It does not matter whether they are protagonists or antagonists, every profound anime character deserves exceptionally composed battle themes that fit the situation like hand in glove. These soundtracks have great importance because they basically clue the audience into preparing for what is coming next. In other words, you become pretty sure that someone is about to get their ass kicked in a big way.
The following list features some of the most epic battle themes for some of the most major anime characters around. Take note that these are not ranked in any way and are not the only ones to deserve such an honor. It is also important to realize that the accompanying descriptions may or may not hold spoilers for those still going through their backlog.
Makunouchi Ippo (Hajime no Ippo)
Whether it is a broken fist or the fierce opponent standing in front, Makunouchi Ippo has relied on sheer will and focus to overcome the odds stacked against him in the ring every single time. This has not always worked out well for the ambitious boxer in training but even with a swollen face, the audience always knows that he is about to pummel his opponent senseless as soon as the theme song kicks in.
The goosebumps from listening to the track can unarguably be best experienced during the final round between Ippo and Sendou Takeshi for the Japanese Featherweight championship belt in the first season. While seconds away from being knocked out, Ippo swayed to the side to dodge a vicious uppercut. It was when Sendou realized he was done for and Ippo used the theme song for his signature “dempsey roll” attack.
Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)
Monkey D. Luffy wants to become the “Pirate King” but he is not alone in this race for glory and power. The captain of the Straw Hat pirates has repeatedly come across a number of adversaries on the wide open seas, many of whom were deemed far more dangerous as their bounties indicated.
However, Luffy has seldom allowed fear to settle the balance scales of a fight. He is driven by his will to protect those he loves and cares for — as long as they ask for his help. Regardless of how bleak the situation looks for side-characters, his own crew mates, or the audience, the blaring theme song always arrives to announce that Luffy has decided to take action. Considering how long each arc usually tends to be, the theme song also indicates the final showdown.
Kurosaki Ichigo (Bleach)
He may just be a substitute shinigami but Kurosaki Ichigo has ended up cleaning a lot of mess that his superior shinigami officers should have done in the first place. His efforts never resulted in a promotion in the ranks but they did help save the world from annihilation in a number of instances.
Ichigo is incidentally one anime character with a rather strange theme song. The electrifying guitar riff at the start marks his arrival on every battlefield but the follow-up has seldom been clearly heard by the audience. The aspect alone translates the epic manner in which Ichigo takes charge. You do not have to listen to the complete track. You just have to listen to the snazzy guitar riff to know that someone is about to have a very, very bad day.
Izuku Midoriya (Boku no Hero Academia)
Izuku Midoriya is the traditional anime character that we have come across all too often. “Deku” starts out weak and with no abilities at all. He dreams of having superpowers so that he can fight for justice. It so happens that he does get to have his wish answered and that too by the very person he has looked up to since he could walk — All Might, the mightiest superhero of them all.
Midoriya has one of the best battle themes in recent years. It builds up in a subtle way to remind the audience of the emotional suffering that he went through before obtaining superpowers, and then suddenly breaks into an action-packed sequence that gets everyone pumped.
The theme song has also been used for All Might, which Midoriya would consider a great honor. While low on strength and wounded against a seemingly indestructible Nomu in the first season, the superhero reminded himself that he must “do this” because he is the symbol of justice!
Natsu Dragneel (Fairy Tail)
It is just not food alone that gets Natsu Dragneel “all fired up” for action. The powerful mage, as well as one of the five existing legendary Dragon Slayer masters, constantly searches for brawls at every turn — all to prove his strength. This includes fighting against his own guild members, which only accentuates his carefree and reckless nature.
Natsu has only one approach for every problem and that involves violence. He is always ready to go down fighting. In that light, his theme song perfectly matches his readiness to go berserk. The epic violins, though, usually start playing as soon as Natsu has charged up to deliver the final blow. Take that as an indicator to not miss a second of the finale.
Hisoka Morow (Hunter X Hunter)
It is unusual for a villain to receive such a stirring theme song but that is exactly what Hisoka Morow has proven to be with time, unusual. He dresses like a jester but there is nothing funny about him. He was originally an antagonist but later became an anti-hero. He is an extremely powerful serial killer but has also been known to spare those who show great potential.
Further adding to the same unusual mix, the theme song has mostly never kicked in to announce his arrival. It is always used during skirmishes and only when Hisoka is dodging attacks or catching someone off guard. Perhaps the notion is to show him dancing flamenco during combat. He, after all, does has grace when it comes to killing.
L (Death Note)
The most renowned detective in the world trying to catch the most renowned mass murderer in the world. L was the only one who was able to figure out the real culprit behind the unorthodox and weird killings. His deductive reasoning and ability to connect the dots (what others could never see) made the antagonist deeply sweat through the first season. This continued until L finally knew just how the killings were being done — the damn notebook.
It is only fitting for L to have such a magnificent theme song. He was never a fighter in the purest sense but when it came to solving a puzzle, the running piano keys made it clear that the gears inside his head were now working overtime.
The shinobi of Sunagakure grew up to hate the world and everyone around him. While Gaara walked this path of death, he was completely comfortable in killing whoever dared stand in front of him. In a twisted way, he justified his own cursed existence by spilling blood.
Gaara was hailed as one of the favorite antagonists for several arcs before he found strength in friendship and allies. Even then, the love for the character did not fade away. This was primarily because of his personality. With a fearsome control over the sands, and unfavoring petty talk during combat, this anime character was simply just too scary to be around.
His battle theme did not really announce his arrival on to a battlefield. It also did not brought any amounts of hope into the the audience. He was, after all, the antagonist. The theme song instead signalled the coming end and that Gaara had finally grown weary of playing around. It was as soon as the hair-raising guitar slide came into play that it was evident — the ground would become a coffin.
Uzumaki Naruto (Naruto)
The critically acclaimed anime has featured not just one, but several epic battle themes for the various characters across the arcs. In all honesty, pinning all ten items in this list on the show alone would not be wrong. However, if there was need to pick just one more theme song from the same well, it would be of Uzumaki Naruto.
Following a lifelong dream of becoming “Hokage” for his village, the ambitious anime character has far too often found his anger and rash decisions taking the best of him. However, it did not matter how strong the opponent or how sticky the situation was. The hammering of the congo drums would always announce the start of a counterattack. The audience would enjoy the following flute and guitar riffs as Naruto began taking the fight to his opponents.
Eren and the other Titans (Attack on Titan)
How do you even start composing a theme song for a towering behemoth that threatens to annihilate the last remaining human beings in the world? The content cannot be too sinister and nor can it be too mellow. The theme song would need to accentuate the feeling of helplessness in the dwarfed living souls as well as the overwhelming power in the monstrous titanic creatures. It is exactly why the soundtrack to the Titans deserves praise.
It has worked marvelously for when Eren Yeager transformed into the “Rogue Titan” for the first time, and when Reiner Braun and Bertholdt Hoover transformed into the “Armored Titan” and “Colossal Titan” respectively later on. There is this feeling of awe in the orchestral score that cannot be explained in words, it can only be felt.