Listen guys, I love My Hero Academia as much as anyone else, but sometimes you want something that feels a little more real in your anime. Naruto or Dragonball Z has some great fights, but let’s face it, real humans would be straight-up dead. If you want a more grounded action anime experience showcasing more realistic stories or at least more believable action, then let us hook you up.
There is plenty of room for super powers in an anime about mercenaries, but not this one. Black Lagoon, while unbelievable at times, has its action firmly steeped in more realistic mercenary activities. Lots of guns and lots of violence rules here, and if you die, you are staying dead.
If you want realistic action, there is almost no finer choice than Samurai Champloo. The swordplay is fluid and it accents different styles really well. Unlike other swordplay shows like Rurouni Kenshin, there are no “special techniques” that seem to break all reality. It is more about striking and counterstriking.
You can’t bring up Samurai Champloo without Cowboy Bebop. Although it has a futuristic setting, the action is still all fist fights and firearms. As much of the action comes from chasing down bounties, you know they want to bring them in alive. So it is strictly small arms fire and close combat in order to do so.
This anime series follows an arms dealer whose ultimate goal is world peace. It is a strange premise to be sure, and this series is a marvel of strange characters. However, when your major focus is arms dealing, this leave absolutely no room for anyone with super powers or superhuman abilities. As such, there is no need for magic in this world.
Terror in Resonance
For some people, an anime about terrorism may be just a little too real for them. However, this series about terrorism and the officials trying to catch them is exciting as any other action anime. Why do they do it? Will they be caught?
You’d think that historical anime series have a better chance of being more realistic in their action. However, you have series like Sengoku Basara which is entertaining, but also just ridiculous. Kingdom, however, is a better alternative. It has a lot of characters, but is is firmly steeped in realistic combat.
While Rainbow is often more drama than action, the situations can feel more adrenaline-pumping than even the most action-oriented anime series. You bond with the characters and you watch as they try to survive a very difficult situation as well as try to get past it afterwards.
It seems more and more anime series are taking advantage of the “being stuck inside a video game” premise. However, in Btooom, they aren’t stuck in the game. Instead, they are playing it for real. There are no special augmentations, but rather weapons based on the game weapons where if they hit you, you will really get hurt or die.
There is magic, dragons, and other supernatural things in Gate, but the whole premise of the world is the modern world meeting a fantasy one. The main character has all the strength of modern military technology, so how will that stand up to your standard fantasy elements? Let’s just say watching a machine gun nest tear up mounted cavalry is something you always wanted to watch.
Ah, you’d think there would be more mafia stories steeped in realism, but you would be wrong. 91 Days is newer, but it is one of the few mafia stories that doesn’t feature some kind of strange power up. Instead, this is a story of good, old fashioned revenge.
While you need to have a strong stomach to handle some of Shigurui’s more graphic moments, it is a story about swordplay. Two separate students go through harrowing ordeals to be seen as the successor to their master’s sword school. It is a journey that leaves them both maimed, but even still, there can only be one.
Legend of Galactic Heroes
It’s hard to find a mech anime without some kind of power-up, including cybernetics. However, while Legend of Galactic Heroes is about intergalactic war, it is perhaps more human of a story than most anime. Featuring complex characters and nuanced strategies and tactics, this is one for those that want a sci-fi show very much steeped in reality.
Do you have any more good action anime that doesn’t have super powered up characters? Let fans know in the comments section below.