As we have shared in previous articles, we feel that the action genre is what best expresses the creativity of anime. While action sequences in Hollywood, Hong Kong, and Thai films all offer something cool, it’s just that anime knows how to use the power of the imagination in animation to give the audience something more. This goes back to the rise of action anime in the eighties and that notion continues to this day. 2019 was another year of adrenaline-pumping anime and we thought we’d share our Top 5 Anime Anime of 2019!
5. One Punch Man 2nd Season
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 10, 2019 – July 3, 2019
While we understand that many fans aren’t fond of the change in animation studios, the second season is still very much in the spirit of what the first season and the original manga are all about, comedy and action. Considering the nature of One Punch Man, audiences are guaranteed non-stop fighting. Thanks to its large cast of heroes and villains, we’re provided a variety of exciting action scenes. As for Saitama, the series appropriately uses him for most of the comedy as he fights in a martial arts tournament (while impersonating another character) in order to win some money. With the introduction of Garo, the anti-villain of season 2, audiences are treated to some wild fights until he has to go toe-to-toe with Saitama!
4. Kengan Ashura
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 31, 2019 – October 31, 2019
If you love pure hand-to-hand combat without powerups and/or energy attacks, then Kengan Ashura is the anime for you! It’s the ultimate throwback to a pre-MMA world where fighters of various styles fight in unsanctioned tournaments to prove who’s the very best (like no one ever was)! However, the fights in Kengan Ashura are about how Fortune 500 companies acquire other companies. Imagine, for example, that Disney and Fox choose fighters to represent them. If Disney’s fighter wins, then Disney takes Fox and there’s nothing that the courts and politicians can do to stop them! Putting the cut-throat business aspects aside, the series still provides consistent high-octane action! There’s an old saying in combat sports that styles make fights, and this anime does a great job of implementing that for something new in each fight. If you want action that combines technique, strength, speed, intelligence, and an adrenaline rush, then Kengan Ashura is it!
3. Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Part 2 (Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: April 29, 2019 – July 1, 2019
What makes the action of Attack on Titan special is that it takes the classic tale of David Vs. Goliath and injects it with steroids for something full of danger and excitement! However, it’s not just the intensity of the action that makes this series appealing, but the emotional impact behind them as well. Like Game of Thrones, you never know who’s likely to die, and part 2 of season 3 takes it ten steps further! When it comes to the battles in Attack on Titan, they have to be planned and executed carefully. Any small missteps can cost a soldier their life or the plan could fall apart! In some instances, the plan directly requires sacrifices as the Scout Corps has to fight Zeke, the Beast Titan! As the series mixes strategy and throwing caution into the wind, it provides battles like no other!
2. Vinland Saga
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 8, 2019 – December 30, 2019
Vinland Saga is the coming-of-age story of Thorfinn, the orphaned son of an elite Viking who grows up to be a vicious warrior so he can one day kill Askeladd, the man who killed his father. If you thought Vikings and anime didn’t mix, then Vinland Saga is here to prove you wrong! The action masterfully balances the speed and intensity that anime is known for with the size and strength of the Vikings for some carnage and guts. However, when you see Thorfinn duel with Askeladd, the series does a great job of portraying that fighting is more mental than physical as Askeladd gets under Thorfinn’s skin by evoking the memory of his father. Beyond the brutal violence, the fact that Vinland Saga shows the mental/emotional part of battle is what makes it worthy of acknowledgment on this list.
1. JoJo No Kimyou na Bouken Part 5: Ougon no Kaze (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind)
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: October 6, 2018 – July 28, 2019
At number one, we have to give it to part 5 of Hirohiko Araki’s long-running epic, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. The JoJo saga is highly reputable for its distinguishing fights and this edition does an excellent job of not only maintaining that reputation, but advancing it too. Thanks to the inclusion of stands (which have been around since part 3), the series manages to effectively portray unpredictable action sequences that are next to impossible to put into words. Not only do the abilities of each individual character come into play, so do other factors such as the environment and other conditions like how many people are present, etc. From start to finish, viewers are at the edge of their seats not knowing what’s going to happen next. One second you think one guy has the upper hand when, in fact, it could be the opposite! Due to its non-stop intensity (along with the use of psychedelic colors in the animation and some awesome music), this is a must-see for action lovers!
Last, we would like to give some honorable mentions to Dororo, Kimetsu no Yaiba, Enen no Shouboutai, Cop Craft, and Fairy Tail: Final Season. We’ll admit that these selections aren’t for everybody so if you feel that there are any top-quality action anime for 2019 that deserve recognition, feel free to share your picks in the comments!