Just the word tournament is enough to get you excited about a specific arc in anime and many tournaments mark some of the high points of their respective shows. Given how amazing they are it was only a matter of time before I gave it some thought as to what I think were the best of them all. There will be spoilers ahead.
6. Gundam Fight Tournament – Mobile Fighter G Gundam
Gundam has had some of the most amazing fights in anime history; however, due to the nature of the shows, they don’t have that many tournaments. In Mobile Fighter G Gundam the nations host a Gundam Fight tournament that decides the best of the best and this one proved to be one exceptional arc for an amazing series. One of the most enjoyable parts was seeing how Domon Kasshu had to overcome the new powers of people he defeated once before and that led to some very interesting maneuvers which included multiplying his Gundam or just spinning really really fast all of which ended with Domon giving his enemy the finger and any fan of the show knows by heart the chant that goes with that.
5. N1 Grand Prix – Megaman NT Warrior
In my opinion, the Megaman NT Warrior series was one of the more entertaining shows that happened on Kids WB. As you would expect this show had a tournament arc where battlers would use their net Navis to have battles inside cyberspace as the human battlers would supply battle chips to enhance the Navis combat ability. The tournament was of course used by the evil WWW organization for their own purposes but it was still fun to watch the battles play out. Each battle was unique and got to showcase each Net Navis skills and characteristics. It ended with a climactic duel between Megaman and Protoman that was so intense that it brought the entire building down, but neither one of them yielded until a victor was decided. Protoman won the duel but Megaman earned his respect in the process, unfortunately to only be deleted moments later by a revived Pharohman. Luckily that was temporary.
4. Battle City Tournament – Yu-Gi-Oh
A tournament in this beloved card game anime ran by Yugi’s rival Seto Kaiba. The goal of this tournament was to assemble all three of the legendary Egyptian God cards in one place and with the rule in place that the loser gives up their rarest card, it was assured that the tournament winner would have all three cards in their deck. While the duels featured for Yugi’s friend Joey were more lighthearted, Yugi was faced with a shadow game almost every time he dueled. In those cases losing the duel also meant losing your soul. If that wasn’t bad enough the enemy, Marik used his powers to control Yug’s friend Joey and forced the two of them in a high stakes duel featuring explosives, and all this was before the quarter-finals. The duels continued to be exciting as they took place on a blimp high above the ground and the God cards all came out in full force and wreaked havoc on the competitors. Multiple competitors were bedridden from their duels and many characters were permanently changed after the results of the tournament.
3. Tournament of Power – Dragon Ball Super
The tournament of power featured stakes that have never been higher for the Z fighters of the Dragonball franchise. Each of the eight universes forced to participate would provide a group of 10 fighters that would all battle in a massive battle royale. If all the warriors from one universe were eliminated that universe was erased on the spot but the winner gets a wish from the Super Dragon Balls. The arc had many exciting battles such as Jiren versus Hit, Master Roshi versus multiple members of universe 4, Freiza and Gohan versus Dispo, Vegeta versus Toppo, and the list goes on and on. Normally the series doesn’t go a great job at highlighting battles outside of Goku and Vegeta but this one managed to give shining moments to all of the participating Z fighters. It also introduced two new forms, Goku’s Ultra Instinct and Vegeta’s Super Saiyan Blue Evolution and incredible team-up battles that deviated from the series typical one on one skirmishes. It was a nice twist that the victor if they did not wish for the restoration of the other universes then they too would be wiped out and luckily for fans of the show that didn’t happen.
2. Dark Tournament – Yu Yu Hakusho
Yusuke Urameshi often finds himself in life or death situations but none were portrayed with the intensity as the dark tournament. The seemingly unstoppable Togoro demanded Yusuke participate in this battle and made it very clear that if Yusuke was beaten there would be nobody to stop Togoro from hurting anyone that he cared about. Nothing too out of the ordinary from that explanation; however, after grueling battle after grueling battle Yusuke and Togoro’s five-person teams met up at the finals and a lot of emotional moments happened along the way. Yusuke was given his final test from his mentor and teammate Genkai and passed to achieve incredible power, but shortly after that Togoro kills Genkai which lands a crippling blow to Yusuke’s psyche. If that wasn’t bad enough Yusuke still didn’t seem to have the power to even phase Togoro until Genkai’s spirit recommended Togoro kill one of his friends. Togoro immediately one-shots Yusuke’s longtime rival Kuwabara and that’s when the emotions fly. Yusuke’s pain reaches a pinnacle and he unleashes a powerful attack that finally ends the battle. The tournament really sends the view on a roller coaster full of amazing characters and high emotional stakes.
1. Grand Magic Games – Fairytail
Probably one of the more unique tournaments out there the grand magic games features teams of guild wizards all over the continent competing to see which one is the best. After most of the best members being gone for seven years, Fairytail has to regain it’s once glorious status amongst wizard guilds and topple the undefeated champions Sabertooth. The competition features a lot of battles but many of them come with unique rules that have to be utilized effectively. Some battles only required you to tag your opponents while others required battling hoards of monsters. In some cases, the battles were one on one or you found two on two battles and even a three-person battle royale. Each round proved to be extremely different which made the whole tournament unpredictable and the entire arc full of surprizes. All of the battles were exciting and the arc was full of amazing moments from many of the members of Fairytail.