10 Badass Anime Swords

Back in 2003 when I was fairly new to anime, I was all about swords. The shows that introduced me to the medium usually involved samurai and lots of fighting, so I considered the blade to be the ultimate weapon. I had always wanted to own a samurai sword back then, but my two younger brothers were cause for my mother to disallow it. I own a (rusty-ass) samurai sword now, and while I’m a bigger fan of guns these days, I still have a great love for the good-ol’ badass blades. I also just figured out how to break my posts into multiple pages and wanted to do a cracked.com-style post with it, so here goes my top 10 Badass Anime Swords!

10. Sakata Gintoki’s “Lake Toya” from Gintama

What it Can Do – Unbeknownst to Gintoki, who supposedly bought the bokuto (wooden sword) during a class trip, “Lake Toya” is also known as “Hoshikudai” which translates literally to “Star Destroyer.” It so happens that the sword was carved from the wood of a legendary alien tree and can cut through any object. In the event that Gintoki does manage to break his sword, though, they are available for order by infomercial, so he always gets a new one.

The so-called 'spirit' of Lake Toya in one of Gintama's Bleach parodies.

Why it’s Badass – Lake Toya hilariously defies the fact that Gintoki uses a wooden sword for the purpose of not killing anyone with it’s ability to cut through anything. The implications of this are somewhat confusing, seeing as one minute Gintoki can be cutting a canonball in half with it and the next he can be sawing it in half with a nail file, but this can just be chalked up to ‘Gintama physics.’ Ordinarily, such a powerful sword would be higher up on the list, but the fact that it just looks like a bland, average bokuto makes it less memorable of a blade. In addition, there is one sword in Gintama that is proven to be more powerful than Lake Toya, which you’ll be seeing further down the line.

9. Gatts’ “Dragonslayer” from Berserk, Sanousuke Sagara’s “Zanbatou” from Rurouni Kenshin, and Dygenguard’s “Zankantou” from Super Robot Wars

What They Can Do – The ‘Zanbatou’ was a sword designed to be able to slaughter horses during ancient wars, but the concept was abandoned when it became apparent that no one could wield such a massive blade; However, anime has seen fit to continually propagate the uses of such weapons. In Berserk’s case, the sword was upgraded from ‘horse slayer’ to ‘dragon slayer’, as Gatts picked up the most unwieldy-looking blade in anime, described by all of the characters in the series as ‘more of a slab of iron than a sword.’ Super Robot Wars saw fit to put such a blade in the hands of a giant robot and let it tear through hundreds of other robots, much as the human blades do to their enemies.

Why They Are Badass – This is basically the sword version of the ‘BFG’. The bigger your weapon is, the more badass it’s going to look, and the cooler you are going to be for being able to wield it. In Sanousuke and Gatts’ cases, a large part of what makes their characters legendary in and outside of their respective works is their ability to handle such weaponry, and in the case of Dygenguard, the weapon provides one epic moment in an otherwise dull series. Cool as a big sword is, though, the design is quite primitive, and isn’t much besides a ‘really strong sword,’ so the big-ass blades rank at number nine.

8. Himura Kenshin’s “Sakabatou” from Rurouni Kenshin

What it Can Do – At first glance, the Sakabatou seems like your average katana, but closer inspection reveals that the blade is on the wrong side of the weapon, leaving it seemingly harmless. However, with Kenshin’s amazing skill, the sakabatou is just short of lethal, while allowing him to continue his path of not killing anyone. As an added bonus, the curved blade of it’s backside can be useful in various situations.

Here inexplicably wielded by Kyonko.

Why it’s Badass – The sakabatou is, simply put, a classic. I wanted one when I was a kid, and so did everyone else, to the point that it is easily found in sword shops, and whether or not it is acceptable to bring one to cons became a frequently asked question (obviously, no.) What prevents me from moving the sword up the list is that in the hands of anyone other than Kenshin, it wouldn’t be half as useful, but the sakabatou is too legendary of a sword not to have in at least the number eight spot.

7. Mugen’s “Double-Edged Tsurugi” from Samurai Champloo

What it Can Do – Mistakable for a katana at first glance, Mugen’s double-edged tsurugi is actually a bit straighter than a normal katana with blades on both sides. The design allows for it to be used in less straightforward attacks, which works well with Mugen’s eclectic fighting style.

Production sketches of the blade

Why it’s Badass – Mugen’s sword is one of the few that is great not for any special attributes it has, seeing as it could easily be mistaken for a normal sword, but for it’s unforgettable appearance. The distinct white handle, pointed hilt, and black, emblemized sheathe that is famously strapped to Mugen’s back instead of his side all make the sword instantly recognizable as his own. Once again, the blade is easily found in online sword shops for this very reason.

6. Kira Izuru’s “Wabisuke” from Bleach

What it Can Do – Like all Zanpakutou in Bleach, Wabisuke begins as a normal katana, but when it is ‘released’ into it’s Shikai form, it transforms into an oddly-shaped angular hook-like sword with the blade on the inside. An enemy struck with Wabisuke has their weight doubled, and it continues to double with each strike. Once the enemy has been pinned to the ground by their weight, the curved blade is hooked around their neck for a gruesome decapitation.

Why's it shaped like- HE CUT HIS HEAD OFF

Why it’s Badass – I had a difficult time deciding whether or not to use any of the swords from Bleach because most of them more-or-less stop being swords as they grow in power, but Wabisuke was too cool to pass up, and still retained a sword-like form. The moment that you learn about Wabisuke’s true use is utterly awesome as there is a definitive moment wherein the connection between the sword’s power and it’s shape becomes apparent, and the gruesome truth is revealed. I just can’t argue with a sword that makes it’s opponents helpless to decapitation! This blade is actually findable for sale, but unfortunately the manufactured ones look little like it (how hard was it to get right, seriously?)

Continue on page 2~!

44 thoughts on “10 Badass Anime Swords

  1. I like your reasons for making this post…namely discovery of the second page feature. XD I can’t say I have any swords to contribute. They’re awesome, but I don’t analyze them.

    • Hahaha~ I’d actually had the post idea for around a week after I’d been rewatching some of Nanoha A’s and thinking about how badass Laevantine is, but when I found out about page breaking I simply HAD to do it. I really wish I had known about this for past list posts >_<

  2. I am pretty sure this will come eventually so might as well get it over with…WHAT about the Buster sword(or plethora of other swords) from advent children…unless thats technically an anime…idk

    • I’m considering the Final Fantasy 7 swords to be game-related regardless of Advent Children. If we got into video games, this list would never end.

      • That is true. Just want it out there so we were clear.

        would consider hei’s weapon a sword? more of a sweet knife but still BadA? Kamina’s sword just because it is kamina’s? Taiga’s wooden sword? mhm though its more how she uses it…mhm. Liang Qi’s swords…

        • Heis’ is oh-so-close. It’s a dagger at best, and if this were a list of general anime weapons, I’d never disclude it, but alas, it is not a sword. Kamina and Taiga is, of course, more on the character than the weapon. Liang Qi’s sword is a pretty normal scimitar, but it might have even been included if she ever had a chance to use it ROFL.

  3. Eh, I guess these were kinda cool. A little disappointed Soul Crusher from Lodoss wasn’t mentioned. Always thought that looked pretty cool as far as fantasy anime swords went.

    • Now see, I did remember there being some cool looking blades in Lodoss, but I couldn’t remembr if they were special at all. I only saw the show once, about 7 years ago, and I remember jack shit about it. But once again, that’s why you’re supposed to add your own favorites, lol.

      • Tsubsasa Chronicle is kindof old so I can see you not watching that. But Chaos Head and Ga-Rei Zero…imo those are right up your ally.

        • Lol Tsubasa is not ‘old’ considering I watch shows from the 70s, but anyway I dropped Tsubasa and Shaos Head early on. Ga-Rei I actually have been meaning to watch, though. Seen the first 2 eps.

  4. You had a difficult time deciding whether to use any swords from Bleach but you used something from Soul Eater??
    I can only guess that Soul Eater gets better and incredibly awesome with time because the first chapters are terrible.

    • Soul Eater is probably one of my three favorite manga of all time. Bleach might be in the top 10, but it doesn’t even touch Soul Eater. Really, little does.

      • If I’d made this list 7 years ago, there’s no way I would have forgotten the Ten Commandments. I’m actually kind of mad that I did, even though it would have been a real bitch to write about and show images of all 10 swords LOL

  5. I’m kinda surprised that the top four great swords belong to female characters. I like Saya’s sword but it’s a pity that Saya can rarely put it into good use in Blood+

  6. Kenshin, Mugen, and Kira’s swords stick out to me as awesome. Kira definitely has the coolest sword in Bleach.

    If you’ve ever read Until Death Do Us Part, the sword of the main character is pretty badass, considering that it can cut through literally anything. I kinda stopped reading that manga though.

    I also have a shitty, rusted samurai sword, and still would prefer a sword in a fight to any other weapon. They’re fucking awesome.

  7. I’m not sure what my favorite anime sword would be. Since I’m an Inuyasha fan, I guess Tetsusaiga stands out to me. It’s actually gotten more powers since Backlash Wave – Adamant Barrage (shoots off diamond daggers), dragon scales (can absorb demon energy), and a few other. I would say Soul Eater but I can’t think of any weapons that are swords (mostly scythes, etc). There probably are, I just can’t think of them at the moment.

    I like Zoro’s swords too but I agree that they’re not that interesting by themselves and are only cool because of how Zoro uses them. Many of the zanpakuto in Bleach are cool…can’t really think of one in particular I like the best. Perhaps Byakuya’s or Hitsugaya’s.

    I personally like swords a lot more than guns. Guns just seem like cold, one-sided weapons that only hurt and kill, while swords often have things like honor, duty, loyalty and the yearning to protect others and prove oneself attached to them.

    • Actually, what you’ve said about guns and swords are precisely the reasons I like each of them. Guns I love for the harsh, sudden, cold, and powerless death they bring. Swords are more for the passionate badassery.

  8. While we’re on the subject of mecha, Dann of Thursday is awesome because it is a sword itself.

    I actually like the Grungust Type-0’s Zankantou than the Dygenguard’s, but the SRW TV anime didn’t look as well as the OVA. (so instead take a look at the game animation)

    I’m also a fan of those gaudy swords the old-school super robots use, like Gravion’s. Godannar has a really sweet one that is also a major plot point in the second season.

  9. Hazuki’s practice wooden sword in DtB2 is pretty badass because it’s her ability which turns it into a fukken light sabre!

    I’m generally a fan of practice wood swords, including Taiga’s, and Shu’s (from Now and Then Here and There)

    I would like to see you do a list of 10 gayass anime swords including Ichigo’s zangetsu (totally gay) and Archer’s Double Faggot Blades (really really gay).

  10. As mentioned earlier, I’m a fan of Michael 14 from Ga-Rei Zero. The sword that uses shotgun shells to increase slicing speed. Or as I consider it, a pneumatic sword. :P

  11. See, I thought about this, I like all of your choices but I feel like you forgot to look into some Amerime as I call America’s version of anime, Zuko from Avatar wields a kind of cutlas that splits into two blades and of course there is Jet’s hook swords that are really cool. I had another one from another anime, but I all of a sudden can’t remember it.

    • I don’t watch any ‘amerime,’ seeing as I only watch anime, but I don’t doubt there could be some cool swords.

  12. I also feel like I should point out Zabuza’s, Throat Cleaver from Naruto, which is a pretty badass sword just for it’s sheer brute strength, the thing can cut through a 6 inch steel door like it is paper.

    • Yeah, I like his a lot, too. I don’t remember if I thought about it while making this post, but it’s cool as hell.

  13. and one more reply that I just remembered, how about Haru’s sword from Rave Master, that is a badass sword no matter what you say lol.

  14. I honestly think the number one bad ass sword should be mihawks sword from one piece. Obviosuly its bad ass power and beauty are second to none.

  15. I was under the impression that the infomertial at the end of the hoshikudai chapter was an indication that Gin’s sword was/is in fact not the hoshikudai, what with the hoshikudai being one of a kind, and capable of cutting STARS in half, not something i would expect to be sold on an infomertial, even in gintama world (even if it was there is no way gin would be able to afford it) and that the amanto seeking it out only thought it was because he didn’t realize that it’s weilder at the time (Kagura) was Yato. Well that’s a run on sentence if I’ve ever seen one…

  16. Sounga anyone? Can summon a 100 undead in a single stroke? The drangom twister which requires both then tensaiga and the tessaiga to defeat it!

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