Personally, I almost always prefer manga over its anime adaptation. You’re getting the better art and story because you’re getting something that’s closer to what the author and artist originally had in mind, and you usually get better pacing – manga chapters come out faster and you can slog through an entire volume in a single day if you’re not a ridiculously slow reader. On the other hand, you’re at the mercy of an anime episode’s runtime. Fast-forwarding an episode isn’t the same as skimming a chapter – you tend to lose the beat and momentum on the former.
However, I don’t believe that the manga is inherently better than its anime adaptation. There is a place for anime even if you don’t count the times when they go off on tangents or change the story completely. For one thing, it shows fight scenes better. A really good anime fight scene takes what already looks good on paper and brings it to life with sound, well-choreographed movements, and of course: colors.
I’m not exactly an anime connoisseur, as I only watch mainstream ones but for what it’s worth, here are 5 of my favorite fight anime fight scenes:
Hiei vs. Bui (YuYu Hakusho)
This is arguably Hiei’s best fight in the entire series. Most of his solo fights were either won by speedblitzing/steamrolling his opponents or lost because of something that completely takes his abilities and power out of the equation. His fight with Bui played out from start to finish – starting with his attempt to once again speedblitz/steamroll the opponent, only for it to fail once Bui removes his armor. For all intents and purposes, Hiei should have lost this fight fair and square. It was only through sheer blind luck that he managed to win. Had Bui simply deflected the dark dragon fire, Hiei would have had nothing else under his sleeve.
Amuro Ray/Nu Gundam vs. Char Aznable/Sazabi (Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counter Attack)
Since it was made for a movie, the animation for Amuro and Char’s final showdown in Char’s Counter Attack is significantly better than an average anime episode’s, so it has that going for it. Basically, it’s a really darn good pilot in a powerful (yet incomplete and untested) mobile suit going head to head with an equally skilled pilot in a powerful mobile armor. You get blasters, beam swords, an impressive bits vs. funnels showdown, and Amuro’s Nu Gundam resorting to hand-to-hand combat.
Himura Kenshin vs. Hajime Saitou (Rurouni Kenshin)
Majority of the fights that Kenshin won before fighting Saitou at the Kamiya dojo were only difficult because he has mellowed down since his hitokiri days. As soon as Kenshin channels Battousai, the fights were pretty much one-sided in his favor. In Saitou’s case, Kenshin still had trouble getting a win even after Battousai the Slasher resurfaced. Both combatants fought with literally everything they had – Saitou using his belt after his sword was broken and Kenshin using his scabbard.
Archer Illya vs. Saber Alter (Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya)
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya is technically a maho shoujo series, but if your first glimpse of the anime is through this fight scene, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that it’s a shounen anime. It starts with Rin and Luvia looking like they managed to finish it in one impressive blast, and then the tension rises as it is made to look like they both perished. And then Illya suddenly pulls out an Archer card and transforms in order to give us a beautiful, fast-paced fight between two powerful combatants. Fate fans will get all tingly seeing the super moe Illya break out all of Archer’s old moves.
Kid Goku vs. Tienshinhan (Dragon Ball)
I’m a big fan of Dragon Ball Z, even before Kai managed to make it easier to consume. However, I’m not deluded enough to believe that Z had better fight scenes than Dragon Ball. Many of the fights in Dragon Ball Z are just people moving really fast and seeing who can shoot the larger laser out of their extremities while shouting really hard. Dragon Ball, on the other hand, had better paced fights that showcased specific techniques and strategies.
Kid Goku’s fight against Tienshinhan is notable for a number of reasons. First is that it is possibly the last time Tienshinhan had any chance of beating Goku, and another is the fact that it managed to make you wonder whether Goku’s going to win. The fight didn’t have Goku suddenly getting so angry that his power rises beyond his normal levels. No, it’s just a straight fight between two equally-skilled and almost equally-powerful combatants, and the outcome was decided purely by blind luck.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Corrections? You can use the comments section below or you can chat with us at Toonbarn’s forums.