The 1920s are sharply divided into the eastern and western parts of the world. Anime manage to capture this part of history quite well.
In Europe, the main topic is the postwar period, with its aftermath and desire to restart after WWI, a horrible event that changed the European balance forever.
In Japan, on the other hand, there is more of an air of progress and desire for novelty, leaving behind old traditions to embrace new ones. This is clear in ’20s Tokyo, a modern city, in strong contrast with the countryside.
The first half of the ’20s is part of the Taisho Era, which ended on the 25th of December 1926 with the death of the Emperor.
The ranking is based on our opinions and tastes.
Table of Contents
8. Aoi Bungaku
Aoi Bungaku is a unique and unprecedented product, as well as unique to say the least. Indeed, the anime goes into 12 episodes which are composed to adapt 6 of the most famous literary works of Japanese culture.
The first four episodes adapt the novel No Longer Human, the fifth and sixth Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees, the seventh and eighth Kokoro, the ninth and tenth Run, Melos!.
The eleventh and twelfth, on the other hand, are self-contained episodes, and adapt The Spider’s Thread and Hell Screen, respectively.
So you may be wondering what this has to do with the 1930s setting, and the answer is complicated: the first story is set in that very period.
The first, No Longer Human, is set in pre-WWII Japan and recounts the events in the life of the protagonist, who lived in the 1920s.
7. Taisho Baseball Girls
An anime that is bizarre but rooted in real history, and speaks to a serious topic such as women’s empowerment, all but to be taken lightly.
The story is set in Tokyo in 1925, in Japan where modernity is beginning to take hold. The main character Koume Suzukawa is an ordinary 14-year-old girl who attends a very strict girls’ school.
She is forced by her family to behave and wear the Kimono, but her dream is one: to start a baseball team and play against a boys’ team, to prove that women can do it.
6. Sakura Wars
Sakura Wars is a steampunk media franchise that has a few anime adaptations. The general setting is a fictional late Taishō era in 1923, where girls with magical powers fight demons aboard mechas.
The anime by studio Madhouse adapts the events of the first videogame of the franchise, where a war between the Imperial Combat Revue against Supernatural threats is heating.
The franchise is old, but we recommend it if you like steampunk and mecha/sci-fi elements. The anime can be a decent starting point to catch up with the rest of the series later.
Also don’t miss it if you’re looking for a good anime set in Taisho era.
5. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian
A distinctive anime, combining action and fantasy with historical elements on the side. Released in 2011, it adapts the story of the homonymous light novel in just 12 episodes.
The story is based on the Dantalian Archive, which contains books of demonic wisdom that many want to get their hands on.
Huey, the main character, inherits an old, musty property from his grandfather that contains this collection.
The setting of this time is England in the early postwar period in 1920, with the appropriate references to WWI as expected.
The Mystic Archives of Dantalian is extremely introspective, consider watching it if you like deep series rather than action-packed ones and if you’re looking of one of the best anime set in England.
It’s 1924, in a fictitious country called Sauville inspired by Europe, where protagonist Kazuya Kujo moves.
Having just moved in, he is about to study at St. Marguerite Academy where he meets Victorique de Blois, a mysterious girl who spends her entire days among the books in the library.
Kazuya becomes fascinated by her, partly because of her detective skills, which she uses to help her brother solve cases.
A fictitious but real-inspired Europe with gothic and dark atmospheres is something you don’t see every day and that’s why you have to give Gosick a chance. It’s definitely one of the best anime set in Europe, even though the setting is not real.
3. Chrono Crusade
Chrono Crusade is set in the 1920s in New York, with America emerging as one of the winners of World War I. On the way to apparent prosperity, evil lurks in the shadows in the form of hellish demons.
In opposition to them was founded the Order of the Magdalene, a military organization suited to training priests and exorcist nuns charged with fighting such demons.
The two main characters are Chrono and Rosette, who go steady in this eternal struggle against evil. The former is a repentant demon turned to good, the latter a nun.
Chrono Crusade doesn’t have a good start but has a good development throughout the plot. For this reason, we recommend watching at least 3-4 episodes before you drop it, and especially if you like anime set in America.
2. The Wind Rises
Billed as Hayao Miyazaki’s supposed last feature movie, The Wind Rises is a 2013 work produced by Studio Ghibli.
It’s inspired by the fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, a designer of fighter planes for the Japanese Navy.
A child named Jiro aspires to become an airplane pilot, but being nearsighted it will be completely impossible for him to do so.
One day, he will dream of meeting the famous Caproni, a genius of Italian aircraft design, who will make him realize that his purpose is to build them rather than fly them.
From here we will follow Jiro through most of his life as he realizes his dreams and discovers love in an incredible 1920s setting.
The Wind Rises is a romantic masterpiece that won’t only give you a good overview of the period but also of human feelings.
No wonder why we consider it the best historical romance anime ever made.
1. Porco Rosso
Late 1920s, Italy. Marco Pagot is an ex-pilot who survived the Great War and mysteriously found himself in the guise of a pig.
He now makes a living hunting down pirates flying over the skies of the Adriatic and has become famous under the battle name Porco Rosso.
But the sky pirates, tired of his intrusions, have hired the American pilot Curtis to take him down.
A very famous movie created by Studio Ghibli, that combines elements of real history, such as Fascism and Communism, with an absurd context.
This movie is famous to be Anti-Fascist, as the main character has one of the most famous quotes on the topic.