The tenth day of the 30 Days of Anime Challenge asks the question of what your favorite fighter anime series is. This is actually kind of a broad question and I was curious to see what others would list as qualifiers for it. In looking at just a few lists about it, it seems like people went far and wide with what they considered a fighter anime as there were several that mentioned shows like Cowboy Bebop. I could, to some degree, understand Rurouni Kenshin in there, but my view of fighter anime has usually been more represented by series that are based on video games, like Street Fighter and Art of Fighting. Pokemon? Yeah, in a sort of weird way, but I don’t really believe that that’s the intent of the question. What I wanted to focus on when looking at the best of the best when it comes to fighting, it’s something that would inspire Rocky-like feelings with how intense it gets with the fighting itself, but also in drawing the character’s emotions to the surface.
Best Fighting Anime Series
Hajime no Ippo is a series that I will forever be indebted to Geneon Entertainment for bringing over. Everyone will list out higher selling and far more popular series, but this is the one that they really took a gamble on and came up short with. Including a Spanish language track on the release to appeal to the market south of the border, we got an amazing, intense seventy-six episode series about boxing in trilingual form that had very little in the way of anything besides guys in it. There’s a mild romantic storyline through but it’s so innocent and adds just a small amount of flavor to it that it doesn’t have a huge bearing on things. What this series did though was to show us a young man that wasn’t sure about his path in life and it put him on an amazing one he never even knew really existed. With a lengthy series of matches that he has to go through before he can even think of getting onto the world stage, we’re treated to great characters, no true villains for the most part and a wonderful mixture of comedy thrown into it when you least expect it. This is one of those very, very rare series that connected with me like few others.
Best Cute Fighting Anime Series
While I wasn’t surprised that I was going to enjoy it, I was surprised by how much I did when I first experienced Angelic Layer. Taking cute girls and giving them pint-sized fighting robots to go after each other has a lot of potential and this one managed to work insanely cute, intense action and highly perverted comedy into it when you’d least expect it. It’s mired in a decent back story about family and emotions to give it some weight and context but it never truly drags it down, even if it drags it out a little bit. With the variety to the Angels that are being used to fight and the silliness and seriousness of the characters that own them, it hits all the right points.
Best Comedy Fighter
There’s a slew of these kinds of fighting shows out there that use comedy with one of the more well known one series from years ago being Ranma ½. The one that won me over in recent years, partially because it knew not to go on for too long, is that of Ramen Fighter Miki, also known as Muteki Kanban Musume. With a small cast overall, a great sense of action and choreography with the variety of scenes used for the fights and the mixture of comedy and food, it hit a lot of great notes. And by not overstaying its welcome, it managed to remain positive in ones mind after it finished because of that. One of the things that really made me happy with it is that the characters were largely out of their teenage years, by a hair in some case, but they were all hard working people with a minimal use of the school settings overall. That added to the flavor greatly.
Best Mecha Fighter
Nothing tops G-Gundam for me. A wide variety of fighting mecha, comedy, drama, an epic scale and all sorts of nationalities and people to be offended. I loved every second of this show because it broke the mold and did something different.