The young prince Arslan is ready to prove himself on the battlefield, but on his first battle, his father is betrayed and his kingdom is conquered. With his army in shambles, Arslan is forced to go on the run in search of allies to bring him back home.
Who doesn’t love a good coming-of-age story through warfare and struggle with a side helping of an epic quest. It is really the easiest plot to write, but doing it well like in Arslan takes some finesse. If you want more finely cultivated anime recommendations like The Heroic Legend of Arslan, we have you covered.
For Fans of Royals Forced Out of Their Kingdom
The kingdom of Parros has been invaded. The king and queen have been slain, but their twin children have been spirited away by a strange device in the palace. Lost in the Roodwood, they are rescued from invading soldiers by a strange amnesiac leopard-headed man named Guin.
Both Arslan and Guin Saga follow the trials and tribulations of royals that are ran out of their kingdoms. However, while Arslan focuses on the prince, Guin is more about the bodyguard of the royals. It is also worth noting that Guin Saga has a bit more magic to it overall, but Arslan tells the better story.
Yona of the Dawn
After having her luxurious life shattered by the betrayal of her cousin, Princess Yona is forced to escape with her childhood friend Son Hak. However, leaving her palace forces her to see the poverty and strife that really makes up her beloved kingdom. Now she must journey to not only regain her rightful throne, but to return her kingdom to its former glory.
Both these series have an incredible amount of similarities separated really only by geographic location and gender of the protagonists. In Arslan you follow a naive young prince, in Yona it is a naive young princes, both series have them accompanied by a more experienced bodyguards and both series are influenced by other cultures like Korea or the Middle East. However, both are very much coming of age stories in which the royals see the world for how it really is outside of their palace.
Known as the Scrapped Princess, a poison that will destroy the world, Pacifica Casull is hated by the worshipers of the god Mauser. To avoid being killed, Pacifica and her adopted brother and sister leave her village of Manhurin, looking for a way to avoid the foreseen disaster that will befall the world on her 16th birthday.
While Pacifica isn’t as royal as Arslan, she still finds herself without a home and accompanied by bodyguards. However, instead of finding a way back to her home like in Arslan, she goes to lengths to try to learn about herself and avert disaster.
For Fans of Complex Kingdom Politics
In the Ancient Chinese Kingdom of Qin, Xin Li, a war orphan, trains with his fellow slave and best friend Piao to achieve his dream of one day being a Great General of the Heavens. However, one day Piao is sent to work at the royal palace until a coup sends him back to Xin Li, half dead, in order to bring him in for a meeting with China’s young king Zheng Ying, thus thrusting him into an adventure and towards his destiny.
Did you like Arslan for its complex politics and military matters? Then Kingdom is easily going to be your next favorite show. Although it has ten tons of characters in it and quickly surpasses Arslan in complexity, it still remains easy to get into and an absolutely stunning tale of ancient politics.
It is said that a widespread drought is coming to the Shin Yogo Empire and in order to avoid famine, that the reincarnation of the water spirit must be sacrificed to prevent it. However, the water spirit is the emperor’s own son. However, his mother spirits the boy away with a mysterious female mercenary in order to save his life.
If not for the supernatural aspect in Moribito, it would almost be the same story as Arslan, except Moribito isn’t about raising an army, but merely about trying to survive. You watch young princes learn about the world and come into their own, all while under the careful guidance of a more knowledgeable bodyguard.
Aladdin, a talented young magi, has lived his life in seclusion, but he is eager to go explore the world. After he sets out, he becomes friends with a courageous Alibaba Saluja who, after seeing his powerful Djinn Ugo, suggests they go conquer a dungeon for fame, power, and treasure.
First and foremost, the biggest similarity here is in the Middle East influences. However, while Magi starts out as a very upbeat adventure anime, it soon delves deeper into the politics of the world, putting it more on par with Arslan.
For Fans of Character Growth Through Struggle
The Twelve Kingdoms
In what started as a normal day as a normal high school student, Nakajima Youko has her reality shattered when a strange man named Keiki appears before her, swearing his allegiance. When Youko and her friends are attacked by demons, they are pulled into a different world, one she has never known. Separated from Keiki, Youko and her friends must do whatever they have to survive this strange, harsh place.
While The Twelve Kingdoms has people from the modern world put into a more medieval one, as you keep watching, that becomes less of an issue as they try to navigate and learn about the complex politics of the world. In essence, they are both about young people learning and growing as they go through various struggles that their situations put them in.
Altair: A Record of Battles
Tughril Mahmut is a young pasha that serves the Divan of the Turkiye Stratocracy. However, an aggressive empire threatens the peace of his nation and the Divan is divided between the opinions of warmongers and pacifists. Mahmut soon embarks on a quest to keep the peace, but as he moves further into politics, what will he do if war is unavoidable?
Again, this is another Middle East-inspired show, but while Arslan seeks to make war to get his kingdom back, Mahmut seeks to keep the peace in his. As both shows delve into war, you watch sacrifices, betrayals, and all those other emotion-inducing moments that make a young kid grow up fast.
Knowing nothing but death and battle since the day he was born, Gutts wanders from battlefield to battlefield as a solitary mercenary. Caring for nothing and no one, his only goal is to become stronger. However, after a fateful encounter with Griffith and his Band of the Hawk mercenary group, Gutts finds himself rising through the ranks of their prestigious organization and learns to care for his fellows.
Betrayal. Sacrifice. Vengeance. Ambition. They are all present in Arslan, but seamlessly woven into Berserk as well. While Berserk starts off about mercenaries, it moves into royal politics quickly before dipping deep into the supernatural, but by that point, you are so hooked it is hard to stop watching.
If you have any more anime recommendations like The Heroic Legend of Arslan, let us know in the comments section below.