Will Smith is probably the most meme face on the planet right now. For better or for worse, if it wasn’t for the slap people wouldn’t have known the Oscars'22 even happened. I don’t know if it’s something about Will Smith expressing his emotions out loud but every time it happens, we get a moment to talk about it for years.
As a super smooth segue to the topic at hand, let's talk about some decade-defining anime moments in no particular order. Most of these (all of these) moments come from knee-slapping action shonen/seinen, pun intended.
1. Ichigo Unleashing his Bankai for the first time
In episode 58, as Ichigo and the team are on a mission to rescue Rukia from an unjustified execution, Ichigo comes face to face with Byakuya. Byakuya releases his Bankai (Senbonzakura Kageyoshi) against Ichigo putting him on the back foot instantly. However, in a moment of complete bewilderment for Byakuya, Ichigo unleashes his Bankai(Tensa Zangetsu).
As Byakuya continues to mock Ichigo's "small" sword, in a matter of half a second, Ichigo's sword is under Byakuya's neck. Bleach has a lot of "oomph" moments. However, Ichigo's confidence and conviction at the moment, combined with the epicness of it all, make it a distinctly memorable one for Bleach fans.
2. Goku going Super Saiyyan for the first time
The Holy Grail of all modern-day action anime, the Dragon Ball series is packed with epic moments one after the other. However, if there was to be one defining moment that kickstarted Dragon Ball Z's immortality in people's minds, it would have to be our hero going Super Saiyyan for the first time.
During the Frieza saga, our heroes prepare to leave Namek after defeating Frieza using Goku's spirit bomb. However, in a moment of disbelief, Frieza not only survives the attack but throws a Death Bomb at Goku.
Piccolo jumps in to save Goku, injuring himself gravely in the process. Fuming with rage, Goku asks his friends and Gohan to leave the planet with Piccolo and Bulma.
As the heroes prepare to leave reluctantly, Frieza kills Krillin in a moment of sheer cruelty. Goku's fury eventually emerges after the senseless murder of Krillin, and he transforms into a strange entity with a golden aura, golden-blonde hair, and bluish-green eyes.
Goku's transformation into a Super Saiyan for the first time makes him the first Super Saiyan in 1,000 years. Incidentally, that happens to be the span of time anime watchers and non-anime watchers alike are going to remember this moment in anime history.
3. Gon Punching Hisoka
Destined to get hiatuses after hiatuses, Hunter x Hunter has consistently been one of the most popular animes of the past decade. The show has many memorable moments such as Killua's display of his haunting killer instincts, Gon's rage, Kurapika's display of sheer power and skill, and so on.
Gon had been working hard to repay Hisoka with a punch as payback for the humiliation he faced in the Hunter Exam arc. Meanwhile, Hisoka has been sleeping in anticipation of Gon's development.
While the fight is exciting in and of itself, the main goal is to highlight the significant disparity between the two fighters, as well as Gon's progress as a fighter.
The only thing more memorable than Gon's punch to Hisoka is Hisoka's reaction to being punched. However, it's too creepy to be mentioned here.
4. Gojo Satoru
This man is a moment in himself. In the very first episode, Ryomen Sukuna is introduced to us as this ancient, impossibly powerful, near-God-like entity that everyone fears.
And in the very next episode, Gojo Satoru is sitting on his back with his blindfold on, talking about the softness of a sweet as Sukuna struggles to move at all. Everything goes uphill from that moment on.
Every scene that Gojo Satoru has been a part of is either an epic display of action, replayed over and over again, or has become a popular meme. During an early episode when a special grade curse attacks Gojo in the middle of nowhere, Gojo takes this opportunity to bring in Itadori for a demo of Domain Expansion.
Jogo taunts Gojo saying it was a foolish thing to do and it'll put him at a disadvantage. Gojo brushes it off in the most flirtatious of taunts saying it'll be alright since Jogo is weak. This one moment has been Tiktoked and Instagrammed and Tweeted and what not millions if not billions of times already across the internet.
5. Roy Mustang’s Revenge
Everyone in the Fullmetal Alchemist was devastated by Maes Hughes' death, especially his best friend, Roy Mustang. Maes was killed when Envy, a shapeshifting homunculus, assumed the form of Maes' wife and murdered him. Maes was a joyful, fun-loving family man, which ultimately led to his demise because he couldn't injure his "wife."
This all culminated in a conflict below Central where Roy Mustang came face to face with Envy. In a moment of cathartic rage that went beyond retribution, Roy burnt Envy to a crisp and kept going till there was nothing left. It's debatable if Roy took things too far but the epicness of the moment is unparalleled in contemporary anime.
6. Levi vs Beast Titan
In episode 17 of season 3 of Attack on Titan, the Beast Titan kills off the entirety of the Scouts Regiment who were marching towards their certain death anyway. It seemed to be a foolish last-ditch effort to somehow get to Zeke. However, the all of the Scout Regiment was merely a decoy for Levi Ackerman to get to the Beast Titan unnoticed.
Levi dashed through the shroud of signal flares that had formed around the Beast Titan after the grappling hook of his mobility gear pierced his shoulder. Zeke tries to stop him, but Levi deflects his thrust and rips the Beast Titan's arm apart with a lengthy spiralling wound.
Zeke covers his head with Titan's hand as he realizes who he's battling, but Levi's next attack knocks out the Beast Titan's eyes, followed by its limbs, bringing Zeke plummeting to the ground. When Zeke senses Levi is after his nape, he tries to harden, but there isn't enough time before Levi cuts into the Beast Titan's form with such force that Zeke is ripped from his Titan.
7. Tanjiro’s Hinokami Kagura
Demon Slayer has very interesting story arcs and an abundance of epic battle moments. One of its most memorable moments comes during a small side arc involving the lower moon 5 demon, Rui.
In an intense battle against the formidable Rui, both Nezuko and Tanjiro are at their physical limits. Water breathing doesn't help Tanjiro at the moment and as he is about to die of Rui's attack, his life flashes before his eyes. In an instant Tanjiro switched from the Water Breathing to the Hinokami Kagura: Dance, gracefully turning into a burst of fire and sun.
Assisted by Nezuko's blood demon art's pink flames, Tanjiro is able to reach Rui with incredible speed. As Nezuko's blood drops over Tanjiro's battered Nichirin sword, it turns crimson, severing Rui's head in a flash.