No matter how interesting the story is, top-notch animation can be the difference between a good experience and a great experience. It can even make it easier to overlook plot holes, contrivances, and other issues.
And when top-notch animation coincides with iconic scenes and turning points in an anime series, it can turn a great scene into a legendary scene that'll be forever remembered. Good animation has real power.
From calm depictions of one's soul to romantic moments between two lovers, here are my picks for the best animated scenes in anime that feature insanely good animation.
20. Stage Performance Scenes (Oshi no Ko)
Oshi no Ko is a music anime series that centers on the entertainment industry and stage performances, giving us idols and stars who shine in their craft as performers and the struggles they face in the industry.
In this series, we're treated to several stage performances complete with flashy atmosphere, beautiful voices, great choreography, and lovable characters. While stage performances are still best seen in real life, the animation in these moments is truly mesmerizing.
19. Lightning Scene (Weathering With You)
Weathering With You is notable for being an anime film with incredibly smooth and beautiful animations, often featuring Tokyo amidst crazy weather. This film gave us this incredible scene that perfectly captured the lightning and the explosion with insanely good animation.
18. Zeke's Scream (Attack on Titan)
Zeke has the ability to turn anyone who drinks his spinal fluid into Titans with a single scream. In this scene, Eldians are dropped from a plane up high and turned into Titans as they fall, meant to arrive as reinforcements on the frontlines of battle.
17. Luffy Saves Ace (One Piece)
The Marineford War was the battle between Marines and Whitebeard Pirates along with Luffy and his companions from Impel Down.
When the Sea Prism Stone handcuffs fell off and the Whitebeard Pirates' insignia appeared in the smoke, it signified that the war wasn't over. Ace and Luffy, along with Mr. 3, emerged from the smoke in an epic entrance.
16. Asta Receives a Grimoire (Black Clover)
Most mages of Hage, including Yuno, received their grimoires at the Grimoire Tower during the Grimoire Acceptance Ceremony.
But not Asta. He got his grimoire in a life-and-death moment where it suddenly appeared, just on the brink of defeat. The tension of the scene became heavy as the shadow of the devil appeared, accompanied by the great animation that made it that much more badass.
15. Zeke Screams Inside the Walls (Attack on Titan)
Here's another iconic scream from Zeke, who turned nearly everyone inside the walls into his Titans. One by one, sparks of light appear in random places, with the slow-motion effect adding drama to the scene—as if to say there's no coming back once you've become a Titan.
14. Gon's Transformation (Hunter X Hunter)
This moment showed what Gon felt upon learning that Kite is never coming back. Emotions mixed up inside him and caused instability, with the dark background adding tension to the scene.
It's the sinister transformation that portrays how he won't forgive those who do him harm. The development that built up this intense moment clearly showed that Pitou's days were numbered.
13. Tanjiro's Spirit Core (Demon Slayer)
During the Infinity Train Arc, the Demon Slayers were trapped in their dreams by Enmu, a Lower Moon Demon of Muzan. He instructed kids to invade their dreams and destroy the spirit cores to kill them from inside.
Tanjiro's soul is beautifully calm, which even touched the heart of the kid who invaded and was supposed to destroy it. It features a place filled with nothing but clouds and sky stretching to infinity.
12. Mob at 100% Anger (Mob Psycho 100)
Mob Psycho 100 features a protagonist who goes wild once his emotions reach a certain degree—and it's especially true of his rage. With every rage moment comes a badass animated scene of him on a rampage.
11. Satoru Gojo's Domain Expansion (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Domain Expansion is an ability used by Jujutsu Sorcerers and Curses in the anime series Jujutsu Kaisen. The concept of Domain Expansion is like setting the stage for your own advantage. Satoru Gojo used his visually stunning Domain Expansion: Infinite Void to defeat his enemy's domain.
10. Black Bulls Save Finral (Black Clover)
Just when Langris was about to kill his brother Finral, the rest of the Black Bulls flew over the battlefield to save their friend in an epic and intense moment. With their grimoires and weapons out, they were ready to forget the game all for the sake of Finral.
9. Clash of Conqueror's Haki (One Piece)
This is one of the best parts of the Luffy versus Katakuri fight: the clash of Conqueror's Haki (Color of the Supreme King).
To eliminate the annoying characters on the sideline, they both unleash their respective Conqueror's Haki, filling the Mirror World and causing bystanders to fall on the ground.
There were other Clash of Conqueror's Haki moments since the concept was introduced in the series, including Luffy versus Doflamingo.
8. Senjumaru's Bankai (Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War)
Squad 0 are Soul Reapers so powerful that they can't recklessly unleash their powers, otherwise they'd disrupt all the realms in Bleach. However, one of Squad 0, Senjumaru Shutara, unleashed her Bankai at the cost of the other members' lives through the Blood Oath Seal.
Her Bankai, the Shatatsu Karagara Shigarami no Tsuji, creates and engulfs her victims in her dimension of looms and fabrics. She defeated the invading Quincies with this technique, which the animation and soundtrack made even grander, more majestic, and more intense.
7. Zenitsu Moments (Demon Slayer)
Zenitsu Agatsuma knew only one form of his Thunder Breathing, but it was enough to make viewers drop their jaws in amazement. With just one form, he can take down his enemies—even a high-ranking demon.
Even though he's a big, cowardly crybaby, he's one of the stronger Demon Slayers who can slash his way through and defeat enemies with his flashy technique (even while asleep and unconscious).
6. Hinokami Kagura (Demon Slayer)
Hinokami Kagura is Tanjiro Kamado's last resort or his finishing move. It's also a double-edged sword as it will eventually wear him out of strength and stamina after each use.
Whenever he uses Hinokami Kagura, it's clear to us how serious the situation is and how heavy the fight will be. Also, when he transitions from a water dragon to a fiery one, it's so badass.
Later on in the series, Tanjiro showcases several other devastating Hinokami Kagura moves that are just as gorgeous to see.
5. Eren's Transformation (Attack on Titan)
Eren wasn't able to transform into his Titan form even though he was hurt badly (which is one of the requirements for transformation), making his transformation in this scene so epic.
It was fueled purely by his emotions, including the hatred he harbored. The moment he pulls himself up from being pinned down to the iconic yellow lightning is just so great and intense.
4. Falling Scene (Weathering With You)
This iconic moment from Weathering With You gave us not only a heartwarming and heart-touching scene with Hina and Hodaka, but also beautiful scenery that's perfect for the film's climax.
The sky above and the land below were both depicted magnificently, as they hold each other's hands while falling from the sky.
3. Fireworks! (I Want to Eat Your Pancreas)
Most romance-themed or slice-of-life anime series—like I Want to Eat Your Pancreas—have a fireworks scene. It always steals the show's highlights and adds a more romantic touch to the lovebirds' moment.
2. The Comet (Your Name)
Who could ever forget this amazing scene that nearly made this film a tragic one? Most of us felt the tension, fear, and heartbreak when the comet started to fall apart.
Your Name gave us this intense scene, escalated by its beautiful animation that featured one of the wonders of the sky, only for it to fall violently on the town, raining chaos and destruction.
From the moment it pierced the sky to the moment it landed, it was just so satisfying yet heartbreaking to watch.
1. Violet Crosses the Lake (Violet Evergarden)
Kyoto Animation's Violet Evergarden is a stunning piece of art and one of the best examples of an anime that combines top-notch story, characters, and animation to great results.
As far as the animation goes, there's just so much incredible attention to detail throughout—especially in the settings—which makes every frame and every scene such a joy to look at.
And in an anime full of wonderfully animated sequences, the one that stands out to me is this scene where Violet crosses the lake, highlighting the heartbreaking story of it all.