Lemme tackle a semi important subject on the anime/manga world.
What makes a great fight scene in a series?
It’s natural to have a few cuts to your clothes in fight right?
Back when I was but a still young child, fighting in anime was a key thing in our entertainment. Fist fights, shoot outs, sword fights, supernatural fights, and the list goes on. Anime and most of its viewers and has changed since then. To be honest, I consider myself more of a gamer than a anime fan. But due to anime being free to watch (but the merchandise is soo pricey) and games being expensive, I stuck with talking about anime seeing as I can afford it and there a plenty of them to watch.
I have said once before that games have taught me the intensity of the fight. Every precious hit counts and that landing each succesful attack is very important. Battle series such as Dragonball, One Piece, Bleach, Naruto, hell almost all shounen series that isn’t romance deal with some sort of fighting involved. Back in point, the series above show adequate examples how fights should look like. But something about those series made fighting a little…elongated and repetitive.
Dragonball Z is known to be one of the most famous series of manga/anime history. It’s probably THE shounen manga for action. The other titles such as Naruto, One Piece, and others have some memorable fighting moments, for me it was plenty of fights with the Akatsuki, Bleach’s beginning battles in the Soul Society arc, One Piece has a HUUUGE amount of battles that were memorable but I guess the most amazing one was the Battle at Marineford.
Recently my rage goes to MajiKoi for showing some less than amazing fights in the first episode (but then again, I guess it isn’t a complete fighting series to being with). One hit blows like 15 people in the air, are these girls monsters? Is there a fine line between skill and strength? Physics is completely thrown out the window and is stepped on, but I digress.
and a few shounen mangas for pulling off 2 things
- Time Skips
- New Abilities every time a new enemy appears
If you haven’t noticed, Naruto, Bleach (to some extent), One Piece, and hell Fairy Tail have a timeskip. Naruto was the one to pull it off but are timeskips really necessary? Training offscreen sure is a hell of a load off the mangakas back but come on, I could understand the situation for Bleach and Naruto (One was story, one was good because they weren’t kids anymore). I personally think that the timeskip in One Piece was not neccessary, I could have NOT seen such an event coming from a mile away. Nevertheless that timeskip has made me stop reading One Piece all together. Fairy Tail…didn’t they kill off Natsu?
Also in Bleach and Naruto, I hate how theres always a new ability they learn by accessing their “inner” powers. In Naruto’s case, the Kyuubi and Bleach Ichigo’s Hollow powers. Can’t they seriously make any other way of learning something new? Is using smarts to finish
But lets get back on the train here, What makes a good fight?
The music? setting? tone? stakes? the characters? the actual fight? I might as well show some prime examples of these in a fight
For music, I have to go with Cowboy Bebop. I am indeed a fan of jazzy tunes and Cowboy Bebop’s smooth animation and theme in the very last fight (although shortlived) carried a lot of emotion at stake. I guess this fight is a good one according to my semi-list up there. The music: funky, the tone: dark and redemptive, the stakes: vengeance, the characters: Spike and Vicious. Spike holds a pistol while Vicious has his blade. The two have a stalemate for a few seconds as both their weapons end up in the other’s hands. I sense that Vicious has some sense of honor as he could have easily shot Spike with his own gun. Overall it makes up for a nice fight I would say. Two fights, one episode each. Usually around 3-4 minutes
Heres another one, do fights have to be long?
Dragonball Z’s anime is a pretty nice example of elongated fights. Either I was just young and impatient or it truly was one of the most elongated fight scenes I have ever witnessed. Characters would just charge up their powers and talk about how grand their power will be. If you haven’t noticed, Dragonball Z is about fighting as much as reviving guys who always DIE. Think about that, First Goku dies, then Piccolo, then the rest (Tien, Yamcha), Krillain, and everything repeats.
I know I’m jumping around but did any series with swords have good fights? Bleach being a supernatural series had abilities with ice, flames, energies, and swords that made all these powers available for use. Swordplay wasn’t definetley the best but it gave us something to look for when Bleach characters activated their swords. One of the few samurai animes I can remember at the top of my head is Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Champloo which in my opinion had amazing swordfights.
My favorite fights in Kenshin was when he went up against Saito for the first time. I can’t exactly remember the music but these two characters were pretty badass from the start. The tone? well it was dark out, and Saito had harmed some of his friends as well. The fight itself was amazing, and very well executed. Kenshin goes “cool” berserk (he goes badass mode without any powers, he just brings his past-killer out). Samurai Champloo had its share of nice battles. The fight against the blind lady was a great fight, but no fight could have topped the final fight with its music and its atmosphere as Fu is in danger, Jin is seriously injured, and Mugen is caught fighting two people. Jin’s epic appearence and the quick swordfight was pretty cool. Mugen slowly walking toward his final opponent was a good scene as well. Although the characters our heroes faced were new, we stuck with our 3 main characters for 26 episodes, you can’t help but feel some connection. (wrong picture for Champloo I know, coudln’t find a good one for the last fight.) Kenshin’s fight lasted about 1 episode while Champloo’s fight was 3 episodes
Yet another series that I found interesting is Gintama. Gintama is one of the most complicated series (not in story, oh no no no, it’s anything but complicated) in terms on how the narrative moves foward. Some arcs are completely a joke, a terribley funny joke but some arcs, are damn serious. One of my favorite arcs was Shinsengumi’s Itou’s betrayal arc (i forgot its proper name) but that arc almost brought me to tears. Sorry for the irrelevant point. Gintama somehow melds seriously funny and dangerously serious so well. There was a fight between a character named Jirocho and our lead, Gintoki and the fight was SERIOUSLY dynamic. Gintoki goes off the hook and turns his dial to 11 and goes on a rampage. The trollish, lazy, and uninspired fighting Gintoki suddenly goes insane over the apparent death of an old hag(no disrespect, just trying to make a point) who would constantly remind him to pay rent. Gintoki never trains, he just picks his nose, his experience in the war is enough for him to win any fight. It’s true that Gin has fought a few more enemies with some vigour (I think like 1-3 more before this one) and that he is completely overpowered but seeing him go like this was a huge change. I wonder how long it will be until Takasugi and Gin finally face eachother. This fight lasted an episode
To be honest, I don’t particularily enjoy the new fights scenes they made. Naruto’s fight with Pain I felt the cliche-ness of the series once more. Naruto goes and trains to his absolute limit (Sage Mode) and then gets his ass beat and goes Kyuubi. You know what epic fight scene with superpowers were?
LOOK AT THAT BEAST
Yu Yu Hakusho’s final fight with Toguro was pretty amazing. Toguro himself ever really showed off his 100% power and when he did, Yusuke didn’t stand a chance. Genkai shows up and says that the only way for Yusuke to fight to his fullest, is if one of his friends was killed in front of him. Toguro’s presence alone, is enough to kill weak demons and Yusuke’s struggle with Toguro was so damn powerful that most of the stadium where they are fighting is almost rubble (well the previous 2-3 fights did a number on the place too). A dramatic scene with Kuwabara sacrificing himself and saying one of my favorite quotes, leads Yusuke to his max effort to take Toguro down. That was damn legit, but when they pulled off “demon lineage” in Three Lords arc, I kinda said that was pretty weak. Fight lasted for quite a while
One last thing before I finish this post off (And i want to apologize now for my sloppy writing) was one series that impressed me with its usage of powers and its subsequent dedication to show some training. Kekkaishi is a series that ended a while ago and i praised its usage of abilities. Kekkaishi didn’t have full on fist fights. The characters held this ability to create barreris: They can trap things in it to obliterate them or use these barriers as platforms to increase manueverability. They could also expand their power to an extent that they can create a barrier around themselves to disintegrate anything that enters it. Yoshimori, the lead character does train and is constantly reminded to protect his friends, moreso when one of his friends dies. Yoshimori is trains vigoursly and learns one new ability called Musou which focuses all his concentration at the task at hand. Being in Musou requires something called a landlord which stabilizes the the user’s concentration. Yoshimori literally went through chapters and volumes of training to fulfill his duties and eventually learns how to create a huge sphere and become god of a small area. Yoshimori’s powers don’t advance any further than that, and he faces enemies without any fear and becomes terribley overpowered. Kekkaishi isn’t heavily fighting based, but the unique powers that are used in the series made it an interesting series to see. There isn’t a particular fight I wanted to mention but I just wanted to make a connection
In my very, very, very short verdict, It definitley boils down to characters, with the mentioned aspects slowing following behind it. I mean a cool fight would be nice to watch, but what good is it when you don’t know who they are and what they have been through? But thats just me, I think the characters really do a fight scene justice. But now that I seriously try to think about it, It’s pretty hard for me to come up with a complete conclusion.
How about you dear reader..What do YOU think makes a great fight scene in a series? What was YOUR favorite fight in a series?
Once more, sorry for the sloppiness :D Thanks for reading my sloppyass writing