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The Most Epic Anime Fights Of The Last Decade

At the time, the 2010s felt like a real period of change in the world of anime. Hiyao Miyazaki released his farewell film, 2013's The Wind Rises, and Makoto Shinkai broke records with 2016's Your Name, a beautifully animated romantic drama about two teens who keep inadvertently switching bodies. This passing-of-the-torch moment dominated much of the conversation around the midpoint of the decade, but, just like he's done on several occasions over the years, the Studio Ghibli co-founder changed his mind.

When Miyazaki came out of retirement, it felt like normal service had been resumed. Sure, there were some strides made over the last decade (the popularity of Yuri on Ice was a step forward for gay representation in the anime industry, for example), but looking back, things didn't really change all that much. And when it comes to shonen, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Shonen (manga and anime aimed at younger boys and male teens) often gets a bad rap for being too formulaic, but the majority of fans like it that way. They come to see a gifted main character on a quest fraught with adversity. They come to see them learn new skills and put them to good use. They come to see them make new friends along the way, but most of all, they come for the epic fights. In shonen, main characters have always been willing to throw down, and the 2010s kept that tradition up in style. These are the most epic anime fights of the last decade.

Naruto vs. Sasuke in Naruto: Shippuden

Those who grew up watching Naruto in the 2000s will no doubt remember the titular ninja-in-training and his long-time rival, Sasuke, going at it in some pretty inventive action sequences. Both boys are members of Team 7 and are supposed to be working toward the same goals, but they're fundamentally different — Naruto is motivated by his desire to protect his people, while Sasuke is driven by the idea of taking revenge against his murderous brother, who killed their family. Naruto and Sasuke faced off on a number of occasions in both the manga and the anime, but for us, their most memorable onscreen battle was their final one.

Taking place at the climax of sequel series Naruto: Shippuden (2007-2017), this scrap was a decade in the making. Sasuke and Naruto both put everything they'd learned into action, and the result was absolutely gripping. There are fireballs, there are clones, and there are some of the most stunning chakra-fueled attacks the studio (Pierrot) has ever created. Of course, Naruto triumphs in the end, but not before he and Sasuke beat each other half to death. "This fight was the premier battle between the world's strongest shinobi, and it lived up to the hype," decreed CrunchyRoll, who named this bout the "most intense" Naruto battle ever.

Saitama vs. Lord Boros in One Punch Man

Debuting in 2009, One Punch Man began life as a web comic. A manga adaptation followed, and the anime came after that, bringing all the craziness of this superhero tale to the screen. The title refers to main character Saitama, our bald-headed, 25-year-old protagonist. Saitama is so strong that he can literally defeat any foe with a single punch, and that's become super boring for him. The story revolves around his efforts to find a worthy opponent, and the closest he's come to that is undoubtedly his epic battle with Lord Boros.

Boros was the leader of a band of intergalactic pirates known as the Dark Matter Thieves — was being the key word here. Like Saitama, he had grown bored with pummeling everyone in his path, which is why he invaded the former's home planet. The powerful alien was following a prophecy that predicted he would finally find a well-matched opponent on Earth, but he didn't for a second imagine that a human could defeat him. Of course, he was wrong. The battle that ensued is quite the spectacle, but Saitama ultimately took the alien invader out without breaking much of a sweat, obliterating Boros with his Serious Punch. "He was really strong," Saitama nonchalantly admitted after the fight. "Maybe the strongest I've ever faced."

Goku vs. Jiren in Dragon Ball Super

The original Dragon Ball was one of the best anime of the 1980s, but it wasn't exactly known for its fights. The kind of big-scale, gravity-defying battles that the franchise became famous for began in Dragon Ball Z, a cultural phenomenon on both sides of the Pacific that's generally regarded as the father of modern shonen. Sequel series Dragon Ball Super had some big shoes to fill when it debuted in 2015, but it rose to the challenge. Most of the original cast reprised their roles, including Masako Nozawa, who voices the franchise's main character, Goku. He's settled down into a life as a farmer when we catch back up with him, but when a new threat appears in the form of Beerus, God of Destruction, Goku is forced to come out of retirement.

Goku enters the Tournament of Power to do battle against the biggest, baddest fighters from across the multiverse (he's representing universe number seven), and the stakes couldn't be higher — losing universes will be erased from existence. The standout fight from the tournament was undoubtedly Goku against Jiren. The latter almost got the better of our hero, but Goku managed to master Ultimate Instinct and swept Jiren aside, eliminating him from the competition in epic fashion. "Both fighters gave it their all and it was easily the greatest fight in the entire Dragon Ball Super series, and quite possibly the Dragon Ball franchise," wrote ComicBook.com.

Jotaro vs. Dio in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

There have been a number of different anime based on long-running manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, but the series we know and love today began in 2012, when the property received a reboot. David Production turned the first two arcs of Hirohiko Araki's manga into a 26-episode seasonand it went down well with viewers. Three more seasons were released before the end of the decade, by which point JoJo's Bizarre Adventure was well-established as one of the standout shows of the last ten years. The fourth season, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, won the award for Best Character Design at the 2019 CrunchyRoll Anime Awards, but it's season 2 we're talking about today, because that's when the most satisfying fight in JJBA history went down.

This anime is well known for its creative action sequences, which usually involve Stands, physical manifestations with unique supernatural abilities that can be used in battle. In the '80s-set JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, protagonist Jotaro (each season follows a different member of the Joestar family) heads to Egypt to face the immortal Dio Brando, the most prolific JJBA villain. This powerful vampire is making Jotaro's mother ill, so he has to go — and what better way than using Star Platinum? Jotaro's Stand allows him to stop time and put an end to Dio, who can't quite believe that he's been bested even as his body begins to come apart. There's no walking this one off.

All Might vs. All For One in My Hero Academia

Superheroes and shonen are a match made in heaven, and My Hero Academia is proof. It follows hero-in-training Izuku Midoriya as he learns the ropes at U.A., a high school for superpowered people. The anime (based on Kohei Horikoshi's manga of the same name) began airing in 2016 and quickly established itself as a big hitter. Izuku was named Hero of the Year at the inaugural CrunchyRoll Anime Awards that year, and the show has dominated ever since — it had picked up another 17 awards by the end of decade. Many of these were close calls, but there's one award that My Hero Academia had wrapped up from the moment season 3 episode "Symbol of Peace" aired: Best Fight Scene.

It's in this episode that All Might's highly anticipated brawl with All for One begins. All Might is the hero that Izuku idolizes most, but he's reaching the end of his reign. His body was severely damaged the last time he went toe-to-toe with his formidable foe, and he knows that to finish All for One off, he'll have to exhaust what's left of his fading powers. Seeing a weakened All Might use his most powerful move (the United States of Smash) on his nemesis was one of the best moments in the show's history, and it capped one of the most epic anime battles of the last ten years.

Koro Sensei vs. Class 3-E in Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom caught the imagination of anime fans everywhere when it first aired in January 2015. The show's unusual premise made it a hit online, where fanfics can be found in the hundreds. There are just so many things you can do with a talking, yellow, octopus-like creature that's also a superpowered master assassin, which is exactly what Koro-sensei is. At the beginning of the story, Koro-sensei destroys 70 percent of the moon and threatens to take Earth out next, but he offers humankind a get out — he will teach a class of kids his skills, and if they can assassinate him before the school year's out, he'll leave the planet alone.

Koro-sensei begins teaching the underachieving end class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School. Not only does he turn the kids into killers, he gets their grades up and quickly becomes the best teacher they've ever had. They form a strong bond, but 3-E still has a duty, and in following it they gave us one of the most memorable anime fights of the decade. During the Assassination Island arc, the class lures Koro-sensei into a false sense of security and manages to trap him inside a hydraulic water cage. They block his escape with a hail of bullets while snipers take the killer shot. He survives by reverting to an immobile, indestructible state, but this marks the first time 3-E has bested him, and studio Lerche nailed it.

Tanjiro vs. Rui in Demon Slayer

Tanjiro's last stand against Rui in Demon Slayer wasn't just the best scene in this particular series, it was one of 2019's best moments and is fully deserving of its place on this list, despite being a late entry. Set in Taisho era Japan (1912 to 1926), Demon Slayer follows brother and sister Tanjiro and Nezuko, who set out on a quest after their family is slaughtered by a demonNezuko is transformed into a demon by the culprit, though she still manages to retain some human traits. Tanjiro, who becomes a Demon Slayer, desperately seeks a way to save his sister and avenge his family.

Rui, a.k.a the Spider Demon, isn't the one who murdered the Kamado family and turned Nezuko into a demon, but he inflicts great pain on the latter after Tanjiro gets on his wrong side. This tense fight goes up a gear when Nezuko shields her brother and gets slashed up by Rui's razor-sharp webs. He wraps the demon girl up and suspends her high in the air, tightening the webs to the point that she's bleeding heavily. It all seems hopeless for Tanjiro, but when the Spider Demon corners him and his life flashes before his eyes, a memory of his late father triggers a latent family ability. His blade becomes a flame and he slashes through Rui's webs — and then his neck. It's a stunning scene made all the more memorable by the orchestral score.

Shinichi vs. Gotou in Parasyte: The Maxim

Parasyte: The Maxim stands out from the majority of anime on this list in that it's a seinen rather than a shonen (aimed at young men rather than young boys)but that doesn't mean it can't hold its own in the epic fight department. This sci-fi horror tale begins when a race of wormlike alien parasites arrives on Earth and starts taking control of people, burrowing into their brains through their ears and noses. Seventeen-year-old high school student Shinichi wakes up just in time to startle his parasite, which panics and enters through his arm instead. As a result, Migi ("right" in Japanese) is only able to take over Shinichi's hand.

When they learn to co-exist, they make a potent duo. Shinichi and Migi go about taking down the other parasites, though they've got their work cut out with Gotou. During his final showdown with Shinichi, the main antagonist of the series transforms into a three-meter-tall monster with four arms, four eyes, and several rows of fangs. He's made up of five different parasites and is extremely powerful as a result, but it's also his undoing. In a last-ditch effort to defeat him, Shinichi stabs Gotou with a rusty metal rod he finds laying on the ground, sending the parasites into panic mode. They all try to escape the toxins injected into Gotou's body at once, and the villain goes out with an almighty explosion.

Mob vs. Koyama in Mob Psycho 100

Another thrilling anime throwdown from the mind of ONE (the pseudonym of the Japanese manga artist behind One Punch Man), the battle between Mob Psycho 100's Shigeo Kageyama and fellow esper Megumu Koyama won Best Fight Scene at the 2016 CrunchyRoll Anime Awards, and not many people could argue with that result.

Both the manga and its super popular anime adaptation follow a seemingly average middle school kid called Shigeo (nicknamed Mob) as he tries to suppress his psychic powers. Mob wants nothing more than to live a normal life, but when other people with similarly immense powers start showing up, he's got no choice but to let loose. And when he does, things get a little crazy.

Like One Punch ManMob Psycho 100 stays true to the creator's unique, rough-and-ready art style. It comes across simplistic at times, but when the gloves come off, the animators really get their chance to shine. The battles in Mob Psycho 100 are never anything short of mesmerizing (the show also picked up the award for Best Action at the inaugural CrunchyRoll Anime Awards), but the one that really stood out for us was Mob versus Koyama. The eyebrow-less thug makes Mob go 100 Percent Animosity by going after his brother, and he pays the price — our hero grabs him by the face, takes him several hundred feet into the air, and then brings him back down to earth with a crater-making thud.

Netero vs. Meruem in Hunter x Hunter

Yoshihiro Togashi's Hunter x Hunter first appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1998 and, despite the odd hiatus here and there, it's been a mainstay of the magazine ever since — as many as 78 million copies were in circulation as of November 2019. The first anime adaptation was released a year after the manga debuted and ran until 2001. A decade later, Madhouse rebooted the title and went back to the beginning with a brand new anime adaptation, one that contained some killer battles.

Hunter x Hunter is the story of Gon Freecss, a teen who decides to train as a Hunter. These elite explorers, sworn to protect humanityhave to pass an exam put in place by the Hunter Association. It's not Gon, but the leader of this association that's involved in the show's most mind-blowing brawl. Chairman Netero's battle with Meruem, the main antagonist of the Chimera Ants arc, became an instant classic.

The power levels of both characters are on full display here. Over a thousand punches are exchanged during this cosmic dogfight, which only comes to an end when Netero suicide bombs his adversary. Netero versus Meruem was so iconic that Figurama Collectors released a detailed statue depicting the battle in all its glory. The limited edition piece set fans back a whopping $835 according to ComicBook.com, which had nothing but good things to say about this epic anime fight. 

Eren vs. the Armored Titan in Attack on Titan

Set in a faux-European world where humans live inside walled cities to avoid giant humanoid creatures that devour them, Attack on Titan opens with one of the most gut-wrenching scenes of the decade. The Wit Studio show (based on Hajime Isayama's hit manga) lets us know what happens when a Titan gets inside the walls right off the bat when our main character's mother is brutally eaten right before his eyes. A scarred Eren Yeager joins the military and vows to kill every last Titan he comes across, but what he doesn't know at the time is that he's capable of becoming a Titan himself.

In Isayama's universe, Subjects of Ymir have the ability to take on Titan form when injected with a special serum. Titan Eren has been involved in a few good dust-ups this past decade (his fight with the Female Titan, later revealed to be his comrade Annie Leonhart, was a real doozy), but it's his thunderous battle with the Armored Titan that stands head and shoulders above the rest. After discovering that his hero Reiner Braun was the Armored Titan all along, an angry and betrayed Eren goes full throttle. Buildings are crushed as these the terrifying Titans clash, but this fight is about character development, not just incredible action. Unlike his scrap with Annie, Eren takes the advice of his fellow Scouts and plays it smart instead of just trying to punch his opponent's head clean.