The Best Anime Fights of All Time, Ranked

One of the best parts about watching a good action series is seeing a great fight. A struggle of wills between the protagonist and the antagonist can get viewers pumped, especially if the story leading up to the conflict is told properly. These fights can even be cathartic, allowing the hero to finally triumph over the villain.

Naturally, because there are so many great shonen anime series, many come with incredible fight scenes. Some of them stand above the others in terms of being iconic, remembered years after the anime has finished by everyone who watched.

Updated on October 19th, 2023 by Sage Ashford: This list has been updated to include even more heart-pounding and iconic anime fights that gets audiences’ blood boiling in just the right way.

20 Naruto & Sasuke vs. Momoshiki Revived Interest In Boruto

Boruto crashing through the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations cover art

Boruto

Son of Naruto Uzumaki, Boruto, follows his father’s footsteps along with his friends to become great ninja. Throughout all their adventures, Boruto is determined to make his mark in the ninja world and live outside of his father’s shadow.

Release Date
April 5, 2017

Main Genre
Anime

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
26

Studio
Pierrot

Franchise
Naruto

Writers
Masashi Kishimoto

Number of Episodes
297

Boruto’s Time Skip Is Better Than Naruto’s

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

By now, everyone knows Boruto: Naruto Next Generations doesn’t have the best track record. One thing that brought eyes to the series again though was Naruto and Sasuke’s fight against the villain Momoshiki Otsutsuki.

After several seasons of focusing strictly on Boruto, this fight allowed the main characters of the original season a chance to cut loose. The choreography in this episode is on point, and the episode balances well done martial arts scenes with Naruto and Sasuke’s powerful jutsu to create one of Boruto’s most unforgettable experience.

19 All Might vs. Nomu Showed All Might’s Refusal To Surrender

My Hero Academia Anime Poster

My Hero Academia

A superhero-admiring boy without any powers enrolls in a prestigious hero academy and learns what it really means to be a hero.

Release Date
May 5, 2018

Cast
Daiki Yamashita, Justin Briner, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Ayane Sakura

Main Genre
Anime

Genres
Animation, Action, Adventure

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
6

My Hero Academia

The end of My Hero Academia season one still sticks out in fans’ minds, largely because of this fight. The League of Villains successful assault on U.A. High left Class 1-A defenseless against a group of villains, but none were more dangerous than Nomu, a being specifically designed to fight against All Might.

Nomu’s incredible strength and ability to resist high-impact blows should’ve pummeled an All Might who’s powers were fading fast. Instead, All Might took a decisive victory by relying on an unrelenting attack against the Nomu. In this iconic scene, here All Might established himself as a hero no matter the situation.

18 Takamura vs. Hawk Showed The Effort Required To Become A Champion

Hajime no Ippo anime

Hajime no Ippo

Ippo, a teenage boy with a pure heart and unrelenting determination, discovers a passion for boxing after veteran fighter Takamura saves him from bullies.

Release Date
October 3, 2000

Main Genre
Anime

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
3

Number of Episodes
127

Hajime no Ippo

It isn’t often that the most iconic fight in an anime doesn’t involve the main character. However, the Middleweight Champion fight between Takamura Mamoru and Bryan Hawk is one of the most memorable fights of all time.

It’s not realistic by any means—characters take dozens of punches directly to the face, the counts are far too slow, and the referee doesn’t seem to care about doing his job. However, this battle trades realism for pure hype, as the two fighters trade momentum back and forth between one another. The result is an absolutely brutal fight between two evenly matched opponents…with the victor being the one who simply wants it more.

17 Bell Cranel vs. Minotaur Displayed Bell’s Desire To Become A True Adventurer

Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon anime

Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

In the city of Orario, where adventurers hunt monsters in a place called Dungeon, Bell Cranel’s life was saved by a swordswoman, who has then become the source of Bell’s determination to get stronger.

Genre
Romance, Adventure, Fantasy

Number of Seasons
2

Debut Date
April 4, 2015

Studio
J.C. Staff

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon?

It’s hard to believe even a great harem series could have not only great character development, but great fight scenes as well. Yet Bell Cranel vs. the Minotaur is often the scene that sells people on DanMachi as a show.

After a humiliating first episode where Bell is forced to flee from a minotaur and be saved by a better adventurer, Bell finds himself in the opposite situation. Unable to run, and needing to save a companion he brought into the dungeon, Bell stands his ground against a powerful minotaur. The fight tested everything he’d mastered over the season—his speed, his durability, his combat knowledge, and his magical abilities. By the end though, Bell stands as a successful, conquering adventurer.

16 Tanjiro & Nezuko vs. Rui Took Demon Slayer To Another Level

Demon Slayer Anime Poster

Demon Slayer

When Tanjiro Kamado returns home to find his family was attacked and killed by demons, he discovers his younger sister Nezuko was the only survivor. As Nezuko slowly becomes a demon, Tanjiro sets out to find a cure for her and become a demon slayer so he can avenge his family.

Release Date
January 21, 2021

Cast
Natsuki Hanae, Zach Aguilar, Abby Trott, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka

Main Genre
Anime

Genres
Anime, Action, Adventure

Rating
TV-MA

Seasons
3

Read CBR’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Manga Review

Demon Slayer

As good as this battle was in the manga, the anime elevated several times over. The series’ fluid animation, the lush, gorgeous colors, and beautiful soundtrack all came together to create an experience unlike any other. “Hinokami”, the episode with most of the fight, was so beautiful even the creator said they were moved to tears watching it.

This fight showed just how tough a battle demons could put up, as they introduced a higher tier form of demon that had a reputation for defeating slayers. Tanjiro’s abilities alone weren’t nearly enough, forcing him to rely on his sister Nezuko to aid him. More than that, Tanjiro was forced to dig into his family’s memories to discover a unique fighting style all his own.

15 Gilgamesh vs. Shirou Emiya Shows The Danger In Overconfidence

fate stay night unlimited blade works anime

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

A group of seven mages gets chosen to become masters of seven classes of heroic spirits, in order to fight and win the Holy Grail.

Genre
Action

Language
English, Japanese

Number of Seasons
2

Debut Date
October 12, 2014

Studio
Ufotable

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

Fate: Unlimited Blade Works’ Gilgamesh vs. Shirou is still one of the best and most gorgeous fights in the Fate franchise. After spending an entire series feeling like more of a hindrance thanks to his lack of mana and experience, Shirou has his best moment at the perfect time.

By this point, Gilgamesh had already established himself as the ultimate Servant thanks to his role as the King of Heroes. However, it’s that very status as King that leads to his downfall. Shirou’s Unlimited Blade Works is tested against Gilgamesh’s Gate of Babylon, and Gilgamesh’s inexperience with all of his weapons makes them roughly even. Shirou’s determination leads to his victory over Gilgamesh, and winning the Holy Grail War.

14 Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra Features Ichigo Tapping Into His True Power

Bleach Anime Poster

Bleach

Bleach revolves around Kurosaki Ichigo, a regular always-grouchy high-schooler who for some strange reason is able to see the souls of the dead around him.

Release Date
September 9, 2009

Cast
Masakazu Morita, Fumiko Orikasa, Hiroki Yasumoto, Yuki Matsuoka, Noriaki Sugiyama, Kentarô Itô, Shinichirô Miki, Hisayoshi Suganuma

Main Genre
Anime

Genres
Animation, Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
16

Creator
Tite Kubo

Every Character Death in Bleach – And When They Occurred

Bleach

​​​​​Every shonen hero needs a moment where to tap into their true power, they have to lose control. For Ichigo, that instance came against the fourth Espada, Ulquiorra. Ulquiorra’s overwhelming power nearly meant the end of Ichigo and his friends, but finally Ichigo’s other side, White, emerged.

Using White’s power, Ichigo boasted not only superior Reiatsu, but a brutal fighting style that pushed Ulquiorra to his limits. Boasting the ability to toss off Ceros with ease and enough strength to crush Ulquiorra’s mightiest attack with his bare hands, this battle stands as one of the best fight scenes in Bleach for Ichigo fans.

13 All Might vs. All For One Shows The Sad Final Victory Of The Symbol Of Peace

My Hero Academia

The ultimate hero versus the ultimate villain, All Might versus All For One is one of My Hero Academia’s most memorable fights. With All For One’s return to the world stage, All Might finds himself in a tough spot. Thanks to their last battle – plus All Might passing his powers on to Deku – his ability to maintain One For All is nowhere near as strong as it once was.

All Might refuses to let his limitations to stop him from living up to his role as the Symbol of Peace. With the last embers of One For All fading, All Might manages to put his lifetime nemesis down for good. While overcoming odds of this level might feel ridiculous in most series, it works as a way to say goodbye to Toshinori’s time as the #1 Hero.

12 Gohan vs. Cell Sees Gohan Finally Standing Up For Himself

Dragon Ball Z TV Show Poster

Dragon Ball Z

With the help of the powerful Dragonballs, a team of fighters led by the saiyan warrior Goku defend the planet earth from extraterrestrial enemies.

Release Date
September 13, 1996

Cast
Sean Schemmel, Brian Drummond, Christopher Sabat, Scott McNeil

Main Genre
Anime

Genres
Anime, Action, Adventure

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
9

Dragon Ball Z

Though it took some ridiculous leaps to get there, Gohan vs. Cell is the culmination of three arcs’ worth of build up in Dragon Ball Z. Gohan spent years training under both Piccolo and Goku, fighting against some of the deadliest warriors in the galaxy. Until the Cell Games, it was never all on his shoulders alone.

After taking a brutal beating from Cell, an inspired speech from Android 16 reminds Gohan of the need to fight for things worth protecting. Seeing Gohan become the first person to reach Super Saiyan 2 is immensely satisfying, right down to having him one-shot the Cell Jrs. And while getting overconfident did cost him Goku, it also lead to the Father-Son Kamehameha, which might be the most hype moment in anime history.

11 Bradley Vs. Scar Allows Scar To Get Revenge Against The Man Who Destroyed His People

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Anime Poster

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Two brothers search for a Philosopher’s Stone after an attempt to revive their deceased mother goes awry and leaves them in damaged physical forms.

Release Date
April 9, 2009

Cast
Romi Pak, Rie Kugimiya, Shinichirô Miki, Fumiko Orikasa

Main Genre
Anime

Genres
Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
4

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Law of Equivalent Exchange, Explained

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has plenty of incredible fight scenes, but King Bradley vs. Scar had both the emotional weight and the hype behind it to make it a standout. In the episodes leading up to this battle, King Bradley established himself as one of the most dangerous fighters in the show, even destroying a tank to reclaim his base.

Confronting Scar was a new challenge for King Bradley, as he was the representation of the Military’s sins returning for vengeance. Despite Bradley’s might, his arrogance and a chance mistake cost him his life, providing probably the only chance anyone had of stopping him.

10 Luffy Vs. Rob Lucci Sees Luffy Achieve Gear Second

One Piece Anime Poster

One Piece

Follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew in order to find the greatest treasure ever left by the legendary Pirate, Gold Roger. The famous mystery treasure named “One Piece”.

Release Date
October 20, 1999

Cast
Mayumi Tanaka, Kazuya Nakai, Kappei Yamaguchi, Hiroaki Hirata, Ikue Ôtani, Akemi Okamura

Main Genre
Anime

Genres
Anime, Action, Adventure

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
20

One Piece

It’s difficult to pin down any single fight in One Piece as the most iconic when most fans call the entire series peak fiction. That said, Luffy’s battle against Rob Lucci during the Water 7 Saga is certainly near the top. With the Straw Hats needing to rescue their ally, Nico Robin, Luffy finds himself confronted with the incredibly powerful Rob Lucci in his were-cheetah form.

The battle saw Luffy introduce the power of Gear Second and go beyond his limits once again to show off the power of Gear 3. Despite Rob Lucci seeming invincible, the power of Luffy’s Jet Gatling ability put him down for the count.

9 Naruto Vs. Sasuke Is The Perfect Blow-Off To A Rivalry Built Over An Entire Series

Naruto Shippuden Anime Poster

Naruto: Shippuden

Naruto Uzumaki, is a loud, hyperactive, adolescent ninja who constantly searches for approval and recognition, as well as to become Hokage, who is acknowledged as the leader and strongest of all ninja in the village.

Release Date
October 28, 2009

Cast
Alexandre Crepet, Junko Takeuchi, Maile Flanagan, Kate Higgins, Chie Nakamura, Dave Wittenberg

Main Genre
Anime

Genres
Animation, Action, Adventure

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
21

Naruto Shippuden

​​​​​​​

Like with One Piece, there are plenty of incredible fights to choose from with Naruto, but the battle between Naruto and Sasuke at the Valley of the End is remembered fondly even by some of Naruto‘s biggest critics. When Sasuke’s eagerness to take revenge for his family caused him to abandon the village, several of Konoha’s most talented new genin battled Orochimaru’s soldiers to bring him back.

By the end, it was clear that Sasuke didn’t want to return and Naruto’s attempt to force him back led to their first serious fight. The tension that had been bubbling since the beginning of the series between the two exploded in a fierce battle, leading to the best fight in the original Naruto anime.

8 Netero Vs. Meruem Shows The Limits Of Human Creativity

Hunter x Hunter cast gathered together

Hunter x Hunter

Gon Freecss aspires to become a Hunter, an exceptional being capable of greatness. With his friends and his potential, he seeks out his father, who left him when he was younger.

Genre
Adventure, Fantasy, Martial Arts

Language
English, Japanese

Number of Seasons
6

Debut Date
October 2, 2011

Studio
Madhouse, Shueisha

10 Scariest Monsters In Hunter X Hunter

Hunter X Hunter

Though it has some of the best fight scenes in shonen anime, Hunter x Hunter battles rarely go the way anyone thinks they should. When the Chimera Ant King appeared, the only person even close to fighting on his level was the Hunter Association’s Chairman, Isaac Netero. Despite his age, the wizened Chairman proved to be the only person possibly capable of challenging Meruem.

Still, the battle turned into a slow inevitability after a while, as Netero realized he wouldn’t be able to down Meruem on his own power. His victory over Meruem proved the lengths of human creativity and desperation.

7 Ichigo Vs. Byakuya Shows An Experienced Ace Against An Unconventional Genius

Bleach

When it comes to Bleach, there are two fight scenes that stick out the most for Ichigo. While his eventually defeating Aizen is a cathartic moment, it doesn’t quite have the impact his battle against Byakuya did.

A well-respected Captain of the Gotei 13 and a master of his Zanpakuto, Byakuya felt like an impenetrable wall for Ichigo. Still, thanks to Urahara’s dangerous yet profitable training, Ichigo was able to master his Bankai and fight on the same level as Byakuya. Still, the power of the Senbonzakura and Byakuya’s centuries of experience made this Ichigo’s toughest battle.

6 Spike Vs. Vicious Forces Spike To Deal With His Past

Cowboy Bebop TV Poster

Cowboy Bebop (1998)

The futuristic misadventures and tragedies of an easygoing bounty hunter and his partners.

Release Date
September 2, 2001

Cast
Koichi Yamadera, Unshô Ishizuka, Megumi Hayashibara, Steve Blum, Beau Billingslea

Main Genre
Anime

Genres
Animation, Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
1

Cowboy Bebop

Not every anime fight has to be between people with superpowers. In Cowboy Bebop, Spike was forced to confront the very past he’d been running away from when Vicious revealed he’d kidnapped his ally, Faye Valentine. This battle isn’t just good from a hype perspective; it’s shot beautifully, too.

Everything from the muted color palette to Mai Yamane’s gravelly voice singing “Rain” sets the mood for a dangerous battle that the protagonist isn’t guaranteed to win. Indeed, after shooting his way through all of Vicious’ mafia members, Spike found himself on the losing end of what would be his first fight in the series against Vicious. However, his narrow escape ensured there would be a rematch in the future.

5 Goku Vs. Vegeta Started Vegeta’s Obsession With Defeating Goku

Dragon Ball Z

Some Dragon Ball Z fans will say the series actually peaked with the Saiyan Saga. While that’s debatable, what isn’t debatable is just how iconic the final battle was. After learning of his alien heritage, Goku was confronted with the knowledge that he was a low-born Saiyan and the battles ahead would see him facing the Saiyan Elite – Vegeta.

With his friends gone and the fate of the planet on the line, Goku proved that with enough training, it was possible to defeat even the Prince of All Saiyans. Thanks to the power of the new techniques he’d learned from King Kai, even Vegeta’s Giant Ape form wasn’t enough to defeat him. While the fight’s story is amazing, it’s the film-quality animation that elevates Goku and Vegeta’s iconic showdown.

4 Yusuke Vs. Toguro Represents The High Point In Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho Ghost Files 1992

Yu Yu Hakusho

After a teenage delinquent is killed while saving a child’s life from an approaching car, the rulers of the underworld send him back to become an “Underworld Detective” investigating demons apparitions in the human world.

Release Date
October 10, 1992

Main Genre
Anime

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
1

Studio
Pierrot

Number of Episodes
112

Yu Yu Hakusho

​​​​​​​

Toguro provided himself the ultimate test for Yusuke Urameshi. After several arcs where Yusuke was a fearless fighter, Toguro’s might brought him to his knees. Over the course of the greatest tournament arc ever in the Dark Tournament, Yusuke faced gradually stronger opponents, all while the ultimate challenge waited for him at the end.

The fight is long by Yu Yu Hakusho standards — four episodes —but Yusuke finally proves he’s willing to put his all into something for the sake of what he cares about. Despite the Dark Tournament having a ton of memorable fights, this last battle stands at the top.

3 Jotaro Vs. Dio Features Two Titans In The JoJo Universe Finally Colliding

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure hirohiko araki 1992

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

The story of the Joestar family, who are possessed with intense psychic strength, and the adventures each member encounters throughout their lives.

Release Date
October 6, 2012

Main Genre
Anime

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
5

Studio
David Production

Franchise
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Characters By
Hirohiko Araki

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

One of the most hyped fights in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure even before the television adaptation, the battle between Jotaro and Dio lived up to the original OVA version and then some. After spending an entire series antagonizing the Joestar family, it was finally time for one of anime’s best villains, Dio Brando, to get his comeuppance at the end of the series.

However, beating DIO was no easy feat, as it turned out his stand, The World, has an ability no one was aware of: the power to stop time. Though Jotaro developing a similar ability might have felt contrived, it didn’t detract from how awesome it was to see these two titans throwing everything at each other.

10 Iconic Dragon Ball Scenes That Everyone Will Remember

2 Rock Lee vs. Gaara Represents The Ultimate Battle Of Talent Vs. Hard Work

Naruto Anime cover featuring Sakura, Naruto, Sasuke, Kakashi sensei and Iruka sensei

Naruto

Naruto Uzumaki, a mischievous adolescent ninja, struggles as he searches for recognition and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the village’s leader and strongest ninja.

Release Date
October 3, 2002

Main Genre
Anime

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
5

Studio
Pierrot

Characters By
Masashi Kishimoto

Number of Episodes
220

Naruto: Every Great Ninja War In The Story, Explained

Naruto

​​​​​​​

The Naruto fanbase is confident of two things: Sasuke’s plot armor, and their love of Rock Lee. People wondering where that comes from should look no further than Rock Lee’s battle against Gaara during the Chuunin Exams.

The battle of the hardworking underdog against the talented prodigy with the One-Tail, the outcome of this fight is obvious from the start. However, it’s impossible not to root for Rock Lee no matter how little a chance he has at victory. Still, this fight makes Rock Lee look like an absolute champ, with some of the most hype moments in original Naruto like Rock Lee dropping his weights… and his first time opening the Gates.

1 Goku Vs. Frieza Is Goku’s Greatest Victory

Dragon Ball Z

As much as Dragon Ball Z built up Vegeta, Frieza was made to look like a threat that no one could defeat. Goku used all his experience and every trick he had to match up against Frieza’s might, but no trick was good enough.

Frieza always had some new level of power he was waiting to unveil that could top Goku’s tricks, from Kaioken to the Spirit Bomb. However, every DBZ fan remembers when Frieza finally pushed Goku too far, causing him to go Super Saiyan for the very first time. This fight isn’t just iconic but groundbreaking within battle shonen. Going forward, every protagonist had to have some kind of transformation or super mode, all to try and capture the feeling of Goku’s Super Saiyan form.

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