There’s something thrilling about a good fight in anime, whether from fists, blades, or fighting spirit-fueled drills. We’ve seen many great fights since the medium was first created, but these, in particular, are among the best anime fights of all time.
10 most impressive fights in shonen anime
In the anime world, one of the most popular demos is shonen anime, which literally translates to “young boy”. It refers to the target audience of the series who classify themselves as shonen, the most popular genre for them being battle shonen.
Some of the most famous shonen anime of all time are battle shonen, including Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto. Likewise, these series have produced some really iconic fights, some of which are still admired 20 years later.
1. Super Saiyan Goku vs. Frieza
While this list of the most impressive shonen anime fights is generally unranked, Dragon Ball Z’s Super Saiyan Goku Vs Frieza stands above the rest. The Super Saiyan transformation started a trend in the medium, inspiring a literal generation of artists into their storytelling.
Effects aside, the quality of the fight remains the same years later. The story and emotions are engaging, the fight scenes are well choreographed, and offer amazing animation considering the time period.
2. Luffy vs. Rob Lucci
One of One Piece’s most iconic fights, Luffy vs. Rob Lucy, blends beautifully written, high-stakes tension with battle shonen and jaw-dropping action. Straw Hat Pirates are directly opposing the World Government to save their friend, hero Luffy risks his life here.
The fight itself is beautifully choreographed and animated, and perfectly exemplifies the “never give up” attitude of many war shonen protagonists. For many One Piece fans, this is the best fight in the series, and certainly one of the best in shonen anime.
3. Naruto vs. Sasuke 1
Similarly, the first round of Naruto vs. Sasuke, as seen at the end of Naruto, is one of the most iconic fights in shonen anime. Many Japanese and international fans remember watching the struggle at home as a child, amazed at the spectacle in front of them.
The high level of emotion and battle stakes are intense and add to the quality of it in spectacular fashion. Naruto’s pain is evident throughout the fight, as is Sasuke’s apparent desire to let go of what he feels is holding him back. For fans of shonen anime in general, this is one of the best fights the medium has to offer.
4. Yuji and Todo vs. Hanami
The only new-gen entry on this list, Yuji and Todo vs Hanami set the internet on fire as their debut in a jujutsu kaisen anime. The choreography and animation from MAPPA Studios is superb, making for a truly iconic fight. Although recent, this entry is undoubtedly one of anime’s most iconic and influential battles.
5. Luffy vs. Katakuri
The second and final One Piece entry on this list, Luffy’s victory over Katakuri marked a new era for the protagonist. His strength had now reached a level previously unimaginable, surpassing that of any admirer who theorized to be insurmountably stronger than him.
The fight itself is incomparable. The animation takes a crazy step up in quality here, as does the choreography and soundtrack pairing. The overall circumstances of the fight make it one of the biggest fights in the anime.
6. Ichigo vs. Aizen
One of Bleach’s final, canon battles (most recently), Ichigo vs. Aizen is the culmination of a journey to the East. Entering his final form as a Soul Reaper, Ichigo renounces his powers to stop his rival’s reign of terror over the Spirit Society, the human and Hyuko Mundo worlds.
The fight is one of the most iconic of the Big Three, the culmination of Bleach’s major plot line from the beginning of the series. Ichigo’s final transformation is also incredibly iconic and impressive, featuring both great design and awe-inspiring power.
Undoubtedly, one of Bleach’s most important fights is also the most influential fight in shonen anime.
7. Rock Lee vs. Gaara
The Rock Lee vs Gaara fight is one of the most famous anime fights in general, even more so in the Battle Shonen anime medium. The iconic scene of Lee dropping the weight of his foot is known even by non-anime fans, who gush about how impressive it is.
Those who are fans of Naruto will also add this fight to the massive story making it incredibly impressive. This proved that Lee could have been a capable ninja without the use of chakra, a stylistic plot point on which later writers would base the entire series. Without a doubt, Rock Lee vs Gaara is everything from iconic to impressive to impressive.
8. Ichigo vs. Byakuya
Serving as the final battle for Bleach’s Soul Society invasion arc, Ichigo vs. Byakuya is impressive for a number of reasons. The latter’s animation of Bankai is one of the series’ most impressive and eye-catching designs.
Meanwhile, Ichigo’s achievement of unlocking and mastering his bankai in about a month was unprecedented within the canon of the series.
The stakes here are what make the fight really impressive, with life literally on the line. The outcome of the fight also marks the introduction of one of Bleach’s most iconic and central villains, Sosuke Aizen. Bleach’s first major battle is definitely one of the battles
9. Teen Gohan vs. Perfect Cell
Like Super Saiyan Goku Vs Freeza, Teen Gohan Vs Perfect Cell redefines what a transformation power-up can be. Likewise, Gohan’s ruthlessness upon transition to Super Saiyan 2 redefines the maturity level with which the War Shnen anime presented itself.
In the eyes of some fans of the medium, this fight doesn’t get more iconic than Super Saiyan Goku vs Frieza. While this is certainly a matter of controversy and debate in terms of legitimacy, it still emphasizes how effective this fight is.