Best Shonen Manga Fights Ranked
Images: Shueisha / VIZ Media / Ufotable, Remixed by Attack of the Fanboy

The 14 Best Shonen Manga Fights, Ranked

Shonen manga is exceptionally good at pleasing its young readers with promises of exciting action and cathartic confrontations. The best Shonen manga fights over the years are typically ranked by how they feel to read and how iconic they’ll become with the fandom.

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The Best 14 Fights in Shonen Manga, Ranked

It’s nearly impossible to ignore the hype surrounding manga published by Shueisha, predominantly Weekly Shonen Jump thanks to iconic fights. There have been multiple standout manga even beyond just the Shonen Big Three that are poised to stand the test of time, with the following fights ranked from great to greatest.

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

Keep in mind, this is evaluating the printed manga, and not anime. Below are each of the best fights ranked, but there are spoilers ahead, so you’ve been warned!

14. Naruto vs. Isshiki (Boruto: Naruto Next Generations)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

While people commonly cite Naruto and Sasuke vs. Momoshiki as their top Boruto fight, this one is my selection as an impressive showcase that leaped off the page. The stakes were incredibly real in this fight, and Naruto revealed a last-ditch power-up he could use thanks to Kurama: Baryon Mode. Suddenly, contact with the energy created by Naruto and Kurama’s conjoined chakra could drain Isshiki’s life force.

This power-up came with a huge drawback, however. It was inevitably a move that would use up either or both of Kurama and Naruto’s chakra, so it was a sacrificial move. But it turned the tables and bought time while stealing it away from Isshiki, reducing his lifespan to mere minutes. While it’s among the best fights in the Boruto manga, it’s also quite exciting to see in the anime for Shonen fans.

13. Star and Stripe vs. Shigaraki (My Hero Academia)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

America’s No. 1 pro hero goes in for the kill against a deadly villain. There are some truly killer sequences in this fight, where among other things, Star creates a vacuum to try and suffocate her opponent. Shigaraki, meanwhile, finds his consciousness fusing with All For One in these parts, raising the stakes for later in the series.

The fight is visually very striking, with moments including an air construct pummelling Shigaraki. But the truth is, they would need to destroy every atom of him to defeat him in this fight, and with Star even being backed up by her fighter jet squadron, this would still prove a deadly challenge. It’s relatively quick to read, but it’s a total treat.

12. Zoro vs. Kuma (One Piece)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

I could have fun and leave the one-sentence response to this entry as the obligatory “Nothing happened” quote. But in all honesty, this confrontation between Zoro and Kuma revealed many fascinating details about each character. Kuma was identified as a Pacifista with an artificial body, and Zoro’s loyalty to Luffy was cemented as truly iconic in this moment from Chapter 485.

The idea was simple: either Luffy must die, or somebody must endure his suffering and take his place. Sanji attempted to offer, but Zoro knocked it away. Despite Zoro’s existing injuries, he would be expected to shoulder Luffy’s suffering as well, the result being presumably death. However, as you may well know, the result was a blood-soaked badass standing at death’s door but never opening it. When asked what happened, all he could muster was “Nothing…nothing at all!”

11. Rengoku vs. Akaza (Demon Slayer)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

This one is a bittersweet memory for a lot of folks. Rengoku, the Fire Hashira, was hailed by many fans for his iconic design and declared by many as the best character in Demon Slayer. His fight with Akaza was essentially his warrior Swan Song, the clash of the Flame Tiger against the Upper Ranks.

In a series known for gorgeous visuals and epic clashes against evil forces, this fight simply had to make the list. It is the highlight of the Mugen Train Arc, with every action of his being to protect the innocent. This would push the remaining characters to become even stronger, but was a tragic day for fans everywhere.

10. Rukia vs. Äs Nödt (Bleach)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War is as close to perfection as a Shonen manga adaptation can be. But one of the most cathartic moments for fans was seeing Rukia, who went a long time without significant development or interesting moments, had everybody glued to the screen. Its source material was perhaps more minimalist, but just as tantalizing.

In one corner, you have Äs Nödt, Stern Ritter known as “The Fear”, and in another, you have Rukia, Captain of the 13th Division and master of Sode no Shirayuki. Her ice powers in their final battle came in clutch, providing a valuable barrier against Äs Nödt’s rapidly increasing fear-based attacks, halting them in the simplest way possible: freezing her body to a state of temporary death.

Image: ©Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV TOKYO, dentsu, Pierrot

The panel after she unleashed her bankai was brought to magnificent life in the recently released Part 2 of the TYBW anime. There’s only one word that can be spoken about this moment as it reveals her in her glacial form: “QUEEN.”

9. Yusuke vs. Younger Toguro (Yu Yu Hakusho)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

Yu Yu Hakusho set up a pretty incredible legacy. It has been so influential that it is cited as an influence over Bungo Stray Dogs’ creation, is favorably compared to contemporary series like Bleach and Jujutsu Kaisen, and is even getting a live-action Netflix adaptation. The series handled power levels well, so when protagonist Yusuke Urameshi was pitted against Younger Toguro, the series showed us how far he’d come.

Yusuke was initially taught the Spirit Gun and was only able to fire it once a day. In this tournament, his training under his mentor Genkai had him start the fight by intentionally restraining his spirit energy. Meanwhile, Younger Toguro was holding back at first as well, seeking a worthy opponent. The result is one of the best, most compelling, and visually stunning of the classic Shonen manga fights.

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

But the deal he and his older brother made, giving them each otherworldly powers, would prove worth the investment when he’s pushed to assume his monstrous, insanely overmuscled form to give Yusuke the fight of his life in the Dark Tournament. A simple flick of the thumb by Toguro could create bursts of air strong enough to hit like bullets, and the ensuing fight was all the 90s manga readers could talk about. It doesn’t hurt that some of Toguro’s panels feature phenomenal artwork depicting his monstrous form.

8. Shoto vs. Dabi (My Hero Academia)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

Dabi’s identity and connection to Shoto create a violent sibling rivalry and not the only one to make this list. But their confrontation in Chapter 352 of the manga is truly special, boasting some breathtaking panels and moving character development for Shoto.

Shoto was also seen as a bit of a loner for a lot of the series, but his acknowledgment of Class A always being there to cheer him on. His accomplishments in this fight would turn the tides in the surrounding greater battle, and earn him the praise and adoration of everyone around. It was a troubling fight between the Todoroki siblings, but a stunning one.

7. Gojo vs. Sukuna (Jujutsu Kaisen)

Image: Gege Akutami / Shueisha / VIZ Media

The strongest sorcerer in history against the strongest sorcerer of today, Satoru Gojo vs. Ryomen Sukuna. This match in the Culling Game was immortalized in the Shinjuku Showdown Arc and still has fans in disbelief over its conclusion. However, it’s something that the series had been building to, and over 200 chapters later, it certainly was worth it as one of the best recent Shonen manga fights.

However, since it’s a relatively new arc and has blown up all over social media, I recommend reading up first before seeing any of the major spoilers.

6. Sasuke vs. Itachi (Naruto)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

The fated battle between brothers was so keenly anticipated by fans since the earliest chapters in the manga that its panels remain iconic today. This was the legendary chip on Sasuke Uchiha’s shoulder for a long time in the series, and for this confrontation with Itachi, a deadly member of Akatsuki, you knew they’d pull out all the stops.

This fight offered up a combat buffet of ninjutsu, taijutsu, and genjutsu thanks to a clash of Sharingan eye users. It was a visual smorgasbord featuring Amaterasu, Sword of Totsuka, Yata Mirror, and more techniques that would feature later on. But it was also tragic, with the two siblings knowing that one would have to die, and Sasuke would be devastated by the burden Itachi carried all of his life when he learns the truth behind the Uchiha Clan massacre.

5. The Demon Slayers vs. Muzan (Demon Slayer)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

Speaking of building up to an exciting battle, there are few examples more prominent than the showdown with the main villain of Demon Slayer. This was a confrontation that was split into two parts across the last two arcs of the series. It’s here that we see the Hashiras, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, Inosuke, and more duke it out with the big bad of the franchise.

Many fighters here die in pursuit of ending Muzan’s threat once and for all. Others are maimed or transformed. The sheer assortment of fighting styles and techniques put to use in this fight will likely wind up a glorious visual cacophony of colors and patterns when this is inevitably adapted for the anime.

4. Ichigo vs. Byakuya (Bleach)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

There were a lot of iconic Bleach fights across the hundreds of chapters in its manga. TYBW may yet showcase some of its other strongest fights, but Ichigo vs. Byakuya still manages to stand out. This particular fight in the Soul Society Arc had fans wondering if Byakuya was taking it easy on Ichigo, but it’s impossible to ignore the utter style with which this fight was handled.

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

The truth is, the manga just felt so perfect when following this glorious fight. It’s loaded with 2-page spreads and panels that feel positively cinematic. Tite Kubo’s fantastic style helps this to be the truly standout battle it deserves to be. But in all reality, Bleach has such an incredible assortment of battles featuring its main and supporting characters that you should give it a good read before TYBW Part 3 rolls around.

3. Armored All Might vs. All For One (My Hero Academia)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

Several fights come to mind, but currently, the buzz around here is all about Armored All Might’s Round 3 fight against the villain All For One. When I talk about bringing the heat in the form of jaw-dropping, electrifying panels, this is among the top examples.

All Might knows which buttons to press in this fight. He lays the smackdown despite being Quirkless. Being 50 years old and being able to put up a deadly fight in a suped-up mechanical suit with combat gadgets might remind Western readers of something familiar. It’s oddly reminiscent of a The Dark Knight Returns Batman or even a Tony Stark figure.

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

However, Toshinori Yagi is hardly a Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, or even a Stark. This entire fight is brimming with his personality, and it’s an immediate favorite among MHA readers.

2. Luffy vs. Kaido (One Piece)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

I probably didn’t even need the parentheses in this case. It could also be relabeled as “The One Where Luffy Goes Gear 5“. Luffy’s final battle with Kaido was utterly nuts, and a deserved blockbuster moment for all One Piece fans who have been following its insane 1100+ chapter run and counting.

It’s at this phase like in many long-running Shonen manga or anime that its main characters attain a state of power far greater than anything they’ve ever achieved before. In DBZ, it was like when Gohan achieved SSJ2 in his showdown with Cell, or in Dragon Ball Super when Ultra Instinct was introduced and perfected. But in Luffy’s case, it transformed him into a god. A cartoonish god resembling the Monkey King from Journey to the West, but also one who could transform the environment around him and himself.

The fight was insane. It was goofy and eye-popping for the readers as much as it was for the fictional fight’s spectators. But it was a glorious new height for Luffy and the Straw Hat crew, and seeing it brought to life in the anime, cartoon sound effects included, was a total crowd-pleaser.

1. Naruto vs. Pain (Naruto)

Image: Shueisha / VIZ Media

I’ll admit my slight bias here, but at the same time, the Pain Arc truly was the definitive moment for this iconic Big Three Shonen manga. It was built-up not as an insistent reminder like Sasuke’s vendetta against Itachi, but as a byproduct of a cruel world outside of Konoha that produced one of the most fascinating, misguided antagonists in Naruto history. The world of Naruto created Pain, and Pain would change it forever.

Pain killed Naruto’s mentor Jiraiya, prompting the young ninja to train in the Pervy Sage’s techniques and truly surpass him. It was prompt in the series where Naruto reached unfathomably difficult new heights of his power while still struggling to control the tailed beast sealed within him. But Naruto’s not alone, as Pain’s assault is a battle where seemingly all of Konoha band together to defend their home. It is loaded with awesome panels, dramatic twists, and some pretty emotional moments all while still reminding the readers that his fight with Pain wasn’t over yet.

Despite his home being turned into a crater, and allies and loved ones seemingly perishing at Pain’s hand, Naruto still claws his way back to the surface. Empowered by the love that kept him and his home alive and the Sage Mode, this truly was the peak of Naruto and of its sequel series Boruto that still has yet to be matched.

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J.R. Waugh
J.R. is a Staff Writer with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. is streaming his favorite RPGs and other forgotten gems.