Some of the best and most anticipated parts of watching any anime are the fight scenes. In the hands of the right animators and writers, an episode-long anime battle can feel like a few exciting minutes. Conversely, the wrong set of creators can make a quick fight feel like an unentertaining and tiresome eternity.
This doesn’t just apply to long matches with excessive runtimes or episode counts. This also considers matches that felt longer than they actually were thanks to questionable creative choices or production issues. Some matches were entertaining in an ironic way, but most were so bad that they deflated the anime’s legacy.
10/10 Goku’s five-minute duel with Frieza embodied Anime’s worst tendencies
Dragon Ball Z
Many jokes and memes have been made about it Dragon Ball Z‘s protracted battles and with good reason. Since Namek had 5 minutes before the self-destruction, Goku had to defeat Frieza in this short time to escape. In practice, this supposedly 5-minute match took 19 episodes to complete.
Goku and Frieza’s otherwise epic battle lost steam due to interruptions from exposition, audience reactions, flashbacks, and more. Although this can be excused as Dragon Ball Z as a product of its time, it remained the best-known case of its timepacing problems. The fight can also be seen as the precedent the anime never broke from.
9/10 The Shinigami needed too many seasons and filler arcs to defeat Sosuke Aizen
The War of Fake Karakura Town was one of Bleachits longest stretches, and it only got worse when Aizen joined the fight. Due to his overwhelmed nature, Aizen could defeat the strongest captains in seconds. But thanks Bleach‘s extensive writing and direction, the fight against Aizen lasted almost an entire season.
Ichigo Kurosaki and the captains’ battle against Aizen was constantly interrupted by filler arcs and recap episodes. Worse, the canon episodes’ first halves almost always replayed what happened one episode ago. In the end, Aizen’s endless trump cards and ending forms turned him from a brain to a boring final boss.
8/10 Asta’s fight against Ladros reduced the impact of his transformations
Asta who reveals his demon form during the fight against Ladros was also one of them Black clover‘s best and worst moments. Before the actual duel, Asta loudly confronted her literal inner demon in a surreal and well-animated sequence. But when Asta unleashed her demonic side, the animation turned into a mess of digital assets.
When contrast to Black clover‘sprevious fights, Asta and Ladros’ fight looked horribly cheap with its barely detailed characters, overuse of special effects, and quick editing that barely covered up the imperfections. The match lasted about five minutes, but it felt longer because of how much banter the mistakes inspired.
7/10 Shiki Tohno’s fight against Nero was the Anime’s lowest point
Tsukihime was so notoriously bad that it has been blamed for killing the franchise’s hype. The notoriety was inspired by the poor animation, especially in the battles. The worst offender was Arcueid and Shiki’s fight against Nero. In the visual novel, this was a tense life-or-death duel. In the anime it was almost five minutes long.
Besides the characters’ lack of actual movement, the fight held back at its worst moments. Nero’s nightmarish body and powers were depicted in the safest ways possible. The general lack of gore and tension also betrayed the horror of the scene. For Type Moon fans, this match felt like too long a disservice to the source material.
6/10 Adam and Zeus’ fight was anything but a god-level brawl
Record Of Ragnarok
Record of Ragnarok went down as one of the most anticipated yet most disappointing anime in recent times. The negative reception stemmed from the anime’s lackluster battles. By far the worst offender was the clash between Adam and Zeus. What should have been an epic battle between man and god was instead a lifeless chore.
The battle of Adam and Zeus was told mostly through still images that faded in and out of each other, plus the reactions of the spectators. The most movement a fighter got were moves that were sped up or slowed down for effect. While the 10-minute match wasn’t terrible, it was so archaic and flat that it bored viewers before the halfway point.
5/10 Meliodas’ fight against Escanor had ridiculously bad animation
Seven Deadly Sins
Much has already been said about Seven Deadly Sins‘ drop in quality after Studio Deen took over in Season 3, but it’s worth repeating. Season 3’s animation was so cheap and rushed that their only redeeming factor was how unintentionally funny it was. The best and worst case of this was Melioda and Escanor’s duel.
Even ignoring the poorly drawn anatomy, the fight lacked excitement thanks to simplistic and unimaginative direction. When Meliodas and Escanor were not fighting through limited movements, the scene cut back to the faces of the spectators. Meliodas and Escanor’s fight lasted about eight minutes, but it felt like an episode-long gag.
4/10 Sakura Haruno and Ino Yamanaka had a Stereotypical Catfight
The Chunin Exams may have some of Naruto‘s most beloved and nostalgic battles, but they are also some of the anime’s weakest. This mostly had to do with their outdated direction, such as constant cutaways and flashbacks. The worst offender was Sakura and Ino’s fight, especially since it was basically a petulant catfight.
Sakura and Ino initially fought over their feelings for Sasuke Uchiha. Worse, the match was flooded with flashbacks, and the two hardly used any creative ninja powers. Instead, Sakura and Ino spent almost ten minutes punching and insulting each other. Even if it wasn’t Naruto‘slongest fight, Sakura and Ino’s duel really felt like it.
3/10 Guts’ fight against Grunbeld was too ugly to watch
Gut’s first encounter with Grunbeld was one of the manga’s most intense battles. Besides Grunbeld being one of the strongest apostles, this was also the first time Guts unleashed the Berserker armor. In the anime, Guts and Grunbeld’s duel was so hilariously bad that fans wanted it to end as soon as it started.
Berserkits difficult blend of traditional and digital animation brought Kentaro Miura’s impeccable art to life in the ugliest ways imaginable. Guts and Grunbeld’s movements were paradoxically stilted and eerily realistic, and the camerawork was lifeless at best. The match lasted about five minutes, but it felt much longer.
2/10 Fuko Kirisawa’s fight with Fujimaru was unnecessarily tiring
Flame Of Recca
Recca’s Flame is a nostalgic product of its time, and age showed its worst in Fuko’s fight with Fujimaru. Fuko’s duel with the sleazy ninja existed primarily for fanservice. Instead of simply fighting Fuko, Fujimaru took the time to humiliate her. To wit, Fujimaru targeted Fuko’s clothes and left her almost naked at the end.
Some fans defended the match since Fuko avenged her dignity. At best, Fuko’s victory against Fujimaru was an outdated and juvenile interpretation of female empowerment. At worst, Fuko and Fujimaru’s match felt longer and slower than its six-minute running time due to Fujimaru’s sloppy attacks and inappropriate fanservice.
1/10 Lelouch Vi Britannia’s decisive battle against Emperor Charles developed into a debate
Code Geass R2
Code Geass did a good job of balancing Lelouch’s strategic mind games and the Knightmare clashes between armies, but it dropped the ball near the end. Ideally, Lelouch’s climactic confrontation with his tyrannical father should have been a mixture of brains and brawn. Instead, it was a philosophical debate that deflated the tension.
Barely using their Geass powers, Lelouch and Emperor Charles spent about eleven minutes monologuing about their views on free will and human nature. The dramatic weight was palpable, but having Lelouch and Emperor Charles finalize their long-running feud through a drawn-out lecture was an anticlimactic resolution.
NEXT: 10 Best Anime Cliffhangers, Ranked