What I look for in fight scenes

Since my post about what I look forward to in what I watch was a complete success, this seems like a good extension of the what came from then. Some of this may seem like that post, but there are differences. Trust me. I try my best to not be incredibly picky, but I can’t help it sometimes. It’s just who I am. My tastes have changed quite a bit since I first started watching anime. Especially based around fight scenes. At first I just accepted all of the fight scenes that I’ve watched because I didn’t know any better. After watching quite a few of them, I’ve put together my own personal list of what all fight scenes should have for me to like them. Please enjoy.

1) Character Stuff
Walking into a fight scene, the first thing I care about are the characters. There are some important questions that I like to ask like: Do I care about these characters? Do I personally know them on a personal level? Do I want them to succeed? What happens if they don’t win? These questions need to have some sort of answer to them before I know I can enjoy the fight scene that is about to commence. Otherwise, the fight is centered around two people that I don’t about care about fighting for some reason that I don’t know about. It could be the most epic fight that has ever been animated with incredibly fluid animation and special effects that are eye popping, but none of those things matter if the characters are lame and are a big nothing. I must have a feeling of the characters’ stakes and how their world is going to change after winning this fight. Knowing more about them will help with the next aspect as well.

2) How Real/Grounded it Feels
How real the fights feel s and how grounded it is are what I look for next. Lately, I have been favoring the characters fighting up close and tearing the skin and face off the next guy kind of fights. Not just a fight that involves a lot of special and flashy abilities. Not just characters moving incredibly fast that we can’t see them on screen and having the side characters mentioning how awesome they are.  Not just a beam struggle with two characters trying to overpower the other. I want to see and feel these characters getting hurt. I want to live in the moment. If the fight just involves two people punching each other as hard as they can, it can be such a breath taking watching because of how visceral and true to life it all feels.  Tiger Mask W is a wrestling anime and the fights just involve throwing, grabbing, and hitting each other. These may sound like nothing special, but the best fights in the show are incredible. You can feel the impact of each blow, the strain on each character’s face during face grabs, and how hard the throws are. It’s just been a fun time all around and a little exhausting to watch, which is alright with me.

3) Cool Abilities
Cool abilities ranks third in this list because it just adds more spark to the other two things. Special abilities just add much more variability to the fights. For just a standard fist to fist kind of fight, in My Hero Academia the fight being Nomu and All Might all is just a fight between people who only normal physical attacks at a super level, but it was still amazing to watch because we know about All Might’s struggles and that the damage All Might has taken is taking a massive toll on him. If special abilities were added to a unique situation like that, that would be turn that fight from an eight to a ten. No questions asked. This is how I feel about fights in shows like Jojo. In Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, there are an infinite number of types of enemy stands (extensions of themselves in a human form that only other stand users can see) and seeing how the heroes deal with them adds much more variability and fun to the series. Most of those are a ten out of ten fights and I love themt o death.

4) Fluid Animation
This is the last aspect that I look for in a fight scene. While fluid animation is nice and ideal, detailed still frames can have the same impact as fluid animation, if they aren’t over used. The same goes for recycled bits of animation. Even if you’ve seen the same set of actions last episode, that isn’t a complete bother. I admit that things like Mob Psycho 100 and One Punch Man are rare treats that have gone beyond the number level of TV animation when it comes fight scenes, but animation is only one aspect of what makes an anime. (Not saying I don’t like them, because I do. Both fantastic series) Anime has gone through many years of survival with extremely limited animation because the stories and characters that were created are exceptional. I know that I sound old saying this, but newer fans are spoiled by the great animation that has come of late.

So yes, these are the four things I look for in a fight scene. I hope you enjoyed reading this list. What do you guys look for in a fight scene? Please tell me in the comments down below.


  1. I have to agree that the characters are the most important thing in terms of whether I’m going to enjoy a fight scene. If I don’t care about the characters in the first place I won’t care about the fight so it can look as cool as it wants and I’ll still just be counting time until the story progresses. I absolutely love when a fight comes along that you’ve been waiting for with two characters who’ve really just been circling each other and finally they let loose. It just kind of feels rewarding and like a release from all the tension that’s built up.
    Unfortunately this rarely comes along in anime because characters tend to jump into fights at the drop of a hat. Which can look cool but isn’t quite as satisfying.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Though I’m not sure what I would look for myself, this is pretty good criteria. I think you’re right to put characters first because without some kind of narrative meaning, most fights scenes, as you point out, have a hard time on selling themselves to the viewer on action alone. Personally, I’d put animation higher – maybe even in second place. It somewhat depends upon what the bar is for ‘fluid animation’ but I think the appeal of it for me is that those other two categories can somewhat be delivered upon through animation alone given enough vision and style. Good choreography and pacing certainly brings some verisimilitude to the table and I think that great enough animation and execution can make even bland or unoriginal abilities look refreshing and exciting.

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  3. I like to feel connected to the characters, that they are fighting for their lives. I don’t always like overpowering opponents just beat their enemy with one blast that is just boring. I like to feel the tension in the air XD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a nice read. I look for fluid animation and character interactions and their motives in fights too. I also look for grounded but stylistic choreography and a good soundtrack in the background.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Of the TV anime I’ve seen, Seirei no Moribito takes the cake in action. Its fights are few and far between, but the with precision and excellent choreography they display and the build-up and payoff to them, the likes of flashy titles like One Punch Man pale in comparison. Trust and Betrayal, Fate/Zero and Fullmetal Alchemist brotherhood also come to mind, though the last of those doesn’t quite have that sharpness I look for.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1 and 4 are the most important. It’s kind of an unwritten rule that the fight scenes have to be animated competently even if everything else may be low-budget. Having characters I can care about is paramount.

    Liked by 1 person

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