Anime series have different ways to showcase the powers of their characters, but one of the coolest and most memorable opportunities is to put all the characters against each other in a tournament.
These organized fight events come with rules to follow, a ladder system, and a grand prize for the winner at the end.
As with wars and other conflicts, tournaments and fight events are great for character developments, new relationships, and even heartbreaking outcomes. Sometimes, an entire anime series is based around a long-running and in-depth competition.
From fights with only pride at stake to battles for an entire universe's continued existence, here are the best tournament arcs and fight events we've seen in anime series.
16. Kyoto Sister-School Goodwill Event (Jujutsu Kaisen)
The Kyoto Sister-School Goodwill Event is held annually by the Jujutsu schools in Kyoto and Tokyo, with the students participating in a set of competitions. Unknown to the Tokyo Campus team, the Kyoto Campus team has a hidden agenda for their participation.
Though the battles between students were badass, the interruption by the Special Grade Curses made the event more thrilling and exciting, prompting the higher authorities to make their move.
15. Ura Buto Satsujin (Flame of Recca)
After they infiltrated and rescued Sakoshita Yanagi from the mansion of Kurei and Koran Mori, Recca Hanabishi, Fuko Kirisawa, Domon Ishijima, and Tokiya Mikagami were invited to participate in an underground tournament called Ura Buto Satsujin, organized by Koran Mori.
There, they entered as a group under the banner of Team Hokage, with Kaoru Koganei joining them sometime later in the event. They fought the teams Kuu, Uruha Maboroshi, Uruha Oto, and Uruha Ma, before they finally faced Kurei's team: the Uruha Kurenai.
What's at stake is not only the brothers' pride as Flame Masters, but also Yanagi's life (as Mori wants her healing ability to become immortal).
14. Royal Knight Selection (Black Clover)
To pick the best Magic Knights in response to the threat of the Eye of the Midnight Sun, Clover Kingdom organized a selection tournament in which winners would be assembled to form the Royal Knights.
Mages of high caliber from different squads, including Asta and Yuno, were chosen to participate. The Magic Knights were grouped into teams of 3 members to fight in a crystal destruction match.
13. Kill or Save Battle (Assassination Classroom)
While Class 3-E was tasked with assassinating Koro Sensei to save the world, they grew totally attached to him. In the end, they decided to settle the score and determine Koro Sensei's fate via paintball match.
They were divided into two factions—the Kill team and Save team—with the winner deciding what would happen to their teacher. The match featured the students' honed hunting and assassination skills, including sniper accuracy and camouflage abilities.
12. Dark Tournament (Yu Yu Hakusho)
The Dark Tournament was a competition organized by rich human beings and their greed for power. At the end of the tournament, the members of the winning team are granted any wish, like the Toguro Brothers wanting to be higher-ranking demons.
Yusuke Urameshi participated in the tournament along with Kuwabara, Kurama, Hiei, and the Masked Fighter, with Koenma as their handler. In each round, the team faced down different demons who got stronger with every advancement through the tournament stages.
11. Ragnarok (Record of Ragnarok)
Ragnarok is a competition between humans and gods, with each side having 13 participants that compete in one-on-one deathmatches. It's a battle to determine the fate of mankind: whether to be extinguished (if their fighters lose) or live on for another thousand years (if they win).
Though it was created as a mere joke by the powerful gods, who know that no human can truly defeat them, the battles that take place between gods and mankind in the Valhalla Arena provided many twists and turns with all kinds of unexpected results.
10. Cell Games (Dragon Ball Z)
To satisfy his craving for battle and his desire to fight the strongest opponent, Cell invited the Saiyans and other fighters to compete in his self-organized tournament called Cell Games.
Cell, now in his complete form after consuming Android 17 and 18, crafted a battle stage similar to the ones seen in martial arts tournaments.
He made a rule where out-of-bounds equals defeat, but later destroyed the entire stage and rendered that rule useless because he was having so much fun in his battle with Goku.
9. Great Raitai Tournament (Baki)
Baki the Grappler features an event called the Great Raitai Tournament, a Chinese Martial Arts competition to which Baki and other non-Chinese fighters were invited.
Baki, though poisoned, still fought in the tournament despite his deteriorating body. His father, Yujiro "The Ogre" Hanma, also participated in the event and showcased his inner beast by ripping off a high-ranking martial artist's face and tossing it like a towel.
Because of the low-quality fighters produced by the current committee, Kaku Kaioh decided to change the rules of the game and made it a Chinese versus Japanese-American Alliance team competition.
8. Winter Cup Tournament (Kuroko's Basketball)
Tournaments are common in sports anime, and the Winter Cup of Kuroko's Basketball is one of the most iconic examples.
Throughout the entire event, we see the battles between former teammates (Generation of Miracles) who are now members of different basketball teams from different schools.
With each one wanting to defeat the others, a close and intense showdown heats up every match. The Zone Mode and the aggressive gameplay elevate each scene into new levels of badassery.
7. Greed Island (Hunter X Hunter)
The Greed Island is a game for Hunters and Nen users, in which players are brought from their current location into the game itself by using Nen on the console. The main objective is to beat the game by collecting all the cards with different rarities and in-game effects.
Inside the game is just like any normal community, but with NPCs blending in with the crowd for missions, shops, and other miscellaneous elements. Though it's a card collecting game, death is still real—dying in the game is dying in the real world.
6. Corrida Colosseum Tournament (One Piece)
The Dressrosa Arc of the One Piece series featured a gladiator-like battle event in the Corrida Colosseum, organized by the Donquixote Family and overlooked by Diamante. The winner of the current event took home the Mera Mera no Mi, the Devil Fruit of the late Portgas D. Ace.
Luffy joined the event disguised as Lucy, aiming to win his brother's Devil Fruit. Though many contestants proved themselves worthy and displayed their powers, Lucy roamed around as if the battleground was his playground (but there were times he got serious, too).
5. Heavens Arena (Hunter X Hunter)
Gon and Killua participated in the fight events of Heavens Arena, aiming to earn money while waiting for the day of their reunion with Kurapika and Leorio. This is also the arc where Nen was introduced, with the fighters from the 200th floor onwards being Nen users.
Heavens Arena is a tall tower consisting of more than 200 floors, in which fighters who win on a certain floor advance to the next floor. This is where the Gon-versus-Hisoka battle took place, which featured the young Hunter managing to hit Hisoka and return the tag.
4. Battle of the Squad Captains (Black Clover)
Another entry from the Black Clover series is the Battle of the Squad Captains. To regain the people's trust after a tragic incident, the Magic Emperor Julius Novachrono pits the Magic Knight Squad Captains against each other in a crystal destruction match.
They were divided into two groups and must protect their crystals while trying to destroy the opposing team's crystal. Unlike the Royal Knight Selection, the Squad Captains' Battle was on a higher level that featured wide-scale assaults and full-power attacks.
3. Tournament of Power (Dragon Ball Super)
Beerus and Champa, the Gods of Destruction, organized a tournament that pitted the best fighters of Universe 6 and 7. But with the appearance of Omni King Zeno on stage, a new and more intense tournament was decided—one that involved the other universes.
The Tournament of Power may sound entertaining with all the powerful opponents, but the stakes are simply too big for fun. When all the players of a universe are eliminated, their universe is also wiped from existence—including their Kais and Gods of Destruction.
2. Chunin Exam (Naruto)
To be promoted to a Chunin, a Genin must pass the Chunin Exam, which is a set of tests that evaluate young ninjas' abilities. Different Hidden Villages participate in the Konoha-hosted Chunin Exam, with their respective Kages watching their performances.
From the written exam to the Forest of Death to the final tournament bracket, Genins showcase their different techniques and unique jutsus. Throughout the entire Chunin Exam Arc, there are many twists and developments introduced involving hidden plots and deaths.
1. UA Sports Festival (My Hero Academia)
The UA Sports Festival is an annual event held at the UA High School and is one of the most anticipated events by both students and audiences. In this event, students from different grades and courses compete against each other and showcase their talents.
The UA Sports Festival includes the Cavalry Battle, where participants form a group of four and try to grab headbands from each other to accumulate points while protecting their own. Other events include a race on a landmine-filled track and one-on-one battles.
From endurance tests to team battles, the event shows how students utilize their Quirks and use them depending on the situation.