Actions in Anime – Different Levels of Combat
I had been a long-time fan of the action genre, and was especially a fan of anime ones as well. Watching anime for a long time, I find that actions can be easily categorized in four manners:
Level 1: Pure Physical Strength
This is in my opinion, one of the most rarest, and underrated types. In a word, they are the “realistic fights”. The characters fight in very humane way, no special powers, no sci-fi powers, no weird abilities, no superhuman strength; just pure ordinary physical fight. One notable example of this is Hajime no Ippo, at best, the characters can execute very fast, and strong knock-out punches. Their attacks aren’t ridiculous to the point that they can break walls or floors, let alone super powers.
Level 2: Inhumane Brute Strength
A slight opposite to the previous. In here, the characters still don’t possess magical powers or something, but they have strength which surpassed the boundary of human limits. A good example is Kenishiro from Fist of the North Star, he is a martial artist who can implode people; causing some nasty blood-splattering damage, he can even break walls, tanks and so on, possessing superhuman strength which ordinary humans wouldn’t normally be able to attain. Another is History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi (especially the manga), the masters there can exert so much damage that sometimes you had to question if they are even humans themselves.
Level 3: Hybrid
This is probably the most common, easily found from most anime like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Fairy Tail, Hunter X Hunter and so on, to even some anime like Darker Than Black and Fate/Stay Night. Hybrid here, quite self-explanatory, means the hybrid use of combat between physical and superhuman abilities, with the latter originating from some sci-fi or magic. This is where the fight itself becomes completely unrealistic. Even if their abilities originated from science, they could use whatever physics to explain it, but in the end, it’s an ability which isn’t practical in real time.
Level 4: Full Magic
This is again, just as rare, or even rarer then “Pure Physical Strength” from Level 1. Again, pretty self-explanatory, it is where the characters use their special powers fully instead of relying on their physical strength. On top of my mind, I could only think of Shinsekai Yori, one of the ongoing anime in Fall 2012, so I would love to hear more recommendations for this. Actually, I could say Mahou Sensei Negima as well, but I’m not sure about that since I haven’t read the manga yet.
In the end, I think one of the most underrated types, and ones I would like to see or read more, is Level 1, “Pure Physical Strength”. Unrealistic fights are good, but watching realistic fights can be quite emotionally impactful. It’s like from every punch or stab, the characters are genuinely feeling the pain, where as from anime like One Piece, their levels of destruction gets so over-the-top that you just couldn’t feel anything from them anymore.
Any of you have any recommendations from the more lesser known action types from above?
Note: A belated Happy Chinese New Year to all of you!