Top 10 Anime Fights of 2016
Written by: ClayDragon & Shiggins
For a lot of people, fighting is an important aspect of anime shows. Fans will debate endlessly over which series has the best battles, or what the best fight in any individual series is. So, we’ve decided to once again weigh in on this topic with a list of what we consider to be the best anime fights this year. Because who doesn’t like seeing someone get beaten to within an inch of their life?
Side note: Whilst we made an effort to watch lots of shows that started airing this year, we couldn’t see them all. So if there’s a fight that you think should be on this list but isn’t, then it’s probably because we never got around to watching it, as opposed to us not liking it.
As is this the case with many of these lists, SPOILER ALERT. You have been warned.
10.) Goblin Slayers vs Zombies (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash) (Written by: ClayDragon)
In any fantasy series, it’s pretty much a given that the main party will, at some point, encounter the undead. Call them liches, zombies, draugrs, whatever – they’re dead, but they’re still moving, and Grimgar is no exception to this rule. Due to a curse on the land, anyone who dies and is not cremated will turn into a hostile walking corpse, and Haruhiro’s party end up encountering a trio of such creatures deep in the Cyrene Mine. However, they aren’t any old zombies. They’re the remnants of Mary’s previous team who died in an excursion into the mines and succumbed to the curse.
|Boy, it's a good thing the spell works instantly, or they'd have been in even more trouble.|
Even though Haruhiro’s team outnumbers the zombies two-to-one, Mary’s old teammates as still as strong as they were in life (with the added bonus that they can no longer feel pain), and give the main characters a run for their money. In fact, the only reason that Haruhiro’s party survives is because Mary learnt the spell capable of dispelling the curse, which means she has to enter the battle and put her old friends to rest at last.
|I'm not crying! I just have sand in my eye...|
This battle also really highlights the teamwork between the party members, with Haruhiro, Ranta, Yume and Moguzo working together to incapacitate a zombie without any prior planning or instructions. It’s also an emotional encounter, as Mary is forced to defeat her old friends and her mixed emotions are clear throughout the fight. However, she finally gets closure, and it’s this battle that really secures her place in the team. Add in some pretty awesome animation, and you have a clear winner here.
9.) HerculesKabuterimon vs Everyone (Digimon Adventure tri.) (Written by: Shiggins)
I am not crying! I'm not! I'm just struggling to survive after seeing one of my childhood heroes suddenly reach their maximum form of badassery, then have to use that to defeat not only the villain of this episode, but their own friends as well! What kind of sadist wrote a scene in which both my heart was crushed, yet my squees were also heightened? A brilliant one, that's what!
OMG! WTF! LOL! I C U M8! Text talk!
For those of you who don't know, Digimon Adventure tri is doing a fairly awesome job so far (I've reviewed the three episodes we've got right now, and I plan to review the last three when they're released). While Part 2's final battle was hampered by some problematic animation, Part 3 is a beautiful mistress that you don't tell your wife about from start to finish. And this scene is so emotional that it hurts as much as that mistress as well.
Aww. The weird booby cat that brainwashed everyone only wants a hug.
Seeing all of our favourite Digimon partners be possessed/brainwashed/corrupted/Heartless'd into a villain is just painful, with only poor lovable Tentomon able to continue the good fight and protect humanity from the digital menace. If the action itself was just a bit more exciting and less predictable, this scene could have had the potential to reach the Top 5, but don't let that deter you from seeing it. This scene truly was prodigious!
8.) Subaru & Rem vs the White Whale (Re:Zero –Starting Life in Another World–) (Written by: ClayDragon)
“Hast seen the white whale?” Captain Ahab famously asked once. Well, if he’d seen Re:Zero’s take on the White Whale, he’d probably have a fit. This magical beast is enormous, can withstand insane amounts of magic attacks, can create clones of itself, and can fly. Oh, and it’s also capable of creating a fog that can erase people from existence if they come into contact with it. All in all, it isn’t exactly something that you’d like to fight – but that’s exactly what Subaru decides to do. Enlisting the help of Crusch (a general of a large army) and her elderly butler Wilhelm, Subaru – along with Rem – sets out to kill the White Whale so he can reach Emilia’s palace in time to save her.
Using his knowledge of the White Whale from a previous loop, Subaru is able to direct Crusch’s army to the location where the creature will appear. Unfortunately, despite their preparations, the immensely powerful Whale is able to resist most of their attacks – including magical cannons, Rem’s ice magic and numerous sword slashes courtesy of Crusch and Wilhelm. To make matters worse, the White Whale summons two clones and begins tearing the army apart, which culminates in it eating Wilhelm whole.
|Who knew all you had to do to kill a giant sky-whale was chop down a huge tree?|
7.) Nagisa vs Karma (Assassination Classroom) (Written by: ClayDragon)
If you disagree with someone, what’s the best way to resolve the argument? Flip a coin? Play rock, paper, scissors? Or have a huge paintball match that ends with you and your opponent physically beating each other up? During Assassination Classroom’s second season, a rift grows between Nagisa and Karma regarding whether or not the class should attempt to save Korosensei from his imminent death. Nagisa is firmly on the Save side due to believing that, since Korosensei isn’t malicious in any way, he doesn’t deserve to be killed, whilst Karma believes that killing their teacher is the best way to acknowledge the progress that they’ve made.
|Civil War: Part 2.|
To decide the direction the class will take, Korosensei proposes a paintball match between the two sides, with Nagisa and Karma being the leaders of their respective teams. As the match comes to a close, Nagisa and Karma end up being the only players left, so they face off in a tense knife fight to determine the winner. And what a fight! It quickly becomes obvious that Nagisa is completely outmatched in terms of physical ability, as Karma repeatedly kicks him around like a ragdoll. However, Nagisa’s clever use of his assassination techniques help to balance the fight out, making it a big question of who the winner will be.
|Silly Karma. Nagisa's bloodlust will not be sated by surrendering!|
Ultimately, it’s Nagisa who takes the victory – although not in the way anyone expected. Instead of using an assassination technique on Karma, he decides to take him head on, and traps him in a triangle choke. Whilst Karma is given the chance to claim victory through a lucky coincidence, he decides that winning in such a way would be meaningless, and willingly surrenders to his friend. This fight is really the moment that makes you realise just how much both Nagisa and Karma have developed since the start of the series, and the fact that this battle only strengthens their friendship is the icing on the cake.
6.) Class 77 vs the Future Foundation (Danganronpa 3: Hope Arc) (Written by: Shiggins)
….Sorry, just give me a moment. This one is weird. Danganronpa, a franchise that is literally about the depths of despair taking over the world, ended with such a bizarre and ridiculous showdown that, well, we had to applaud it. Danganronpa remains a symbol of strangeness in these dark times, and the sudden return of the most beloved cast in the entire series is both hysterical and ridiculously dumb.
Oh, if only we were doing Top 10 Funniest Moments of 2016... If only.
Owari eats meat to gain extra strength, while Nidai wrestles a robot to rip its head off and Tanaka summons the power of lightning as he says the name that Copyright Law literally tried to stop him from speaking; GUNDHAM! A group of somewhat-colourful villains seem to just pop out of nowhere to be defeated by the cast, and where did Mikan get that syringe?!
I can't even make a joke about her hiding it somewhere inappropriate! It's too big for that! Seriously, where did this come from?!
Some would argue that this battle is too ridiculous for the tone that the series has carried, and I completely understand their point. This is silly, and it is funny and crazy and stupid as well. It's like when I'm drunk. For me however, the series earned a huge blowout ending and while some elements went a bit too far, it's just fun. And after seeing death and misery over and over, didn't Danganronpa deserve to have some fun?
5.) Midoriya vs Bakugou (My Hero Academia) (Written by: Shiggins)
I had a bully once. I still have one today, but I'm writing this article with him so obviously I can't tell you who it is... Anyway, this fight almost feels like self-insert fanfiction or wish fulfilment, as lovable protagonist and geek Izuku Midoriya finally stands up to his own bastard bully, Katsuki Bakugou, while the entire class watches him and he is wearing a superhero costume during it all...
Well... “Super” is a strong term for the rabbit-eared outfit.
As with all the great anime fights out there, this isn't just a matter of brawn vs brawn until brawn defeats brawn and brawn looks like a fool. There is strategy from both sides here, as Bakugou's ego is pushed to the brink by the former coward actually holding his ground against him. Bakugou is someone who isn't used to being told no, especially by an underdog like Midoriya, so it's immensely satisfying to see him have to actually think through his stress and figure out what to do.
“Nobody makes me bleed my own blood! NOBODY!”
Midoriya is lovable, and this is easily a fight for his highlight reel. Explosions happen, All Might just lets the chaos play out because he's a sick prick, and the real victory isn't achieved by a KO punch to the jaw, but rather by finishing the task that was chosen out for him. Midoriya's words against Bakugou threaten to shatter the illusion that he is Perfect Cell, and the immense satisfaction of watching his face fall apart when he realises he has lost to his former punching bag is unprecedented. This fight between heroes really was super.
4.) Reigen 1000% vs Scar (Mob Psycho 100) (Written by: ClayDragon)
This fight is unique amongst the entries on this list for one simple reason – it’s the only battle on this list in which one fighter never even throws a punch, and yet still walks away victorious. During the assault on Scar’s base to rescue Ristu, the team (consisting of Mob, Teruki, Ritsu and Reigen) run into the leaders of Scar and engage them in battle. Even though Mob, Teruki and Ritsu are all espers, they stand no chance against the higher-ups of the organisation and immediately realise that they’re fighting a losing battle.
|For context, those are black holes that he's just swatting away like flies.|
Just as Reigen is trying to convince Mob to run and live to fight another day, he’s slashed in the back by one of Scar’s leaders and falls to the ground. Fortunately, his attempts to reach out to Mob caused his student to reach 100% gratitude, and all of Mob’s psychic powers are transferred into Reigen. With his new abilities, Reigen easily nullifies the attacks of every Scar leader without even realising that he’s been granted psychic powers. Hell, the only time he actually hurts one of them is when he tried to take the guy’s mask off, and his new strength caused him to throw the unfortunate enemy into a wall!
|I mean, it's just good manners.|
The ‘fight’ (if it can even be called that) ends when Reigen verbally lambasts the Scar leaders, claiming that they’re just selfish children who never grew up. The power of his words, combined with the fact that the supposed ‘rulers of the world’ can’t even make Reigen flinch, cause them to realise that their entire plan was flawed from the start, and that they need to grow up and accept the world the way it is instead of trying to remake it in their image. Coming from a character who was mostly used for comic relief, seeing a speech like that come out of Reigen’s mouth was nothing short of awesome.
3.) Gintoki vs Takasugi (Gintama˚) (Written by: ClayDragon)
It’s always exhilarating when two old friends-turned-enemies have a showdown, and Gintama completely knocked it out of the park. Ever since the series began, Gintoki and Takasugi have been mortal enemies, despite the fact that they used to fight alongside each other during the Joui War. The two have occasionally scuffled before in the show, but nothing like this. This time, it’s a full-one, bloody battle for survival, showing that Gintama can do fights just as well as it does humour.
|Jesus, that's got to hurt.|
During a mission to protect the Shogun, Gintoki and Takasugi meet each other and go straight for each other’s throats. What follows is quite possibly the bloodiest shonen fight I’ve seen, as the two men use every method available to them in order to get the upper hand. Swords are shattered, bones are broken, and punches are thrown hard enough to draw blood. There’s no showboating, no tricks or flashy techniques – just two enemies trying to kill each other in a frenzied, primal death match. And it is awesome.
|What's even more awesome is that Gintoki managed to do all that damage to Takasugi with a wooden sword.|
The other great point about this fight is that it finally answers the question of why Gintoki and Takasugi are enemies in the first place. The battle is interspersed with flashbacks to the Joui War, and it’s revealed that Gintoki was forced to kill his and Takasugi’s teacher in order to save his friends. Whilst Gintoki (and his teacher) were okay with the decision, Takasugi wasn’t, and the fact that this incident also cost him his left eye made him understandably angry. Coming at the climax of an already-excellent story arc, this brutal, impactful battle is one of the highest points of the Gintama anime, and shonen in general.
2.) Z-Fighters vs Zamasu (Dragon Ball Super) (Written by: Shiggins)
Oooh, a lot of people are going to disagree with us here but we stand by this decision and we challenge you to come at us with all you got if you now hate us. Dragon Ball Super is a constant rollercoaster when it comes to quality, with some episodes looking absolutely wonderful and other episodes being a travesty. Thankfully, in our superior-yet-humble opinion, the battle between Goku, Vegeta, Trunks and even the humans of planet Earth as they all go against the tyrannical kai Zamasu and his cohort Black is amazing!
Oh no, Broly is canon now?! Wait no... no, we're safe.
The biggest sins of this fight for me are how it treated Vegeta at first, making him be nothing but cannon fodder to show Black's strength, and the way Black's powers seem to spring out of nowhere with little to no explanation. Other than that though, this felt exactly like Dragon Ball should. Flying around, immense destruction, a villain's ego and calm personality being torn asunder by the heroes' refusal to die, and even a fusion!
The source of the greatest quick-squee I've ever had.
1.) Naruto vs Sasuke (Naruto Shippuden) (Written by: Shiggins)
They didn't fuck it up! Literally two years after the manga ended, the Naruto anime was still fucking going on and on and on and on with the amount of filler and extended crap taken from novels we don't care about. If you want to know what happens in the books, read the books. Or do what the anime is doing right now and adapt them after this fight. Don't make me wait in terror for two years, expecting Studio Peirrot to fuck up and make a horrific Pain-esque battle... Two years! Thank Kami that it was worth it!
Even the fist-bump was done right!
The animation is on point, being both a smooth, flowing construct without looking like it's made of jelly and actually making punches feel like they have impact. The two fighters don't move as if God got bored with the quicksand, but rather like normal fucking humans being do. The majority of the music isn't recycled from the past 500 episodes that we've heard over and over (Not that I'm insulting the music. I'm just tired of it being repeated constantly), and the only real filler in this fight is just extra action. There's no bullshit flashback all of a sudden that takes 12 episodes to finish so Naruto can punch Sasuke in the face and resume the fight.
The animation that Naruto always deserved.
I will never be able to look at Studio Pierrot with legitimate respect because of how they've treated the Naruto franchise in the past, but this fight really did make me shut my mouth and enjoy their work. This felt like true effort, and that's not something this anime gave me in so long. Naruto and Sasuke's emotions were shining through, as the pain and suffering they've felt over the entire franchise finally came to its well-earned and perfect conclusion. This is how Naruto should always be. This is Studio Pierrot doing Naruto right, and they can at least be proud of that.
|Sakamoto vs Hayabusa (Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto)|
|Mavis vs Blue Skull (Fairy Tail Zero)|
|Unova Gym Leaders vs Team Plasma (Pokémon Generations)|
|Atsushi and Akutagawa vs Fitzgerald (Bungou Stray Dogs)|
|Guts vs Serpico (Berserk)|
Is there a fight you feel we missed out? Or do you have any suggestions for another Top 10 list? Let us know in the comments below!
ClayDragon has finished studying Physics at university, and understands about as much as he did when he started. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at email@example.com. He has an ask.fm account at ask.fm/ClayDragon. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to figure out what to do with his life. He has reached 100% Procrastination.
Shiggins enjoys many strange forms of communication, especially those including cosplayers or presents or videos. However, until that wonderful day comes when people care enough to give him things for being him, you can contact him on his Skype; shigginsishere. He can also respond to you if you contact him through GMails at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere.