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The Best Anime Fight Scenes of All Time, Ranked by a Middle Schooler

spike vs vicious in Cowboy Bebop

FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!

Did ya hear? There’s gonna be a BRAWL after school at Anime High! It’s gonna take place under the flagpole at 3PM! EVERYONE is gonna be there. I didn’t realize just how much bad blood there was in this school. I can’t think of any students who AREN’T trying to fight? Maybe Violet Evergarden? And that’s only because she ALREADY KILLED EVERYONE SHE NEEDED TO. Boy, howdy! This is gonna get so wild, and I’m gonna record it all in my notebook to see which anime fight was the best! The kids from Demon Slayer had a nasty fight the other day, but this is gonna be on a whole new level! I hope the school nurse is gonna be there! Somebody’s gonna need to scrape the blood and body parts off of the blacktop. And it ain’t gonna be me!

10. Kiritsugu Emiya vs. Kirei Kotomine – Fate/Zero

Kirei lands a punch on Kiritsugu
(Ufotable)

Shucks! Kiritsugu Emiya and Kirei Kotomine’s fight sure is a doozy! For one, those two hate each other. And how could you not be excited about a magical knife-fighting priest versus a mercenary with mage-killer bullets! This fight isn’t an all-out slug fest, it’s a battle of wits with deadly surgical precision! All Kiritsugu has to do is use time magic to speed up his heart in order to not get his head cut off during Kirei’s merciless assault. Meanwhile, Kirei is playing mental chess reading Kiritsugu’s moves in order to find an opening to disembowel him. So cool!

9. Mugen and Jin vs. Kagetoki, Toube, Denkibou, and Umanosuke – Samurai Champloo

mugen from Samurai champloo vs a powerful samurai
(Manglobe)

This fight could go either way! So far, Jin and Mugen have only met a handful of people they couldn’t kill with just a few strokes of their swords (including each other), but that’s not the case here. Kagetoki’s sword blows are so powerful that they cause waves to form in the ocean. Meanwhile, Mugen is fighting Toube’s brother, Denkibou, on a tiny boat and can’t use his signature breakdance style of fighting to dodge Denkibou’s attacks. OH MY GOD, DID JIN JUST STAB HIMSELF IN ORDER TO KILL KAGETOKI?! I guess he really never saw that coming! Wow! Meanwhile, Mugen managed to kill Denkibou and Umanosuke, all that’s left is—HOLY SHIT, TOUBE HAD A GUN IN HIS WHEELCHAIR? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?

8. Rock Lee vs. Gaara – Naruto

Rock Lee vs. Gaara in 'Naruto'
(Viz Media)

Okay, a ton of amazing fights are happening right now between the Naruto characters. Madara just fought a whole army, Naruto and Sasuke are at it again, and Obito and Kakashi’s fight is so emotional I could cry. But Rock Lee and Gaara had the most ICONIC moment of all when Rock Lee TOOK OFF HIS WEIGHTS AND THEN HE MOVED FASTER THAN THE EYE COULD SEE. This might be the most hype scene in Naruto history, and—oh, my god. Gaara still won? Well, that just established Gaara as one of the scariest characters in existence. I think I’d better keep my distance.

7. Saitama vs. Boros – One Punch Man

Saitama giving his One Punch to Boros
(MAPPA)

Wait, Saitama is the One Punch Man, right? So why hasn’t he defeated Boros in just one punch yet? I’m a little freaked out here. Has Saitama actually met his match? No one else in the school even wanted to go NEAR this guy, but Boros actually looks like he’s doing some DAMAGE. I think that Boros might just—wait … Saitama is throwing “serious” punches now? Welp. That’s the end of that. It was exciting while it lasted, though. Poor Boros, I really thought he had it in him.

6. Akira vs. Ryo – Devilman Crybaby

akira and ryo from Devilman crybaby fighting
(Science Saru)

Wait, Akira’s best friend Ryo has been an angel this whole time!? And now these two buds have to fight to the death? I’d be crying if I wasn’t so terrified. Akira can’t even put a scratch on this guy! And by “guy” I mean “non-binary divine entity.” I want Akira to win so badly because everyone who he loves is dead. He deserves it. All he’s ever done is try to be good and kind! But wait—Ryo just cut Akira and the MOON in half. Oh, I think that’s the end. I’m crying now. And Ryo is, too.

5. Spike vs. Vicious – Cowboy Bebop

Spike vs. Vicious in 'Cowboy Bebop'
(Sunrise)

So Spike and Vicious fought twice, but these fights are so short that I’m only counting them as one fight. The first one was a stalemate. Spike shot Vicious; Vicious stabbed Spike. Then Vicious pushed Spike out of the window, but not before Spike pulled the pin on a GRENADE. Now they’re fighting again, and oh, god, the SYMMETRY. THE THEMATIC PARALLELS. They’re having the SAME FIGHT because they’re trapped in a CYCLE OF VIOLENCE. They’re doomed to repeat the past just like the characters of The Great Gatsby. I’m moved to tears by the SHEER SYMBOLISM. And, wait, DID THEY TAKE EACH OTHER’S WEAPONS AND GIVE THEM BACK TO EACH OTHER??? IT’S SO METAPHORICAL I’M FOAMING AT THE MOUTH.

4. Nanashi vs. Luo-Lang – Sword of the Stranger

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

Plenty of these fights have been sheer cosmic chaos, but this fight feels … grounded. Real. And this animation is just … beautiful. The sound of steel on steel. The sparks of blue light as the blades connect. The precision. The grace. The ferocity. It makes me want to write a poem about this fight. I think I’ll try. Roses are red / Like blood in the snow / Nanashi won / Luo-Lang’s gotta go.

3. Ryuko vs. Satsuki (first Kamui fight) – Kill la Kill

Ryuko fights Satsuki in Kill la Kill
(Studio Trigger)

Remember how grounded I said the fight between Nanashi and Luo-Lang was? Well, this fight is the exact opposite. Two half-naked teenage girls are slicing at each other with enough force to topple buildings and one of them is doing it with half a pair of giant scissors! THAT SENTENCE PERFECTLY DESCRIBES WHAT ANIME SHOULD BE. And, as if this fight couldn’t get any better, the absolute banger Kill la Kill theme song “My Body Is Dry” is PLAYING OVER THE LOUDSPEAKERS. I’m trying not to sing along and FAILING. “DON’T LOSE YOUR WAYYYY / IN YOUR MIND / WE HAVE TO BEEEEE AS ONE.” God, it’s just too good.

2. Edward Elric vs. Father – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Edward Elric leaps at Father in Fullmetal Alchemist
(Bones)

Edward Elric just fought some seriously nasty homonculi, hordes of chimeras, and even a State Alchemist in order to get to this fight. He is not putting up with the wannabe-god Father anymore. Edward is especially pissed off at Father because Ed’s little brother, Alphonse, just finished sacrificing his soul to restore Ed’s arm so he could win. We have been waiting five seasons for this fight to bring everything to a close, so the stakes are HIGH. So high that the fate of an entire nation rests on the outcome of this battle. I can’t look! The drama is too much!

1. Asuka vs. the Mass Production Evangelions – End of Evangelion

Asuka fights the Mass produced Evangelions in Neon Genesis Evangelion
(Gainax)

I really wish I was still watching the Ed vs. Father fight because this is … hard to stomach. This poor teenage girl is piloting a giant biomechanical suit to fight a bunch of other mechs. And it isn’t going well. Asuka has been saying, “I’ll kill them, I’ll kill them, I’ll kill them” over and over again like a desperate prayer, and she was holding her own for a while. Then the other Evangelions brought out the Spear of Longinus, and … oh, god, I’m gonna be sick. This fight makes me wanna scream, cry, and throw up all at the same time. I think I’m gonna call my mom and have her pick me up early—assuming that I still have a mom after this fight. The fate of the entire world is hanging in the balance, after all.

(featured image: Sunrise)

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