The 10 Best Man Versus Man Anime Series, Ranked

Conflict is the primary narrative element in any story, driving the central dramatic structure of the plot and moving characters through development points. It is almost impossible for the story to exist without a central conflict. Even if it doesn’t appear in the form of a literal confrontation between the parties, it is still present as a real or metaphorical challenge that the heroes must overcome in order to progress.

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Conflicts in storytelling come in many different forms, and a story does not necessarily have to be limited to just one conflict. The most basic and easily recognizable type of conflict in literary history is the Man vs. Man conflict. This type is one of the oldest conflict categories, popular in myth and legend, and revolves around characters directly opposing each other. Man vs. man conflict can be seen across all genres and types of media, and some of the most inventive examples of its execution come from anime.

10 The god of high school pits his characters against each other in endless martial arts showdowns

Man vs. Man conflict shines through in the multifaceted tournament arcs of anime and series devoted to martial arts. A tense and suspenseful one-on-one fight is the simplest idea for a Man vs. Man conflict, making it timeless and effective. The God of High School turns the tournament arc trope into a premise for an entire series revolving around a combat event in search of the best fighter among Korean high school students. Teams from across the country put their martial arts skills to the test in an exciting tournament.

9 Bungou Stray Dogs pits multiple groups with opposing views

supernatural action anime bungou stray dogs takes place in Yokohama, Japan, which is home to several factions of powerful espers. Each character on the show is based on a famous literary figure, and his powers reflect that writer’s most notable work. While the various esper groups generally try to preserve the peace in their hometown, with the good-natured members of the Armed Detective Agency and the feared executives of the Port Mafia avoiding conflict, their goals don’t always align. And sometimes the threat comes from outside, forcing opposing groups to join forces against a common enemy.

8 91 Days mixes a revenge story with a compelling external conflict

Angelo and Nero fighting in a church

Revenge stories are a perfect premise for a compelling Man vs. Man conflict, introducing a unique dynamic to the classic formula. In the case of 91 days, the central narrative is also elevated by the inventive setting and unorthodox character development. Set during the Prohibition era, the series tells the story of Angelo Lagusa, whose family was mercilessly executed by the local mafia family, the Vanetti. Years later, Angelo is still holding on to his anger, planning to infiltrate the mob and seek revenge by murdering the people who took everything from him.

7 Sports anime is a contemporary spin on the old conflict trope, as seen on Haikyuu

Karasuno vs. Inarizaki

Most of the time, Man vs. Man literary conflict requires two or more parties to fight for a common goal. In ancient myths and fairy tales, opposition often takes the form of direct, violent struggle, with the warring sides risking their lives on the victory lane. The sports anime reinvents the classic conflict by giving it a more realistic and realistic setting.

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However, the clashes of the genre do not lose the iconic intensity and vigor of high-stakes deathmatches. volleyball anime haikyuu perfected the execution of this old-time conflict formula, executing exciting and emotional matches between teams of characters that feel both grand and relatable.

6 The central conflict of Dr. Stone is an ideological opposition

Most of the time, the Man vs. Man conflict in the media is generated from contradictory ideologies between the characters. In the case of dr stone, conflict rages between genius high school scientist Senkuu and charismatic fighter Tsukasa. In the world where humanity is trapped in stone for several millennia, people are starting to come back to life. In the ruins of a crumbling civilization, Senkuu dreams of rebuilding the technologically advanced society of the past. Contrary to the views of scientists, Tsukasa sees the current decline as an opportunity to selectively revive only the most worthy people and build a better world that doesn’t rely on science.

5 Vinland Saga returns to the historical roots of classic literary conflict

The history of the Man vs. Man conflict goes back to the roots of humanity. Each society and culture has its own version of this ancient conflict reflected in its myths, history and legends. Conflicts in real-world history can also be classified as examples of Man vs. Man conflict. The famous action anime. vinland saga explores the prevalence of this thematic trope in Viking tales. The show’s protagonist, Thorfinn, finds himself in the middle of the conflict between the English and the Danes, but his personal vendetta is to avenge his father, a phenomenal Viking general killed in battle.

4 Fate/Zero features a plethora of diverse male vs. male conflicts

zero destiny

The great Destination the most popular anime installment of the franchise, fate/zero, pits several selected wizards in a monumental battle for The Holy Grail that grants any wish to the possessor. To fight each other, mages summon historical spirits, powerful companions to aid them in combat. All the participants in the war for the Grail, including the legendary heroes, have their own motivations for desiring the power of the artifact.

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Those complex goals and personal agendas give added depth to the characters and plot of fate/zero, making the show an excellent example of Man vs. Man conflict, both ideologically and practically.

3 An ideological battle between two men affects the fate of the entire world in Legend Of The Galactic Heroes

Yang and Reinhard team up in Legend Of The Galactic Heroes

legend of galactic heroes it is rightfully considered one of the most ambitious and complex space opera narratives in anime. However, the ideological conflict at the heart of the show is pretty simple and straightforward. The series portrays the differences between autocratic and democratic regimes through the lens of its protagonists, ambitious military strategist Reinhard von Lohengramm and idealistic genius tactician Yang Wenli. While both rivals are able to see each other’s points, they continue to fight each other over their personal beliefs.

two Monster takes the psychological aspects of man vs. man conflict to a different level.

Time Monster involving no over-the-top battle sequences between its main pair of rivals, a Japanese neurosurgeon Kenzou Tenma and his longtime patient, a psychotic serial killer Johan, it still dominates the suspenseful conflict between the characters. When Tenma bravely saved a child’s life instead of operating on the city’s mayor, he couldn’t predict that his teenage patient would become a ruthless killer. To make amends for saving the wrong person, Tenma must stop the monster he accidentally created.

1 Death Note features one of anime’s most iconic rivalries

There is no rivalry in anime more iconic than the suspenseful conflict between Light Yagami and L, the main opponents of the hit psychological thriller. Death Note. Mind games between the genius detective and the malicious killer carry the majority of the show’s narrative development, with the audience constantly forced to the edge of their seats in anticipation. Death Note takes the classic Man vs. Man conflict to a new level, executing not only a brilliant clash of intelligence but also a clash of two very different moral codes.

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