The Best Anime Fighting Games Of All Time, Ranked

When you think of fighting games, fighters like Mortal Kombat, Tekken, and Street Fighter are probably the first to come to your mind. While all of those games are great, there are plenty of other fighting games out there that are also amazing.

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And some of those are anime fighters. What’s an anime fighter? Well, they come in two types. One is a fighting game that has an anime art style to it. The other is a fighter based on an actual anime. Some games can even classify as both! Whether you’re a long-time fan of anime fighters or want to get into them, there are a bunch of awesome ones to choose from.

Updated June 18, 2023 by Jouanna Bondakji: Anime fighting games are a different breed of fun. There’s nothing quite like playing as characters from shows you love duking it out on the battlefield. The focus on 2D and cel-shaded 3D give these games the space to be as flashy and ridiculous as their anime counterparts, staying true to them. Alternatively, a completely original game with anime-style graphics can really let loose with visual effects and mechanics compared to fighters that try to be more realistic. Either way, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had from anime fighters.



20 Melty Blood

Ciel throwing projectile swords from the air at Arcueid who attacks with a ground slash

There are probably few who know about the visual novel game Tsukihime, but there was a remake in 2021 for PS4 and Nintendo Switch. That lack of context might confuse you if you’re a new player, but it doesn’t stop Melty Blood from being one of the best anime fighting games. The Melty Blood series has more than 30 characters from Tsukihime and other visual novels from the Type-Moon series.

The game has vibrant 2D graphics, and the animations for each character’s sprites run pretty smoothly. Melty Blood incorporates many different fighting game mechanics for cancels and chain combos. Every character has a distinct fighting style, and the newest game in the series, Type Lumina, includes new characters, routes, and endings.

19 One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 & 4*

A character using a giant wind move against a horde of enemies in front of Luffy

One Piece is a shonen anime that’s been around for decades with around 1,000 episodes — no small feat. Many video games have attempted to capture the magic of Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirate Crew, but they’re often a mixed bag.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is one of the best One Piece games ever made. It features nearly 40 playable characters and engaging gameplay that feels authentic to the anime series, whether you work your way through hordes of enemies by yourself or with others. Pirate Warriors 4 is essentially more of the same in terms of gameplay, but its story and divergent ending is worth going through.

18 Pokken Tournament DX

Charizard using flamethrower on Lucario in a stadium

Pokken Tournament DX may seem like a bit of a cheat since the Pokemon franchise has its roots in video games, but the anime series has gained a life of its own and is just as popular (if not even more so).

Pokken Tournament DX is a curious experiment that takes the combat from the Pokemon series but shifts it into a fighting game that enhances the action and eliminates everything else. It’s an exciting step forward for the series, and it’s a fun way to put Pokemon in the spotlight without trainers getting in the way. Plus, that Magikarp track is a total banger.

17 Kill La Kill- IF

Ryuko and Satsuki facing each other on the versus screen before battle

It can be challenging to describe the kind of anime that Kill la Kill is in just a few words. The story follows Ryuko as she tries to find the truth behind her father’s death — a truth that Satsuki Kiryuin, the student president of Honnouji Academy, seems to know. However, Kill la Kill-IF follows the anime through an alternate storyline that focuses on Satsuki Kiryuin instead.

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The game is modeled directly after the anime’s art style, with the same English and Japanese voice actors reprising their roles. The fighting is fast-paced, and there’s a cheeky gameplay mechanic called Bloody Valor where you can mock and taunt your opponents to deal additional damage.

16 BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

Weiss attacks Rachel with her tag in during a battle in front of a giant mystical building in Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle.

Created by Arc System Works, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a wild crossover of several games. You can pick any two characters from seven different series and battle against opponents in two-on-two battles to collect fragments of a ‘Keystone’ that will send the characters back to their respective universes.

Each character is done in the BlazBlue art style and has their special moves turned into Astral Finishes. The game started with 20 characters, then ballooned to 54 after DLC. You’ll find heroes and villains from BlazBlue, Under Night In-Birth, Persona 4 Arena, RWBY, Arcana Heart, Senran Kagura, and Akatsuki Blitzkampf/EN-Eins Perfektewelt.

15 Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax

Mikoto and Shizuo facing each other in battle

Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax is a game developed by French Bread and Ecole Software. Published by Sega, this game is a crossover of all the light-novel series published under Dengeki Bunko. The roster of the base game includes 14 popular characters from Sword Art Online, Durarara!!, Valkyria Chronicles, Virtua Fighter, and more.

You can pick your main fighter along with an assist character. Although the game’s controls appeal to both casual and veteran players of fighting games, they allow for complex combos. And with Sega’s licensing, you can enjoy battling on themed stages of your favorite Sega series, like Sonic the Hedgehog.

14 Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Aigis attacks Yosuke with her 7th Gen Gatling Blast skill in a battle at Junes

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is the second fighting game in the Persona series. It takes place right after the events of Persona 4 Arena, where characters from both Persona 3 and Persona 4 are forced to duke it out.

Each character controls their Persona, which acts as both a special attack and battle partner. Battle stages include locations seen in both games, and every character’s sprite is beautifully hand-drawn. Ultimax has a few new playable characters, like Rise and Ken, and a rebalanced system that makes fighting characters’ Shadow counterparts less of a pain. It’s the best way to experience the Persona fighting game.

13 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R

Jolyne Cujoh and Giorno Giovanna's stands clash in an epic rush in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure ASBR.

When the original All-Star Battle launched internationally in 2013, the manga series was not as prevalent globally. However, the anime adaptation of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure exposed the series to a more robust audience. So, in celebration of the manga’s 35th anniversary and the anime’s tenth, Bandai-Namco launched a remaster titled Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R.

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ASBR is a fantastic upgrade from its forebearer. The title adds ten new characters, including long-running favorite heroes and villains like Robert E. O. Speedwagon and Pet Shop. Plus, ASBR features several new game mechanics, such as the addition of assist characters and dash jumps. Unfortunately, the only area where the remaster struggles is online due to its outdated delay-based netcode.

12 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Heritage For The Future

Avdol's stand, Magician's Red, burns Jotaro Kujo during an intense match inside a jail cell in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage For The Future.

Bandai-Namco’s All-Star Battle series was not the first fighting game to feature the characters of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. On the contrary, Capcom adapted the manga over a decade earlier in one of the few fighting games to debut on the company’s CPS-III arcade board. But, instead of devising a dream match, this title focused primarily on the manga’s third arc, Stardust Crusaders.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Heritage For The Future is the definitive version of the Jojo fighting game, later ported to the Playstation and Sega Dreamcast. Capcom fans will quickly notice familiar mechanics in this game, such as chain combos. In addition, the game featured several new mechanics inspired by Stands. For example, Tandem Attacks let you pre-program your Stand so that User and Stand could fight simultaneously.

11 Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 & 4*

Sasuke and Naruto connecting their hands in a mutual power punch

The fans of the long-running Naruto series have only become more passionate in recent years, thanks to the Boruto sequel series. Unfortunately, Naruto is an anime that developers have tried to perfect in video game form for a long time, and many regrettable entries deliver clunky and tedious combat.

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But the Ultimate Ninja Storm series is a delight, especially the third and fourth entries. Ultimate Ninja Storm 3’s strength is its well-developed story on top of the fun gameplay. Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 takes that gameplay and refines it, balancing the characters and adding new mechanics that make things less frustrating, like the Change Leader System. Both games are definitely worth checking out.

10 My Hero: One’s Justice 2

Deku grinning as power emanates from him while Eri holds onto him from behind in shock

My Hero Academia is one of the most popular anime that’s currently on television. But while its previous fighting game, One’s Justice, is a commendable effort, its new sequel knocks it out of the park in every category.

My Hero: One’s Justice 2 takes what works from its predecessor and crams it with more content, including new characters like Pinky and Nejire Chan, as well as an extended story and mission mode. The addition of destructible environments and incredible Team Final Smashes make One’s Justice 2 an absolute triumph.

9 Dragon Ball FighterZ

Goku delivering a massive attack in Dragon Ball FighterZ

Without a Dragon Ball game, no list of the best anime fighting games would be complete. Of course, there are many great ones, but the best one that captures the essence of the series is Dragon Ball FighterZ. Arc System Works, the same company responsible for Blazblue and Guilty Gear, developed the game. FighterZ has the same game mechanics as most other fighting games, and its base game includes a 21-character roster, with three unlocked from gameplay.

It’s possible to purchase more fighters through DLC with characters like Vegito and Dragon Ball Super’s Android 17. In addition, it has an original story mode where a new Android, 21, uses the Dragon Balls to resurrect several of the series’ villains and seals the power of Earth’s greatest heroes.

8 Under Night In-Birth

Eltnum and Londrekia getting ready to battle

Under Night In-Birth is a 2D fighting game developed by French Bread, the same studio behind Dengeki Bonku and Melty Blood. For centuries, the ‘Hollow Night’ has given way to terrible monsters that feed on a power called ‘Existence.’ There have been people who can see these monsters called Voids, and those that survive an attack from a Void gain the power to combat them and become In-Births.

As with Melty Blood, In-Birth has various fighting game mechanics that give you multiple ways to cancel and counter your opponents’ attacks. Each character also has unique combos and distinct exchanges with different characters, making all of them fun to play at least once.

7 Guilty Gear Xrd

Ephelt Valentine heavy slashing Chipp

The Guilty Gear series has been around since 1998, and Guilty Gear Xrd is the fifth main title in the series. ArcSys introduced a new art style for the series, utilizing a gorgeous 2.5-D look. The game also has features to make it easier for new players to get into, like a comprehensive tutorial mode.

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Xrd’s story mode dives deep into the game’s lore and briefly introduces what went on in the past series. 20 characters are on the roster, with classic characters like I-No, Sol, and Millia. Additionally, its latest iteration, Rev 2, has 25 fighters.

6 Dead Or Alive 6

Hayabusa assaults Hayate during a battle in a forest in Dead Or Alive 6.

The first Dead or Alive game launched way back in 1996, and it’s still going strong thanks to its fun fighting moves and iconic characters like Kasumi. But, of course, the series was always known for its ‘bounce physics.’ Still, the fast-paced combat keeps you on your toes, and the cast seems to keep growing.

The sixth installment features a new graphics system and improved gameplay mechanics. It also includes tutorials for newbies who want to invest in getting better at it. However, Dead or Alive 6 struggled initially with multiplayer functions. Still, it’s worth picking up if you’re a fan of the series and anime fighting games.

5 Fate/Unlimited Codes

Saber Lily and Sakura on the character selection screen

Cavia developed this title for the Type-Moon segment, and it initially launched in Japanese arcades in 2008. All fan-favorite characters make appearances, from Saber, Rin, and Archer to some exclusive characters like Zero Lancer tied to the PSP or PS2 releases.

The story relates to Fate/Stay Night’s plot but gets told from your, the player’s, perspective. It’s a treat if you’re a fan of the Fate series, but even if you’re not, you can still have fun with it. The key to winning battles is utilizing your character’s meter wisely, as it can let you do a lot of things from pushing an attacking opponent away to using the character’s special ability.

4 Granblue Fantasy Versus

Avatar Belial uses his skill, Barbatos, on Gran in Granblue Fantasy Versus

As demonstrated with titles like Dragon Ball FighterZ, while Arc Sys has fantastic original material, the company has brilliantly translated already-established IPs into fighting games. One such example is Granblue Fantasy Versus, which expands upon the story of its mobile RPG forebearer.

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GBVS makes several strong choices that extend a hand to the casual fighting gamer market. First, the game offers simplified special and super move inputs. Second, GBVS includes an RPG Mode that plays like a beat-em-up game with level-progression and weapon-crafting systems. Finally, the game’s tutorials are detailed and concise, making entering a game an approachable task.

3 DNF Duel

Ranger performing his Air Raid Special Move in DNF Duel

DNF Duel, inspired by the long-running MMORPG Dungeon Fighter Online, takes notes from GBVS while maintaining its own identity. Specific mechanics from GBVS, like simplified inputs, are pleasant. However, the MP Gauge system and the Conversion and Awakening skills add much more profound levels of complexity to the game.

Single-player content is less abundant in this title. While there are arcade, survival, and story modes, the story mode is paired down significantly from its peer. After all, fighters in DNF Duel take inspiration from player classes rather than established characters. Still, DNF Duel shines in multiplayer with a netcode that makes you feel like you’re playing in the same room as someone thousands of miles away.

2 Guilty Gear Strive

Bedman carving Sin Kiske up with its spiked wheels via a Special Attack in Guilty Gear Strive

The Guilty Gear series got another impressive entry in the form of Guilty Gear Strive, one of the best anime fighting games out right now. After all, how many fighting games are there that include dolphin mechanics?

The character designs are incredible, from the rocking witch I-No to hardened U.S. Defense Secretary Goldlewis Dickinson with his burly demeanor, a pompadour, and…a laser eye? Its awesome rock soundtrack and roster of characters who easily stand out from one other make it a must-play if you’re an anime fighting game fan.

1 The King Of Fighters 13*

Athena and Raiden about to fight each other in battle

The King of Fighters 15 marks a vast improvement from its last 3D entry, The King of Fighters 14. Still, the last 2D KOF game, The King of Fighters 13, showcases some of the best anime fighting gameplay. The characters’ 2D models and animations look great, and the stages behind them are eye-catchingly beautiful.

It has over 30 characters to choose from, in addition to multiple modes. Whether you want to experience the story in Story Mode or just get a hang of the characters you like in Mission Mode, KOF 13 makes it fun for you. The game sticks out as both a departure and return to form for the series, but it offers Street Fighter 4 levels of entertainment.

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