The Best Anime Tournament Arcs, Ranked

Several prominent anime series have witnessed great tournament arcs. These examples are some of the best in the genre.

Tournament arcs are a common occurrence in most anime. It’s one of the best and cleanest ways to pit two great fighters against each other, with nearly always stunning results. Several anime have employed tournament arcs effectively, providing side characters much-needed attention while also allowing these fighters to develop their personalities substantially.

These tournaments are sometimes so good that they quickly become one of the best portions of the entire event. It’s a massive achievement, and the following anime is an excellent example of how to correctly execute a tournament arc. The fights in these arcs are out of this world, demonstrating why tournaments are one of the most effective settings for any anime, shonen or otherwise, to thrive on numerous fronts.

There’s no doubting that tournament arcs in anime are thrilling for a variety of reasons. The structures of these tournaments naturally build up anticipation and allow some matchups to shine pretty brightly. As a result, certain anime’s tournament arcs end up being its best feature, which speaks volumes about the effectiveness of these leagues.


Duelist Kingdom – Yu-Gi-Oh!

There is no way around the fact that the Duelist Kingdom story arc is one that might not be as enjoyable upon a second viewing. On the other hand, there’s just something special about this arc that drew a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! fans into the spirit of dueling.

The fact that the devilishly fascinating Maximillion Pegasus was the one to organize this event added an additional layer of intrigue to the situation. Overall, Duelist Kingdom is an excellent show that does a good job of showcasing what Yu-Gi-Oh is all about.


U.A. Sports Festival – My Hero Academia

The Sports Festival was a great party where all of the students in the series were able to show how great they were. After some preliminary fights, the arc ended with a tournament full of fights between two people.

The best part of this arc was definitely Midoriya’s fight with Todoroki, which helped Todoroki realize how powerful he really was. It was a great fight, but the fact that it happened in the semifinals took some of the wind out of Todoroki and Bakugo’s sails in the finals.


The Grand Magic Games – Fairy Tail

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Despite the fact that it may not be the most innovative shonen series, Fairy Tail has garnered a significant amount of attention from fans. Despite this, there are times when the quality of this anime really shines, and the Grand Magic Games are a fantastic illustration of this.

This was the time when the Fairy Tail guild would finally get the opportunity to demonstrate its value once more. The battles in this arc are incredible, with the conclusion featuring a showdown between the Dragon Slayers that is nothing short of breathtaking.


The Royal Knights Selection Exam – Black Clover

The first few episodes of Black Clover were quite uninteresting, which caused many viewers to stop watching the show before it got to the enjoyable parts. Despite this, after what seemed like an interminable amount of time, Black Clover demonstrated why it deserves all the attention it has received.

This was especially common during the Royal Knight’s Selection Exam, which was held at a time when the most fearsome combatants in the area attempted to join this formidable group in order to vanquish the Eye of the Midnight Sun. This arc features some fantastic matchups, which provide the groundwork for Black Clover to become even more compelling to watch in the future.

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The Interhigh Volleyball Tournament (Haikyu!!)

Getting many people interested in watching an anime about sports might be a bit of a challenge. On the other hand, shows such as Haikyu!! demonstrate why these shows are worth watching, with the Interhigh Volleyball Tournament being a key highlight in a very real sense.

The challenges that the entire volleyball team is going through to even get into this tournament are keeping the stakes as high as they possibly can, which is keeping the emotions during this arc fairly intense. The squad from Karasuno High School is one worth cheering for, although the other groups are also fairly likeable in their own right.


Kyoto Sister-School Goodwill Event (Jujutsu Kaisen)

Jujutsu Kaisen is without a doubt one of the most popular anime series these days, with each arc being fairly fantastic in its own right. Such is the case with the Kyoto Sister-School Goodwill Event, which masquerades as a friendly tournament before morphing into something entirely else.

This arc features a number of memorable characters, including fan favorite Aoi Todo. This arc has several highlights, such as Itadori discovering Black Flash and the Zenin sisters squaring off in an intense struggle.


Tournament Of Power – Dragon Ball Super

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It’s hard to discuss tournament arcs in anime without mentioning Dragon Ball. After all, the many Martial Arts Tournaments that take place in this series are already legendary.

The Tournament of Power is Dragon Ball Super’s last arc, and it is simply excellent in every way. However, the Tournament of Power prioritizes aesthetics over substance, which is why it fails to achieve the lofty heights set by the series’ preceding arcs.

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Corrida Colosseum – One Piece

The Dressrosa storyline is, without a doubt, one of the most compelling stories told in One Piece. Even though it is only a small portion of this tale arc, the Corrida Colosseum definitely has the feeling of being one of the more significant parts of it.

The ensemble of new and returning characters that emerge in this arc is very amazing and memorable in their own way. Some of them have been in previous arcs as well. It does a fantastic job of laying the groundwork for what’s to come in the Dressrosa arc and preparing the audience for it.


Heaven’s Arena – Hunter X Hunter

Yoshihiro Togashi’s genius shines through most brightly in the Hunter X Hunter story arc, making it without a doubt one of the very best shonen arcs ever written. This anime’s Heaven’s Arena arc is a very spectacular tournament, and it’s one that you can watch over and over again.

The fact that the arc titled “Heaven’s Arena” is not even considered to be the best in the series demonstrates how high the overall quality of this series actually is. Before engaging Hisoka in battle once more, Gon and Killua take their time to familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of Nen.


The Survival Game (Future Diary)

Future Diary is an engrossing series in which twelve people are given diaries that allow them to look into the future in distinct ways, before throwing them against one other in a quest to become the next god. This, combined with the captivating duo of Yuki and Yuno, makes this performance a real treat.

Future Diary doesn’t hold back when it comes to demonstrating how low humanity can fall in order to become a holy figure. It’s a fantastic movie, with the Survival Game being engrossing from start to finish and definitely one of the best tournament arcs in anime.


23rd World Martial Arts Tournament – Dragon Ball

In the last part of Dragon Ball, Goku was going to fight Piccolo in the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. The fight is easily one of the best in the series, and it’s a great way to end the first part of the story.

During this great fight, Goku used everything he had to try to beat Piccolo. At the end, the Demon King was finally defeated, and his plan to take over the world for his own evil reasons failed.


The Chunin Exams – Naruto

The Chunin Exams is without a doubt, hands down, one of the best arcs that Naruto has ever presented. All of the challenges that are presented in this arc serve as an excellent method for providing the auxiliary characters with the much-required screen time they require, in addition to enabling those characters to grow and display the full extent of their abilities.

The sheer volume of spectacular battles that take place in this arc is nothing short of mind-boggling. The battles between Naruto and Neji, Hinata and Neji, Shikamaru and Temari, and, of course, Rock Lee and Gaara, are among the most anticipated matches.


Cell Games – Dragon Ball Z

From the very first episode, The Cell Games serve as the climax of Gohan’s potential. His immense power has been a continual source of fascination throughout the series, and seeing him achieve the famed Super Saiyan 2 transformation never gets old.

The Cell Games include a number of spectacular clashes against the titular villain and his army of Cell Juniors. It takes Gohan a tremendous effort to eventually defeat this foe, at the expense of both Goku and Trunks’ lives.


The Dark Tournament – Yu Yu Hakusho

The Dark Tournament is without a doubt one of the most iconic shonen arcs of all time. Most people, naturally, see it as the best Yu Yu Hakusho arc.

It’s a joy to see the four warriors use their full range of abilities during this storyline. This is especially true for Yusuke and Kuwabara, who demonstrate to everyone that their powers are nothing to laugh at.

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