Battles that get you every time

Discussion in 'Manga and Anime' started by wertitis, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. wertitis

    wertitis Proud Mary keep on burnin'

    Oct 18, 2004
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    Firefox had a pretty good idea: make one person makes one new thread every day. And then we discuss. While the current political climate in the states is always as volatile as ever, mayhaps we should move discussions back to our roots- anime and manga based.

    In that light, explain what battle in what anime/manga was your favorite and why. If you can drop an eps number, great. It doesn't necessarily have to be a violent fight, it could be a battle of wills or of the mind.

    Post! Chat! Discuss! I'll follow up with my own in a little bit.

  2. BakaMattSu

    BakaMattSu ^__^
    Staff Member

    Feb 16, 2001
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    It's hard to pick just one! If there was a single created work that took the cake for battles that keep a memorable and powerful standing in my books, it's Rurouni Kenshin. Watsuki crafted what are some of the greatest showdowns in fiction today, masterfully weaving personalities, tension and over-the-top swordplay into a combined tapestry that has become textbook for what I look for in my fighting entertainment. While I hold no illusion over the fact that the earlier chapters were rough, the Kyoto Arc is unparalleled and Jinchuu damn near that height. In Kyoto specifically, we have villains with character, those with histories and motivations that lend a sympathetic vibe. They're fighting for their own reasons, and even if their actions are not justified, you can empathize with them and clearly understand their rationale.

    Each of our heroes is likewise motivated in their individual ways. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I actually have an investment in the conflicts - I can get inside the head of each participant and see the events unfold under different perspectives, and believably so (well, if you ignore the inhuman feats inherrent to the medium). Contrast to a one-dimensional monster-of-week where you're forced to do nothing except root for the good guys because their opponent is a faceless (figuratively) opponent. Emotional investment, characterization and tension are key players for what makes a personal good fight.

    So, I'm supposed to pick one, so I'll pick one as hard as it is. As my preamble ramble mentions, there are a ton of good ones. However, there is a personal choice that edges out them all by a bit, even the climactic encounter of the entire Kyoto Saga. And if I'm not going to side with the ultimate encounter, it's going to be the penultimate one - Himura Kenshin versus Seta Sojiro (Spanning chapters 128-134 of the manga, episodes 54-56 of the anime).

    This fight is really a continuation of an earlier conflict that ended unresolved. The two earlier clash about halfway through the arc and draw after a single strike each destroys each combatant's weapon. The edge is in Sojiro's favor here, but it prompts a hero's journey where Kenshin not only tracks down a better replacement sword, but also reunites with his master to complete his training. Thus, better equipped and armed with new techniques, the slight edge Sojiro had over our protagonist should be lost, right? Wrong.

    As learned in their previous encounter, Sojiro is a perfect foil for Kenshin, whose swordsmanship techniques rely on reading his opponent. However, Sojiro is a blank slate, an emotionless doll without a bared soul. And that, combined with his inhuman speeds, makes it impossible for Kenshin to fend off attacks, let alone get any of his own in.

    While this one-sided conflict is in effect, another is going on inside the mind of Sojiro himself. We learn of his tragic past as an abused bastard child who learned to suppress his feelings and later his tutelage under the sinister Shishio Makoto, who ingrained in his mind his extreme view of Darwinism - that the weak are food for the strong. Sojiro clung to those words, believing that he needed to show no weakness in order to have a place in the world. This was in direct conflict with the principles of Kenshin, a reformed killer who pledged his remaining years to protecting the weak and downtrodden. This conflict begins as a distraction with the failure to grasp the ideal and eventually spirals to the point where Sojiro's suppressed emotions explode in a display of anger and frustration.

    This breaking point eliminates Sojiro's edge over Kenshin and the fight concludes with a final clash of ultimate techniques.

    Why does it still hold a high place in my personal tastes? As I noted before, there is emotional investment on both sides. It's a hero's trimuph over seemingly impossible odds (and there is more credence leant to it with Kenshin's compounded injuries over the course of each of the fights at the end of the Kyoto Arc). It's tense, well executed, and I'll be draned if it doesn't feel so satisfying each time I go through it.
  3. Hitokiri_Gensai

    Hitokiri_Gensai Gunslinger Girl

    Feb 27, 2003
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    Hmm ironic. I just posted about a fight i found particularly interesting.

    BUT i think that the battle i find most interesting is probably Sekigahara.

    October 21st, 1600. A battle that would set the stage for 264 years of Japanese History.

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi had unified Japan, his leadership and control of Japan had been ultimate, but his attempted invasions of Korea had gone poorly, and significantly weakened the Toyotomi Clan. Strife soon erupted and split the clan in two. Despite Hideyoshi and his brothers attempts to keep the clan unified, upon their deaths, the clan fell apart. Hideyoshi's young son Hideyori would take over, but coming from peasent stock, as his fater did, he would never be accepted as Shogun. Ishida Mitsunari, a politician of the Toyotomi's would seize power, and soon the entire country was on the edge of war.

    Within the Toyotomi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, once the hostage prisoner of the Imagawa clan, and once close ally to Oda Nobunaga, and then Toyotomi Hideyoshi, began to consolidate power. Ishida Mitsunari took control of one faction, leaving Ieyasu in charge of the other.

    Mitsunari began to make plans to fight Ieyasu, gathering Otani Yoshitsugu, Mashita Nagamori, and Ankokuji Ekei to his side. On July 19th, he declared war upon Tokugawa and seiged Fushimi Castle, controlled by Torii Mototada, a Tokugawa retainer. In Edo, Ieyasu got news of the battle and sent forth some former Toyotomi Daimyo that had allied themselves to the Tokugawa to combat them. His son Tokugawa Hidetada marched the Tokaido, with some 38,000 troops but met with resistant from Sanada Masayuki, a genius strategist. Despite having only 2000 men, his position was well fortified, and he held off Hidetada for days, delaying his march to Sekigahara.

    Finally, on September 15th, 1600, both sides began to deploy troops onto the field of battle. Tokugawa's forces numbered 88,888 men, while Ishida Mitsunari had some 81,890 men. Despite a overwhelming tactical advantage over Ieyasu, the western army commanded by Ishida soon met with resistance. Ieyasu had offered many Western Daimyo leniency and even land should they ally with him. Two such Daimyo were Kikkawa Hiroie and Kobayakawa Hideaki. They were in such a position, that should they attack, they would have surrounded Ieyasu on three sides, but believing that Tokugawa would ultimately be victorious, they both allied themselves. Hiroie's men were at the front of the Mori Army, and he claimed that fog obscured his ability to move forward, backing up the army behind his men, and kept them from attacking. Hideaki was unsure of his decision and remained neutral until Ieyasu ordered his men to open fire on his position to force them to make a desicion. He joined Tokugawa and turned his forces on Otani Yoshitsugu. Soon, other commanders followed suit, and the tide of battle turned against Ishida Mitsunari. At the battle's end, Tokugawa had taken some 30,000 heads, including Ishida Mitsunari, whose head was displayed publicly in Kyoto.

    This battle, would shape the course of history, as Tokugawa Ieyasu now held the country in his hands, and in 1603 began the Tokugawa Shogunate, being named Seitaii Shogun, the ultimate ruler in Japan.

    It is then, with some irony, that some of the clans displaced at Sekigahara, would ultimately lead to the downfall of the Tokugawa during the Bakumatsu.
  4. Basher

    Basher Mad Writing Skillz

    Mar 21, 2003
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    Both of you have such good ones. :(

    Mine is the battle between Light and L. Battle of wits my favorite type of battle. I liked everything they did. Light trying not to get caught but also being friendly with L. L trying to prove that Light is Kira. The way they died was brilliant.

    BTW death note is looking to be made into a live action USA based movie. Warner Bros. picked it up. :D
  5. Hitokiri_Gensai

    Hitokiri_Gensai Gunslinger Girl

    Feb 27, 2003
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    Hrm... another battle to discuss!

    This battle, is more an internal struggle.

    So lets begin,

    A young boy, merely 6 years old, the son of farmers who died from Cholera that was sweeping the nation of Japan. Sold into slavery, he would befriend a group of girls, and come to think of them as his sisters, people he could give his love to. Until one night, while crossing a field, they're besieged by bandits, ronin looking for money. As they're attacked, Shinta, the only boy in the group would take up a sword, in a futile attempt to protect these girls. They grabbed him and tried to protect him, begging for them to spare the young child, and he sat, and watched these girls be butchered. Left alone, the bandits raised their blades to kill him, until a passing swordsman, would strike them all down with little trouble, and leave the boy there, telling him to live.

    With no where else to go, and no where to turn, Shinta buries the bodies, of both the slave traders and the ronin. The next day the swordsmen returns, to bury the bodies himself, stating that in the turbulent times its the least he can do. He steps into the field, to find crudely made wooden crosses, scattered around the field. The boy he saved stands before a group of three stones. When he asks him about the burials he says "Once theyve died, they're just bodies, no longer slavers, or bandits".

    The swordsman, Hiko Seijurou, observes a deep passion for life, and a purity in the boy. Along with a strong desire to be strong, to make up for the lives he couldnt save. Hiko takes the boy under his wing, and renames him "Kenshin" meaning "heart of the sword". As the boy grows, Hiko trains him in the art of the sword, teaching him an ancient style of Kenjutsu known as "Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu". Kenshin becomes an extremely strong swordsmen, but as the slow decay of Edo Life begins to come to a head in the Bakumatsu, Kenshin desires to leave. He believes that his strength can be used to save those who are suffering, those who need help. Hiko warns him that if he goes to help, eventually he will have to take sides, and that will lead him to conflict, with himself.

    Hiko refers to him as "Baka Deshi" or stupid student, telling him he should remain and focus on his training, but knows that his purity will lead him away, no matter what he does, and releases him from his training. The boy, now a man, wanders into a training camp of the Kiheitai. There his skill with the sword catches the eyes of Takasugi Shinsaku, the leader of the Kiheitai, and Katsura Kogoro, the leader of the Choshuu Faction of the Ishin Shishi. Katsura talks to the boy, and knowing that for the world to change, the old must die, asks him to become an assassin for the Ishin Shishi.

    Truly believing that by killing those in power, he can change the world, Kenshin sets out on a path of bloodshed, his sword stained with those of the old world, in hope that the new world can be built. Despite the blood path he walks, Kenshin's purity remains. But a conflict grows...

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