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The 14 Greatest Anime Rescue Missions of All Time

Updated March 22, 2021 8.7k votes 1.6k voters 21.9k views14 items

Something terrible has happened, and an anime character is in mortal danger! What can possibly resolve this precarious situation? A rescue mission, of course! 

This list is a compilation of some of the best anime rescue missions of all time. It includes classics like the Sasuke Retrieval arc from Naruto, in which several young ninja attempt to drag Sasuke back to Konoha after he left to study under Orochimaru, as well as more recent rescues like Katsuki Bakugo Rescue mission from My Hero Academia, in which the League of Villains captures the young hero-in-training and his friends try to get him back.  

The best anime rescues are exciting, high stakes arcs and episodes that get you invested in the outcome. Which of these is your favorite?

  • When Rukia gave Ichigo her powers at the beginning of Bleach, she was committing a crime punishable by execution. This ultimately leads to her arrest. While Rukia is prepared to face the consequences, Ichigo isn't quite so willing. He and his friends try repeatedly to save her, starting by trying to break her out of prison before ultimately showing up at the execution itself to fight off the people carrying it out. 

    The fact that Ichigo and friends were even able to infiltrate Soul Society in the first place creates a sense of distrust and chaos on the Gotei 13 - and that gets worse when multiple members are defeated and Sousuke Aizen is revealed to be villainous. Rukia's crimes seem petty in comparison.

    Was this a great rescue mission?
  • For reasons that are beyond her control, Nico Robin has been on the run from the World Government for most of her life. Because of this, every group she's tried to ally herself with has been destroyed. With the World Government hot on her heels, she's just about ready to give up and go at it alone, leaving the Straw Hats behind and possibly facing her own demise. The Straw Hats aren't going to stand for that and they make it their mission to rescue her and help take down the World Government if need be. This arc is an emotionally resonant one in which Nico finally sees that she isn't a burden to her new friends, but an integral part of the group. 

    Was this a great rescue mission?
  • Photo: Wit Studio

    After a skirmish that results in Eren losing his Titan transformation, Bertholdt and Reiner, who have recently revealed themselves to be the Titans who destroyed Eren's hometown, decide to kidnap both him and Ymr, and hold them in the forest. The Survey Corps, of course, immediately set out to rescue him, but Eren isn't planning on taking his captivity lying down either. The ensuing fight is one of the most chaotic, dramatic parts of the whole series. It not only involves an epic battle, but it also results in the rest of the Survey Corps finding out the truth behind Bertholdt and Reiner's actions. Finally, Eren's ability to command other Titans is revealed. If you've taken a break from on Attack on Titan, this pivotal scene is worth catching up for. 

    Was this a great rescue mission?
  • After Katsuki is taken hostage by the League of Villains, his classmates take it upon themselves to rescue him. Given that it's against the law for them to fight villains without hero licenses, and given the dangerous nature of the mission, many members of Class 1-A are in favor of leaving the rescue to professionals. Eijiro, Izuku, Shoto, Tenya, and Momo decide that they can't wait around when their classmate is in danger, and they set out on a covert mission to save him.

    Ultimately, they end up providing support while the professionals handle the bulk of the work. Katsuki's rescue also leads to the ultimate showdown of the season - the fight between All Might and his nemesis, All For One. 

    Was this a great rescue mission?