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Time for a lesson in pain. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Anime Master vs. Pupil Fights."
For this list, we’ll be looking at battles in anime that took place between a mentor and their student. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brutal clash to the death or a friendly spar, as long as they have an established senpai relationship, all skirmishes count. Also, be on the lookout for a few light spoilers ahead.
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Meliodas vs. Gilthunder—The Seven Deadly Sins
Granted, if Meliodas could have known he’d one day be on the receiving ends of a million volts, maybe he would have been a little more laxed when it came to mentoring little Gil. Still, under the effects of a curse, the Holy Knight takes on the Dragon’s Sin of Wrath with everything he has, unleashing bolt after bolt of magical lightning. While Gil certainly brings the thunder (we’re so sorry), it’s still not enough to take out the Captain of the Sins, who manages to finally turn the tables by freeing him of his murderous state.
Kaneki vs. Arima—Tokyo Ghoul:re
Given how this legendary CCG investigator absolutely destroyed Kaneki upon their first introduction, you wouldn’t have thought the One Eyed Ghoul would have seen him as much of a father figure. However, he was the one responsible for raising and mentoring Kaneki’s amnesiac-stricken alter ego Haise, resulting in a very twisted sense of confliction when Kaneki gets his memories back and has to face off against the White Reaper. As Kagune and Quinque collide, the gorefest finally ends when, oddly enough, it’s Kaneki’s obligation to his loved ones that wins the day…
Natsu vs. Gildarts—Fairy Tail
Turns out that they don’t just hand out the rank of Guildmaster to anyone, as Gildarts easily proves when he battles everyone’s favourite fire wizard. During a rather intense training session, Natsu shows just how far he’s come, resulting in quite the festival of flames. While he does put up an impressive effort, Gildarts is in a whole other league, managing to bring the normally unstoppable dragonslayer to his knees just by showing off a little of his own magical prowess.
Yoruichi vs. Soifon—Bleach
Breakups can be difficult things for everyone involved. Too bad the Second Division Captain has a hard time of letting go. As a former protege of Flash Goddess Yoruichi, Soifon developed a not so subtle infatuation with her, only to feel greatly spurned after she fled Soul Society. After returning in order to rescue Rukia, the two engage in a fierce rematch, one that proves without a doubt that Yoruichi always has and will be the superior combatant, and that her little bee as a lot left to learn.
Saitama vs. Genos—One Punch Man
Determined to discover just how strong his master really is, the ultimate cyborg challenges the world’s strongest hero to a duel, one that ends up devastating everything in the immediate vicinity. While he has weaponry that can incinerate practically anything, Genos just can’t compete to the raw power that comes from the One Punch Man’s fist. This is the guy that can blow away entire landscapes with just a casual swing. We’d say that the devoted discipline got the answer he was looking for.
Korosensei vs. Reaper 2.0—Assassination Classroom
This tentacled teacher may be one of a kind, but that’s not to say his replacement is anything to scoff at. When he was a human, the Reaper was nothing more than fanboy of Korosensei’s killing ways until he took a chance to steal the spotlight for himself. Years later, he teams up with Shiro for the chance to bring down his formerly murderous teacher, after taking on a tendrilled form of his. He can feel proud about the fact he knocked around the legendary killer around more than any other, but he made one fatal mistake, he injured one of Korosensei’s students. That shit don’t fly.
Domon vs. Master Asia—Mobile Fighter G Gundam
You can always count on giant robots to spice up a fight. After all, why just have a master/student face off on top of a volcano when you can add Gundams to the mix? Despite painting himself as a villain looking to bring back the Devil Gundam, Master Asia is still a man of immense honour and faith in his student, encouraging Domon to strive for new heights… even as their respectable mecha are in the middle of a beam struggle. This final pep talk seems to work, as it allows the King of Heart to finally overcome his mentor, leading to a rather sorrowful goodbye.
Midoriya & Bakugo vs. All Might—My Hero Academia
Not sure what was more difficult for these two wannabe heroes to overcome—learning to work together or battling against the man they idolise. As part of their final exam, All Might pushes both Deku and Kacchan to their absolute limits. Forced to finally rely on one another, Bakugo goes all out with his explosions in order to try and bring the Symbol of Peace to a halt, with Midoriya coming in at the last second to save his rival so they can cross the finish line together.
Goku vs. Master Roshi—Dragon Ball
Turns out that when Roshi likes to test his students, he does so under the guise of a martial artist named Jackie Chun during the finale of a world tournament. Despite the vast difference in age, both the future Super Saiyan and renowned Turtle Hermit seem evenly matched due to their control over the Kamehameha, at least until Goku ends up going full Great Ape. It’s a hard-fought battle that Roshi manages to claim at the last second, though the victory itself is bittersweet since Goku ends up wasting all of his prize money on food.
Jiraiya vs. Pain—Naruto Shippuden
He may have been an old pervert, but Jiraiya the Gallant turned out to live up to his namesake during his final bout with his former pupil; now the leader of the Akatsuki. With the veteran ninja testing his power of Sage Mode against the Six Paths of Pain, this emotionally charged battle gave us everything we could have wanted from a ninja showdown. Orochimaru vs. The Third Hokage and the rematch between Naruto, Sakura, and Kakashi might have some great moments, but this brawl truly stands tall one of Naruto’s highest points, not to mention one of its saddest death scenes.