Until the end of time, if any nation’s history is going to produce the best in action, it would be without a shadow of a doubt, Japanese anime. Beyond what action oriented anime has contributed to history as a whole, we’d like to explore which anime from 2018 we think gave us some of the best action sequences.
10. Kenshiro vs. Kenshin from Souten no Ken: Re:Genesis Season 2
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2, 2018 - December 18, 2018
In this final battle with the fate of the world in their hands, Kenshiro and Kenshin (who has taken the name Himuka when he decided to fight for the Nahash) throw everything into this fight including the kitchen sink. What makes things more intense is that Kenshiro and Kenshin are brothers. Due to Kenshin’s cross training of Hokuto Shinken and the Nahash tribe’s Tento Seiin Ken, Kenshiro has to resort to using Hokuto Shinken’s ultimate technique, Musou Tensei (which can only be mastered by understanding sorrow) in order to defeat him.
Thanks to this technique, it allows Kenshiro to connect with the souls of the nakama he lost throughout his journeys to find the strength to win when he fell victim to Kenshin’s ultimate attack, which engulfed him in a world of darkness. Without any tricks left, all there’s left is to fight by the purity of unarmed combat. In that respect, Kenshiro wins with a fatally placed blow to the chest. Upon defeat, Kenshiro and Kenshin acknowledge each other’s respect not only as warriors, but as brothers (despite Kenshin provoking him with one last failed cheap shot). This fight shows not only a crazy display of superpowers but a representation of how a man fights for what he believes in.
9. Gridman Vs Alexis Kerib from SSSS.Gridman
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 7, 2018 – December 23, 2018
In the grand finale, Gridman with the help of his friends and the Neon Genesis Junior High Students, finally face the true villain of this series, Alexis Kerib. In this battle, Gridman assumes a design that faithfully resembles that of the original Tokusatsu series and when you see these two go at it, fans of the original series are treated its original theme song, which makes it even more exciting! However, through this battle, it shows you can’t simply win with brute force, but you have to win over a person’s heart. In this case, the cast of Gridman has to save the heart of Akane, a girl who Alexis was manipulating for his own gain. After the good guys free her from his control, Gridman manages to defeat Alexis and turn the world back to normal. As how you define normal, watch the series to find out!
8. The Scout Corps Vs. Rod Reiss from Shingeki no Kyojin 3 (Attack on Titan Season 3)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 23, 2018 – October 15, 2018
This fight between the Scout Corps and Rod Reiss in his Titan form is the ultimate metaphor for everything at stake. Not only do the Scouts have to fight Titans outside the walls but the corruption within in it as well! Due to the unorthodox form of Rod as a titan, it takes everyone’s teamwork and strategy to take him out. What’s great about this fight is that every soldier involved has a contributing role to the final outcome, which superbly displays the danger and that there’s everything to lose here.
Part of the strategy is risky because the general population was not evacuated so they could exploit a weakness in Reiss’ titans form. When he gets to the wall, the first part of the gamble pays off by showing that his face is vulnerable to attack. After they manages to shatter his titan body, the rest of the Corps spread out to find his base form and thankfully, Historia, Reiss’ own daughter, strikes the final blow to not only cement the victory, but her birth right as the true queen.
7. Giorno Giovanna Vs. Bruno Bucciarati from JoJo no Kimyou Na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind)
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: October 5, 2018 – Ongoing
In our first battle between two stand users of this edition to JoJo, we have Giorno with the Gold Experience stand, and Bucciarati with his Sticky Fingers stand. For those who watch this edition without any exposure to prior JoJo installments, this is an excellent gateway to how the fighting of JoJo works thanks to the novelty of stands, astral powers that only a few select characters can get. Beyond its combat capabilities, Gold Experience can turn objects into living things. As for Bucciarati’s Sticky Fingers, he can create zippers in just about any object and put anything in it, and he can turn a person’s limbs into a zipper that could amputate them!
This fight educates viewers how unorthodox yet strategic and exciting the fights in JoJo can get. As we shared in other previous JoJo related article, the best way to describe it is that you’re getting a psychedelic experience as an anime through its use of high-res colors and influence from 1960s and 1970s pop art. By no means are we saying it’s a bad thing (or that we’re encouraging the use of psychedelics), it just adds a distinguishing flavor to one of the most exciting anime you could ever watch.
6. Katsuki Bakugo vs. Izuku Midoriya from Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season (My Hero Academia 3)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 7, 2018 – September 29, 2018
After three seasons, Bakugo and Izuku finally face each other man-to-man. Despite taking place in a world of heroes vs. villains, this fight is about pride and taking out one’s frustrations. Bakugo is the definition of over-achiever thanks to his quirk that allows him to make explosions with the chemicals in his body. Then there’s Izuku, who was quirk-less until he inherited All Might’s One-For-All quirk prior to the end of junior high school. Initially, Izuku has trouble grasping his new powers to the point that it has caused repeated harm to his arms throughout the duration of the series. Putting Izuku’s struggles aside, Bakugo notices that Izuku has not only caught up to him but is reluctant to acknowledge Izuku’s potential due to his earning the praise of their peers and All Might to the point it frustrates Bakugo. As for Izuku, he just wants Bakugo to acknowledge him as his friend like they were in kindergarten.
After everything that has happened, Bakugo convinces Izuku to fight on school grounds by forcing his hand. At this point, Izuku is starting to gain a better understanding and control of his powers by finding his own style with it. Thanks to his recent progress, Izuku is able to go toe-to-toe with Bakugo through a majority of the fight and gain the upper hands in certain parts. Thanks to Bakugo reading Izuku’s moves, he emerges the victor when he grabs his face and slams him to the ground. However, fans don’t need to feel bad because Izuku still doesn’t have a 50% grasp of One For All yet and just barely found his own way of exploiting it with his “shoot style” that relies on kicks as opposed to All Might relying on punches. Everyone knows that if Izuku was at 100%, he’d easily win and hopefully in time, audiences can have that opportunity to watch.
5. The Battle of Loum from Kidou Senshi Gundam: The Origin (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin)
- Episodes: 6
- Aired: April 24, 2015 – May 5, 2018
Though the original series and other source materials briefly make passing mentions to the Battle of Loum, the battle which gave Char Aznable the Red Comet monicker, the final episode to The Origin finally shows the full story to that legendary battle. As narrated in the first original Gundam series, this respective battle takes place just prior to the start of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, and shows how dominant the forces of Zeon were with their mechs. The purpose of this battle was for Zeon to take over Side 5, or Loum, to drop it on Jaburo, the Earth Federation’s home base.
While the Federation was able to stop Zeon from carrying out another colony drop, the battle was brutal and both sides suffered heavy losses. However, one could say that Zeon ultimately came out the winner since the Black Tri-Stars managed to capture Admiral Revil, the Federation’s Fleet commander. As for Char, he single handedly took out 5 battleships with a crazy sense of efficiency. Some think his Zaku, his mech, had some special boosting, but it was simple (albeit, anime style) physics at work. Every time he shot a ship with his cannon, he would jump off the ship for extra boost shortly before it would explode.
Whether a battle takes place in land, sea, air or space, the Battle of Loum shows that war is devastating for everyone involved and that nobody wins, especially the civilians who fall victim in the crossfire. Lives are going to be loss; it’s beyond brutal and something that will never escape your memories.
4. Dorian Vs. The Shinshinkai Dojo from Baki
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: June 25, 2018 – December 17, 2018
For those familiar with martial arts in context to Baki, it’s easy to conclude that Doppo Orochi, the founder of the Shinshinkai style of Karate, is based on Mas Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate. Both styles of Karate emphasize on full-contact sparring and have special gauntlet matches such as the 100-man kumite for its practitioners. When we say 100-man kumite, it means one man takes on 100 opponents consecutively one by one. In this edition to Baki, Dorian, one of the escaped death row inmates, challenges members of the Shinshinkai in their kumite rules.
Dorian may be an inmate, but he’s an accomplished martial artist in his own right since he is recognized as a Kaioh, or grand master, of Chinese martial arts. Not only is he a master of the game physically, but mentally as well with his bizarre hypnosis techniques. His quest to find a worthy opponent during his break out goes insane to the point that he had a good majority of Shinshinkai black belts after him. After they lure him to a parking lot at an amusement park, Dorian challenges them to kumite rules and makes easy work of most of them. In addition, he takes them on in their own dojo and for his own amusement, he resorts to using explosives! The insanity of this fight is everything that puts a Japanese hardcore wrestling match to shame (whether they’d be exploding barb wire or throw your opponent in a tank of piranhas match)! Even when he can beat most black belts with ease, he still resorts to dirty tricks that would make Eddie Guerrero (a pro-wrestling legend who coined the saying “if you’re not cheating, then you’re not trying) proud.
3. Joe Vs. Yuri from Megalo Box
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 6, 2018 – June 29, 2018
This fight is another example of two fated rivals duking it out to prove who is the man. Their rivalry starts off with some hostility towards one another due to their opposite upbringings and yet similar personalities. However, the more they interacted with each other, the more they came to acknowledge each other as rivals. In the beginning of the series, they do have a brief bout and Yuri makes instant work of Joe. However, Yuri acknowledges that Joe has heart and encourages him to fight in the Megalonia tournament if he wants a rematch.
After witnessing Joe make it to the finals without the use of gear, out of respect for Joe and wanting to fight on equal terms, he has his medically induced gear removed despite the risk to his health. This fight has a lot at stake for parties outside these two combatants in terms of financial gain, but to Joe and Yuri, that fight isn’t about the money or the title. To them, it’s about proving something to themselves and to each other as men. As opposed to hatred or malice, it’s their respect that drives them to give it everything they have and leave it all in the ring.
The anime deals a lot with class warfare and Megalo Box proves that in a sport like boxing where it’s one on one, everyone enters as an equal and the nature of boxing doesn’t care who you are or where you come from. When you watch this fight, you see two men putting all their sacrifices and hard work on the line to win that respect for themselves. The manner in which this fight masterfully displays that shows that fighting doesn’t have to be about fireballs or having the fate of the world at stake. It’s about proving to yourself that you are somebody, and this fight inspires its viewers to also fight for what they believe in, which is what ultimately makes it great.
2. The Battle for Iserlohn from Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu -Die Niue These - (Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 3, 2018 – June 26, 2018
Wars aren’t won with who has the best resources or overwhelming manpower, but who has the best strategy! In order to change the balance of the 100+ year war between the Free Planets Alliance and the Galactic Empire, the capture of the Imperial base of Iserlohn is necessary. It is 60 km in diameter, contains over 20,000 ships, and stations up to over 2 million soldiers. Though it doesn’t have the same destructive power of the Death Star from Star Wars, you’re not going to get near it with a strong fleet. As a matter of fact, the Alliance previously attempted and failed to take the fortress six times! So, what makes the seventh time the charm?
As opposed to attacking it from the outside, you might as well find a way to attack it from the inside, which is what Admiral Yang Wen-li resorts to by employing the Rosen Ritter, a unit of ragtag soldiers consisting of childhood exiles from the Empire. So how does a small platoon pull it off? Walter von Schonkopf, the units commander officer, and his men, pretend to be an Imperial unit that needs to give the commander of the fortress highly classified intelligence. The plan was risky, but by gaining access to the command room and taking the commanding officer hostage, the Alliance was able to take over the fortress without losing a single soldier!
This fight demonstrates that it doesn’t matter who has the biggest guns, but who has the biggest brains and the balls to execute such a high risk (and high reward) plan. Thanks to the unrivaled talents of Admiral Yang as a master strategist and the fearlessness of the Rosen Ritter, it went off with a hitch. This shows that with an elite unit, what you can accomplish what’s supposed to take years, can happen in a matter of hours.
1. Gokuu/Vegeta/Gogeta Vs. Broly from Dragon Ball Super: Broly
- Episodes: 1 (Feature film)
- Aired: December 14, 2018
At number 1, we have Gokuu and Vegeta Vs. Broly from the latest Dragon Ball Super movie, where Broly is finally canon by Toriyama. Many of the qualities that made Broly appealing in the original movies are still there, but he is given more dimension. Thanks to new inclusions such as Super Saiyan Blue and fusion being introduced to the Dragon Ball mythos since the last appearance of Broly, this fight between the galaxy’s last remaining full-blooded Saiyans can be re-told in new creative ways.
Not only do our heroes have Super Saiyan Blue, Broly has his own unique transformation exclusive to him, his Ikari no Joutai, or “rage mode,” where he can harness his Oozaru powers in his humanoid form. At that form, he’s still powerful enough to go toe-to-toe against Gokuu and Vegeta when they’re at Super Saiyan Blue! The start of the fight excellently displays Broly naturally struggling against Gokuu and Vegeta due to Broly’s inexperience in actual combat despite his natural power and training. But when he lets his animal instincts take over, that’s when the fight dials up to over 9,000. When he goes Super Saiyan, let’s just say the energy he admits and the damage he caused to that ice continent should have caused climate change (can we hear Neil deGrasse Tyson’s take on that?). When Broly finally achieved his Super Saiyan form, Gokuu thought that he was even more powerful than Beerus!
Not only did this movie make Broly canon, it finally introduced Gogeta into the official canon as well since it’ll take the power of fusion to stand a chance against Broly. After Gogeta enters the playing field at Super Saiyan Blue, it’s smooth sailing from there. This fight has everything that makes Dragon Ball appealing. It goes crazy to the point that they were crossing dimensions! It’s animated in a way that is meant to be enjoyed on the big screen and the color tones certainly complement Toriyama’s original art style. Though the fight with Jiren could give it a run for its money, the no holds barred nature of the Broly fight allows for more danger and excitement that is in tune with the nature of Dragon Ball’s fights.
We get it’s hard to please everyone and a lot of you readers are going to disagree with this list, and we’re cool with that. If there’s any fights from 2018 you that you think are worthier of mention, just give your thoughts in the comments. Would that fight be a one on one battle? A team battle? One vs. three? Or a full-scale war? Anything with combat is ok! Just tell us what you think was best and give us some strong reasons as to why. So, let’s get it on!