In the anime world, action series are an opportunity to showcase cool combat systems, magical powers, swords, firearms, and more. Many of the most popular animated series are thrilling shonen and seinen action stories, but every once in a while, a character doesn’t win with guts and skill, but with something much cheaper.
Sometimes a character can exploit a small flaw in his enemy and win the whole battle with him, or that fighter can get outside help or win a fight with bad luck and a bit more. Heroes, villains, and everyone else could win when they really should have lost, and it can get pretty awkward in the story. When did these characters steal a victory and how?
10 When Ichigo defeated Kenpachi Zaraki (Bleach)
During the Soul Society arc, Ichigo Kurosaki faced a variety of Soul Reaper officers, each one more powerful than the last. After defeating Renji Abarai, he faced Captain Kenpachi Zaraki below, an eyepatch powerhouse and a bad attitude.
Ichigo was nearly defeated until he learned to trust Zangetsu as a partner and thus turn the tide of battle. But considering the caliber of enemies Kenpachi could defeat later in the story, it’s hard to believe that Ichigo, who was lacking in bankai at the time, could have won like this.
9 When Naruto defeated Kiba Inuzuka (Naruto)
During the chunin exam arc, Naruto Uzumaki was assigned to a duel against Kiba Inuzuka, a taijutsu ninja who fought with his partner, Akamaru. Naruto tried his best to defend himself, but Kiba had the upper hand, and he was too fast for Naruto to handle.
Kiba tried to finish things off from behind, but just as he got closer, the show’s hygienic humor came to the fore as Naruto really went through the wind at just the right time. This overwhelmed Kiba’s chakra enhanced nose, giving Naruto a chance to fight back and win. This is a lot unique way to claim victory from the jaws of defeat.
8 When he is near Light Yagami cornered with a fake notebook (Death Note)
During the second half of this series, the lonely genius boy named Near took over the Kira case, gradually but surely taking Light into a corner. Light used all his wits to defend himself and recruited Teru Mikami, a prosecutor, to act as his proxy.
Near and Light each formulated a final plan for victory, and by all rights, Light should have emerged triumphant. Why didn’t it? Because Teru went off script and used the notebook without being told, allowing Near to find and replace the Death Note with a copy. Even Near admitted that otherwise, he would have lost to Light.
7 When Katsuki Bakugo defeated Shoto Todoroki (My Hero Academia)
There is no doubt that Shoto Todoroki and Katsuki Bakugo were the two strongest students in the entire arc of the UA sports festival, and they were all looking forward to their final match. Bakugo won, but he didn’t feel like he won it at all.
Shoto was fighting half-heartedly, deeply concerned about his father’s affairs and what Izuku had told him. If Shoto had used the full extent of his powers, he certainly could have taken out Bakugo, and pretty fast too.
6 When Erza Scarlet defeated Kyoka (Fairy Tail)
Erza Scarlet obtained her rank as a level S mage from the Fairy Tail Guild, but she met her rival during the Tartaros arc when she faced Kyoka, a demon from Zeref. Kyoka’s curse abilities were based on power amplification and sensory manipulation.
Kyoka slowly but surely built her own limitless power, as she robbed Erza of all her senses except pain. Erza should have lost that match, but inexplicably, she used The Power of Friendship to “see” and thus deal the final blow to Kyoka. Erza didn’t seem like an organic or rational way to win.
5 When Askeladd killed Thors in the Faroe Islands (Vinland Saga)
The Viking commander known as Askeladd led his own band of mercenaries across northern Europe, and at one point, Floki of the Jomsvikings ordered Askeladd to dispatch Thors, the Troll of Jom. But no one can beat Thors in a fair fight, hence his reputation.
So Askeladd had to fight dirty. He set a trap in the Faroe Islands, then sent all his men to Thors and even fought him in a duel. When Askeladd gave the order, his archers peppered Thors with arrows and the mighty Troll of Jom finally fell. Young Thorfinn was distraught to see him, as his father not only died, but died due to deceit and dishonorable tactics.
4 When Korra defeated Amon (The Legend of Korra)
For much of Season 1, Avatar Korra struggled to master airbending, as her impetuous and impatient personality clashed with the basic principles of airbending. But when he lost his other items to Amon’s Bloodbending, he had no other options to turn to, so his Airbending arrived.
Often times, in shows like these, the hero will gain a new power at the last moment when all is lost. But that’s often a cheap move, and a “life and death” situation like that doesn’t fit the tone of Airbending at all. But Korra gained that power and used it to frustrate Amon at last.
3 When Rimuru “defeated” Demon Lord Milim (that time I was reincarnated as a slime)
Rimuru Tempest quickly gathered an entire arsenal of magical powers and abilities, but even he was outmatched by the true Demon Lord Milim Nava, who was far stronger than his appearance and goofy personality would suggest. In season 1, he faced Rimuru in mortal combat.
Milim proved her worth against Rimuru and something else, and Rimuru feared that at last she might have found her mate. Could it even escape alive? He then came up with the idea of feeding Milim a sample of local honey, inspiring Milim to call off the fight and become friends. It’s lucky that Milim has a fickle sweet tooth.
two When Kimblee defeated Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Solf J. Kimblee, the crimson lotus alchemist, works best from a distance as he fires explosions to vaporize his enemies. He then engaged Edward Elric in a fierce hand-to-hand battle in an icy northern mining town, and Ed quickly took the lead.
Ed used his superior martial arts and light automail to cut the skin off Kimblee’s palms and quench his alchemy. Kimbee responded with a surprise Philosopher’s Stone, blowing up the place and nearly killing Ed. In fairness though, Ed could have knocked Kimblee unconscious before it got to that. Kimblee was out of her element and should have succumbed to Edward.
1 When Rukia Kuchiki defeated Aaroniero Arurruerie (Bleach)
At this point in the series, Rukia was undoubtedly a capable Soul Reaper, but she lacked the firepower to defeat the ninth Espada, Aaroniero Arurruerie. First, Aaroniero used Kaien Shiba’s likeness and powers as a combined physical and psychological advantage. He then released his own zanpakuto, Gluttony.
This unleashed the combined power of the 33,650 Hollows that Aaroniero has consumed thus far, which should have been more than enough to crush Rukia. But he conveniently got quite careless and put Rukia right in his face so he could tease her. It was then that Rukia manifested a new power, an ice blade, and stabbed Aaroniero’s head with it. Aaroniero should have won that match.
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