Top 10 Anime Fights of the 21st Century

This list ranks the best fights in anime of the 21st century (starts from 2000, not 2001). However, only canon fights count and only anime fights count. Cross-anime fights (specially fanfictions) or fights which are in the manga but yet to be animated do not count. In the same way, movie fights don't count (Sorry, Gogeta vs. Broly).

The main factors to determine the quality of a fight:
- Action (The psychological fight between Light and L does not count)
- Story
- Build up
- Impact to the plot
- Emotional value
- Strategy
- Choreography
- Pacing
- Animation quality
- Voice acting and OST (if any)
- Iconic moments
- Unique features (It's a bonus factor as a fight doesn't need to be unique to be good).

WARNING: Comments in this list may have SPOILERS (without alerts). So if you haven't watched the anime, read at your own risk.
The Top Ten
1 Izuku Midoriya vs. Shoto Todoroki - My Hero Academia

This fight was amazing! Izuku was willing to break his broken bones to help Shoto, who he was fighting against, and to quote him, "It's your power, not your fathers!" There were so many conflicting emotions going on that fight. Shoto is trying to get over his trauma while Izuku is acting as his therapist. The battle was amazing, it kept you captivated and never let up on the feels, it deserves the spot of #1 battle. It develops Shoto and Izuku's friendship and frees Shoto from his self-inflicted limits and chains. This fight was amazing, bringing out the best in both of them.

2 Team Dai-Gurren vs. Anti-Spiral - Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

THIS... IS... BONKERS! It's the single most high-scale battle in anime, and it's hard to imagine anything topping it. The sky was always the limit with Gurren Lagann, as the size of its battles grew larger and larger with each passing arc. By the end of the series, they had rocketed past the sky and into space, taking on the menacing Anti-Spiral. The Anti-Spiral harness their power, which is formed of hate and despair rather than will and hope, to create a massive demon-like mecha the size of creation, while our squad combines to match its size and take it out. The two toss galaxies at each other, fire off blasts with the same energy as the Big Bang, collide with drills capable of tearing universes apart and use the fabric of space-time as the ropes of the arena. This is exactly what the final battle of Gurren Lagann should have been, with animation and fluidity on par with movies, and it continues to lend credence to the expression 'ridiculously cool'. But, despite the magnitude of ...more

3 Jotaro vs. Dio - JoJo's Bizarre Adventures: Stardust Crusaders

Jotaro's struggle with the stand-equipped vampire Dio is one for the ages, as it has been generations in the making. Both adversaries, armed with world-shattering abilities, launch chaotic attacks against one another in rapid succession. Jotaro's Star Platinum throws a barrage of punches, which Dio's The World counters with a bombardment of time-altered attacks of his own. Jotaro responds every roadroller launched by Dio with the revelation of his own split-second dashes through halted time in order to survive. It's a blast to watch through to the end all the same.

4 Goku vs. Caulifla and Kale - Dragon Ball Super

Sorry, Jiren, Kefla's the real star of the Tournament of Power. The combined fusion of Caulifla and Kale, Kefla offers Goku one hell of a fight during the back half of the Tournament of Power. He ends up triggering Ultra Instinct for the second time and their battle is chaotic in all the best ways. It certainly helps that there was a ton of build up going into this fight.
Goku's Kamehameha against Kefla isn't just the single best moment across all versions of Super, it's cooler than virtually every single instance of the technique ever seen. Goku versus Kefla is exemplary of all of Dragon Ball Super's best quality.

At first, it was just Goku against Caulifla, a rookie Super-Saiyan from Universe 6. While Goku dominated the early stages of the fight, Caulifla keeps on learning at a rapid pace as the battle progressed. It became a real challenge for Goku once Kale joined the fight, putting him at a number's disadvantage. Goku holds his own at first, but is quickly overwhelmed. Caulifla and Kale's collaboration posed a severe threat to Goku's survival in the Tournament of Power. As the battle goes on, Goku continues to transform from one form to a stronger one, leaving us to wonder just how far he will be pushed by the two girls. Later on in the fight, Caulifa and Kale perform fusion to become Kefla. After finally being taken to the brink of defeat, Goku regains control by activating his Ultra Instinct for the second time. Just think about it for a moment, a fight that is not in the manga, a fight that we thought would hardly be any more than training for Goku's match with Jiren, took Goku to his ...more

5 All Might vs. Nomu - My Hero Academia

The battle between All Might and Nomu is a fantastically well-executed sequence that's a pleasure to behold. The fight has a fluidity and rhythm that is difficult to describe in words.

All of the suplexes and tumbling physics in this juggernaut showdown add a new dimension to the battle, making it more exciting than usual brawls. This is already a memorable battle, but then the void-like Kurogiri enters and adds some warp gate physics to the mix, making it even more creative and bewildering to watch.
At times throwing too many elements into a fight can definitely feel like overkill, but in this instance it's absolutely the right choice. The many lengths that both the League of Villains and U.A. High need to resort to in order to stay alive and take out their opponent only highlights the significance and stakes of this battle.

The first display of All Might's true power came during his clash against the USJ Nomu in the very first season of My Hero Academia. The USJ Nomu was designed to counter All Might at full strength, but the Number One came out on top in the end. All Might arrived just in time to save his kids, but he went above and beyond his 100% and smashed the Nomu so hard that he didn't even have time to regenerate.

The fast-paced and hard-hitting action of this fight is unmatched!

6 Netero vs. Meruem - Hunter x Hunter

The fight between Netero and Meruem is without a doubt the best in Hunter x Hunter. It was the main highlight of the Chimera Ant Arc, and the build-up to it was well worth the wait. In the fight, the two of them represented their own races. Both wished for the survival of their respective races. This fight was fantastic, and while Netero died as a result of his wounds, Meruem died as a result of the explosion that was set off by Netero's death.
This is one of the best anime bouts because of the build-up, animation, and emotions.

7 Levi vs. Beast Titan Round 1 - Attack on Titan

Imagine being sent on a mission with only one purpose in mind: to die. Granted, you could claim that almost each time these soldiers approach one of these Titans, but this was a clear suicide mission intended to give Levi an opportunity. The raw description of war and the sacrifices a hero must make to better the world has made Attack on Titans compelling not just for the beautiful and exhilarating action sequences, but also for the raw depiction of war and the sacrifices a hero must make to better the world.
We all know and realize that the Beast Titan would easily crush these troops, but it's how these soldiers deal with reality and press on to their fate that makes this fight unforgettable. Levi brought him down without difficulty as a result of the diversion. The Beast Titan was saved from death thanks to some assistance (and Levi's temporary decision of letting him live), but he was essentially dead at this point.

This clash between the two finest warriors from each side is easily one of the best moments in Attack on Titan. No scene in the series is more emotionally charged or violent than this one, in which Levi slaughters a dozen Titans in pursuit of the monstrous Beast Titan.
Levi leaps through the air with an energy unlike any other as the Beast Titan finally recognizes his fallen soldiers. Levi had chopped the giant Best Titan down to size and forced his blades into the throat of its controller, Zeke, in a few quick motions. It's a classic battle from one of the greatest anime shows of all time.

8 Gojo vs. Jogo - Jujutsu Kaisen

Without any question, this was the greatest showdown of the first season. From the very beginning of the series, Gojo Satoru is shown to be an extremely powerful jujutsu sorcerer. He was clearly superior to Megumi and everyone else we'd seen up to this point based on how easily he handled Sukuna during the initial confrontation. But, as impressive as his battle with Sukuna was, it was merely a taste of what he was capable of. Gojo ultimately demonstrates his strength when a special grade cursed spirit named Jogo confronts him, and it's genuinely frightening. Jogo is certainly not a chump, and he gives it his all to defeat Gojo, but he doesn't even come close. To try and beat him, he uses a Domain Expansion, but it is countered by Gojo's own Domain Expansion. It's clear that this anime contains a large number of excellent fight scenes. But Gojo's Unlimited Void technique is difficult to beat. It's one of the most visually stunning action scenes you'll ever see in an anime. This fight ...more

9 Naruto vs. Sasuke Final Battle - Naruto Shippuden

In 2016, a showdown that nearly every fan had been waiting for took place over the course of two episodes at the Valley of End. Naruto's clash with Sasuke was inevitable, and Studio Pierrot delivered in spectacular fashion. Naruto vs. Sasuke is widely regarded as one of the best fights of the decade, thanks to some of the top animators, such as Hiroyuki Yamashita, Naruto and Sasuke blow each other's arms off and at the end of the fight, Sasuke concedes to Naruto and accepts his way of peace for good.

The final battle of the series! Everything came down to this and it did not disappoint (in my opinion). So many emotions, well animated taijutsu fights, super powerful ninjutsu attacks, and the part after the physical fight was simply amazing.

10 Rock Lee vs. Gaara - Naruto

People may be wondering how a fight that's not even half as long as most Naruto fights and also doesn't even involve any main characters get into everyone's top lists. But the battle between Rock Lee and Gaara had been in the making throughout the entire Chunin Exam arc. It developed a fantastic story from their first appearances to their meeting. Rock Lee, the comic relief, has a lot more to him than we ever imagined. Gaara and his overwhelming strength and villainy which was captured well with his voice and mannerisms.

This was the clash of the different types of characters. One gifted with an ultimate defense, as well as the ultimate killing jutsu. One, endowed with tenacity and a pure heart. These factors combined to make this one of the best fights in Naruto. It made us believe in Rock Lee and made us want Gaara to get his just desserts and root for his demise.

Gaara vs. Rock Lee wasn't just a fight, it was a story in itself, and I think that's why it'll never be ...more

Rock Lee and Gaara are easily two of my favourite characters, Rock Lee taking off the weights was cool, the gates of opening was great, but what really made me love this fight were two things: Gaara's gradual descent into anger and ruthlessness and the end of the fight when Guy sensei runs to Lee to see if he's ok, see's him stand up unconscious trying to fight. When Guy blames himself for Lee's state, and his will to fight even after losing consciousness, that is the only Naruto episode (OG and Shippuden) that has actually made me cry.

The Contenders
11 Tanjiro vs. Rui - Demon Slayer

Given the amount of work that Ufotable has put into the series, it's no surprise that this fight made it into the list. This is the first season's final major battle. Rui, one of the Lower Demon Moons, provided Tanjiro with his greatest challenge till now. To get the best of Rui, the spider demon, Tanjiro needed the aid of his sister. If we consider animation alone, this fight stands head and shoulders above any other anime fight till now. 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. Tanjiro's situation appears bleak, but when the Spider Demon corners him and his life flashes before his eyes, a vision of his late father awakens a long-buried family ability. He turns his blade into a flame and slices Rui's webs — and then his neck. It's a stunning scene made all the more memorable by the orchestral ...more

12 Ed vs. Father - FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

This is where it all comes down to. Edward Elric faces Father, the first homunculus, after defeating chimera, homunculi, and genocidal State Alchemists. However, Ed's brother, Alphonse, gave his life to ensure that his brother would not be killed by the all-powerful ringleader, returning his lost limb at the cost of his soul. In a final assault against the wannabe god, Ed rushes full force at Father, firing everything from a barrage of iron projectiles to flying punches. It's the fight fans of the original series had always hoped for, leaving viewers on the edge of their seat all the way to the decisive final blow.

13 Iida, Midoriya and Todoroki vs. Hero Killer: Stain - My Hero Academia

This battle hit hard on so many emotions. Iida is grieving over his brother who is in a hospital and will never be able to act as a hero again, he was very close to his brother and that caused him to despise Stain. I loved how Iida wasn't only fighting the hero killer but also his emotions. Also, when Deku immediately knew Iida was fighting Stain and rushed in. Not worrying about himself, he cared for his friend. It develops the friendship between the three of them and they have a secret to share. Friendship development! I love how well thought out this fight was and gave Iida phenomenal character development, it made fans connect more with him and made him more relatable then just 'The guy who is a buzzkill and makes everyone follow the rules'. It shows there is more to his character! Deku was smart sending out his location, it was a subtle hint that wasn't too hard to figure out, also could be sent quickly enough, he couldn't just stand there texting. He would have died! I love how ...more

In the sense that what Stain is doing appears to be a good idea, he is a fan favorite villain. One may sympathize with his desire to rid the world of false heroes. That, along with his ninja abilities, make him fascinating to watch go up against Deku and Todoroki. Ida, like Native, helps out in the end, but for the most part, he's down for the count.

14 Midoriya vs. Bakugo Round 2 - My Hero Academia

This is the fight where Bakugou's character starts to develop and we start to understand him more. This fight was awesome simply because it was one of the first times Bakugo was truly vulnerable in front of someone and it allowed Deku and Bakugo to express all the pent up emotions they had towards each other, which help these two grow a little closer. Even though Bakugou still is himself, he's growing as a person and as a hero.

15 All Might vs. All For One - My Hero Academia

The Symbol of Peace fights the mastermind behind the league of villans. Okay, so let's get the elephant in the room out of the way at first. I admit that this fight was slow and there was more talking than fighting. But the emotional stakes, the story and the character moments more than make up for it. All Might almost died during this fight and eventually his true form was exposed. Even though they saw his true form, the citizens still cheered him on and that motivated him to keep going. All For One used all the quirks that he stole in hopes of killing All Might but guided by willpower and tenacity, All Might defeated All For One with arguably the best move in anime history: United States of Smash.

In the end it wasn't All Might who won the day, it was Toshinori Yagi, the drastically weaker and far more frail person. He beat All For One not because he was All Might, the symbol of peace, but because he was Toshinori Yagi. He is more than just the symbol of peace. He saved everything he cared about and accomplished his goals. Against all odds, he had the conviction to stand by his ideals, the willpower to walk his path through to the end, and live up to being the Symbol of Peace, not as some ideal hero, just as a man with something worth fighting for. He went beyond PLUS ULTRA.

"All Might! All Might! All Might"
...
"This power has been entrusted to the people for many generations, hoping it would be used for the greater good. Now, it's your turn, good luck Toshinori.. Go beyond!"
...
"Good bye, All For One,
Good bye, One For All."
...
CHILLS!

16 Armin and Eren vs. Colossal Titan - Attack on Titan
17 Goku vs. Jiren Round 2 - Dragon Ball Super

When Dragon Ball returned with its latest installment, it was only a matter of time before Goku ran into another immovable object. Jiren, a monstrously powerful being from Universe 11, was the villain this time. Goku took it upon himself to vanquish Jiren and save his universe from extinction in the Tournament of Power. Everyone was anticipating something spectacular, and it did not disappoint. It demonstrated why Dragon Ball is hailed as one of the greatest anime series of all time. The stakes were really high, even though there was little emotional connection to it. Jiren, who had barely been put to test, went up against Goku, who continued pushing his limits. In doing so, he not only carried the fate of the universe on his shoulders, but he also got even more power in Ultra Instinct. In addition, the animation was spectacular. Some of Toei's top stars, including Naotoshi Shida, Yong-ce Tu, and Naoki Tate, made it a point to burn this fight into our eyes, and we're confident it will ...more

18 Endeavor vs. High End Nomu - My Hero Academia

This was one of the most explosive fights in recent memory. From beginning to end, it just fires on all cylinders with its animation, emotion, soundtrack, and very well-written development for Endeavor who is beginning to move forward from his tainted past and become a hero people could have hope in. This was a marvelous way to finish off a rather underwhelming season 4.

19 Sayaka vs. Elsa Maria - Puella Magi Madoka Magica
20 Stroheim vs. Kars - JoJo's Bizarre Adventures: Battle Tendency
21 Naruto & Sasuke vs. Momoshiki - Boruto

When the fight aired, Boruto anime was struggling to create an impression, but that changed quickly. After Momoshiki Otsutsuki had absorbed his comrade Kinshiki Otsutsuki, Naruto and Sasuke clashed with him. Because of how beautiful the battle looks, this episode is widely regarded as an animation masterwork, thanks to some of Pierrot's rising talent Chengxi Huang's most creative storyboarding and direction. With Naruto and Sasuke partnering to beat Momoshiki, the episode blew away every single Naruto fan ever and not only gave some excellent action, but also made sure that we got a sudden blast of nostalgia. The passing of the torch from the old generation to the new generation was well conveyed in the closing scene.

22 Ouya vs. The Three Masked Outcasts - Hitori no Shita
23 Joseph vs. Wamuu - JoJo's Bizarre Adventures: Battle Tendency
24 Luffy vs. Katakuri - One Piece

With One Piece edging closer to its end with each passing year, Monkey D. Luffy's journey keeps on getting even tougher. Whole Cake Island arc saw Luffy face his greatest challenge at the time in the form of Charlotte Katakuri. Luffy had no choice but to vanquish Katakuri because the destiny of the crew depended on it. Katakuri had a perfect record to preserve, but Katakuri's immaculate record didn't dampen Luffy's spirits in the least. Katakuri battered Luffy for the majority of the fight, and everyone thought Luffy's adventure was over, but a flashback and a new form of Gear Fourth enabled Luffy in getting closer to Katakuri's level and defeating him.

We couldn't be happier with the outcome of the fight, which was an animation marvel that took months of hard work from the Toei team (who don't get enough credit). It was an episode that saw a number of well-known animators, including Naotoshi Shida, Koudai Watanabe, and Tu, among others, return to One Piece. The excellent ...more

25 Escanor vs. Estarossa - The Seven Deadly Sins

The best fight in Seven Deadly Sins is Escanor vs Estarossa. One of the Seven Deadly Sins, Escanor, came up against Estarossa, one of the Ten Commandments. Everyone was terrified of Estarossa's abilities because none of theirs seemed to work. Escanor walked forward, unfazed by Estarossa's commandment. Escanor had had enough of Estarossa's arrogance and determined to handle the matter on his own terms.

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