11 Must-Watch Movies Similar to Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin is just the tip of the samurai sword. Discover 11 captivating movies that transport you to Meiji era Japan with their thrilling blend of animation, action, adventure, comedy, drama, history, and thriller genres. Get ready to embark on a cinematic journey filled with epic sword fights, charismatic characters, and the timeless charm of Japanese culture.

1) Ikki tousen

Ikki tousen is reminiscent of Rurouni Kenshin because both are action-packed anime series set in historical Japan. While Rurouni Kenshin tells the story of a wandering swordsman who joins a martial arts school, Ikki tousen revolves around seven rival high schools competing for supremacy. However, the similarities end there. Rurouni Kenshin focuses on character development, with a cast of memorable characters and deep, dramatic backgrounds. On the other hand, Ikki tousen is known for its over-the-top nature, combining mindless violence with fanservice. It doesn't take itself seriously and embraces its softcore porn elements. The artwork in Ikki tousen stands out, with realistic depictions of female characters and martial arts action. So, if you're looking for an anime that combines bone-crunching martial arts with bouncing breasts and constant panty-shots, Ikki tousen is the series you've been waiting for.

Release date: July, 2003
IMDB Rating: 5.9

2) Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit

Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit reminds me of Rurouni Kenshin, but with a furry twist. While Rurouni Kenshin takes us on a journey through Meiji era Japan with a young swordsman seeking redemption, Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit introduces us to Fu, who gains incredible kung fu powers and embarks on a mission to return a tablet to its rightful owner. Both movies share the elements of martial arts action and adventure, but Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit brings a new dimension with its 3D animation. While Rurouni Kenshin is known for its well-developed characters and gripping storylines, Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit may not have received the same level of critical acclaim. However, if you're in the mood for a light-hearted and furry martial arts adventure, Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit might just be the movie for you.

Release date: July, 2011
IMDB Rating: 3.2

3) Sidekicks

Sidekicks is a movie that will transport you back to the 90s with its nostalgic charm. Just like in Rurouni Kenshin, the main character in Sidekicks is a young boy with big dreams. While Rurouni Kenshin follows the adventures of a wandering swordsman in Meiji era Japan, Sidekicks tells the story of a bullied teen who fantasizes about being Chuck Norris' sidekick. Both movies have elements of martial arts and action, but in different settings. While Rurouni Kenshin takes place in historical Japan, Sidekicks is set in the modern-day United States. Despite their differences, both movies share a common theme of a young protagonist finding strength and courage through martial arts. So, if you enjoyed the thrilling sword fights and dramatic backstories of Rurouni Kenshin, you'll definitely find Sidekicks entertaining, especially with its heartwarming story and Jonathan Brandis' great performance.

Release date: April, 1993
IMDB Rating: 5.1

4) Rurouni Kenshin: Requiem for the Ishin Patriots

Rurouni Kenshin: Requiem for the Ishin Patriots is a gripping film that transports us back to the world of Rurouni Kenshin. While the main movie showcases the adventures of a young wandering swordsman in Meiji era Japan, this film takes a different approach. It delves into the aftermath of the war against the Tokugawa Shogunate and the discontent that still lingers among some. The story follows Takimi Shigure and his band of rebels as they seek revenge for the loss of their loved ones. What makes this movie reminiscent of the main one is the presence of Kenshin Himura, the protagonist who stands in their way. However, unlike the main movie where Kenshin is portrayed as a kind and gentle man, here his true identity as the Hitokiri Battosai is revealed, turning the fight into a personal vendetta.

Release date: December, 1997
IMDB Rating: 7.3

5) Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files

Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files is a captivating anime that will leave you wanting more. Just like Rurouni Kenshin, it takes place in Japan and follows the journey of a young protagonist. While Kenshin is a wandering swordsman, Yusuke Urameshi in Yu Yu Hakusho is a spirit detective. Both shows incorporate action-packed martial arts scenes, but Yu Yu Hakusho's fights are more thrilling and don't drag on like in Dragon Ball Z. The characters in both shows are well-developed and have complex backgrounds, but Yu Yu Hakusho's cast is particularly diverse and realistic. One of the highlights of Yu Yu Hakusho is the Chapter Black Saga, which tells a fascinating story about Sensui and keeps you hooked. If you loved Rurouni Kenshin, you'll definitely enjoy Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files for its captivating plot, entertaining fights, and diverse characters.

Release date: October, 1992
IMDB Rating: 8.5

6) Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z: Doragon bôru zetto, released in 1989, is reminiscent of Rurouni Kenshin. Both shows fall under the genres of Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, and have a runtime of 1440 seconds. While Rurouni Kenshin tells the story of a young wandering swordsman in Meiji era Japan, Dragon Ball Z follows the adventures of Earth's martial arts defender, Son Goku, and his allies as they defend the planet from extraterrestrial enemies. The key topics of both shows include martial arts action and comedy, adding an exciting and humorous element to the plot. Both shows have received high ratings, with Rurouni Kenshin scoring 8.5/10 and Dragon Ball Z scoring 8.8/10.

Release date: April, 1989
IMDB Rating: 8.8
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7) Once Upon a Time in China

"Once Upon a Time in China" takes us back to a different era, just like "Rurouni Kenshin." While the latter is set in Meiji era Japan, the former transports us to China during a time of foreign forces' plundering. Both movies delve into the world of martial arts and feature iconic characters who fight against injustice. In "Rurouni Kenshin," we follow the adventures of Kenshin Himura, a swordsman with a dark past, while "Once Upon a Time in China" introduces us to the legendary Wong Fei-Hung, who assumes the role of protector against foreign oppression. Both movies beautifully capture the essence of historical settings and bring to life the struggles of their respective protagonists. However, where "Rurouni Kenshin" focuses more on comedy and adventure, "Once Upon a Time in China" delves deeper into the political landscape and the harsh realities faced by the Chinese people at that time.

Release date: August, 1991
IMDB Rating: 7.2

8) Super Duper Sumos

Super Duper Sumos is reminiscent of Rurouni Kenshin because both are animated series that revolve around martial arts action. While Rurouni Kenshin takes place in Meiji era Japan and follows the adventures of a skilled swordsman trying to restore peace, Super Duper Sumos features a trio of crimefighting sumo wrestlers. Despite their differences in setting and storyline, both shows captivate viewers with their unique take on martial arts and their ability to blend action with humor. So, if you're a fan of Rurouni Kenshin, give Super Duper Sumos a watch for a lighthearted and entertaining martial arts experience.

Release date: April, 2002
IMDB Rating: 3.6

9) The Quest

The Quest takes us on a journey to a legendary "Lost City" in Tibet, where a group of fortune seekers plans to steal a priceless statue called the "Golden Dragon" during a martial arts tournament. Released in 1996, the same year as Rurouni Kenshin, this film shares some similarities with the anime classic. Both movies feature martial arts action, showcasing impressive fight scenes and the skills of their protagonists. However, while Rurouni Kenshin focuses on the story of a young wandering swordsman in Meiji era Japan, The Quest is set shortly after World War I and follows the journey of Chris Dubois, a humble indentured servant with ambitions to become a fighting champion. The Quest offers a thrilling period piece with an intriguing plot and a diverse array of fighting styles, making it a charming and entertaining choice for fans of action-packed adventures.

Release date: September, 1996
IMDB Rating: 5.6

10) Tiger Heart

Tiger Heart takes us on a wild ride with a teen martial arts expert and his class, as they face off against a gang of thugs led by a cunning real estate developer. This film, released in the same year as Rurouni Kenshin, shares the theme of martial arts action. However, while Rurouni Kenshin is an anime series set in Meiji era Japan, Tiger Heart is a live-action cinema movie set in the US. The two movies differ in their runtime, with Rurouni Kenshin having a runtime of 1440 minutes, while Tiger Heart is a considerably shorter film with a runtime of 5400 minutes. Despite the differences in style and duration, Tiger Heart's energetic and entertaining portrayal of martial arts, paired with the strong, determined characters, makes it a worthy watch for fans of Rurouni Kenshin.

Release date: February, 1996
IMDB Rating: 4.1

11) The White Dragon

The White Dragon is reminiscent of Rurouni Kenshin, the popular anime series from 1996. Both movies fall under the genres of Action, Adventure, Comedy, and Martial Arts. However, while Rurouni Kenshin is a beloved classic with a solid 8.5 rating, The White Dragon has a more modest 5.6 rating. The White Dragon follows a teenage girl who is granted the martial arts skills of The White Dragon and embarks on a mission to protect her prince from an assassin. Despite its Western sense of humor clashing with the Oriental aesthetic, the film still manages to deliver entertaining fight scenes. However, it lacks the grandeur and philosophy that make a proper wuxia film. If you're a fan of martial arts and can appreciate a comedy set in a wuxia world, The White Dragon might be worth checking out. But if you're seeking a traditional wuxia film with depth and substance, you may want to look elsewhere.

Release date: October, 2004
IMDB Rating: 5.6

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