Anime has seen a surge in popularity in recent years because more and more people now view it as a valid entertainment medium. Anime covers every type of genre imaginable, but action is still the most popular, and a number of action anime feature ninjas. Most ninja anime are set in feudal Japan, but there are a few that take place in more modern settings.
Ninjas have a certain mystique around them, because they are highly skilled assassins who hide in the shadows. Ninja anime have taken advantage of this mystique, which is why most series have detailed and epic fight sequences. Several of these ninja anime also benefit from having interesting stories. That being said, most fans of the genre know what the best ninja anime are.
10 Sengoku Basara
Sengoku Basara is based off of a series of video games that were developed by Capcom, and it is set during feudal Japan’s Sengoku Period. The series follows a group of warlords who are each trying to unite Japan under a central government. Nobunaga Oda is the strongest of these warlords, and his military strength spreads throughout Japan.
Sanada and Date belong to opposing factions, but they are ultimately forced to join forces to stop Oda and his tyrannical reign. Sengoku Basara's combat is fun, and the story itself is a combination of magic, politics, and warfare.
Basilisk is a series from the early 2000s, and it is set during 16th century Japan. The story focuses on Gennosuke Kouga and Oboro Iga, who happen to be the heirs of their respective ninja clans. Unfortunately, these clans are rivals, but that does not stop them from falling in love.
Gennosuke and Oboro believe that they can bring about peace if they get married, but their plans are ruined when their clans are forced to fight each other once again. Both characters are then torn between their duty to their clans and their love for each other.
8 Shinobi No Ittoki
Shinobi no Ittoki is an anime series from 2022, and it follows a teenager named, Ittoki Sakuraba, who manages to survive an assassination attempt. It turns out that Ittoki is actually the heir to the Iga Clan, and he was targeted by the Kouga Clan.
After the attack, Ittoki is sent to Japan's only national ninja school, where he is forced to undergo ninja training so that he can lead his clan and fight the Kouga Clan. He gets involved with several classmates, who are all deadly, and he must deal with a suspected traitor in the school.
Katanagatari is set in the Edo period, which was known for its ninja techniques and sword styles. Shichika Yasuri is the seventh head of the Kyotouryuu school, and he practices a unique sword-fighting style which sees him fight without a sword.
One day, he is approached by a young girl named Togame, who claims to be the strategist of the Shogunate. At its core, Katanagatari is a sword hunt, as Togame tasks Shichika with obtaining twelve unique weapons known as the Deviant Blades, and each weapon is wielded by a formidable fighter.
6 Brave 10
Brave 10 is just 12 episodes long, but it has non-stop action that viewers would probably enjoy. It takes place during Japan's Warring States period, and features several strong characters, including samurai and ninja who possess incredible skills, and special weapons and abilities.
Saizo is a ninja who became cold after killing many people, but he changes after meeting a girl named Isanami. Isanami is a priestess who can use a devastating dark power, and together, they search for brave fighters to join Lord Yukimura Sanada's cause.
5 Senran Kagura
Senran Kagura is a 2013 anime based off of a video game series with the same name, and both focus on groups of female ninjas. The anime follows five schoolgirls who are all training to become powerful ninjas at the secret Hanzou Academy.
Each girl protects a secret technique scroll, and they must contend with dark ninjas from the Hiritsu Hebi Girl's Academy. This is a slightly different approach to the ninja genre, as viewers get to see how the girls deal with school while training.
4 Flame Of Recca
Flame of Recca is a classic anime series which centers around a teenage boy named Recca – who is very interested in ninja and claims to be one himself. He pledges to loyally serve anyone who manages to beat him, and he ends up serving a young girl with the ability to heal injuries.
Recca gradually discovers that he has the ability to manipulate fire. He goes through many ordeals but he eventually learns to believe in himself. The combat in Flame of Recca focuses more on strategy and tactics, which gives it a more authentic feel.
3 King of Nabari
King of Nabari is set in modern day Japan, and it follows a student named Miharu. Unknown to Miharu, he possesses a unique power known as Shinrabanshou, which is coveted by the entire secret ninja world – otherwise known as "Nabari."
He learns that his classmate and English teacher belong to one of the ninja clans, and that they have been protecting him for some time. They ask for him to join their clan, and he eventually agrees after being attacked several times. Miharu develops a relationship with one of his attackers, and he reluctantly accepts the fact that he might need to rule Nabari himself.
2 Ninja Scroll: The Series
Jubei Kibagami is the main protagonist of Ninja Scroll: The Series, and he is a powerful mercenary ninja who wanders feudal Japan. He ends up having to guard the Dragon Stone relic, as well as its female bearer, Shigure – whose entire village was wiped out.
Shigure is being targeted by the Hiruko and Kimon Clans. Along their journey, they meet a mountain thief named Tsubute, who is greedy and cowardly, but he is actually a good person at heart. They are also accompanied by an elderly ninja named Dakuan, who works for the government.
1 Naruto Shippuden
Naruto is one of the most successful manga and anime franchises of all time, and it helped to make ninjas popular again. The story focuses on Naruto, a young knuckleheaded ninja who had the Nine-Tailed Fox sealed within him. He overcomes a great deal of adversity throughout the series, and he goes on to save the world and become the Leaf Village's Hokage.
The ninja in Naruto are skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and use various types of weapons, but they can also use ninjutsu, which allows them to manipulate elements. Other forms of ninjutsu include shadow manipulation, mind control, and disintegration.
NEXT: The Best Seinen Anime