A meta one. In many Death Battle Cast episodes, Ben has always express his gratitude towards all the people who made Death Battle possible, including the Screwattack team, the research team and the animators. For the way he says it, you know that he values all his working partners.
Goku vs Superman:
Despite doing it mainly for the challenge, Goku goes after Superman because he thinks that Supes, being a powerful alien, will eventually destroy the planet; he's still defending the planet from threats during this. note After the controversy of the episode, a fan made a "rematch" where he points out that Goku and Superman probably wouldn't fight if they met and would be good friends. He claims that would make more sense given their personalities.
Superman is exposed to Kryptonite, Goku charges up an energy blast and destroys the Kryptonite. If he wants to beat Superman, he wants to do it fair and square. He also offers Superman a Senzu bean after taking one himself.
Superman attempting to resolve the battle in a non-violent manner using pressure points. It's clear he doesn't want to hurt Goku, and he wants to try and cause as little damage to Metropolis as possible.
During the post-match analysis, the music becomes Lighter and Softer as Wiz goes on to talk about how heroic both combatants are.
If you're in the part of the Dragon Ball Z club that isn't raging, this one should be extra heartwarming: The image that is being shown is Goku just before blowing up Majin Buu, having just wished for Buu to be reincarnated so that they could have a fight without putting the universe at risk. In short, by using this clip, Wiz and Boomstick once again play up Goku's 'never give up' attitude by essentially having him say, "Thanks for the fight! Once the Namekians restore the Earth and everyone on it, I'll keep training until I'm ready to face you again. Then let's have a rematch."
The episode of Side Scrollers (the ScrewAttack podcast) that aired the following week. Ben (Wiz) and Chad (Boomstick) discuss the recent Superman vs Goku and are totally a class act talking about their work on Death Battle. It's really sweet how Chad (a noted anime fan to g1's who follow other ScrewAttack content) mentions that he's a Goku fan, and how they do their best at working on an objective look at their fights. Funny enough, they even mention a fan who says it makes sense despite the result. It's just so sweet how serious they take their work, and how serious they made the fight.
The alternate ending to Shao Kahn vs M. Bison. As evil and Nightmare Fuelish enough that the both of them can be, somehow it's sort of humorously warm to see the both of them actually become allies, having fun all over the world together, and then teaming up against their arch-enemies, all of which unfortunately might not happen again for other combatants.
At the end of the 'DEATH BATTLE! Panel' at SGC 2013, Ben/Wiz, Chad/Boomstick, and Jordan Lange extend their thanks and love for their fans and also apologize for all the beloved combatants that they have killed in the series. Soon after however, Jordan adds "It's only going to get better from here."
In He-Man vs Lion-O, after He-Man destroys the Sword of Omens and delivers his final physical blow to Lion-O, despite the two trying to kill each other in various ways earlier, he leaves Lion-O severely injured, but still alive on the ground and walks away, implying he was still willing to spare the life of his Worthy Opponent.
It can be interpreted given he used a smart bomb to blow up the Righteous Indignation and choked Bucky before finishing him off that Fox was significantly pissed off from Bucky shooting down Slippy's Arwing at the start. For those who have never considered Slippy to be The Scrappy, seeing Fox go to bat to avenge a comrade of his is a bit touching.
When one remembers that almost all of the equipment the team has used over the years, including the ones used in this very fight, from the Arwing to the Reflector and Blaster, were all of Slippy Toad's genius creations, it only multiplies the heartwarming potential. Fox and Slippy have been friends since childhood; it's almost as if Slippy was, in spirit, fighting alongside Fox in every fight he's been in. It's played even more literally with "in spirit" when Fox is avenging him while fighting Bucky.
It's humorously heartwarming to see Fox taking his old friend and co-pilot's amputated legs and Arwing after the fight is over.
Vegeta and Mewtwo team up to destroy Silvermania and go out for a beer together.
Kind of a fridge moment, but it's one for the hosts since they never wrote Superman or He-Man as actively trying to kill their opponents. Superman was trying to make Goku surrender until there was just too much power being thrown around. Even when the Eye of Thundera attacked him, He-Man only destroyed it out of self-defense and had no way of knowing doing so would kill Lion-O.
While many could consider it a break of Death Battle's rules, Knuckle Joe seems almost willing to give up his life to help Kirby defeat Buu. Granted, it could be considered as just a way for Kirby to use the Fighter ability, but Kirby could have also called upon the powers of any of the other enemies he's consumed that give him the fighter powers as he did to use the Hypernova Powers. R.I.P. little guy.
The fact that Kirby actually beat Buu can be rather heartwarming, really. Morally-ambiguous mass murdering aside, Kirby is more or less a young and cheery Kid Hero who always does his best to save the world from any threat. Buu clearly pushed him more than most villains have, going so far as to break his spirit. And yet, despite all the physical and emotional trauma, Kirby still managed to (just barely) defeat Buu and prevent his home from being destroyed.
Boba vs Samus Remastered was a big tribute to Monty Oum, whom Ben says inspired the show in the first place, including some of Monty's concepts from Haloid like using Samus's whip as a blade, shedding her power armor in the fight, and an animated dance-off between Samus and Boba in the post episode stinger. Also including a quote from Monty and a tribute to his work. note Unfortunately, the audio for the song used had to be edited out due to copyright issues.
FridgeHeartwarming for many a Metroid fan, when talking about the infamous "Hell Run" from ''Other M'', Wiz speaks of the permission part with disdain and Boomstick outright doesn't want to talk about it. Even though he perved on Samus earlier, Boomstick still respects Samus so much that he wants to ignore one of the lowest points in her game's history.
Chuck and Segata:
They focused purely on who the character of Chuck is in myth, and not the real person. The fact that they wanted to focus on Death of the Author was a nice touch.
They also made a point of showing the evidence which proves that Segata Sanshiro survived his Heroic Sacrifice to protect the Dreamcast, giving props to obscure and popular Sega games in the process.
What happens during the battle's endgame? A nostalgic Call Back to previous Death Battles, and what may be one cleverly-hinted Author's Saving Throw: could we have seen the promise of Goku having a re-match with Superman?
It was ultimately concluded that both Chuck Norris and Segata Sanshiro are so badass that one isn't superior to the other. This is especially heartwarming when you consider that few Westerners are likely to have heard of Segata; yet Death Battle treated him with equal respect to Chuck.
Goku vs. Superman 2:
Because this is a rematch, the introductory discussion isn't about Superman and Goku's powers, but rather the motivations of Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, and Akira Toriyama in making Superman and Goku. It's a very respectful tribute to the creators of two of the most well known characters in all of fiction.
Superman shows a lot more respect for Goku this time around, compared to his dismissive attitude in the first fight. In their first encounter, Superman treated Goku like some brash, cocky maniac: his usual fare. Now, he understands that Goku is earnest and well-meaning...but Goku is also, as Superman says at one point, "too strong for his own good". Case in point, he had to wish back the Earth with the space-drifting Dragonballs once already. He's aiming to take him down purely out of a perceived necessity, this time. This extends even to the end as, before killing Goku, Superman utters a very heartfelt "I'm sorry" and refuses to let Goku's body fall to the ground.
Also worth noting is that this is the least brutal death in the history of the show. Sure, death by instant surgical lobotomy isn't a pleasant thought, but it was apparently quick, painless, relatively non-violent, and it preserves Goku's body out of respect. And that's on top of the Apologetic Attacker and Cradling Your Kill. Gotta give 'em credit for handling it the way they did.
To capitalize on this even further, one of the things he says during the fight is "I felt that" when Goku hits him, making it clear Goku's clearly doing some level of damage.
After the fight, Goku realizes in the afterlife while talking with King Kai that being strong enough to beat Superman wouldn't be satisfying for him anyway, because there would be nothing left for him to strive for. The post-battle analysis also goes over the positive reasons about why these characters are loved by millions of people and are shining examples of heroism, bravery, and the ability to overcome any challenge.
If Goku was revived by the Dragon Balls, it's possible that all the other Death Battle losers have been revived too.
A more meta example. Even with Goku's defeat, DBZ fans were more respectful this time. They understood why Supes ultimately triumphed over Goku, even if it wasn't the desired outcome for them. They were willing to listen, a compete farcry from their previous attitude.
Raiden's got a rather infamous reputation as The Scrappy to many who've played the Metal Gear franchise. Despite this, the Death Battle team didn't really mock Raiden much, focusing more on his fan-favorite improved depiction as a Cyborg Ninja in Guns of the Patriots and Rising: Revengeance. They pointed out all of his achievements, and took the time to explain, in detail, how Raiden ended up the winner. In addition, the team lists Raiden "surviving Sons of Liberty'smindfucking story" as one of his feats.
For those who feel that Death Battle is biased in the favor of American-created media (as shown by the fan outcry over Goku vs Superman), Raiden, a controversial character to many, was given a justifiable win against the popular Wolverine—and after a pitched, even battle which really could have gone either way. Still think the Death Battle team is biased?
Hercule Satan vs Dan Hibiki: Wiz ordering Boomstick to show some respect when Boomstick makes light of the fact Hercule's wife/Videl's mother Miguel died.
After Wiz brings up Aerith's death in "Yang vs. Tifa", Boomstick (with a noticeable sniffle), rebukes him for bringing it up.
During the Yang vs. Tifa live post-show, Chad read a tweet to Death Battle saying that Monty Oum (who was a huge inspiration to Torrian) would be really happy with the fight. Right after that, Chad thanked Torrian for his hard work while Barbara and Tia gave him a round of applause.
It's subtle, but in the post-fight animation for Mega Man vs. Astro Boy, Mega Man's head is still completely intact and functional, much like Astro Boy's was before he pulled himself back together. With that in mind, it's highly likely that Rock can be rebuilt with his consciousness still intact despite the destruction of his body, which fulfills the requirements of a Death Battle—much like Starscream's defeat to Rainbow Dash— and means that the Blue Bomber receives one of the most gentle send-offs anyone who loses a Death Battle could ever hope to get.
By extension, how Astro Boy was willing to spare Mega Man's still-functioning head after doing what was necessary to defeat him, evidently recognising him as both a fellow robot and Worthy Opponent. It gets better when as he returns Mega Man's head and other assorted parts to Rush and Doctor Light so that he can be repaired, Astro takes a shine to the robot dog and is seen petting him with a big smile on his face.
Both Pokemon and Digimon run on The Power of Friendship with both Red and Charizard and Tai and Agumon growing more powerful as their bond grew stronger. The fact that Wiz and Boomstick, of all people, really stress this shows just how strongly friendship is synonymous with both series.
While Tai punching Red in the face and kicking him in the shin is both awesome and hilarious, it's what he said beforehand that makes it heartwarming.
Tai: Stop hurting my friend!
When Charizard falls on Red and breaks his legs, Red simply says, "Charizard, are you okay?" instead of reacting to his own injury. His relationship with Charizard may be different from Tai's bond with Agumon, but there's absolutely no doubt that he loves Charizard.
One of the original ideas for the ending easily crosses further into Tear Jerker, but it further shows just how much Red loves Charizard. Red hugs Charizard while Wargreymon charges Terra Force, saying "I'm sorry" before sharing his Pokemon's fate.
The reason why Pokémon VS Digimon was the season 2 finale? The show's 3D animator, Torrian, was working himself to exhaustion so Ben and Chad ended the season to give him a break.
In Ratchet & Clank VS Jak & Daxter, the losers both die at the same time, rather than separately, so one friend doesn't have to grieve over losing the other. And since Jak and Daxter were frozen solid and then instantly shattered, it's unlikely they were even conscious when they met their mutual end.
The friendship both duos have with each other is in full show:
When Jak launches Ratchet into the air, Clank activates his jetpack form and flies towards Ratchet to save him.
Daxter rides on one of Ratchet's missiles and redirects it to save Dark Jak.
The final shot before the death blow: Ratchet and Clank give a quick glance and nod to each other before fighting Light Jak, with Daxter on his shoulder.
Maxoffewtrades, one of their researchers, played a large role in helping them research the outcome. So it's very nice to see that they used his personal favourite weapon, the Liquid Nitrogen gun, for the killing blow.
Flash Vs Quicksilver
The Flash saving Lilly Kane from falling to her death after the fight ends, especially since Quicksilver's fate in this fight was accidental. Likewise, the tone of his Bond One-Liner afterward even had some shades of considering Quicksilver to be a Worthy Opponent despite the evident power difference—
Even when Mewtwo wiped out all of his memories, Shadow still remembers the name of his closest friend: Maria.
Carolina vs Meta:
Carolina and Church's interactions. They act like siblings, bickering a little about movies. Even Church's panicked reactions are heartwarming, since they are all in concern for her. Made even better when that bond is the deciding factor of their victory.
Tracer vs Scout:
During Tracer's rundown, Boomstick is genuinely saddened when Mondatta's death is brought up.
Boomstick: Rest in peace, robot Gandhi.
While it's clearly meant as a joke about Scout's Casanova Wannabe tendencies, he genuinely compliments Tracer at the start and offers to let her go without a fight if she gives back the briefcase, inviting her to come around some other time. It's not often the participants of a battle aren't hostile toward each other from the very beginning.
Since respawning is a canon thing in Team Fortress 2, we got the best possible outcome of this fight: Scout's dead now, but he won't remain that way for too long.
Hulk vs Doomsday:
The hosts mention in Hulk's rundown that despite his uncontrollable rage, Bruce Banner succeeded in doing good with his powers by joining the Avengers, Defenders, and more, and saved the world on multiple occasions. It's a nice contrast to his opponent.
While talking about Doomsday's origin, even our resident Mad Scientist Wiz seems disgusted at his creator's actions.
Hulk was impressed with Doomsday's smashing ability enough to compliment him on it.
Zoro vs Erza:
Both fighters declare their undying loyalty and devotion to their friends, before continuing their fight.
It's small, but it's clear Erza takes no pleasure in this fight and would rather that Zoro just surrender peacefully. When she thinks she's killed him though not really, she even muses on What a Senseless Waste of Human Life the fight turned into. It's very in-character to how she would have treated the fight in Fairy Tail canon.
The outcome of the fight: Pinkie and Deadpool's combined ability to break the fourth wall allows them to break the rules of Death Battle itself. Deadpool and Pinkie become friends over their shared fourth wall awareness and Pinkie introducing Deadpool to cherrychangas, resulting in the two deciding 'screw it' and going out to have fun. This ends with the two breaking into the real world to confront the hosts...then Pinkie realizing it's Deadpool's birthday and throwing him a party. That's right: a Death Battle ended with a Friendship rather than a Fatality.