I’ve been going through a lot of footage for my AMV Project lately, and naturally a lot of the most exciting and energetic scenes in Anime are the Fight Scenes. Nothing gets me more riled up than a clash of wills between two incredible forces, manifested through battle. The energy that comes out of a good fight scene can be overwhelming, leaving you on the edge of your seat. Sometimes it’s the buildup that makes an encounter all the more awe-inspiring, sometimes it’s the amazing choreography that goes into their fluid movements in battle, sometimes it’s the raw power of the weapons or whatever means they’re using to fight. Whatever it is, fight scenes exhilarate me, so I’m here to share the top five I’ve decided on for now.
And it should be a given by now, but expect some spoilers.
5) Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works – Archer VS. Emiya
When I first saw this movie, I was left exhausted. The sheer energy from it was enough to overwhelm me. It was pretty much non-stop action, but it didn’t distract from the story too much either. There were many amazing battles, but I think the most impacting for me was the battle between Emiya and Archer. Apart from the amazing choreography, brilliant animation and overwhelming energy, the psychological context was really profound to me. A battle between over whether a man’s ideal is justified or not. It’s an internal struggle, manifested into an incredible clash of blades. I broke into a sweat while watching it.
4) Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Wrath VS. Greed and Co.
Before I talk about this, I need to confess that I had a very hard time picking a single top fight from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. There’s so, so many amazing fights in this show, but I limited myself to only picking one from each series. That said, if I decided to count the entire final arc as a single battle, it would beat everything, but I decided to focus on one specific encounter of the arc, that being Wrath VS. Greed. Seeing King Bradley storm into his castle, slashing apart anyone in his way in the blink of an eye, and taking out a freaking tank with his sword without breaking a sweat… And that was just his entrance. Wrath is an incredibly intimidating character, pretty much anybody who gets in his way ends up dead, it really highlights the courage of those who dare to face him. Even Greed, with his own supernatural abilities as a fellow homunculus, still has heaps of difficulty fighting at Wrath’s level. It’s only through the sacrifices of Fu and Buccaneer that Greed is able to even graze Wrath. The choreography in all of the battles from FMA Brotherhood are A-grade, and this is no exception. Everyone is jumping around and gracefully darting at impossible speeds, exchanging slashes and blocks and dodges… It’s really a sight to behold.
An honorable mention to Alphonse VS. Pride & Kimblee.
3) Shakugan no Shana Second – Sabrac VS. Wilhelmina and Co.
Compared to the others, this one isn’t as fast-paced or constant. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less amazing. This one, like many of Shana’s battles, has a lot of thought put into it. Sabrac begins his offensive by attempting an extremely powerful surprise attack to take out everyone in one blow, but fails and enters into battle. Sabrac is an extremely intimidating enemy, using various methods to continually supply himself with near infinite power. After the group figure out that brute force serves as little more than a decoy, they use their cunning to analyse the situation and form a plan to take him down, which involves at least one or two people keeping Sabrac focused on battle, while being thwarted from beyond his notice. The battling itself is also extremely well choreographed and very intelligent, with lots of really interesting and entertaining techniques used by Wilhelmina and Sabrac alike. It was a battle where everybody had a role to fulfil, and together, with Sakai himself in control, they were able to defeat Sabrac. It was really entertaining to watch, and by far the best battle of the series.
2) Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle – Fei Wang Reed’s Forces Vs. Syaoran and Co.
Unfortunately, this one was never brought to Anime. The final battle of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, beyond the cutoff point for the Anime and even the OVAs. But even through two-dimensional still drawings, it’s still an amazing battle to read. Kurogane and Fai battling an unending horde of robot ninjas with their robotic arm and vampire claws, Syaoran clashing blades and casting spells with his all-powerful clone, a battle of wits against the incredible magic of Fei Wang… A clash on such an epic scale that the fate of all Universes depends on its result. The insane magical attacks in the final few chapters would probably translate in a seizure-inducing light show in animation, but it looks really amazing on paper. And even amidst all the action, in true CLAMP style, it doesn’t refrain from getting into some really profound plot development during the whole confrontation, with many plot revelations thrown about. I think what made this battle really memorable was the emotions of the characters themselves, it’s all so powerful and you can really feel the cataclysmic tension. It’s something everyone should behold, if they can navigate the mindfuck.
1) Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-Hen – Anti-Spiral VS. Humans
This one needs no explanation, so here’s an explanation! Anyone who’s seen Gurren Lagann should know that the final battle defines the word ‘epic’, or even takes it to a completely different level. This is a battle between robots the size of GALAXIES, just that alone should convey the kind of ridiculous scale we’re talking about here. But the real clincher is that the entire series has been building up to this moment perfectly. Everything that’s happened up until this point in the story is culminated in this one final battle, the fate of the universe is in the hands of these people, facing off against an enemy whose motive is only to protect the universe from destruction. A clash of ideals, one of safety and caution and the other of expansion and progression, to fight beyond all limitations, to do the impossible. And the anti-spiral are the last obstacle stopping them from being free. The emotional buildup is immense, and the battle itself doesn’t fail to disappoint at all. You may notice that I specifically referred to the Lagann-Hen version, and there is a good reason for that. I feel that Lagann-Hen made the most of this battle, and unleashed its full potential. In this version, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is split into multiple smaller Tengen Toppa mechas, each for a different character, and they all combine their efforts to take on the Grand Zamboa. And after Lordgenome becomes one with the Infinity Big Bang Storm, the group gains enough spiral power to combine once more, becoming Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, about a hundred times bigger than their former incarnation. What results is a collision of two chou tengen toppa giga drills so massive that they suck the galaxies inside their swirl. It even ends with a old-fashioned fist fight between Simon and the Anti-Spiral, which really felt like a cyclic conclusion to me, ending the final battle with the most basic and primitive of clashes, but it felt more raw than any other part of the battle. It’s pretty unimaginable for any fight to match the scale that Gurren Lagann set with this one, it’s simply epic, and I try not to use that word lightly.