Knights are valiant, chivalrous warriors in the service of a cause greater than themselves. Whether its defense of country and crown, dispensing justice where others won’t, or protecting those close to them, they often epitomize the most noble qualities of humanity. Regardless of whether or not their title is official, or just a reflection of their character, their sense of loyalty and justice is matched only by their prowess in battle. Here are our Top 10 Anime Knight!
10. Parn – Lodoss-tou Senki (Record of Lodoss War)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: June 1990 – November 1991
Like many, Parn is a knight of humble origins. He grew up in a remote village, where his only worry was a nearby band of goblins. He was ostracized by the townsfolk for the damaged reputation of his father, a supposedly dishonored knight who Parn remembers as a brave and noble man. He leaves the village with his best friend, seeking adventure and the truth behind his father’s past.
Parn is considered a free knight, in service to no land or liege, but rather the cause of justice. He adventures with a somewhat ragtag group of companions who respect his leadership, and understand the nobility in his heart that guides them. Time and again his wields his sword to save those he encounters from their perilous plights, regardless of status; his sword serves both noble kings and humble peasants alike. Although he searches for answers to his father’s past, he never forgets where he came from, or how he was raised.
9. Arawn – Tears to Tiara
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2009 – September 2009
Arawn is proof that reputation doesn’t necessarily make the knight. At the beginning of the series, he is known as The Great Demon King, long dead, to be resurrected by the evil sorcerer, Drwc for his own dastardly deeds. To accomplish this, Drwc attempts to sacrifice Riannon, the astral seer from the Gael tribe. Upon reawakening as a human, and seeing the despair and distress in Riannon’s heart, Arawn flips the script, and ends Drwc and his evil ambitions once and for all.
Tears to Tiara is heavily inspired by Dark Age mythology, and as such, Arawn is a fallen angel, banished by his peers for his compassion towards mankind, which was instilled by his adoptive “father,” Myrddin. After becoming the unwitting, de-facto chieftain of the Gael tribe, Arawn engages in a war for justice against the evil Empire, who seek to subjugate and destroy others like them. Throughout the course of the story, Arawn proves time and again that his valor is matched only by his divine abilities, as he defends those closest to him despite the risks involved to his once-immortal form.
8. Clare – Claymore
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2007 – September 2007
Claymore is set in an island nation with 47 districts (much like Japan) where humans are plagued by shape-shifting monsters called Yoma, who feed on the terrified populace. They are protected by Claymores, half-human half-Yoma hybrids possessing super-human strength and abilities (as well as giant swords, claymores), but are fated to eventually succumb to their demonic instincts. The show follows a Claymore named Clare, who saves a young man name Raki from a Yoma who has slain his family and devastated his village.
Clare is a silver-eyed witch of the lowest rank, which belies her true abilities. Her origin story is much like that of Raki, as she was saved from a life of savagery as a Yoma by her mentor Teresa, another Claymore. When Teresa was struck down, Clare’s thirst for revenge and justice, two sides of the same coin, became her reason for living. She battles tirelessly to improve her abilities, and although she appears cold and aloof, her passion often breaks through her veneer, especially when it comes to the safety of her friends. As she proves to her enemies time and again, she isn’t to be underestimated.
7. Flynn Scifo – Tales of Vesperia: First Strike
- Episodes: Movie
- Aired: October 2009
Before rising to fame during the events in the game, Flynn Scifo and Yuri Lowell were initiate knights in the Niren Corps. Having grown up in the lower part of the empire, essentially slums, they learned the true disparity between the happy but downtrodden citizens of the lower empire, and the frivolous excess of the noble class above. They decided to do their best to rise above their circumstances, by training to become knights and fight for justice.
At the heart of the friendship between Flynn and Yuri is an ideological conflict representative of the knighthood, and society at large. Yuri is tired of bureaucracy and wants results. Flynn is the classic white knight who proves discretion is the better part of valor; by the books, and willing to throw himself into the center of any battle to keep his comrades safe. But because of his rigid ideology, innocent people suffer, and he remains trapped inside the system that has created such a vast gap between the wealthy and poor in the first place. However, his tireless efforts to do what is right allow him to rise up in the ranks of the knighthood, and offer him the opportunity to enact real change.
6. Ikki Kurogane – Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry (Chivalry of a Failed Knight)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2015 – December 2015
Ikki Kurogane has the poise and grit required of a true knight. In a world where knights are evaluated on their magical abilities, a man devoid of magical ability like Kurogane develops a reputation that dishonors his clarity of mind, and swordsmanship. Dubbed “the worst one” by his peers, it’s up to Kurogane to shake up the status quo, and change the system by proving that a knight is more than raw ability.
Ikki Kurogane has unrivaled abilities in combat, and is able to conquer fierce competitors through careful consideration of his opponent’s abilities and character, before going all out on the offensive with his killer technique. But the most shining quality he displays, besides his refusal to accept the expectations of others, is his willingness to support those close to him, and help them in their times of need. This is proven time and again through his patience in dealing with Stella, the way he cheers on his sister, and the way he assists the swordswoman Ayase, despite her ulterior motives. He is a knight in heart and in deed, and is always willing to rise to a challenge.
5. Leina – Queen's Blade: Rurou no Senshi (Queen's Blade: The Exiled Virgin)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2009 – June 2009
Queen’s Blade is another show that revolves around a tournament. This time, the tourney is the titular Queen’s Blade, held every four years in the capital city to determine who will become the next in line of powerful, gorgeous monarchs. While the civil stability of such a system is dubious, it provides plenty of opportunity for true warriors to prove their knightly valor.
One such warrior is Leina. As the middle sister of the aristocratic Vance Family, she forfeits her role as heir in search of adventure, in the hopes of living up to the legacy of her mother, a famed warrior in her own right. She joins the tournament donned in glorious silver armor, with her longsword, Evindil. She more than holds her own in the tournament, and when the series scope advances beyond the confines of the tournament, she travels the land with cause, aiding those in need, and eventually assisting in a rebellion against an evil monarch.
4. Erza – Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 277
- Aired: October 2009 – March 2016
In the long running series, Fairy Tail is the name of a daffy guild of wizards known for the collateral damage involved in getting the job done. When protagonist Lucy leaves home and is invited into the guild by the dragon-like wizard Natsu, she becomes part of a ragtag band that takes on any job in the name of good. Whether it’s breaking up criminal cartels, busting the heads of illegals guilds, or defeating demons summoned by the dark wizard Zeref, they’re the crew for the job.
Especially the red headed, vivacious, ever-changing armored wizard Erza Scarlet. As a sword mage, she has access to an incredible array of martial skills and equipment that make her swordplay seem, well… magical. Her slender figure belies the incredible strength she can bring to bear, and her reflexes combined with her keen intellect and magical prowess make her a force on the battlefield not to be underestimated. Off the battlefield, she maintains a strict standard of discipline befitting her role as a knight. She has a powerful sense of justice, buoyed by the sense of pride she feels in the work that she does with her fellow guild members.
3. Daryun – Arslan Senki (The Heroic Legend of Arslan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2015 – September 2015
True knights are able to maintain their sense of justice despite the circumstances in a world gone mad, and none demonstrate this better than the black knight of Pars, Daryun. His ability in battle has earned him a fearsome reputation and the respect of his fellow officers, and his combat instincts nearly saved his fellow knights their gruesome end on the battlefield, after the cruel betrayal of Kharlan.
Nearly. Following the defeat at the hands of Lusitania, Daryun fights with every ounce of valor available to ensure the safety of the crown prince, Arslan, to whom he swore a sacred oath of loyalty. Despite his thirst for vengeance, which fills the hole left in him by defeat and loss, he demonstrates his loyalty to the fallen kingdom and prince time and time again. Fortunately for Arslan, he has a one-man army on his side, seeking justice and aiding him on his quest.
2. Suzaku Kuruugi – Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2008 – September 2008
Code Geass is set in an alternate-reality Earth where there are only three major superpowers vying for dominance; The Holy Britannia Empire, The Chinese Federation, and The European Union. Britannia gains the upper hand in the conflict when they deploy a new combat weapon in order to subjugate Japan, the Autonomous Armored Knights, which are giant mechs capable of great destruction.
It was during the war in Japan that Suzaku Kuruugi, son of the, then, prime minister, learned the true cost of peace. Because he believed that it would help peacefully resolve the conflict, he murdered his father, paving the way for Britannia’s occupation. His misunderstanding of the conflict caused him intense guilt, but also ignited a desire to truly stop the war, and improve the lives of the people for his oppressive adoptive nation. Suzaku, like other characters on the list, refuses to compromise his moral integrity, and believes that it is possible to change corrupt systems from within, by putting people with a strong sense of justice in positions of power.
As the series progresses, Suzaku loses sight of the morals he once held so dear, and finds himself on the business end of his own moral code. He is proof that even the whitest knight can be tarnished by the grim reality of war.
1. Saber – Fate/stay night
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2006 – June 2006
The lore of Fate/stay night is dense and complicated. Without over explaining the premise, know that it’s set in a world where magical warriors compete in the Holy Grail War. The warrior declared the winner is granted their deepest wishes. While the premise of the show is a simple tournament, the world feels alive and lived-in, and explores mature themes, all through flashy combat befitting spell-slinging swordsmen.
Or swordswomen, in the case of Saber, aka Arturia Pendragon. Her background is inspired by Arthurian legend, and she more than lives up to her namesake. While her appearance in the show is timely, and in the service of the main protagonist Shiro, underneath her quiet demeanor is a heart of a lion, which manifests itself on the battlefield. Although her looks match her swordsmanship, she views herself as a knight first and foremost. She is relentless in her pursuit of the Holy Grail, much like King Arthur himself, as she sees it as her only way to do right by her kingdom.
With that, our list of Top 10 Anime Knight comes to a close. These multi-faceted characters are often driven by a similar sense of integrity, even though their journeys are so unique. As proven in the shows, a knight with a cause is a righteous and terrifying force to find yourself up against. What did you think of the list? Are there any stately warriors that you think should have made the cut? Let us know in the comments below.