The Best Anime Fighting Games To Get Your Blood Pumping

When it comes to anime fighting games, players need something fun, competitive, and something with replay value.

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 these game succeed by having 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… here are the cream of the crop of anime fighting games out there.

1. Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018)

Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018) best anime fighting games
image credit: bandai namco/MOBY GAMES

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).

Dragon Ball FighterZ uppercut

“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.

2. Guilty Gear Strive (2021)

Guilty Gear Strive (2021) best anime fighting games
image credit: arc system works/MOBY GAMES

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.

Guilty Gear Strive gameplay
image credit: arc system works

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”, 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.

3. Granblue Fantasy: Versus (2020)

Granblue Fantasy: Versus (2020) best anime fighting 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.

Granblue Fantasy: Versus gameplay
image credit: arc system works

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.

4. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles (2021)

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles (2021) best anime fighting 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…

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles gameplay
image credit: sega

The action packed 3D arena fighter features twelve 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.

5. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (2016)

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (2016) best anime fighting games

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.

ultimate ninja storm 4 screenshot
image credit: bandai namco

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.

6. Persona 4 Arena (2012)

Persona 4 Arena (2012) best anime fighting games

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.

Persona 4 Arena gameplay
image credit: atlus

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.

7. My Hero One’s Justice 2 (2020)

My Hero One's Justice 2 (2020) best anime fighting games

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.

My Hero One's Justice 2 gameplay
image credit: bandai namco

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 and popular manga series, My Hero Academia.

8. Jump Force (2019)

Jump Force (2019) best anime fighting games

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.

Jump Force gameplay
image credit: bandai namco

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.

9. One Piece: Burning Blood (2016)

One Piece: Burning Blood (2016) best anime fighting games

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.

One Piece: Burning Blood gameplay
image credit: bandai namco

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.

10. Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel (2015)

Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel (2015) best anime fighting games

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.

Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel gameplay
image credit: nitroplus co.

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.

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