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10 Most Intense Aerial Dogfights In Anime

From gunfights to battles using magic, there is a wide array of combat in anime. Every battle keeps fans on the edge of their seats while watching their favorite characters face off against an enemy. Battles between pilots operating various flying aircraft, or aerial dogfights, are popular among fans.

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Whether it be period-accurate aerial dogfighting or the clashing of futuristic space jets, battles between aircraft can be some of the most intense fights in action anime. Dogfighting is a relatively popular trope, so there are numerous anime that feature exciting aircraft battles between rivals.

10 Porco Rosso Is One Of Ghibli’s Takes On Dogfighting

Studio Ghibli’s Porco Rosso follows a former World War I pilot as he battles against sky pirates who have been terrorizing Italy. Porco, or “Marco,” finds himself dueling his fellow pilot Curtis over Fio, Porco’s young mechanic friend. The two engage in an intense dogfight that leaves audience members on the edge of their seats. The dogfight concludes under interesting circumstances when both Porco’s and Curtis’ machine guns run out of ammunition. The two pilots resort to an old-fashioned fistfight to designate the winner. The dogfight inevitably ends with both pilots beaten black and blue but Porco comes out the winner.

9 Cowboy Bebop Features Anime’s Jazziest Dogfights

Spike piloting from Cowboy Bebop

As a bounty hunter just trying to survive, Spike and his crew have had their fair share of conflict in Cowboy Bebop. One of Spike’s more intense battles featured a group of pirates who’d been attacking unsuspecting ships. Using special grappling hooks, the pirates were able to give ships a virus that made them go haywire.

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Spike engages the pirates in battle and manages to avoid their grappling hooks and special virus. Not all goes according to plan, however, and the pirates’ ship explodes, exposing Spike and Jet to the virus anyway. But honestly, that’s just a normal day of bounty hunting for the Bebop crew.

8 The Sky Crawlers Is A Film Starring Fighter Pilots

Kannami exiting aircraft

The world is at peace in the film The Sky Crawlers but in order to ensure that peace, private corporations contract fighter pilots to engage each other in combat. Yuichi Kannami is reassigned to Area 262 and encounters enemy fire on his first mission. What started as a simple reconnaissance mission turns into Yuichi and his partner fighting against three unknown enemy aircraft. Despite his initial nervousness, Yuichi is able to deploy some innovative maneuvers that help him evade enemy gunfire and destroy their aircraft.

7 Last Exile Is A Coming-Of-Age Tale With An Exciting Dogfight

Claus, Lavie, and Alvis

Last Exile features the pilot Claus Valca and his navigator Lavie Head, who find themselves on an exciting adventure. They’re couriers for the Norkia Vanship Union. After being separated, Claus and Alvis try to reunite with Lavie but find themselves in a dogfight with two Guild Starfish. The Starfish relentlessly fire upon Claus, who has no spare ammunition. Claus relies on his skills as a pilot to strike the Starfish down in one blow, defeating them and continuing his journey to reunite with Lavie.

6 Yukikaze Features Dogfights Between Humans & An Alien Threat

Yukikaze aircraft

In order to protect the Earth from an alien invasion, the UN establishes the Fairy Air Force (or FAF), a special airforce specializing in combating the aliens. Accordingly, FAF’s pilots often find themselves fighting aliens, known as JAM. One especially intense dogfight occurs between the FAF pilots and JAM spacecraft. FAF’s pilots manage to outmaneuver the enemy and eliminate them with missiles. The JAM pilots are just as skilled, however, and manage to wipe out some FAF pilots before their own demise. FAF may have succeeded, but with heavy costs.

5 Area 88’s Dogfight Is An Emotional Clash Between Friends

Mickey in cockpit

The only way pilots can leave Area 88 is to serve for three years, accumulate $1.5 million, or take their chances deserting base. None of these are great options so Area 88’s pilots end up taking on various missions with each mission deadlier than the last. One such deadly mission falls to Mickey, an ex-US Navy pilot and Vietnam War Veteran.

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When a new enemy pilot enters the scene and attacks a comrade, Mickey comes face to face with an old friend who is now serving the enemy. Mickey inevitably battles his old friend in an emotional dogfight. Ultimately, Mickey is victorious in protecting not only his comrades but completing his mission. Unfortunately, his victory cost his old comrade’s life.

4 Macross Zero Features Some Of Anime’s Most Exciting Dogfights

Shin Kudo piloting

In a world where aliens have crash landed on Earth, a war has broken out between the U.N.-Spacey and the Anti-U.N. Forces. Shin Kudo is a talented pilot for the United Nations Military and has come across multiple enemies while piloting. One such enemy encounter had Shin battling Anti-U.N. Forces pilot Nora Polyansky. The two become fast enemies and consistently battle one another throughout the Macross Zero series. Their final face-off is the most intense, forcing the two into enacting some out-of-the-box strategies to claim victory.

3 Space Battleship Yamato Pits Humans Against Aliens In Space

Space Battleship Yamato is an action-packed delight as the Space Battleship Yamato battles against alien Gamilas. Fans are left on the edge of their seats as they watch Susumu Kodai and his comrades engage the Gamilas in battle. In order to protect the main fleet as it prepares to space warp, Susumu Kodai leads his crew into a dogfight with Gamila aircraft. Susumu Kodai managed to protect Space Battleship Yamato from the Gamilas’ missiles with his own weaponry. Even after taking damage, Susumu Kodai’s comrades defeated the Gamila fleet and protected Space Battleship Yamato.

2 Princess And The Pilot Only Has One Dogfight But It’s Intense

Charles and Juana in the Santa Cruz

Princess and The Pilot has an intense dogfight scene between ace pilot Charles Karino and a skilled Amatsuvian pilot. Having been challenged to a duel by the enemy pilot, Charles had to quickly evaluate his surroundings and form a strategy. He chooses to rely on cloud coverage and the sun in order to defeat his adversary.

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The Amatsuvian pilot, however, is playing a game of cat and mouse with Charles. Charles is pressured to use risky maneuvers, such as a nose dive to the ocean, in order to gain the upper hand. Despite the enemy pilot’s ability to copy Charles’s moves with ease, the game ends when Juana fires at the Amatsuvian pilot. Her attack damages his plane and forces him to concede defeat.

1 Macross Delta Features Messer & Keith’s Epic Dogfight

Messer piloting in Macross Delta

Macross Delta is filled with various fight scenes of its pilots and idols. One of the most intense battles occurs between The Grim Reaper of Delta Flight and The White Knight of the Aerial Knights, known as Messer and Keith, respectively. Messer and Keith’s dogfight was Messer’s last, as he’d been infected with Vár Syndrome and was banned from piloting for his own safety. Both Messer’s and Keith’s impressive piloting skills made for an intense, unforgettable dogfight.

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