It has been a great year for anime fans, and 2023 isn’t even over yet. Many of the most popular anime shows capped off their respective storylines with some incredibly visually stunning fight scenes. These consist of superb choreography, emotion, and, of course, animation. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of anime fights and anime action, the following popular anime of 2023 will have you at the edge of your seat with their battles. Strap in as we list them off and give our takes on which make the cut.
Spy X Family Season 2
For the record, Spy X Family Season 2 didn’t even need to include an intricate fight scene; it’s mostly a comedy show. Still, Wit Studio really went the extra mile in that cruise ship assassin battle royale.
A couple of episodes in the cruise ship arc notably received most of the animation budget, particularly the fireworks rumble with Yor and the other assassins. Sadly, as an action anime fan, you won’t get much satisfaction in merely watching Spy X Family for its fight scenes. Still, the cruise ship action sequences are a treat regardless.
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End
Less is more in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End. Frieren’s slow-burn build-up to its legendary fight scenes and the context in its actions make it all the more memorable, particularly for her definitive (and somewhat turn-based) showdown with Aura. The anime that refreshingly insists on showing rather than telling; Frieren extends this expository method to its fights.
Hence, fights in Frieren are typically brief and conclusive. Even making epic fights with dragons less bloated. Frieren treats its audience as mature, making its action sequences more weighty and consequential with little to no wasted actions or moves.
One Piece Season 20
They still haven’t found the One Piece, but that doesn’t matter since One Piece becomes more and more epic by the episode. Season 20 sees Luffy breaking new ground and unlocking his Gear 5 in a fight with Kaido. Now, he can bend lightning.
As always, the fights are over-the-top and absurd, adding even more developments to One Piece‘s signature action. At this point, really, who cares about finding the treasure; we just want to see Luffy become even more powerful.
Bungo Stray Dogs Season 5
Now in its fifth season, Bungo Stray Dogs decided to treat its fans with a rather jaw-dropping finale that culminated in one of its most colorful and quirkiest fights. The stakes are a lot higher this time, with the main villain practically turning into a time-warping god.
Needless to say, the Bungo Stray Dogs fandom is ecstatic. Who wouldn’t be? They got two seasons of action-packed supernatural detective mystery almost back to back.
For the uninitiated, Pluto is a retelling of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, but this time, it has a battle anime twist. The titular robot in the show, Pluto, is headhunting the strongest robots on Earth to fight them, and Atom (a reimagination of Astro Boy) happens to be one of those bots.
Since it’s an unconventional battle anime, Pluto relies a lot on enriching the context of its fights and adding more dramatic weight to its action sequences. For instance, Atom’s first and heated encounter with Pluto was vengeful and raw but later on transitioned into an empathic connection; way too many emotions for robots, ironically. Such an operatic take on anime fight scenes is more than rewarding, especially when coupled with its somber music.
Attack on Titan: The Final Chapters
Attack on Titan might have stretched its ending too much, but that’s understandable after seeing what needed to be animated. The Final Chapters have some of the most visually stunning fight scenes in any anime. It’s just sequence after sequence of acrobatic mid-air blade dances and pseudo-meat-mecha battles.
If there was an issue with it from which some fans still can’t move on, it would be the over-reliance on 3D or CGI imagery for its titan fights and animations. But if not for that, then the whole The Final Chapters arc would have probably taken another five years or so to animate in hand-drawn 2D.
Taking the concept of battle royale in an imaginative ninja deathmatch bid for immortality, Hell’s Paradise had to back up that premise with good action. It did so with grace. This underrated action anime has some of the most imaginative ninja battles in the genre.
Their fight scenes are intense and unapologetic; it can often be difficult to discern who’s wearing plot armor or not or who’s going to survive. Even the main hero, Gabimaru, came close to death in way too many battles, such as the one with Tensen. If you are craving action in an anime, you won’t find this one wanting since the battles are frequent enough to keep your eyes glued.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War
Bleach made quite the comeback as one of the biggest anime titles. It’s in the same breath as Naruto and One Piece. The belated season quickly set itself apart with a more contemporary design and, of course, plenty of visually stunning fight scenes. One notable fight between the anime’s heavy hitters, namely Yamamoto and Yhwach, stood out as its most tragic and most well-animated battle.
It did help that it’s still one of the most popular anime in 2023. You’ll also find no shortage of duels and royal rumbles in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War. Catching up with the story is another matter entirely.
Demon Slayer Season 3
Including Demon Slayer in a list of popular anime is almost mandatory now. Even more mandatory is how it’s an automatic inclusion for any tally of visually stunning fight scenes. As always, Tanjiro struggled while the Hashira fought in style, and it was the fan-favorite Muichiro taking the spotlight this time in his solo fight against Upper Moon 5.
It didn’t have the same high-stakes hook as Demon Slayer Season 2 (really, it’s hard to top that Tengen vs. Gyutaro sequence), but the fights in Season 3 are still better than most action anime.
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2
Unfortunately, for any action anime in 2023, Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 is on a rampage. There’s a healthy balance here between fights, exposition, and fan service that blows most competition out of the water. So far, nothing in 2023 can surpass the sheer spectacle of the chaotic and biblical Sukuna vs. Mahoraga fight scene.
Also, once the Shibuya incident began, it was boss-fight-after-boss-fight with no room to breathe and some unexpected twists. What makes Season 2 even more special is how the anime cleverly just dumps most of its strongest characters into one small area, resulting in the most visually stunning fight scenes out of all the popular anime in 2023. Amazingly enough, it’s not even done yet.