Yusuke absorbing the Spirit Wave Orb and saving Puu with a super charged kick!
YuYu Hakusho has Hiei debuting the Dragon of the Darkness Flame (Black Dragon Flame in the original Japanese, or Blazing Fist of the Overlord: Black Dragon Hell Fire) and reducing Zeru, who had been build up as a powerful opponent, to a victim shadow on the wall of the arena. Well, that was quick.
Technique's actual translation from the Kanji? Jaō Ensatsu Kokuryūha?, lit. Tyrant-King's Blaze-Murdering Black-Dragon-Wave, otherwise Tyrant-Emperor Jao Blaze Murdering Black Dragon Wave. Long winded, ain't it?
There's a lot of different translations, made all the more confusing by anime Kuwabara's bumbling.
Before that, Kurama hitting Roto with the Death Plant. Buh-bye!
Roto: "You believe in mercy, don't you?!" Kurama: "No." Roto: *instant flowerbed* Kurama: "What irony. Such beauty sprung from such an ugly soil."
In the original, Roto was rambling off some excuses, ending with:
Roto: "I was only kidd—"
Roto: *instant flowerbed*
Also, when Hiei absorbs the freaking attack and destroying half the stadium. It gets kinda hard to beat that. Except maybe when Bui SENDS IT BACK and thinks he killed Hiei, only to find out that the Black Dragon is NOT an attack but actually a way to take a level in badass. Hiei then beats the crap out of him, refuses to kill him, and faints.
Hiei: "Only I had the will, the daring, and the ABANDON to truly master this technique."
Oh God. Kurama and Karasu's fight. With the emergence of Yoko, Karasu's bombs, Kurama's ingenuity and tact—combined with the fact that this is the first time that you see Kurama nigh desperate to win really gets to you.
After the potion Kurama took wears off and he reverts back to his human form, he is seen injured, standing outside of the ring but on the rubble of part of the ring that was destroyed, and you can tell he's in deep shit. Karasu, being the creepy unhinged man that he is, taunts Kurama for not even having enough energy to create another one of his roses. He points out that Kurama could no longer even see his Youki, meaning he wouldn't be able to tell where Karasu's bombs were anymore. Cue Kurama promptly flipping back into the stadium, charging at Karasu headlong, and employing deadly punches and kicks we've never seen him use before. He actually manages to successfully dodge one of Karasu's bombs and get a hit in for himself, despite being a long-range fighter, weakened, and it being extremely dangerous and difficult to get that close to Karasu, let alone touch him.
Kurama: "I will not be afraid of something that I cannot see!"
Kuwabara's victory over Elder Toguro, probably the most monstrous bad guy in the series up to that point. Anyone who says that Kuwabara is any lesser a badass than the rest of the team can SUCK IT.
Kuwabara: "SPIRIT FLYSWATTER!"
Elder Toguro: *squashed into pudding*
Is it a coincidence that this is the first time we see Kuwabara in his white Badass Longcoat?
"Always expecting nothin outta me. Just makes for a better surprise..."
Old Master Genkai's is when she beats the crap out of the Uraotogi Team in the Dark Tournament. After she's given most of her power to Yusuke. 50+ year old Action Girl, anyone?
Particularly notable is that she defeats the final opponent Suzuki, who was at the time buffed up to bodybuilder levels (AKA about three times her size), with nothing more than her BARE HANDS. His face pretty much looked like ground hamburger by the time she was done.
I particularly enjoyed what she says while beating Suzuka's face in. "YOU JUST DON'T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES!" And then softly. "That's enough!"
See also Yusuke's defeat of Suzaku, where he exhausted tactic after tactic trying to give the guy what he had coming to him for endangering Keiko, after being repeatedly (and painfully) subjected to Suzaku's ultimate technique. The clincher? As he lay dying on the ground, Suzaku laments that he finally understands Yusuke. "You didn't defeat me because you weren't human. It's because you were."
Anytime Sensui switched off personalities. And all of Itsuki's deranged Fauxlosophic Narration speeches, especially the one where he explains how he and Sensui met, or the one he gives when Sensui dies.
And we can't forget Toguro's power going to 120 percent.
The original doesn't have that, so Toguro's Crowning Moment is when he deflates to 0% power, before jumping immediately to 100%, which is every bit as powerful as it was made out to be.
I'm pretty sure that the original is the one with the 120%, while the line in the dub is "What I've been telling you is 100% is really more like 85."
The Spanish dub takes it Up to Eleven and he says something like "This is the 100% of the 100%!". Yeah, it was Narmy but still cool.
Yusuke punching out Toguro and causing him to be flung like a rag doll and when he finally gets up, Yusuke had fired the biggest Spirit Gun thus far at him, cue Oh Crap. Even more impressive, since he had undergone a severe No-Holds-Barred Beatdown just earlier.
If "A mulberry is a tree, and Kuwabara is a man!" ("Just as the cherry blossom is a flower among flowers, Kuwabara is a man amongst men!") and the subsequent suicide charge wasn't enough, Toguro doesn't actually kill Kuwabara. He's still smart enough to sell it, though, and gets everybody to act like he's dead in order to motivate Yusuke. And he doesn't expose the ruse until Yusuke has fallen down crying over his inability to save his True Companions. And he exposes it by jumping up and down, dancing around like a lunatic.
Botan whacking demons around with a metal baseball bat. And karate kicking one of the posessed humans as well.
Yuusuke after being possessed by Raizen in the final fight with Sensui. That's got to be the most epic pwning I've seen in shounen anime.
A bit earlier, he scared the piss out of some stuck up Spirit Police, which is directly followed by Koenma's finest moment in the dub.
"And you can tell King Daddy he can fire me, or disown me, or put me up for adoption!"
Koenma's CMOA was even earlier than that, when he confronted Sensui and delivered the ultimatum of "Stop, or I'll trap us both here for eternity." Unfortunately Sensui had already manipulated Koenma into draining his power; if he hadn't, we would have had Koenma defeating Sensui and taking full responsibility for the whole affair. The fact that his secret weapon was his pacifier was icing on the cake.
Kurama using the Janen Juu/Sinning Tree against the Elder Toguro. Hell, pretty much anything Kurama does.
From Kurama's fight with Elder Toguro, there is this:
Elder Toguro:(after impaling Kurama with his fingers) "I've done it! A fatal wound!"
Kurama: "I'm sorry. Was that supposed to hurt me?"
It's especially awesome, because the "fight" was over before it even began, and Kurama knew that. He had implanted the Sinning Tree seed into Elder Toguro when he used his rose whip to behead Gourmet, and then created a smoke screen as a catalyst for the Sinning Tree's illusion to take affect, so Elder Toguro will forever believe that he is fighting Kurama and is unable to kill him, no matter what he does.
Kurama seems to have a Crowning Moment of Awesome every single time he fights, without exception. He's just that good.
His "fight" with Kaitou also deserves a mention. Kurama's not just a Badass, he's a cleverBadass.
Kurama is so badass that he can turn making a funny face into an awesome, soul-stealing final attack.
The scene where Kuwabara willingly let a gang of ruffians kick his ass so that his friend could keep his job?
Or the time he manifested his Jigen-Tou/Dimensional Sword the first time, then carried the unconscious forms of all three of his friends, plus the kid who attacked them, back to Yuusuke's house by himself?
Let's not forget what he said when said kid asked why did he spare him. "Yeah. I could've let you die there. I almost wanted to. But I could sense it. You needed help so bad that I just couldn't leave you down there"
Let us neither forget that he later saves said kid from being shot full of projectiles. Compounded by the fact that he is the one who realizes that the kid is in danger in the first place and gets to him just in time to flying-tackle him out of the line of fire.
The defining Kuwabara Crowning Moment was the stuff he says to Tarukane after seeing how he tormented Yukina so much.
Kuwabara: "Disgraceful! And you call yourself a man?"
Another one is his fight against the Brainwashed and Crazy martial artists in the Tournament. He may have lost, but he still was willing to die to save them and break their brainwashing, and he was able to temporarily get through to them. Thank God Yuusuke and Genkai finished the job for him.
It wasn't entirely anti-climactic; Kuwabara had fallen out of the ring as he KOed Risho, and had to make his way back into the ring within the 10 count. As you expect, he did make it back, but he avoided falling to Love Makes You Dumb by doing so.
The (second) time he killed Byakko. Kuwabara has run out of platforms above the magma that he's capable of jumping to, and with Byakko's projectile coming for the one he's standing on, he's forced to try a jump toward the demon's own platform. The jump turns out to be too short, but before Kuwabara can fall into the lava, he uses his spirit sword as a pole vault to reach his opponent and deliver a flying punch that knocks them both off the platform. He survives only because his bandages get snagged in a crack in the rock.
Kuwabara: "I'm just glad I got to hit you. Now let's go to Hell together!"
Kuwabara's real CMOA is the fact that he's easily the least popular and weakest of the main four, yet he has the most crowning moments listed here.
Even Keiko gets a few, though they tend to be limited to the manga.
In one chapter, she demands that the thug who pushed her friend apologize, and then slaps him so hard he falls to the ground bleeding from the mouth when he taunts her. His friend yells at her and she says that the guy had it coming. When Kuwabara's gang (sans Kuwabara) show up and tell the girls to split while they take care of things, Keiko has to be dragged away by her two friends because the thug has still not apologized. A second moment comes almost immediately after when a third thug shows up and makes quick work of Kuwabara's gang and then kicks them while they're down for good measure. Keiko, unable to leave the guys this way, whacks the thug upside the head with her school bag and tells him to back off. Arguably as awesome is when she goes along with the thugs quietly to keep them from hurting the guys or her friends further.
Only mentioned by Botan, but Keiko's offscreen Crowning Moment was when Botan told her about the Dark Tournament, her response was to say "Take me there!" without blinking, flinching, or fainting at all. This moment is actually shown onscreen in the anime but diminished by Keiko feeling faint for a few seconds upon hearing the news.
The scene in the manga where Atsuko, Keiko, Shizuru, Yukina, and Botan are trying to get into see the tournament. The demon bouncer indicates he might be willing to let Botan and Yukina (the latter being a demon, the former... well, she's not human, so she's good) in for a fee, but the human women aren't having it. In one motion, Atsuko kicks him in the gut, Keiko socks him, and Shizuru smashes a bottle over his head. Botan, who is a Shinigami previously seen whacking demons around with a baseball bat, and Yukina, a demon with extensive powers over snow and ice, just sort of laugh nervously as they go around into stadium. What really sells it, though, is Keiko's miffed look at her knuckles, noting that she's out of practice... while Atsuko and Shizuru keep beating the crap out of the poor dude in the background. The equivalent scene in the anime, while it elevated Shizuru to levels of badass hitherto unequaled by any girl on the show, was incredibly disappointing to fans of Keiko. There, the demon bouncer kind of leans in suggestively, and Keiko gives the typical "eww, pervert!" shriek and accidentally delivers an Armor-Piercing Slap. Hear that, Studio Pierrot?
The anime seemed to be pretty determined to portray Keiko as someone who just gets in the way whenever she tries to be there for Yusuke. In the manga, she puts off seeing him at the Tournament specifically because she doesn't want to distract him, even after ordering Botan to take her into the Makai to see him (and smack him one for running off into danger without a word to her).
What'chu talking 'bout, Willis? Name one, just one, incident in the anime when Keiko and Yusuke meet face-to-face, and he isn't lying on the ground, dead, or otherwise flattened by Keiko. The man is afraid of a little bitty girl, and he's the Prince of Demons!
Can't forget Keiko running into a burning building to save Yusuke's body, can we? And her calling out everyone who was against her going in as "cowards!" Bad Ass even in the anime.
Keiko: "If you die, I swear I'll kill you. (Does spirit gun gesture) Bang."
"Do you know a plant called the mimosa? It's annual plant from South America that closes up its leaves in response to fire, physical contact, and vibrations. The mimosa of Makai are a bit more short-tempered than the normal variety."
Note that in the manga he says something slightly different, but the general effect is the same.
This troper nominates every moment Youko Kurama is on screen. He's practically a walking CMOA. Especially during the fight with Karasu.
When Yusuke steps into the ring after Kurama's defeat to Bakken, he proceeds to destroy the man's technique and then beats him around like a rag doll for what he did to Kurama.
Kuwabara vs. Risho. After having his ass handed to him due to severe injuries from his last fight, Kuwabara turns the tables and completely owns Risho with The Power of Love.
Kuwabara: "You're just a no-good cheater Risho! So get out of my ring!!"
What about when Risho does the worst thing and calls Kuwabara's feelings as "blabbering"? Kuwabara proceeds to pimp slap Risho out of the stage.
Kuwabara: "I'M NOT BLABBERING, SHE'S MY GIRLFRIEND!!"
Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei charging at Sensui after he temporarily kills Yusuke. Even Hiei, the coldest and most uncaring of the group, is enraged, and shows it by opening with his Dragon of the Darkness Flame.
Hiei: "Here's a one way ticket for you straight to hell, YOU BASTARD!!! "
Earlier, another sign of unusual emotion from Hiei (alongside Kurama) was when Kuwabara was weeping inside of Itsuki's dimension realizing that Yusuke is planning on dying. After this goes on, Hiei and Kurama finally turn to Itsuki and pull out their weapons, demanding to be let out or they'll torture him in any possible way until he releases them.
For this troper the moment that always got me was in the final fight against Yomi when Yusuke starts firing demon gun shots at Yomi who is blocking it with a shield that blocks all demonic energy. As Kurama, Hiei, and Koenma watch on commenting how foolish the action is cracks start to form in the shield as we see small sparkles of blue spirit energy in the demon energy and Yusuke's plan is finally revealed he's mixing spirit energy with demon energy to pierce Yomi's barrier. Cue shock from the most cynical and unfazeable pair of fighters in the series and from Koenma as they comment on what a brilliant move it is.
Yusuke vs. Yomi. This fight is an Offscreen Moment of Awesome in the manga and THIS one for the animators in making it one of THE best fights in the ENTIRE anime.
Koenma: "No it's not! This is something brand new!"
Personally, what really grabbed my heart about Hiei caring was how he mentioned he'd never risk his life or anyone. When Kurama fights Touya, Hiei is overtly concerned, checks to see if he can form the dragon in case he needs to jump in and help, despite this being against the rules. Also, after the fight whenever Kurama passes out and Bakken has his way with beating Kurama's unconscious body, Hiei is scolded by Ruka telling him to not even think about it. Afterward, Genkai comments he was about to release the dragon. Hiei would have definitely died if he had, but he was ready to risk his life.
During Yusuke's fight with Doctor at one point a nurse falls out of a room as Yusuke is about to kill him, Doctor grabs the nurse holding his scalpel to her throat. He then starts a Motive Rant about how humans can only be saved by death, the nurse responds to this with "Then just die already!" and throws chemicals at his face. Doctor attacks the nurse who is revealed to be Yana who copied a nurses appearance. To save his life Doctor then offers Yusuke the cure to the disease of his power as a Wounded Gazelle Gambit to save his life and an opportunity for him to kill Yusuke only for Muroda to appear having read the Doctor's mind revealing his lie.
Yusuke singlehandedly turning an impending world war into a tournament that can serve as a means for a (semi-)peaceful transfer of power. You expect Yusuke to beat people up; you don't expect him to remake political structures on a whim.
From the second movie, the battles against the Meikai Gods:
Kuwabara versus Majari: Kuwabara was fighting an enemy capable of copying all his techniques and was slightly stronger in terms of spiritual energy, so he improvised a technique that exhausted all of his energy. Majari copied that too, both were with no spiritual energy... At which point Kuwabara reveals it was Just as Planned and kills him with a couple punches. Made even more awesome because he's the only one of the heroes to defeat a Meikai God on the first battle;
Kurama versus Kuronue: for a while Kurama just takes it and tries to convince his old friend he had not tried to murder him, then realizes that this Kuronue is actually the Meikai God Shiki using his face and creates a forest of bamboo to impale him;
Hiei versus Raigo: Raigo has a powerful Jagan, and when Hiei seems to gain the upper hand in their battle he uses it to hypnotize Hiei. Hiei goes in the demon form he had never used since his battle against Yusuke and co., fires a barrage of Ensatsu Kokuryuhas at his friends... Then switches back to his normal form, declares that he was not hypnotized and hits Raigo with all the Kokuryuhas. And our other heroes weren't even singed;
Yusuke versus Yakumo: Yakumo seemed undefeatable after having extracted the Power Sphere from Botan, shrugging off all of Yusuke's attacks... Only he loses the Power Sphere for a moment, and an exhausted Yusuke decides to use it to fuel a last attack. Yakumo laughs because only he can survive its energy... Then Yusuke does just that and fires the mother of all Rei Guns at him, made more powerful and versatile by Kuwabara, Kurama and Hiei adding their remaining strength at it. Yakumo survives, albeith much weakened, and attacks Yusuke to take back his McGuffin... At which point Yusuke finishes him and destroys the Power Sphere with a final Rei Gun.
During Hiei's and Kurama's origin chapter in the manga, it showed that the two were a perfect duo from the beginning. Their teamwork against Yatsude was simply beautiful and must be read to be believed.
Yusuke's Heroic Second Wind both of them during his fights with Yomi. First, Yusuke despairing that he forgot what he's fighting for worrying that he's become like Toguro and Sensui only to be talked out of it by the spirit of Raizen who reminds him that he has Keiko. The next showing off Yusuke being cheered on by all the major characters of the series in the most awesome way possible.