novels or manga resolve the entire story in the show, but Brotherhood manages to pace everything neatly to do just that. It follows its source more closely than its older brother and ultimately feels more true to the concept due to that.
Watch if you like: Epic final battles; Kyoto Animation; faithful adaptions; large casts of characters; long series.
On the grittier side of sword ‘n’ sorcery fantasy anime is Claymore, your go-to show for awesome action scenes, boob flashes and graphic beheading. Siding on the action and swords side of the genre, Claymore is a stand-out for its story and setting.
Clare is a half-human, half-demon warrior who travels from town to town scaring people. She also slays fellow demons. On completing a job in which she slays the remaining family member of a young and confused boy, she finds that the boy is intent on following her, despite it being her job to be torn apart by powerful demons. The two eventually set out to the next target and climb the endless mountains of bodies to fight even more punishing demons.
Claymore is a complete gauntlet of suffering for everyone. If you take joy in watching every bit of happiness be killed in front of people, this is your show, but otherwise it’s still awesome. This anime is all about the fight scenes and getting to see everyone’s special power is pretty damn nice.
Why it made the list: Claymore is pretty depressing when you stop to think about it, but the journey is action-packed and full of good fights. It’s a bit more packed of gore than your average shounen fantasy title, yet you can’t stop watching the series after just one episode.
Watch if you like: Demons; half-breed humans; fighting; swords; the supernatural; different powers; lots of women; death; journeys; backstory; hierarchies; samefaces; reading the manga; transformation; despair.
Fantasy anime is all about the world characters inhabit, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s all the little details that build up a proper fantasy world. The Twelve Kingdoms is one of the few series that addresses worldbuilding properly, while delivering an entertaining show in most other aspects.
Youko is just a self-conscious high school girl with a desire to not stand out. But that’s exactly what happens when a strange man appears in class, bowing to one knee and proclaiming Youko his queen. It doesn’t stop there either; a giant demon bird appears and forces Youko to trust the strange man, who promptly teleports her and two friends to an entirely different world.
The Twelve Kingdoms is special for a lot of reasons. Not only does it give worldbuilding proper attention, it also strays from the usual action/adventure fantasy plot, and manages to deal with character growth in interesting ways.
Why it made the list: The Twelve Kingdoms has a degree of thoughtfulness that many fantasy anime lacks. It’s the human elements and little details that make worldbuilding in the series truly special and real. Of course, it’s also just as good for the story and character growth.
Watch if you like: Action; adventure; the supernatural; magic; kingdoms; queens; other worlds; destiny; long series; older series; worldbuilding.
Science fiction meets traditional fantasy in Scrapped Princess, the anime that mixes classic sword and sorcery battles with hi-tech mecha fights.
Pacifica would be an average 15-year-old girl, except prophecy foretells that she'll destroy the world on her 16th birthday. To avoid being killed, Pacifia flees her home with her brother and sister, embarking on a journey wrought with danger, battles and… mecha?
Though classified as fantasy with action, Scrapped Princess is a character-focused show where the cast's adventures take centre stage. It's also different in that it comes to a conclusive and satisfying end.
Why it made the list: Scrapped Princess has an unusual approach to the usual fantasy setting, bringing in your standard medieval-era fantasy and mixing it with mecha technology. It still has the atmosphere of a classic sword 'n' sorcery show, but it changes things up a bit to keep things fresh.
Watch if you like: The medieval times; tales of prophesy; being hunted down; episodic series; mecha; standard length series; large cast of characters.
Our second longest anime on the list is also another classic fantasy story, with enough otherworld shenanigans and handsome guys to be enough to sate any appetite for fantasy anime.
Miaka and Yui's trip to the national library turns into a life-changing event as both girls are sucked into a mysterious book set in ancient China. There, the two are pulled into becoming priestesses – Miaka becoming the priestess of Suzaku and Yui becoming the priestess of Seiryuu. But when they become enemies in a race to summon their respective god, these best friends struggle with the ongoing war and their wishes for the future.
Fushigi Yuugi might be large-scale, but the battles and conflict all come down to relationships. It definitely feels like a shoujo show and might turn some people off because of it, but when you delve into the series, it really has a little of something for everyone.
Why it made the list: Fushigi Yuugi is a shoujo anime through and through, but even though it has its share of romance and drama, the series has a broad appeal with its mix of greater plot. It's all about relationships, be it with romance or friends, but it's also so much more.
Watch if you like: Adventure; drama; historical settings; older anime; long series; books; priestesses; quests; shoujo; slow series; reverse harem.
What's fantasy anime without abducting unsuspecting high school girls and taking them to another world where they must solve every problem before they can go home? Certainly not Magic Knight Rayearth.
Cephiro is a world in peril. With their princess kidnapped and the world's fate tied to hers, it's a miracle that three high school girls are summoned, each capable of becoming legendary Magic Knights. Though the girls are reluctant to save the world and just want to go back home, they're persuaded to journey across the land to find the three Rune Gods – and are equipped with badass gear to boot.
Okay, while Rayearth uses just about every commonly known trope in magical girl anime, it still has the feel of a classic sword and sorcery series, not unlike a shoujo RPG of some sort. And hey, the story goes places too.
Why it made the list: Magic Knight Rayearth can seem a little too "trope-y", especially considering the many other series that have borrowed from it, but when it comes down to it, Rayearth doesn't disappoint with its solid story and classic magical girl fantasy feel.
Watch if you like: High school girls; cute animal mascots; saving the world; older anime; adventure; mecha; shoujo anime; watching the second season; friendship; large cast of characters.
Nothing screams classic sword and sorcery more than the chronicles of war and loss, of knights who fight against evil. And that’s exactly the rich world Record of Lodoss War revels in.
Five years after the death of the emperor, the band of warriors who fought for peace have prevailed, now recognized as famous heroes. But evil doesn’t stay down for long, as the former emperor’s most evil-looking aide seeks to take over the land. As the large cast of characters scramble to stop him, a force lies in wait, preparing to reveal the literal RPG endgame boss-god of death and destruction.
While this series is technically a sequel to a series of even older OVAs, it covers the initial story and comes off as more of a retelling, with more episodes and updated art. Of course, if you end up loving the series, there’s the bonus of a more detailed prequel should you watch the OVAs.
Why it made the list: Record of Lodoss war is about as RPG-like as you can get in a fantasy series, but it brings the good parts of the genre to the surface, giving you an epic adventure story where warriors fight against the ultimate evil.
Watch if you like: Older anime; RPGs; soundtracks; standard length series; adventure; evil forces; knights; large cast of characters.
Not everything has to be epic battles and picking out magic armour in fantasy anime. Sometimes you can get a sense of the ye olde fantasee from people who live in a world with just small towns and themselves. That’s the atmosphere abundantly found in Spice and Wolf.
Kraft Lawrence (mostly just “Lawrence”) is a travelling merchant, jumping from town to town, looking to make enough profit to open his own store and settle down. One day, when he finds a cute naked wolfgirl in the back of his cart, he… lets her tag along on his journeys. The wolfgirl, Holo, is a forgotten god of harvest and helps Kraft barter with townsfolk, furthering his business.
It doesn’t matter if you spell it Horo or Holo, while the major draw of Spice and Wolf might be wolfgirl antics, it’s mostly a series about economics and how the system works. You can think of it as a quiet, peaceful break between action-charged shows.
Why it made the list: Spice and Wolf is a stand-out anime series for how it prefers to sit down and have a lengthy conversation rather than embark on an epic quest to slay an evil god. It’s the series’ incredible ordinary feel that makes it an interesting show to watch.
Watch if you like: Economics; talking; wolves; gods; trading; short series; small cast of characters; slow series; atmosphere.
Our longest and most famous title on this list is Fairy Tail, the Shounen Jump series spanning a whole bunch of episodes and having fun along the way.
Lucy is a brand new mage looking for a guild to join, but her heart is set of Fairy Tail, the strongest mages' guild out there. It just so happens that she runs into a powerful mage called Natsu, who is a guild member and can help her become a member. And so begins their 175 episode long journey of being a mage and making a living as part of one of the land's most prestigious guilds.
Don't be daunted by the episode count; Fairy Tail has a lot of short arcs and a fairly calm atmosphere, allowing you to watch it in short bursts or cram it into your eyes over the year it takes to watch it.
Why it made the list: Fairy Tail is just about the longest traditional fantasy anime out there. While not a god-sent masterpiece, it's enjoyable for what it is: a shounen anime that likes to keep its action fast and its story moving.
Watch if you like: Magic; guilds; shounen anime; long series; Shounen Jump; story arcs; cute animal mascots; adventure; action; dragons.
Blending Sci-Fi with Fantasy is .Hack//Sign (or “Dot Hack” if you ever want to murmur it aloud), the anime that started the Trapped-In-A-Game story, but which also features a great fantasy setting to stare at enviously as the MMO you’ll never get to experience.
When Tsubasa wakes up in an MMO called The World, they can’t remember anything, not even their own gender. But it only takes a while of wandering and a giant game-breaking cat to make people realize that something is wrong. As Tsubasa draws all sorts of weird people to them, a larger plan is set in motion to use Tsubasa for The World’s benefit. That’s when the oh-so-good creepy music starts.
.Hack//Sign is another series that mixes Fantasy and Science Fiction in interesting ways. While the world the characters are in is pure Fantasy, Science Fiction creeps in when everyone has to deal with the real world, and even more so when they must save Tsubasa. The series is much more than the MMO Tsubasa is trapped in.
Why it made the list: Besides being the “trapped in an MMO” anime that started it all, .Hack//Sign is a great show in its own right. It blends Fantasy and Sci-Fi elements thoroughly, but behind the fantastical world lies the offline world full of mystery and an overarching sinister plot. If you find fantasy anime hard to get into, this might be the right blend for you.
Watch if you like: MMOs; being trapped; large fantasy worlds; lesbians; psychological series; magic; twists; mixed genres; boss monsters; Yuki Kajiura; sprawling franchises.
Hopeless heroes are just about anywhere in anime, but none so much as in the fantasy genre, because that way they can awaken to world-destroying power. Rune Solder might seem like one such anime, but while the protagonist is chosen as a potential heroic knight, he’s still just a hopeless guy who’s bad at magic.
An all-girl RPG party only needs a mage before they have all they need to explore dungeons and fight baddies, but the only guy up for the job is an idiot mage who prefers throwing punches over casting spells. Now saddled with this hopeless mage, the group sets out to explore, fight and… uncover the standard dark force lurking behind events in the land.
There’s something refreshing about having a protagonist chosen to be part of something and not handing them the forgotten secrets of the world. Rune Soldier is all about working up to just being competent as well as a respected part of a group.
Why it made the list: Rune Soldier is another classic fantasy anime that could just about be the animated adventures of a group of RPG roleplayers. There’s a lot more comedy and down-time than the standard fare, and it doesn’t stray into harem wars, making it pretty all-round enjoyable as a fantasy anime.
Watch if you like: RPG parties; adventure; comedy; older anime; standard length anime; some fanservice; exploring; episodic anime; respect.
The twin to another series on this list (Utawarerumono), Tears to Tiara is practically the nerdiest sword and sorcery fantasy anime out there, with enough references to Western myths and legends to make historical fanboys drool.
The demon lord likes cute girls, and that’s exactly why young priestess Riannon is taken from her home and carried off to be sacrificed in a resurrection ceremony. Her brother, Arthur, knows better and takes it upon himself to rescue his sister. But when the demon lord is summoned anyway, he takes Riannon and Arthur’s side, and somehow a weird RPG party is formed.
While Tears to Tiara plays a magnificent game of Spot the Mythological Reference, it can spend too much time playing with sub-plots before starting up the action. It is in most ways a typical RPG adventure, but the few twists on the usual makes it worth it.
Why it made the list: Tears to Tiara is the fantasy anime with lots of real-world mythology you didn’t know you wanted. Although it tends to tread the familiar RPG story path, there’s lots to love about the series too.
Watch if you like: Action; adventure; saving the girl; RPGs; Western mythology; magic; demon lords; standard length series; adaptations; large cast of characters.
Magic isn’t all that great if you can’t use it to summon future boyfriends or girlfriends. But wait, that’s basically what Zero no Tsukaima is about – we’re saved. Well, at least until the great indecisiveness of harems sets in.
Louise is a girl with zero magical talent. When a test at her magic academy requires her to summon a servant, Louise has high hopes and plans to summon a familiar that will prove she is capable after all. But things don’t work out and she summons the most useless familiar ever: an average Japanese boy.
What starts out as a simple ecchi romcom with magic opens up into a four series-long story with equal measures of romance and political intrigue. It’s not a fantasy anime to mindlessly enjoy, but it’s also not hard to find it nicely charming for both its magic and its harem parts.
Why it made the list: Zero no Tsukaima is the kind of show you go into for mindless fun only to realise that it has an interesting plot that actually goes somewhere. While there’s plenty of magic antics, it’s more of a romantic comedy show with some bonus ecchi content.
Watch if you like: Magic; harem anime; comedy; school setting; not-quite-Japan setting; short series; romance; character development; watching all the seasons.
Utawarerumono shares a lot with Tears to Tiara, from the overall world down to having the same creators. And while usually these kinds of shows are completely different when it comes down to it, Utawarerumono and Tears to Tiara come really close.
Hakuoro is a mysterious man with a mysterious past, whose mysterious mask and mysterious surroundings make him all the more mysterious. After being found injured and nursed back to health by a young girl named Eruruu, Hakuoro is welcomed into a family and becomes a regular part of the village he finds himself in. But it’s not peaceful days for long; basically everything is out to destroy the village and ruin everyone’s lives.
Utawarerumono is your answer to animal girls of all kinds, but also gives you a serious story with plenty of twists too.
Why it made the list: Even though Utawarerumono is incredibly similar to Tears to Tiara, it’s still a great story in its own right, though a little repetitive at times. Also: animal girls.
Watch if you like: Action; adventure; RPGs; wars; amnesia; romance; some comedy; harem anime elements; animal girls; standard length series.
At number twenty-one is our most romantic fantasy anime on the list; the one about giving up everything to collect the feathers of the girl he loves.
Princess Sakura and regular archaeologist Syaoran should be worlds apart, but are actually childhood friends. On the verge of being used for great evil, princess Sakura’s memories are scattered across various worlds and timelines, taking the form of feathers. It’s up to her childhood friend and two other guys to travel the worlds and collect them. But to do this, they must give up what the hold most dear, and for Syaoran, it means giving up all Sakura’s memories of him.
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is exactly what you think it is. While it’s all about hidden motives and the journey, there’s no denying it’s a huge story about one guy’s huge efforts to save the girl he loves.
Why it made the list: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle makes no attempt to hide what it is. It’s a classic fantasy love story and a journey across worlds. The series’ beautiful art carries the story, while the soundtrack only makes the show that much more lovely.
Watch if you like: Feathers; journeys; romance; CLAMP; princesses; childhood friends; cute animal mascots; memories; Yuki Kajiura; Card Captor Sakura; other worlds; reading the manga.
Fantasy novels and fantasy films go hand-in-hand, but it’s rare to see a classic sword and sorcery novel be adapted as an anime. In fact, Gedo Senki might be one of only a small handful to adapt a Western fantasy novel.
Ged is the most powerful wizard in the Achepalago, but rather than flaunting his powers, he travels the land smiting evil before it can consume the world. When he comes across the distraught prince Lebannen, fleeing from having killed his father, Ged takes him under his wing. But what the two don’t expect is that a larger power is working behind the scenes, using Lebannen to take down the mighty Ged.
Even though Gedo Senki is based on Ursula K LeGuin’s Earthsea series (combining elements in the series), and you might hope for cool journeys and magic, it’s best to go into Gedo Senki thinking of it as a kind of original movie. It’s not quite like other Ghibli films.
Why it made the list: Ursula K LeGuin’s Earthsea novels are absolute fantasy classics, and to experience that in an anime is a gift. While it’s quite different from the books, it still tells a classic tale of the great wizard Ged and his journey across the lands.
Watch if you like: Ursula K LeGuin; Studio Ghibli; singing; magic; transforming; reading the books; movies; princes; mages; dragons.
While the fantasy genre is abound with world-saving and great powers, we rarely get a show where most of the cast is overpowered beyond belief. Thankfully, The Legend of Legendary Heroes is here to fix that.
Ryner Lute is a lazy student of a magic academy who is tasked with finding the relics of the Legendary Hero after a gruesome war. His partner in this long journey is Ferris Eris (I’m not making this up), a talented swordswoman who also is a bit dull. But as Ryner and Ferris roam the land, they discover a curse and eventually get caught up in super ultimate unique magic powers.
The Legend of Legendary Heroes’ title should clue you in to what this series feels like. While it’s a great adventure like a lot of other sword and sorcery fantasy anime, there’s a lot of aspects to pick at, from the confusing plot to the standard fare that is character interaction.
Why it made the list: The Legend of Legendary Heroes gives us a bit of overpowered-to-the-extreme goodness with our traditional fantasy but doesn’t really deliver anywhere else. It can be enjoyable if you don’t need to know every detail about a world, but otherwise it can feel a bit confusing.
Watch if you like: Adventure; war; action; magic; hidden powers; journeys; humour; hidden powers; shounen anime; legends; standard length series; open endings.
The last entry on this list isn’t indicative of the whole list, but sometimes you need to start your serious diving into sword and sorcery anime with something silly and fun. And that’s what Seiken no Blacksmith does over 12 episodes.
Cecily is a new knight from a long line of knights and has been entrusted with her late grandfather’s sword. On her journey to have it repaired, she stumbles across a blacksmith who uses forbidden demon magic, and the two get together for a great adventure. But there’s one thing in their way: Cecily is incredibly clumsy and not all there. Can the mysterious blacksmith and the incarnation of clumsy stop the evil sword collector?
Inept protagonists aren’t anything new, but there’s something different about Cecily’s problems, even if it’s easy to see her as an endless source of boob jokes.
Why it made the list: Seiken no Blacksmith has a few new aspects with an energetic and clumsy protagonist, but it goes through well-trod ground over much of the short series. It’s enjoyable as a story, but for classic character development, you might have to look elsewhere.
Watch if you like: Blacksmiths; demons; short series; boobs; small cast of characters; RPG parties; mini story arcs; mysterious pasts; adventure.
Good old fantasy doesn’t need to be serious all the time, and Bastard!! is certainly a true believer in that. That and boobs everywhere.
God has finally given up on the world and destroyed humanity as we know it. A few of the survivors band together to set the lands straight, with their most powerful sorcerer, Dark Schneider, as leader. But because Dark is way too violent and reckless, he’s taken by clerics and imprisoned in the body of a baby. When Dark is freed fifteen years later, he finds his former companions have turned corrupt and the only way to fix it is to kick their asses back into shape.
If you’re looking for a traditional fantasy anime that’s all about appreciating ass and also kicking ass, Bastard!! is just what you’re looking for, but don’t jump in expecting a masterpiece.
Why it made the list: Bastard!! is the kind of anime that pokes fun at everything and has a good time playing with tropes, but it also happens to be pretty bad itself, with the only redeeming factor being its self-awareness and the fact that it’s so bad, it’s good.
Watch if you like: Action; adventure; violence; comedy; ecchi anime; fanservice; so-bad-it’s-good anime; turning into a little boy; overpowered fighters; very short series; older anime; rock music; shounen anime.