Are you craving an adventure filled with thrilling action, captivating storylines, and unforgettable characters? Then look no further than these 15 anime like Rurouni Kenshin.
15. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Many people, now in their 20s, including myself, have fond memories of these epic card battles that aired during our childhood on TVs.
Yu-Gi-Oh! follows the story of Yugi Mutou, a young boy who solves the Millennium Puzzle, an ancient artifact that unleashes the spirit of a pharaoh named Yami Yugi.
While Rurouni Kenshin explores Kenshin’s quest for redemption from a violent past, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters takes a parallel approach as Yugi Mutou’s alter ego, Yami Yugi, faces the consequences of ancient memories, engaging in battles to overcome the darkness within.
Claymore is known for its detailed and intense battle scenes. The mangaka, Norihiro Yagi, meticulously researches weaponry and combat techniques to bring authenticity to the half-human, half-yoma warriors battling monstrous creatures.
The series, like Rurouni Kenshin, explores the toll of a warrior’s life on one’s humanity, emphasizing the internal struggles faced by its protagonists.
Beware, the anime tackles dark and mature themes that might not be for everyone.
13. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic takes place in a world where humans coexist with djinn, powerful spirits that control Dungeons, vast underground structures containing magical artifacts.
The story follows Aladdin, a young boy who dreams of becoming a Magi, a magician who can use Rukh, a mystical energy that binds the world together, to guide kings and shape the world.
If you enjoyed the exciting battles and grand scale of Rurouni Kenshin, you’ll love the epic scope of Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic.
12. Blue Exorcist
Blue Exorcist’s fans rejoiced on January 6, 2024, when the long-awaited third season was finally brought to life after a 7-year break.
The anime centers around Rin Okumura, a teenager who discovers that he is the son of Satan, the king of demons. He is then forced to choose between embracing his demonic heritage and fighting against it.
The dual nature of Rin’s existence and his journey toward redemption draw parallels to Kenshin’s internal conflict and quest for atonement.
11. D. Gray-Man
Another shounen anime with a protagonist haunted by his past and determined to atone for it, similar to Rurouni Kenshin, is D.Gray-Man. Additionally, both series explore themes of friendship, loyalty, and the importance of finding one’s place in the world.
Set in an alternate 19th century, humanity is threatened by a group of beings called Akuma, which are created from the souls of the dead who have been turned into weapons by the Millennium Earl.
The series follows Allen Walker, a young exorcist who joins the Black Order, an organization dedicated to fighting Akuma and preventing the Earl from fulfilling his goal of eradicating humanity.
The creator of Hellsing, Kouta Hirano, drew inspiration from various sources for the series, including horror movies, classic vampire literature, and historical events. For instance, the character of Alucard is based on Vlad the Impaler, a 15th-century Romanian warlord known for his brutality.
The show revolves around Hellsing Organization, led by the enigmatic Alucard, who defends England from supernatural threats.
Like Kenshin, the protagonist grapples with his dark past, and both anime explore the fine line between justice and vengeance.
Noragami follows the story of Yato, a minor deity who works as a “delivery god” to make ends meet. Hiyori Iki, a human girl who becomes a spirit, joins Yato on his quest to become a “god of fortune” and gain more followers.
Noragami is similar to Rurouni Kenshin in several ways. Both series feature protagonists who are seeking redemption for their past actions: Yato, for killing humans when he was a shinki (a weapon used by gods), and Kenshin, for his role as the Hitokiri Battōsai, who killed many during the Meiji Restoration.
08. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Hiromu Arakawa, the mangaka, used her experiences growing up on a dairy farm as inspiration for the series. The series, acclaimed for its depth and moral exploration, follows two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric. They seek the Philosopher’s Stone to restore their bodies after a failed alchemical experiment.
Much like Kenshin’s quest for redemption, the Elric brothers’ journey is marked by sacrifice, moral dilemmas, and the consequences of seeking power.
07. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online has gained widespread popularity both in Japan and internationally. Despite some varying opinions on different arcs, it remains an important and influential series in the anime and light novel world.
The series centers on players trapped in a virtual reality MMORPG, striving to clear boss floors for survival and escape. The protagonist, Kirito, is an overpowered player dealing with the guilt of past mistakes and the responsibility of leading others in a desperate struggle for survival.
While the setting differs, both series explore themes of personal growth, overcoming past mistakes, and the importance of friendship.
06. Black Clover
One of the most popular newer shounen shows, Black Clover has been nominated for several awards, including the Crunchyroll Anime Awards for “Best Animation” and “Best Character Design.”
In a world where magical abilities define one’s status, Asta, born without magic, aspires to become the Wizard King.
The underdog theme resonates with Kenshin’s journey to atone for his past, emphasizing the strength found in inner character rather than innate abilities.
05. Yu Yu Hakusho
Often compared to other shonen manga series such as Dragon Ball and Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho was one of the most popular anime series of the 1990s. You might not be familiar with it, but you’ve likely heard of Hunter x Hunter, another masterpiece by the same mangaka, Yoshiro Togashi.
It follows Yusuke Urameshi, a delinquent with a heart of gold, who becomes a spirit detective tasked with protecting the human world from supernatural threats.
The series shares Rurouni Kenshin’s theme of redemption, showcasing the transformative power of second chances and personal growth.
Set in the distant future, Trigun follows the story of Vash the Stampede, a notorious outlaw with a six hundred billion double dollar bounty on his head.
Vash is known for his flamboyant attire, his giant white hat, and his six-shot nickel-plated revolver. Despite his reputation as a ruthless killer, Vash is actually a pacifist who is determined to protect innocent lives.
In a similar vein to Rurouni Kenshin, the anime features a protagonist who is seeking redemption for his past sins.
The original concept for Inuyasha was developed by Rumiko Takahashi in the 1980s, but she put the idea aside to focus on other projects. Fortunately for the fans, in the early 1990s, she revived the idea and began working on the series.
InuYasha follows Kagome, a modern-day high school girl, is transported to the Sengoku period where she encounters InuYasha, a half-demon. Their quest to collect shards of the Shikon Jewel echoes Kenshin’s journey, emphasizing personal growth amidst historical turmoil.
Bleach, along with Naruto and One Piece, is often referred as one of the Big Three, a term that was coined by fans of the anime and manga industry in the mid-2000s to refer to the three most popular and influential shonen anime series of the time.
The story has a simple yet exciting plot: it’s about a high school student who gains the powers of a Soul Reaper and is tasked with protecting the human world from evil spirits.
Similar to Rurouni Kenshin’s focus on a character with a past, Bleach delves into Ichigo’s mysterious abilities and the consequences of wielding such power, creating a compelling parallel.
01. Samurai Champloo
The title “Champloo” is Okinawan dialect for “mixed” or “blended,” reflecting the series’ eclectic mix of genres and cultural influences.
The series follows Mugen and Jin, two swordsmen with distinct styles, as they accompany a feisty girl named Fuu on a journey.
Whether you prefer the traditional samurai action of Rurouni Kenshin or the hip-hop infused style of Samurai Champloo, both series are excellent anime options that offer a blend of historical drama, action, and compelling characters.