This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.
[SPOILER ALERT: There are some spoilers in this post about character deaths and the results of epic battles!]
For me, one of the most epic scenes I’ve ever seen in anime is in The Irregular at Magic High School, in a scene in which Tatsuya Shiba is challenged by Hanzo Gyoubushoujo Hattori when he is proposed to be added as a member of the School’s council. Because Tatsuya isn’t a particularly strong magic user Hanzo believes defeating him will be a piece of cake… and then Tatsuya kicks his ass:
To love anime is to love its preoccupation with melodrama and exaggeration, I think. Everything from Ichigo Kurosaki fighting on after losing half his body weight in blood in Bleach, to Light Yagami furiously writing in his room and manically laughing to himself in Death Note. Whenever someone mentions epic moments in anime to me, there’s a bunch of scenes that spring to mind, but the very first one nearly every single time is the opening 6-minute battle scene from Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo featuring Asuka battling an Angel in space.
Evangelion is packed full of WTF and epic moments – both quietly devastating and irrepressibly loud – but this battle, rendered in gorgeous HD and cinematic scope from the Evangelion rebuild series of films in 2013, truly left me gobsmacked when I first watched it. It’s fast, furious, intense, and one of the best pieces of animation I’ve ever seen.
It starts off with nothing but the blackness of space and whispered voices over multiple telecommunications devices. Then, slowly, Asuka’s ship fades into view. The camera follows it, the voices get louder, and the ship becomes clearer. We see Asuka housed in the cockpit – fingers flicking at switches and her breathing raspy and meditated. Then we are swung downwards to see a shot of the eerily red sea of Earth. Asuka begins to lock in on her target, and then suddenly it zooms into a view – an Angel – screaming as though it were human.
Asuka tears through the Angel’s A.T field as though it were jelly, and then rips off her own helmet to scream through her intense exertion. This is when the real fight begins, and you can watch the full 6-minutes and 38-seconds here in all its insane glory – trust me, it’s worth it!
Honourable mentions: Asuka’s death (End of Evangelion), Tetsuo’s end (Akira), Titan reappears behind Eren (Attack on Titan), Allen Walker fights the Earl and saves Lenalee (D.Gray-Man), “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” (Digimon – The First Movie), pretty much everything in Death Note, the reveal at the end of Full Metal Alchemist, the Takihoma sacrifice themselves (Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex), Cloud vs. Sephorith (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children).
One Piece is one of the most epic anime out there. Everything is big: big moves, big people, big countries, big boats…it’s crazy. So it’s no surprise to me that I turn straight to One Piece in terms of epic scenes. For my most epic scene though it has to be the final moments of Whitebeard.
This is Edward Newgate, otherwise known by his pirate name of ‘Whitebeard’. He is one of the most powerful pirates in One Piece, classified as one of the ‘Four Warlords’, and he and his fleet are seen as one of the biggest superpowers in the world. Back in the day, he was rival to Gold Roger, the King of the Pirates, and was constantly battling him for the title.
Whitebeard may be old now, but he still rightfully deserves the title of most powerful man. He is able to use a technique known as ‘Haki’ which enables him to battle the strongest of the strong. He also boasts a Devil Fruit power which enables him to manipulate vibrations. These vibrations are more like quakes, and with them he can create tsunamis, earthquakes, or just blast through the air and destroy anything in his path.
However, when he goes to war against the whole of the World’s Navy to rescue Luffy’s brother Ace (who has becomes like a son to Whitebeard) he is pushed beyond his limits and is killed in action. However, its what he says and how he dies that makes this scene so epic.
In the world of One Piece, there are a growing amount of people who stop believing in the grand treasure called the ‘One Piece’, and it would seem that the Great Age of Pirates may be coming to a close. However, Whitebeard’s final words are an announcement to the world, to those who are watching the battle that the One Piece is most certainly real. After he says this he dies…standing up. I know this is a cliche in anime and Eastern mythology, but you can’t help but admit that it’s the coolest thing ever. This was also the first time I saw this cliche, so for me it will always be amazing and unique.
But it doesn’t stop there. The narrator lists the amount of injuries he sustained in the war, and how many scars he bears on his body: two-hundred-and-sixty-seven sword wounds, one-hundred-and-fifty-one guns shot wounds, he took forty-six cannon shots, he was punched through the torso twice, but as the wind blows his jacket off his back, it is revealed that he has never sustained an injury on his back, as he never retreated or surrendered.
So three epic, epic, points for this scene showed Whitebeard to be a boss, not once, but twice! But not only that, his announcement led to a new era in the Pirate Age, an era in which everyone believes in the ultimate treasure – the One Piece.
Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.
Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page!