There are a lot of different kinds of historical anime out there, and there’s no way to really tell which one is the best. I mean, deciding what’s right for you comes down what sorts of series you like. Because a lot of fantastic shows and movies feature historical elements, but belong to different genres. Also, you might want to consider how serious you want to get and if you prioritize accuracy.
Most Popular Period Piece Anime at the Moment: Demon Slayer
Even though the manga ended its run, the anime adaptation is ongoing for this supernatural series set during the Taisho period. After Tanjiro’s family is killed by demons, with his sister turned into one herself as the only other survivor, he heads out to join the Demon Slayer Corps to restore her humanity. Along the way, he becomes a proficient warrior and becomes one of the few who will stand against Muzan Kibutsuji, the demon responsible for everything. Infamous studio Ufotable handles the anime adaptation.
Best Historical Anime to Watch if You Want to Cry: Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies will wreck you. It follows a pair of siblings during World War II living in Kobe. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, in the event you haven’t seen it, but it shows the two’s experiences firsthand as innocents dealing with the fallout of such a massive conflict.
This also ticks the “Best Historical Anime by Studio Ghibli” box, by the way.
If You’re Looking for One of the Older, Notable, Supernatural Historical Animes: Inuyasha and Yashahime
Kagome is a young woman who finds herself sent back to the Sengoku period of Japan, where she meets a half-yokai named Inuyasha. The two end up on a journey facing mythological creatures as they attempt to defeat Naraku and keep him from reassembling the Shikon Jewel. Also, it has a sequel series called Yashahime starring the cast’s children. Sunrise is the studio behind both the original and follow-up.
This also ticks multiple boxes! You could consider it a shojo series as well, and it qualifies as an isekai!
If You’re Looking for Anime to Watch and You’re Interested in Ainu Culture: Golden Kamuy
The anime based on the award-winning series follows Russo-Japanese War veteran Saichi Sugimoto. After hearing about a Ainu treasure from a prisoner with part of a map tattooed on his skin, Saichi teams up with an Ainu woman named Asirpa to find the gold and avenge her father. Chiba University Division of Japan’s Indigenous Peoples’ Head Hiroshi Nakagawa is involved to insure authenticity and accuracy. Both Geno Studio and Brain’s Base worked on this one.
If You Want an Interesting Anime About European Events: Vinland Saga
While a lot of anime cover historical accounts of Japanese events, Vinland Saga is something to consider if you’d rather see how Wit Studio and Mappa tackle Makoto Yukimura’s story about vikings. Specifically, Thorfinn, a young warrior trying to earn the right to avenge his father as the series begins. Wit Studio made the first season, while Mappa tackled the second.
If You Want a Fun Anime Starring a Historical Figure: Ya Boy Kongming
Okay, I’m not going to try and put Ya Boy Kongming into a specific box. It falls into a lot of genres! However, what you need to know is China’s Three Kingdoms period strategist Zhuge Liang Kongming is essentially experiencing something of an “isekai” that sends him into modern day Japan. He ends up aiding an aspiring singer named Eiko and helping her become a star. It’s good! P.A. Works worked on this anime.