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A lot of animes feature characters capable of firing energy blasts (Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Punch Man, Fairy Tail, etc.) But which was the first one?

Which anime was the first to feature energy blasts?

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    While this question is on-topic, "energy blasts" is an extremely vague description of what you're requesting Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 17:17
  • @Wondercricket I think that if other sci fi / anime websites are trying to tackle this question (not giving a first anime, but a list of all of energy attacks in anime, manga, comics, science fiction, videogames etc.) we should be able to do the same here. powerlisting.fandom.com/wiki/Energy_Blast
    – Pablo
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 18:56

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This is based on this post and this discussion on origin of kamehame-ha.

There are several possible precursors mentioned.

  • Ultra man's spacium beam (video) Neither anime nor manga. 1966.
  • Spaceship Yamato's canon (video) 1974. The "charge the energy and fire" scheme is similar.
  • Cobra's psycho gun. 1978. This says it turns Cobra's spiritual power into energy.
  • Hokuto shinken's several killing(?) techniques. 1983. In particular 北斗剛掌波 and 天破活殺. Both use kind of invisible power to attack opponents. The influence of Hokuto no ken is seemingly acknowledged by Dragon ball author.

In the discussion linked above, it is also mentioned that Dragon Ball(1984) may be the first to express the energy blast as a beam emitting from human body, rather than a shot or some invisible wave.

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  • Looks like a good answer. Let's wait some time to see if someone else find an earlier anime and if not, it will be accepted
    – Pablo
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 11:31
  • @Pablo Also it is noted that razor kind of thing in American comic may be much earlier (like superman in the page you linked in the comment to OP).
    – sundowner
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 12:59
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"Energy blasts" are actual Chi/Qi blasts and are copied from Chinese wuxia stories. If not the first, Dragon Ball definitely popularized the concept.

The entirety of Dragon Ball is mostly just a very, very loose adaption of "Journey to the West" (16th century Chinese literature). The concept of Qi and Qi attacks was directly copied from there.

Qi isn't only used for attack and defense, it is also used to sense opponents, so you can fight them blindly or sense them on the other side of the planet, so you know where they are as long as they do not hide their Qi and as long as you are strong enough to sense far away enough.

An earlier anime that copied the Chinese martial arts concept is Hokuto no Ken. But not sure if this had the Qi blasts, too.

But the concept is lifted from classical Chinese literature.

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  • All though informative, this does not really seem to answer the question OP asks. Which is, Which is the first anime to feature energy blasts, or given the context of your answer, qi blasts.
    – Dimitri mx
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 10:10
  • @Dimitrimx The source of the trope is ancient Chinese literature. Dragon Ball popularized the concept. I cannot pinpoint the first anime that made use of this. 1970s mecha anime also had attacks that could be described as energy blasts, but those were made by a weapon, not by a human. If I had to make a guess, I'd point at the 1926 animation "Journey to the West" as the first "anime" that did this, though I never saw that one, so who knows.
    – Ocean
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 16:10

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