20 Best Anime Swordsmen & Swords Users (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Besides their advanced technology, giant monsters, and anime, Japan is probably best known for samurai.
And when one thinks samurai, they think an excellent swordsman carrying out justice while wearing a straw hat. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but hey I’m not here to judge.
But who are the best swordsmen (and swordswomen) that anime has to offer?
That’s what we’ll be ranking today in our anime swordsmen tier list. Keep in mind I’ll be ranking them both by their skill with the sword, as well as their overall power, and maybe just a hint of likability.
20. Mi-Ra Yu
Anime: The God of High School
I think Mira is a good baseline for this list. As she is definitely heading towards the mastery of the sword, but isn’t quite there yet.
Her Moon Light Sword style is shown to be very powerful. However, it’s only in the second half of the show that she even awakens her sword.
It’s obvious that she has a lot of training under her belt. But where the season left off she’s pretty mid-tier in her own universe, which is why she gets last place on this list.
19. Anri Sonohara
Anri has the opposite problem from the last pick:
She holds immense power, but it’s obvious she hasn’t mastered the wielding of her sword just yet.
In case you didn’t know, she has the power to put anyone she grazes with her sword under her complete control and basically form an army. It’s mentally taxing, but she seems to be as solid as a rock on that front.
So if she ever truly masters her sword and starts jumping around the battlefield she’ll be near unstoppable.
Anime: Vinland Saga
Since Vinland Saga is largely based in reality, Askeladd doesn’t really have any flashy moves I can point to and say “look how good he is”.
But he does have some serious feats under his belt.
The fact that Thorfinn never managed to truly challenge him, but was on the other hand capable of taking on dozens of enemies, already shows a lot.
And if you watched the entire first season you should also know that Askeladd is deadly, not just in 1v1s, but even when he’s surrounded.
Anime: Samurai Champloo
Mugen is just one of those natural-born talents who can wield a sword like it’s nothing, even without proper training.
In fact, his unorthodox fighting style is his biggest strength, as trained samurai can’t seem to predict his movements.
He’s probably equal in power with Jin. However, I think Mugen can adapt much quicker and has yet to achieve his full potential. Which is why I choose him for this list. I also like him a bit more.
Anime: My Hero Academia
I think arguably, Stain has a very mediocre quirk. Sure he can paralyze you, but he has to draw blood first and lick it.
Compared to instant vaporization, giant ice projectiles, or even just impenetrable skin, blood licking CC isn’t all that.
However, Stain really makes full use of this quirk thanks to his extraordinary skills with the blade.
He takes down a few dozen pro heroes without so much as a scratch, and even inspires a whole new generation of villains.
15. Yami Sukehiro
Anime: Black Clover
Yami just has some insane stats overall. So I think he could beat most people with a simple stick, but his katana looks way cooler.
Because of his magic, every swing he makes packs a huge punch. Especially in the latter part of the series, and can literally strike different dimensions. He also uses ki to perfectly predict any incoming attack, and can deflect light attacks while holding a conversation no problem.
So I’m not sure how much of Yami someone would call skillful, but I’m sure that we can all at least agree that the man is powerful.
14. Nobunaga Hazama
Anime: Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Without a doubt, Nobunaga’s biggest strength is his speed.
By making a circle around him, he’s capable of instantly reacting to any movement and counter-attacking in the blink of an eye.
And considering that he has honed his mastery of the sword, you can be certain that once he’s in range, he will not miss your vital organs.
The mere fact that he was comparable to the beast man Ubogin already shows just what a powerful warrior Nobunaga is.
13. Killer Bee
Anime: Naruto: Shippuden
Sure, you can put Sasuke here because of his overall power. But when it comes down to who’s the better swordsman, I think the answer is obvious.
Killer Bee couldn’t even be satisfied with just a single sword. So he opted to use seven instead.
The mere fact that he can even move around, let alone face off against Sasuke while wielding seven swords, is just beyond impressive if you ask me.
His rapping skills may have also swayed my judgement.
12. Reinhard van Astrea
The man is literally called the sword saint. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that he’s on here.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to see him in a lot of fights. But whenever he’s present, there is virtually no tension anymore, as it always looks like he’s going to win.
He’s known as the knight of all knights, not only for this immense power, but also because he’s actually quite the chill dude; prepared to help out strangers and uphold justice.
If Yato had not found light in his life, he probably would have been higher up.
But since he has only snapped a few times, and for a limited time, I’m going to place him in the middle.
He’s the god of calamity, one who was capable of murdering entire armies.
Which is actually pretty tame for a god according to anime standards. But he was obviously quite the big deal in his own universe.
Sure, now that he’s basically a freelancer he isn’t quite as powerful. But if we take into account his glory days, I think this placement is justified.
Anime: Akame ga Kill
For most of the show, Akame seemed pretty decent with her sword. She had incredible speed, agility, and precision.
Then we learn that a single cut is basically a guaranteed victory and she started going towards the OP category.
And then the final season rolled around, we learned that despite popular belief, Akame can tap into the hacks category of fighting. And she became the most powerful character in her entire series.
But since it was only for one fight, and she hasn’t shown off too much of her actual skill yet, she gets the mid-tier on this list.
9. Lay Glanzudlii
Anime: The Misfit of Demon King Academy
One may be tempted to sleep on Lay because Anos kicked his butt wielding only a stick.
But that isn’t exactly a fair comparison, as Anos is like anime Jesus.
But him aside, Lay is definitely the most powerful in their entire universe.
With incredible speed, skill, strength, and waifu taste, he has extremely high stats all around.
And if you’ve watched the entire season you know just how difficult it is to actually defeat this man in 1vs1 combat.
Anime: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Alibaba is quite the beast when it comes to swordplay. Even when he’s not wielding so much of a sword, but more of a dagger.
Like really, watch him actually fight someone 1v1. He’ll give them a lecture on all the ways he could have killed them at every point.
He does eventually graduate towards a much more powerful sword. But honestly he doesn’t have the same amount of swag like he did with the dagger.
His skill is still impressive though.
You always hear the expression “may the sword be an extension of your arm” when someone’s learning how to be a sword master.
Hyakkimaru’s arms are literally swords. So he didn’t need much help on that front.
And since they’re so regularly available, his skill is beyond compare to anyone in his universe.
The mere fact that he throws down with demons and stormed a castle all on his own, plus an angry magic pony, shows how overpowered he truly is.
Anime: Sword Art Online
We’ve all seen the memes about how over the top original Kirito was.
He could tank multiple people without sustaining any injury, one shot most enemies capable of destroying entire hordes of warriors, and generally win any fight without really breaking a sweat.
This is only further emphasized when he gets some hack powers and even beats a guy who was literally cheating the system.
In this universe he is probably the strongest on this list, and among the most popular. But since his skill expression isn’t too high and his character is mediocre, I can’t put him in the top five.
As every character in the manga has pointed out time and time again, it’s difficult to even call Guts a swordsman. His sword is so huge that it has more in common with a tombstone than a proper weapon.
And that analogy is rather appropriate, given that Guts is capable of taking out entire platoons by himself.
Even when he starts going head to head against hoards of the undead and literal demons, Guts manages to hold his ground.
4. Ichigo Kurosaki
I mean, it’s a protagonist of one of the original big three shounen. So you already have an idea of the power this dude wields.
Initially his character was more skill-oriented. But as the series continued he became a wall of power enemies just couldn’t get past.
Late game Ichigo was a monster, capable of levelling an entire mountain with a single swing of his sword, while being in his base form mind you.
So he might not have shown off his skills as much in late game. But it still stands that he’s the master of his blade.
The Fate series generally has very good skill expression when it comes to fighting.
There’s less mountain cutting and more traps, parries, and outplays during most fights.
The Lancelot vs Saber fight for example shows how much detail is given to the warrior’s skills.
And while Saber did take an L in that fight, she has other victories under her belt.
She also has extremely good stats all around, with solid defense, an unpredictable offense, solid mobility, and so on. She’s the jack of all trades and the third seed of this list.
Anime: One Piece
If Zabuza has taught me anything, it’s that the second someone starts wielding a sword with their teeth, run away as fast as you can.
And Zoro does this quite frequently using his famous three-sword style.
What’s even worse(for his enemies) is that the man is beyond tenacious. You can stab him with a sword and he’ll simply take it, grab it with his teeth, and slice you in half in return.
It’s like stabbing him is the equivalent of throwing the sword into his hands.
And don’t even get me started on the “nothing happened” scene, that was just ridiculous!
Anime: Sword of the Stranger
Although he doesn’t have any super powers, Nanashi is definitely beyond human when it comes to his skills with the sword.
In a very similar vein like Himura Kenshin, Nanashi is an elite warrior that has decided to put his sword away and try to seek redemption.
However, he can’t avoid fighting forever. And once he does get serious, he easily outperforms all of the people on this list.
Even after running up a snowy mountain, fighting high level soldiers, jumping through fire, and even having a tower collapse on him, Nanashi refuses the Senzu bean treatment and still manages to defeat the second strongest warrior in the entire movie.