Earlier today, the latest episode of My Hero Academia dropped (check out my review of it here) in which Deku and Bakugo duke it out for the second time. I spent the entire review praising the fight, as it was one of the best fights in the series thus far. And after watching it again, I started reflecting on other excellent anime battles.
So today, I’m going to talk about my top three favorite anime battles.
These won’t be placed in any specific order. This is just me talking about three fights that I really enjoyed watching. But there are some certain qualities that make these battles my favorite. Those being…
- The choreography of the fight; how visually appealing the battle is
- The clash of ideals/emotions between each character; how much emotion the fight has packed within it
- Animation quality, bringing it back to point #1
- How drastically the fight affects the series
With that in mind, let’s leap into my first favorite (again, not my absolute favorite, it’s just up there on my list): Naruto VS Sasuke Round 1
Say what you will about the Naruto anime (maybe I’ll dedicate a Daily Rant to tearing it apart someday) but you can’t deny: when it faithfully adapts the manga, it is a genuine treat to watch. And at no point does this series do it better than the grand finale of the original Naruto: Naruto VS Sasuke.
No, the eighty episodes of filler do not change that this is the finale.
This fight perfectly nails each point on my requirements for a good fight. The choreography and animation are fantastic, easily the best in the original series (and maybe the entire series period) which makes watching the fight incredibly visually engaging. From the starting slug-fest to the intense clash of Sasuke’s new Curse form and Naruto’s Nine-Tails form, every hit between these two are a treat.
The emotions and motivations behind it are also fantastic. Sasuke wants to leave the village behind in order to become stronger under Orochimaru’s training, and Naruto wants to bring him back because he knows that the snake ninja dude is a fucking psycho. Along with that, Sasuke also wants to kill Naruto to gain the Mangekyo Sharingan to truly surpass his brother, and Naruto wants to defeat him in order to prove that he is a worthy rival to him.
And of course: the story impact of the battle. With Naruto defeated and Sasuke left too weak to finish him off, the latter flees to Orochimaru while the former is picked up by their leader Kakashi. This event changes the course of the entire series; Sasuke begins down an extremely dark and maybe super evil path, and Naruto has a whole new goal to pursue: save his friend. This one fight directly affects practically every major event in the series to come after this, all the way up to the ending of the series.
No I don’t count Boruto.
It’s a great fight that has been, and will be, remembered for years to come. And the same can be said about the next fight on my personal list: Mob VS Teruki from Mob Psycho 100.
This is arguably the most fascinating out of every battle I’ve put on this little list. Unlike Naruto VS Sasuke, where both combatants were actively trying to win to achieve their own goals, there is only one person actually trying to fight during this battle.
That’s what makes the fight so interesting. Teruki is trying with all his might to do two things: get Mob to fight back with his psychic powers, and prove that he is the superior Esper. This is all due to his superiority complex: using his powers have given Teru everything he has, and he fears that he is nothing without them. With Mob in the picture, he feels his place in the world being threatened.
Meanwhile, Mob doesn’t want to fight at all. He wants to better himself without use of his powers, and he actively fears using them and hurting someone. He is a pacifist through and through, and all he wants during this battle is to get out of the fight and go home. Unlike his opponent, Mob’s goals don’t lie in victory; they lie somewhere else completely.
The total clash of both personality and goals between these two is both engaging and fascinating, making this one of the most interesting battles that I’ve ever beheld. And all of that is ignoring the drop dead gorgeous animation style that this show carries throughout the run. In terms of visuals, this fight is one of the peaks of the show; a perfect blend of intense kinetic energy and drug-trip like psychic powers.
The fallout of this battle is also reasonably important to the series. Mob learns that moving past his own powers and becoming better without them is impossible, but he can still do that while maintaining those powers. Meanwhile, Teru learns that his psychic powers don’t make him special, and Mob’s actions drag him right back down to reality. It’s a fascinating outcome that changes both characters enough to be considered important.
But when it comes to emotions and change, no fight on this little list surpasses the last one.
Guts VS Griffith Round 2.
This is easily the shortest fight on the list, but it’s easily the one that has stuck with me the most. It’s simple, beautiful, emotional, and completely game changing for Berserk’s story.
And it all goes down in one swing.
The motivations behind this battle are simple and engaging. Guts wants to leave Griffith and the Hawks to explore the world and find a reason to live. He wants to do this so he can be a true equal to Griffith, whom he admires greatly due to their time together. Meanwhile, Griffith wants to keep Guts around due to his own dependence on the future Black Swordsman. He fears what he may become without Guts by his side.
Then, after Guts breaks’ Griffith’s sword with a single swing and walks away, we face some of the greatest changes in the story thus far. Guts travels far, learns more about himself, and discovers his future favored weapon: the Dragon Slayer. On the other hand, Griffith is driven to nigh madness due to Guts abandoning him. He throws away everything he worked for, making himself a criminal and throwing all of his comrades under the same bus. The chain of events that spiral from this only get worse and worse, eventually reaching the peak event of the Golden Age arc:
The Eclipse. Y’know, the thing that completely changed everything that came in the future of Berserk (even though the Golden Age was a prologue, but the point still stands). All of that happened because Guts beat Griffith in a quick sword fight.
This was a great fight. Hell, all of these are. But when if I had to choose one to watch on a rainy day, it’d be Guts VS Griffith without question. Partially because it’s really short and I could move onto another one, but it’s still my choice. It’s that damn good.
There are many other anime fights that I could’ve brought up. Goku VS Freeza, Gohan VS Cell, Naruto VS Sasuke Round 2, Saitama VS Genos, Mumen Rider VS The Sea King, Deku VS Todoroki, All Might VS All-For-One, The Deadly Sins VS Hendrickson, Ban VS King, Gon VS Hisoka, and so on and so forth. I could go on for days talking about them all.
But I have things to do, so I think I’ll stop here.
What are your favorite anime battles? Feel free to let me know down below, and we can start a discussion. If there’s one thing I love, it’s talking to people about anime stuff.
Because I’m a fucking weeb and I love watching Japanese cartoon characters beating each other to death.