From aliens battling it out to junior superheroes hashing out their problems, this year saw many unforgettable anime clashes. These battles are more than just high-flying, over-the-top fighting techniques (though that’s a part of it, too), they also feature unique art styles and drive character development. It’s no wonder we just can’t get enough of them. So, let’s revisit the greatest of these high-octane battles while they’re still fresh in our minds. Here are five of the best anime fights of 2018.
All Might vs. All For One (My Hero Academia)
The fight between the world’s #1 hero, All Might, and his archnemesis, All For One, is no doubt one of My Hero Academia‘s (and 2018’s) best — and we have Katsuki Bakugo to thank for it. The epic battle comes about when the League of Villains kidnaps, one of All Might’s student, Katsuki Bakugo.
When the League of Villains kidnaps All Might’s student Bakugo, the Symbol of Peace tracks him down, only to end up trading blows with All For One. But there’s one problem: All Might’s punches are noticeably weaker — the injury from their previous battle has taken its toll. Even so, their fight creates massive shockwaves, destroying much of the Kamino Ward and leaving countless victims.
With All Might reaching his limit, he slowly reverts back to his weak form, and it appears that All For One might actually win. That is, until All Might sees a vision of his former mentor Nana Shimura. Driven by her encouragement, All Might gathers all the remaining embers of One For All into his right arm and strikes the master of evil with his most powerful move: the United States of Smash.
In the end, All Might stands victorious over All For One, but not without a cost. After his final attack, the last embers of One For All fade away, and with them, the world’s #1 hero.
Naruto and Sasuke vs. Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki (Boruto: Naruto Next Generations)
When Momoshiki and Kinshiki crash the Chūnin Exams to absorb the Nine-Tails‘ chakra, Naruto finds himself in a perilous battle. Despite his best effort, it appears that Naruto and the Ōtsutsuki clan members are evenly matched. Luckily, Sasuke is also at the Chūnin Exams and joins the fight. While Kinshiki goes off to fight the Boruto and the other students, Momoshiki takes on the Hokage and the head of the Uchiha clan.
The fight not only serves epic visuals, but also a heaping spoonful of nostalgia as the two shinobi use techniques from their old Team 7 days to bring down their target. During the fight, Sasuke throws a fūma shuriken at Momoshiki that multiplies in mid-air, with the last one transforming into Naruto to catch the enemy by surprise. Naruto, in turn, attacks Momoshiki with a Rasenshuriken that turns into Sasuke at the last second. Momoshiki manages to catch Sasuke with his red chains, but the genius shinobi switches places with Naruto, allowing the Hokage to deliver a crushing blow.
The two have refined their techniques over the years, in spite of their troubled past. The battle was a treat for longtime fans who watched the original battles that inspired this one. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best battles of 2018.
Joe vs. Yuri (Megalo Box)
Megalo Box follows Junk Dog, a fighter who’s paid to throw Megalox Box matches, fights where boxers use mechanical limbs. But when he faces the champion, Yuri, and loses, the champ gives him some valuable advice: If Junk Dog wants to fight him again, then he must fight his way to the top. Inspired by this encounter, Junk Dog takes on a new moniker, Joe, and rises through the ranks to fight Yuri at Megalonia, a tournament that determines the strongest Megalo Boxer around.
After months of training, Joe finally faces Yuri who, after removing his gear, now relies on his natural boxing skills. The two trade blows, and it quickly becomes clear why Yuri’s the champion. But Joe manages to hold his own. As the match moves onto Round 13, both men reflect on what brought them there and how grateful they feel to have met each other.
The two share a final cross-counter punch that ends the fight with one clear winner: Joe. With an original soundtrack, awesome fighting sequences, and the manga teasing Joe’s death — Joe’s always uttering, “Not dead, yet”– Megalo Box delivered one of this year’s best fights.
Entoma vs. Blue Roses (Overlord Season 2)
Overlord fans got to witness the immense powers the human adventurers possess in Season 2. During an operation against the Eight Fingers — who are selling drugs in the Kingdom — the Blue Roses: Gagaran, Tia, and Evileye come face-to-face with Entoma, an arachnid battle maid and one of Lord Ainz‘s subjects.
After seeing Entoma eat a human arm, Gagaran decides he can’t ignore this monstrous act and challenges Entoma. Despite the Pleiades member being much stronger than the female warrior Entoma, this didn’t stop her from landing several hits on Gagaran with her giant hammer. Things quickly turnaround when assassin Tia and magic caster Evileye join the fight, prompting Entoma to unleash her insect army.
Luckily, Evileye’s insecticide magic brings Entoma to the brink of death. But before the Blue Roses can deliver the killing blow, Demiurge rescues the wounded battle maid and kills Tia and Gagaran in the process. This fight may have come to a sudden end, but it left a lasting impact on fans by showing that humans can hold their own against monsters.
Izuku Midoriya vs. Katsuki Bakugo, Round 2 (My Hero Academia)
When All Might loses his Quirk, Bakugo feels responsible. He reasons if he wasn’t so weak, then he wouldn’t have gotten kidnapped, and All Might would still be the Symbol of Peace. But it isn’t just guilt that has Bakugo down, he’s also angry that Midoriya now has All Might’s Quirk, One For All. So, he channels his frustration the best way he knows how: by challenging Midoriya to a fight.
Despite Midoriya’s hesitance, Bakugo blasts himself into striking position, winding up his signature right hook. But Midoriya’s no slouch. He manages to avoid several of Bakugo’s punches before a childhood flashback reveals what Midoriya must do to stop Bakugo, and it isn’t talking him down. Instead, he must defeat his rival and live up to his role as All Might’s successor.
With Bakugo’s guilt affecting his fighting, Midoriya manages to gain the upper hand. But Bakugo, stubborn as ever, refuses to lose and manages to grab Midoriya and pin him down. Standing over his defeated rival, Bakugo claims victory, in spite of Midoriya’s inherited Quirk.
This battle wasn’t just one between future heroes, it was also a way for Bakugo to release his pent-up frustrations and guilt. Thanks to this fight, fans got to see Bakugo in a new, favorable light. No wonder our favorite hothead topped VIZ Media’s popularity poll.