The Japanese Sengoku era is a period in the history of feudal Japan that runs from 1467 to 1603.
It is marked by the presence of many internal conflicts within Japan, which is why it is nicknamed the Warring States Period.
The protagonist is often Oda Nobunaga, featured on many titles on the list, given his warlike mission to unify Japan under one flag.
But let’s not get lost in small talk, and let’s go over which anime are set in this evocative period.
Rankings are based on our taste and experience.
Table of Contents
12. Yotoden: Chronicle of the Warlord Period
Yotoden: Chronicle of the Warlord Period is an OAV series of only 3 flowing episodes with a vintage flavor, released in 1987.
As Oda Nobunaga rages on in his mission to unify Japan, a young ninja escapes her village in destruction with one of three legendary weapons capable of stopping him.
She will later be joined by the possessors of the other 2 weapons, and their mission will start.
Yotoden: Chronicle of the Warlord Period is not a bad product, but it inevitably goes on to have some major flaws.
The technical aspect, given also the year of release, has aged badly. The animations and sound effects are quite old.
The plot is also very bland due to its short length. It’s hard to have a very good story in just 3 episodes unless you know what you are doing.
But despite this, if you are looking for something very short and set in the Sengoku period, you might still want to watch it.
11. Naoe Kanetsugu
Naoe Kanetsugu shows us a realistic and accurate Sengoku period with a glimpse of real Japanese history.
The story follows the events of a real-life historical figure: the legendary Naoe Kanetsugu, a Sengoku-era samurai and general in the service of the Uesugi family.
We will see his life from his beginnings to becoming the Japanese myth that he is.
Naoe Kanetsugu is not a bad anime, but again we are faced with some problems. The production is unfortunately low budget, so don’t expect animation prowess, but rather a product that achieves sufficiency in this respect.
The characters are quite flat and poorly characterized, although their design is very enjoyable.
With that out of the way, we have a light-hearted show that doesn’t take itself seriously, set in the Sengoku period.
10. Battle Girls – Time Paradox
Take the Sengoku era and turn it into a receptacle for moe and fan service. You get Battle Girls – Time Paradox, an anime that is… okay.
The story sees young Hideyoshi, suddenly transported to a mysterious land, where she meets Oda Nobunaga, Akechi Mitsushide, Date Masamune, and other warriors from the Sengoku era, but in a female alternative version.
It would not even be necessary to point this out, but if you are looking for historical accuracy this is definitely not the choice for you.
Battle Girls – Time Paradox is almost a parody of the other anime on this list and should be viewed as such, given its comic, light-hearted side, and with lots of fanservice.
9. Samurai Warriors
Samurai Warriors is based on the very popular musou video game saga of the same name in Japan. The anime consists of 12 episodes released in 2015.
The story, set of course in the Sengoku era, revolves around the Sanada brothers, Nobuyuki and Yukimura. They vowed to fight together despite all adversity and danger, until their last breath.
We will see their vicissitudes in a suggestive war-themed setting. If we talk about historical accuracy, it’s a good product but for the rest, not really.
As is unfortunately often the case with anime based on video games, the technical aspect is frail, with acceptable animations and a plot that doesn’t work as much as it does in videogame.
So we recommend that if you are interested in the story and characters, you catch up on the videogames.
8. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 10: Arashi wo Yobu Appare! Sengoku Daikassen
One of the movies from the legendary and long-running Shin-Chan comedy series, with over 1030 episodes released since 1992, still running.
Among the many adventures of the Nohara family, this time we will see them catapulted into the Sengoku era, in a mix of love and adventure.
If you are a fan of the series, you can’t miss it. Also, Shin-Chan’s typical cartoon setting mixed with feudal Japan works great.
But on the contrary, if you are not already familiar with the adventures of little Shin, we can’t say that we recommend it as a stand-alone.
If this is your case, we recommend that you get to know this series first or move on to something else.
7. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna
The Ambition of Oda Nobuna is another female version of feudal Japan, like Battle Girls – Time Paradox, which we examined earlier.
Although, this time, we are dealing with a better and more successful product than the one just mentioned.
Yoshiharu Sagara, a modern-day boy, finds himself in this particular reality and is taken into custody by Oda Nobuna, the female counterpart of Oda Nobunaga as guessed.
Again, this is not the right choice if you are looking for historical accuracy, because it’s here just for the laughs.
The technical aspect is much more polished, the characters more successful in both characterization and design, and there is even a touch of romance, making this series an insteresting historical romance anime.
6. Ninja Girl and Samurai Master
Ninja Girl and Samurai Master is a comedy anime based on an unpretentious gag manga created as such. The anime is divided into 78 episodes released in 2016.
We see the adventures of little Chidori, a tiny ninja girl from the Sengoku period. One day, the legendary Oda Nobunaga himself rescues her as she is drowning in a river, so from that day on she decides to become his servant.
Ninja Girl and Samurai Master have a cartoon-style design, with characters drawn in a caricatured, chibi version that gives it a distinctive trait.
Our best recommendation if you are looking for something comic, light and original obviously set in the Sengoku period.
5. Sengoku Basara
Sengoku Basara is a 2009 anime, based again on a videogame, so you may already be diffident. But hold your breath, because it may turn out to be an unexpected surprise.
Inspired by true Sengoku era Japanese history, this anime depicts the military aspect of the period, against the backdrop of an ancient Japan fragmented into semi-independent provinces.
The protagonist is of course Oda Nobunaga, called the Sixth Demon King, in his intention of conquering a disordered country and reuniting it under one banner.
He won’t be short of worthy opponents in his endeavor. Indeed, Yukimura Sanada and Masamune Date, 2 young generals, decide to form an unlikely alliance to succeed in opposing Oda’s unstoppable armies.
Finally, Sengoku Basara is a great anime if you aim to discover the ancient and fascinating Oda Nobunaga history adapted through animation.
Although its animations are nothing much, it’s interesting to watch very epic and solemn moments of warfare as we admire the exploits of the greatest leader in Japanese history.
4. Nobunaga Concerto
Nobunaga Concerto is a 10-episode anime from 2014 which revolves around Saburou, a high school student who finds himself thrown back in time to the Sengoku Era.
Here he will meet the legendary general Nobunaga Oda who is frail and on the run. The general will try to teach Saburou to take his place, given that the two are physically very similar.
Saburou will find himself in the position to be a replacement for a man that he doesn’t even know and will have to pose as the legend who unites all of Japan.
Nobunaga Concerto is an underrated anime in our opinion and with many merits.The greatest is a beautiful and unique animation style and character design, that works in combination with good character development.
This anime boasts a story set always during Sengoku and that is different and more original than many others we have mentioned before.
3. Hyouge Mono
Hyouge Mono is a 39-episode 2011 anime that gives us a complementary second point of view to the previously examined anime like Sengoku Basara.
The story is set in the same context and period, with Oda Nobunaga gradually leading his troops to the unification of Japan.
But this time the spot won’t be taken by him, but by one of his vessels. His name is Sasuke Furata, and he is a peculiar and eccentric man, obsessed with the tea ceremony and other Zen-related customs.
This, as you can imagine, gives us another perspective than the previous historically accurate anime, showing us the same story from another complementary point of view.
We recommend you watch it to change your point of view, and have another version of the epic journey that permanently changed the history of Japan.
2. Sword of the Stranger
Sword of the Stranger, released in 2007, is an original story and has a running time of 103 minutes.
Ronin Nagashi, the main character, rescues at an abandoned temple a child named Kotaro and his dog Tobimaru.
Kotaro has no family, and for unknown reasons, the Chinese Emperor of the Ming Dynasty is hunting him down. Nagashi won’t allow this, however, and decides to stand up for the boy.
A movie animated by Bones studio that although it has its years presents a respectable animation and technical compartment.
Impossible not to mention the excellent settings of feudal Japan, and the ever-present breathtaking samurai clashes that are the reason why we have placed this so high.
Born at the hand of legendary master Osamu Tezuka, we’re talking about one of the best samurai anime ever made. It recently received a remake in 2019.
The plot revolves around Hyakkimaru, a boy with a body made of prosthetics, who fights demons. When he was a child his impoverished father sacrificed the child to demons to seek prosperity.
These demons now possess his body parts and senses, so Hyakkimaru will have to seek them out and defeat them to regain his lost body.
He will do this together with Dororo, a child that is keeping him company during the journey.
Dororo is an anime that everyone should watch because it’s a perfect mix between plot and action, with some nice plot twists.
The animations are quite smooth and the soundtrack will make the fighting scenes even more fun to watch.
The diverse characters that populate this dark fantasy-themed Sengoku Era are the real stars of this immortal work.