We all enjoy a good fight. If you think about it, the most popular anime are about fighting. Yes, we are talking Dragon Ball, Naruto, and Bleach, just to name a few. What made them all that popular?
Well, for a start, they’re all about fighting in a way or another. Most anime fans remember iconic episodes that include good fight scenes. Some of them even watched those episodes in their childhood! And they still remember them because of how epic they were.
If you don’t believe us, go on YouTube and look up “epic anime fights.” You’ll see a ton of that. We anime fans are really creative. There are AMVs, Tops 10, among others. If you remember and you really like a specific fight from your favorite anime, there’s a high chance you can find it on YouTube with some old rock music in the background.
Don’t be surprised if you find a “Top Best Naruto Fights” with some Linkin Park or Green Day in the background. You can laugh, but as I said before, we anime fans are very creative.
However, if you’re reading this, I’m sure you want to see the list of the best fighting anime. But you also have read the title. You have probably already watched Dragon Ball (I don’t hate Dragon Ball, believe me!) or Naruto. They’re classic ones, after all.
But you need a list that includes other anime besides that ones. Most of the ones in this list are animes that I consider to be underrated. Spoiler alert: (and before you say something) yes, I know JoJo’s is not underrated, and it has a huge fanbase. But you can’t stop me! The rest are some of the best fighting anime series.
Now, let’s see the list!
Yu Yu Hakusho (1992)
What a great way to start a list. If you didn’t know it by now, Yu Yu Hakusho is undoubtedly one of the great classics of the anime industry.
This work by Yoshihiro Togashi introduces us to Yusuke Urameshi. He looks like an ordinary teenager, at least until his death.
It might appear like a strange way to introduce the main protagonist, but it only gets better. Right after he dies, he awakens exceptional and new spiritual powers. From that point on, Urameshi meets all different kinds of people. He gets along with demons, spirits, and others. It will be hard for him to differentiate who are his allies and who are actually his enemies.
This, ultimately, will give us epic fights that will put all its participants to the limit.
Like much other transcendent anime, Yu Yu Hakusho is a manga created in 1990 by Yoshihiro Togashi. How did all of this start? Well, by that time, Dragon Ball had been ruling the sales for years. Everything was Dragon Ball this, Dragon Ball that. Shonen Jump magazine wanted to expand the catalog of series that would follow its line of countless combats. After all, that was the thing that hooked thousands of fans. Dragon Ball was everything by that time.
But Togashi was more interested in other topics that had to do with detectives. Stuff related to the occult horror. Hence, he took all his interests, joined them to his knowledge of Buddhism and Japanese mythology, and created Yu Yu Hakusho. We are grateful that he did, though! He made a product he was passionate about and made the readers and the magazine like it. Have you watched it yet?
Read Also: Best Martial Arts Anime
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012)
This anime is not even close to being finished. However, anime fans consider it so iconic that we had to include this on this list.
Does the phrase “It was me, Dio” sounds familiar to you? If it doesn’t, maybe you’re living under a rock. Just so you know, yes, it’s a JoJo’s reference.
If someone asked us to describe JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in only one word, we could say “eccentric.” During this anime’s battles, the drama, ingenuity, and surprise prevail over any other characteristics. It is undoubtedly one of a kind.
It’s also kind of hard to get bored. One thing of the several ones that made JoJo’s so popular was the so-called “Stands.” It’s difficult to explain if you haven’t watched it before, but they are like a unique superpower. They can easily be defined as the psychical form of a user’s soul. Characters on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure use Stands to fight. That original feature, besides what we’ve already mentioned, has made this anime immensely popular.
Another characteristic, and what makes JoJo’s hard to get bored with, it’s how it is divided into parts. We will see a new member of the Jotaro family as the main character from time to time. That is, we will see their complete story, and then we will see another. But don’t worry! The parts are long enough so you can enjoy the characters before they go. This and more stuff has gained JoJo’s a huge fanbase. People consider it one of the best fighting anime series. What are you waiting to catch up on?
Samurai Champloo (2005)
The term “Champloo” is an Okinawan word that means “to mix,” and it’s the perfect word to describe this anime.
The anime is about two samurai helping a girl find another samurai that (according to her own words) smells like “sunflowers.” Maybe it doesn’t sound that exciting. But believe it or not, Samurai Champloo has become a classic since it aired.
Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe (yes, the man behind the masterful Cowboy Bebop) in 2004, we are facing one of those animes that, despite having some filler chapters, always knows what turn to take or what moves to make. The series is set in the astonishing Edo period, and although it is not a historical anime, it offers adventure, action, and some comedy. Samurai Champloo has all of that and more while mixing it with prominent Hip-Hop music.
Samurai Champloo only has 26 episodes. Even with that, it managed to conquer the Japanese and the whole world. It knows when to swing through drama and when to play with social satire. It also knows when to be serious, and it knows when to be cheeky. Samurai Champloo is definitely one of a kind. If you don’t mind Hip-Hop music with good anime fights, this might be the show for you.
Hajime no Ippo (2000)
Anime fans consider this anime one of the best boxing anime. Some even consider it the best boxing anime of all time. It’s a fighting anime, yes, but with less violence and more sport spirit.
“Hajime no Ippo” is a treasure within anime. Like any other sports anime, it delights us with a cast full of different characters whose motivations could justify them all as the protagonist. What does this mean? Well, each one of those characters can have their own show, and we will be okay with it. They’re well-developed characters.
Ippo Makunouchi is our main character, but we can’t blame you if you like the others just as much.
The series tells Ippo’s story, a rather introverted young high school student. He is bullied at his school. After being saved from a beating by a boxer called Takamura Mamoru, Ippo begins to become fascinated by that world. Soon he will start his new adventure. He wants (more than anything in the entire world) to be a boxer. But he won’t stop at that. He doesn’t want to be any rookie boxer, but a professional one, specifically. And with that starting point, we know that Ippo will fight until he achieves it.
This George Morikawa’s work features some iconic fights, such as Takamura’s fight against the wild Bryan Hawk. Other iconic encounters include (spoiler alert!) Ippo’s fight against Sendo while competing for the Japanese title.
While it is true that its anime is way far behind the manga, which is still active after more than 20 years, the parts of the anime that have aired are good enough on their own.
It currently has 3 seasons if we don’t include the OVAs and specials episodes. The first season is called Hajime no Ippon and has 75 chapters. It was broadcasted between 2000 and 2002. The second season it’s called Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger. It aired in 2009, and it has a total of 26 chapters. Finally, between the seasons 2013 and 2014 aired the last one, Hajime no Ippo: Rising, with 25 chapters. Maybe it’s not as long as other classic fighting anime (Dragon Ball, we’re looking at you,) but it is kind of long. Good to entertain you if you are not in the “watching more than 100 episodes” mood. If you like fights, but with sports, this is a safe choice. Overall, this is a good fighting anime.
Akame ga Kill! (2014)
“Akame ga Kill” can be translated as “Akame assassin!”. We think this is a very appropriate title for the series. However, Akame is not the main protagonist of the story.
This story begins with Tatsumi, a deluded village boy who is totally unaware of the dangers inside the city. Tired of being poor, literally, he goes to the capital with two of his friends while searching for adventure and riches. He does all of this to improve the lives of the inhabitants of his village.
However, Tatsumi knew what he was doing when he left his village to fight. He’s strong, and thanks to that, Tatsumi is victorious in his confrontations with the various monsters he encounters along the way, surprising many of the travelers he meets. One of his other objectives is to polish his skills to make a good impression and thus manage to join the army.
As we stated before, Tatsumi is kind of naive. When arriving in the city, he discovers that everything is the opposite as he expected. After witnessing a horrific massacre carried out by the corrupt servants of the empire and the deaths of his friends, he decides to join the Night Raid, a division of the Revolutionary Army that opposes the empire. The Night Raid is dedicated to intelligence management in the capital. They also act as some kind of hired assassins, and they are the leaders of carried-out murders requested by the organization.
Its manga is compiled in 15 volumes. It’s a dark fantasy shonen full of action and adventure, but that distances itself a bit from the genre with more adult content. Do you feel bored about all the cliché anime plots? Where everything gets solved in the end by the power of love or something like that? Akame ga Kill it’s definitely not like that. It gained popularity due to its doses of gore and the depth of its characters.
If you like to suffer, this might be the anime for you. Akame ga Kill it’s literally famous for killing off any character without mercy, not caring if they are some main character or not. Keep that in mind!
Since birth, Baki Hanma has trained himself into knowing how to fight. His entire world revolves around fighting. He knows how to strengthen every muscle, and every day he learns different techniques of various martial arts. He does all of this under his mother’s wing, Emi Akezawa.
But don’t be mistaken. Baki is not another typical main character obsessed with power. He has a purpose, and it’s to be the best by himself to challenge and finally surpass his own father. His father is Yuujirou Hanma, a man who people refer to him as the “Ogre.” It doesn’t look that hard, but Baki’s father is actually considered the strongest being in the world.
However, Baki soon realizes that his mother’s techniques are no longer enough. He needs to be better if he wants to exceed his father. He needs to be indestructible, and he doesn’t care whatever it takes. Because of that, he starts looking for the highest opponents. He also forms unbreakable bonds with them. He is determined to keep growing his soul and body because he knows that he’s running out of time. One day he will have to fight with his father.
Baki, also known as Grappler Baki, is a manga series written and illustrated by Keisuke Itagaki. It began to be published in the weekly magazine Shōnen Champion in 1991, and it got an anime adaptation by the Group TAC studio, first airing on January 8, 2001. Since then, a lot of OVAs and seasons have aired. It’s considered one of the top fighting anime ever. What are you waiting to watch it?
Rurouni Kenshin (1998)
Rurouni Kenshin tells the story of a Meiji-era wandering samurai who tries to leave behind his career as an assassin in which he built a terrible reputation. Does it sound good? We’ll explain it a bit further.
The samurai’s name was Battosai. He used to slaughter and kill men before Japan’s Restauration. However, it all came to an end. Right after the riots ended, Battosai disappeared, and he became a legend.
Even after gaining some new legend status, Battosai is ashamed and swears to himself never to murder again. A pretty heroic duty, if we’re honest.
Since then, he has been roaming Japan. He helps the weak, the sick, the helpless. He’s so determined to improve his ways that he changes his name to Kenshin Himura. That way, he ensures they won’t recognize him.
But it doesn’t end there. This is the story of Kenshin.
Kenshin puts his life at the weakest’s service to compensate as much as possible for the damage he has done. Nevertheless, this is a double-edged sword that allows him to apply his devastating and powerful fencing technique without causing any new victims. All around him, a series of unforgettable characters are clustering. Kenshin doesn’t know it yet, but they will become an essential part of his life. Why? You might ask.
They all have a common denominator, something that unites them. Those are people without family or home.
This anime received praise because of how light-hearted it is, despite the tragic and kind of dark plot. It’s also pretty family-friendly, barely showing any blood in all of the anime episodes. So, if you expected some gory stuff, well, no. But it’s still a pretty good watch.
You can also find it by the Samurai X name.
Conclusion: Best Underrated Fighting Anime
Being successful in the anime business is harsh and sometimes unpredictable. Do you think that Kubo Tite (Bleach’s creator) imagined his work would get that famous? Creators don’t know when their pieces are going to be suddenly famous. That’s why we decided to give some love to the anime works that never got the recognition they needed.
If you didn’t know some of these animes, now you do! We wanted to make this list as varied as possible. We had supernatural fights like the ones in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. But, we also had martial ones like Baki and sport-related ones like Hajime no Ippo. If you prefer samurais, we got you: you can watch Rurouni Kenshin. These can be considered some of the best fighting anime.