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.
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.
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?
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.
Eldritch Abominations are a type of creature that is “defined by its disregard for the natural laws of the universe as we understand them.” Humans often go mad in their presence or lack the ability to comprehend these creatures altogether. Their actions are usually incomprehensible to mortals. They aren’t “evil” exactly, as they tend to be beyond such binary morals. They exists “somewhere beyond the stars,” “before our time,” or “outside our universe.” They can appear in various forms but often are massive in size, but are generally bizarre in appearance.
5. Devilman – God
We never get to see what God really looks like. However, God chooses to take the form of a “huge sphere of light that kills any demon in its reach and turns any human who gets too close to it into salt.” God even causes Satan to have a nervous breakdown simply by seeing God on television. Within the Devilman universe, God controls the cycle of life and death of the universe. God uses this power to torture Satan, by ruining what Satan cares about over and over and over.
4. Fullmetal Alchemist – The Gate of Truth
The Gate of Truth is a “central nexus of all knowledge in the universe.” It’s nearly impossible to reach. It unclear if it’s sentient or not and whether it is actively collecting knowledge or not. Regardless, it possess a great deal of knowledge already. It’s possible that God or something similar to God is protecting it. Knowledge can be gained from the the gate, for a price. In FMA, Truth appears as a white, featureless godlike being. It resembles the person that enters its realm. In order to gain the ability to transmute without a circle you must exchange part of yourself that Truth will wear.
3. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – The Anti-Spirals
In Gurren Lagann, the Anti-Spirals have godlike powers that allow them to “break up laws of physics, create living battle ships as they want, create power-draining oceans in the middle of space, or trap people into a Lotus-Eater Machine at will, live in their own pocket dimension they created, create galaxy-sized Humongous Mecha at an instant, without using Spiral Power, and having very creepy forms, similar to a Living Shadow, with the Anti-Spiral King resembling a living chalk drawing.”
The Anti-Spirals are different from your typical Eldritch Abomination, in that they are beings of “order,” and aimed to become an all powerful Singularity to stop another Eldritch Abomination, Spiral Energy.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion – The Angels
Most Angels in Evangelion are considered Eldritch Abominations. They are capable of erecting barriers that are impenetrable and can sometimes be “entire sub-universes.” Leliel is a thin disc that leads to different dimension. It possess a three dimension shadow (that casts it’s own shadow). Arael is a creature of light that can fire mind altering beams from space. Finally, Armisael is a gravity defying Angel that attempts to assimilate with the EVAs. The EVAs themselves are artificial abominations that must be piloted by mentally scarred children and are clones of Angels with a human soul installed.
1. Berserk – Godhand
The Berserk series probably has the most famous abominations. The Godhand are the five most powerful demons in the Berserk universe. They are tasked with creating more demons and are summoned by Behelits. They can manipulate reality and string of Causality. They aren’t physical beings. When they do become corporal (once every 1,000 years) the are able to manipulate dimensions. Each Godhand is chosen by previous members begging the question, who chose the first one?
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.” Overall there are 15 branches of breathing styles. Demon Slayer’s power system is simple but has variety.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.