One of the best things about anime is how creative different series can be. They allow us to experience all kinds of power fantasies, from teleportation to invisibility to world-shattering explosions.
But even more interesting is how these different anime powers and abilities are often girded by well-designed rules of logic—and how these systems influence the worldbuilding of an anime series.
Sometimes it's about the manipulation of natural elements. Other times it may be channeling the power of love. And yet other times it could come down to inheritance and bloodlines.
When done well, it doesn't matter how these powers come about. We only care that they're really cool.
Here are some of the coolest anime powers and abilities that we've seen, how they work, and why they're so awesome.
16. Perfect Vision (Chivalry of a Failed Knight)
There are many characters who possess cool abilities in the Chivalry of a Failed Knight anime series, but the protagonist Ikki Kurogane holds the coolest and most unique skill.
His ability Blade Steal—which is later upgraded to Perfect Vision—can adapt to whatever battle he's in. By using his keen senses and battle analysis to copy and match his opponents, Ikki can overpower any foe in conjunction with his sword.
15. Sonic Minimum (Hamatora)
The anime series Hamatora features abilities called Minimums, which are innate to individuals who are called Minimum Holders.
Nice's ability is the Sonic Minimum, which allows him to move at the speed of sound by moving in the sound. Any opponent who's within the sound range is guaranteed to be hit by Nice's fast movements.
14. Nen Chains (Hunter X Hunter)
In Hunter X Hunter, Kurapika's Chains are great weapons that cost a heavy price to use.
To achieve the perfect Nen ability, Kurapika used the Covenant and Restriction that allows him to use a deadly weapon and instantly kill any target as long as that target is a member of the Phantom Troupe—otherwise, he dies.
His chains include the Guiding Chain, Jail Chain, Holy Chain, and the Judgment Chain, which are products of all Nen types Kurapika uses.
13. Dragon Slayer Magic (Fairy Tail)
This type of magic used by Dragon Slayers is one of the strongest abilities in the Fairy Tail anime series. Although it's said to be a type of Lost Magic, many characters actually possess this powerful skill.
Dragon Slayer Magic can be taught by an actual dragon, or it can be acquired through artificial methods (like lacrima implants). The irony is that Dragon Slayer Magic is taught by dragons to defeat dragons, pointing to the fact that even dragons have their disputes.
Notable Dragon Slayer characters include Natsu Dragneel (Fire Dragon Slayer Magic) and Gajeel Redfox (Steel Dragon Slayer Magic), who can manifest immunity to their respective elements and replenish their power by consuming the elements.
12. Anti-Magic (Black Clover)
Asta doesn't actually have the Anti-Magic ability himself, but his swords do. With his trained body and inhuman strength, he can make full use of the anti-magic properties of his weapons.
First seen after the Grimoire Acceptance Ceremony where he failed to receive a grimoire, a five-leaf clover grimoire appeared during his fight (along with Yuno) with Revchi.
His five-leaf grimoire holds all four of his blades: the Demon Slayer (which nullifies and deflects magic), the Demon Dweller (which projects anti-magic), the Demon Destroyer (which removes the effects of magic), and the katana he got from his captain, Yami Sukehiro.
At one point in the series, Asta does manage to channel the ability from his sword to his body, which makes him the vessel of anti-magic as long as he wields his blades.
11. Mangekyo Sharingan (Naruto Shippuden)
In Naruto, the Sharingan is an ocular ability possessed by the Uchiha Clan, while the Mangekyo Sharingan is a much higher-level version of the Sharingan that grants unique powers depending on the user.
The normal Sharingan increases the user's perception and combat abilities, allowing them to fight better and even copy the techniques used by opponents in battle.
The Mangekyo Sharingan is awakened when a Sharingan user suffers immense trauma at witnessing the death of someone very close. While the Mangekyo Sharingan grants special abilities, the downside is that the user eventually loses their sight with prolonged usage.
Examples of Mangekyo Sharingan powers include: Tobi's Kamui (where he sucks targets into a time-space void), Itachi's Tsukuyomi (where his targets suffer days of torture in an instant), and Sasuke's Amaterasu (which creates black flames at his focal point).
10. Hardening Quirk (My Hero Academia)
Although Eijiro Kirishima isn't the main character of My Hero Academia, his Hardening Quirk is one of the coolest abilities in the entire series.
With it, he can harden any part of his body at will. The hardening can protect him against pretty much any threat of damage, and he can use hardened body parts offensively (like using his arm as a spear).
He later enhances his ability to make a new skill called Red Riot: Unbreakable, which reaches hardening of maximum strength and maintains for a certain amount of time.
9. Haki (One Piece)
Late into the narrative of One Piece, we learn that Devil Fruits aren't the only source of abilities. There's also Haki, which is the ability to use one's spiritual energy to manifest all kinds of effects.
For example, one can use it to predict another's movements or coat one's weapons with extra damage. Some can even use Haki to intimidate and completely overpower another's will.
A Haki user can even inflict damage to a Logia-type user, who normally isn't vulnerable to physical attacks except ones coming from an attribute that's stronger.
8. Limitless (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Satoru Gojo's Limitless is a pretty complex ability, but it's one that can be terrifying—and he doesn't even break a sweat.
Limitless has two components. The first is Cursed Technique Reversal: Red (repulsion) and the second is Cursed Technique Lapse: Blue (attraction). When fused, they create the Hollow Technique: Purple, a pure wave of destruction that obliterates anything in its path.
But Limitless also has a base state called Infinity, which is an invisible barrier around Satoru that makes him invulnerable to attacks. It works by slowing down spatial objects to the point that motion ceases.
7. Domain Expansion (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Domain Expansion is the manifestation of one's innate domain in the real world, creating a barrier that's infused with the user's Cursed Technique and envelops targets within.
Domain Expansions differ from sorcerer to sorcerer. For example, Satoru Gojo's Unlimited Void traps his opponents in the Limitless while Jogo's Coffin of the Iron Mountain pulls his opponents into his domain which is hot enough to kill anyone who enters.
Normally, a user's Curse Techniques become more powerful within the barrier. Fushiguro's Chimera Shadow Garden, for example, floods the area with his element: shadows.
6. Red Hawk (One Piece)
Portgas D. Ace is a fan-favorite character in the One Piece series, and many were saddened by his death in the Marineford War. That's why it was so hyped when Luffy used his Ace-inspired Red Hawk.
Luffy's Gomu Gomu no Mi's attribute is rubber, which means he has no way to generate fire like Ace can. But after his Haki training, he manages to create an attack similar to his brother's.
Red Hawk is a combination of his Jet Bullet and Armament Haki. He launches his Haki-coated arm at speed, causing it to ignite and create this meaningful fire-imbued attack.
5. Breathing Technique (Demon Slayer)
The Breathing Techniques of Demon Slayers may be named after elements like water and fire, but they aren't elemental attacks.
In fact, Breathing Techniques are sword styles mastered by Demon Slayers to combat demons who are far stronger than regular humans. They allow swordsmen to mimic a Breathing Style's element.
For example, Tanjiro and Giyu can perform fluid swordplay with their Water Breathing Technique while Zenitsu's Thunder Breathing involves super fast and accurate movements.
All of these attacks are, of course, animated with elemental flourish—flames, waves, bolts of lightning—for impact to make us feel the shonen vibes and thrills in the moment.
4. Nine-Sword Style: Asura (One Piece)
Zoro Roronoa is a master swordsman who uses the unique three-sword style. However, there are scenes where he surpasses his limits to use the famed Nine-Sword Style.
It still involves his normal three-sword style, but he unleashes threefold damage as if he has nine total swords. He first uses this against Kaku of the CP9 during the Enies Lobby Arc, who openly states that Zoro has become like the demon god Asura.
He later uses the nine-sword style again during their fight against Kaido, with Zoro using the Enma as one of his swords.
3. Night Guy (Naruto Shippuden)
Might Guy is one of the most powerful ninjas in the world with his world-class hand-to-hand combat prowess, but he also has an ace up his sleeve: the Eight Gates Release.
Upon opening his final inner chakra gate—the Eighth Gate of Death—he surpasses the limits of the human body and temporarily becomes stronger than anyone. The technique even boils his blood and gives off a red aura from all the blood vapor.
Called Night Guy, this technique bends the space between Guy and his opponent, allowing him to close any gaps and render any defenses useless—which comes in handy against Madara Uchiha.
In fact, even though Madara survives the attack, he's left incapacitated and would've died if it weren't for the Ten-Tails sealed within.
2. One For All (My Hero Academia)
When the mystery of One For All was revealed, the Quirk became even more interesting than it first appeared to be. One For All not just one Quirk—it stores several other Quirks within, and that gives Izuku everything he needs for battle against All For One.
From Blackwhip to Danger Sense, he learns to use them all with efficiency and efficacy. With his own version of "smashes," Full Cowling, and Air Smash, he becomes pretty badass.
And because he has tons of knowledge of how Quirks work, he can combine them in various ways. For example, Izuku uses Float and then propels himself using his Air Smashes, similar to how Bakugo propels himself using his Explosion Quirk.
1. Ultra Instinct (Dragon Ball Super)
There are many incredible powers and abilities featured in the Dragon Ball animes—including the iconic Kamehameha Wave—but Goku's Ultra Instinct tops them all!
First seen in Dragon Ball Super, Ultra Instinct gives an immense boost to Goku's capabilities, even beyond what's possible with his Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan Blue transformations.
Ultra Instinct is so strong that he's able to fight on even ground with Jiren, who leads most of the Tournament of Power.
In his Ultra Instinct state, Goku is able to "instinctively" dodge and counter every attack thrown at him because his body is "separated" from his emotions, giving him total control over his "fighter" self.
What elevates this technique is the way it was introduced: just when we thought Universe 7 was going to be annihilated because their Blue forms weren't enough, Goku suddenly unlocks this new power-up!