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Dragon Ball FighterZ, Granblue Versus and DNF Duel are some of the most gorgeous fighting games to look at. A big part of that is their commitment to Anime-based art styles that amplify or mimic their source material. It wasn’t until recently that game engines got sophisticated enough to mimic the speed and scale of the top Shonen of the world. 

But now anime fighters are becoming nearly indistinguishable from their TV counterparts. With that in mind, we here at Esports Illustrated thought “What Anime would make a great 2D fighting game?" So here are a few ideas on what anime franchises could make for some fantastic fighters.

Honorable Mentions: Hunter x Hunter, Demon Hunter, Baki, YuYu Hakusho, One Piece

Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen anime fight

Not only is combat central to Jujutsu Kaisen, it's part of why you watch it. This show has some of the most beautifully animated battle sequences around and it's filled with characters that look like they’d be right at home in a fighting game anyway. This darker anime probably be a shoo-in for a Mature rating from the ESRB, but it would wow players with some crazy visuals. 

Also, the “Cursed Energy” powers in Jujutsu Kaizen created some of the most unique powers and techniques in all of anime. For example, Mahito’s “Idle Transfiguration” lets him change the shape of his body or the body of anyone he touches by manipulating their soul. In addition to the fighting prowess of Jujutsu’s protagonist, Itadori, there’s a plethora of stylish characters like Inumaki, Gojo, Maki Zenin and Nanami that could round out a roster. On top of that how cool would it be to see various Domain Expansions as super moves?

Record of Ragnarok

Record of Ragnarok anime

While almost every Shonen anime has a “tournament arc”, Record of Ragnarok’s plot is ONLY a tournament arc. This lends itself well to being a fighting game as the typical setting for many is a tournament. But on top of that, Ragnarok would be a fantastic fighting game because of its incredibly unique depictions of gods and legendary figures from history. 

Names like Poseidon, Lu Bu and Thor already would make for great fighting game characters even outside of Ragnarok. The battles are long, grueling and brutal in “Ragnarok” so you could represent that through extended life bars or health pools, making each round feel like an epic. However, this one could get a bit dicey, as being able to play as religious figures could open a developer up to scrutiny. But on paper, it's an anime that’s seemingly already set up to be a great game.

My Hero Academia

All Might smiling

Because of the Quirk power system in My Hero Academia, there’s so much creativity in the abilities of the show's characters. With such a large cast of heroes and villains there wouldn’t be a shortage of fighters to choose from. You’ve got plenty of big bruiser characters like All Might and Endeavor. But you’ve also got finesse characters like Edgeshot and Hawks. Not to mention, the moves themselves also have some of the coolest names like “Detroit Smash”, “Canyon Cannon”, and “Flashfire Fist”. Having those moves shouted out during a fighting game match just feels right. 

The character designs of each of the Heroes also lend themselves to some really cool fighting game animation and costume design. While there have been My Hero fighting games before, none to the production values that a studio like Arc System Works might bring to it. There’s a huge fan base for MHA that would potentially love to give a new fighting game a try.

Chainsaw Man

Denji in devil form

What would happen if you combined the art style of Dragon Ball Fighterz with Mortal Kombat? You’d probably get something like the ultra-violent, Chainsaw Man. Not only could you play as the eponymous Denji (Chainsaw Man) but there’s a decent amount of Devil Hunters and Devils you could turn into fighting game characters. 

The central figures of Aki, Power and Makima could all fall into great fighting game archetypes. Aki could function as a Ryu-style all-arounder, Power and Denji as offensive rushdown fighters and Makima as a zoner. Also, if the iconic intro is any indication, the music for a Chainsaw Man fighting game would be top-tier as well.


Bleach anime

It's kind of shocking that this long-running anime hasn’t been giving the triple-A fighting game treatment. It's got all the hallmarks of what could make a fighter. Plenty of characters, enough variation between those characters’ powers, and various transformations/installs that could expand move sets and more. Some of those characters have iconic status among western anime lovers like Ichigo, Grimmjow and Aizen. 

Because of how long it ran (from 2001 to 2016 primarily) it had its share of games. A couple of them like “Bleach: Heat The Soul” and “Shattered Blade” are actually fighting games but weren’t the most well-received. A revival of the series through a fighting game could be immense given the fanbase of this anime.