Crunchyroll / Toei Animation / ONE37pm
By: Elton Jones
Updated Feb 23, 2023
As an avid anime watcher, one of the best parts about it is sitting through its epic action sequences. When the drama buildup is just right and the right characters are set to come to blows, excitement ensues. Since the dawn of manga/anime, fans have become acquainted with some of the most iconic protagonists and antagonists of all time. And watching them tear each other to shreds thanks to a whole host of insane power levels and upgraded battle forms has always gotten viewers like us to hop out of our seats while screaming at the top of our lungs. Series like Dragon Ball, Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, and more are responsible for gifting us with the best anime fight scenes of all time. Now with that being said, here are the 25 most memorable anime clashes that we go back and watch when we're in the mood to watch a super hype fight.
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The Best Anime Fight Scenes
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Let's get into it!
1. Goku vs. Vegeta (First Fight)
'Dragon Ball Z'
Before "Super Saiyan" transformations came into play in their second encounter during the "Buu Saga," Goku and Vegeta brutalized each other in their base forms when they first clashed. I got so wrapped up in all the drama produced by their back-and-forth brawl - both of these pureblood Saiyans only got stronger and angrier the more they took damage from each other's stiff strikes and energy attacks. Watching Goku tap into his "Kaioken" technique to even the odds and witnessing Vegeta transform into a Giant Great Ape to terrorize Goku & his buddies only added to the epic feel of this classic "Saiyan Saga" encounter. - Elton Jones
2. Goku vs. Frieza (First Fight)
'Dragon Ball Z'
When Frieza was forced to embrace his "Final Form," I grew legitimately scared of what was going to happen next to Goku, Gohan, and Krillin. It turns out those fears were well warranted since Frieza blew Krillin to smithereens with ease. Then...it happened! Goku's exceeding levels of rage pushed him to transform into a Super Saiyan for the very first time, which put him on an equal playing field with his heartless opponent. What follows next is one of the longest yet highly engrossing fights in DBZ history. There are nasty punches, sick kicks, tail whips, pimp slaps, and even biting going down in this one. I cheered so damn hard when Goku used a final energy blast to wipe out Frieza and escape an exploding Planet Namek just in the nick of time. - Elton Jones
3. Gohan vs. Cell
'Dragon Ball Z'
These days, there are rare moments where Gohan gets his "face" back. And what I mean by that is moments where the Gohan of old exhibits power levels that even supersede that of his father Goku. When Cell finally unlocked his "Perfect" form, he gave Teen Gohan and the rest of the Z-Fighters hell! Goku squared off with Cell for a bit before he threw the match and pinned Planet Earth's hopes on the shoulders of his teenage son.
From there, I was locked in on every emotional development and brutal blow Gohan and Cell landed on each other. This fight is full of so many wild moments - Cell's sudden bearhug on Gohan, Gohan unlocking his true potential at the sight of Android 16's head getting smashed to bits, Gohan tearing the Cell Jr.'s apart with ease, and that iconic Father-Son Kamehameha that finished off Cell are all breathtaking moments derived from this encounter. - Elton Jones
4. All Might vs. All For One
'My Hero Academia'
I'm still not over the fact that All Might can no longer tap into his "Quirk" and save the day. But at least he used the remaining embers of "One for All" to incapacitate his greatest rival one last time. This fated battle was one for the ages - All Might pushed his body and powers to the limit while All for One chastised his heroic ideals and strengthened his abilities simultaneously. I couldn't help feeling like the rest of the heroes, students, and quirk-less onlookers that cheered on All Might as he used a decisive "United States of Smash" to punch All for One into oblivion. That final image of a weakened and bloody All Might holding up a fist of victory defines this superpowered brawl as one of the best anime fight scenes I've ever seen. - Elton Jones
5. Endeavor and Hawks vs. High-End Nomu
'My Hero Academia'
This is the fight that made me accept Endeavor as the new #1 hero. He finally won me over by going above and beyond to protect everyone around him as he was forced to push his mastery of inner flames to extreme levels in order to defeat a mega-powerful "Nomu." I especially love how this fight primarily takes place in the air - Endeavor and Hawks' offensive push against their solo threat looks so damn cool as they combine their respective Quirks to gain the advantage in the skies above. Endeavor ends up losing an eye during this drag-out melee but still finds the will and power within him to keep on going. What's so effective about this fight is how even though Shoto Todoroki still hasn't forgiven his father Endeavor for what he's done to him and his siblings, he can't help but feel thankful that he ultimately prevails. - Elton Jones
6. Tanjiro and Nezuko vs. Rui
'Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba'
Demon Slayer is one of those anime shows that clearly has a huge budget provided to its animators. There's always an episode or two where my eyes are treated to some of the most awe-inspiring moments that are usually tied to the series' greatest battles. This 2v1 skirmish is proof of just how much love and care is put into making Demon Slayer's violence a true thing of beauty.
Tanjiro certainly had his hands full with Rui and his extra sharp webs. Even when things got dire once Tanjiro's blade got broken, his sister Nezuko arrived on the scene to defend her brother with a rabid assault of her own. I'm not gonna lie - when Nezuko got caught up in Rui's web, I started losing all hope...until my man Tanjiro pulled out a final strike with the power of flames enveloped around him and his severed blade! That final demon beheading is reason enough alone for this getting on this list of the best anime fight scenes. - Elton Jones
7. Kyojuro Rengoku vs. Akaza
'Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train'
I was not ready for Kyojuro Rengoku to die! I figured he'd find a way to overcome another one of the "Twelve Kizuki," but I was sadly mistaken. But I must applaud Rengoku for putting on a valiant effort before he met his untimely demise - with Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke watching close by, Rengoku tapped into his flame-breathing fighting technique to stay in the fight for as long as he could. Azaka is such an easily hateable character, which made it equally easy for me to cheer on Rengoku as he kept up with his enemy's powerful blows and responded with devastating sword slashes in retaliation. Azaka almost got his ass beheaded! But in the end, Rengoku went out like a G and showed his fellow "Demon Slayers" what it means to be a great protector. - Elton Jones
8. The Demon Slayers vs. Daki and Gyutaro
‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’
Demon Slayer can confidently lay claim to having the best anime fight scenes due to the fact that it seemingly goes over its allotted animation budget every time a climactic scuffle breaks out. That damn sure is the case for this multi-person battle royal! Sound Hashira Tengen Uzui, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke finally came to blows with Daki and Gyutaro. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS! Tengen and Tanjiro presented a strong united front against Gyutaro while Zenitsu and Inosuke did the same during their struggle against the domineering Daki. I damn near woke up my neighbors cause I screamed like a schoolgirl when Tengen rushed in to hack off Gyutaro's legs! The "Entertainment District Arc" of Demon Slayer certainly went out with a bang. - Elton Jones
9. Jotaro vs. Dio
‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders’
I remember playing Capcom's JoJo's Bizzare Adventure fighting game and totally digging the wild punching standoffs Jotaro and Dio's respective "Stands" would get into. Once I finally watched the source material for that slept-on fighter, I became a believer. Jotaro and Dio's epic exchange had me on the edge of my seat at several intervals - I almost thought Jotaro was a goner after Dio slammed a damn construction vehicle on top of him! But I breathed the biggest sigh of relief when Jotaro popped up right behind Dio and used "Star Platinum" to break "The World" Apart with a vicious punch to the leg. I regularly return to this fight cause I love how much of a savage Dio is and appreciate Jotaro's sheer will in the face of certain doom. - Elton Jones
10. Cioccolata vs. Giorno Giovanna
'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind’
Shout out to the homie Giorno Giovanna for overcoming his harsh upbringing and coming out on the end of it as a formidable Stand user once all was said and done. I grew to appreciate him even more when he got into it with the unrelenting Cioccolata. Speaking of Cioccolata, that dude still freaks me out - anyone that's capable of still surviving with severed limbs and using his Stand's mold to destroy his foes is the purest form of nightmare fuel! Even with all that being said, my boy Giorno and precious #5 of the "Sex Pistols" did a damn good job of getting rid of Cioccolata once and for all. Watching Giorno explain how he outsmarted and ultimately defeated the crazed Cioccolata in the end certainly qualifies this clash as one of the best anime fight scenes ever. - Elton Jones
11. Mob vs. Koyama (First Fight)
‘Mob Psycho 100’
Mob ain't tryna hurt nobody! But throughout Mob Pyscho 100, he's pushed to his limit by other "Espers" that threaten him and his friends. That fact is readily apparent the first time Mob catches Koyama in an alleyway for their very first encounter. After capturing Mob's older brother Ritsu, Mob steps up to do battle in order to rescue him. What ensues is one of the grittiest yet still flashiest psychic power-fueled fights in Mob Psycho 100. The small alleyway Mob and Koyama battle in is adequate enough to withhold all the vicious fisticuffs that break out during their encounter. When Mob reaches 100% and finally incapacitates Koyama, I gave that young hero a round of applause that lasted more than an hour! - Elton Jones
12. Ash vs. Leon
‘Pokémon Journeys: The Series’
Since the mid-90s, I've followed Ash Ketchum's journey to becoming the greatest Pokémon trainer of all time. And while I fell out of following his exploits across the more recent generations of "Pocket Monster" collecting and battling, I made sure to show up for his career-defining win against one of his strongest rivals. Ash and Leon delivered the type of trainer battle that took me back to those days of pitting my level 100 creatures against a fellow junior high school student's equally powerful party of Pokémon.
The greatest moment of all in this one happened between two of my favorite OG Pokémon, Pikachu and Charizard. When it looked like all hope was lost, Pikachu landed one final lightning-charged headbutt to net Ash the biggest victory of his career. When you consider that moment and the proceeding battles that took place shortly before it, you have to take notice of this encounter as one of the best anime fight scenes in the history of one of my favorite genres. - Elton Jones
13. Eren vs. Annie
'Attack on Titan'
This is a quintessential Attack on Titan fight scene and one of the first times that the viewer really sees two human-like titans fighting rather than seeing a pure titan taken on by a human. It foreshadows so much of what we end up seeing for the new few seasons, where members of the nine titans fight against each other, demonstrating the combat IQ and technical skill they all have. The female titan is the very first titan we see that isn't a pure titan, meaning it can think intelligently and operates more like a human, so their fight is the culmination of one of the largest narrative shifts in the show up to that point. - Charlie Kolbrener
14. Spike Spiegel vs. Vicious
Spike and Vicious are such incredible foils to each other in Cowboy Bebop. Both the show's protagonist and antagonist grew up together in the Red Dragon crime syndicate, and—in many ways—the show is an exploration of how the two of them have evolved distinctly from their similar past together.
From an aesthetic perspective, this scene is such an incredible set piece, perfectly encapsulating the noir style of so much of the show's run. Spike and Vicious even mirror each other visually, with parallel but different hairstyles and outfits. Their final battle also finally gives fuller context to the rose motif sprinkled throughout the series. - Charlie Kolbrener
15. Chairman Netero vs. Meruem
‘Hunter x Hunter’
We didn't do a ranked list for this one, but if we had, this would have been in the top three. The "Chimera Ant" arc of Hunter x Hunter is an exploration of the dichotomy between "monster" and "man." The most pivotal battle of the series comes when humanity's fiercest warrior, Netero, faces off against the fiercest warrior of the monsters.
SPOILERS: What makes the final arc so interesting is the evolution the human characters go through as they lose their humanity. In order to defeat Meruem, Netero eventually needs to use humanity's most unethical weapon, essentially a nuclear bomb. Simultaneously, Meruem is becoming more sympathetic and human-like, finding great joy in battle and respect for the strength of his opponent. It's a beautiful culmination of the themes of the show, rivaled only by the meeting of Gon and Neferpitou. - Charlie Kolbrener
16. Yusuke vs. Younger Toguro
‘Yu Yu Hakusho’
Tournament arcs are such a tried and true method of creating an epic fight because of the means through which they can build stakes. You should someone crazy strong beat someone crazy strong. And then you show someone beat them! Dang, they're strong!
And amid numerous tournament arcs, the Dark Tournament is truly the blueprint. Toguro's on-the-nose ability to consistently raise his power level provides an explicit stakes-raising component throughout the fight, and we finally get to see Yusuke putting his evolving power to the test. - Charlie Kolbrener
17. Edward Elric vs. Father
‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’
This one is pretty hard to sum up with brevity for this article. If you haven't watched Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, go do it. Seriously. While the fight itself is certainly visually appealing, it's more so the narrative weight this battle holds that makes it such a compelling sequence. The music, the dialogue, and the ability to tie up so much of what has occurred over the complex run of the series make this one of the most incredible fights in anime history from a purely narrative perspective. - Charlie Kolbrener
18. Rock Lee vs. Gaara
Rock Lee vs. Gaara has potentially the most epic "this boy nice" sequence in the entirety of anime. Up until this point, Gaara has been pretty explicitly positioned as the strongest character competing in the Chunin exams, while Rock Lee has been seen as an unbelievably hard worker who may not rival any of the other competitors.
That said, when Guy Sensei instructs Rock Lee that he can remove his ankle weights (to scoffs from the onlookers) and reveals that Lee relies entirely on Taijutsu, the fight truly begins. It is really one of the coolest demonstrations of speed, skill, and tenacity in anime. Most Naruto viewers can probably vividly remember witnessing Rock Lee land his first blow on Gaara. - Charlie Kolbrener
19. Gon vs. Neferpitou
‘Hunter x Hunter’
Similar to Meruem vs Netero, Gon vs Neferpitou is the ultimate culmination of the themes developed throughout the lengthy Chimera Ant arc of the series. Whereas Netero eventually has to rely on a man-made weapon to defeat his opponent, the metaphor becomes even more explicit in this battle; to win, Gon needs to fully become a monster.
By summoning all of the power he will ever possess, Gon becomes a bloodthirsty version of himself (so immensely distinct from the boy we begin the show with) in order to defeat the series' second most powerful antagonist. And in this sequence, Pitou even notes that Gon could potentially rival the king himself. The run-up to Gon's transition when he realizes that Kite is gone for good is one of the most heartbreaking moments in anime, and the final battle is the perfect culmination of the complex themes of the arc. - Charlie Kolbrener
20. Luffy vs. Rob Lucci
Many fans view Enies Lobby as One Piece's best arc, and it's hard to argue with them. Nearly 300 episodes into the anime, this is the arc that many points to as when it "really gets good." Rob Lucci is the antagonist throughout "Water 7" into Enies Lobby, so the stakes for this fight are inherently higher than some previous ones. Plus, the added weight of it being the culmination of a Nico Robin rescue arc makes the battle even more fulfilling to witness.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this encounter—both visually and narratively—is the debut of Luffy's "Gear 2." His first foray into using the gear ability foreshadows a lot of how he will develop as a devil fruit-user for the arcs to come, and finally starts to solidify Luffy as powerful enough to take to the New World. - Charlie Kolbrener
21. Luffy vs. Kaido
It could definitely be recency bias, but this is certainly one of the most compelling one on one fights in One Piece. I personally had to decide between this and Luffy's fight with Katakuri but opted for this because the latter begins to drag a bit.
The stakes in this battle are just so high; Kaido has been hinted at and teased for literally hundreds of episodes leading up to this showdown. The fight also fully demonstrates the efficacy of Snake Man, which we had only seen previously in the battle against Katakuri. Visually, battles that feature Luffy fighting someone big are always the most fun to watch. - Charlie Kolbrener
22. Saitama vs. Genos
‘One Punch Man’
One of the funniest fights in the show, the early battle between Saitama and Genos sets up the primary narrative of the series. Whereas Genos has both trained immensely and developed his cyborg tech tirelessly for years, his power pales in comparison to Saitama's measly workout routine. Saitama's punch blasting away the entirety of a mountain is a nice finishing touch in the sequence and a demonstration that we have yet to even begin to see his true power. - Charlie Kolbrener
23. Saitama vs. Boros
‘One Punch Man’
I love Saitama vs Boros because of how it establishes even more fully the direct logic of the show. When people get into power scaling conversations about Saitama ("Goku solos Saitama!"), I point them to this fight. Boros is a galaxy-destroying threat. Within his own universe, he is Goku. The very point of the show is that there is no amount of relative power one can possess within their own diegesis that will rival Saitama. He is the "One Punch Man." And for that, he is also the most powerful anime character of all time. - Charlie Kolbrener
24. Asuka vs. Mass Production Eva Series
‘The End of Evangelion’
Mecha narratives have become such a quintessential part of anime, and no series really does the genre more justice than Neon Genesis: Evangelion. What sets Evangelion apart is that it’s incredibly gory; the machines possess a human-like quality, so the violence is always much more disturbing than we witness in other mecha anime.
In all honesty, I still get pretty lost in the iconic alternate ending to the mind-bending and emotionally rich mech classic. If you do too, check out this helpful guide.
What I can say is, big robot fight make brain go brrr. - Charlie Kolbrener
25. Naruto vs. Sasuke (Final Fight)
Even after all the monumental clashes that assaulted my screen with outlandish special attacks and towering beasts, I got the most pleasure from watching Naruto and Sasuke kick off their final encounter with simple fisticuffs. As this scuffle reached its later stages, I loved how everything both ninjas learned came into play and raised the stakes even higher than I expected.
Naruto tapped into his devastating "Six Paths Sage Mode" and Sasuke went deep inside himself to utilize the full power of his "Rinnegan" - the result of both friends turned enemies relying on their unleashed power led to one of the greatest Naruto fights I've ever seen. The "Valley of the End" was quite fitting as the final battlefield where two characters fans grew up with from the very start of the series went head-to-head for the very last time. Man, those flashbacks did something to me emotionally! - Elton Jones
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