The 10 best medieval fantasy anime shows that you should watch

Are you looking for some good Anime set in a (dark) medieval fantasy world? One of the most popular genres in anime is medieval fantasy. With that said, it can be hard to find a good show if you don’t know where to look. In this article, we will be recommending some of our favorite medieval fantasy anime series and why they are worth your time.

I have compiled a list of my favorites right here! Little known fact, I am a historian and went to university for my degree. So I know a thing or two about the Middle Ages. I will try to avoid Isekai as much as possible. While they are often in a medieval setting, it just feels a bit like cheating, and this entire list would have been that genre.

What is a (dark) medieval fantasy anime

So this is what I am looking for in a medieval fantasy anime: First, it needs to be set in either the Japanese period of 1185 to 1608, or the Classical European timeline of 476 to 1453. Second, no guns. I want a classic sword and sorcery story. That means knights or samurai, swords, and wizards.

A dark medieval fantasy anime is a subgenre of the fantasy genre that is typically set in a medieval period. These anime are often set in a world where magic and mythical creatures exist. The protagonist usually has to face off against an evil power or group of people who are trying to take over the world.

The protagonist usually has to face off against an evil power or group of people who are trying to take over the world.

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10 medieval fantasy Anime I love

  1. Berserk
  2. Claymore
  3. Spice and Wolf
  4. Kingdom
  5. Hyouge Mono
  6. Re:Zero
  7. Konosuba
  8. Goblin Slayer
  9. The Heroic Legend of Arslan
  10. Maria the Virgin Witch
best dark medieval fantasy berserk

1. Berserk

If you like dark medieval fantasy anime, you will have stumbled on the Berserk anime. Before anyone gets mad, I am talking about the 1997 TV series, not the 2016 abomination.

The Berserk 1997 version is definitely worth watching. My main reason it is number one on this list is that it is so different from most others. Yes, Berserk has its flaws. However, the story of Guts far outshines anything else. The music is on point, the progression is believable, and the relations feel honest. Berserk is a great medieval fantasy, and you have classic imaginary creatures, a clergy, knights, swords, kings, and so on.

Berserk is a highly entertaining anime, which some people name the best dark fantasy of all time. Sometimes, the animations might be lazy and wonky, but the plotline and enjoyment make more than up for it.

2. Claymore

Claymore is another amazing dark fantasy anime that takes place in a medieval setting. The series is all about Clare, a hybrid between humans and Yoma who fights shape-shifting demons named Yoma.

I will say it right now; The anime ending is nowhere near the manga in quality. I highly advise you to read the manga too. The anime ending of claymore is too rushed. 

Content-wise, many people will consider claymore to be a sort of female Berserk. It has that dark medieval feeling to it. There are a lot of characters that look too identical. However, this sometimes makes it annoying to follow. Claymore is a polarizing anime, and some people will not enjoy it, while others will think it is the best thing ever.

3. Spice and Wolf

The story is about a merchant named Kraft Lawrence who travels between villages. He meets Holo, a deity of wheat and harvest. They go and travel the land together as their relationship develops. 

Spice and wolf are great if you are not in the mood for a lot of combat. The show has got a lot of intelligent and witty dialogue. The conversations between characters are realistic and entertaining. The surface is one of the best romantic fantasy anime of all time. Interestingly enough, it is also one of the best anime regarding economics. 

Maybe a tiny point of criticism is that the magic use is relatively low. It has the least sorcery on this list but has many medieval elements.

best anime dark medieval

Still waiting for the new season!

4. Kingdom

The medieval fantasy anime takes us into medieval china, where a war orphan Xin has the goal to become the greatest general in all of China. Furthermore, Xin dreams of unifying China again after five centuries. 

The First Emperor of China, known as Qin Shi Huang, is a historical figure shrouded in mystery. He was the first emperor to unify China, and he ruled as an absolute monarch. The show follows Xin as he trains to take revenge on his enemies and unify China after five centuries of war and separation.

The first season of Kingdom is pretty…bad. Compared to the modern standards we have for animation, it is subpar. The show has no budget, and yet, despite this, it has a dark and rich aesthetic that lends itself well to the story. I am all for animation being able to be super realistic and fantastic, but not when it comes at the expense of the integrity of the work.

However, the story is impressive. The show explores coming of age, responsibility, and self-discovery themes. You could have let a toddler draw the anime with crayons, and it would still be a fantastic show to check.

Despite the terrible CGI, you should definitely check it out if you want to see a medieval fantasy anime that is not set in a European Japanese setting hybrid.

5. Hyouge Mono

This historical medieval fantasy anime set in Feudal Japan is about history and Samurai. The show starts in the late Muromachi period when the Shigisan Castle is besieged. Our protagonist is Furuta Sasuke, a samurai who adores and loves tea. 

You will love this anime if you are a history buff like me. It is also a great pick if you are interested in Japanese politics and how Samurai played into this. The main character and others are based on real-life counterparts of that age. 

The animation is high quality, and the facial expressions are simply unique. Battle scenes, which are plenty, are tremendous and well-made. This is probably the best samurai anime of all time.

dark medieval anime

6. Re: Zero

Re: Zero is an Isekai anime heavy on fantasy but light on the medieval aspect. Our main character Subura has come into this world after an accident. He is cursed. However, he is not able to die. Whenever he dies, the world is reminded of a particular checkpoint. 

The start of Re: Zero is excellent, and I have watched it a couple of times. However, after a couple of episodes, it starts to fall off. The story has holes in it; plot points aren´t solved. It feels like the anime would be a lot better if it was a long-running show.

The suffering and the mental breakdowns of Subura feel natural and realistic; what happens after does not. However, he seems to forget his extreme trauma after a day or two. Still, it is an excellent anime for fantasy fans.

7. Konosuba

Another Isekai anime but comedy-fantasy in a medieval setting this time. Kazuma, our main character, has died and is sent to a new world with loads of game and Dungeons and Dragons mechanics. He can choose anything he likes to bring with him. So he gets the goddess that was mocking his death, Aqua. 

Konosuba is great. It is probably one of the greatest parody anime that you can watch. The cartoon animation and goofy facial expressions add charm and extra humor to the show.

The source material, light novels, are fantastic too. It is hard to find someone who does not love the Konosuba franchise. It is an outstanding example of how ridiculous some isekai animes are.

best medieval fantasy anime

8. Goblin Slayer

Another dark medieval fantasy anime on this list is Goblin Slayer. As the name implies, this anime is all about killing goblins.

The world in which our story takes place is one filled with monsters, has adventure guilds, combat classes, and magic. Our main hero is traumatized due to his family and village being slaughtered by Goblins. He has sworn to take revenge and rinse the world of them for once and for all.

While the Light Novels area is a bit on the slow side for me and gets a bit repetitive, the anime’s first season is almost impeccable. The manga, due to its more graphic nature, is impressive too. The medieval aspect is well captured in the small-town life. The fantasy elements are abundant due to the significant number of monsters featured.

9. The Heroic Legend of Arslan

Arslan is the crown prince of Pars, a country on the verge of being taken over by a neighboring country. After a plot on his and his families’ life, he manages to escape. His goal is to take back his home country and assemble an army that is strong enough to do this. 

The setting of our story takes us to medieval Persia and its surroundings. Magic plays a large role in society, however, its powers are very limited. There are plenty of fantasy creatures, such as Ghouls, winged monkeys, and so on. 

This anime is all about war and revenge. The two themes are combined with a nice fantasy and magic background. The anime is only 6 episodes long, but there are 15 light novels to be read.

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10. Maria the Virgin Witch

This story is taking place in medieval fantasy anime France during the Hundred Year’s war. Maria uses her magic to try and stop the war and broker peace. However, the archangel Michael stops her from meddling with the war. Maria is stubborn however and wants to stop the war at all costs. 

This is an archetype fantasy anime in a medieval setting. The historical element is great, there are a ton of fantasy creatures and there is strong magic. My only issue with the series is that it is constantly about lewdness. I have no issue with it once or twice but it seems to be all some episodes are about.

Medieval fantasy anime – Honorary Mentions

Gate – This is another amazing anime set in a fantasy world that is stuck in the Middle Ages. It is not on the list as it features the Japanese defense force. Meaning tanks, guns, helicopters, and so on. Still, you should definitely check the anime out!

Vinland Saga – Is an anime that is light on the fantasy but heavy on the medieval part. The Vikings in the show usually live in the Nordic countries of Europe. It is said that they are the people who first discovered North America.

They are traditionally known for their skills at navigation, shipbuilding, and seamanship, their raids on other European nations (mostly England), and their violent warrior culture. In short, if you are into Viking culture, check out this anime.

Full Metal Alchemist – Full Metal Alchemist follows two brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric as they try to restore their bodies after they attempt human transmutation. The two use alchemy to help them on their journey. The anime is a very nice mix between the late Middle Ages and fantasy. However, it lacks the knights, magic, and wizards I am looking for, so it doesn’t make the top 10!

Conclusion: dark medieval fantasy anime

In recent years, the anime industry has been booming with a significant increase in the number of releases. It’s hard to believe that it will slow down any time soon.

Medieval fantasy anime in particular is a genre of anime that has been around for decades now and is having quite a boom thanks to the Isekai plot setting becoming more popular.

Anime has never lost its charm, even with the advent of new trends. Animes are still utilizing the power of storytelling to teach children new lessons about life and provide adults with some much-needed entertainment.

Do you think we forgot a great medieval fantasy anime? Let us know in the comments, and we would love to add it to our list. Check out our Level Up anime list if you enjoy fantasy anime!

Dark medieval fantasy anime FAQ

Is dark medieval fantasy anime popular?

Dark medieval fantasy anime is a subgenre of fantasy anime that has been becoming more and more popular in recent years. There are many reasons for this, but it seems to be mostly because of the popularity of Game of Thrones and the success of other popular series such as The Witcher.
The most famous dark medieval fantasy anime is probably Berserk. It was originally an Italian manga series written by Kentaro Miura, but it has since been adapted into an anime. Other popular dark medieval fantasy anime include Overlord and Black Butler.

What was the first dark medieval anime?

The first dark medieval fantasy anime that comes to mind is Berserk. It is one of the most popular anime series in Japan and it has been adapted into a manga. The story follows Guts, a mercenary who carries a giant sword on his back, as he fights his way out of hell.

Another dark medieval fantasy anime worth checking out is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It’s set in an alternate world where alchemy is used to create powerful objects and battle with other alchemists for the Philosopher’s Stone.

What are good anime with a feudal japan setting?

The feudal Japan setting of anime has become a popular setting in recent years with the success of popular series such as “Sengoku Basara” and “Maoyuu Maou Yuusha.” “Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East” is another great example of a Japanese anime set in feudal Japan.

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