After years of mastering the art of swordsmanship and killing thousands of people, the elite assassin finally decided to live a life of pacifism and view the world from a different way. That is pretty much about the story in a nutshell.
Anime has been there for a long time. And given the popularity of the samurai trope, it’s no wonder we have countless anime that belong to the genre. But even if there is, if I’m being completely honest, it’s still hard to find something that quite has the same energy and vibe as Rurouni Kenshin.
The characters, the development, the comedy, the progression, the actions, and even the music: it still hits hard in the hood of an anime lover like it did two decades ago. It’s a straight-up stellar classic and still got the fanbase crazy going for it. The reboot series is proof of that.
So listing up a few more anime series like that is going to be hard for any anime guy out there. But we tried our best. From a similar 90s series to a contemporary classic, we created the list as dynamic as possible. So without further ado let’s get into it.
Ask every 90s fan to give you a similar anime recommendation to Rurouni Kenshin. The majority of them will say Inuyasha. When I was a kid, I always got Inuyasha and Kenshin mixed up so there’s also that.
Anyway, while the storyline of the two takes place in different settings and greatly differs by a big margin, there’s still one thing connecting the dots between them: they are both about people dealing with their past baggage.
As they roll through their own adventures, they gather friends to help them on their journey. It’s like a rollercoaster of battling your demons, moving forward in life, and, of course, a bit of romance on the side. Classic stuff!
Most badass priest with Humanoid Typhoon, Trigun is something of a crazy ride that just blends the classic feel of Cowboy Bebop with the subtlety of Rurouni Kenshin. Similar to Ruroken, Trigun has an MC with a dark past who tries to bring peace to the land without killing.
He is oblivious and clumsy, but behind the bar, he is a major badass. Then there are amazing side characters as well. If you enjoyed Trigun then you’ll probably enjoy Ruroken just the same, and vice versa. So just give it a go. How do I say it, there are just so many similarities between these two series considering the ‘feel’ or ‘mood’ of the series.
Picture this: both are throwing punches in the ring of a chill slice-of-life coming-of-age scene (with occasional dives into some heavy drama), spiced up with a generous serving of comedy and romance. It’s like they’re cut from the same cool cloth, just in different settings.
Trust me you won’t regret it. Although I’ll suggest you start with the ’90s one. 2022 one can come later. So, if you’re into that feel-good but sometimes punch-in-the-feels kind of vibe, these are your shows.
‘Vinland Saga’ (2019-)
So, if you’re coming off the Rurouni Kenshin hype train and itching for the next big action anime thing, I’d throw Vinland Saga into the ring. Trust me, it’s got that A+ manga art you’re craving and an anime adaptation that actually does justice to the manga magic.
Although some may say the Vinland Saga is great, it doesn’t belong here with Ruroken. Well, I’ll say just dive in, and thank me later! Thorfinn is very similar to Kenshin in that they just slam on the brakes and decide, “No more taking lives for us.”
Now they’re all about redemption. Vinland Saga’s like Ruroken, but picture Kenshin swapping the Sakabato for a Viking Axe and hitting up Europe. Same redemption gig, just with a change of scenery. It’s like a remix of the good stuff you love with a fresh beat. Total win-win!
‘Golden Kamuy’ (2018-)
Alright, check this out – ever notice how Golden Kamuy and Rurouni Kenshin are like long-lost buddies, each with its own vibe but still vibing on the same wavelength? So, you have these epic historical tales with protagonists who’ve done their fair share of slicing and dicing. And they both dive into the headspace of a person figuring out life choices and wrestling with the idea of never settling for the ordinary.
From swords to Shinsengumi, from romance to bromance, fantasy to adventure, Golden Kamuy is an underrated seinen wild ride for any anime guy out there. While the themes of these two series differ in various aspects, there’s something of an abstract contrast and similarities between these two that just draws you in for more.
So get ready for some action-packed treasure hunt for a hidden stash of gold. Hinna Hinna.
‘Sword of the Stranger’ (2007)
Imagine a cool anime with epic sword fights in old Japan, kind of like Rurouni Kenshin but set a few hundred years earlier.
It’s an original historical action anime movie which is very rare in the anime world. It’s not your usual sci-fi flick or a historical romance with an original story. There’s almost no romantic element to this, steering clear of the usual typical plotlines.
Although from the looks of the trailer or images, it may look like it’s set in a somewhat decadent Japan where the low-budget scenery doesn’t hit you with a single bright frame, it still manages to capture the essence of wabi-sabi. Believe me, this subtle touch perfectly aligns with the story’s unique imbalance.
The music complements the vibe. The animation is top-notch, and the fights are awesome (especially the final one). Plus, it’s under two hours, so you can binge-watch it without getting stuck for too long. Trust me, it’s a must-see!