Swords are arguably the most represented form of weaponry in all of fiction, besides maybe guns. Various societies from across human history used swords in some form, and in modern pop culture, they have developed an undeniable cool factor. From samurai to knights, all manner of warriors are often depicted with a sword at their hilt.
Anime is well known for its fantasy stories, and swords thrive best in a fantasy environment. Due to this, anime is flooded with many swords and sword-wielders. Among them though, some blades have managed to etch themselves into the minds of viewers as instantly recognizable, and exceptionally cool weapons.
10/10 Future Trunks’ Sword – Dragon Ball
In the world of Dragon Ball, where most fights are bare-knuckle brawls or ranged ki shootouts, Future Trunks has always stood out due to his use of a sword. While the sword would later not see as much use, it played a vital role in making Trunks’ first appearance in the series as iconic as it is.
It’s a rather simple weapon design-wise, but is extremely strong, being able to slice Frieza clean in half. While it is damaged by Android 18, Future Trunks is later seen wielding it against Zamasu, where he was able to infuse it with ki and make it into an energy blade.
9/10 Elucidator And Dark Repulser – Sword Art Online
Despite a somewhat controversial reputation in the anime community, Sword Art Online was undoubtedly a powerhouse of popularity in the mid-2010s. It was hard to attend an anime convention without seeing a small army of Kirito cosplayers, and often on their backs, they would carry Elucidator and/or Dark Repulser.
These swords are obtained separately by Kirito, and while he ends up leaving them behind eventually, they are still his best-known weapons. The blades themselves are high-value gear and are dual-wielded by Kirito to great effect.
8/10 Excalibur – Soul Eater
The sword Excalibur originally comes from the story of King Arthur and has appeared in many forms of media. When it showed up in Soul Eater, it was fittingly known as the most powerful weapon in existence, and capable of being wielded by almost anyone.
However, weapons in Soul Eater have personalities, and Excalibur’s is completely insufferable. In its non-weapon form, it appears as a bizarre, pure white creature, who talks incessantly. Wielding him requires adherence to his many, often contradictory rules, a requirement so undesirable that only few can even stand to be around him long enough to etch themselves into history.
7/10 Rengoku’s Nichirin Blade – Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer is full of cool and memorable weapons, with the nichirin blades easily being the most recognizable. When selecting which of them is most recognizable, the easy choice would be Tanjiro’s sword, which is a sleek, black blade with a circular, wheel-like guard.
However, due to being regularly replaced, the sword doesn’t reach its most unique form till the swordsmith village arc, which is yet to be animated. As such, the flame hashira, Rengoku’s blade, with its distinct fire patterned blade and the flame-shaped guard is arguably more iconic, at least for the time being.
6/10 Anti-titan Blades – Attack On Titan
While not a specific sword, the standard issue swords of Attack on Titan’s anti-titan military are instantly recognizable and cool weapons. Wielded by almost every major character in the series, these swords play a vital role in humanity’s war against the Titans.
The swords are similar to snap-off knives, with several sections that can be broken off individually. Each soldier also carries several sets of blades, as they can be released from the grip in order to refresh the blades and stay on the offensive.
5/10 Demon Dweller Sword – Black Clover
Despite Black Clover’s relative infancy, it managed to carve out a respectable spot in the anime world, partially due to its distinct aesthetics. Asta’s demon dweller sword benefits from this, being easily recognizable even in the sword-laden anime landscape.
The sword is a perfect fit for Asta, as it helps with his magic-countering fighting style. The sword has the ability to absorb magic and send it back out as an attack. It is also said to passively drain magic from whoever it touches, which is beneficial due to Asta’s lack of magic.
4/10 Scissor Blade – Kill la Kill
Kill la Kill isn’t a very long or old anime but has managed to achieve icon status due to its striking iconography. From the uniforms to the music, the anime is dripping with unique flair, and arguably nothing in the show is as recognizable as Ryoko’s scissor blade.
The blade is actually half of a pair that combine to form the rending scissors, a special weapon made by Ryoko’s dad to cut life fibers. The sword has a sleek design and is also shown to be able to change size, shrink to a portable size, or grow larger than buildings.
3/10 Yoru – One Piece
When one thinks of swordsmen in One Piece, the immediate first character that comes to mind is Roronoa Zoro of the Straw Hat pirates. However, despite Zoro’s quest to be the world’s greatest swordsman, that title is currently held by Dracule Mihawk, the wielder of Yoru.
Yoru is one of 12 ‘supreme grade’ swords in the world of One Piece, with a unique, adorned crucifix design. In Mihawk’s hands, the sword is able to achieve feats like slicing massive structures in half and firing air slashes that can retain their cutting power even at range.
2/10 Zangetsu – Bleach
Much like Demon Slayer, Bleach is a series defined by its sword-wielders. Between the shikai and bankai forms, there are tons of unique sword designs in Bleach, but none of them are as instantly recognizable as Ichigo Kurasaki’s giant kitchen knife.
Zangetsu is a blade with many variations, including its many forms that range from a thinner, black blade to a smaller pair of blades that Ichigo dual wields. It also plays a direct part in Ichigo’s character development due to the hollow spirit within the sword.
1/10 Dragon Slayer – Berserk
There really couldn’t be any other choice for first place. Dragon Slayer is the quintessential giant anime sword and is notable for inspiring many other giant swords in fiction. Even iconic weapons like Cloud Strife’s buster sword owe their existence to Dragon Slayer.
The sword itself lacks any special abilities besides its sheer size and weight, which makes it unusable to most people. Only due to his absurd strength can Guts wield this beast of a blade and use it to cleave crowds of enemies into pieces.