10 best anime every story nerd needs to see

Three Musketeers Anime-1


Anime draws on historical events and images from the real world, creating captivating stories that blend fantasy with history. From The Three Musketeers to Japan’s famous samurai, Jubei, anime brings historical characters to life in unique and imaginative ways. Historical backdrops such as Viking Age England or the strife of medieval Italy serve as the basis for anime narratives that add fantastical elements to real-world conflicts.

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This article contains references to sensitive topics, including suicide.

World history has inspired many creative mediums, and anime is no exception. Among countless anime adaptations and re-imaginings of stories, there are plenty of amazing classic anime that every story nerd should check out. Most of these series introduce fantastical elements while staying in line with the spirit of the established events. Often times, the memorable events of these anime series have an entirely historical basis rather than being actually created by the writers.

Not surprisingly, as a Japanese medium, anime often draws on Japanese history. In fact, the earliest surviving work of Japanese animation depicts a hapless samurai trying out a new sword. There are many important anime series from other times and places in world history. Many anime creators have proven to be knowledgeable about historical periods throughout the ages. These diverse historical settings and characters have inspired some of the most memorable anime series of all time.

10 The three musketeers recreated the classic story

Created by Studio Gallop and based on the D’Artagnan romance by Alexandre Dumas.

Three Musketeers Anime-1

The Three Musketeers anime adaptations are loosely based on the true story of Alexandre Dumas’ original novels. That being said, The Three Musketeers and D’Artagnan Romance are all based on real people who lived in France in the 1600s. Dumas was inspired by several historical manuscripts that contain the names of historical inspirations for Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and Artagnan. From there, he used these figures as the basis for a fictional story based on real-world historical events. The Three Musketeers anime used Dumas’ story as the basis for a loose but very interesting retelling of the Three Musketeers story.

Watch now on Prime Video

9 Jubei-chan: Ninja Girl follows Japan’s most famous samurai.

Created by Studio Madhouse

Jubei Chan's official artwork

The real Yagyu Jubei lived in Japan in the 1600s and has become one of the most frequent historical figures in Japanese pop culture. While there is no historical evidence of him missing an eye, fictional versions of Jubei are always described as wearing an eye patch. Jubei’s Famous Eye Patch guides the story of Jubei-chan, an anime where the main character, a high school student named Jiu, adopts Jubei’s personality and skills with a sword, wearing the eye patch. Admittedly, Jubey’s portrayal is based more on folk tales and fictional stories than on any historical figures. Especially since the anime shows him as a ninja instead of a samurai. Regardless, the series is a testament to how ubiquitous the folk hero version of the Jubei novel is in Japanese pop culture.

Watch now on Crunchyroll

8 EscaFlowne’s vision shows a different side of Isaac Newton

Created by Studio Sunrise, based on the original manga by Shoji Kawamori and Katsu Aki

Escaflowne Emperor Dornkerk

After being transported to the world of Gaea, EscaFlowne’s protagonist Hitomi quickly learns that she is not the first person to travel from Earth to the mysterious fantasy realm. In addition to realizing that her own grandmother had traveled to Gaia in the past, it was widely revealed in the series that the famous English scientist Isaac Newton had been transported to Gaia and assumed the identity of Zabik’s Emperor Dornkrk, the original antagonist of the series.

Being an emperor in a virtual world and building a machine that changes destiny is not characteristic of the historical Isaac Newton; In addition to being famous for his scientific contributions, the real Newton was also very interested in subjects that were considered dubious even in his own time. He studied occultism and alchemy extensively, and even wrote a book on the latter.

Watch it now on Funimation

7 Vinland Saga shows the cruelty of the Vikings

Created by WIT Studio and Studio MAPPA, based on the original manga by Makoto Yukimura

Canute standing behind Ragnar and wearing a winged helmet in the Vinland Saga.

Most scholars date the Viking Age to the invasion of Lindisfarne in 793 and the death of Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge in 1066. Notably, both of these events took place in England. This 300-year reign was a very turbulent time in England and between 966 and 1066 there were more than fifteen different claimants to the English throne. This is the historical background of Vinland Saga.

Fittingly, the characters travel widely, but the bulk of the action takes place in England after the Danish conquest by Sweyn Forkbeard and Canute the Great. Many of the series’ characters are at least partially based on real historical figures. Sweyn and Canute were kings of England. Leif Erickson truly arrived in North America. Even the main character of the series, Torfin, was inspired by the real-life Viking explorer Torfin Karlsefni.

Watch now on Crunchyroll

6 Heike’s history studies the fall of Taira no Kiyomori.

Created by Science Saru, based on Hideo Furukawa’s interpretation of Hayek’s tale

Heike Story Anime Visual.

As the head of one of the most powerful noble families of the time, Taira no Kiyomori was the power behind the throne in 12th century Japan. Many of his sons were given positions of honor at the imperial court, and his daughter became empress-consort. It is remembered that Kiyomori was a dictator who oppressed the citizens of Kyoto, the capital of Japan at the time, brutally crushing his enemies and rivals.

Kiyomori’s rise to power, death, and the downfall of the entire Taira clan are recounted in a 14th-century poem known as the Tale of Heike. The word “Heike” is based on the alternate reading of the Japanese characters for “Taira”. The poem depicts the most famous samurai in Japanese history. Although it ends the story, the anime serves to highlight the most important events and serves as a great introduction to both popular Japanese stories and historical periods.

Watch now on Crunchyroll

5 Romeo x Juliet adapts one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies.

Created by Studio Gonzo based on the original manga by Riko Yoshida and Hiroki Harada

Romeo x Juliet

Noted for its rare anime adaptation of a Shakespeare play inspired by the real-world politics of medieval Italy itself, Romeo x Juliet is one of the most famous family conflicts in history. In real life, the basis for this feud is the decades-long war between two warring Italians known as the Guelphs and Ghibellines. At its most simplistic, the conflict arose as the Guelphs supported greater political power for the Pope and the Ghibellines fought for the Holy Roman Emperor to gain more control over ecclesiastical affairs in his empire. Of course, Romeo x Juliet takes place in a completely fictional setting and introduces many fantastical elements to the story, but the basic core of the story is this real-world historical conflict.

Watch now on Crunchyroll

4 Yasuke retells the story of Japan’s first black samurai

Created by Lesen Thomas and Studio MAPPA

LaKeith Stanfield as Yasuke in Yasuke on Netflix

The historical Yasuke is famous for being the first known black samurai. The anime adaptation of His Life is notable for being one of the relatively few anime series to feature a black character in the lead role. The historical Yasuke came to Japan on a Portuguese ship around 1579 and entered the service of the powerful daimyo Oda Nobunaga. The anime series itself goes full fantasy, introducing mechs, magic, and global intrigue. In fact, so few details of Yasuke’s real life are known that any series-length story about Yasuke would require a fair amount of artistic license. But the main story is true. Yasuke came to Japan and worked as a samurai for Nobunaga.

Watch it now on Netflix

3 That boy Kongming! It places a real-life strategist in modern day Japan.

Created by PA Studio, based on the original manga by Yuta Yotsuba and Ryo Ogawa.

That canal Kongming
That boy Kongming!/PA works

Also known as Kongming, Zhuge Liang was the chancellor of the Shu government during China’s Three Kingdoms period, which inspired countless works of fiction, including a strategy video game. He is a historical figure who appeared in the 14th century romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Although the historical Zhuge Liang’s exploits are exaggerated to a godlike level in the accounts of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, he was one of the brightest minds of his time and a major figure in the rise of the Shu dynasty. . Many of the schemes used by Ya Boy Kongming to help Eco’s music career! Romances from the three kingdoms are based on different strategies.

Watch now on HIDIVE

Created by Doga Koba, based on the original manga by Aka Akaka and Mengo Yokoyari

Aqua from Oshi no Co

Oshi no Ko doesn’t shy away from showing the dark and messy underbelly of the entertainment industry in Japan, and that becomes very clear at the very end of the first episode. Several of the most disturbing plot lines are based on real-life scandals and tragedies in the industry, including the murders of many famous celebrities by unsuspecting fans. The most visible real-life inspiration in Oshi no Ko is the storyline involving Akane, which in 2020 was seen by professional audience member Hana Kimura as similar to suicide. It leads to a vocal outcry, including criticism from Hannah’s mother.

Watch now on HIDIVE

1 Spy X Family explores the conflict between East and West.

Created by WIT Studio and CloverWorks, based on the manga by Tatsuya Endo

Spy X family

While Spy X Family takes place in the fictional countries of Wetalis and Ostania, the novel’s setting is clearly based on West and East Germany during the Cold War. Spy X Family introduces fictional elements such as telepathic children, psychic dogs, and an entire secret network of assassins, while exaggerating the political tension for the sake of the story. The entire world-building is based on real-life Cold War history, particularly in the 50s and 60s. Intelligence agencies and secret police are inspired by their real-life counterparts, the aesthetic of the series is rooted in the mid-20th century, and the technology is straight out of a 60s spy movie.

Watch now on Crunchyroll