I must say that researching the best anime fighting games was way more fun than expected!
I wouldn’t consider myself the biggest anime fan. But I certainly have my favorites.
Anything Ghibli, Death Note, Ghost in the Shell…. okay, so like maybe that’s it. I have definitely watched many others, but those are the ones I could say I am a true fan of.
Putting this list together absolutely had me pulling up my Netflix account and bookmarking a few shows (I started watching Demon Slayer immediately).
You don’t have to be an anime fan to enjoy the games on this list.. but it certainly helps.
When it comes to fighting games, players need something fun, competitive, and something with replayability.
When you introduce familiar characters… and even go as far as to tell compelling stories in between battles… now you got something that really hooks into peoples emotional attachment.
And that is where I would say many of these game succeed (and a couple fail)… have captivating story lines and characters we can care about. Even if you have never once seen the source material for those characters.
So whether you came for the familiar franchises, or you came for an awesome game and felt motivated to go look up the shows/comics after the fact… there are a ton of great anime fighting games out there.
So which ones did we decided were the best anime fighting games? Let’s take a look…
Table of Contents
What is it about anime fans wanting to see cute girls beat the heck out of each other?
With fourteen playable characters and eighteen support characters, this game is sure to please those familiar with the Nitroplus game and manga franchise.
The original arcade hit was ported over to PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows. So there are plenty of options for players today to enjoy this competitive feminine fighter.
This cel-shaded three-dimensional fighter boasts a crazy roster of 44 characters from the beloved One Piece universe.
Its large arenas and over the top fights (sometimes to the point of ridiculousness) are well suited for parties with friends.
But those who play alone can also dive deep into the single player campaign with voice acted cutscenes and a story pulled directly from the anime series.
It was an absolute hit in Japan, debuting number one in Japanese sales charts in its first week.
Fans of the One Piece anime series are sure to enjoy this over the top fighter. And this list of best anime fighting games would not be complete without it.
One Piece: Burning Blood is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
Jump Force is a cross-over fight game, launching with 40 characters from the famous Shōnen Jump manga anthology. Placing those familiar characters, who were depicted in 2d art styles, in realistic 3d environments.
And subsequent downloadable content introduced an additional 17 characters.
Jump Force could be described as a casual arena fighter. Battle feels chaotic, fun, diverse, and fast-paced.
The intense visual style may be intimidating to the unfamiliar, but the game is actually thought to be accessible to those less hardened in the fight genre.
Admittedly, Jump Force’s narrative was not its strongest asset, and its lack in compelling story and character performances made it feel like just a good start to what could be greatly improve upon in a follow up game.
Jump Force released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
We wanted to score this one much higher, as it is an absolutely beautiful game. But there are just so many amazing anime fight games that we had to show our appreciation for.
My Hero One’s Justice 2 is a 3d arena fighter with one-on-one combat and two support characters for each player.
The second installment in the game series makes massive improvements in fight mechanics and an expanded roster of 50 playable characters. Every character has a unique play style and move set, so strategy will be important.
Large destructible environments adds to the insanity and chaotic feel in the fights, and the speed has been increased from the first game.
With its expanded mechanics and new game modes, this follow up is sure to please fans from the predecessor (which placed on our list of best anime games for Switch) and popular manga series, My Hero Academia.
My Hero One’s Justice 2 can be enjoyed on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, and Google Stadia.
This 2012 arcade fighter was the first in the popular Persona series to reach outside of the familiar realm of a role-playing game.
Battle is intense, over the top and highly detailed.. as players have come to expect from the fighting genre.
The environments are beautiful and their 3d perspective adds to the diversity in the experience.
The unique and deep battle mechanics will require players to play strategically, while remaining fun and addictive.
Though it is not based on an anime or manga series, the clear Japanese style is present. And its use of manga style cutscenes make players feel like they are living in a story line straight from the bookshelves of Tokyo.
This arcade game can also be enjoyed at home on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and is set to be ported to Switch, PS4, and PC soon!
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is the final installment in the “Ultimate Ninja” series.
The game features a large roster of 106 characters from the popular anime series. Players choose a team of three players with the ability to swap between them during battle in large 3d arenas.
Significant changes were made to the battle mechanics, but many fans considered these changes welcome improvements.
Built to be more accessible and focused on fun and entertainment, “Ultimate Ninja Storm 4” is a great entry point for new players while being perfect for long time fans of the franchise.
The inclusion of an Adventure-mode offers a whole new way to experience the lore of the Naruto series with original animations not seen in the original anime.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
“Ultimate Ninja Storm 4” also took the number one spot on our list of best anime games.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles introduces a new single player mode that offers a unique gameplay experience from other games on this list. Its use of cutscenes, quick-time events, open areas to explore, mini-games and boss battles makes you question whether you could consider it a part of the fight genre.
And it is a gorgeous game! Its beautiful 2d cutscene animations and 3d battle animations make “The Hinokami Chronicles” feel like you could be watching the source anime.
And let’s not forget, we are talking about a fighting game…
The action packed 3d arena fighter features 12 unique players, with enough diversity to make it competitive, while keeping things simple enough to feel fair. The movesets, combinations, power-ups, and options for free movement are well varied.
“The Hinokami Chronicles” was released in 2021 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, with a release on Nintendo Switch dropping back in 2022.
A very easy addition to our list of best anime fighting games. And one that I had originally placed much higher on the list. But as great as it is, there were also these games:
Stripping away over-the-top complicated combinations, Granblue Fantasy: Versus aims to have its own identity in the fighting genre by making itself an approachable entry point for players who may typically be intimidated by the fight genre.
Accessibility was at the core of the development by Arc System Works, who brought us all of the top three games on this list!
But its simplicity results in a game that is anything but “simple”.
With a straight forward fighting style that relies more on skill than luck, and a unique cooldown mechanic forcing players to strategize and weigh the risks of each move, “Versus” still leaves plenty of room for competitive play.
And where this game truly shines is in the visual style and beautiful animated in-fight specials and campaign cutscenes. The narrative driven game play is top of the line.
Granblue Fantasy: Versus debuted at number one in Japan at launch, and was released for PlayStation 4 and PC.
One of the most lore heavy game franchises in the genre, Guilty Gear could easily be thought of as a playable anime series.
The 2d animation is absolutely gorgeous, the environments are detailed and diverse, the characters are unique with their own play style and story lines.
The developers of the series are quoted as saying that the aim was to make a game that was easier to comprehend rather than making it simply easier to play. The results of this philosophy is a game that plays smoother and more straight forward than its predecessor, without losing the high level of depth in its fight mechanics.
And deep, those mechanics are! Guilty Gear Strive has some of the most complex and competitive fight mechanics of any game on this list. But like many games that are generally considered “hard” (Bloodborne, Cuphead), the reward is often all that much sweeter.
Wrapped in one of the most beautiful games on the list, Guilty Gear Strive is truly an experience worth fighting for.
Guilty Gear Strive was released for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Microsoft Windows, as well as Japanese arcades.
Arc System Works seems to be on a roll here, taking all three of the top spots on our list of best anime fighting games! And all three games are quite unique and set themselves apart from eachother.
But topping our list of best anime fighting games is Dragon Ball FighterZ! One of the most beautiful cel-shaded games in the genre, and one that leverages one of the most beloved franchises in anime history.
Its simple 3-vs-3 battle mechanics with no complicated combos creates an inviting entry point into modern fight games. The fight style could even be thought of as a throw back to classic fight games from the 90s (à la Marvel vs Capcom).
“FighterZ” was also a return to 2d animations for the franchise. And for fans invested in the visuals of Dragon Ball Z… the characters, environments, camera effects and attacks feel straight out of the anime.
Dragon Ball FighterZ was very well received by fans and critics. It won the 2017 Best Fighting Game from Game Critics Awards, the 2018 Game of the Year from ESPN Esports Awards, and the 2018 Fan Favorite Fighting Game from Gamers’ Choice Awards.
Available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch… Dragon Ball FighterZ is available for fans of any of the popular console families.
A tough list to make, and the top three games could very easily be listed at random, and it would still be a great list. But we are very confident that we at least got our top three right. Now I am in the mood to go play some of these! BRB…
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.