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The 10 Longest Fights in Anime History

In the wide and diverse world of anime, few things are as iconic as the epic battles between beloved characters. A classic feature of the Shonen genre, these fights are frequently used to heighten the suspense of a story, highlight character development, and provide fast-paced action that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

Throughout the years, certain anime series have earned a reputation for having incredibly long and memorable fight scenes, which can span through several episodes and sometimes comprise entire arcs in the shows. Be it a clash of superpowers, a tournament duel, or a battle of ideals, get ready for some intense battles that take their time.

10 Yusuke vs. Toguro (Yu Yu Hakusho) – 4 Episodes

Yusuke vs. Toguro

The battle between Yusuke Urameshi and Younger Toguro in Yu Yu Hakusho is an emotionally charged showdown that had fans on the edge of their seats. As the climactic finale of the Dark Tournament arc, this epic confrontation showcases the tremendous growth and evolution of Yusuke’s character as a Spirit Detective. Featuring unmatched displays of strength, the fight also delves into the motivations, doubts, and insecurities of both characters, stripping them down to their core.

While not as long as some of the other fights listed here (Toguro and Yusuke face each for mere four episodes), this is definitely a confrontation that feels long, intense, and earned. The stakes are higher than ever, and we can’t help but fear for Yusuke as he faces the only opponent that has ever truly scared him. This final battle, perhaps the most memorable of the entire show, perfectly embodies the heart of the series, with its themes of love, growth, and triumph of the human spirit over terrifying and overwhelming odds.

9 Meruem vs. Netero (Hunter x Hunter) – 5 Episodes

Meruem vs. Netero

Throughout Hunter x Hunter, few battles have reached such high levels of strategic combat and emotional depth as the fight between Isaac Netero, the Chairman of the Hunter Association, and Meruem, King of the Chimera Ants. Taking place during the Chimera Ant Arc (which some consider to be one of the best arcs in all anime history), the conflict spans five episodes with charged displays of intelligence, speed, and strength. Not merely a test of physical abilities, the characters find themselves in a clash of ideologies over the fate of the world.

The emotional depth this fight provides to both characters is what truly makes it so outstanding. Meruem, a vicious and cold-hearted antagonist at first, undergoes an intense transformation when facing Netero’s steadfast resolve and witnessing the reality of human capacity for compassion and empathy. Meanwhile, poignant flashbacks expose Netero’s beliefs and his unwavering commitment to defend humanity, creating a deeply moving exploration of sacrifice and redemption.

8 Naruto vs. Pain (Naruto Shippuden) – 7 Episodes

Naruto vs. Pain

Of all the intense and awe-inspiring battles from Naruto Shippuden, few reach such a high level of action and emotional depth as the confrontation between Naruto and Pain. On his quest to bring peace to the world through any means necessary, Pain launches a devastating attack on Konoha, resulting in mass destruction and loss. Naruto, propelled by his unyielding determination and desire to protect his comrades and his village, is left with no choice but to face Pain head-on, using his locked power of the Nine-Tails Fox to try and equal Pain’s tremendous strength in combat.

Throughout the seven episodes of fight, Naruto undergoes significant character development, expanding his understanding of pain, grief, and the nature of true peace and coming to a pivotal point in his journey as both a ninja and a hero. The confrontation culminates in a beautiful and emotional scene in which Naruto confronts Pain’s ideas, challenging his perception of what it means to bring about peace.

7 Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra (Bleach) – 7 Episodes

Pierrot Studios

In the longest fight in Bleach history (it goes on for seven episodes), Ichigo and Ulquiorra face each other again after their first encounter in the Hueco Mundo arc. This time, Ulquiorra shows his ultimate form, Segunda Etapa, which greatly enhances his strength and prowess. Ichigo, determined to protect his friends and save Orihime, is ready to engage in an intense and life-or-death struggle. The battle is a stunning display of both characters’ power and determination, pushing each other to their limits and bringing forth newly discovered skills.

Related: 20 Coolest Weapons in Anime History

6 Yusuke vs. Sensui (Yu Yu Hakusho) – 9 Episodes

Yusuke vs. Sensui

Once again, Yu Yu Hakusho brings out some of the best and toughest fights in Shonen history. This time, Yusuke faces Sensui, a former Spirit Detective that has suffered a drastic transformation, becoming disillusioned with humanity and its darkness. On a set journey to purge the human world of what he regards as impurities in order to usher in a new era, Sensui is the perfect antagonist for the Chapter Black Saga not just terribly strong and intelligent, and he also serves as a narrative foil for Yusuke himself and his hero’s journey so far.

Through nine episodes, the characters engage in a fierce and desperate confrontation, and the complex nature of Sensui’s character and his tragic past is revealed. The conflict ultimately stands as not just a physical brawl but as a collision of personal beliefs about the nature of humanity and its potential for good and evil.

5 Tsuna vs. Xanxus (Reborn!) – 9 Episodes

Tsuna (Reborn!)

Taking place during the Varia arc of Reborn!, the battle between Tsuna and Xanxus goes on for nine episodes, depicting a fierce and intense clash of flames and wills. In this conflict, Tsuna is pitted against the imposing Xanxus, who wields the Sky Flame and is desperate to seize control the position of Vongola boss. From both characters’ epic match of powers to Tsuna’s development from a timid and reluctant teenager to a true leader, this fight stands out as one of the most beloved moments of the series.

4 Gohan vs. Cell (Dragon Ball Z) – 11 Episodes

Gohan vs. Cell

A Shonen classic, Dragon Ball Z has numerous iconic fights, but few are as long and pivotal as the battle between Gohan and Cell in the Cell Games Saga. The fate of the world hangs in the balance as the powerful Cell cruelly tries to test his newfound strength against the toughest combatants in a gigantic martial arts tournament. Gohan, the pacific son of Goku, decides to rise to the challenge in order to protect his loved ones, and ends up unleashing his own hidden potential as a Saiyan warrior.

For 11 episodes, the characters face each other in a relentless fight that encapsulates the heart of the series, with intense action, powerful transformations and a conclusion that shows the value of inner strength, love, and family.

3 Luffy vs. Doflamingo (One Piece) – 13 Episodes

Luffy vs. Doflamingo

One Piece is a long, long anime with equally long battles. The spectacular fight between Luffy and Donquixote Doflamingo in the Dressrosa Arc is the second longest of the series, adding up to 13 epidodes, and it remains a fan-favorite, illustrating the power of friendship and Luffy’s unwavering determination in his path to becoming the Pirate King.

Determined to end Doflamingo’s cruel and oppressive rule over Dressrosa and free its people, Luffy challenges the Warlord of the Sea, who wields the power of the String-String Fruit, granting him the ability to control and create strings at will. In order to counterbalance such power and actually win, the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates must unlock the full potential of his own Gum-Gum Fruit and its advanced transformation, Gear Fourth, leading to an extreme and explosive battle.

Related: One Piece: Things the Live-Action Series Faithfully Captured From the Anime

2 Goku vs. Frieza (Dragon Ball Z) – 19 Episodes

Goku and Frieza back to back
Toei Animation

The fight between Goku and Frieza in Dragon Ball Z is, without a doubt, one of the most memorable anime moments of all time. On one side, Frieza, a tyrannical and violent galactic emperor seeking to obtain the legendary Dragon Balls in order to rule the entire universe. On the other, Goku, the Saiyan warrior and our hero, tries to protect his friends and save the world from cruel domination.

For 19 episodes, the characters battle to their full potential on the planet Namek. In a climax of power and emotion, Goku undergoes a momentous transformation into a Super Saiyan, not only proving himself as one of the greatest warriors ever to live but also embodying the series’ themes of hope, friendship, and heroism.

1 Luffy vs. Katakuri (One Piece) – 21 Episodes

Luffy vs Katakuri

The title of the longest fight goes, unsurprisingly, to One Piece. The battle between Luffy and Katakuri is an intensive and exhaustive fight that lasts 21 episodes, testing both characters’ strength and determination. In an effort to save his crewmate Sanji and escape Big Mom’s clutches, Luffy engages Katakuri, one of the three Sweet Commanders of the Big Mom Pirates, in tough combat. However, the power disparity between them is staggering: Katakuri possesses an unparalleled level of observation haki, making it nearly impossible for anyone to land a hit on him. But Luffy never gives up, tapping into his own inner forces and solidifying his position as one of the most formidable contenders in the New World, as well as one of the most beloved anime heroes.


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