In Edo era Japan, Shichika Yasuri practices one of the most unique sword styles among a culture of unique sword styles, a technique that uses his own body as a blade. As the seventh head of the style’s school, he lives in exile with his sister Nanami until the ambitious Togame barges into his life. Togame tries to recruit him on her mission to collect the twelve unique swords known as the Deviant Blades for the shogunate. Interested by the girl more so than her mission, Yasuri accepts, only to later find the challenge in collecting these swords is defeating the legendary swordsmen that wield them.
Even if you have sampled some of Nisio Isin’s other work and didn’t like it, Katanagatari is often what wins some of the more unimpressed watchers over. If you crave more anime recommendations like it, then here you go!
For Fans of Unique Sword Styles
Fuu is a young girl working as a waitress at a small teahouse. Things are peaceful until one day she spills tea on a customer and finds the samurai harassing her. Calling for help, a thuggish young rogue by the name of Mugen steps in only to pick a fight with another tightly wound samurai named Jin. In their fight, they end up destroying the shop and getting arrested. After saving the two fighters from their execution, Fuu hires them as bodyguards to help her find a samurai that smells of sunflowers.
There are three things that make up Katanagatari: the journey, the sword fighting, and the pasts of the characters. Samurai Champloo covers all three of things. Like in Katangatari, you follow the characters on their journey, watch Mugen use his unique street fighting, and slowly learn about what motivates each of the trio.
When two warring ninja clans each find themselves supporting a different son of Hidetada Tokugawa as the next shogun, they each send 10 representatives to fight to the death. The winner of this fight not only gets Tokugawa support, but they earn the right to wipe out the other clan.
Basilisk may sound like a normal battle royale, but it is filled with some unique ninja fighting techniques. Like in Katanagatari, the fighting has a touch of supernatural to it, but it looks amazing, even if watching them both side by side is an exercise in studying animation history.
Blade of the Immortal
Manji is a swordsman who was cursed with eternal life. Growing upset with all the death he has created, he tries to get his mortality back by killing 100 evil men for every good person he had struck down. On this journey, he meets a girl named Rin who seeks her own vengeance against a sword school that killed her family. Together they journey, both trying to find their peace and prevent being consumed by revenge.
While the Blade of the Immortal anime has its shortcomings, like in Katangatari, the main character is pushed forward with a goal in mind. Each show gives the main character a companion that they share some sort of connection with and allows them to form a unique bond with their counterpart.
For Fans of Deep and Absorbing Dialogue
After being saved from a vampire attack, high school student Koyomi Araragi finds he has several supernatural side effects. While trying to live a normal life, he ends up catching a classmate after falling down the stairs and finds she is near weightless.
Well… If you like Katangatari, there is a good chance you will like Bakemonogatari and any of the other -gatari series that were created by the same author. All of them, including these two typically have stunning animation and get a little too talky at times.
Spice and Wolf
For generations, Holo was a revered wolf deity that helped the local wheat harvest in exchange for tribute. However, as the villagers become more self-sufficient, they no longer need or even believe in her anymore. During her annual festival, she sneaks into the cart of Kraft, a visiting merchant, hoping he will let her hitch a ride home.
Spice and Wolf probably isn’t a good choice for people that like Katanagatari for its fight scenes, since it doesn’t have any of those. However, if you enjoyed the meaningful dialogue and the atmosphere that it presented on the journey, then Spice and Wolf can draw you in like any other.
From the New World
After a small portion of humanity suddenly developed psychokinetic powers, the world underwent a rapid transformation. After 1,000 years of turbulent history where regular humans struggled against those with powers, we focus in on Kamisu 66, a small town where 12-year-old Saki Watanabe finally awakened her powers. This awakening means she is finally able to join her friends at the Sage Academy. However, things in Saki’s life do not remain as simple as those precious days. With missing children in the village, rebellious rumblings, and a world steeped in myth and mystery, Saki and her friends are about to face the shocking truths of their peaceful society.
Both anime series are all about discovering the world that surrounds them. While From the New World has a few more dark secrets, Katanagatari isn’t without is drama. However, what these two series both have in common other than frequent and meaningful dialogue is their beautiful and unique animation.
For Fans of a Girl and Her Bodyguard
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 shows are about a woman and her bodyguard traveling the world to find legends. Naturally, the form of these legends come in are different, but both shows feature some awesome fight scenes and have a surprisingly engaging story. However, Yona of the Dawn is just slightly more shoujo.
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.
While the gender roles are a little reversed in Moribito, it still presents a highly atmospheric anime with a little less action than Katanagatari, but an equally engaging world none-the-less. In both shows, however, a big part of the series is watching the strengthening bond between the two characters.
Chaika – The Coffin Princess
Chaika Trabant is on a quest. Carrying a coffin on her back, with no memory of her past, and highly adept at casting spells, she is hunting down the scattered remains of the Emperor Gaz. One day, she meets Toru Akari in the woods who is having trouble find a job to support himself and the unlikely duo team up.
If you strip both series down to their bare bones plot, then they sound like the same series. Both Chaika and Katanagatari are about a girl that hires a man to help her collect a number of relics in a slightly fantasy world.
Do you have any more anime recommendations for the stylish and lovable Katanagatari? Let us know in the comments section below.