What do you look for in animated fight scenes

PapaGreg096

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I mostly prefer combat to be hand to hand and a little more grounded, personally I'm not too crazy about magic powers. I also like when characters regardless of gender and/or alignment show damage and when I say damage I'm looking for a busted lip or a black eye at the very least.
Something like in Lastman
 

Zhukov

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Smooth movement. Although that applies to all animation. (That GIF for example does not have it. Looks jerky as hell, like it's missing frames or something.)

A sense of weight. Humans, even small ones, are pretty heavy things. They should move like it. (Incidentally the reason I don't much care for wire-fu action scenes.)

A sense of impact. Object A, be it fist, sword, bullet or whatever, hits object B, usually a person. Object B should then react appropriately. None of that I-swish-my-sword-through-you-a-million-times bullshit.

A sense of space and positioning. Applies to all fight scenes of any kind really. I should have a solid idea of where everyone is at any given time.

Prefer more grounded scenes over magic fireworks displays. That's just a matter of preference though.
 

TheMysteriousGX

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Same things I look for in real fight scenes.

Smooth camera work, having multiple combatants in the same shot, and a lack of jump cuts.

I haven't been very impressed of late.
 

PapaGreg096

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Zhukov said:
Smooth movement. Although that applies to all animation. (That GIF for example does not have it. Looks jerky as hell, like it's missing frames or something.)

A sense of weight. Humans, even small ones, are pretty heavy things. They should move like it. (Incidentally the reason I don't much care for wire-fu action scenes.)

A sense of impact. Object A, be it fist, sword, bullet or whatever, hits object B, usually a person. Object B should then react appropriately. None of that I-swish-my-sword-through-you-a-million-times bullshit.

A sense of space and positioning. Applies to all fight scenes of any kind really. I should have a solid idea of where everyone is at any given time.

Prefer more grounded scenes over magic fireworks displays. That's just a matter of preference though.
Would you at least say the gif I have has some weight to it.
 

Dreiko_v1legacy

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I like a visceral feel of weight. Part of why I liked Re:Zero so much was that combat felt living with danger and enmity. Also it's one of the best elements of Evangelion as well. Real sense of weight and exertion.
 

balladbird

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there are 3 ways a fight scene can blow me away, actually!

1.) be as true to a real fight as possible, and well animated:

I enjoy the over-the-top acrobatics and wall shattering of anime as much as the next guy, but a series that has grounded fight scenes that realistically depict boxing, fencing, or sword fighting will always stand out more.

the example I wanted to show was from an obscure anime called Le Chevalier D'eon... which had some of the most beautifully animated fencing scenes I've ever seen. Sadly, it was a little too obscure, and I couldn't find what I was looking for on youtube.

2.) Just be smooth!:

Convey your motion without still frames. You can use fewer inbetween frames to convey impact, or more to convey elaborate motions within a short span of time... but don't be cheap. to be fair... it really is a budget issue most of the time. So usually only movies or prestigious studios can really make the kinds of fights that get me riled up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNTmT177Edo


3.) convince me they really want to kill each other:

I watched a lot of shonen... so that's probably the source of this one. Shonen cares about entertaining its young male audience with big, flashy moves first, and telling a realistic fight scene second... which results in a lot of silly things. One fighter patiently standing around doing nothing while his opponent helplessly gathers power for his new form, the guy with the edge in the fight explaining how his powers work to his opponent (but really the audience) letting him puzzle out a perfect counter.

I got kind fed up with that, growing up, so I appreciate a fight scene where I'm sincerely convinced that both participants care about nothing other than winning. visceral, violent fights, with the only exposition given in unspoken monologues. combine that with the above, and you have a fight scene worth remembering.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_s7l6fLTQk

edit: tried to embed... didn't go well
 

Kyrian007

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I don't want realism. It's a freaking cartoon; usually featuring superpowers, mecha, monsters, and/or magic. The last thing I want when watching something like that is some weirdly misplaced thought that what we need is for any of this to look (for whatever stupid reason) "real." If I wanted freaking real, I wouldn't be watching anime. I wouldn't be watching anything animated. What I want is over the top, impossible, no skill level that high anywhere, cartoonishly awesome badassery. That's where that word comes from. I don't want ANY herky-jerky shaky cam (that goes double for non-animated action) or realistic looking damage. I want huge devastating attacks either completely no-sold or ridiculous distended eyeball type injuries with Monty Python buckets of blood spraying everywhere. The more silly and over-the-top the better. Case in point, Metal Gear Solid. There is almost nothing in the world more bonkers than the Metal Gear story, so when Silicon Knights did the Gamecube remake and people were complaining about the reanimated, bonkers, over-the-top fight scenes I couldn't believe it. Not only had they updated my favorite game with the superior controls of its successor, it had Snake vaulting off of missiles fired at him from a helicopter. It had Grey Fox looking 3 times as scary and awesome... it basically improved in EVERY WAY the game that was already my all time favorite. And people were complaining that it was now "too cartoonish." I just don't understand that kind of thinking at all.

Real violence, the non-scripted kind... it's ugly. It's abrupt and shocking and in no way entertaining in the slightest. I don't understand anyone wanting anything intended to entertain to look at all like real violence.
 

Fijiman

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Generally I like some decent choreography and fluidity to the animation, otherwise I'm pretty easy to please so long as the end result looks cool.
 

sanquin

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-Fairly fluid movement.
-A sense of weight/impact to attacks.
-Good fighting choreography.
-Nice and flashy. (If I want realism I'll watch martial arts movies.)
-Despite the above, being able to see what's going on.

Fate:Zero - Unlimited Blade Works came really damn close. The only point it was lacking a bit on for me was the last one. But only a bit.
 

Casual Shinji

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Can't really say other 'it to be good', which goes without saying.

I can only really give examples of animated fight scenes that I like and why I like them.

While not being the biggest fan of the show itself, the Avatar series, both of them, have exquisite animated fight sequences. There's a creativity on display with how characters move and use their powers that's unrivaled in the medium of animation. It never feels like these characters are slacking off with the powers they possess, or the mindfulness of how to use them within their environment.
 

Weresquirrel

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I'm not a fan of the high octane no impact style. As others have said a kinetic feel with more grounded physics makes a fight much more pleasing. One of my absolute favourites is the fight at the end of the Cowboy Bebop movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmexd4UdjXs

It's fast paced, but uses plausible moves, and both combatants are getting some really harsh hits in.
 

Zhukov

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PapaGreg096 said:
Would you at least say the gif I have has some weight to it.
Can't really say. It's too short and shaky to judge.
 

sXeth

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Out of place highlight sounds is a big one that kind of spoil it.You can have a sound highlighting action, but don't sub over the actual sound with some weird fake one.

A sword cutting through air makes a distinct sound, but its not a metallic whine or ringing noise. For the most prt, landed strikes do not make cracking or slapping noises, they make a heavy sort of thunk (Pro wrestling has this issue a lot, where they've implemented MMA type moves into the routine, but they keep making the old leg slap noise for a high impact. Which might make sense for kicking a guy allegedly in a solid bone spot like the jaw, but not for a leg or body kick).
 

Arnoxthe1

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Although not entirely relevant, I actually really think that you can learn a lot from how certain video games make the combat in it satisfying and visceral and take those lessons and apply many, if not all of them, to your fight scenes in animation or even in live-action movies and shows.

Doom 3 is an amazing example. Let's just take the Shotgun. Now when you fire it, the FIRST thing you notice is that badass bass-heavy boom sound and a chunky metallic clink-clack as you pump the weapon, getting another shell ready. And that is the first lesson. Sound is very important. It conveys real weight to the scene. UT2004's weapons by contrast were awful partly because many of the weapon firing sounds too often sounded like plastic. Ineffectual. Lame. Doom 3 is also one of the few games where a lot of the weapons are weirdly satisfying to reload even. Like the Plasma Gun. When you hit the reload key, the back of the weapon pops out quickly with a metallic ***** of the used canister getting ejected. Next, you here the new canister getting slotted in with a thunk, the back of the weapon shutting just as quickly, and then soon hearing that powerful but quick high-pitched charging sound, letting you know that you're ready to melt more demon faces off. And that's just one sound. And a simple reload no less.

The second thing is of course visuals. I'll split this further into movement and the attacks themselves.

Now I actually want to use Ninja Gaiden Black and II for this part. Specifically the Obliteraton Techs or the game's version of executions. Although this should go without saying, note that the camera always gives a clear view of what's happening, subtly repositioning as needed. The second thing is how each movement is quick and straight to the point. There's no overly elaborate movements in NG. Attacks are quick, brutal, and effective. Then the effect itself. We can see how each weapon sinks into enemies with ease, causing pools of blood to spill out with every strike, the enemies flinching away from the attacks. In the case of NGII, this is carried even further by dismemberment, which is designed to happen quite often, making the dismembered enemies shriek and groan in pain, stumbling around even for just a couple seconds as they try to reorient themselves again. But once more, the game never lingers too long on any one of these things, keeping the pace up at a smooth rate, giving these effects their (short) time of viscerality and then moving the combat right along to the next thing.

And the third and last thing, just as important as sound and visuals, is the method of attack. The attacks should be smart in their context or at least seem smart in the moment, because humans are wily and quick on their feet, but they also can and do of course make mistakes. Misjudges. Missed attacks. Holes in their defense. Not capitalizing on an opportunity to strike. Too many mistakes and the fight will seem unnatural and dumb though. Too little and the fight can drag on and can even start to get flat-out boring. And finally, each character in the battle must be accounted for realistically according to their respective abilities and limitations. A newbie kung fu fighter isn't gonna beat a Master and a mercenary who's used guns most of his life is not gonna be proficient in melee weapons. Stuff like that can ruin immersion.

And that's about it. You can maybe skimp on one of these things and still have kinda decent combat, but more than that will take a serious toll and will start making the scene feel rushed and/or cheap.
 

Aerosteam

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Doesn't need to be animated, but I really appreciate it if both parties suffer damage throughout the fight scene.

I really hate it when one side manages to dodge every single attack thrown at them, it really makes the opponent like incompetent or the better fighter look OP as fuck, which is never interesting.