Legend has it that merchants in Edo-era Japan would stage fights in Gladiator arenas to resolve most of their disagreements back then. ‘Kengan Ashura’ boldly borrows this idea and modernizes it by depicting giant corporations staging similar tournaments where the “winner gets it all”. Contrary to popular belief, despite the fact that this is an anime about brutal martial arts battles, it opens with an anti-hero named Kazuo Yamashita. Tokita Ohma, the protagonist’s caretaker, is assigned to him at the bottom of the corporate food chain.
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As the anime progresses, it begins to shed light on its two protagonists’ polarity while also establishing a common ground between them. Yamashita gets more confidence after meeting Ohma, who is referred to as “Ashura” in the series. As the name suggests, “Kengan Ashura” is solely for individuals who enjoy the diversity of fighting styles and the unique characteristics of the people involved.
Despite the fact that the anime is crammed with fights, there is usually some consideration placed into the script to explain why the fights are taking place. Anybody who enjoyed viewing the first season of ‘Kengan Ashura’ is clearly an anime fight buff like me. That being stated, here is a list of the top anime that are similar to “Kengan Ashura.” A few of these anime can be streamed online via Netflix, Crunchyroll, or Hulu.
10. Yawara! (1989-1992)
The anime ‘Yawara!’ reveals that martial arts are more than just a fighting sport; they are a spiritual exercise as well. There are times when even the best sports anime like ‘Hajime no Ippo’ can go a little too far with their depiction. While other shows have strayed from Judo, ‘Yawara!’ has stayed true to the sport’s core values while also educating its audience on the many moves and techniques employed in the sport. There is also a demonstration of how the protagonists can get out of being trapped. ‘Yawara!’ may not be as well-known as some of the others on our list due to its age, but if you’re searching for an anime that depicts combat more realistically, you should give it a look.
9. Hajime no Ippo (2000-2002)
To many, “Hajime no Ippo” is the best sports anime ever made. It has gained a devoted following around the world thanks to its accurate portrayal of the sport of boxing. On this list, “Hajime Ippo” stands out because of its lengthy runtime and wide range of story elements, including fight scenes, hard training sessions, and character relationships. This anime stands out from the rest because of its well-rounded approach.
As the series’ protagonist, Ippo endures a lot of bullying at school. The next time he’s being viciously bullied, a professional boxer steps in to save him. After being knocked out, Ippo wakes up in a boxing gym and is immediately intrigued to the sights and sounds around him. When he asks to join the gym, he must first complete a test in which he must catch falling leaves from a tree. He puts in a week of dedicated study and succeeds on the exam. Coaches at the gym were initially skeptical of the child, but soon realized that he had a strong will and a powerful arsenal of punches. A lengthy and difficult journey to becoming an accomplished professional boxer begins at this point in his life. When his bullies show up to one of his matches and cheer him on, it’s the most amazing moment of all.
8. Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)
“Samurai Champloo,” as you may have seen, appears on several of our lists. So why is this anime so popular? It’s because it depicts vagrant samurai in the most worst light possible. There are just two main samurai characters in this novel and they are traveling with a young woman named Fuu. “Samurai Champloo,” on the other hand, isn’t all about unending combat, but rather an attempt to rewrite Japanese history. In addition to its core tale, the anime also concentrates on two of the main samurai protagonists’ unique fighting styles. Swordsmanship between Mugen and Jin is a mix of martial arts and break-dancing, with the former being more disciplined and clean in his approach. You won’t want to miss this concert.
7. Katanagatari (2010)
An aspiring young swordsman must learn to wield his own body as a weapon if he wants to succeed in battle. Swordsmen in Japan’s Edo period embark on a quest to locate all of the country’s errant blades. A girl named Togame joins him on his journey to assist him as he makes his way through the woods. In their quest to get what they want, the two are pitted against a slew of other blade wielders in a series of life-or-death encounters. I highly recommend this show if you’re a big fan of Japanese history, sword-slinging combat, and anime.
6. Air Master (2003-2004)
Aikawa Maki, a high school student with a towering 7-foot frame, is a well-respected street fighter. “Air Master” is the name given to her by the general public because of her ability to soar through the air during combat. She fights because she loves it, just like Tohma did in “Kengan Ashura,” and the more powerful her opponent is, the more she relishes defeating him. “Air Master,” on the other hand, is more of a comedy show than “Kengan Ashura.” For starters, this anime’s plot and characters are just plain fascinating. One of the best martial arts anime is ‘Air Master,’ which you should definitely see.
5. History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi (2006-2007)
‘History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi’, like ‘Kengan Ashura,’ is all about a young man’s goal to become a great fighter, just like the previous film. When Kenichi is bullied, he runs away rather than confront his tormentors. This all changes when he stumbles onto a dojo by accident one day. Kenichi, not knowing what he’s getting himself into, enrolls and joins the elderly man’s group of disciples. A tough and hard training session here makes him stronger than ever. Ragnarok, a gang of assassins who want to assassinate him, follows him afterwards. For the first time in his life, he will have to put his intensive training into action and face a group of the world’s most renowned fighters.
4. Shura no Toki: Age of Class (2004)
The Mutsu Enmei-Ryu style of martial arts is depicted in ‘Shura no Toki’. A fighter may use his speed and strength to defeat any number of opponents regardless of whether they are armed or not in this invincible unarmed method of battle. The story follows the Mutsu bearers as they fight their way through three generations of foes. This is a must-see if you’re a fan of the martial arts genre in general. If you compare it to real-life fight situations, it features some stunning fight moments that are also quite technically sound. It’s not a well-known anime, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the finest.
3. Fighting Beauty Wulong (2005-2006)
Female-centric battle anime “Fighting Beauty Wulong” is comparable to “Baki” and “Kengan Ashura” in style. It centers on Mao Lan, a 17-year-old girl who has spent nearly her entire life training with her sadistic grandfather. It is up to her to train with all the old guys that show up at the dojo after they’ve taught her everything they know about their family’s secret style of martial arts. In the future, after being persuaded by her grandfather to compete in a martial arts competition, she begins training considerably more intensely. For the remainder of the story, you’ll be pitted against increasingly difficult foes. Additionally, ‘Fighting Beauty Wulong’ contains quite a bit of Ecchi.
2. Baki (2018-)
As a whole, “Kengan Ashura” is superior to “Baki” when it comes to story. However, there is one thing that ‘Kengan Ashura’ does not have: pre-fight training scenes. Baki’s training sequences, on the other hand, are so compelling that they may encourage you to take up a combat sport of your own. Baki Hanma, the protagonist of the series, has demonstrated numerous times that he is an exceptional athlete. The best fighter in the world is his father, and so he devotes all of his time and energy to training in attempt to match his father’s strength. Afterwards, Baki and four other martial arts masters take on the world’s toughest inmates in a series of underground confrontations. There will be a bloody series of death bouts in which the victor will be declared the winner.
1. Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996)
‘Dragon Ball Z’ is a must-have for any list of the top anime martial arts. Battle shounen fans all over the world love it because of how well it embodies the genre. Dragon Ball Z, of course, boasts some of the best fight scenes ever seen in anime. The tournament arc of the series, which is quite similar to the one depicted in ‘Kengan Ashura,’ is the focus here. I love how it depicts everyday people in The World Tournament Arc, not just the Z warriors. While most of the action in ‘DBZ’ takes place in outer space, it’s refreshing to watch a sequence take place in a natural setting on Earth. This is an anime that you should not miss!