Top 20 Epic Anime Moments of the Century (So Far)

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Top 20 Epic Anime Moments of the Century (So Far)

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Alex Crilly-Mckean
The defined the decade with their animated awesomeness! Join Ashley as we count down our picks for the most hype moments in anime from the last twenty years, as seen in series such as "Jutjutsu Kaisen", "Bleach", "Demon Slayer", and more!
Transcript
Script written by Alex Crilly-Mckean

Top 20 Epic Anime Moments of the Century So Far

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 20 Epic Anime Moments of the Century So Far.
For this list, we’re looking back at moments from across the anime since the year 2000, ones that made us go “holy shit, this is awesome”. Think we missed out on any medium-defining scenes from the past couple of decades? Let us know in the comments!

#20: Hinokami Kagura

“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” (2019-)

Before Rengoku was setting hearts ablaze and Uzui was acting all flashy, Tanjiro had his crowning achievement during his desperate battle against one of the Lower Demon Moons. Moments from being shredded by Rui’s threads, Tanjiro remembers the parting words of his father, leading him to tap into the then-unknown, scorching spectacle of the Hinokami, allowing him to burn through whatever comes his way. Combined with the swelling of the music and Nezuko unlocking her Blood Demon Art, it’s no wonder this broke the internet.

#19: Gintoki Snaps

“Gintama” (2006-2018)

It’s all fun and games until someone takes away something that Gintoki loves. Despite his hysterically hostile relationship with the old bat, Gintoki was shown to truly care for Otose as a maternal figure. So, when her former friend Jirocho seemingly ended her life, Gintoki traded in his goofy antics for unspeakable rage. Lashing against the superior swordsman, Gintoki’s rapid barrage of swings displays just how much of a beast is lurking beneath his fourth wall-breaking persona, and it is not a pretty sight.

#18: Starburst Stream

“Sword Art Online: Alicization” (2018-20)

Alice may have been a standout character for all of Alicization’s run, but there was no escaping just how awesome it was to see Kirito finally return to the battlefield. Free of his vegetable state, the original OP Lord arrives on the scene to take on the Subtilizer in one last boss battle, capping off with him brandishing his signature move. Kirito’s decked plenty of toxic players in his time, but never with this much visual flare or pizzazz! But hey, he had to show off for his two ladies!

#17: God Madoka

“Puella Magi Madoka Magica” (2011)

Turns out that being a magical girl isn’t all it's cracked up to be, especially when the fine print on your contract ensures that at some point you’re going to give into despair and turn into a monstrous witch. While Homura’s time travel antics ultimately fail to prevent Madoka from accepting Kyubey’s offer, the naïve cherub does succeed in finding the ultimate loophole. By preventing magical girls from turning into witches in the first place, Madoka not only resets the entire universe, but as a result transcends into a literal god, one capable of smiting anything and everything in order to preserve the newly crafted timeline.

#16: Netero's Guanyin Bodhisattva

“Hunter x Hunter” (2011-14)

A veteran hunter like Netero was always going to have some next level nen abilities hiding under his belt…we just didn’t expect this. Facing off against the King of Chimera Ants, Netero reveals exactly what he’s made of - by conjuring a giant multi-armed construct just itching to give out hands! All of which are tailor-made for squashing down bugs. Even with his enhanced speed and defence, Meruem wasn’t fully prepared to be on the receiving end of that many blows!

#15: Shinra Kicks Rekka

“Fire Force” (2019-20)

If there ever was a prick that deserved to get their face smashed in by a flaming hot foot, it would be Rekka. Bad enough that he had betrayed the Fire Force and was working as a double agent for the Evangelist, worse still that he was sacrificing children for his goals, but to beat the hell out of a cat girl like Tamaki, the one person who revered him above all else? He was in dire need of receiving some divine punishment of his own. Ironically enough, the one to bring his so-called holy ploys to an end would be none-other than everyone’s favourite friendly neighbourhood devil!

#14: Excalibur

“Fate/Zero” (2011-12)

When it comes to the Holy Grail War, anything goes, and that apparently includes throwing down against a giant tentacle monster. With an unstable Caster going on the warpath, it falls to Saber to stop him in his tracks, leading to her unsheathing the sword straight out of Arthurian legend. Of course, her Noble Phantasm is more than just a fancy name – it’s a weapon of blinding light capable of slicing down pretty much anything. Something that Caster found out the hard way.

#13: Infinite Void

“Jujutsu Kaisen” (2020-21)

It’s hard to tell what’s more striking here. Gojo revealing his control over the literal concept of infinity, or the borderline infuriating beauty of those eyes that he’s got tucked away behind that blindfold. Both revelations came to a head during his battle with the Curse known as Jogo, where the sorcerer saw fit to reveal his own Domain Expansion. This not only won him the battle in an instant, but revealed just how far up the jujutsu ladder Gojo really is. How do you contend with the man who has all of spacetime under his grasp?

#12: Asta Takes Yami’s Sword

“Black Clover” (2017-)

By itself, this two on one battle against the leader of the Dark Triad is one of the purest examples of fantasy action done right, showcasing Yami and Asta’s immense fortitude and willpower as they try to contend with Dante’s devilish magic. But what really pushed it to its shonen peak was the moment where Yami willingly handed over his beloved katana over to his fellow Black Bull, symbolising his respect and trust in the no magic loser. You couldn’t ask for a more beautifully brutal way to cap off such an exhilarating fight!

#11: Escanor and Estarossa’s Staredown

“The Seven Deadly Sins” (2014-)

Sometimes the lead up to a battle is so well placed that it actually eclipses the brawl that follows, as was the case when the Lion Sin of the Pride took on the Commandment of Love. With his innate ability to freeze those that feel hostility towards him, Estarossa easily brings the majority of the Sins to their knees…except for Escanor. As it happens, his pride in himself is so great that all he feels for his opponent is pity, negating the Commandment, and setting the stage for their infamous duel.

#10: Ichigo Saves Rukia

“Bleach” (2004-12)

Ah, the golden age of the Soul Society arc, where this shonen truly flourished into something incredible, and nowhere is this highlighted better than Ichigo’s dramatic entrance. Just as Rukia is about to be executed on false charges, the strawberry substitute shinigami arrives at the last possible moment to save her from harm. Not only is he able to prevent Rukia from being burned to cinders, but then goes on to show just how strong he’s become via that all important Bankai reveal.

#9: United States of Smash

“My Hero Academia” (2016-)

The end of All Might’s career may have been painful, but it was also the most glorious goodbye one could hope for. Taking on his revitalised nemesis All for One, the world’s greatest hero burns through the last embers of his Quirk just for the small chance he can come back from the brink and claim victory. Even as his body is broken apart, All Might holds fast to the teachings of his predecessor, allowing him to land his final technique. Hard to come back after taking a full country to the face!

#8: The Straw Hats Attack The World Government

“One Piece” (1999-)

Treasure may come and go, but for a friend, these pirates would happily take on the whole world. And that’s exactly what they do. With Robin set to be executed, the Straw Hats arrive in Enies Lobby to stage a daring rescue, but not before letting the World Government know exactly what they think of them. Even with the threat of so many navy-controlled nations bearing down on them, they don’t hesitate to burn down their flag, metaphorically laying down the gauntlet!

#7: Serious Punch

“One Punch Man” (2015-19)

Imbued with the strength to take down anyone or anything with a single blow, Saitama has wasted countless opponents over the course of his rudderless superhero career. But none of his strikes packed as much impact than during the punchout with the alien tyrant Boros. Right before the earth is disintegrated under the force of Boros’ attack, Saitama unleashes his first “serious punch”, a move that not only unmakes the galactic dominator, but in all likeliness split the ozone layer in half.

#6: Madara Destroys the Shinobi Alliance

“Naruto Shippuden” (2007-17)

There had been a colossal amount of build-up regarding this mythical ninja, so many stories of the infamous Uchiha and his unmatched brutality. Yeah, turns out all of them were true. Moments after being resurrected, Madara decides to show the new generation how OG shinobi throw down…by taking on the entire Shinobi army single handedly and wiping the floor with them. It’s almost majestic in how Madara easily overpowers every foe that comes his way, and that’s all before he decides to drop a pair of meteors on them!

#5: Gold Experience Requiem

“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind” (2012-)

Jonathan’s the gentleman, Joseph’s the joker, Jotaro’s the bad boy, Josuke’s the hairstyle, and Giorno…is the god. After getting his hands on the long sought after arrow, Giorno’s Stand evolves to an entity that rules over reality, to the extent that it can not only smash your face in, but deny you the very concept of truth. In essence, Giorno became a living UNO reverse card, and watching him bring down the diabolical Diavolo was a treat, placing the gang-star at the pinnacle of power among the Joestars in the process!

#4: Shinji Saves Rei

“Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance” (2009)

No matter your thoughts on the Rebuild-Verse, there’s no getting around how incredible this scene is, from both a visual standpoint, as well as the shocking fact it displays Shinji showing a backbone. In spite of triggering another Impact and somewhat dooming the world, Shinji wasn’t about to let one of his waifus perish, doing everything possible to save her from the clutches of an Angel. All the while, his EVA Unit goes berserk and becomes a floating harbinger of destruction. How can something so symbolic be so metal?

#3: Eren Declares War

“Attack on Titan” (2013-)

It’s the moment where shit hit the fan, when the dominos were toppled, and the exact time Eren Jaeger went from a screaming, angry child to one of the scariest, most layered, and intriguing chads to grace the medium. Infiltrating the nation of Marley, Eren makes his position perfectly clear as the world’s leaders make their grandiose declaration of war against Paradis. A position that involves him transforming into the Attack Titan, murdering their leader, and going on a merciless rampage. And it was phenomenal.

#2: Kittan's Sacrifice

“Gurren Lagann” (2007)

Kamina may have been a man among men, but the way in which Kittan leapt off the mortal coil was something else entirely. To save Team Dai-Gurren, Kittan launches himself on a one-way trip to destroy the Death Spiral Machine. Even as his Gunman is ripped apart by the dense gravity, Kittan’s own overwhelming Spiral Power is enough to push just far enough to drill through it, saving his friends from catastrophe. While it costs him his life, Kittan’s parting does a wonderful job at signing off a character who consistently proved himself to be more than the sum of his parts.

#1: Ultra Instinct

“Dragon Ball Super” (2015-18)

Capturing the nostalgia of hardcore fans, blinding casuals with exquisite animation, all the while adding to the franchise’s lore in a way that hasn’t resonated so broadly since the original Super Saiyan transformation, it’s fair to say Goku’s mastering of Ultra Instinct was a big deal. After accessing this power only known to the gods, Goku is finally able to match the power of Jiren, leading to a one-sided beatdown that caused fans to lose their minds. It wasn’t only epic; it was an event.
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