Some of the best fight scenes of all time can be found in the world of anime. Every time a new anime is released, viewers get more and more fantastic battle sequences. Here are some of the very best anime fights that have influenced⏤or are sure to influence⏤fans around the world. This list contains spoilers for the respective anime, so proceed with caution.
Aizen vs. Urahara, Yoruichi, and Issin (Bleach)
Aizen is the plague of the Bleach world and is basically responsible for every problem in the story. This fight against Aizen is one of the very best, as it puts three characters with many layers of mystique and backstory behind them to fight against Aizen and show off how powerful they are even after years of retirement. Each of them gets a moment in the fight to showcase what they can do and easily beat down Issin until the final twist, where Aizen manages to evolve his power. The character even admits that if it had taken him another few seconds, he would have died against them. It’s an intense and exciting fight that helps showcase some fan favorites, raising the stakes of upcoming characters who fight against Aizen given the amazing beatdown that just occurred.
Ryuko and Satsuki vs. Ragyo (Kill la Kill)
This fight marks Satsuki’s face turn and shifts the rest of Kill la Kill from this point on. What’s amazing is how it takes both the former villains and heroes and turns them all into underdogs in the face of Ragyo. The fight also changes the ways the main rivals Ryuko and Satsuki see each other as truths about the pair of them come to light. This fight takes the Kill la Kill clothing themes to a new level and makes you respect the heroes who can lose a fight and get right back up again.
Jotaro and Koichi vs. Kira (JoJo: Diamond is Unbreakable)
It’s rare when you get to see side characters fight the final boss and come out on top, but this fight does exactly that. It occurs mostly against what is basically a toy tank, yet the stakes feel ridiculously high. Jotaro, the hero from the previous series, gets knocked out in the middle of the fight and saves Koichi, which constantly puts someone the viewer is invested in at risk of death given that the heat-seeking explosive can grab the unconscious body at any time.
The way both Koichi and Jotaro’s stands are applied against these seemingly unbeatable stand abilities shows how powerful Kira is, and the fight has such dazzling creativity that it demonstrates why Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a series that has inspired so many other anime. The final moments of the fight, where Jotaro finally gets back up and punches Kira in the face as he is about to kill Koichi, shows that the duo really had each other’s backs in the end and it supplies perfect fan service for followers of Stardust Crusaders.
Luffy vs. Crocodile (One Piece)
One Piece is the most popular manga in the world for a reason and this fight is even cooler as an animation. The intense music swirls up as Luffy takes on Crocodile, who seems like the biggest threat imaginable given how much power he had and how powerful he was in the desert. It’s an intense fight that is perfectly built up over the arc. Everything depends on the battle, so when Luffy is dominating the fight, you can feel that this is what everyone put their lives on the line for. They need Luffy to win and it’s satisfying watching him do so. The amazing battle twist where Luffy uses his blood to damage Crocodile gives “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” a whole new meaning.
Atem vs. Yugi (Yu-Gi-Oh!)
Yugi and Atem are basically interchangeable, so it was nearly an unthinkable fight, like a person fighting his own right hand. When it finally happened, this duel became one of the most memorable moments in anime. Neither of the two wanted to win or lose⏤they were just fighting their hearts out against each other and letting their skills decide what Atem’s fate would be. If Yugi wins, The Pharaoh goes to the afterlife, and if Atem wins, he gets to stay with Yugi and his friends until Yugi dies. The ending where Yugi wins shows how much he has grown and makes for a touching moment. It’s bittersweet to see Atem leave and get to move on.
Goku vs. Kale and Califula (Dragon Ball Super)
Dragon Ball Super could be a bit hit or miss, but this fight showed so much of what made the show fun to watch when it was at its best. Kale and Califula both get time to shine as highlighted fighters. Kale had already beaten Goku in a previous scene, so watching these two grow and face off against the hero of the series made for some amazing entertainment. Goku slowly escalating against them is super exciting, and the pair fusing as a last-ditch effort made for a gripping dramatic scene. Even if the two lost there, that fight cemented them as two of the most iconic Dragon Ball characters. From their slick martial arts to their awesome ki attacks, they made a huge impact together. Plus it set up Goku’s growth and avoided the normal annoying shounen “I’d never hit a woman” stuff.
Medusa and Crona vs. Maka & Stein (Soul Eater)
Medusa is one of the best villains in all of anime and this fight is beautifully animated. The coldhearted mother and witch brings in her child Chorna to help her destroy the heroes of Soul Eater. Maka has to get past Medusa to get to Chrona and defeat them or convince them to stop working for their mother, so when the battle begins the stakes are high, Maka has to live long enough to get physically past Medusa, which is no easy task. Thankfully she has Professor Stein to back her up and when he leaps into the battle, the tide turns. It’s extremely fast-paced but lingers long enough on moments of tension to give each the weight they deserve.
Mordred vs. Semiramis (Fate/Apocrypha)
Walking onto the stage of this battle, plenty of drama has been established. Mordred’s master has suffered a fatal injury and thanks to the way the world works once Kairi dies, he’ll vanish. The Servant has to win this battle but Semiramis seems invincible with her poisons and power. Mordred pushes up against the odds and despite everything that happens in the stunning animation, manages to win. He gets a last moment with his master, hardly held together with one touching moment, before he fades from the world. The fight lasts just about 3 minutes but a lot happens during that time. Semiramis summons chains, tosses Mordred into poison, blasts him with magic and water, summons a giant pair of serpents to attack him, summons an even bigger monster, and deflects massive attacks. Seeing the ultimate win⏤where Mordred’s master gives him a final command for the killing blow⏤is wildly satisfying.
Jotaro vs. D’Arby the Player (Jojo: Stardust Crusaders)
Jotaro vs. D’Arby the Player has had so much cultural influence that despite the lack of physical blows, it stands as one of the most iconic battles of all time. It is the creation of Yu-Gi-Oh through the sheer use of game design and gameplay as tension. The stage is set with a game of poker; his grandpa’s soul has been taken in a game just before this. Poker happens to be D’Arby’s speciality, so the tension is established as soon as Jotaro challenges him to a game. It’s exciting to watch Jotaro play it cool as he bluffs a foe into submission. A sense of glee is put into the tension by all the little goofs Jotaro is doing, like grabbing drinks at rapid speeds to make D’Arby think he might have been able to stack the deck in his favor. There is this forward and backward since the goofs are matched with the ways D’Arby cheats to get the win, but ultimately he’s so afraid of losing that he cracks under the pressure and loses, letting free all the souls he has taken before.
Reigen vs. 7th Division (Mob Psycho 100)
Reigen is quite possibly the best anime mentor ever. So when the con man with a heart⏤not of gold, but maybe bronze⏤gets charged up by Mob and then defeats the majority of the arc’s villians in stunningly animated action, the result is beautiful. The 7th division had been built up for so long (having been the arc’s main villains) and they had four whole baddies left when Reigen gets to take them down thanks to gaining Mob’s power. It’s a great moment as he shrugs off every attack thinking each must be some kind of grifter like he is while the kids with real powers all watch thinking that he must actually be everything Mob has built him up to be. The fight plays with the expectations and allows him to dominate and then lecture the baddies about how screwed up it was that they were attacking and kidnapping children. It’s funny, fun, action-packed, and perfectly represents what Mob Psycho 100 is all about.