Different anime series can be described in a number of ways: funny, terrible, colorful, whimsical, etc. Those are words suitable for run-of-the-mill anime, but there are a fair few which thrive on the words “epic” and “over the top.” Series such as Attack on Titan, Sword Art Online and High School of the Dead are prime examples; they have taken the best parts of the action genre and blown them up to the point that it toes the line between epic and absurdity. These types of anime thrive on that concept; however, there are many others that don’t make this part of their premise but include bits and pieces of that idea in certain moments. These are just a few examples of anime that only have a single moment that is definitely out of this world but still makes our spines tingle.
“Take a potato chip…and eat it!” — Death Note
Light Yagami is a high school genius who is bored with his mundane life. One day, a mysterious notebook falls from the sky into his school’s courtyard. It is a tool of death, and any human whose name is written in the notebook shall die. Not believing it at first, Light experiments with it on a criminal and, to his surprise, it works. After several more uses, Light suffers mental breakdown, and he decides to be a harbinger of justice and rid the world of evil. This sparks the attention of the world’s greatest detective L, who is determined to hunt down “Kira” — Light’s new persona. Throughout the investigation, Light’s family is put under suspicion, and their house is bugged with cameras. Thanks to his own deductive skills and his companion Ryuk (who is also the Death Note’s original owner), they find the cameras and concoct a plan to shift away L’s gaze.
The whole scene itself shows a battle of wits between L and Light, with them pulling no punches against each other. L illegally puts cameras in the suspects houses and watches the families, while Light manages to hide a television and a piece of the Death Note in a sealed bag of chips. When Light reaches for a chip and eats it, he could have just said so plainly and unenthused, but then the scene wouldn’t be as brilliant or memorable. The fact that he literally destroys the chips and yells the latter half of his sentence is the exclamation point on how he has bested L in this round.
Yugi beats Slifer thanks to a loophole — Yu-Gi-Oh!
There is something to be said about an anime, when a children’s card game can have Earth-shattering, and dimension-shattering, consequences. Yu-Gi-Oh! is the story of Yugi Moto and his friends, who save the world by dueling their enemies with trading cards. In the second anime story arc, Seto Kaiba (Yugi’s Main Rival) hosts a duel tournament known as the Battle City Tournament, in the hopes to draw out strong duelists so he can obtain the three Ancient God Cards. One of the competitors turns out to be the evil Marik Ishtar who mind-controls the Rare Hunters in order to defeat Yugi and Kaiba. Marik uses one of his mind slaves to try to defeat Yugi using Slifer the Sky Dragon. Put into a tough spot, Yugi calls upon The Heart of the Cards, pulls out Brain Control which allows Yugi to use Marik’s own strategy against him.
Every duel in Yu-Gi-Oh! is over the top because the fate of the world, always rests in the victor of a card game, and it doesn’t help that there are holigraphic projectors that bring the cards to life with some of them even being able to actually come to life Normally, Yugi beats his opponents with a clever strategy that allows him to finish them off with one of his own monster attacks. What makes this duel different is that he exploits a loophole that makes his opponent keep drawing cards to off himself. It’s a clever strategy, but it’s pretty much a dick move.
Ash jumps between Mew and Mewtwo — Pokémon: The First Movie
Whether or not you grew up on anime, chances are you watched Pokémon at some point. By the turn of the century, it had a video game series, a cartoon and a card game. Only thing that was left was theatrical release, and we got it with Pokemon the First Movie: MewTwo Strikes Back. In the first of many Pokémon movies, scientists clone the rare Mew into the test tube Pokémon Mewtwo. Eventually waking up and destroying the lab he was created in, Mewtwo is found by Giovanni and used as a secret opponent in his gym. Tired of being used, Mewtwo escapes and plans his revenge, which involves inviting strong Pokémon trainers to his hide out, cloning their Pokémon and taking over the world. During the final battle, Mew finally shows up to save the day, but Ash has had enough of the fighting and decides that best way to do that is to kamikaze himself right into the fray.
Now as far as movie sacrifices go, Ash is pretty ballsy. He doesn’t care what happens, he just wants to stop all the unnecessary carnage, and for his efforts he gets sandwiched between two Pokémon Kamehamahas (That’s how I wanna die). From there, everything could have wrapped up, Mewtwo renounces his evil and decides to find a new way to live, there’s a funeral for Ash and people split apart and then we later get a new protagonist. But this is anime, so we can’t have that kind of ending. No, instead Ash does come back to life thanks to the tears of Pokémon–a fairy tale ending to say the least.
Ashitaka’s intervention — Princess Mononoke
Most of Hayao Miyazaki’s movies delve deep into human emotion and blur the line between good and evil. It is safe to say that all of his movies are epic in the sense that even in the simplest of stories, there is a grand adventure to be had, but only one made this list. Princess Mononoke is about a young man name Ashitaka who is inflicted with a fatal curse after killing a boar god. He is then forced to leave his village to discover the cause of the curse. In his travels Ashitaka finds a settlement known as Iron Town, run by the Lady Eboshi, and is the reason for the boar god’s curse. Upon meeting Lady Eboshi and discovering she was inadvertently involved, Iron Town is attacked by San aka Princess Mononoke (Princess of Ghouls, Ghosts and Spirits), which leads to a one-on-one confrontation between the two. Ashitaka, growing increasingly frustrated, decides to take matters into his own hands.
What makes this scene over the top, besides Ashitaka throwing people around, is the speech that he delivers to the townspeople about hate and anger. It sounds like one of those speeches you would hear at the end of a cheesy 80s movie about love and togetherness. In the end, however, Ashitaka proves to be more than just a bleeding heart as we see he is able to hold his own against two warriors by blocking their blades and then knocking them both unconscious.
What are some of your over-the-top, epic anime moments? Let us known in the comments below or you might be the first victim in a high school zombie anime.
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