Anime

The Top 10 Best Anime and Manga Power Systems (Part 1)

In 2019 I created a list of what I think the best anime and manga power systems. I’ve updated the list with some small changes.

In Shonen anime and manga, power systems are established in order to explain the mechanisms for abilities used in combat. These powers systems can make or break a series. It’s important for these series to be have well balanced power systems. The best made power systems will have unique abilities, that are difficult to master or at least take effort. They should feature a variety of techniques, that range in complexity. Some systems will become “broken,” allowing only a few characters to excel in the series. Dragon Ball Z is a great example of a series that ended up broken. Once a series that focused on martial arts, Dragon Ball Z eventually became a series that focused largely on three saiyans, Goku, Vegeta and Gohan.

While Goku and Vegeta continued to get stronger, Gohan fell behind. Due to the nature of saiyan cells (S Cells), Goku and Vegeta continue to get stronger at rapid rates. This eventual means that they’re the only two that will matter in battle. None of this is to say that the series stopped being enjoyable, just that the power system became broken at some point. That said many of the best power systems often incorporate a “broken” ability that allows the main character to surpass his or her enemies.



10. Demon Slayer – Breath Styles

The main form of combat in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba are the breath styles. In conjunction with Nichirin blades, they’re able to battle on par with Demons. Derived from the “Breath of the Sun” the Breath styles are taught by the Demon Slaying Corps. By making use of particular and concentrated breathing patterns, the lung capacity and oxygen in the blood increases. This is all in service of increasing the physical abilities. When focusing breaths, Demon Slayers are able to accomplish feats such as “clotting wounds,” and “slowing down the circulation of poison.”

The Demon Slayer breathing styles feel like they are well earned. The training is intense and the use of Breathing styles causes great physical exertion. For example, Total Concentration Constant requires the constant control of ones breath “morning, noon, and night, and even while asleep.” In order to reach the level of Hashira one must be able to accomplish this feat. Overall there are 15 branches of breathing styles. Demon Slayer’s power system is simple but has variety.

More OnDemon Slayer Breath Styles


Different Mana attributes

9. Black Clover – Mana

In Black Clover, Mana is the primary form of energy that exists in nature. It is the source of all magic spells. Mana is used to activate all spells. Almost every human can use mana to some extent. Mages in the Black Clover universe have “affinities” for mana “attributes.” These attributes can be one of four great attributes: fire, water, wind, and earth. Or they can be one of several derivative elements like lightning or ice. In addition to this, mages can develop “latent abilities” connected to their element. Wind users have the latent ability “mana sensory.”

Elements like water and fire are common, with elements like light and space being rare. Mages are limited to their element, but they can augment their element into other forms. However, if a mage is a hybrid of two races they may have “dual affinity.” While rare it’s possible for a mage to use science to “artificially enhance themselves” given them more than one element. The more mana a mage possess the stronger they are.

Grimories are magical items that enhance the users ability to use magic. They are the written record of all the spells that a user learns. As the owner gets stronger the book becomes inscribed with newer spells. Connected to their owners, Grimoires cannot be used by other mages and disappear when their owners die. However, Grimoires of Despair are the exception.

Read MoreMana and Grimoires


8. JoJo’s Bizarre – Stands

A Stand is a visual manifestation of life energy, they’re generally represented as a figure that hovers around the “Stand user.” A stand can represent the ” the manifestation of an individual’s innate fighting spirit and embodies, to an extent, the individual’s psyche.” Stands follow a “loose” set of rules, they’re an embodiment of the user psyche, therefore, they are all unique. This “uniqueness” results in a vast difference in abilities, power and usefulness of Stands. Some Stands can even be detrimental to their users. Any damage sustained by a Stand is reflected on the user and vice-versa. However, automatic Stands and bound Stands are the exception. If Stands are destroyed their user dies with them.

Stands obey every command that is demanded of them within there limits. However, some Stands cannot be controlled by their user. This can result in the Stand killing it’s own user. One rule that governs Stands and their users is that they can only have one. Learning and mastering a Stands ability can be difficult. Stand users are usually ignorant of the ability of their Stand at first. Once they discover it, then they have to learn the various uses for the Stands abilities. To use a Stand, a user has to summon it. Then the user needs to command it, if they hope to use their powers. However, automatic Stands act by themselves.

Based on appearance Stands are classified into 5 different categories, Natural Humanoid, Artificial Humanoid, Natural Non-Humanoid, Artificial Non-Humanoid and Phenomenon. Furthermore, Stands all have supernatural properties, in addition to unique powers. Stands are invulnerable to harm by anything other than another Stand or damage to their user. A Stand’s powers vary wildly, ranging from using a sword, fire or even stopping time. An important limitation on Stands are “firing range.” This range is largely the distance that a Stand is still effective. On top of all that, Stands have six parameters that they can be judged.

Read MoreStands


7. FullMetal Alchemist – Alchemy

The main sources of combat ability in FullMetal Alchemist is Alchemy. Based on the ancient metaphysical mystical art that allows the user to “manipulating and altering matter by using natural energy.” This is called Transmutation, which required three aspects to succeed.

  1. Comprehension – Understanding the inherent structure and properties of the atomic or molecular makeup of a particular material to be transmuted, including the flow and balance of potential and kinetic energy within.
  2. Deconstruction – Using energy to break down the physical structure of the identified material into a more malleable state so as to be easily reshaped into a new form.
  3. Reconstruction – Continuing the flow of energy so as to reform the material into a new shape.

In order to use alchemy a practitioner would need to have complete understanding of chemistry and ancient alchemical theory. Generally, you need to have high intellect. The Alchemists are said to transmute using various substance. Some use the Four Classical Elements (Water, Earth, Fire and Air) and other use the Three Essential Principles (Salt, Sulfur, and Mercury). Regardless, the most important tenet of alchemy is the concept of Equivalent Exchange. Separated into two laws:

  • The Law of Conservation of Mass, which states that energy and matter can neither be created from nothing nor destroyed to the point of elemental nonexistence. In other words, to create an object weighing one kilogram, at least one kilogram of material is necessary and destroying an object weighing one kilogram would reduce it to a set of parts, the sum of which would weigh one kilogram.
  • The Law of Natural Providence, which states that an object or material made of a particular substance or element can only be transmuted into another object with the same basic makeup and properties of that initial material. In other words, an object or material made mostly of water can only be transmuted into another object with the attributes of water.

Alchemy includes more than simply an understanding of transmutation and adhering to the laws of Equivalent Exchange. Alchemists need to use a transmutation circle. These circles can be drawn anywhere and by any medium. transmutation circles are made up of two parts, the circle and a “alchemical rune.” Alchemy gets even more complicated, as it focuses on human soul binding, Homunculus (artificial humans) and resurrection.

More OnAlchemy


Toshiro Hitsugaya using his Bankai
Toshiro Hitsugaya using his Bankai

6. Bleach – Zanpakuto

The Bleach series features numerous different forms of fighting. However, the series primarily focused on the use of Zanpakuto or Soul Cutter Sword. The main weapon used by the Shinigami, Arrancar and Visored. The lowest ranked Zanpakuto is called Asauchi and they lack names. However, the Zanpakuto of a Shinigami Captain do have names. Each weapon are uniquely generated by the users soul. The soul of a Shinigami will determine the shape and ability of the sword. Zanpakuto’s are sentient beings and it’s name is that of the living spirit that powers the sword. Once the Shinigami learns the name of it’s Zanpakuto, they are able to communicate with each other and get stronger.

Zanpakuto are born with their Shinigami and will die with them. The one exception to the uniqueness of a Zanpakuto is the Ise Clan’s, Shinken Hakkyoken. A Zanpakuto can choose to withhold it’s true name from it’s wielder if they deem them unworthy. In order to communicate with their Zanpakuto a Shinigami must use an advance form of training called Jinzen. Based on the ability of the Shinigami to communicate with their Zanpakuto’s spirit, a Zanpakuto will develop two forms, Shikai and Bankai.

  • Shikai – is the second (or first upgraded) form available to a Zanpakutō. To activate it, the Shinigami needs to learn the name of their Zanpakutō. This is not as easy as simply picking a name, for the living spirit of the Zanpakutō already has its own name. The Shinigami must be able to communicate and harmonize with their Zanpakutō effectively, which requires being able to speak to the spirit within its world.
  • Bankai –  is the second and final upgraded form of a Zanpakutō. To achieve Bankai, one must be able to materialize and subjugate their Zanpakutō spirit. Materialization means the opposite of getting dragged into the Zanpakutō’s inner world: the wielder needs to summon the Zanpakutō’s spirit into the physical world. It usually takes 10 years or more to achieve, plus the experience needed to master it. Despite the Zanpakutō spirit being subjugated for their Shinigami to learn Bankai, the Zanpakutō also becomes stronger and learns Bankai at precisely the moment their Shinigami learns it. Even though Bankai is the final stage of a Zanpakutō, it does not mean the Shinigami’s growth ends there. A Bankai, especially one recently obtained, can evolve even further as its Shinigami gets stronger. Ichigo and Urahara managed to achieve Bankai at accelerated rates.

A broken Shikai will regenerate, a broken Bankai will never return to its original state. However, a Zanpakuto can be reforged. Zanpakuto are generally grouped into three categories, Melee, Kido and Elemental. Despite the fact that Zanpakuto is the main form of combat in Bleach, there are three other forms of combat. Hoho is a more defensive style of fighting that focuses on fast movements and footwork. Kido (Demon Arts) is a form of combat the produces spells. They often require an incantation to activate. Finally, there is Hakudo (Hand to Hand Combat). Using their body, users attack with their feet and hands. Making use of their physical strength and martial arts skills.

100 Day Anime Challenge · Challenges

100 Day Anime Challenge – Day 25

Saddest Anime Scene – Envy’s death in the Brotherhood 

The death of Envy was sad. Envy is a genderless shapeshifter. They can change everything when they shape-shift, directly copying others. Envy aims to make humanity suffer. Their hatred for human is at the core of Envy’s identity. In this scene, Envy goes from sadistic perpetrator to pathetic victim. The audience general goes from rooting for Colonel Mustang to burn Envy like he did to Lust, to siding with Ed and feeling sorry for Envy. It’s a magnificent moment. In the tunnels beneath Central City, Mustang and Riza search for the Homunculus. Envy attempts to trick Riza by taking Mustang’s form. He fails. Riza empties her pistol into Envy.

Drawn by the gunfire, Colonel Mustang appears. Seeking vengeance, Roy scorches Envy. Like Lust, Envy cannot regenerate and crumbles to dust. All that remains is Envy’s larval form. Mustang steps on Envy. As he prepares to kill Envy, Riza, Edward, and Scar stop him. This moment is about protecting Roy from becoming full of a hatred like Scar. Riza states that “she will not let Roy be consumed by vengeance.” Disgusted by human “sentiment”, Envy tries to create conflict. Ed remarks that Envy is “jealous” of humans. Being pitied by a human angers Envy. They remark that their “humiliated beyond imagination.” He cries and rips out his Philosopher Stone, committing suicide.


Lists · Top 5

The Top 5 Bald Anime Characters

Anyone that watches anime knows that one of the trademarks of the genre is the hair. In anime, a character’s hair is very important. Often weird-looking, physics-defying, oddly shaped, and/or strangely colored, hair allows characters to stand out. Anime feature all kinds of hairstyles and even hair effects. For example, there’s the Ahoge or Idiot Hair, which is the “noticeable slim forelock of hair that sticks straight up from a character’s head.” There’s “expressive hair” when a character’s hair seems to move independently. Naruto’s mother, Kushina’s, hair is expressive, floating wildly in the air when angry. If you want more examples check out TV Trope

Regardless, I here to list those that lack this magnificent hair. It’s rare but there are several bald characters in anime. I created a list of my five favs.

Dot Pixis (Attack on Titan)

The commanding officer from Attack on Titan, Pixis is responsible for the safety of the southern territory within Wall Rose. He organized the mission to reclaim the Trost. As General, he is responsible for the defense of the military. Pixis baldness seems to be related to his age, but he’s got a kickass mustache. 

Gluttony the Voracious (FullMetal Alchemist)

One of the homunculi in the Fullmetal Alchemist, Gluttony is simple and childlike. He can and will eat anything. Despite his size, he’s extremely fast. A lot of Gluttony’s behavior can be easily characterized as evil, however, he has shown kindness. His sibling relationship with Lust often shows this kindness. Anyone that harms her will certainly be eaten and when she dies he’s deeply hurt. 

Krillin (Dragon Ball Z)

Krillin is probably the most famous of the bald anime characters. Initially, he was an awesome fighter, being able to learn the Kamehameha simply by watching Goku and Yamcha do it. Unfortunately, he’s mostly used for comic relief particularly in the movies. Krillin’s been peed on by Gohan, rubble falling on him, and getting punched in the face by the villain. Krillin is bald by choice, having shaved his head since childhood to emulate what he thought martial artist looked like. 

Ikkaku Madarame (Bleach)

Ikkaku in my opinion is an undervalued character in Bleach. This is in part because he hides his power to remain in Squad 11. He’s currently the vice-captain of Squad 11. His baldness is a running gag throughout the series. When he’s teased for his baldness he erupts in anger. Ikkaku takes hiding his Bankai so far that he will throw a fight to avoid using it. However, everyone already knows he’s achieved Bankai. 

Saitama (One Punch Man)

Saitama may have surpassed Krillin in terms of public recognition at this point. A former salaryman, Saitama trained for three years to gain his power. According to Saitama, “if you don’t train so hard that all your hair falls out then you won’t be able to One-Hit Kill any opponent you face.” He used to have a full head of hair that fell out due to the intensity of the training. This is also true for Superalloy Darkshine who apparently “deliberately” trained until his hair fell out. It seems that One Punch Man believes that baldness is correlated with strength. 

Top 10 Anime Hero Beatdowns (Pt.2)

Lists · Top 10

Top 10 Anime Hero Beatdowns (Pt.2)

Mob Psycho 100 Promotional art

Mob vs Koyama

When Koyama tries to capture Mob for Claw, he mistakenly kidnaps Ritsu. Mob intervenes to save his brother. Koyama brutalizes Mob with his Telekinetic Helix. Eventually, Mob reaches 100% Animosity, due to the violent abuse that Koyama inflicted on him and his brother. Despite Mob dominating him and beating to a pulp, Koyama does manage to escape with Ritsu. As most Mob Psycho 100 battles this one was highly entertaining and well animated.


Colonel Mustang vs Envy

Mustang encounters Envy, who reveals that he was Hughes killer. Seeking revenge for the killing of Hughes, Mustang goes berserk. He’s complete without mercy as he burns Envy’s tongue. Envy transforms into a grotesque monster, Mustang responses by setting Envy’s eye fluid aflame. Envy realizing Mustang could easily kill him, flees. Envy attempts to confuse Mustang by transforms into Hughes, however, Mustang isn’t fooled. Envy fails to make any headway as Mustang is too good.

Mustang mercilessly burns Envy. Envy try’s to trick Riza, but Envy falls for a trap she sets. She can damage him with her guns, but Envy gets the advantage. When Envy is about to kill her, Mustang furiously attacks him. He burns Envy to the point where Envy reverts to a smaller parasitic form. Riza and Edward manage to stop Mustang from killing Envy. Envy doesn’t comprehend humanity’s ability to have compassion, he starts crying and commits suicide.


Saitama vs Boros

Saitama often defeats his opponents in One Punch, however, Boros is an exception. Saitama’s initial punch destroys the “restraining armor” that Boros wears. After transforming the attacks Saitama. He easily blocks Boros attacks. He finally takes off Boros’s arm. They end up fighting outside. Boros is impressed that Saitama has survived this long. He regenerates, regrowing his arm. 

Using Meteoric Burst, he unleashes a torrent of powerful hits on Saitama, eventually knocking him to the moon. None of this effects Saitama. He returns from the moon, finally ready to take Boros seriously. He hit him with “consecutive normal punches” splattering Boros. Using his abilities, Boros returns. Using his strongest move, Collapsing Star Roaring Cannon, he plans to destroy the planet. Finally, Saitama uses Serious Series: Serious Punch, destroying Boros.


Gon vs Pitou

When Gon learns that Kite is dead he snaps. A dark aura surrounds him and Gon transforms. His powers increase to such a level that he rivals the Chimera Ant King. Neferpitou uses her Terpsichora, trying to kill him. Gon vanishes. She gives chase. She attacks him while his back is turned. He dodges, kicks her in the stomach, and uses his Jajanken. He punches with it at point-blank range, sending her into the side of a mountain. He then brutally beats her head in, shattering her skull. Lifeless, Pitou corpse is still able to attack. She rips off Gon’s right arm, he’s unharmed. He finally finishes Pitou with another Jajanken.


Gohan SS2 vs Cell

When Cell crushes Android 16’s head killing him Gohan finally snaps, unleashing his hidden powers. After this power boost Gohan strength and speed increase tremendously, he quickly destroys the Cell Jr’s. Cell and Gohan begin their fight and it appears that Gohan isn’t even trying, he becomes rather cocky. Cell powers up one more time but it doesn’t matter, Gohan is still stronger. 

He delivers two devastating punches on Cell, knocks him to his knees. Cell becomes enraged at being dominated by a child, Cell uses a series of the Z fighters attacks. He concludes with a massive Kamehameha aim at destroying the earth, Gohan simply reflects it with his own. Cell is damaged by Gohan’s Kamehameha, but Cell heals himself. Cell increases his size and loses his speed in the process. Gohan continues to damage Cell, resulting in him regurgitating Android 18 and transform back. Gohan is still too cocky and allows Cell to regain the advantage. He still manages to win though.

Top 10 Anime Hero Beatdowns (Pt.1)

Anime

Top Five Downer Endings in Anime & Manga

Most fans of anime and manga expect a happy ending. The big bad gets defeated and most if not all of our heroes survive. However, ever once in a while, an anime and manga series will shock us with a downer ending. Of course, many of these series generally have dark tones so those endings shouldn’t be shocking. However, most of us are trained to expect a good ending no matter what. A downer ending ranges from sad to tragic. So what are my top 5 favorite downer endings?

5. Lust contemplates her existence (Fullmetal Alchemist)

In episode 35 of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003 series), ‘Reunion of the Fallen,’ Lust begins to question her existence. Where does she come from and what would happen to her when she dies? She sees a man from her past, Lujon. She taught him alchemy to save his village from a mysterious disease. Turns out that the disease was created by Envy. The Homunculi hope that by giving Lujon a fake philosopher’s stone he will search and make a real one for them to steal. When Lujon admits that he loves Lust, she kills him considering him “worthless.” Without his stone, the villagers all die from the disease and Lujon’s wife dies in his arms.

4. Tokyo Ghouls tragic ending

The Anteiku staff are destroyed by the CCG. Touka and Nishiki are forced to abandon their loved ones. Yoshimura is captured by his daughter Eto and will be used as a “donor” for Dr. Kanou’s experiments. Juuzou and Kuroiwa are maimed, Shinohara is left brain dead. Hide goes missing, Kaneki, Amon, Takizawa, Koma, and Irimi are assumed dead. Tsukiyama is comatose. Kaneki is betrayed by two of his allies, Uta and Itori, who take pleasure in Kaneki’s demise.

3. Battle Royale Continues

Battle Royale takes place in a fascist alternate-timeline Japan. The government random chooses high school classes and sends them to a isolated island. Armed with weapons, and under the treat of death they are forced to kill each other until only one remains. This is called “the Program.”After all the death and mayhem, Shuya and Noriko survive. They escape to America, but all of there friends are dead. They are haunted by memories of the battle royale and their relationship become strained. Finally, despite the failure of this edition of the program, the system remains intact. Meaning that future high school students will continue to go through the program.

2. In Devilman Crybaby humanity becomes extinct

The 2018 adaptation of Devilman by Go Nagai, follows Akira Fudo. He becomes a “devilman,” after he makes the demon Amon’s power his own. With this new power, Akira hopes to protect humanity and his love ones. He fails though. He loses everything. His girlfriend Miki is murdered and brutally dismembered by a mob. His best friend turns out to be Satan (Ryo). Akira is killed. Then God destroys Earth. The entire series is dark, but you did think Akira would win at the end.

1. Griffith becomes Femto (Berserk)

In the Berserk, Griffith betrays his Band of the Hawk and Guts. After a year of torture he’s rescued by Guts. Using the Crimson Behelit he summons the Godhand. Transporting everyone to Hell. Griffith sacrifices the Hawks. Guts and Casca remain. As she is attacked by demon Guts tries to save her, but his arm gets caught in a demon teeth. Reborn as the demon Femto, Griffith sexual assaults Casca in front of Guts. Who then cuts off his own arm to try to save Casca. However, he’s dog-piled by more demons, that claw his right eye out. The anime ends here, while the manga continues. Berserk has one of the most depressing endings.

Do you have any anime or manga endings you think belong on this list?

Top 5 Story-Breaker Powers in Anime or Manga