In the world of fandom, one question has loomed large since the very beginning. No, not “who is your OTP” (though also that). I’m talking about the classic, completely hypothetical, message board ruining question, “who would win in a fight?”
Could Superman beat Goku? Is the Hulk stronger than Darth Vader? Could Washington beat up Reagan? These are the questions for the ages—and yet they have become stale, antiquated, banned at comic convention Q and A sessions.
But what if we pitted our favorite characters against one another in contests other than mortal combat? What if we deliberately chose events in which their greatest strengths were useless? What if, in other words, we made them waterski? Well, we’d have the beach vacation crossover episodes of our dreams.
Goku (Dragon Ball Super) vs Midoriya (My Hero Academia)
Event: Table Tennis
Goku and Midoriya are two of the heaviest hitters of their respective universes. But what would happen if we pitted them against one another in a contest that requires a delicate touch, in which the full power of a Super Saiyan smash or an All For One return would send the ball so far out of bounds that it’d end up in orbit?
Our friend Goku isn’t—shall we say—the cleverest all-powerful warrior god in the pantheon. But while Midoriya’s got him beat in the brains department, Goku does have sheer stubbornness going for him. Sure, Midoriya doesn’t like to give up, but he’s been beaten before. Goku, though? You just can’t keep this guy down.
In the end, it’d be an hours-long match boring all but the most dedicated spectators. Sooner or later, Midoriya would make a mistake and Goku would exploit it, ending the game and allowing our competitors to retire for a friendly meal to discuss the finer points of heroism while putting an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant out of business.
Leorio (Hunter x Hunter) vs Sōma (Food Wars!)
Leorio and Sōma are both pretty specialized guys. The former is a doctor, and even though he has some combat abilities he’s outclassed by most of his peers. The latter is a chef with no real athletic prowess to speak of. So the question is, who can do less?
It’s gotta be Leorio, right? He’s the comic relief, the jokester, the guy with his hands in his suit pockets all the time. Sorry Sōma, but you’re just too energetic for this challenge. You’re doing too much! Try again, do less.
Cast of Lupin the 3rd vs Cast of Cowboy Bebop (With special guest Phoenix Wright)
Event: Beach Volleyball
One trickster, one bearded heavy, one femme fatale, one tiny hacker, one… samurai slash talking dog. It’s like the the casts of these two shows were always intended for a beach volleyball crossover. And who better to referee than the ace attorney himself, Phoenix Wright?
Both of these squads have a number of dirty tricks up their sleeve, but Phoenix Wright’s eagle eye for justice isn’t going to let anything slide, so it’s down to technical skill and stamina. Lupin is quite the athlete, as are his companions. On the Bebop side, we have the artful martial artist Spike and powerful Jet Black.
They seem evenly matched! However, there’s one important fact we can’t ignore—Spike’s name is also the name of a volleyball thing. Advantage: Bebop.
Winner: Cast of Cowboy Bebop
Lina Inverse (Slayers) vs Elias Ainsworth (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)
Event: Water Skiing
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat—yes, Elias has canonically skiied before, and you might say that gives him an unfair advantage. But water skiing is not the same as downhill, and besides—he totally wipes out.
Lina Inverse’s appearance is based on Audrey Hepburn, who we know set foot on several boats in her lifetime. While I can’t find any evidence that Hepburn ever water skiied, one of those boats certainly could have carried a pair of the old foot slats, and it’s distinctly possible that she might have tried her hand at it. Thus, by the transitive property, Lina Inverse is an excellent water skiier and comes out on top in this clash of the mages.
Winner: Lina Inverse
Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece) vs Naruto (Naruto)
Is chess a summer sport? It is if you’re an old man in New York. And it’s the ultimate test for Luffy and Naruto—no stretching powers, no jutsus, just old-fashioned strategy and reading your opponent.
So who’s smarter? Naruto is something of a naive, slow boy, and one of Luffy’s defining traits is his dimwittedness. The question then becomes, who is less stupid?
While Naruto may not be the cleverest ninja in the world, he does have a mastery of tactics and deceit—skills that are essential in the King’s Game. Even if he can’t turn into a hot lady to confound his foe, he’s foxy enough to pull one over on ol’ Luffy. So while Luffy has battled actual anthropomorphic chess pieces, I gotta give this one to my boy.
Everyone loves a beach episode, so who’s in your dream summer matchup? Let us know on Twitter and please, I beg of you, someone draw the Lupin/Bebop volleyball match.