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The 20 Best Martial Arts Anime About Hand to Hand Combat

May 28, 2021 1.4k votes 300 voters 10.1k views20 items

Elemental powers and high-tech weapons are great, but sometimes all you want is to watch anime characters throw hands. It's especially impressive when the characters have dedicated their lives to sharpening their bodies into weapons on par with knives and guns. If you're looking for some amazing fights featuring hand-to-hand combat, these martial arts anime have got you covered. We won't be including major shonen like DBZ, Yu Yu Hakusho and Naruto. While we absolutely won't deny that those shows feature some world-class martial arts matches, we're trying to go a little further afield here. 

From displays of intense manliness like Baki the Grappler and Fist of the North Star to slice-of-life shows with martial arts elements like Yawara! there's a lot to choose from. These shows may be different, but all of them celebrate the awesomeness of martial arts. 

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  • 1

    Baki The Grappler

    Photo: Group TAC

    Baki Hanma has dedicated his entire life to becoming as powerful as humanly possible. Why? Because his dream is to surpass his father, the strongest man in the world. Can he possibly match the strength of a man who can knock out elephants and stop earthquakes by punching the ground, or is he doomed to fail? 

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  • 2

    Kengan Ashura

    Photo: Larx Entertainment

    In order to settle business deals, the powerful people in the world of Kengan Ashura hire martial arts experts to engage in gladiator-style battles. Ouma Tokita is a fighter who wants to prove his worth. Alongside his very average manager Kazuo Yamashita, he aims for the top and throws himself headlong into battle. 

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  • 3

    The God of High School

    Photo: MAPPA

    The God of High School tournament was established to find the greatest teenage fighter in all of Korea. Whether it's martial arts, weapons, or superhuman powers, anything goes. Taekwondo fighter Jin Mo-Ri joins and quickly makes friends with karate expert Han Dae-Wi and swordswoman Yu Mi-Ra. They're all there for different reasons, and they're all in for the fights of their lives.

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  • 4

    Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

    Kenichi Shirahama is no one's idea of a powerful fighter, but when various forces involving a bully, a girl he's fallen in love with, and even gang-related problems combine, he finally gets motivated to show what he's made of. Not content to simply learn one martial art, Kenichi studies Karate, Muay Thai, Ju Jitsu and Chinese Martial Arts at the dojo Ryouzanpaku. The training is tough, but if he actually masters these techniques, he'll be able to combine them into a new martial art of his own creation. 

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