When a character is delivering a monologue, they are allowing the audience into their mind and soul. The importance of this is to show the audience the thoughts, motivations, the unraveling of a mind or the wholehearted beliefs of a character. A speech can be used to lift up the masses or put them in their place, to rally the troops to victory or acknowledge impending defeat. A vital thing to remember is that though not every speech is a monologue, every monologue is a speech, an oratorical device used to reach and move an audience. The audience doesn’t have to be in a great Shakespearean playhouse but can be found sitting under a kotatsu on a cold winter’s day watching anime and being moved all the same. We now present to you Honey’s Anime Top 10 Best Anime Speeches.
10. “Mankind will break free” Eren Jaeger from Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2013- September 2013
Attack on Titan is a world filled with men and monsters. The monsters of this world, with their immense size towering over you like a skyscraper, make you feel powerless. Humanity has built massive walls to protect them from the threat, but after generations the walls feel like prisons to some. Nonetheless, people fight the titans with sword and cannon. The only sure way to kill them is to hurl yourself through the air on a wire and cut them in the nape of the neck. The survival rate of those who choose this task is low. Erin Jaeger has chosen to take on that job as a soldier after his community is destroyed and his family eaten by the monsters. Erin has just graduated from boot camp and he has turned down a safe assignment to join the scouts instead; it’s an assignment with a high mortality rate. We hear others in his cohort call him crazy. He defends his choice with a rational explanation saying, “They [titans] aren’t the mystery they were five years ago.” He admits there is much they need to learn but insists progress is progress. Erin reminds his fellow recruits that every battle, every lost life, has taught them a lesson. He slowly becomes incensed as the prevailing opinion in the ranks is to cut their losses in the war and hide behind the walls, “you want all the death and destruction to be meaningless.” The outburst culminates with his belief that humanity will only survive by coming out of their fortress and retaking the world and that he wants to help lead the way.
The room is silent as many think he might as well volunteer to be a sacrifice to the titans. We get a sense as he storms out that his words may have given some of the newly minted soldiers a sense of pride. He is basically saying as of this moment they can choose to be heroes and live and die fighting or die never knowing or striving for freedom.
9. “Knights can't save the world” Kiritsugu Emiya from Fate/Zero
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2011- December 2011
Fate/Zero is the prequel to Fate/Stay Night and takes place 10 years before the events of the 5th Holy Grail War. The Holy Grail War is a ritual battle royale between masters and their servants, spirits from history and legend, for the possession of the all-powerful wish-granting device known as the grail. The previous wars were so bloody that no one was able to claim the grail, prompting the Einzberns, a powerful magus family, to hire Kiritsugu Emiya, “The Magus Killer,” to win it for them. Kiritsugu, with his own servant known as Saber, faces off against six other mages and servants. The Magus Killer is willing to do anything to win. His cold tactical approach is in stark contrast to the beliefs held by his servant, Saber. Saber is a great knight of legend who believes that there are rules in war. The knight begins to doubt that Kiritsugu, because of his tactics, wants to use the grail to save the world.
Kiritsugu’s first words in his rebuttal are to call Saber a hypocrite: “There’s no point in speaking to a killer who takes pride in such things.” The statement gets under Saber’s skin as it strikes at the idea that chivalry is a lie. His second statement cuts her even more: “Knights cannot save the world.” Kiritsugu reminds Saber that chivalry has, “led countless young men to their bloody deaths, all for the sake of this valor and glory.”
Kiritsugu explains to Saber that the battlefield holds nothing but despair and it doesn’t matter what fine words you use to dress it up, killing is still killing. The idea of heroism blinds people to the savagery and bloodshed. The end of the speech reinforces his resolve, “Even if that means staining my hands with every evil in the world, I don’t care. If it will save the world, I’ll do it gladly.” The speech is broken up a bit as it is a conversation between the two characters but it explains his chosen methods and his commitment to this cause.
8. “Lenessia's Plea” Princess Lenessia from Log Horizon
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2013- March 2014
Thirty thousand gamers find themselves in the world of Elder Tale, an MMORPG, and unable to log out. The medieval fantasy world has become their new reality. The players must find all the necessities of life including food, shelter and employment in a world populated by non-player characters (NPCs) and monsters. The players don’t have to worry about death like in that other tale of an MMORPG gone crazy. If a player dies they are transported to a temple and have their stats reset. The same can’t be said for the NPCs, who are acting more and more like they aren’t NPCs with their complicated lives and curiosity. The goblin king has been revived and is bearing down on Lenessia’s kingdom. The NPC knights that have shielded them from the goblin attacks have disappeared. The princess must find an army to call to her side if she is going to protect her people. The only protection she can find is the group of adventurers living in a town called Akihabara. Lenessia’s speech to the adventurers is bluntly honest.
The princess starts off by admitting to the failings of her kingdom and her personal failings, calling herself, “lazy and an ornament with a title.” She continues on to say that she will fight despite the odds, despite her lack of training as a warrior. Lenessa lays bare all the flaws she has because she has nothing else to lose. Her country will be sacked by the goblins without their help. The speech is a plea for help to people who have nothing to gain by helping her. She gets the adventurers on her side not by being noble, not by being “one of them,” but simply by being honest.
7. “Failure” Korosensei from Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: January 2015- June 2015
A good teacher comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, and walks of life; they can even be all-powerful alien creatures threatening to destroy the earth. Korosensei is such an alien. He has threatened to destroy the Earth but has given the planet a chance. If a class of students can manage to kill him, the world is saved. You’d think Korosensei is a classic villain ready to torment the students that, at his direction, try and kill him but nothing could be further from the truth. He takes his job as their teacher very seriously.
He, an obviously superior being, doesn’t have much patience dealing with people when everyone is lesser than him. Karma, one of the students with great grades, gets a little too full of himself so Korosensei takes him down a peg. He also provides us with an explanation for his actions. “I cut him down so he’ll spring back up.” Korosensei begins, “The boy’s enormously talented, there’s no denying that. But he’s a novice. He’s not yet learned how to be worthy of that talent.” The opening line tells us he has thought out a reason for berating Karma and follows that up with actual praise for the student. Korosensei has noticed that Karma doesn’t challenge himself and only excels because he sticks to things he is comfortable with. Korosensei wants to show him, “the pain of defeat can be a much-needed wake up call,” to try harder and do better. The all-powerful alien understands that failure is an option can motivates us to do better. “The difference between the novice and the master is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried," according to the alien. We assume that last statement is not only a piece of wisdom but a small insight to the idea that the all-powerful Korosensei has failed many times since he seems to be a master of so many things.
6. “Imanity is Weak” Sora from No Game, No Life
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2014- June 2014
Sora and Shiro are (were) a pair of sibling shut-ins that spend their days as a high-level gamer under the username “Blank.” The pair’s outlook on life is simply that the real world is just another lousy game. Tet, the God of Games, summons them to a world where all conflict, from simple disagreements to matters of state are settled by high-stakes gaming. The sibling gamers, who had become bored with the games in their world, finally found a challenge worthy of their abilities. The mission they take on is to unite the 16 races Disboard which have names like Elves, Dwarfs, Ex-Machina, Flugel and Imanity. Winning would make them true gods of gaming. The speech “Imanity is Weak” is given by Sora in episode four when he and Shiro become the King of Imanity (humans). Imanity is considered the weakest of all the species in Disboard. Sora gives a speech of a great statesman. He lays out the world as he knows it, the Imanity used to rule the continent and know only rules one small corner of it. He asks the question why, why in a world where things are decided by games not armies has Imanity lost so much, “is it because we can’t use magic? Is it because we are fated to die helpless? Not a chance!” He tells them all these things only serve as excuses for their failures. He reminds them that Imanity fought in the great war between the races and survived. Sora asks how could Imanity have once ruled the continent, not having the magic of the elves, or the strength of the warbeasts. He explains that they were able to rule the land, not because they were strong and could fight but because “We are weak.” And the weak, as opposed to the strong who have sharp fangs, have sharp minds. The audience gathered to hear him speak bow their heads in embarrassment as they think they’re being shamed. Sora shocks them by telling them “You should be proud to be weak,” because the other races who have been banned from war have adopted some of Imanity’s skill, but they can never hope to master them.
The speech is great because it is a reminder that perceived weakness can foster a strength. He speaks before a people that have given up and wallowed in self-pity and turns all the things they loathe about themselves into matters of pride. Sora seems to speak to all of us who had skills different than most and makes us reexamine what we might perceive as our own failings.
5. “I Hate Nice Girls” Hachiman Hikigaya from Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru (My TeenRomantic Comedy SNAFU)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2013- June 2013
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is a look at the daily lives and relationships of high schoolers through the cynical and sarcastic filter of Hachiman Hikigaya. The people who know him and even those that care for him consider his personality to be a bit twisted. He would argue that he views the world as it is, looking past all of the superficial BS. The monologue he gives in episode five is a great example of this, “I hate nice girls. If they so much as say hello, it stays on my mind. If they return my texts, my heart races. The day one calls me, I know I’ll look at my call history and grin. But I know that’s just them being nice…” Hachiman goes on to explain how people who are nice to everyone are really not being nice to anyone. “If the truth is cruel, then lies must be kind. That is why kindness is a lie.” Hachiman says he’s fallen for this lie before and that he is a veteran in dealing with kind people and that is why, “I’ll always hate nice girls.”
We understand this is a very cynical approach to the world but it works for some people and, especially in Hachiman’s case, it works almost like a superpower. His cynicism and the walls he built around himself give him the ability to solve problems that others his age are afraid to tackle. Nevertheless, as with many superpowers, they come with a cost. A cost that is made apparent in the same speech that defines his beliefs. Hachiman’s cool outlook is as cold as the walls of ice he’s built to protect himself from the dangers that come with hope and feeling.
4. “What Anime Taught Me” Kai Musashiakai from Animegataris (Anime Gataris)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2017- December 2017
Anime Gataris is one of those shows that must have been made by people who love anime. The show is intentionally filled with tropes and homages to the anime we enjoy. Anime Gataris focuses on an anime novice named Minoa. She is drawn into her school's anime club before she can have a second thought. The club is repeatedly under siege by the student council and fighting for its existence. Minoa goes to speak at a school-wide assembly to convince the population that the anime club was worthy of existing. You could tell right away that this wasn’t the best idea. The club took the most awkward unsure member among them and thrust her into the spotlight. She “ums” and “ahs” her way through the first few sentences when her sempai Kai, in all his over-enthusiastic glory, places his hand on her shoulder letting her know it’s okay and he will take it from there.
Kai is a very serious fan of anime and calls himself a dark lord. A dark lord is what the occasion called for. His first words are spoken with such zeal you imagine him rousing an army to a cause, “Hear me: I love special power battle anime.” The crowd doesn’t know what to think. He then explains that these shows are about the underdog, that they're about the people who never consider themselves useful finding a purpose. He loves that genre because the hero always sides with the weak to overturn the tyrants. He tells his high school peers that yes, the settings are made up and the plots fantastical, but it's in anime that we learned justice, friendship, and perseverance. Kai reminds them if they choose to side with the student council and declare the club worthless that’s their right. But that kind of attitude will make them resigned to being background characters their entire lives. He tells them if they stand up, if they challenge the authority of the council, they will be worthy of becoming the main characters of their lives. The speech is very short yet he touches on something many of us still watching anime in our adult lives believe: there is value in these shows. Anime has value in its art and its stories that go far beyond the way drawings dance across the screen.
3. “All Men Are Not Created Equal” Charles zi Britannia from Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Code Geass:Lelouch of the Rebellion)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2006 – July 2007
The Emperor of the Holy Britannic Empire in Code Geass is as large and imposing as the empire he controls. Britain controls a third of the world and is bent on conquering the remaining two thirds. The fate of each territory that comes under their control is the imposition of their rigid caste system. The Britannic Empire conquers a country and then strips its citizens of their rights and even their names. The conquered Japanese are no longer called Japanese but elevens after the name of the territory’s designation in the Empire. The ruling philosophy of this hierarchal system of government is summed up best in the speech we call “All Men Are Not Created Equal” by Charles zi Britannia, the Emperor of Britannia. Charles begins by stating “All men are not created equal,” as his thesis. He then backs that up by saying, “some are born smarter, or more beautiful, or with parents of greater status.” The emperor then contrasts it by saying some are weak of body and mind or have no talents. “All men are different,” he states it as it is the most obvious statement that we are all indeed different. He explains away the conflict, unrest, and war as a natural side effect of this difference in each of us. “Inequality is not evil,” his second thesis, he supports by explaining that the nations like Europe that declare equality are in constant conflict because it’s a fool’s errand to force equality that doesn’t exist. The case is made that Britannia alone moves forward because they don’t have these inner conflicts because they recognize the natural order, that some are better than others and to that effect, some are meant to rule others.
Charles is the only returnee from the last time we compiled this list and it is because what he says is the most insidious. He uses what seems like sound logic and example to support this claim and gains and reaffirms support by saying it. The argument is flawed. It doesn’t consider the possibility that when everyone has a chance to rise, we all are better for it. He doesn’t understand that the collective mind, when encouraged and when set free, can achieve even greater things. Yes, we understand that there are massive inequalities even in societies that claim equal rights. The point is to strive for that ideal, to pursue that happiness, is the point of the idea of equality. And isn’t that better than giving up or submitting (as Charles would have you do) and handing over that possibility a select few?
2. “Confession” Rem from Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:Zero- Starting Life in Another World)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2016- September 2016
Subaru Natsuki makes a wrong turn on his way home one day and ends up in a fantasy world. He doesn’t last too long on his first day in the new world. He is mugged and beaten and rescued by a beautiful girl named Emilia. You’d think things were looking up from there, right? You’d be wrong. The two are murdered shortly thereafter and Subaru wakes up where he started. The process repeats itself a couple of time and finally, after several painful deaths, they get over that hurdle and he ends up the role as the butler for his beloved Emilia-tan (tan meaning angel). He isn’t alone in the massive mansion; he’s joined by two maids, twins, one with pink and one with blue hair. The sister with blue hair, Rem, falls in love with Subaru. We find that tragedy finds Subaru where ever he goes. He has the power to fix mistakes yet still fails time after time to save people. Subaru is in a moment of weakness and looks to Rem, knowing how she feels, and says they should run away. Rem refuses and says if they left it should be toward a life together not away from something they don't want to face. She takes the opportunity to confess to him. She gives a speech detailing a life filled with love and happiness, from the time they leave the capital to the town they settle down in, to the children they’d have and their lives as an old couple. The tearful confession is delivered by the voice actress with such passion every word feels like a plea for your heart to love her.
The confession said, the fantasy ending, Rem’s own moment of weakness over, she tells him they can’t run away. Because if they ran away from the problems and challenges that await them they would also be running away from the trait she loves most about him, his perseverance. He asks her why she would say all those things. Rem replies that listening to him talk about how much he hated himself made her want to tell him all the wonderful things she knows about him. Rem’s confession is hard not to get caught up in. You might find yourself crying by the end. You will desperately want Subaru and Rem to run away and live that peaceful, perfect life. We put this at number 2 because we can’t remember a single speech that ever elevated a character so fast in the eyes of fandom -- to the point where she eclipses the main heroine.
1. “I Am Human” Ane from Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (MAYOU)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2013- March 2013
The anime Maoyuu Maou Yuusha or MAYOU is the story of two people destined to be arch enemies who become lovers. A hero from the human world and the demon lord from the demon realm devise a plan to bring their peoples together and into an age of enlightenment built on reason and science. The biggest obstacles are the demon hold-outs in the demon world, who the hero, working on the Demon Lord Maou’s behalf, secretly eliminates. Under the guise of being a scholar, Maou takes up residence in the human realm and shares new methods of agriculture and modernizes the economy. She is celebrated by the peasants and merchants but reviled by those in power like much of the nobility and the church. She is arrested and put on trial as a heretic by the church as they try to ruin her in a public trial.
The truth of the matter is far different. Maou isn’t even in the human realm. She is attending to a thing in the demon realm. It’s really her maid, Ane, using the magic of illusion and filling in for the Crimson Scholar while she was away. Ane and her sister were homeless and taken in by Maou and trained to be maids by Maou’s demon-born head maid. The head maid considers them bugs because until the moment they take control of their own fates they aren’t even human.
The Hero and his allies knew that the Crimson Scholar had to appear before the inquisition. Ane would wear a ring that gave her the appearance of the Crimson Scholar and she would take her place before the church. She was given assurances that they would keep her safe and rescue her if needed. Still, Ane was so very frightened and felt so powerless before she put on the disguise she wept. Ane, as the Demon Lord, is in chains as she is led to the stage in a town square filled with peasants, the church wanting to make a show of their power. She is flogged and beaten and denounced by the church. Yet she begins to speak. She tells the simple story, her story, Ane’s story. She was born a serf. Her brother broke his arm and was left to die. Her sister was taken by the landowner and never returned. She explains that she has known nothing but suffering. Until one night someone showed them kindness and took her and her younger sister in, clothed them, educated them, and employed them. She felt that fate had been kind, but she still felt as powerless as when they burned her home. She begins to make a plea to the Lords, the soldiers, the surfs and says “I must reject it because of all its (fate and kindness) done for me. Because I am human.” She explains how self-doubt and self-loathing build up inside her and makes her feel no better than an insect. “I am human,” she reminds herself. She asks the audience if they can remember the feeling of the sun after it sets, the feeling of kindness when it’s given or received, and how that is proof that you are human, that you are the “light spirit’s (god’s) children.” The church, taking offense, bludgeons her again. She stands once again, stating you can call me a heretic, but to this town who has given so much to me, “you must never stop, wishing, hoping, thinking, and working.” She reminds them that god’s grace is upon the land and within them, and it gives them the freedom to do better for themselves and not to relinquish that freedom for the easy path of subservience. The church strikes her again and tells her to be silent, she states she can never be silent for to neglect god’s grace to think, to speak, to act would be a sin. “I will not be silent,” she says even though it wasn’t the plan and means that she is sure to be killed, because, “I am human.”
We can’t say enough, as evident from the previous paragraphs, about this speech. The writer simply sums up the entirety of the human condition in one minute and fifteen seconds. You simply must watch this scene, you don’t even have to watch all of episode nine, you can start around the 10-minute mark. You will be left in awe of by this writing.
We’ve laid out for you some wonderful lines by some amazing wordsmiths and it reminds us that words can be powerful. The spoken language, no matter the language, separates us from lesser beings. Words are like a vault that hold our history. Words are like muddy water as their definitions can change making their meanings unclear. Words used poorly are like a gust of air that can’t move a grain of sand. Words used well can blow like a hurricane and reshape the world. Words have taken lives and saved lives. Words can be finite and infinite. Words are a miracle.
Usually in political, mech, sports, and action anime, the hero or villain always gives a speech in order to demonstrate why they are right. In most speeches, the audience knows that the villain is full of crap, and/or that the hero is righteous. Some speeches are about never giving up, others are about revenge, and others are about wanting to kick ass and take names. In the end, I feel that a good percentage of them serve very relatable messages and others are to get under your skin. Here I share some of my personal favorite speeches in anime.
Warning! There will be spoilers!!!
10. Cowboy Bebop - The Tiger Striped Cat Story
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 1998 – April 1999
“I hate that story. I hate cats.”
As Jet and Spike share a final meal, Spike tells Jet a famous Japanese tale about a tiger striped cat. The tiger striped cat was reborn many times, had many owners, became a stray cat, meets the love of his life, she dies, then the tiger striped cat dies one last time to never be born again. Spike then tells Jet he doesn't like cats after Jet says he thought it was a good story.
Once you finish Cowboy Bebop and revisit this scene, you can conclude what Spike is foreshadowing by telling this story. From the beginning of this series, Spike claims that he has previously died. Though Spike does not die a million deaths, as a living dead man, he was living free until he re-discovers the woman he loves. Spike may have closure when the story he shares starts to make sense, but by claiming he hates cats. I think it was his way of conveying he does not want to die but knows he must face his unique destiny.
I believe that both Yamadera Kouichi and Steven Blum give equal performances of conveying this story, but I think they do bring different atmospheres. I feel through Yamadera Kouichi, by using a Japanese story in the Japanese version, he brings an authentic sense of romanticism and I feel more of the tragedy behind it, even with the I hate cats punch line. With the English version, Steve Blum feels a bit more deadpan with the tone of his voice and I could find myself laughing at the part where he says he hates cats. I feel the performances both bring a definition of communication/culture differences between Japan and the west. Japanese and western humor is very different and I think the writer’s and voice director’s direction for the English version wanted to make you feel better after listening to such a tragic tale which I couldn’t bring myself to laugh ever in the Japanese version.
9. Death Note - L’s Challenge
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: October 2006 – June 2007
“I AM JUSTICE!”
Unable to catch Kira, the moniker of Yagami Light, INTERPOL and the Japanese police hire the services of L, a detective whose skills rivals that of Tim Drake from the Batman comics. Being able to conclude that Kira/Light was in the East Japan area based on the origins of the criminals that originally died, L sets up a trap by using a prisoner set for execution (whose info was under heavy lock and key) pretending to be him under the pretense that the broadcast was worldwide.
Without knowing the truth and showing he was too relaxed for his own good, Light gave away the scope of his location in narrowing the search when he kills that man on TV pretending to be L. The real L cleverly conceals himself and modulates his voice proving that Light needs to know the face and real name of the person he is going to kill off. This grand scale performance allows Light to show that he can be challenged and was also the first big blow to his expanding ego.
I like this speech because it establishes that Light can have a rival in terms of his intellect, his sense of justice, and if he can really get away with what he is doing. Light believes what he is doing is right because he is doing the world away with criminals. L believes he is right because humans live in a society of laws and that all criminals should be judged under a system. This speech is just the beginning of the mind games of cat and mouse between these two geniuses.
Even though L does not agree with Light playing judge, jury and ultimately as executioner, he still shows that he is not at all opposed to a legal death penalty by using a death row inmate as a sacrifice (just to let you know, upon the publication of this list, Japan does have a death penalty) and that he wants Light to be executed under the law.
I always felt the music in Death Note was too much over the top, but this is one instance that I can enjoy it.
8. Hokuto no Ken - Raoh’s Farewell Speech
- Episodes: 152
- Aired: October 1984 – February 1988
“In this life, I do not have a single regret.”
Though the final battle between Kenshiro and Raoh was a fight to the death, it was not necessarily a typical battle between good vs. evil. Raoh did a lot of bad things, but I think a lot of hardcore Hokuto no Ken fans would not 100% label him as a villain. In my opinion, his conqueror mentality in the post-nuclear war situation is possibly a realistic mindset for survival, and he just happened to be one of the strongest men on the planet. He wasn’t like the other common outlaws who commit terrible atrocities for the thrill of it, just to ensure his survival. Later after his death in the Ashura story arc, Raoh is seen as a hero and Kenshiro raises Raoh’s son telling him that he was a great man. If anything, Raoh lives by an old school warrior’s code in wanting to prove his own manhood.
In the end, Raoh accepts Kenshiro as the better warrior and finally expresses his own love for him as a brother. He sees the light on why Kenshiro is the superior fighter because of his heart, and not because of his physical strength. For his final act in redeeming himself, Raoh gives his remaining life to Yuria (who is dying of radiation sickness), Kenshiro’s fiancee for both out of the love he has for Yuria and for his brother. With the last of his strength, he claims that he has no regrets and will take his place in Heaven.
Utsumi Kenji’s performance truly makes this speech beautiful and you feel Raoh’s pain and his resolve. Despite his deep and trembling voice, he demonstrates a sense of emotion and control to those emotions as he accepts defeat and maintains his dignity as a man’s man.
Coming from a family of three brothers such as myself, I understand the issues that come with it though none of my brothers are like Raoh and/or Jagi. Despite all the things that happen, Raoh makes peace with Kenshiro, and dies on his feet like a true warrior.
7. Rurouni Kenshin - Hiko’s Pep Talk to Fuji
- Episodes: 94
- Aired: January 1996 – September 1998
“You are a martial artist. Regain your pride.”
Anybody who looks at Fuji can naturally assume he is a monster. Due to his unrealistic gigantic size, society made him an outcast and his sole companion only sees him as a tool for destruction. However, Hiko, Kenshin’s bad ass of a master, is the first to acknowledge Fuji not only as a true warrior but as a man and appeals to his humanity to accept not only him as an opponent but to accept himself as a person, too.
Another reason to love Hiko is that he is voiced by Ikeda Shuuichi, most famous as the voice of Char from the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise and as Shanks in One Piece. Ikeda Shuuichi always has this overwhelming sense of charisma and comes across as being a legitimate strategic intellect. He uses his wonderful talent through his character to not just to get Fuji to listen to him, but getting the whole town listening to him and being captivated by his charm and his awesomeness. He made our heroes more scared of him as opposed to Fuji by saying that he could kick Fuji’s ass.
Even though the purpose of this on-going fight at this point of the story was to stop the Juppongatana, Hiko teaches the audience that discrimination is not cool and that everybody has an inner beauty that we should all embrace.
6. Hajime no Ippo - New Challenger - Father to Son Pep Talk
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: January 2009 – June 2009
“There is no such thing as a lucky punch.”
In the beginning of the second installment of the hit boxing series, Ippo’s rival Miyata Ichiro finally gets his shot at the Oriental-Pacific featherweight title. It is the same belt that his father once held and defended six times many years ago. But in his seventh and final defense, despite having the lead on the scorecards going into the final round, he ends up getting knocked out. To make things worse, his jaw also ends up shattered. When Miyata-san (despite the manga being in publication for 25 years, Miyata’s father has never been given a first name so must fans just refer to him as Miyata-san) hears his son Ichiro that he will go for a lucky punch to win as he falls behind on the score cards, he tells him that miracles are born from hard work and not luck. This speech is not just for own son’s benefit, but it is also showing that he has finally come to terms with his final defeat as a boxer. As a result, Miyata goes out to the ring and wins based on his own skills.
Even though I read that part in the manga long before it was animated, I always read it with Miyata-san’s seiyuu, Ishizuka Unshou’s voice in my head. Accompanied by a calm and yet dramatic background orchestras by Hirano Yoshihisa, who is also the composer of Death Note, Ishizuka’s performance brings a perfect balance of the character’s authority as a trainer, his love as a father, and his experiences as a boxer to share his message.
I think people who do sports can relate to this because no matter what goals they have, everybody has to put in their time at the gym. I have done martial arts my whole life and I understand. If a fighter is aiming to get the knock out and ends up getting it, they were simply doing what they were intending to do and not as a result of luck. This speech was an old school and masculine way of saying, if you can put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
5. Zeta Gundam - The Dakar Speech
- Episodes: 50
- Aired: March 1985 – February 1986
“I am also the man who was known as Char Aznable.”
Throughout the events of “Zeta Gundam,” the Titans who are meant to protect the people are committing sick atrocities on civilian populations. The big wigs want more power while the grunts do it for the thrills. No one wants to take their brutality anymore and it is up to the former Red Comet himself to expose them. He does not do it through his ace piloting skills, but through his words.
The Dakar Speech is Char’s (going under the name Quattro Bajeena, but the spelling of the last name varies in official source material such as games suggesting to the female anatomy) chance to expose the Titans for the tyrants they truly are. Hell, they were fighting just right outside giving solid proof of his case.
In addition to exposing the Titans, Char admits his identity of who he was during the events of the original Gundam series and that he is also Casval Rem Daikun, the son of Zeon Daikun, the original founder of the Zeon nation. Despite taking place seven years after the events of the first Gundam, Char denounces the actions of the Zabi family, and uses his speech as a platform of what his father believed in that mankind was meant to migrate to space to “evolve.”
After seeing the terrorist acts the Titans commit, you will naturally want to be on Char’s side as he denounces them. But when he talks about his identity and about his father, he turns the focus to himself like it’s his own political campaign. His views come across as extreme, but he brilliantly makes his points with on-point metaphors such as “Earth will no longer be a planet of water. Even the city of Dakar is being engulfed by the deserts. This is how exhausted the Earth is!”
In some ways, I still get the impression that Char is blaming the earth for humanity’s problems when ultimately humanity itself is the problem. He is forcing his views on others and I see this speech to be the beginning of who he becomes in Char’s Counterattack. He uses other metaphors such as “our souls being bounded by gravity,” in both the Dakar Speech and again in Char’s Counterattack to justify his actions by the events of that movie.
The speech is beautifully worded but because of how I personally feel about politics, Char was all about selling himself and he does a good job of that. And everything I can say about Ikeda Shuuichi, I already covered in Hiko’s speech.
4. Dragon Ball Z - Goku Turns Super Saiya-jin for the first time
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: April 1989 – January 1996
“Ally to good. Nightmare to you.”
For the longest time, people have been disputing between English and Japanese versions of anime and this argument applies very much to Dragon Ball. Many people prefer the English version because they can’t stand Goku’s high pitched and scratchy voice in the Japanese version. Others like the Japanese version because of lines in the English version that came across as corny such as “I’m going to send you to the next dimension,” as opposed to saying “I’m going to f@(king kill you!!!!!!!” (Who remembers all the swearing in DBZ VHS fan subs?)
This is probably the only speech on my list that will be in relation to exclusively the English dub of the anime. This was from when Goku goes Super Saiya-Jin the first time when Freeza kills Kuririn. When Goku emerges from the clouds, he gives this really bad ass introduction in the English version while the Japanese version does not feel memorable I felt that this speech was an excellent mix of heroic rhetoric (I am the hope of the universe. I am the answer to all living this that cry out for peace), his inner rage, and his declaration that he is going to kick some ass (I am the light in the darkness. Ally to good. Nightmare to you.).
All that anybody can take out of this speech is that Goku is going to kick Freeza’s ass and have some fun doing it.
3. Code Geass - All Hail Britannia
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2006 – July 2007
“All Men Are Not Created Equal”
For Americans such as myself, this line really gets to me because it is the opposite of my country philosophy that All Men Are Equal. What gets the audience’s attention is that he justifies that claim by using legitimate and real life examples such as some people are born and healthy, while others are born poor and frail and that because of these situations, inequality is not evil. This speech was the perfect platform in representing Britannia’s fascist rule. But the audience is intelligent enough to know it’s just merely a pathetic attempt to justify his conquests.
I say both English and Japanese performances were equal. Wakamoto Norio and Michael McConnohie captivate a tone that reflects his intimidating physique, his stern face, and his authority as King. His frame, his heavy clothing and hair limit his movement showing he doesn't need to use gestures to get his point across with the exception of All Hail Britannia. He's the damn Emperor! The accompanying majestic chorus also gives chills down his spine and the deep voices that are used in it perfectly serve as an extension of that character.
Even though the audience knows that Britannia is full of it, for a moment, he does have you thinking he does have a point. But the Japanese philosophy of “gaman” or perseverance shows that all men are equal and surpass his twisted views.
2. Ashita no Joe 2 - Joe and Noriko at the Bridges
- Episodes: 47
- Aired: October 1980 – August 1981
“Burnt Up Like Pure White Ashes”
Shortly before Noriko marries Nishi, Joe’s best friend, Joe and Noriko have one last conversation together on a bridge. Noriko questions why Joe wants to continue boxing despite the consequences. She questions why he trains so hard, why he cuts weight, and why he always takes the hits and if he wants his youth to be defined by that. Joe says that he simply loves it and despite everything that happens to him and some of his opponents, he answers when it is all said is done all that is left is burnt up white ashes.
This speech is important to the series because it is the beginning of the end. It tells the audience everything about Joe and what will happen to him. Joe makes countless sacrifices to get where he is by the end of the series and is saying he knows where it all ends up, but expresses that he will have no excuses or regrets. At the same time, Joe does have his flaws and he can be emotional when he channels it wrong and that is what never changes about him. This is one of the few instances that he can channel his emotions and his masculinity like a philosophical poet. As the series ends in one of the most iconic scenes to Japanese fans, the burnt up like pure white ashes comes full circle.
I feel that if you want to do something despite knowing there will be consequences, then it is ok to do it. Just don't make any excuses and you better look cool when it is all said and done.
1. Mobile Suit Gundam - Garma’s Funeral
- Episodes: 43
- Aired: April 1979 – January 1980
Sieg Zeon! Sieg Zeon! Sieg Zeon! Sieg Zeon!
As the oldest brother brother of the Zabi’s, the ruling family for the Principality of Zeon, Giren gives an iconic speech for Garma, his fallen brother at his televised funeral (Garma was killed by the White Base crew but was also a trap set up by Char Aznable, the man he believed to be his best friend). Giren appeals to his fellow Zeeks to take arms and seek justice for Garma as the Federation knows that this is all propaganda. To make things less tense for the audience who are aware why Garma dies, as Char watches the speech at a bar, in a troll-like manner, he answers “because he was a brat,” (or more beautifully in the Japanese version “bouya dakara sa”) when Giren screams why his brother had to die.
Audience members will be taken by this speech because it is easy to conclude the character is inspired by Adolf Hitler. His posture, gestures, how he speaks from higher grounds and how he uses a loud voice all elude back to him. By the climax of the series, even his own father compares him to Hitler and takes it as a mere compliment.
Banjou Ginga’s performance in this speech is superb and I don't think this speech could have worked without him. He demonstrates a commanding presence and instill fear. His voice just spills this dude is pure evil and has unquestionable leadership. When he ends the speech by screaming Sieg Zeon and getting the audience in attendance to repeat it amplifies all those qualities. Plus, there is a video on YouTube of just Banjo Ginga performing the speech to a live audience. Despite the passage of 35 years, he still captures the very same performance as if it was still 1979. Also, if you want to see it with updated animation, check out the “Giren’s Greed” (available for Saturn, Dreamcast, Playstation 1 and 2, and PSP) version and it also shows other Gundam characters like Chris from 0080 watching on it TV as well as the Delaz Fleet from 0083.
To be honest, there is so much more that I want to share. Heck, I can do a top 25 list if possible but with 10, this was very difficult to do with all the anime I have personally watched the last 20 years. Some of these speeches touch your soul, while others just simply get under your skin, and there are others that inspire you to take up arms. I feel a lot of these speeches apply to reality and that’s what I loved about them. So please tell me what you think is your best.