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.
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.
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.
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 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~!