For a lot of young anime fans that grew up in the early 2000s, Naruto was the second coming of Dragon Ball Z. Just as the latter cemented itself as the most popular action anime series of the ’90s, Naruto positioned itself as an exciting new evolution of the genre. The story of a young ninja outcast that possessed the powerful spirit of a demon fox is captivating in its own right, but the imaginative ninja world that Naruto lived in is what sold the series to fans.
It’s no wonder that even after Naruto: Shippuden came to an end in 2014, it continues to live on in new movies, games, and TV series (Boruto: Naruto Next Generations). However, Naruto’s legacy doesn’t just include his impact on the Hidden Leaf Village — it also extends to the countless anime series that it resonates with. For fans struggling to find a new series post-Naruto, these titles are a great place to start.
Updated on January 19, 2022, by Kennedy King: With Boruto‘s Code arc finally on the horizon, Naruto and his allies continue to prove that their popularity stands the test of time. While nothing will ever replace the No.1 Hyperactive, Knucklehead Ninja, there are plenty of other series that should appeal to longtime fans of the franchise — many of which have been released since Naruto‘s debut.
15 Dragon Ball
While plenty of anime franchises have left their mark on the medium, none exerted more influence than Akira Toriyama’s legendary series, Dragon Ball. The iconic coming-of-age story centers around Son Goku, a kind-hearted child on a journey to become the world’s greatest martial artist.
Similar to the original Naruto series, Dragon Ball follows its protagonist as he advances through his youth/young adulthood. While Dragon Ball Z is the series that thrust Goku into the international spotlight, his humble beginnings are the perfect place to start.
14 Cells At Work!!
Cells at Work!! revolves around a pair of unique characters: Erythrocyte and Neutrophil, two blood cells attempting to protect the human body in which they reside. In order to accomplish this goal, they must navigate a variety of pathogens, viruses, and other characters that threaten the safety of their host body.
Although Cells at Work‘s setting is much different than the shinobi-dominated world of Naruto, the two share a similar jovial tone. Add in the former’s fun fight scenes, and it’s the perfect title for fans in search of a light-hearted adventure.
13 Eureka Seven
Whereas Naruto revolves around a boy possessed by the spirit of the Nine-Tails Fox, Eureka Seven features a teenage boy who gains the ability to control mechas. When the series starts, Reston Thurston laments about his boring life. As if on cue, the pilot known as Eureka crashes her mecha into Reston’s room.
Like Naruto, Reston grows more sure of himself and his abilities through the series’ run. While the two protagonists’ mechanisms of power may be different, their respective character arcs bear plenty of similarities.
12 Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is the clear choice for any fans looking to extend their Naruto experience. The sequel features the adventures of Naruto’s son, Boruto, as well as tons of other shinobi seen throughout the franchise.
After beginning with a quick glimpse into Boruto’s future, the series dials back to the talented shinobi’s time as an aspiring genin. Thanks to appearances from almost all of Naruto‘s fan favorites, Boruto does a solid job of drawing on its parent series for inspiration.
11 Dr. Stone
In comparison to most shonen series, Dr. Stone is a bit of an anomaly. Although the series takes place in an apocalyptic future, it draws heavily on real life for inspiration, frequently using scientific and historical facts to inform its viewers about particular topics.
Dr. Stone‘s main character, Senku Ishigami, was a 15-year-old genius when most of the world’s population was petrified, and it is up to him and a few others to return civilization to its former glory. While the show’s setting is much different than that of Naruto, the team-building and comedic tone shared by both should entice potential fans of the latter.
10 One Piece
As one of the three pillars of the Shonen Jump lineup, One Piece is an unavoidable recommendation for fans of Naruto. Instead of magical ninjas, the fantastical world of One Piece is inhabited by pirates, revolutionaries, and marines that are enhanced by the powers of Devil Fruit.
Monkey D. Luffy, a rubber-man that can stretch his body at will, is on a quest to become the King of the Pirates. His character arc is strongly reminiscent of Naruto’s, as is the positive influence that he exerts on almost every character that he meets.
9 My Hero Academia
In the eyes of many anime viewers, My Hero Academia is considered the spiritual successor to the Naruto franchise. In contrast to the rumbustious Naruto Uzumaki, My Hero Academia‘s Izuku Midoriya is a timid young boy who always wanted to become a superhero.
Unfortunately for Midoriya, he’s among the minority of people who were born without superpowers. However, this all changes when a fateful encounter with his childhood icon, All Might, starts Deku down the path to becoming the world’s number one hero.
Similar to Naruto and One Piece, Bleach was considered one of the top Shonen Jump series of its time. While the former series took place in fantastical yet periodic worlds, Bleach is set in modern-day Japan, where 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki must defend the real world from the spiritual world.
To save the lives of his young sisters from a demonic monster known as a Hollow, Ichigo inherits the incredible powers of a defeated Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki. After taking over the role of Soul Reaper from Rukia, Ichigo and his fellow high school friends soon find themselves entangled in a dangerous political plot involving the hierarchy of the Soul Society.
7 Hunter X Hunter
Hunter x Hunter shares many similarities with Naruto. Just as the ninja profession was idolized and commercialized in Naruto, the hunter profession in Hunter x Hunter is seen as a dangerous yet respected gig.
Gon Freecss shares Naruto Uzumaki’s isolated background, having also grown up without a father in his life. Coincidentally, both characters’ fathers are among the most powerful individuals to ever live in their respective universes. However, while Naruto was rowdy and rude during his youth, Gon is more cheerful and optimistic during his quest to find his lost father.
6 Dragon Ball Z
Moreso than almost any other series, Dragon Ball Z and Naruto are cut from the same cloth. Both iconic shonen redefined the action genre of their era, while Dragon Ball Z laid most of the groundwork that Naruto and other anime series would build upon for years to come.
The sci-fi stories of Dragon Ball Z allow for Son Goku and the Z Fighters to engage in larger-than-life battles with intergalactic foes, squaring off against alien invaders who desperately wish to destroy. Given the fact that Dragon Ball Super continues to release more material, there is plenty of incentive to watch its prequel series.
For those in search of an anime series even more dramatic and daring than Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the way to go. Edward and Alphonse Elric are two brothers who performed forbidden alchemy in a failed attempt to resurrect their dead mother, and they paid dearly for it.
Ed lost his left leg and right arm, while his brother, Al, had his soul infused into a suit of armor after losing his human body. Now operating as State Alchemists, the Elric brothers are on a search for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone, which may hold the key to returning their damaged bodies to their original state.
4 Yu Yu Hakusho
Much like Naruto in his self-titled series, Yu Yu Hakusho‘s 14-year-old Yusuke Urameshi was a loudmouth delinquent until one fateful day changed his life forever. After unexpectedly sacrificing himself to save the life of a young boy, Yusuke was given another chance at life by the infant ruler of the Spirit World.
Yusuke was reborn as a Spirit Detective, now in charge of solving supernatural mysteries and taking on demonic foes with the help of the bubbly grim reaper, Botan, and his friend/rival, Kazuma Kuwabara. As one of the most influential anime series of the 1990s, Yu Yu Hakusho helped lay the foundation for the modern shonen genre.
Inuyasha follows a 15-year-old girl named Kagome Higurashi, who is transported from modern-day Japan to the Sengoku period by a ferocious demon. To save her life, Kagome resurrects a powerful half-demon named Inuyasha to defeat the monster that’s after her.
Amid the chaos, the Shikon Jewel is shattered in pieces and scattered across the land, leaving Kagome and Inuyasha to retrieve its fractured parts. For those that enjoyed the shinobi atmosphere of Naruto, Inuyasha‘s historical Japanese setting will be an absolute treat.
2 Fairy Tail
As one of the most stereotypical shonen of the modern generation, Fairy Tail bears clear similarities to Naruto. Set in the fantasy land of Fiore, Fairy Tail follows a powerful fire mage named Natsu Dragneel as he searches for his adoptive father, the dragon Igneel.
Natsu eventually befriends a novice celestial mage named Lucy Heartfilia, and the two — along with Natsu’s feline partner, Happy — go on exciting adventures together as part of the Fairy Tail guild. The series’ ensemble cast, as well as its ability-driven combat, all create clear parallels with Naruto and other shonen titles.
1 Soul Eater
Like Naruto, Soul Eater is an anime series about a cast of powerful youths learning to control their quickly-developing powers. However, what makes Soul Eater different is its supernatural setting and stylized designs that make the ghoulish world of Death City look like an anime rendition of The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The series revolves around Maka Albarn, an intellectual soul-reaper-in-training, and her living weapon, Soul Eater Evans — a punk teen that can transform into a Demon Scythe. The two work together to consume 99 evil beings and one witch’s soul, encountering a host of unique characters along the way.
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