By fist, blade, or fighting spirit-fueled drill, there’s something enthralling about a good fight in anime. Oftentimes representing the climax of an arc or storyline, it culminates everything the viewer has invested themselves in, with wills and ideologies on the line along with the characters’ lives. Common sense goes out the window as each new attack tears through the air, sometimes as the swing of a sword and other times as a cataclysmic laser meant to rend the planet in half.
Since the medium was first created, we’ve seen a number of great fights, but these ones in particular are among the best anime fights of all time.
*Warning: Major Spoilers For Multiple Series Ahead*
Asuka Vs. The Mass Production Evangelions (The End of Evangelion)
For all of the guff the End of Evangelion movies get from fans, it’s undeniable that the battle between EVA Unit 02 pilot Asuka Langley and the Mass Production Evangelions is amazing.
Produced in secret by Seele, the mass production models stand between the survival of Nerve Headquarters and the end of the world, and as the only EVA pilot still standing after the events of the series, Asuka has no choice but to give it her all in one last push.
Utilizing not only the brute strength and defenses of her EVA unit, but also the weapons of her enemies, Asuka proves definitively that she was meant to be a pilot in a stunning display of technique, strategy, and ferocity… making it all the more heartbreaking when the final blow of the battle is dealt.
It’s a brutal, yet impactful moment that sells the true gravity of the battle for survival happening throughout the original series’ conclusion. Not only that, but it shows that the film can and will turn on the blender with even the most beloved of the series’ characters.
Midoriya Vs. Todoroki (My Hero Academia)
The showdown between Midoriya Izuku and Todoroki Shoto in My Hero Academia shows how great a shonen anime fight can be when enough emotional investment is created.
Built up over the first half of the series’ second season, their fight for their beliefs on what it means to be a hero culminates in a clash of powers, unlike anything the series has brought to the table before. Limbs are shattered, and the arena is decimated as Midoriya launches blast after blast using One For All, while Todoroki creates literal mountains of ice and torrents of flame to counter him.
And yet, what really gives the fight its weight is what each gains from the confrontation. Midoriya is forced to step out of his goody-two-shoes persona to rile Shoto out of his self-imposed restrictions, while Shoto is forced to see that restricting who he is only feeds into the control his father tries to exert over him.
By the end, both have put their ideals of what it means to be a hero to the test, and the world is irrevocably changed by the birth of two new legendary heroes.
Saitama Vs. Boros (One Punch Man)
In a world where nothing has survived more than one punch from the protagonist, it’s only natural for the ultimate villain to be someone capable of surviving such a blow.
Able to regenerate the second Saitama lands his trademark blow, Boros provides a glimpse of the challenge Saitama has longed for throughout the series, taking their fight to new extremes he’s only dreamed of. Brawling to the moon and back, their exchange ends in the birth of a new, more powerful attack from the hero, as well as a renewed hope that life still holds equals for him to face.
This not only provides a payoff to Saitama’s character arc of trying to figure out what lies beyond achieving one’s long-held goal, but also gives anime fans a true spectacle of Sakuga. The contest of might between the two super beings carries weight behind each and every blow, and watching as they zoom across the screen and decimate their battlefield is a treat for the senses.
Ed Vs. Father (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
From the moment the two characters met, Fullmetal Alchemist was always going to end with this fight.
One way or another, Edward Elric was going to clash with Father. Both served as polar opposites to each other, whether it came to their morals or their ambitions, and one’s world could not exist properly while the other lived in it. As such, everyone’s expectations for the fight inevitably went sky-high with each passing episode and were astronomical by the time the moment arrives.
Despite these odds, it still manages to provide a payoff for the series-long build-up and then some. Much of this is thanks to the fact that the series provides the perfect motivation and emotional triggers to make the battle unforgettable. Everyone, including Ed, is fighting Father with all their might to make sure his plan doesn’t succeed and that the world will be saved from his plot. Al even sacrifices himself to give Ed his arm back as a means of ensuring he beats Father handily, resulting in their climactic one-on-one.
At the same time, the animation and Sakuga reach new heights to turn the brawl into a proper spectacle. Every punch from Ed, and every blow landed that rends Father’s supposedly ideal form, makes the fight feel brutal and unmissable.
It’s the fight fans of the series had always hoped for, leaving viewers on the edge of their seat all the way to the decisive final blow.
Alucard Vs. Walter (Hellsing Ultimate)
Alucard and Walter’s confrontation in London is both a shocking twist and a match made in hell for viewers of Hellsing Ultimate.
Given all of the foes Alucard sliced to ribbons over the course of the series and how little of a challenge most provided him, there were few others that could hope to act as his final opponent. Enter Walter, who had been proven to be on par with Alucard both in strength and cunning on several occasions. Their facing off would quite literally be the fight to top all fights, and so Walter’s betrayal of his allies felt both like a tragic twist and an opportunity.
And boy oh boy, does the fight ever deliver. Tinged with hatred and spite, every blow and attack feels like two old friends trying to hurt the other as much as they possibly can. Each slash from a razor wire, and each demonic abomination summoned, only goes to show how evenly matched the two are; or at least, it does until Walter’s power begins to waver and the sad truth emerges for why he did what he did.
Fans of gore, or over-the-top battles and tragic final confrontations didn’t, and still don’t, leave this fight disappointed.
Akira Vs. Ryo (Devilman Crybaby)
Building to a crescendo by the end of the series, the tensions between the two former friends boil over by the last episode as Ryo’s actions result at the end of the world and the death of Akira’s loved ones.
Seeing no other course of action, the two meet for one last world-shattering battle: Akira as the vessel of the devil Amon, and Ryo as the fallen angel Lucifer. When the dust settles, nothing remains except for the remains of two former friends left to watch the end of the world together.
This is all done in the same striking art style as the rest of the show, presenting a visceral treat for any who see it. There are buckets of blood, world-ending explosions, and physical blows which can make even the most hardened anime fan wince, thanks to how visceral the animation is.
What really sells the conflict, though, are the flashes back to the two opponents when they were younger and still friends. Time and again, we see opportunities for Ryo to have joined Akira on a better path that would have seen them both end up happy. This eventually leads Ryo to realize what he’d lost through his actions, but by that point, the fight is over, and he’s left to deal with the consequences of his actions alone.
Nanashi Vs. Luo-Lang (Sword of the Stranger)
Where other series take their fights to cosmic scales of insanity, Sword of the Stranger captivates with how it makes a realistic and grounded clash of steel feel visceral.
Standing in the ruins of an occult ritual, the only obstacle between the wandering swordsman Nanashi and his friends reaching safety is Luo-Lang, the leader of a band of assassins who have pursued them across Japan. Both master swordsmen in their own right, the action never lets up once it begins, with attacks and counters flying out like machine gun fire.
Bolstering this even more is the fact that there isn’t any exposition or cuts away to a flashback. There is nothing but the battle for viewers to watch intently, taking in each slash or sheen of a blade in all of its marvelous beauty.
It’s a testament to how impressive a properly animated fight can look, and it still stands as one of the best anime fights ever animated, even well over a decade later.
Team Gurren Vs. The Anti-Spiral (Gurren Lagann)
The sky was always the limit with Gurren Lagann, which took its fights higher and higher in scale with each passing arc. By the series’ end, though, they rocketed past the sky and into space, taking on the villainous Anti-Spiral in a mech the size of creation.
If this sounds insane and over the top, that’s because it is. The two hurl galaxies at each other, fire off blasts with the same energy as the Big Bang, and clash with drills that could tear through entire universes with ease.
With animation and fluidity on par with films — and even surpassing most film animation standards once the fight was adapted for the series’ compilation movies — it’s exactly what the final battle of Gurren Lagann should have been, and continues to lend credence to the phrase “ridiculously cool.”
Gon Vs. Pitou (Hunter X Hunter 2011)
Built up over the course of several months during the Chimera Ant storyline, this fight ended up being decidedly one-sided and brutal.
After Pitou kills his former mentor Kite, Gon is hellbent on delivering vengeance against the battle-crazed Chimera Ant, to the point where his sanity is taken to the very edge. The only thing saving him is the hope that Pitou can reverse what they’ve done and revive Kite, and once they tell him it’s impossible, his rage awakens his dormant power, all of which he directs at Pitou again and again and again.
Animated in a stark, rough style compared to the rest of the show, viewers feel each crippling strike Gon lands on Pitou. Gone is the methodical strategizing and back-and-forth of the series’ fights, replaced with vicious and cruel blows made all the more painful to watch thanks to their Sakuga.
It’s equal parts terrifying and hypnotizing, and well worth the build-up to this landmark Shonen anime brawl.
Takamura Vs. Bryan Hawk (Hajime No Ippo: New Challenger)
Don’t let the series’ genre fool you. This boxing anime has fights that can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone, especially this nail-biter from the second season.
One of the main characters of the Hajime No Ippo series, Takamura’s world title match, holds high stakes. Not only does he have to prove to his coach that all the effort they’d put into training was worth it, but he has to silence the boisterous and violent villain of a champion, Bryan Hawk, once and for all.
This emotional backstory drives the clash between the two champions. Punches are delivered with crisp animation that makes you feel the impact, and the ways in which characters’ hopes and fury are portrayed lend further weight to each scene.
Constantly teetering back and forth with who has the upper hand, viewers will find themselves fully absorbed in this fight, their breath gone with each down and jumping for joy when the last punch is delivered.
Naruto Vs. Sasuke (Naruto Shippuden)
The final fight between Naruto and Sasuke was always going to have the odds stacked against it. Hyped up for years in openings, story hints, and fan speculation, it was almost impossible for it to live up to fan expectations when it finally aired.
And yet, it surpassed them. Boasting some of the cleanest animation in the series, or even in anime, this battle between two super-powered shinobi was a treat to the eyes and validation to years of fandom. Shadow clones swarmed, Amaterasu scorched the earth, and Rasengan clashed with Chidori until, finally, the fight turned into a bare-knuckle brawl in the mud.
This is blended with exchanges between the two, where they lay their beliefs out plainly for each other, ensuring their ideologies are on the line just as much as their rivalry is. This remains true even when they’re too battered to fight on, and their battle concludes with the two finally speaking honestly with each other.
It’s a truly satisfying end to the bitter rivalry between Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha, and proof that few, if any, other mediums can present a fight in the same way that anime can.
Gohan Vs. Cell (Dragon Ball Z)
In a series filled to the brim with iconic fights that have shaped the Shonen genre itself, the battle between Gohan and Cell stands as the best.
From the moment Goku surrenders and offers his son the chance to unleash his powers in full, each hit and goad by Cell against Gohan feels like it’s building to a grand climax until, finally, Gohan snaps. Gone is the calm and gentle boy who doesn’t want to hurt anyone or anything, and in his place is an unstoppable force of Super Saiyan rage.
The fight then takes on a much more brutal and one-sided animation style, with every frame dedicated to selling just how much more powerful Gohan truly is than Cell.
Everything about the way the series presents this fight sells its emotional weight too. The direction of the episodes following Gohan’s transformation perfectly sells the dire points he and his friends had to go for him to achieve it. They then, in turn, become dire and desperate again when Cell returns in his “even more Perfect” form, acting as a punishment for Gohan not capitalizing on his advantage when he could have.
It’s a pure, undistilled essence of what makes Dragon Ball Z great, from the rapid-fire exchanges of blows to the final, do-or-die Kame-hame-ha blast launched by father and son.
Ichigo Vs. Aizen (Bleach)
Among the many foes Ichigo Kurosaki faces during his tenure as a Soul Reaper, Sōsuke Aizen is by far the most cunning and the one he has the most emotional investment in defeating.
Staging the creation of the Hollow-infected Vizards, the attempted execution of Ichigo’s friend Rukia and the full-on assault by the Arrancars, he carefully and meticulously takes down any and every obstacle between him and the pursuit of power.
Each and every one of these actions drags Ichigo and those he cares about into the fray. As a result, giving him all the motivation he needs to face down Aizen with everything he has. As such, it’s no surprise that the two’s final confrontation is charged with all of the anger and malice that has built up between the two over the course of the series’ arcs, and with the fate of the world on the line, no less.
And darn it if the animation and art direction doesn’t sell the weight of these two powerhouses clashing. Each sword strike, block, and special ability threatens to tear the world asunder, and by the end, their attacks are so flashily deadly that it’s clear neither will walk away from the encounter unscathed.
It’s arguably the best the series has to offer even given the amazing fights shown in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War; it’s still one of the best anime has had the pleasure of claiming to facilitate.
Spike Spiegel Vs. Vicious (Cowboy Bebop)
The final battle in Cowboy Bebop is not one remembered for its endless action, but for the immense emotion behind it.
Torn apart by a sordid love triangle, Spike and Vicious’ relationship has been frayed beyond repair, and their immense hatred for one another has resulted in more and more brutal encounters between the two. This comes to a head when Julia, the love of both their lives, is killed by Vicious’ men before Spike can get her to safety. Broken, tired, and dead set on vengeance, Spike decides to make a suicidal assault on Vicious’ headquarters, tearing through his henchmen before going for his old friend’s throat.
Clashing with sword and gun in rapid succession, the two’s battle is short, sweet, and decisive, resulting in an ending to the series that is as tragic as it is memorable.
Eren Vs. Reiner (Attack on Titan)
Despite being a gory fantasy Shonen about massive monsters eating people, Attack on Titan delivers one of the most grounded and technically impressive fights in anime via its second season.
After it is revealed Reiner is the Armored Titan in disguise, Eren launches into his titan mode to take the behemoth traitor down. It becomes quickly apparent, however, that the Armored Titan’s size and defenses render his usual attacks useless, forcing him to get creative and tactical with every move he makes.
Utilizing weight distribution, proper arm locks, takedowns, and the environment itself, the fight turns from the usual “punch each other until someone passes out” fare into a truly impressive display of how one would, and should, address a close-quarters battle. The direction and animation of this fight sells this shift as well, with it looking and feeling like a much more horrifying variant of a UFC match.
Even when compared to the more destructive and cinematic fights in the series’ Final Season, this fight still stands out as a must-watch from the series and within the wider genre of anime.
Kiritsugu Vs. Kirei (Fate Zero)
The two wild cards of their Holy Grail War, Kiritsugu and Kirei’s clash, is enough to put those between the many heroes of legend to shame.
The last of the masters left alive after the bloody conflict; each brings their all to the final encounter at the doorstep of the Grail’s birth. Kiritsugu, wielding time manipulation magic, puts his life on the line to place every shot and explosive in the exact right position, while Kirei uses his almost inhuman physical abilities to attempt to crush Kiritsugu into a paste.
This is only enhanced by the chess-like strategic analysis each brings to the fray, making each move and its counter-move feel exact, precise, and maximized in its deadly intent. Ufotable sells this brilliantly through their animation, which is just as incredible as its current shows, even given the technological limitations they had.
It remains a benchmark for the Fate series’ fights and is still a blast to watch, even compared to the stellar fights in other Fate properties.
Jotaro Vs. Dio (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders)
A confrontation that was generations in the making, Jotaro’s battle with the stand-equipped vampire Dio is one for the ages.
Armed with world-breaking powers and an even distribution of Deus Ex Machina, both combatants throw chaotic attacks at one another in rapid succession. For every rain of punches delivered by Jotaro’s Star Platinum, Dio’s The World matches it with a barrage of time-altered blows of his own. For every steamroller hurled by Dio with the intent of crushing Jotaro into nothing, Jotaro returns it with the discovery of his own split-second dashes through halted time to survive.
Selling this even better is the series’ distinct art and animation style. While it might not flow and move as smoothly as something like Demon Slayer or Jujutsu Kaisen, it’s still entertaining to watch, thanks to its style and absurdity. The overblown proportions of the characters and the way they contort into insane poses as colors flash across the screen makes it just as enjoyable to watch as something with bucketloads of Sakuga.
It’s zany, nonsensical, and more than a little reliant on happenstance, but it’s a blast to watch through to the end all the same.
Mugen & Jin Vs. Kagetoki & Toube (Samurai Champloo)
Though these are technically two different fights, the two are intertwined enough to contribute toward the same perfect conclusion.
Separated by two different factions out to kill the wandering samurai, both are forced to tap into their skills like never before to survive. Mugen must utilize his break-dancing sword style to avoid chains, blades, and projectiles in rapid succession, while Jin must predict and dodge strike after strike from a master swordsman with years of experience over him. Both of these battles are animated beautifully and display a level of Sakuga other shows could only dream of.
By the end, both are battered, bloodied, and bruised but still alive and with enough strength left to try and confront each other for one last bout. It’s a fitting lynchpin for the series’ many battles and still serves to show how a series’ final fight should be done.
Full Armor Gundam Vs. Psycho Zaku (Gundam Thunderbolt)
There are many phenomenal fights in the long and storied history of the Gundam series, but the battle between the Full Armor Gundam and the Psycho Zaku in Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt stands out the most.
Decked out in heaps of experimental tech and weapons, each is at the top of the line for its army’s scientific research and built for the sole purpose of taking down all opposition. In exchange, though, both suits are slow, weighty, and limited in their movement in a way that’s fitting for giant mechanized weaponry.
It shows in the battle between the two as well, with each blast or movement matched by an equally well-placed decision on the opposing side’s part. Both pilots understand failure can mean damaging a vital piece of gear and being forced to operate against a much more deadly foe with far fewer offensive options.
The animation really sells all of this, with both the destructive attacks and the gargantuan movements portrayed in a way that makes the battle feel like two titanium titans clashing in the void of space.
What clinches this battle’s greatness, though, is the story that establishes how neither pilot is the supposed hero. Both have people they need to return home to and reasons to survive. With each landed blow, it feels less like an exciting battle between state-of-the-art mechs and more like a clash between two humans who are only fighting to live.
Shinichi Vs. Gotou (Parasyte the Maxim)
Parasyte might not be spoken of as frequently nowadays, but the modern anime adaptation of the classic manga boasts one of the best twists on a final battle of all time.
After months of searching out and battling with alien life forms that have taken over humans, Shinichi is tracked down by a collective of these parasites intent on eliminating him. Faster, stronger, and infinitely more skilled in the use of their abilities than he is, the odds are heavily stacked against his survival and force him to get creative by using stealth and the environment to his advantage.
The direction of this fight sells the dire tone. Once positioned as a battle-hardened protagonist, Shinichi is reduced to being the prey of a much larger and more dangerous threat. The animation of each hit delivered and each narrow avoidance of a deadly strike sells this notion even more and ensures no one will want to miss a single frame of what occurs.
Perfectly paced, heart-pounding, and topped off by an excellent climactic exchange, this fight perfectly rounds out the series and is an excellent example of how to change up the framework of a series’ fights, even in the eleventh hour.
Tanjiro & Nezuko Vs. Rui (Demon Slayer)
Demon Slayer took the anime world by storm when it started airing in 2019, but this fight is arguably the reason why it catapulted its way into the mainstream.
The battle between Tanjiro, his demon sister Nezuko, and Demon Moon Rui puts the series’ exceptional animation on full display and cranks the action up to 11. Tanjiro switches up his breathing technique from water to fire in spectacular fashion as he faces his most powerful opponent yet, while Rui throws out serrated spiderwebs to stop each of his attacks and attempt to slice him to ribbons.
All the while, the music and direction of the fight amps up the emotion beautifully. Each passing second feels like a spectacle that engages all of your senses and cements it as a fight that won’t soon be forgotten by anyone who sees it.
Yuji & Nobara Vs. Eso & Kechizu (Jujutsu Kaisen)
An easy competitor to Demon Slayer for the best-animated Shonen of the current generation, Jujutsu Kaisen has had viewers wanting more and more from the minute it started airing in 2020. The final Fight of its first season perfectly exemplifies this.
Itadori Yuji and Kugisaki Nobara show all of the growth that they’ve undergone in a flashy, fast-paced brawl against two Cursed Siblings. They fight through poison and pain with perfect teamwork, performing a dual Black Flash and showing exactly why they get nominated for a rank increase by their upperclassmen.
This is all displayed through absurdly well-done animation. Every frame, and every string of images, packs in enough Sakuga to put even some of the most highly regarded fight scenes to shame.
It’s the kind of fight you can show to someone else and know, without a doubt, that it will convince them to give the series a look.
Naruto & Sasuke Vs. Momoshiki (Boruto)
No matter how you may feel about Boruto, this sequel series has given us some of the best fights in the entire franchise. They’re so good that they can be seen as some of the very best that the shonen genre has to offer. For proof, look no further than Naruto and Sasuke vs. Momoshiki.
Despite this duo being on the same team for almost the entirety of the original series, this is one of the few times that we actually see Naruto and Sasuke going all-out against the same enemy — and it’s amazing. There’s a great mix of taijutsu and ninjutsu, with callbacks to memorable moments from the original Naruto, including tricks used against Zabuza, moves first seen against Orochimaru in the Forest of Death, and more.
Not only that, but its animation is on a level that is on par with the best fights from the original series. Each blow moves and flows beautifully, and the Taijutsu, in particular, feels believably choreographed and easy to follow.
This fight is one of the best you’ll ever see in anime, and it’s a must-watch, especially for longtime Naruto fans.
Tengen, Tanjiro, Inosuke, & Zenitsu Vs. Daki & Gyutaro (Demon Slayer)
Even if you don’t like the story or characters of Demon Slayer, there is no denying that its animation and fight choreography is top-notch. As such, it makes complete sense that it has multiple entries on our list of the best anime fights of all time and that one of them is the brutal group fight from the end of the Entertainment District arc.
Across multiple episodes, this fight features a myriad of twists and turns, including the reveal that the Upper Rank Six demons, Daki and Gyutaro, are a sibling tag-team of death. Both must be killed simultaneously to end them for good, meaning Tanjiro, Zenitsu, Inosuke, and Tengen must synchronize their assaults against them.
Daki’s colorful and constricting clothes make for an endless array of movement flowing across the screen, while the sharpness and speed of Gyutaro’s sickle create devastating scenes painted with blood. Combine all of this with all the elemental effects and techniques that the Demon Slayers have at their disposal, and it makes for one of the craziest and most visually jaw-dropping fights in all of anime.
Riko, Reg, & Nanachi vs. Bondrewd (Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul)
The Made in Abyss Series doesn’t have many fights that are spectacles, as it typically tries to sell the mortal danger such actions would put its protagonists in. There is one notable exception that is a contender for one of the best anime fights of all time, though, and that’s the battle between the main characters and the White Whistle Bondrewd.
Stoked by the anger of what Bondrewd did to Nanachi and her friend in the previous series and films, the group faces off against the cunning convict turned Abyss explorer with everything they have. While Reg handles the direct offensive through acrobatic assaults, Riko and Nanachi set up a plan intended to put Bondrewd in the ground and keep him there. The battle constantly twists and turns with traps, new abilities and brutal blows, but it’s never made clear who will win until the final moment.
All of this is accompanied by some terrific animation and striking music, which only serve to elevate the experience further.
It’s a far cry from all the other fights in the series, and it’s all the better for it. Definitely give it a look if you’ve been curious about the series and want to see the heights it can reach.
Douglas Bullet vs. The Supernovas (One Piece: Stampede)
One Piece is a phenomenal series that ranks among the best of all time, but its fights tend to be driven entirely by emotion with little to no visual flare throughout. There are exceptions to this, though, and Douglas Bullet’s introductory fight with the Supernovas is the best example.
Showing off just how strong he is, Bullet takes on all of the Worst Generation all at once. While Luffy, Law, Kid, and the rest throw everything they have at him, he isn’t even phased and mops the floor with all of them in a matter of minutes.
Instead of showing this through one or two quick punches, he brushes it off, though; the fight instead plays out like what one would imagine a real fight looks like in the One Piece universe. Aside from the shouting out of techniques, the fighters stay largely silent as they desperately dodge, maneuver, and react to Douglas’ devastating attacks. This is all animated in a way that really sells each impact and hit, and even the basic movements of characters are fluid in a way that makes the whole spectacle that much better.
It’s a perfect example of how One Piece fights could and should look with a bit more time and effort. Recent seasons and films show that they might be taking this notion to heart, but for now, this fight remains the king of the series’ conflicts.
God Dimple vs. The Divine Tree (Mob Psycho 100)
Mob Psycho 100 is filled with plenty of iconic fights, but the desperate struggle between God Dimple and the Divine Tree takes the cake as one of the best anime fights of all time.
Occurring right after Dimple and Mob make amends — and right after Mob is put out of commission due to running out of energy — this fight speaks volumes through its action. The typically selfish Dimple puts himself in harm’s way entirely for Mob’s sake and fends off hoards of enemies in order to make sure they don’t get their hands on his dearest friend.
The two forces then clash in what can only be described as the most insane and visually impressive Mob Psycho fight to date. Laser blasts scream through the air, bodies are brutalized left and right, and Dimple puts on a last stand the likes of which anime has never seen before. It’ll leave you in awe the whole way through and well after, thanks to the emotional impact of its conclusion.
Thorfinn vs. Thorkell (Vinland Saga)
Vinland Saga is mostly known for its realistic depictions of conflict, but the fight between Thorfinn and Thorkell uses this fact in its favor.
Due to the fact that Thorkell dwarfs Thorfinn in size and skill, there’s little chance for the angry young Viking to emerge victorious without utilizing his speed and a good strategy. This becomes even more true after Thorkell breaks Thorfinn’s arm, forcing him to listen to Askeladd and formulate a plan of attack.
This is all portrayed in a visually engaging and striking way too. The animation is a solid step up compared to the rest of the show’s visuals, and the directing really sells the fact that both are in a fight to the death that could end at any second.
Bell Cranel vs. Asterius (Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?)
Look, we get it, The name of this series is ridiculous, and it likely put you off from watching it. In all honesty, though, Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? has one of the best anime fights in recent memory.
During the conclusion of the series’ third season, Bell Cranel comes face to face with Asterius, a Xenos and the reincarnated form of the Minotaur he originally defeated to become exponentially stronger. The two decide to face off in a rematch and proceed to beat the tar out of each other in a balls-out brawl. Both use every move in their arsenal and don’t let up until one is incapacitated and the other stands victorious.
Aside from boasting exceptional animation, this fight is a prime example of how to do a rematch right. Over the course of the seasons since their last bout, both have been shown to be getting stronger and working toward their own goals. This makes their eventual clash all the more impactful, as neither can advance emotionally until they test their growth against one another.
Denji vs. The Bat Devil (Chainsaw Man)
There will undoubtedly be better fights to come in the Chainsaw Man anime, but Denji’s fight against the Bat Devil remains a standout.
In addition to touting the animation quality the rest of the series is known for, this battle exemplifies what a fight adapted from a manga should do. In addition to adapting the fight based on what occurs in the manga, it also builds upon it in logical and interesting ways to further depict the struggle the two go through in their attempts to kill each other.
Not only that, but it marks an important turning point for Denji. While he may say that he’s fighting entirely to feel boobs, the truth is that he sympathizes with Power’s desire to get her beloved companion Meowy back at all costs, thanks to his having loved Pochita. This leads him to put his life at stake to save her and Meowy and sets him on the path to being a full-fledged human being.
It’s a distilled example of what the series’ fights are and of what other series’ fights should strive to be to count among the best anime fights of all time.
Atsushi vs. Akutagawa (Bungo Stray Dogs)
Bungo Stray Dogs stands among some of the best Shonen anime out there, and the pivotal battle between Atsushi and Akutagawa serves as the clearest proof.
A clash fueled by opposing views of the world and finding one’s reason to live, each blow delivered feels personal and highly motivated. Atsushi wants to prove that those like him and Kyouka can earn a new life for themselves despite their past mistakes; Akutagawa, meanwhile, only wishes to show that the strong can dominate as they see fit. Neither side can stand the other’s existence, and they want nothing more than to grind the other into the ground with the utmost prejudice.
This results in lightning-fast exchanges of special abilities and attacks, with the terrain being torn asunder by monstrous punches and supernatural fangs in a glorious display of Sakuga. Both parties are pushed to their limits, and by the time the final blow is delivered there’s little doubt both have put everything they have into the brawl.
Kirito vs. Gleam Eyes (Sword Art Online)
While most might point to the series’ flaws and over-reliance on tropes nowadays, it’s undeniable that Sword Art Online earned its popularity through some stellar fight scenes. Key among them is Kirito’s battle against the Gleam Eyes floor boss.
Forced to rise to the occasion to save his friends, Kirito unleashes his dual-wielding ability in a final bid to put down the particularly powerful boss creature. Their blades clash at a break-neck pace, and both weather blows that might have sent weaker characters careening across the battlefield. The exceptional animation lends itself perfectly to the fracas, with the combatants shown to be moving in a way that is impossibly fluid and utterly beautiful.
It’s almost disappointing when the fight concludes, as you are forced to come out of the surreal experience the battle provides. Luckily, there’s so much more of the series to explore and so many more battles to see play out.
Yujiro vs. Kaku (Baki 2020)
Though Baki might be littered with battles which run the gamut from ridiculous to awe-inspiring, few could hope to match the utter beauty and insanity of Yujiro vs. Kaku.
Serving as a test to see whether might can overcome experience, the tussle quickly goes from being an organized contest to a collision of monsters. The normally indomitable Yujiro is brought to heel by the ancient master of martial arts, and their fight quickly turns into a show of inhuman skill and ability. Either could win, and both are willing to rip the ring they stand in to shreds to claim their victory.
The art and animation might not be as impressive as other entries on this list, but it doesn’t really matter. The longer you watch the fight, the more drawn into it you become until you’re dying to see who will win and how.
Ganta vs. Crow (Deadman Wonderland)
Though it might not be the most popular anime out there, Deadman Wonderland had some impressively striking contests of might. Of them, the contest between Ganta and Crow remains a standout.
Forced to face each other in a deadly battle for survival, Ganta initially doesn’t want to fight his fellow inmate. Following some prodding and attacks by Crow though, he finds the strength to battle tooth and nail for his own survival. The only problem is, Crow has years of experience and a natural killing instinct on his side which he utilizes to the fullest.
This leaves Ganta to devise a strategy on the fly, all while avoiding attacks that could decimate him in an instant. By the time he delivers the finishing blow, Crow is more proud of his growth than he is disappointed at his loss, content in the knowledge that he’s helped this promising young boy gain the skills he’ll need to survive their shared hell of a reality.
It’s a tense throwdown, but also one which ends up speaking volumes to both characters’ personalities; which, in the grand scheme of things, is exactly what the best anime fights should strive to do.
That does it for the best anime fights of all time. Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments down below! If you’re interested in reading about more anime and anime-related topics, check out what we had to say about the best anime villains, best anime senpai, and best anime senseis.