In some works of fiction, it’s been argued that violence is not the answer. Instead, violence is a question, and in some stories, the answer is “yes.” That is to say, violence is not noble or ideal, but some characters have little choice but to fight someone or something anyway. Such is the case in Japanese anime like Black Lagoon and Attack on Titan, but in other series, the answer is “no.”
There are a few reasons why physical violence is not the solution in a story. Perhaps the characters have nonviolent methods that they agree to use for resolving conflicts, such as diplomacy, games, or contests. In other cases, a character might resort to violence only to learn that their violent acts don’t give them what they wanted and may have even made things worse.
10/10 Yumeko Jabami Enjoys Fighting The Odds, Not People
The main characters of Kakegurui are all students at the elite, private Hyakkou Academy, a school that welcomes the sons and daughters of society’s wealthy elite. These students learn how to weigh the odds and calculate risks in games of chance, ranging from poker and blackjack to the roulette table.
The stakes are high, and millions of yen often change hands, which can ruin some students’ lives. But despite all the scheming and competition here, physical fights are not allowed for any reason. Gamblers who break that rule may face serious consequences.
9/10 Sora & Shiro Replace Combat With Gaming
No Game No Life
No Game No Life is another anime series where games have completely taken the place of violence and war, with the main difference being this is an isekai series. The foster brother-sister duo Sora and Shiro share the identity of “Blank,” the master of all online games.
Now Blank is in a video game world where wars and disputes are settled with nonlethal games. Blank can use brilliant strategies, smart risk-taking, and keen observation to win all kinds of bizarre games and dominate the playing field, with no violence required.
In the shojo tale of Fruits Basket, some characters actually do resort to violence, such as the tsundere Kyo frequently challenging his cousin Yuki to fights and the despicable Akito Sohma slapping or scratching people or even shoving them out of windows. But it never does any good.
The Sohmas are all suffering, and winning fights won’t change that. Instead, characters like Kyo and Akito, in particular, need the kind words and empathy of Tohru Honda to soothe their wounded hearts and reinvent their lives. Kyo is much happier with Tohru than he would ever be in a fight with Yuki.
7/10 Shoko Komi Won’t Let Friends Hurt Friends
Komi Can’t Communicate
The high school comedy Komi Can’t Communicate is all about the noble virtues of kindness, sympathy, and giving people a second chance. No fistfight will ever solve any problems, but at one point, the yandere Ren Yamai abducted Hitohito Tadano by force and held him prisoner in her bedroom.
Ren Yamai’s semi-violent crime accomplished nothing. She did it to get Shoko Komi to herself, but of course, Komi would never stand for that. Once Tadano was found, the normally timid Komi demanded that Ren apologize at once. Since then, Ren has kept her hands to herself.
6/10 Thorfinn’s Tale Is A Medieval Deconstruction Story
At a glance, the seinen medieval anime Vinland Saga seems to glorify war and violence, since characters like Askeladd and Thorkell are at their coolest when they’re fighting people and shedding blood. But the reality is that Vinland Saga has a pacifistic message that’s buried deep in the story.
Protagonist Thorfinn Karlsefni expected to find satisfaction in murdering his father’s killer, Askeladd, but he was wrong. Revenge is empty, and what’s more, Thorfinn was later haunted in his nightmares by all the people he’d killed by then. He then vowed to become a pacifist and build a new nation in the distant Vinland, free of violence and slavery.
5/10 Soma Yukihira Fights Opponents With Cooking
In some ways, Food Wars! might remind fans of the hit anime Kakegurui, since both of them feature a clever troublemaker new student who upsets the status quo in a specialized, elite school. In this case, Soma Yukihira is the new kid at Totsuki, and he’s ready to cook.
Soma and his friends Megumi and Takumi fight hard, but not with fists or magic. Instead, they clash with their foes in culinary duels, or shokugeki, and the stakes may be huge. Even Soma’s worst enemies, such as Nazami Akiri and Asahi Saiba, only use their knives on ingredients, not on people.
4/10 Tatsu Says No To Violence
The Way Of The Househusband
The reformed yakuza thug Tatsu was once the “immortal dragon,” and he loved to beat people up. But he has left that life behind, and he is now happy to live as a homemaker with his loving businesswoman wife, Miku. Tatsu still remembers the ways of the Yakuza, but otherwise, he’s a new man.
Now, Tatsu talks tough in terms of dinner ingredients, laundry detergent, and vacuum cleaners, not drugs or guns. A few mobsters have taken a swing at him, but Tatsu won’t hit back. Instead, he will defuse the situation with food or services, and then everyone gets along in peace.
3/10 Toru’s Babysitting Gig Is All About The Heart
The Yakuza’s Guide To Babysitting
The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting is an anime series where violence does happen, but it’s clearly not the proper solution to any of the main characters’ problems. Like Tatsu, Toru Kirishima is a wild mobster who likes dishing out punishment, but his new babysitting job calls for different skills.
No matter his tough-guy ways, Toru is a kind person at heart, and he can finally show that side of himself as Yaeka’s babysitter. Toru still isn’t afraid of a fight, but now he understands that a life is built on peace, friendship, and cooperation, not violence.
2/10 Katarina Is About Building Relationships, Not Using Weapons
My Next Life As A Villainess
The otome shojo anime My Next Life as a Villainess may be an isekai title, but it goes in a totally different direction than series like Black Summoner or Overlord. In the world of Fortune Lover, the reborn Katarina Claes must use her words and kindness, not her fists or magic, to make things right and save herself.
Katarina must avoid her own doom as the villainess, and her best strategy is to reshape everyone’s relationships, so the game’s plot becomes circular and never ends. Some light combat does happen here, but never for good reasons. Like Tohru, Katarina knows that words are her best tools.
1/10 Kobayashi Teaches The Dragons To Stop Fighting So Much
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
This reverse isekai anime is a curious case. In a few instances, a friendly fight to blow some steam might actually do some good, but these are not real fights, and more often, the dragon characters feel better after talking things out or after competing in bloodless competitions or games.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is not totally pacifistic, but the general trend is that characters like Tohru, Lucoa, and Elma are much happier when they find constructive things to do and build meaningful relationships rather than fight. In that sense, Dragon Maid teaches that diplomacy and friendship are always better than fighting.
NEXT: 10 Anime Characters Who Believe Violence is Always the Answer