For the last few decades since probably the birth of anime itself, it has had its share of badass moments. One honorable mention we’d like to to make a shout out to Hokuto no Ken is whenever a bad guy thinks they have Kenshiro’s number, he already tells them they’re already dead and they explode in a matter of seconds. Or with Ryo from City Hunter, the dude can dodge bullets and missiles (but still can’t dodge a mallet swung by a 90 pound woman). What those guys do make it easy, but sometimes, we have to acknowledge the people who are badass when it goes beyond the call of duty. The odds may be stacked up against them, but they get it together and do what they can to get it done! Based on this criteria, we’d like to share our latest edition to the Top 10 Most Badass Moments in Anime History.
10. The Trio Pose of Nobunaga, Shimazu, and Nasu from Drifters
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 7, 2016 – December 23, 2016
In this unorthodox supernatural/historical series, we have three historical figures from Japanese history who died and they didn’t go to Heaven or Hell but a fantasy world at war. Early on, these three accept whatever their situation is and to fight for the liberation of the first band of fantasy creatures they save, the elves. After they liberate the male elves and leave one more enemy soldier alive, the trio band together for a still pose to solidify their unity. Shimazu sits on a box while holding the tip of his sword in his sheath to the ground, while Nasu and Nobunaga stand behind him striking their own poses (all while being engulfed in flames).
This single shot shows that they have finally united as a team and the reason why it’s so badass is that its symbolizes not only their unity, but exhibits a modern day sense of attitude to it. They do have their tension in regards to how they see each other in a unique context, but when they do this pose, all of that is put aside for a greater good. As they do this pose, Shimazu makes it clear that they won’t be taking crap from anyone. Nasu and Nobunaga stay silent, but Nobunaga comments in his inner thoughts that he likes where things are going, but comically also mentions as to why Shimazu gets to sit down for the pose.
9. Saitama’s Training Routine from One Punch Man
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 5, 2015 – December 21, 2015
Before Saitama was a superhero who lived up to his namesake, he was just a regular guy but just incidentally found his way to being a hero. As we all know, there are heroes that are born, and there are heroes that are made, and Saitama is the latter. So, how was his mysterious strength made? For one year straight, he stuck to a training regimen of 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a 10km run! By sticking to that straight for a year did he gain his unusual powers. What makes him badass in this regard is that he didn’t have to do it. He wasn’t obese, nor did he have any health problems. In an era where it’s hard for people to find time to stay healthy, the fact that Saitama sticks to this straight for a year without giving up is not just badass, but inspiring.
As a matter of fact, some athletes in various sports do more. Muhammad Ali once said that he never bothered counting his sit-ups until they started hurting him. Marvin Hagler used to run 10km backwards! He never did it to be a super athlete but just to become a hero for the fun of it. The fact that he does it for himself and not for any kind of monetary validation is the ultimate definition to being a badass.
8. Kozue Putting Herself in Harm’s Way from Baki
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: June 25, 2018 – December 17, 2018
They say behind every strong man is a strong woman, and Kozue defines that in the Netflix season to Baki. Kozue, Baki’s girlfriend, despite not having any training in martial arts, goes out of her way to protect Baki not because she has to, but out of love for him. The first time she does this is when Kaoru, an acquaintance of Baki, shows up at the river where Baki prays to his deceased mother. Baki was at a low emotional point in his life with everything going on and Kaoru tries to get his spirits back up. Instead, despite not even being a match for a common mugger, Kozue tries to challenge Kaoru, who also happens to be a teenage yakuza boss. Kaoru could have smacked her but decides not to out of respect for her spirit!
The second time is when Baki is poisoned towards the end of the series but she says she’s willing to fight with him (but in the end she doesn’t)! Lastly, she accompanies him to China to participate in his next tournament to make sure he’s ok since he’s in really bad shape. The fact that she has Baki’s back no matter what the threat is despite not having a chance of surviving just shows how much of a respectable badass she truly is.
7. Kale Going Super Saiyan from Dragon Ball Super
- Episodes: 131
- Aired: July 5, 2015 – March 25, 2018
Thanks to Dragon Ball Super, we learn that there are more universes than what our main cast inhibits in, and we have more than one kind of Saiyan. Just like the regular Saiyans we know from universe 7, the Saiyans of universe 6 also have the capability to turn Super Saiyan. Unlike her fellow bloodthirsty Saiyans, Kale on the surface is very reserved and lacks confidence but still has an undying loyalty to her boss, Caulifa. It is thanks to her loyalty and her friendship with Caulifa that she can obtain Super Saiyan form.
Not only does she turn into a mere Super Saiyan, she turns into a female Broly. So, she goes from being 90 pounds to over 9000 pounds of solid muscle along with the same hairstyle and feral rage. Beyond Android 18 and Lunch, Dragon Ball needed more badass females and Kale manages to fill more of that void. When you see Kale go Super Saiyan, she manages to go crazy and even give Gokuu and a majority of the tournament’s contestants a run for their money. So, how does this make her badass? It shows that even when the quietest of people are pushed to their limits, you don’t know what they can be capable of and in the case of Kale, she’s universe 6’s equivalent to Broly, and thankfully, she’s not as destructive as him. She may not be strong in her base form but in terms of purity, she rivals Gokuu.
6. Izumi, Olivier, Louis, and Sig vs. Sloth from Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Fullmetal Alchemist (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: April 5, 2009 – July 4, 2010
Out of all the homunculi in Fullmetal Alchemist, Sloth is physically one of the strongest. So strong to the point that it takes almost a team of four to stop him! What makes this moment bad ass is how you see four characters unite just to stop him. These four teaming up is like a dream tag team from professional wrestling. Seeing Sig and Louis, two prideful strongmen, put aside their usual egos and team up as if they were Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage take on let’s say a prime Andre the Giant mixed with the Undertaker just shows how badass it really was. In addition to seeing these two shine, the ladies get their moment, too. Despite how grave her condition is, Izumi throws everything including the kitchen sink as they do everything they can to take down sloth. Thanks to these four human beings banding together, it shows there is nothing more badass than teamwork that gets the job done, especially considering the egos of these four characters.
5. Asuka Vs. EVA Units from Shinseiki Evangelion Gekijouban: The End of Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion)
- Episodes: 1 (feature film)
- Aired: July 19, 1997
As we (may) remember from the events of the Evangelion TV series, Asuka was left in a catatonic state when facing one of the angels. As we get to The End of Evangelion, she is still hospitalized and NERV is under attack by another organization. In order to save Asuka, NERV puts her in her EVA unit in the lake. From there, she manages to wake up and seize the day after coming to terms with everything that happened. Despite Asuka ultimately losing this battle, the reason why it’s such a badass moment is because yes, Asuka does get to kick ass (for a bit), but we get a moment to see Asuka being positive for once (since she is always so negative), and she has come to terms with what happened with her mother. We see she’s a great pilot and we see her enjoying it not because she likes to pilot the EVA, but she finally discovers who she is and the fact that she gets to have that shows how badass she is.
4. How Revy Empowers Herself from Black Lagoon
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 9, 2006 – June 25, 2006
Revy from Black Lagoon is a pirate in just about every sense of the word, and throughout all incarnations of this series, she racks up quite a kill count. No, we’re not here to glorify killing but just the fact that she’s good at it and why is what makes her a badass. We learn that she was abused as a child in every way possible and anyone watching can reasonably understand why Revy turned out the way she did. But the fact that she uses her tragic past to empower herself as a charismatic leader (and pro-mercenary) is what makes her a badass. She can be petty when she kills people, but when you see things from her point of view, nobody can blame her. She may be digging her own grave but thanks to recruiting (aka kidnapping) Rock, an average businessman from Japan, she does find herself mellowing out a bit despite her outward appearance. Ultimately, she’s a badass because how she represents child victims and how that experience can be directed to a unique outlet to empower themselves.
3. Takumi Defeating Shinji from Initial D: Final Stage
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: May 16, 2014 – June 22, 2014
Street racing may be illegal but hey, so is jaywalking. In the world of Initial D, the cast finds creative ways to make sure all conditions are safe before they start a race to. But when it comes to starting their engines and hitting the gas, Takumi, the main character, finds unorthodox and yet creative ways to win a race despite his Toyota AE86 Trueno not being as powerful as the cars of his opponents. Sometimes, horsepower doesn’t determine the winner but unique ingenuity. In Final Stage, Takumi faces against Shinji, a fellow AE86 Trueno driver, and that is put to the test greater than ever.
As they approach the finish line neck and neck, Takumi’s engine blows out. In this moment, we get to see Takumi at his most badass (and Takumi has a lot of badass moments) as he finds a way to improvise the situation and still win. As he was losing control of his car upon it blowing out, he immediately finds a way to instinctively keep his momentum by re-positioning the car in reverse. Since it was a downhill race, physics would work in his favor and as he was heading down the last few meters in reverse, and he manages to win the race. While Ryosuke, his team leader, always finds a way to articulate the science behind this victory, Takumi’s way of explaining it was simply that he wanted to win no matter what. So, Takumi’s moment of badass in this situation goes back to the old saying of where there’s a will, there’s a way.
2. All Might Using the Last of His Strength to Defeat All for One from Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season (My Hero Academia 3)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 7, 2018 – September 29, 2018
Throughout a majority of My Hero Academia’s run, All Might, the number one hero of the series, was running on the last of his juice no thanks to his body being able to maintain his powers. We all knew he was going to lose them at some point, the question was when and that was when he had to face All For One, his arch-nemesis, one last time. As a matter of fact, it was All For One that caused the injury to limit the use of All Might’s powers as he aged and considering their history, there was no doubt that this fight was going to take a toll on him.
Even when it was publicly revealed that he would turn into a frail man after using his powers for a considerable time, All Might chose to not give up. All Might embodies everything it means to be a hero. He stays positive in the face of trouble, and he genuinely cares about helping people. But even when his juice ran out, he found a way to stop All For One by summoning all his strength into his last smash and put him in custody. The fact that he continues to fight with his powers now diminishing and coming out victorious demonstrates not only how badass All Might is, but that he’s a true hero.
1. Joe Choosing to Fight Gearless from Megalo Box
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 6, 2018 – June 29, 2018
In the world of Megalo Box, corporations run things and without government oversight, sports such as boxing which tend to be under the sanctioning of state run athletic commissions, are now done away with along with the rules that are regulated. In place of the Marquees of Queensberry rules, boxing now has unlimited 3-minute rounds until the last man stands. There are no weight classes, age limits, drug testing and all you need to be is a citizen of the city. Plus, to give it some flare, combatants wear augmented gear on their upper body for enhanced performance! Some are state of the art, and some are about as useful as a rotary dial on a iphone. When it comes to Joe, the main character, he decides to compete WITHOUT the use of such gear.
The reason why it’s such a badass move is because it further emphasizes how much of an underdog he is. He’s a talented boxer who was previously regulated to throwing fights (even when he was wearing gear) just so he could help pay off his trainer’s debts. However, after failing to get the proper gear, he decides to compete without it. It’s not just being badass, but it’s a symbol of who he is and where he comes from. He comes from nothing and he has to work hard to prove his worth not just to the people around him, but to himself. The fact that he decides to take the hardest road to the top when he doesn’t have to shows that’s what being a true badass is all about.
Hopefully, we shared what it means to be badass not in the world of anime, but in the world of life. For some people, it may be being able to touch someone and make them explode, and hey, we can’t disagree with that but that’s just too easy to list! Instead, we wanted to explore something a little more different. Moments where people defy expectations in both times of need, and in times when they didn’t have to. In the end, putting yourself out there to do something cool or doing the right thing in order to make yourself known can be badass as well, and we hope our inclusions defined that.
If you’ve ever seen anime, you know that most have their most amazing moments.
Those times that just embed themselves in your memory like a welcomed guest in your home.
The moments that give you chills from the sheer amount of awesome they’re throwing to your ever eager retinas. Without further ado, let’s get into my list of the 10 moments that still leave goose bumps on my skin to this day.
10. Dragonball Z: Goku Goes Super Saiyan
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: Apr, 1989 - Jan, 1996
The fans of the long standing anime Dragonball Z can rejoice, as the number 10 spot to the biggest of Billy-badass moments goes to none other than our hero, Goku.
We can all remember the Frieza fight, everyone getting dominated (let’s be clear, no one stood a chance at all) until Goku arrives.
With the failure of the Spirit Bomb and the death of his best friend, it’s safely concluded that no more can be tolerated from the evil galactic overlord.
9. Cowboy Bebop: Spike vs Vicious
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr, 1998 - Apr, 1999
For those of us who haven’t seen the space classic Cowboy Bebop, the finale has one of the most defining moments in the show.
It’s the full combination of the culmination of the story, the “Real Folk Blues” playing in the background and the nonstop action of an entire criminal syndicate against one man.
Spike guns his way through their home base and on to fight their leader: an old friend named Vicious.
8. Bleach: Ichigo vs Aizen
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: Oct, 2004 - Mar, 2012
Anyone who is anyone that has seen Bleach knows about the Aizen fight, the defining moment of the show that brings about the full scope of Ichigo’s Shinigami powers and the defeat of the most influential antagonist of the entire series.
The only reason this moment is not higher on the list is because for the fans of the show, it doesn’t make sense in a way. With the use of the Final Getsugatensho… I’ll let you decide.
7. Guilty Crown: Prison Escape
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct, 2011 - Mar, 2012
Episode 3. That’s as far as you need to make it in this show in order to find a chilling moment in the show. Believe me, there’s more, this just happens to be a fan favorite. In the show, the protagonist is captured.
The rebels of the GHQ help to free him, but he does the main part of the destruction of a skyscraper on his own. Take a look for yourself and tell me it’s not incredible.
6. Death Note: The Death of “L”
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: Oct, 2006 - Jun, 2007
The death of L. One of the best psychological anime to come out (ask a fan, any fan, you’ll see), the death of the (protagonist?) leading investigator was one of the defining characteristics of this show.
Bad guys don’t always have to lose. Light proves this time and time again; leading police astray; continually emptying prisons and being an all-around very good bad guy.
5. Psycho-Pass: Shougo vs Shinya
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct, 2012 - Mar, 2013
Shougo Makishima versus Shinya Kougami, arguably the best scene in the show due to the desire, nay, the need to see Makishima get his ass handed to him.
After so long watching him continually ruin the lives of so many people, a good old fashioned bullet in the head is the remedy to the hatred and animosity you gain towards this antagonist.
4. Fate/Zero: Alexander the Great vs Gilgamesh
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct, 2011 - Jun, 2012
Quite possibly the most over-powered antagonist, Gilgamesh sets the stage for the end of Rider.
His use of the world destroying Noble Phantasm that completely eradicates the world Rider put them in, as well as an armory of thousands upon thousands of weapons that he can call out and use like arrows at any point in time really shows the prowess of the Archer class. “But we loved Rider,” I know, believe me I did too.
But I cannot let my hatred for a character get in the way of how truly incredible they are. Case in point, Gilgamesh’s World Destruction.
3. Naruto Shippuden: Naruto vs Pain
- Episodes: 392 (Continuing as of Dec 18, 2014 )
- Aired: Feb, 2007 - ?
Naruto versus Pain, the hour and a half long fight of pure epicness that shows how badass Naruto really is.
With some additions to the Nine Tails look (that skeletal beast!) this is one of my personal favorite fights in the entire show itself. If you have yet to see it, I highly suggest it, if you have seen it and want to reminisce, here you go:
2. Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin): Titan Fight
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr, 2013 - Sep, 2013
Come on, who in their right mind could ever deny that a titan fight to the death would be boring? Making it in as the number 2 spot on the list, comes the fight Attack on Titan fans had been waiting for all season.
A little help from Mikasa right at the end with the line “Annie, fall,” just wrapped the whole scene together and makes it one of the most badass scenes in recent history.
1. Aldnoah.Zero: New Orleans vs Landing Castle
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul, 2014 - Sep, 2014
The top spot on our list of most badass moments in anime history goes to a brand new one, Aldnoah.Zero.
With the complete distruction of the entirety of New Orleans, the people turned to ash in a mere instant, the glass of skyscrapers shattering and the all-around intensity of the moment pulls it in for me personally. Episode 1, that’s all it took for this show to completely enthrall an entire audience.
If you haven’t seen it or are on the verge, check out this fan made video:
That does it for our top 10 list of Badass moments, if you feel we missed one or you’d like to tell us your own put it in the comments section below, we’d love to hear from you!