Shounen anime is full of larger-than-life heroes with iconic moves. From the Kamehameha to Za Warudo, these moves are as infinitely quotable as they are awe-inspiring. However, some signature moves in anime can be downright silly.
Shounen does tend to inject humor even amid an intense fight scene. The upcoming third season of the critically acclaimed Mob Psycho 100showcases this kind of humor perfectly, but they are far from the only one. Few things are funnier than defeating the big bad with a hilarious move.
10 Absolute Defense Form (Assassination Classroom)
Korosensei is without a doubt the single most powerful being in Assassination Classroom. After all, there’s really no beating “exploding a quarter of the moon.” At one point, though, his class gets close to taking him down. So much so that Korosensei busts out his final resort: Absolute Defense Form.
In this form, Koro Sensei shrinks to the size of a snow globe and is completely invulnerable. However, this also makes him completely immobile. The funny irony of the “fastest in the world” suddenly being immobile is not lost on the students, who proceed to torment him with bugs and embarrassing pictures.
9 Thunder Cross Split Attack (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
It’s impressive enough for someone to have a meme besides Dio in Part 1. It’s even more impressive that they have an attack so ridiculous that it makes a guy who throws buzzsaw hats normal. “Thunder Cross Split Attack!” (exclamation mark mandatory) involves Dire baiting the opponent with a dropkick.
Then, if the opponent, for some reason, decides to catch the drop-kick with their hands (instead of dodging or blocking), Dire splits their arms apart with his feet, loudly proclaims that they fell for it, and shout his signature attack name. The completely ridiculous look of the attack, paired with it being absolutely countered, makes it one of the unintentionally funniest moments in the franchise.
8 Giga Drill Break (Gurren Lagann)
It is no exaggeration to say that TTGL ran so that Studio Trigger could run. It all started with a boy and his drill. Simon’s drill, once a simple miner’s tool, soon became a weapon that rivaled the likes of the Infinity Stones from the Marvel Universe. This is no exaggeration.
The silliness of Giga Drill Break directly coincides with how spectacularly strong the drill is. As TTGL’s wild logic dictates, if something can’t be beaten with a drill, just make the drill bigger. As fans of the series can attest, the sheer reality-shattering effects of Giga Drill Break are more than enough to fight the power.
7 The King Engine (One Punch Man)
King is a monster of a man and the S-Rank 7 hero of the Hero Association. A man of few words, the only time people even notice his presence is through the dreaded “King Engine.” A steady beating reverberates through the opponent’s ears, destroying their morale. The truth, however, is a lot more hilarious.
King is no hero. In fact, he doesn’t even have any powers. He just so happens to be the only person seen in the aftermath of each of Saitama’s victories. The “King Engine” is simply his heart beating so fast and loud that it becomes audible to the human ear. Still, it’s a useful talent to turn one’s unabashed terror into a menacing force.
6 Gomu Gomu No Storm (One Piece)
One Piece is one of the most comedic action shounen, and that’s plain as day to see from the character designs alone. They lend themselves to shenanigans and silly faces. That means there’s no shortage of ridiculous attacks in One Piece. Out of all of them though, Luffy provides a ton of variety.
Gomu Gomu no Storm is the culmination of Luffy’s utility stretching. Luffy turns into a balloon, twists himself like a spring, then blows the air onto the ground to launch himself into the air with a flurry of punches. Although these moves are incredibly powerful and cool at the moment, they are without a doubt silly looking to those not familiar with Luffy’s combat powers.
5 Sen-I-Soshitsu (Kill la Kill)
Kill la Kill is unabashedly unashamed of its gratuitous action. Where Shokugeki no Souma only makes the nudity an implication in the eater’s minds, Kill la Kill assures the audience that the defeated’s clothes are well and truly gone. This is all even justified in-universe. Ryuko’s scissor blades literally eat clothes for more power.
Her iconic finishing move, Sen-I-Soshitsu, roughly translates to “stripped of the will to fight.” The stripping part is not metaphorical, as, in Kill la Kill, people’s powers are directly tied to the uniforms they wear. The only way to disable them is by unraveling their threads, much to their embarrassment. Not that it stops any of Kill la Kill’s female characters from being strong and tough.
4 Hakoware (Hunter x Hunter)
Nen is one of the most fascinating power systems in shonen anime. The abilities run the gamut from typical elemental magic to absurdly specific ones like Knuckle Bine’s “Hakoware” ability. This convoluted yet undoubtedly effective tactic has saved his life against far more straightforward powers. In essence, Knuckle lends his opponent some of his aura and attaches “Hakoware” to them.
This cute creature informs them of a “debt,” and neither Knuckle nor his opponent can physically harm each other during this time. They can only “pay” and “lend” through attacks. If the opponent fails to pay their debt in time, they will lose the use of their Nen for a whole month. Few people would expect the musclebound Knuckle Bine with delinquent hair to have such an unorthodox and complicated math-based powerset.
3 Banishing Salt Punch (Mob Psycho 100)
In a series full of weird psychics and tyrannical terrorists, it’s a testament to Reigen’s incredible ability to be an absolute madman that he would have some of the weirdest attacks on the list. The most iconic of which is his array of salt-related attacks. Reigen, skilled exorcist/con-man that he is, always has banishing salt on hand.
However, one never knows how strong the demons possessing the client are. So, Reigen often goes the extra mile by sucker punching his clients, banishing salt in hand. The sheer seriousness in his attacks, paired with the clients’ utter shock, are some of the funniest moments of the show. Fans hope for more of the same in Mob Psycho 100’s third season.
2 Fusion Dance (Dragon Ball Z)
For being one of the most powerful techniques in the entire series (despite its surprisingly uneven win-loss record), it’s also one of the silliest looking to prepare. Just as it says on the tin, fusing requires two people to perform a dance that would make the Ginyu Force proud. Afterward, they would touch fingers and turn into a single, more powerful entity.
However, if the dance is done incorrectly, the fused entity will be either a very fat or very skinny version of both fighters. Not only that, but they will also be incredibly weak. It’s why having no shame about the technique is important. Any improper poses could result in a fight-ending mistake. Plus, the morale loss of seeing an opponent laugh at them would be inconsolable.
1 Sexy Jutsu (Naruto)
The most iconic of silly moves in 2000s shonen, the Sexy Jutsu is the first technique that Naruto truly mastered. Sexy Jutsu has Naruto transform into a naked, buxom woman with conveniently placed clouds censoring her definitely not shounen-appropriate shame. Despite being a joke technique, it has been incredibly effective on the field.
For one, Naruto uses it in one of his first real fights against someone stronger than him and wins through pure shock. It was only fitting that in the final fight of the Shippuden era, he uses a reversal of the same technique to provide a legitimate distraction against the godlike Kaguya. It just goes to show that a stupid technique is only stupid if it doesn’t work.