In almost every form of entertainment, mythology has a big role to play in the stories that humans tell. Video games and movies take plenty of inspiration from classical mythology, and no pantheons are more popular than the Greek one.. Games like God of War (which has a new game coming soon) and the use of Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder are recent and upcoming examples of this, but it’s not just limited to movies and games.
Several anime series also take inspiration from Greek mythology. Netflix’s Blood of Zeus is perhaps the most famous recent anime to use Greek myth as a basis. It’s just the latest in many animes with this inspiration, though. From classic anime to modern hits, Zeus and the other Olympians have had plenty of influence on the medium.
10 Blood of Zeus
Netflix’s Castlevania has arguably been the service’s biggest success when it comes to anime, so it was no surprise they made another anime with a more original plot. Well, original is relative, as it still uses the inspiration of Greek Mythology. It also doesn’t sanitize it, being extremely violent.and sexual.
The series stars an original child of Zeus named Heron. Despite this, plenty of aspects of other demigod characters from mythology have been incorporated to maintain an authentic. Many gods appear with their original characterizations, like Hades and Apollo. Hera and Zeus are also given the more morally ambiguous characterization of the myths, rather than their commonly sanitized versions.
9 Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demon Front Babylonia
The Fate/Grand Order series is famous for its servants. These are characters from history and mythology that can be summoned to fight on behalf of summoners. The general arc of the series revolves around them all being summoned to fight in a large-scale war. Due to the premise, characters from Greek mythology are bound to show up.
This particular entry in Fate/Grand Order is based on ancient mythology. As the title indicates, it mostly focuses on ancient Babylonian mythology. Some Greek and Roman characters like Leonidas, Achilles, and Caligula do appear in this installment, though.
8 Kamigami No Asobi
The anime Kamigami No Asobi started life as a visual novel dating game. It released an anime adaptation in 2014, which greatly increased its popularity. Also known as “Play of the Gods,” the main character is the shrine maiden Yui Kusnagi. Her life is changed when she pulls out a magical sword and is transported to another world.
There she meets the Greek God Zeus. Zeus is opening a school in order to teach love to other divine beings. It’s a little out of character for the god, but it’s a lot of fun to see him and the other gods in a school setting. Other Greek Gods included are Apollo, Hades, and Dionysus, alongside gods from other mythologies.
7 Greek Roman Sinhwa: Olympus Guardian
Unlike most other anime, Greek Roman Sinhwa: Olympus Guardian isn’t based on a Manga. Instead, it’s based on a Manhwa (the Korean equivalent) called “The Greek and Roman Myths In Comics”. Often shortened to just Olympus Guardian, the story follows Ji-Woo and Ji-Yeon, two children listening to stories from their father.
There father works as a painter, and tells his children the stories of Greek and Roman mythical figures. As such, the story is actually an anthology series of various stories from Greek myth. He starts with the story of the Titans and Zeus overthrowing them. Over the thirty-nine-episode series, though, many myths are told, including more obscure ones like the story of Bellerophan.
6 Ulysses 31
Ulysses 31 is an anime series from 1981 that retells the story of the Odyssey. Rather than simply animating the story as-is, though, it instead turned it into a space adventure. Odysseus has been recast as Ulysses, captain of the Spaceship Odyssey, but still runs afoul of the Greek Pantheon. They curse him to wander space, never to go home until he finds the Underworld.
Along the way, Ulysses and his crew encounter numerous other figures and gods from Greek Mythology who have been given futuristic redesigns. Scylla and Charybdis are reimagined as dual planets and Circe as an alien scholar. It’s a fascinating way to experience the original story with unique twists.
From looking at Pygmalio, one wouldn’t expect it to be an inspiration for the ultraviolent Berserk. According to Crunchyroll, Guts’ iconic sword was inspired by Pygmalio. The protagonist, Kurt, holds a sword about as large as he is. It’s pretty similar to Guts’ iconic blade.
The thirty-nine-episode series is pretty unremarkable besides that in terms of legacy, but it does have its own merits. It features a standard but well-executed hero’s journey for the young protagonist, Kurt, whose father is forced into servitude by an evil spirit. The evil spirit in question is Medusa, the Gorgon from Greek Mythology. This makes Kurt a parallel to the Greek hero Perseus.
4 Record of Ragnarok
The title Record of Ragnarok might make one think this show is about Norse mythology, but it isn’t. Instead, it combines gods and themes from across many mythologies to create its cast. The gods of the world decide humanity must go but will allow them to survive if they can be bested in combat. As such, humanity and deity alike put forth their champions.
These champions include some characters from Greek mythology. Amongst the humans, the only Greek figure is the Spartan king Leonidas. Amongst the gods the Greeks number much more. The roster includes Zeus, Poseidon, Hercules, Hades, Hermes, Aphrodite, Ares, and Apollo.
This 2012 anime is about a retired middle school baseball player who decides to become a “Campione.” That’s Italian for “Champion,” but in this world it means “god slayer.” Under this new title, he would encounter rogue gods, such as Verethragna. After slaying the beast, he gains ten magical superpowers, including one of the most powerful blades in anime, the Golden Sword.
The Golden Sword allows him to seal away the divinity of a god. This allows him to fight against many gods that are wrecking havoc on the world of man. While Verethragna was an Iranian deity, other deities include Greek figures like Athena, Perseus, and Pandora. It’s a battle anime with a powerful protagonist against some of the strongest the divine has to offer.
Unico is a Manga series by the famous creator Osamu Tezuka. He’s responsible for a bunch of landmark anime and Manga like Astro Boy and Dororo, and Unico is on the level of those classics. It follows a young unicorn named Unico as he explores Ancient Greece. Despite trying to just go about his life, he ends up on the whims of Greek deities.
The series was picked up for a TV show, but it was unfortunately not produced. Instead, it was turned into three movies. These movies do incorporate some addition mythologies, like Celtic, into the story. Still, it’s a great underrated classic by one of anime’s all-time greats.
1 Saint Seiya: The Knights Of The Zodiac
A lot of the anime about gods have the protagonists opposing them. Saint Seiya takes the opposite path, featuring mighty warriors fighting in the name of Athena. The main characters, including the protagonist Pegasus Seiya, use magical clothes called Cloths. This transforms them into magical knights called Saints.
While the idea of “Saints” isn’t really Greek mythology, their service to Athena is very Greek-like, and Seiya even gets his Cloth at her temple. Athena’s not the only God to appear, as Poseidon and Hades also appear with large roles. The anime is excited action epic with tons of different adaptations and spin-off Manga. It’s somewhat unknown in North America, so it should really be read or watched if one hasn’t.
NEXT: 10 Games Inspired By Greek Mythology