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The 10 Best Action Anime, Ranked

spike vs vicious in Cowboy Bebop

*A grizzled soldier crashes through your bedroom window*

COME WITH ME IF YOU STILL WANT TO LIVE!

KID! IT’S ME! Remember when you thought I died while we were fighting the mole people? Well, it turns out that I faked my death so you could learn to trust yourself! I taught you everything that I could teach you, and I couldn’t have you using your ol’ sensei as a crutch anymore—except now you’re gonna HAVE TO. Why? Because THE SYNDICATE IS AFTER YOU.

They heard about how super-powered you got during our last battle, and now they want to capture and train you as a cybernetic assassin! It’s just what they do! OH SHIT THEY’RE HERE.

*Tires screech outside*

Remember everything you learned from those violent video games? Well, FORGET IT! These guys are on a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. You’re gonna need the power of GOD AND ACTION-PACKED ANIME on your side if you want to get out of this one. Lucky for you, I HAVE BOTH.

10. Vinland Saga

Thorfinn from Vinland Saga with a knife
(Wit Studio)

Okay, so I talked to a priest and he blessed my anime DVD collection with the Holy Spirit. All I have to do is rub the DVD box cover in a cross shape on your forehead and you will gain the powers of that character! So right now I hear some guys coming up the stairs. You’re gonna need hand to hand combat skills! I sanctify you with Vinland Saga! It’s an anime about a Viking kid who gets really good at knife fighting after some assholes kill his dad. Here’s my Bowie knife, now put those skills to good use because these guys are at the door!

9. One Punch Man

Screenshot of Saitama being cool in One Punch Man
(Madhouse)

Well done! You gutted those gangsters like fish! This next anime will be even better! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before! Saitama has the ability to defeat enemies using ONE PUNCH! We’re saved! You’re gonna be fine kid! With the powers of this chrome dome dude, you’ll be invincible to everything except existential ennui! Just like Saitama himself! Now all I gotta do is bless you with this DVD box cover in front of this huge bay window.

*A sniper bullet shoots the DVD out of the soldier’s hand*

SHIT. BLAN P. I MEAN PLAN B!

8. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Jojo drinking a cocktail in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.
(A.P.P.P.)

I hear more guys up the stairs! We’re gonna have to jump out of the window! But from the hissing noises I hear below us I’m pretty sure that they’ve surrounded us with Syndicate vampires. Have no fear, I’ve got just the solution! This anime is about a family of dudes who have fought vampires for generations! There’s a small side effect: If I bless you with this, your body will turn into the homoerotic ideal, just like the body of almost every character on this show! Are you prepared? OKAY, GO KICK SOME ASS, YOU FABULOUS BASTARD.

7. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

Ikoma and Mumei ready to kill zombies
(Wit Studio)

C’mere kid, you’ve got a fang sticking out of your perfect jawline. Made quick work of those vampires, huh? Well, that’s great, but we’ve got a worse problem coming down the street: TANKS. I have a plan. I’ll bless you with this anime! It’s about a young industrial era engineer who battles zombies that can only be killed if their hearts are destroyed! The problem is these zombies have metal shells around their hearts, so conventional weaponry can’t pierce them! So he attaches a RAILWAY SPIKE-DRIVER to his arm! Now, go build one out of the neighbors’ trash and bust up those tanks!

6. Sword of the Stranger

Luo Lang locks swords with No Name in Sword of the Stranger
(Bones)

Well done, kid! The good news is that the tanks are kaput! The bad news is that they were crewed by ninjas! They escaped just before the tanks blew up! You’re gonna need finesse to fight these guys—and probably a sword! Good thing for you, I always carry a spare. Take it! This anime will give you the powers of No Name, a wandering samurai who is defending a young boy from a group of dangerous Chinese assassins. This anime has some of the greatest sword fights ever animated, which is lucky for you because the ninjas are descending from above.

Related: Here’s the Best Anime from Each Decade on We Got This Covered

5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Edward Alric leaps at Father in Fullmetal Alchemist
(Bones)

Good job with those ninjas. You disarmed them all with your superior sword skills. Wait, why are they clapping their hands together and drawing alchemical circles …? SHIT! THEY’RE ALCHEMISTS! LET’S FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE.

*blesses you with the Fullmetal Alchemist box set*

Okay, so the alchemists in this series aren’t some old guys trying to turn lead into gold, they’re SERIOUS WARRIORS. They can summon fire, earth, water, and air like the Avatar by using MAGIC SCIENCE! One of the toughest of them all is Edward Elric, a boy who lost his arm and leg while trying to bring his mother back from the dead using forbidden alchemy techniques. Meanwhile, his little brother lost his WHOLE BODY. The two go on a quest to regain what they lost and end up uncovering a massive government conspiracy in the process! Now, quick! Make like Flame Alchemist Roy Mustang and KILL THEM WITH FIRE.

4. Cowboy Bebop

spike in Cowboy Bebop
(Sunrise)

Well done, kid. Those ninjas look like what the Catholics rub on your head during Ash Wednesday! But the last guy called in reinforcements before he got toasted. And by “reinforcements” I mean AIR SUPPORT. GUNSHIPS INCOMING! Come with me, mine is parked out back! You’ll need to fly us out of here! Take the keys and my Cowboy Bebop blessing! It’s a series about a group of bounty hunters who travel the solar system looking to make a quick buck by capturing criminals and turning them over to Johnny I. Law! The “I” stands for “Intergalactic”! The series has breathtaking hand to hand combat sequences, but we’re gonna need it for its equally amazing spaceship dogfights! Now get up there and show these guys the meaning of AIR SUPERIORITY.

3. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan Characters Lev Ackerman, Eren Yeager, Armin Arlet and Mikasa Ackerman
(Crunchyroll)

We’re in the clear. Just fly us out of here and straight to the horizon. We can relax now. Here, have a cigar!

*The gunship takes a hit and begins spinning out of control*

SOMETHING HIT US! They’ve couldn’t have … THEY DID! THEY BROUGHT THE GIANT ROBOT! AND WE JUST GOT SWATTED BY IT! ASSUME CRASH POSITIONS!

*The gunship crash lands, you crawl out of the wreckage*

Kid, you’re gonna need to learn how to fight things bigger than you, and you’re gonna need to do it fast! Take my Attack on Titan blessing! It’s a series about the last remaining members of humanity, who live in a massive, walled city. What are the walls for? To protect them from the 50-foot flesh-eating monsters that live outside them! But one day, a REALLY big monster kicks the wall down! Luckily, humanity has a military force that uses swords and steam-powered grappling hooks to latch onto the monsters and slice them up! Eventually, the show turns into a massive geopolitical conspiracy saga, but I don’t have time to explain! I’m gonna duct tape two grappling hooks to your belt and you’re gonna use that ninja sword to take the giant robot down!

2. Samurai Champloo

Mugen smirking in Samurai Champloo
(Manglobe)

*After cutting into the giant robot’s head, you receive a radio transmission in your ear* Kid, it’s me! I gave you a cochlear radio implant while you weren’t looking! Listen, that giant robot is crewed by some of the deadliest samurai in existence. Lucky for you, I duct taped the last two DVDs to your back! Take out the one that gives lo-fi hip-hop beat vibes! That’s the one! Samurai Champloo! It’s an anime about two young warriors who wander around an anachronistic Edo-period Japan looking for their place in the world! So far, their only talent is killing people, which is good news for us! They’re able to decimate every other warrior they come across! The only people they can’t figure out how to kill are each other! One fights like a samurai warrior, the other like a breakdancer! If I were you, I’d switch it up on the samurai now closing in on your position! Keep those suckers guessing!

1. Kill la Kill

Ryuko fights Satsuki in Kill La Kill
(Studio Trigger)

Well done, kid. Now it looks like you’re gonna have to face the boss of the syndicate. She’s one real tough lady. There’s only one way you’re gonna be able to do it. Take out that last DVD. Good …

Now, get naked.

Okay, not totally naked! Just strip down to your underwear! Don’t get the wrong idea here, but I gotta ask, what kind of underwear are you wearing? BRIEFS!? THOSE WILL NEVER WORK! PUT ON THE THONG I TUCKED INTO YOUR BACK POCKET! YES, NOW!

You’re about to find out why Kill la Kill is the greatest action anime of all time …

Feel that power, kid? That’s what happens when you let go of shame. You’re naked. So what? LET IT ALL HANG OUT. Now you can fight with the power of the most ferocious thing in the universe: A PISSED OFF TEENAGE GIRL. Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill fights half-naked in a skimpy, blood-powered sailor suit in order to kill the person who killed her father! Now get ready for the most amazing Studio Trigger-worthy combat sequence EVER. Cross swords with the boss lady! Cut that building in half! DO IT ALL IN HEELS! GOOD! YES! NOW GO FOR THE KILL LA KILL.

Okay, kid. You did it. You’re free. Now I’ve really taught you everything I know, huh? No one is gonna mess with you anytime soon.

Now put some clothes on, you’re making me uncomfortable.

(featured image: Sunrise)

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