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23+ Of The Greatest Anime Swordsman (And Women) Who Deserve ALL The Credit!

Anime swordsmen and swordswomen are a special kind in the industry. They’re famous for one obvious reason: people love action and shounen anime.

If you have:

  • Shounen.
  • Action.

Or sometimes historical, comedy or fantasy (with action) that will make the swordsman in those anime more popular, assuming the content itself is solid.

The choreography of their fights, their overall style, and their characteristics are what help them shine, not just the swordplay.

In this post “best” does NOT mean powerful. It means a mixture of things like personality,  traits, skills, design, and more.

Here’s a list of the greatest anime swordsman (and women) of all time.

 

1. Byakuya Kuchiki (Bleach)

Byakuya Kuchiki beach

You can’t mention an anime swordsman without talking about Byakuya Kuchiki from Bleach. He’s a master swordsman in general and is one who can fight both with his sword and without it as well.

As a supporting character, he’s relevant enough to be considered more than that as the older sister of Rukia, a past enemy of Ichigo, and a character who gets an ample amount of screentime that’s memorable.

He’s introverted in personality, aloof, graceful in his style of dressing and behaving, and isn’t one to get triggered emotionally because he’s so in control. He’s emotionally mature.

 

2. Cal Shekar (Taboo Tattoo)

Cal Shekar Samurai Swordswoman

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t watched Taboo Tattoo, and to be honest the anime did disappoint despite the potential it had. But the anime’s swordswoman can’t go unnoticed.

She’s also a samurai, not just a swordswoman. As a result, she has a set of principles that guide her life, her goals, the reasons she fights, and why she does what she does.

She has an ability called Absolute Boundary. Nothing can get past this barrier as it blocks out all attacks and it activates automatically.

On top of this, she is able to slice through space and is easily one of the most powerful anime swordsmen of all time.

 

3. Erza Scarlet (Fairy Tail)

Erza Scarlet Fairy Tail Final Season

Titania, queen of the fairies. Erza Scarlet is a character most loved after coming across her in Fairy Tail. She’s an important protagonist and one of a few.

She grew up a child slave and overcame that in her later life, even though the trauma is everlasting which isn’t surprising.

She has the ability to Requip, meaning change her armoury, weaponry, and clothing on the fly by “picking” it out from a pocket of space. It’s a form of spatial magic.

This makes Erza versatile, adaptable in any fight, and able to fight almost anyone if she has the right armoury and weaponry inside her “Requip” space.

 

4. Killer B (Naruto)

Killer B Naruto Anime

We all know how much of a beast Killer B is. It’s not even debatable at this point. When he’s first introduced and he battles Sasuke, he makes an absolute mockery of Sasuke as a fighter despite Sasuke being strong.

His weird style of fighting and unpredictable approach to swordsmanship is what makes Killer Bee so unique and different. On top of his strength.

He’s one of the few black characters in the Naruto series as well who’s mostly easygoing.

 

5. Akame (Akame Ga Kill)

Akame Swordswoman

Akame is the first name of the anime and the name of its main female character. She grew up similar to Erza from Fairy Tail in a way.

Her expertise as an assassin is related to her harsh and brutal upbringing as a child, and being forced into that lifestyle but later using it for the good of the world so to speak.

Akame is stoic, aloof, doesn’t show much emotion, and doesn’t laugh a whole lot. But she feels deeply for those she cares for and it does show here and there in the anime.

She loves MEAT above all else.

 

6. Saber (Fate Zero)

Saber Fate Stay Night Ubw

A literal depiction of King Arthur but in the form of anime, and in the form of an anime girl instead. Saber has the same motivations and backstory as the original King Arthur.

Saber is a lot of principles and standards as a swordswoman, and he likes to spend her time training and improving on her skills as a warrior.

In this anime, you have spirits like Saber who are summoned to take part in The Holy Grail War. It’s a “battle to the death” type of war where the victor gets to make their own wish come true.

All of the spirits are historical in nature.

 

7. Balsa Yonsa (The Guardian Of The Sacred Spirit)

Balsa Yonsa Female Bodyguard Anime

A female bodyguard from an anime released in the 2010s. She makes her living this way and chooses to fight with a staff of sorts. But she’s skilled with any sort of weapon and puts a lot of swordsmen to shame (she has no powers).

In the anime, she takes the role of caretaker for the prince who has to run away from his kingdom because he’s being hunted. This ends up becoming a mother-son relationship, and it’s a part of what makes this anime a masterpiece.

 

8. Satsuki Kiryuin (Kill La Kill)

Satsuki Kiryuin Swordswoman

The leader of Honnouji Academy, and the woman who always stands in high places to depict herself as a ruler. This pisses off Ryuko Matoi, the main protagonist who wants to fight her.

Satsuki, despite seeming arrogant and full of herself is actually down to earth, a good person, and a woman of high morals and ethics. She’s an expert swordsman and not one that can be challenged by anybody.

She shares a lot of traits with Erza Scarlet.

 

9. Kanzaki Kaori (A Certain Magical Index)

Kanzaki Kaori Samurai Index

One of the first women that Touma Kamijou seems to come across in the anime, at least as far as someone who’s trying to fight and attack Touma (the male protagonist of this series).

Kanzaki is a swordswoman and a samurai. This is clear from her demeanour, the way she carries herself, her swordsmanship, and her swordplay. She’s a powerful character.

She’s also loyal and has a softer side to her personality when she lets her guard down a bit.

 

10. Shana (Shakugan No Shana)

Shana Shakugan No Shana Flaming Hair

The flaming haired blazing-eyed hunter, Shana. 

She’s a character from the early 2000s and one who uses fire magic. But she’s capable of more than that. When transformed her whole body glitters in flames and there’s no character who looks as good to this day.

Her mission is to destroy denizens (demons) who are trying to disrupt the earth and feed on humans. She has a contract with a demon called Alastor who’s on par with the God of creation.

Shana loves Melon Bread, is a Tsundere with character development, and is actually immortal.

Related: The 4 Tsundere Wonders, And How They Influenced The Tsundere Trope We See Today

 

11. Tanjiro Kamado (Demon Slayer)

Tanjiro Kamado Swordsmen

The new kid of the block so to speak. He’s from Demon Slayer, an anime that started to gain traction in late 2019. And then blew through the roof once the pandemic came about.

Tanjiro’s swordplay is unique because in this anime, “water breathing” is the style of fighting used by demon slayers. And Ufotable studios never miss a moment making this swordplay look and feel flashy and stunning.

Tanjiro might not be the most powerful swordsman, but his style makes him one of the best as far as an art style.

 

12. Kagura Mikazuchi (Fairy Tail)

Kagura Mikazuchi Swordswoman

She wields the sword called Archenemy, and it’s a name that strikes fear when most people hear it during the grand magic games era. A tournament where she participated and never needed to unsheath her sword.

Kagura is easily one of the most powerful swordsmen in Fairy Tail, and even in the anime industry in general.

What makes Kagura’s personality so attractive is how she leads by example. She’s like a different shade to Erza, and vice versa.

 

13. Kazuto Kirigaya (Sword Art Online)

Kazuto Kirigaya Black Swordsmen

The black swordsman himself as he’s called. Or his main name Kirito. Kazuto is an Otaku who enjoys playing VR gaming, but things go wrong and he and thousands of players are forced to fight for their lives.

After meeting Asuna, the love of his life, and his friends like Klein, Andrew, Silica and more, he manages to survive the whole ordeal. An ordeal where many gamers die tragically.

Kazuto is laid back, chilled, and not one to fish for attention. He can come across as uncaring and unbothered but that’s because he doesn’t wear his emotions on his arm.

He has some of the best anime sword fights going in the anime industry if people were honest.

 

14. Mugen (Samurai Champloo)

Mugen Samurai Swordsmen

Comes across as an asshole, a prick, and a guy who just doesn’t give a F about other people. Well, it’s true. Mugen doesn’t give a F and that’s how life has shaped his personality and outlook.

He grew up rough and could never rely on others. He had to fend for himself and that’s why he’s so independent and refuses to complain, make excuses, or cry about his circumstances.

Let’s not forget he knows how to fight and he can fight well with a sword and has his own style of fighting that differentiates him.

 

15. Kureha Clyret (Redo Of Healer)

YouTube video

A recognized and powerful anime swordswoman in the Jioral Kingdom of Redo Of Healer. Kureha may be a stand-up woman and one with principles, but she’s initially naive to what’s going on in her own kingdom.

Her kingdom is enslaving, colonizing, murdering, and pillaging other cultures, and once she finds out she’s determined to see changes.

Like many swordsmen or women and their strong beliefs, Kureha is willing to lay down the law to anyone who strays from the wrong path. And she’s willing to put her life on the line for what’s right as well.

 

16. Mifune (Soul Eater)

Mifune Samurai Soul Eater

A samurai from Soul Eater. Mifune shows up later in the anime series and is a character who reappears for different reasons. His name is taken from a real-life samurai also called Mifune.

He’s a laid-back, easy-going guy who has no malice or bad intentions. But he is a man for hire, and if hired for a job he’ll do what needs to be done regardless of his feelings about the situation.

He has a strong sense of loyalty and is skilled enough to embarrass Black Star in a fight (the main character who comes from a ninja clan of sorts).

 

17. Sesshomaru (Inuyasha)

Sesshomaru Full Blooded Demon

Inuyasha is one thing, but when it comes to swordsmanship, skill, talent, and ability, Sesshomaru is the DON. There’s no comparison when all is said and done.

As the older brother of Inuyasha, he has different views of the world, and sometimes those views can be ignorant and short-sighted. He evolves through experience and opens his mind up to things he never thought he would.

He’s calm, aloof, sometimes indifferent, and isn’t one to show too much emotion except in rare cases.

 

18. Yuichiro Hyakuya (Owari No Seraph)

Yuichiro Hyakuya swordsmen

The main character of this series. He’s the type to stand up for himself against bullies and won’t tolerate BS from anyone around him. Yuichiro finds himself in a lot of trouble because of his attitude.

Growing up like Erza and being a child slave forced to work, this traumatic event is what shapes him many years later into a fairly strong swordsman who works for The Moon Demon Company.

He’s the source of the anime’s humour and comedy from time to time.

 

19. Roronoa Zoro (One Piece)

Roronoa Zoro Black Suit One Piece

Zoro is a wanderer. Always travelling somewhere, on some sort of adventure. And he’s the one who doesn’t have the best sense of direction which is ironic.

He’s pretty laid back, chilled, and focused on his life goals above all else. In a fight is where he really shines and you get to see his strange fighting style come to life (holding swords in his mouth for example).

He’s a powerful swordsman who’s respected in the anime community.

 

20. Hikaru Shidou (Magic Knight Rayearth)

Hikaru Shidou Fire Swordswoman Anime

One of the 3 magic knights, Hikaru is the most powerful of them all. Like her red hair symbolizes, Hikaru has a fiery personality, a passionate heart, and is fearless. She cares a whole lot about others.

She also has a “cute” side to her personality, innocence, and one that doesn’t worry about concepts like risk, what if’s, and things of that nature.

She grows up around boys and learns Kendo so this is part of their tomboy-ish nature and her ability to fight with a sword.

 

21. Kenshin Himura (Rurouni Kenshin)

Kenshin Himura sitting down

The samurai himself, also known as Battousai the manslayer. 

Kenshin is a wanderer after the war from many years ago, which he himself was part of. He’s not the type to stress or overthink things. If anything it’s as if nothing bothers him or gets him triggered.

His goal in life is to help others to make amends for his past sins. He even uses a reverse blade to make sure he doesn’t kill anyone if he fights or is forced to.

Not the most powerful swordsman but definitely one of the most likeable.

Relevant: 20+ Of The Best Anime Shows From The 1990’s Worth Watching

 

22. Ikaruga (Fairy Tail)

Ikaruga Fairy Tail Mugetsu

She’s one of the assassins in The Tower Of Heaven who work under Jellal Fernandes when he’s being controlled. She’s the only real assassin on the team with real power and a real threat.

She’s able to slice and dice multiple times with what seems like a single swipe of her sword Mugetsu. And Erza didn’t stand a chance against her in the beginning.

If utilized right, Ikaruga could have become a much more powerful swordsman in Fairy Tail and in anime.

She’s stylish a bit like Byakuya.

 

23. Bulat (Akame Ga Kill)

Bulat spear akame ga kill

And lastly, we’ll add Bulat from Akame Ga Kill. He fights like Balsa using a staff, a spear. And he’s ruthless when wielding this weapon. This is true in both his regular and his Incursio demon form.

If not for what happened early in Akame Ga Kill, Bulat’s sword skills would have shined more and he’s easily one of the most powerful characters who use a weapon of sorts in the anime industry.

He’s a professional assassin after all and doesn’t understand the meaning of holding back or showing mercy.

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