Top Ten Anime from the 2000’s

Now that I completed my Top Ten Anime from the 80’s and 90’s list, I thought that I would tackle the early 2000’s and then the 2010’s. While I think that the decade wouldn’t have the same impact that the 90’s did, every decade is going to have the own profound anime series. I’m not sure how I would characterize this decade. However, I did notice that swordsmen were more popular than the previous decade.

Honorable Mention: Bleach, Fairy Tail, Inuyasha, Jo Jo Bizarre, Digimon)


10. Inuyasha – 2000/2009

The series is about Kagome Higurashi, a teenage girl that is transported form modern day Tokyo to the Sengoku period. While there she meets a half dog demon named Inuyasha. Together they try to regain the shards of the Shikon jewel, to prevent the demon Naraku from obtaining it. They gain a number of allies, as they fall in love. I personally have a love hate relationship with this series.

Basically, I loved it now I hate. Or at least hated. Part of this was due to the separating of the series in two five years apart. The series felt circular and I was waiting for it too end. That said, I enjoyed it this series, especially the movies. Inuyasha had a love story that I wasn’t use to. In addition to this it had humor and action. The dynamics of the Inuyasha and Kagome love story and the collection of the Shikon Jewel shards got tedious at times. However, the series is still one of the highest regarded anime series.


9. Hellsing – 2001/2006

Hellsing is an adapted anime series from Kouta Hirano. The series focuses on the secret Hellsing Organization as it fights against the vampires, ghouls, and other supernatural beings in Great Britain. The anime was different from the manga in terms of plot, though it kept the characters. At the beginning of the series a vampire is turning villagers into ghouls. The head of the Hellsing Organization, Integra Hellsing, sends Hellsing most powerful agent, a vampire named Alucard. The series explores themes like the meaning of being human and religion. It has a overall dark tone and a bittersweet ending. If you like bloody, violent battles with an immortal hero that’s probably a sociopath, Hellsing is for you.


8. Afro Samurai – 2007

A seinen manga series that was adapted into an anime in 2007, Afro Samurai, is the brainchild of Takashi Okazaki. Afro Samurai is a largely typical action anime series, except that it focuses on an black protagonists. The anime three years to make. At some point Samuel L. Jackson learned of the adaptation and together with Takashi Okazaki and Japanese Studio Gonzo decided to work together. In addition to this, The RZA from Wu-Tang Clan, created the musical score. Afro was inspired by Okazaki’s fondness for hip hop and soul music, and the legendary black samurai Yasuke.

Set in a futuristic feudal Japan, Afro Samurai, is the holder of the Number 1 headband. He possess god-like powers and is the best swordsmen as a result. The headband grants immortality to the holder of the number 1. However, the holder of the number 2 headband can kill the number 1. This creates a target of the number 2. As a child, Afro witness his father (Rokutaro) a former holder of the number 1 headband, being killed by the gunslinger Justice. Afro vows revenge. The series is mainly straight forward, but highly stylized. The animation is top notch with fight scenes and music that are epic.



7. Sword of the Stranger – 2007

I don’t remember how I stubble upon of Sword of the Stranger, but I was glad I did. Directed by Masahiro Ando and animated by Bones, Sword of the Stranger, follows Kotaro. He escapes from a mysterious pursers with his dog, Tobimaru. Kotaro meets Nanashi, a wandering swordsman inside a decaying temple. Throughout their travels, Nanashi fights Luo-Lang, a skilled swordsman that’s powered mad and craves a strong opponent. Nanashi proves to be that opponent.

It is revealed that Kotaro is believed to be a “prophesied child,” who’s blood can be used for an “elixir of immortality.” Nanashi is revealed to have been a child killer an act that forced him to stop using his sword. In order to save Kotaro he finally unsheathes his sword. This results in a final duel between Luo-Lang and Nanashi. This scene is hands down one of the best animated sword fights ever. I would recommend this movie just to watch this scene.


6. Naruto – 2002

Naruto is one of the greatest anime/manga series of all time. However, I prefer the manga to the anime. This is largely due to the large amount of filler and inconsistent animation. Otherwise, Naruto would rank much higher. The art style of Kishimoto didn’t really translate well. However, the peak aspects of the show are among the best. Particularly, fights like Rock Lee vs Gaara. The animation improved with Naruto: Shippuden, but the filler remains an issue.

Naruto follows the life of Naruto Uzumaki, a young orphaned ninja. He seeks to gain the recognition of his peers and aims to become the Hokage (the strongest ninja). Like most shonen anime the combat is the most enjoyable aspect of the show. However, Naruto does have character development and interesting story-lines.



5. Samurai Champloo – 2004

Samurai Champloo is an anime series from the creator of Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe. Set in the Edo period, Champloo blends elements of action, adventure and comedy. Like his use of Jazz in Cowboy Bebop, Watanabe uses Hip Hop in this series. The animation is well choreographed and fluid. Like Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo focuses on three main protagonists, vagabond Mugen, Ronin Jin and waitress Fuu. It is Fuu that convinces them to aid her in her search for the samurai who “smells of sunflowers.”

The world of Samurai Champloo is deliberately designed to reflect international hip hop culture. The score features hip hop beats from Japanese artists. Mugen’s fighting style even resembles break dancing. Samurai Champloo touches on themes from government corruption, class separation, discrimination and crime. Shinichiro Watanabe continues to create top quality work and while Samurai Champloo doesn’t surpass Cowboy Bebop it’s worth watching.


4. Death Note – 2006

Light Yagami is a teenage genius the accidentally finds a notebook called the “Death Note.” Belonging to Shinigami Ryuk, the book gives the holder the ability to kill anyone that name is written in the book. Light uses this book to attempt to kill those he deems unworthy of living. Under the name of Kira, he begins his tyranny as he tries to exterminate criminals to get to the utopian society he craves. What results is a cat and mouse battle of wits between Kira and L. An strange genius international detective, L tries to apprehend Kira using his smarts.

This isn’t the type of series that I normally gravitate towards, but it was an amazing series. Death Note ask us to explore whether anyone should “play God,” and is power corrupting. Light is initially a presented as a well behaved young genius, however, once he gains the death note he becomes a homicidal maniac. Is this the result of the death note or was light always this way? The audience starts out on Lights side then we hope that he receives the justice he thinks he administers.


3. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – 2007

Gurren Lagann is a visually marvel from Gainax. The animation never waivers from it’s high quality. The show is an action packed series that increases the size of the robots with nearly every battle. Incredible imaginative, emotionally impactful and full of awesome mecha battles, Gurren Lagann is a must watch series. Taking place in a future world where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King. Lordgenome forces mankind to live underneath the ground. They have no contact with the surface and are under threats from earthquakes.

Simon a short digger and his “brother” Kamina, have a dream of reaching the surface. Armed with a “core drill” and a small mecha, Simon, Kamina and the rest of their gang, rise from the subterranean village to outer space. As they do they bring humanity form oppression to freedom.



2. FLCL – 2003

FLCL or Fooly Cooly is a series that’s hard to describe. A 6 episode OVA, follows Naota, a 12 year old boy. Bored with his life, his life changes when he encounters the manic Haruko. A intergalactic police officer looking for a Pirate King, she wields a bass guitar. After this encounter, Naota’s forehead begins to spawn giant robots when it becomes an intergalactic gateway for them. What follows is a sporadic Space Opera, that plays with the fourth wall, with dynamic animation to match.

I don’t think that FLCL is for everyone, but I would recommend it to anyone. However, you might need to re-watch it multiple times before it makes sense. If it ever does. With studios like Gainax and Production I.G at the helm, FLCL excels in almost every way. The music is phenomenal and the use of color is visually stunning. Naota finally get’s the adventure he wanted and we are along for the ride.


1. FullMetal Alchemists – 2003/2009

Edward and Alphonse Elric’s arrogance and disregard for the rules of alchemy results in Al losing his body and Ed loses an arm and a leg. The brothers go on a journey to restore their bodies. Along the way they join the government military, with Edward becoming a State Alchemists. Ed, AL and many others search for the Philosopher’s Stone that grants it’s holder anything they wish. The brothers learn the hidden truth of the world they inhabit.

Fullmetal Alchemists is a complex story that explores many difficult themes. Some themes like genocide, the meaning of life, war and lost, result in series that is both action packed and though provoking. Fullmetal balances these dark themes with good action and humor. This is the reason Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most beloved anime series of all time.

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Top Ten Anime from the 80’s & 90’s

As the decade comes to a close, I figure that I would join in on the best decade listing. I was born in the late 80’s so many of the anime I grew on are from that period. I decided to combine the two decades. Looking back at the anime on the lists, I would say all of the anime on this list stand the test of time. That doesn’t necessary mean that they’re superior to anime that has come after, but they still are magnificent. The animation was more grainy and the colors were muted. The plots were more mature that the current top series. Most of these series are considered to be among the “most influential” of all time.



10. Rurouni Kenshin – 1996

Himura Kenshin is a wandering swordsman that was formerly the assassin Hitokiri Battosai. The creator, Nobuhiro Watsuki want to make a different kind of shonen series. One that was more serious, focusing on themes like atonement, peace and romance. The anime series is one of the most popular, with a sophisticated plot and epic action scenes. It took a while for me to warm up to this series, but the series grew on me. The anime only adapts the series up to the Shishio fight, then focuses on material that’s new.


9. Tenchi Muyo (Tenchi Universe) – 1995

Generally I don’t like harem series, but Tenchi Universe was an exception. Based on the six episode OVA series, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, the series focuses on Tenchi. The grandchild of legendary warrior and prince of the the Juraian Empire, Yosho. Tenchi’s life changes after a series of intergalactic women arrive in his life. There’s the space pirate Ryoko, snobbish princess Ayeka, her sister Sasami, Goddess Tsunami, the clumsy Galactic Officer Mihoshi and her partner Kiyone and finally the legendary mad scientist Washu. As the ladies bicker with one another over trivial matters and Ryoko and Ayeka battle for Tenchi’s love, they group become fugitives. Together the evade detection and manage to save the Juraian Empire from the control of Kagato.



8. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – 1995

There are some many different Gundam series it can be difficult to tell them apart. However, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is credited with “globalizing the franchise.” The first Gundam series to air in American and the sixth anime in the series, Gundam Wing focuses on the war between Earth and it’s orbital colonies. The series introduces us to five pilots, Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner and Change Wufei. They are tasked with using their Gundams attack the Organization of the Zodiac (OZ) and free the colonies from oppression.


7. Yu Yu Hakusho – 1992

Adapted from the manga series of the same name, Yu Yu Hakusho follows 14 year old, Yusuke Urameshi. In an act of heroism he sacrifices his life to same the life of little boy. He learns that the after life is real and is given a chance to redeem himself. He becomes an Underworld Detective, tasked with investigating supernatural activity in the Human World. Yu Yu Hakusho was twice voted “anime of the year” in 1994 and 1995 by Animage Anime Grand Prix. The series has been featured on many lists of the all time greatest anime series ever. Yu Yu Hakusho remains one of the most influential anime series.



6. Sailor Moon – 1992

Lazy crybaby Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon) meets a magical talking cat Luna and is asked to save the universe. Joined by Sailor Soldiers, Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter), Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) and supported by the mysterious Tuxedo Mask. They learn that in their past lives that they Usagi was Princess Serenity, the Sailor Soldiers were her friends and bodyguards and she was in love with a prince from Earth. However they were all killed by the Dark Kingdom. Queen Serenity sent the fallen to the future to be reborn.


5. Pokemon – 1997

With over 1,000 episodes to its credit, Pokemon is one of the most watched anime series of all time. Pokemon is credited with mainstreaming anime in the United States. Since then it has been released in over 169 different countries. The series generally focuses on the eternally youthful Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu. The first season of Pokemon, follows Ash, as he travels the Indigo League collecting eight badges. He’s joined by Misty and Brock. The series featured the iconic OP, “Pokémon Theme Song,” and the PokeRAP that ended every episode. Watching Ash battle each gym leader and enter the League is some of my fondest memories period.



4. Akira – 1988

Regarded as one of the greatest animated movies of all time, Akira is a must see anime for any fan. Considered a “landmark” anime film, responsible for increasing anime’s popularity and it’s manga art (by Katsuhiro Otomo) influencing many authors like Naruto’s Masashi Kishimoto. Featuring many sci-fi elements, Akira is held by many as being one of the best sci-fi movies as well. Bloody and violent, Akira is set in a dystopian 2019. It tells the story of Shotaro Kaneda, a biker gang leader. His childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident. Tetsuo eventual threatens Neo-Tokyo, rampaging through the city in search for Akira.


3. DBZ – 1989

Dragon Ball Z debuted in 89, but it wasn’t until the 90’s that the series really took off. A sequel to Dragon Ball, like Akira before and Pokemon after marked a tipping point in anime relevance and popularity. Following the now adult Goku and his family and friends as they battle search for the Dragon Balls and battles intergalactic aliens, androids and other creatures. The original Dragon Ball focuses on Goku’s his childhood, Dragon Ball Z focuses on Gohan’s (Goku’s son) childhood. DBZ was so popular that it outperformed shows like Friends and X-Files. Dragon Ball Z remains one of the most important anime series of all time.



2. Cowboy Bebop – 1998

The iconic anime neo-noir series, praised for it’s jazz soundtrack, production values and a all star voice cast. Cowboy Bebop has to be among the most popular and significant anime series ever. Highly praised by critics, Cowboy Bebop, follows the bounty hunting trio, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and Faye Valentine. They are joined by eccentric hacker, Ed and Welsh Corgi (a dog) that has been genetically engineered to have human-like intellect. Cowboy Bebop follows the aftermath of Spike escape from the criminal enterprise, Red Dragon Syndicate. He also hopes to flee his former friend, now enemy Vicious.


1. Neon Genesis Evangelion – 1995

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most controversial and acclaimed anime series. A deconstruction of the mecha genre, Evangelion is stated to have “led to the rebirth of the anime industry.” The series features many complex themes, touching on mental illness, philosophy and religion. Evangelion manages to embed religious symbolism. Like Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered to be a masterpiece. Personalty, I always found the main protagonist, Shinji, to be incredibly annoying. However, he is one of the most nuanced characters in anime history. Evangelion can be seem too complex at first and probably requires several viewings, but once you understand it, you’ll get the praise this series receives.

Want more: Top Ten Anime and Manga Franchises

The Top Ten highest grossing anime or manga media franchises (Part 2)

5. Gundam – $26 Billion

Gundam is one of the most storied anime series. The franchised originated in 1979 with Mobile Suit Gundam. A series that defined the “real robot” mecha genre. Gundam has spawned television series, OVA’s, films, manga, novels, video games and Gunpla (model robots). Gunpla is 90 percent of the Japanese character plastic model market. The majority of Gundam’s revenue comes from retail sales (25 Billion).


4. Jump Comics (Shonen Jump) – $40 Billion

Cover of Shonen Jump

Primarily a line of manga magazines, Jump Comics, are created by Shueisha. Beginning in 1968 it was renamed Weekly Shonen Jump. Now including anime and video games, Shonen Jump has become a massive franchise. Most of it’s revenue is generated from manga magazines and manga sales.


3. Anpanman – $60 Billion

Anpanman is a Japanese children’s superhero picture book written by Takashi Yanase. It ran from 1973 until Yanase death in 2013. It has been adapted into a popular anime series for young children in Japan. Anpanman is a superhero with a anpan for a head. He battles against an evil germ Baikinman. Appearing on children products, from clothing to snack foods to toys. Anpanman has inspired One Punch Man and K-pop song “Anpanman” by BTS.


2. Hello Kitty – $80 Billion

Hello Kitty is a fictional character created by Sanrio. A female Japanese Bobtail, with a red bow and no mouth. She’s a third grade student, that lives outside of London. With a media franchise that includes a product line, clothing apparel, toy-line, manga and anime series. Created in 1974, Hello Kitty is worth about $8 billion dollars a year.


1. Pokemon – $95 Billion

The top media franchise is Pokemon. Created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995 the franchise became a video game in 1996. The original video games series is the second highest selling behind Nintendo’s Mario, selling 340 million copies and 1 billion mobile downloads. It’s anime series has over 20 seasons and 1,000 episodes. The Pokemon franchise includes the top selling trading card game (27.2 billion cards sold), books, manga, music, anime films and a theme park.

The Top Ten highest grossing anime or manga media franchises (Part 1)

10. Neon Genesis Evangelion – $16.3 Billion


Neon Genesis Evangelion was created in 1994 by Hideaki Anno and Gainax. An apocalyptic mecha series that focused on the military organization NERV as they fight beings called Angels, to save humanity. Primarily an anime series, Evangelion has expanded to include, merchandising, karaoke, music, manga and Pachinko. It’s currently owned by Khara Studios.


9. Yu-Gi-Oh! – $20 Billion


Yu-Gi-Oh was created in 1996. A Japanese manga series, written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. The plot follows the story of Yugi Mutou as he tries to solve the ancient Millennium Puzzle. The manga has resulted in a massive media franchise that includes a trading card game, video games and a anime series.


8. One Piece – $21 Billion

One Piece is the most successful manga series of all time. Created in 1997 by Eiichiro Oda, the story centers on Monkey D. Luffy as he explores the Grand Line in hopes of finding “One Piece.” Having sold over 450 million copies, the iconic series has expanded it’s reach. With several movies, an anime, video games and merchandising the series has developed into massive revenue.


7. Fish of the North Star – $22 Billion

Created in 1983, the Fist of the North Star manga series was written by Buronson and drawn by Tetsuo Hara. 245 chapters were collected in 27 volumes by Shueisha. Set in a world destroyed by nuclear war, the series follows Kenshiro as he uses his Hokuto Shinken martial art to give his enemies a gory death. While Fist of the North Star has included games, merchandise, anime and manga, the series mostly makes money from Pachinko and arcades.


6. Dragon Ball – $24.3 Billion

Dragon Ball is the storied series from Akira Toriyama. Created in 1984, Dragon Ball started out as a popular manga series. Eventually Dragon Ball became the second highest selling manga series of all time. It was adapted into two anime series, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Through several companies, Dragon Ball has developed merchandising, films, both animated and live action, collectibles, trading cards and many video games.

The Ten Best Anime and Manga Power Systems (Part 2)

Meliodas using his demon powers
Meliodas using his demon powers

5. The Seven Deadly Sins – Powers

In the Seven Deadly Sins series, is simply called “powers.” How these powers are invoked are unknown. The source of one’s powers are their “will, beliefs, and their experience.” Powers can be inherited and gained by research or experimentation.” These powers are altered by the emotions of the users. These magical abilities are measured by Balor’s Magical Eye. They measure magic, strength and spirit in terms of numbers. The numerical calculation results in a “Power Level.” Each power is has advantages and disadvantages. All abilities are categorized in terms of offense, defense and support.

The lists of powers are large, with individuals having unique abilities and race based ones. For example, Elizabeth has the ability “Ark” that is a form of light magic from the Goddess Clan. She also has an unnamed ability “that allows her to persuade others to retreat from battle by speaking into their hearts and souls.”

More on: Powers


4. My Hero Academia – Quirk

In My Hero Academia, Quirks are “special, superhuman ability an individual can possess. Quirks are generally unique to their user, and are classified in multiple categories. The user is also given one single ability of that said Quirk, rather than many abilities.” Quirks are genetically inherited through “Mendelian inheritance.” They will manifest in children around age 4. Each child will either manifest the same Quirk of their parent or a composite one if both parents have Quirks. It is possible, however, for some children to develop Quirks that aren’t related to their genetic line.

In very rare case animals can possess Quirks, like Nezu. It is also possible that a Quirk can “mutate and merge.” Sometimes people with Quirks that are too difficult for their bodies to handle, for example Yuga Aoyama. His Quirks not only requires that he have a special belt, if he uses it for to long he will get pain in his stomach. Quirks feature more complex aspects to there existence. The concept of the “Quirk Factor” is one of these more complex aspects. The “Quirk Factor” refers to “the collective traits that compose a Quirk. This includes the primary Quirk power as well as all the biological mechanisms that allow said primary power to function properly.”

Quirks can also under go what is called “Awakening.” When this occurs, a users Quirk goes through “evolution.” It’s not clear what exactly triggers this moment, but Himiko Toga’s Quirk transforms during a “life or death situation.” Quirks are categorized in several different “types.”

  • Emitter – Quirks have the ability to either release certain substances, or alter materials around them in certain ways. Emitter-type Quirks usually require a conscious effort to activate
  • Transformation – Quirks cause the user to take on a temporary alteration of some kind. Transformation-type Quirks allow the user to temporarily “transform” their body in a variety of manners, sometimes enhancing existing features or perhaps adding new features to the body altogether.
  • Mutant – Quirks can have a wide variety of features and abilities depending on the individual. Generally, Mutant-type Quirks are associated with the user’s physicality (mutations). As a result, Mutant Quirks are passively active and, at a glance, are the most identifiable.

More on: Quirks


Gon using his Nen
Gon using his Nen

3. Hunter X Hunter – Nen

Nen allows the user to manipulate their own life energy, called aura. These users are referred to as “Nen users.” Aura are produced by all living bodies. Aura flow’s throughout the bodies that escapes through the top of the head. The points in the bodies where aura flows are called “Aura Nodes.” In order to learn Nen, students have to master opening and closing their Aura nodes. There are two ways to learn how to do this, meditation or Initiation.

Nen of the Flame

A precursor to learning Nen, these are mental exercises that “strengthen one’s force of will. Regular practice can smooth the flow of one’s aura.” There are four exercises:

  • Ten (“Point”): Focus the mind, reflect upon the self and determine the goal.
  • Zetsu (“Tongue”): Put it into words.
  • Ren (“Temper”): Intensify your will.
  • Hatsu (“Release”): Put it to action.

These four principles must be mastered to fully understand Nen. Then one can learn the more advanced techniques. These techniques often combine with or derive from one of the four major principles. The advanced techniques are as follows:

  • Gyo (“Focus”) – is an advanced application of Ren by which a Nen user concentrates a larger than normal portion of their aura into one specific body part. It increases the strength of that one body part, but leaves the rest of the body more vulnerable. Gyo is most often used in the eyes, allowing a Nen user to see aura and Nen constructs concealed with In.
  • In (“Conceal”) – is an advanced form of Zetsu used to render one’s aura imperceptible, effectively concealing it. Unlike Zetsu, however, In does not stop the user’s aura flow; instead, it hides it, making it impossible to perceive with any of the five senses or extrasensory perception. Hence, this technique is perfect for launching sneak attacks or laying traps, as it can conceal not only the user’s presence, but also Nen constructs generated with Transmutation, or Conjuration.
  • En (“Circle”) – is an advanced application of Ten and Ren. In Ren, aura usually envelops only a small amount of space around the user’s body. En is when one extends their Ren so that their aura extends further than normal, then uses Ten at the same time to contain and give shape to that aura, normally a sphere.
  • Shu (“Enfold”) – is an advanced application of Ten. Shu allows a user of Nen to enshroud an object with their aura, allowing them to use that object as an extension of their own body.
  • Ko (“Temper”) – is a combination of Ten, Zetsu, Hatsu, Ren, and Gyo in which all of the user’s aura is concentrated into one particular body part. Gyo is utilized to focus aura on a part of the body, while Ten is used to prevent it from dispersing. Zetsu is used to completely stop the flow of Nen in all other parts of the body, increasing the output in the desired area. With Ren, the amount of aura is increased even further. This makes that one body part extremely powerful, but at the cost of leaving the rest of the user’s body completely unprotected. Due to the risk it carries, Ko is regarded as a purely offensive technique.
  • Ken (“Fortify”) – is the advanced version of the basic Ren and Ten techniques. It is a primarily defensive technique where a Nen user maintains a state of Ren for a prolonged amount of time. The amount of aura surrounding the user’s body during Ken is about 10 times higher than during Ten. Ken allows a Nen user to guard against attacks from any direction, but the large amount of aura produced makes it tiring to maintain. It is considered the best option to defend from Ko, despite not being as powerful as the latter on any given part of the body, as it protects all of it evenly.
  • Ryu (“Flow”) – is the term for use of Gyo from a state of Ken to perform real-time offensive and defensive value adjustments. If Ko devolves 100% of one’s aura to offense or, much more rarely, to defense, and Ken splits it evenly between the two, Ryu is redistributing one’s aura according to any other percentage, for example by focusing 70% of one’s aura in one fist as one is about to strike, or 80% in one’s leg to block an incoming kick. It is utilized to damage a Ken user without leaving oneself as unprotected as during Ko, although the power of the technique is lower. Ryu is difficult to master, as it requires not only to control one’s aura flow with great precision, but also to be able to estimate the amount of aura utilized by the opponent at a glance.

In the diagram below is the six different types of aura. Everyone is born with one of the six, they are tasked with learning a new unique technique. There are “numerical approximations” that determine how efficient one would be at using aura abilities. One has a chance to be 100% efficient in their own aura type. One can be 80 % efficient in the adjacent aura type, 40% efficient at the opposite or farthest category, and 60% efficient in the two remaining categories.

The chart of the six types of aura in Hunter X Hunter
The chart of the six types of aura

Nen gets even more complex, as there are several sub-nen types, limitations, conditions, activation requirements, and aura power levels.

More on: Nen


2. Naruto – Chakra

In the Naruto series, Chakra is the means to using any technique. Generally the use of hand seals are required to create jutsus. These techniques allow users to enact effects such as walking on water, breathing fire or creating illusions. Chakra is restricted by the Eight Gates, tenketsu that are located along the chakra pathway system. Chakra became a form of life energy that all people can produce. If a person runs out of chakra, they will die. Chakra is created when two forms of energy, physical and spiritual are mixed together. The amount of chakra an individual possess is generally determined by genes, however, they can train to increase their limits, some what.

Chakra Control

Mastering Chakra Control requires a great deal of training. It’s not important to have massive amounts of chakra, but to be able “control and conserve it.” In order to have good chakra control ” a ninja should only mold as much chakra as they need to perform a given ability. If they mold more chakra than is needed, the excess chakra is wasted and they will tire out faster from its loss. If they don’t mold enough chakra, a technique will not be performed effectively, if at all, likely creating problems in a combat situation.” When a ninja wants to create ninjutsu, they need to use one of two methods of manipulating chakra, shape transformation and nature transformation.

  • Shape transformation deals with controlling the form, movement, and potency of chakra.
  • Nature transformation deals with changing the physical properties of chakra into an element. There is also the nature transformation of Yin and Yang, which deals with changing the ratio of spiritual and physical energies within chakra.
Hand seals from Naruto
Hand seals from Naruto

Jutsu

Are the “mystical arts a ninja will utilize in battle.” Ninja’s need to form seals to manifest the technique. There are three different types of jutsu:

  • Ninjutsu – is the most nebulous of the three, and may most simply be described as anything that is not genjutsu or taijutsu. Most ninjutsu require chakra and hand seals, but this is not always the case since the mere usage of weaponry qualifies as ninjutsu.
  • Genjutsu – is one of the main jutsu categories which uses chakra. Unlike ninjutsu, the effects of genjutsu are not real, being only sensory illusions experienced by those who fall victim to it.
  • Taijutsu – is a basic form of techniques and refers to any techniques involving the martial arts or the optimization of natural human abilities. Taijutsu is executed by directly accessing the user’s physical and mental energies, relying on the stamina and strength gained through training. It typically does not require chakra, though chakra may be used to enhance its techniques. Taijutsu generally requires no hand seals to perform, occasionally making use of certain stances or poses, and are far quicker to use than ninjutsu or genjutsu. Taijutsu is hand-to-hand combat.

There are several sub-categories of as well. Medical Ninjutsu, Kinjutsu, Kenjutsu, Senjutsu and Space-time Ninjutsu. Naruto’s powers systems include summons, ninja tools like swords, puppets and ninja dogs.


Smoker using his Devil Fruit ability

1. One Piece – Devil Fruits

Devil Fruits are mysterious fruits that are found throughout the One Piece world. Once consumed the fruit provides the eater with an ability. With the exception of Black Beard, an individual can only have one devil fruit ability. Devil fruits are divide into three different categories:

  • Paramecia – These fruits give the users a power that can affect their body, manipulate the environment, and/or produce substances. This Devil Fruit type can be categorized into two basic groups: those which are based on a characteristic (such as elasticity or slowness) or an object (bombs, doors, etc.).
  • Logia – this type allows the user to completely alter their form into a natural element and manipulate it at will.
  • Zoan – This type of fruit allows the user to transform into another species and inter-species hybrid forms at will. Zoan types are especially effective in close combat.

Haki

Every living person in the world has a mysterious power called Haki. However, most people do realize they have it. There are three different types of Haki:

  • Kenbunshoku Haki – is a form of Haki that allows the user to sense the presence of others, even if they are concealed from view or too far to see normally.
  • Busoshoku Haki – is a form of Haki that allows the user to use their spirit to create, in essence, an invisible armor around themselves, providing potentially incredible offensive and defensive capabilities. Notably, this form of Haki can be used to injure Devil Fruit users that are otherwise immune to certain kinds of physical harm, mainly Logia users.
  • Haoshoku Haki – is a rare form of Haki that cannot be attained through training. Only one in several million people have this ability. This type of Haki allows the user to exert their willpower over others.

Martial Artists

In One Piece every crew has a combatant, martial arts are a very important part of the series. While not the main form of power, martial arts are used by many characters in the series. Characters like Sabo use martial arts style and stick-fighting. Jinbe uses Fish-Man Karate and Fish-Man Jujutsu. Throughout the series several different form of martial arts are presented. They are generally characterized by styles (Black Leg Style), species (Fish-Man Karate) and culture (Okama Kenpo).

Swordsmen

Nearly every crew has a swordsmen. They are considered to be important assets to the crew and are often highly ranked in their crew. There are two different kinds of swordsmen, the Strong Blade and the Gentle Blade. Strong Blade swordsmen focus on strength like Zoro, Ryuma and Kawamatsu. However, the Gentle Blade swordsmen like Tashigi, Kaku and Brook emphasize speed. The greatest swordsmen alive, Mihawk, uses swordsmanship that combines Strong and Gentle Blade styles. Swords are categorized in One Piece by “Grade.” There are 12 Supreme Grade Swords, 21 Great Grade Swords, 50 Skillful Grade Swords and a undetermined number of Grade Swords.

Three Great Powers

The military takes a very important role in the One Piece series. The Three Great Powers consists of the Marines, the Shichibukai (now disbanded) and the Yonko. The military hopes to replace the Shichibukai with the SSG. The three powers balance each other out, with SSG and the Military equaling Yonko.

Check Out Part 1.