Japanese anime have some of the most over the top action sequences. But we love them because no matter how over the top the fights are, they are perfect in our mind. The kid inside of us is always excited to see a fight where the protagonist beats the lights out of the antagonist.
And if this fight sequence involves Katana or Samurai sword or even sword in general, then everyone loses their mind. That’s why over the years there are many scenes which showcase sword fights. Even if you are someone who only likes guns or prefer hand to hand combat, these fighting sequences will still blow your mind away.
There are innumerable anime that highlight the sword arts. Even if the main plot doesn’t revolve around swords, one of the most badass characters is bound to be a swordsman. And the fight between such swordsmen is legendary. You are sure to get goosebumps when watching our picks for the top 5 sword fights in anime.
#5 Roronoa Zoro vs Shimotsuki Ryuma
Anime: One Piece
Zoro had many fights throughout the 1000+ episodes of One Piece. But the one that caused the Zoro fan base to inflate was the one between him and Ryuma. The fight from back in thriller bark is still fresh in fans’ minds. It’s not because the fight was extraordinary or anything but because of the story behind it. It was a fight that set up the story for the Wano arc even before they crossed the Red Line.
The fight between Zoro and Ryuma was significant enough that people still react to it 500+ episodes later. Zoro showed in this fight why he deserves to become the greatest Swordsman after Mihawk. Ryuma, who is a legendary Samurai, acknowledged him through this fight. Just to help you get an idea about Ryuma’s strength, this is the Samurai who killed a real life dragon with nothing but his trusted Sword Shusui. But even after that Ryuma was beaten by Zoro who used the one sword style Hiryu Kaen. This move manifested as a dragon to pay homage to the swordsman who killed one.
#4 Afro vs Jinno
Anime: Afro Samurai
Say you have a best friend who has given into rage and lives a life only to seek revenge. What will you do? Try to lead them to the correct path. Exactly that’s what Jinno wanted to do for Afro. But words were not enough thus the two best friends let their swords do the talking. Jinno with his two Katana and Afro with his classical Samurai sword, Odachi. This fight will not only push you to the edge of your seat but also make your heart ache.
When words failed, Jinno drew his Katana and charged at Afro. Afro didn’t retaliate but only blocked. They exchange many blows only for Afro to be on the receiving end. But this didn’t make Jinno happy, for he was still crying for his friend. He just wanted Afro to realize his mistake and come back to the honorable path of a Samurai. But none of this worked. That’s why Jinno let go of his wish of convincing his friend. He let go of one of his Katana and took off his mask only for the real fight to begin.
#3 Artoria Pendragon (Saber) vs Sasaki Kojiro (Assassin)
Anime: Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
Saber is considered one of the best sword users among all the characters in the Fate series. Still she was challenged when she faced the Assassin. While trying to save her master from Ryuudou Temple, Saber was blocked by Sasaki Kojiro, an assassin type servant temporarily summoned by Caster. The Assassin was only following his summoner’s orders and had a brief fight with Saber on the Temple staircase. But that brief fight had enough intensity to be forever etched in viewers memory. Meeting Sasaki, Artoria had a brief clash with him. From Artoria’s point of view, she had the upper hand. Her speed, power and even the weight behind every slash was superior to her opponents’. Still she was unable to break through Sasaki. The clash between Artoria’s Western Swordplay and Sasaki’s Eastern Swordstyle highlighted both the styles to their extreme. There was no evident winner among the two but many believe the fight ended with Saber’s loss. That’s because throughout their brief exchange, only Sasaki was able to hurt his opponent Aratoria.
#2 Kenshin Himura vs Makoto Shishio
Anime: Rurouni Kenshin
For sword lovers, the name Rurouni Kenshin is one that holds great significance. It is filled with sword fights for this anime is all about Samurais and Samurai swords. But among all those fights the fight between Kenshin and Shishio is probably the best one. This is a fight that is not filled with bloodshed but one that is a clash between ideals. While Shishio embraced the murderous intent behind a sword, Kenshin held on to the honor that a Samurai should represent.
Within the ship, the two of them face each other while upholding their own ideals. Kenshin with his reversed blade Sakabato is determined to not hurt his opponent while Shishio is determined to show Kenshin the meaning of sword with his Mugenjin. Throughout the fight, the two exchange many blows which not only shows their expertise but also their strategic superiority. Kenshin was much weaker than Shishio when it came to swordsmanship but still he won. For in a duel between two swordsmen, the winner is not determined only through swordsmanship but also their own determination.
#1 Gintoki Sakata vs Shinsuke Takasugi
In the history of anime, the fight between Gintoki and Takasugi is one that will be remembered for ages. It’s one of the best choreographed fighting sequences in anime till date. The fight doesn’t take the shōnen troupe to glimpse into the mind of the fighters. There is no intense strategy behind each move. Every slash and stab that both of them perform has no hidden meaning behind it.
Despite this, the movement that each of them make has a certain gravity behind it. For instance when Gintoki’s Bokuto was locked in place by Takasugi, he let go of the sword. For a Samurai, releasing a Samurai sword due to force is a grave humiliation. Still Gintoki lets go of his Bokuto so that he can get the upper hand by throwing Takasugi. Each of the sword slashes showed their swordsmanship to the fullest, which is impossible to be expressed with words.
To truly understand the value of this Sword fight, one has to judge it for themselves.