ok, something just hit me today while I was rewatching the original Avatar the last airbender series (I know it's not anime, that's not the point of this thread). All of its fighting/action scenes are unique with no recycled animation sequences and actual interesting combat.
here are what I'm trying to avoid:
Fortunately recycling the same scenes over and over again has faded out in recent series (anyone remember gundam wing? lol) I'm looking for series without any action scenes being reused over and over again (transformation scenes are forgivable).
DBZ power over 9000 fight scenes:
But one thing that is really common in so many fighting anime is that the combat ends up devolving into DBZ type combat with lots of big flashy moves, explosions etc. While this is cool in some cases it can actually make the action sequences less interesting because there is no actual skill involved, just whoever can make the biggest splosion.
Overly long special move explanations:
ok, I loved series like Kenshin and Yu Yu Hakusho, but did anyone notice that in the actual fights they spent about 90% of their time talking and explaining all their moves to their opponent and audience rather than actually fighting. Because telling your opponent exactly how your secret move works is a great idea and he's definitely not going to think of a counter to it in the 15 minutes you spent describing it to him.
Nakama Power (Nakama is the JP term for comrade/very close friend):
Thing is one of my biggest pet peeves about many series. The main character is on the ropes, he's beaten to a pulp and has exactly 0% chance of beating his enemy. However, because his friends are supporting him and he's filled with their hopes and dreams (aka Nakama Power) he somehow gets a huge surge of power and makes a comback, beating his opponent and saving the day. I HATE THIS! I'm all for happy endings but I can't stand people winning just because they are main characters and have lots of people cheering them on. Have a little damn skill please.
What I'm looking for:
So, lets look for series that don't have the above elements (or at the very least have them in small quantities) so we can get a list together of series that have actual good, visually appealing fight scenes. I'll start off the list with a few that come to mind, btw, anime movies are also acceptable since they tend to have a higher budget so their action scenes tend to be better anyway.
Fate/Zero: probably the first to come to mind since it is so recent, excellent animation and action sequences everywhere. There is some of the "explaining how special moves work" part in some of the fights but that is mostly just about noble phantasms and the action scenes flow flawlessly regardless.
Break Blade: Series of 5 movies that involve mecha type stuff in an alternate universe (although they're not gundum type mechs, they mostly fight like people with swords and primitive guns, no flashy beams or anything). Animation is good, fight scenes are cool, I can't think of any of the above flaws being present in this series.
Ghost in the shell, stand alone complex 1+2: Not a lot of action in these series as it's mostly detective work and hacking but when there is action it's very smooth and well done. The fact that it's a sci-fi type universe helps a bunch as fights cant devolve into power over 9000 type situations.
Cowboy bebop: pretty much the same as GITS (last episode showdown fight was truly epic).
Full metal alchemist brotherhood: While there is some explanations that occur about various alchemy and stuff the action scenes as a whole are quite amazing. I love some of the ones at the end such as King bradley single handedly taking down a whole unit of soldiers and a tank, or the armstrong fight vrs sloth. this is a series that has sweet action even when it has super power type moves from alchemy.
Anyway, those are just the ones that come to mind, I know there are plenty of others. I'm looking for some that I may not be familiar with so that I can enjoy seeing some new stuff.