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Top 10 Epic Cartoon Showdowns

VO: Adrian Sousa
Written by Nick Spake Let’s get ready to rumble! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Epic Cartoon Showdowns. For this list, we’re taking a look at the most rousing, dramatic, and awesome fights from animated shows. Since many of the showdowns contain key plot points, a spoiler alert is now in effect.
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Let’s get ready to rumble! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Epic Cartoon Showdowns.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the most rousing, dramatic, and awesome fights from animated shows. Since many of the showdowns contain key plot points, a spoiler alert is now in effect.

#10: Superman vs. Darkseid
“Superman: The Animated Series” (1996-2000)

This beloved series concluded with a thrilling two-part episode in which Darkseid brainwashes the Man of Steel. Breaking free from his enemy’s control, Superman ventures to Apokolips to settle the score. Part of what makes this showdown so epic is that there are no armies, henchmen, or sidekicks providing backup. It’s just two godlike beings clashing in a battle of good vs. evil. On top of that, it’s rare to see a villain who can actually rival Superman’s physical strength, while the hellish background only adds to the gravitas. Superman proves victorious by using Darkseid’s own powers against him. In a twist worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy, Darkseid’s subjects still stand by their cruel leader.

#9: Pops vs. Anti-Pops
“Regular Show” (2010-17)

“Regular Show” focuses on little problems you’d typically see in a sitcom that somehow spiral out of control to result in absurd adventures. The series climaxes with “A Regular Epic Final Battle” in which Pops fights his corrupt brother with the whole universe on the line. The coliseum fight utilizes every major character, as well as several recurring players. There’s even a clever callback to the first episode as time seemingly resets. Things also get super meta as Pops zooms past the show’s title in order to prevent a reboot. Bidding farewell to Mordecai and Rigby, Pops makes the ultimate sacrifice by hurling himself and Anti-Pops into the sun. Good show!

#8: Teen Titans vs. the Brotherhood of Evil
“Teen Titans” (2003-06)

“Teen Titans” is one of the most beloved cartoons to ever get cancelled prematurely, but at least the final season delivered a stellar showdown between our heroes and the Brotherhood of Evil. For a fight of this magnitude, it wasn’t enough just to include Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven. The teenage crime fighters had to bring a whole army of Titans together in order to best their enemy. The ensuing battle packs in so much fast-paced action and memorable character moments that repeat viewings are a must. United as one, the Titans outwit the Brain, leaving him with a serious case of “brain freeze.”

#7: Twilight Sparkle vs. Lord Tirek
“My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” (2010-)

You wouldn’t expect a “My Little Pony” series to be action-packed, let alone epic. “Friendship Is Magic” is a surprisingly gripping show, however, and the Season 4 finale went all out. Our heroes face their greatest threat yet when a centaur named Tirek threatens Equestria. This entire season had been building toward something huge, as the Mane Six unknowingly collected the keys that would unlock the Tree of Harmony’s powers. By showing Discord the true meaning of friendship, Twilight and company are able to access the sixth key and a mysterious rainbow magic. The final confrontation with Tirek earns comparison to “Sailor Moon” and even “Dragon Ball Z,” demonstrating just how badass “MLP” can be.

#6: Danny Phantom vs. Pariah Dark
“Danny Phantom” (2004-07)

We’re going ghost! Danny Phantom went up against some pretty formidable foes over the years, but none gave the teenage superhero a greater run for his money than the Ghost King, aka Pariah Dark. With Amity Park and the Ghost Zone at stake, Danny blasts off in a Fenton Ecto-Skeleton to challenge the King and his undead army. He also establishes once and for all that his alter ego is “Danny Phantom” and not “Inviso-Bill.” Danny can’t reach the castle by himself, though, and so enemies must become temporary allies. When Danny and Pariah Dark face off mano a mano, our hero gets an advantage by duplicating himself and robbing the King of his crown.

#5: Splinter vs. Shredder
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2012-17)

Across the various reboots, Splinter and Shredder have had several epic showdowns. But it was their first confrontation in the 2012 series that packed in arguably the most enthralling fight choreography and compelling drama. Luring his old enemy to his lair, Oroku Saki is surprised to find that Hamato Yoshi has become a rat. Of course Shredder has a few surprises of his own in store for Splinter. The villain gets the best of his nemesis by dropping a major bombshell: Splinter’s daughter is alive and Shredder has been raising her. Although Splinter manages to unmask Shredder, a vengeful Karai intervenes. In a heartbreaking turn, Splinter is forced to flee from his own child.

#4: Bumblebee & Optimus Prime vs. Megatron
“Transformers: Prime” (2010-13)

How could we have a list like this without the Autobots and Decepticons? Since there have been so many incarnations of “Transformers,” we had no shortage of epic showdowns to choose from. “Transformers: Prime” set a new standard, though, as Optimus Prime and Megatron faced off in an outer space battle with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. As the rock ‘em sock ‘em robots match climaxes, it appears Megatron has Optimus bested. The villain is vanquished at the last second, however, when Bumblebee emerges and stabs him with a sword. Getting to hear Bumblebee’s voice only sweetens the deal - talk about a battle worthy of this beloved franchise.

#3: Jack vs. Aku
“Samurai Jack” (2001-04; 2017)

For the longest time, it looked like “Samurai Jack” had peaked with the black and white Shinobi Warrior fight. When the series was brought back for a final season, however, fans finally got the confrontation they had been waiting for: a final fight between Jack and Aku. The riveting showdown additionally incorporates an army of fan favorite characters, including the Canine Archaeologists, the Spartans, and the Scotsman. Even the robo-samurai turns up! It’s Aku’s daughter Ashi who ironically gives Jack the upper hand, using her powers to take our hero back to the past. Once there, Jack is able to finish Aku before he took over the world, preventing a miserable future.

#2: Ahsoka Tano vs. Darth Vader
“Star Wars: Rebels” (2014-)

Darth Sidious’ clash with Savage Opress and Darth Maul was a highlight of the “Clone Wars” series. “Star Wars: Rebels” managed to outshine its predecessor, though, with this showdown that had been years in the making. Knowing that Anakin Skywalker would become Darth Vader, fans had been eager to see a confrontation between the Sith Lord and his old Padawan, Ahsoka. This episode delivered all of the emotion one would expect, with the student seeing her teacher for the monster he’s become. Everything, from the scenery, to the choreography, to the music, exemplifies “Star Wars” at its absolute best. In true “Empire Strikes Back” form, their lightsaber duel doesn’t have the happiest outcome either.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

The Powerpuff Girls vs. the Rowdyruff Boys
“The Powerpuff Girls” (1998-2005)

Rick Sanchez vs. the President
“Rick and Morty” (2013-)

Flame Princess vs. Ice King
“Adventure Time” (2010-)

#1: Aang vs. Ozai
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-08)

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” couldn’t have finished on a more fitting note, delivering an emotional, exhilarating, and exquisitely animated climax. While Zuko and Katara’s face-off with Azula was deeply personal, the entire series had been working towards Aang’s final fight with Fire Lord Ozai. Their battle overflows with mind-blowing imagery that’ll remain forever burned in our heads. Visuals aside, it’s our investment in Aang that makes this sequence so mesmerizing. We all wondered how Aang would defeat Ozai without betraying his own ethics. The noble Airbender ultimately discovers a peaceful route, stripping Ozai of his Firebending powers. Just as Aang restores order to the world, this showdown finds the perfect balance of action and drama.
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