The Best Anime Like Bleach

The Best Anime Like Bleach

Despite its overwhelming impact on the battle shonen genre, the Bleach manga and anime series have been considered very divisive. At one point, the series used to be incredibly popular — between 2001 and 2016, the manga sold over 120 million copies. However, Tite Kubo brought his spiritual samurai story to an abrupt end, leaving countless narrative threads untied.

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Although viewers were more upset about the anime’s cancelation right before the Thousand-Year Blood War arc, the fandom was delighted to hear that Bleach’s final saga was finally getting its much-deserved adaptation. Thankfully, there are numerous similar shows for fans of Bleach to sink their metaphorical fangs into.

Updated on May 5th, 2023 by Ajay Aravind: Although a shonen powerhouse, Tite Kubo’s Bleach can hardly be described as one-of-a-kind. On the contrary, there are several anime series with similar core concepts, themes, backstories, and even fight sequences. Some of them may not be as high-octane as Bleach, but every single one of them deserves a watch. As such, we’ve revamped this old list with some more relevant information for anime fans in 2023.



15 Naruto

5 Seasons, 220 Episodes

Naruto might sound like the obvious choice, but that’s exactly why it’s worth a watch. There was once a time when Bleach stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of DBZ, One Piece, and Naruto — in terms of both sales and popularity. In fact, Tite Kubo even drew pictures of Naruto and Orochimaru back when he and Masaaki Kishimoto had a friendly rivalry.

Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden are great candidates for Bleach fans, largely because these two anime revolve around similar concepts. There’s tons of fighting, incredible worldbuilding, and a vast array of characters, both adorable and despicable. Fans might even want to continue the story with Boruto.

14 Inuyasha

8 Seasons, 193 Episodes

Inuyasha is an anime that’s probably older than many new anime fans. However, that doesn’t make it any less impressive. This series follows the titular character and his close circle of friends as they travel around a demon-infested version of Sengoku Era Japan.

For the most part, Inuyasha is remembered fondly for its lovable cast of characters and awesome action sequences, at least until Inuyasha learns his Wind Scar technique and starts spamming harder than Ichigo abuses his Getsuga Tensho. In a lot of ways, Inuyasha is a precursor to Bleach, so it’s definitely worth a watch on that merit alone.

13 Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings

2 Seasons, 24 Episodes

This is an anime that takes a more direct approach towards adapting Sengoku Era Japan — to a fault, that is. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings is based on a series of action games made by Capcom in the mid-2000s. Much like Inuyasha and Bleach, Samurai Kings features a cavalcade of crazy fight scenes and a massive cast of characters.

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However, Samurai Kings differs by featuring semi-fictionalized versions of real-life samurai, shoguns, and ninja. Oda Nobunaga, Date Masamune, and Sanada Yukimura were all real people who became legends during Japan’s “Warring States” Period. That said, Samurai Kings isn’t the only anime to portray real-world individuals.

1 Season, 13 Episodes

Ninja Scroll is an OVA from the early 1990s. Several major Japanese animation studios teamed up to work on the project, including the likes of Studio Madhouse and Animate Film. Yoshiaki Kawajiri, of Wicked City and Vampire Hunter D fame, wrote and directed this series, explaining why it’s so violent, graphic, and erotic.

Ninja Scroll: The Series follows in the footsteps of its OVA predecessor — it’s like Bleach, but much gorier and perverted. Although this anime program is far from terrible, Ninja Scroll: The Series is probably the most NSFW entry in this article.

11 Samurai 7

1 Season, 26 Episodes

Back in 1954, the legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa directed an iconic movie titled Seven Samurai. The film received widespread critical acclaim by striking a chord with a nation that had recently been ravaged during World War 2. Seven Samurai became such a popular film that Hollywood even created The Magnificent Seven, a film that’s essentially a Westernized remake.

Samurai 7 is yet another work of art that’s based on Akira Kurosawa’s film. However, the anime features a futuristic setting and a number of changes to the original story over its 26-episode long run. Samurai 7 is funny, action-packed, and ultimately heartbreaking: everything that Bleach was in its heyday.

10 Soul Eater

1 Season, 51 Episodes

Soul Eater is very similar to Bleach. However, this works to the show’s detriment as well as its benefit. Soul Eater has great fight scenes, a fascinatingly complex world, and a roster of endearing, relatable characters. The problem, however, is that Soul Eaters concludes on a disappointing note, not unlike the Bleach manga.

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In fact, the ending was so dissatisfying that Soul Eater fans immediately began pushing for a remake of the anime. All things considered, from the voice acting to the art design and everything in between, Soul Eater is most certainly worth a watch.

9 Shaman King

1 Season, 64 Episodes

Shaman King is a prime example of a short-but-sweet series. Although mega franchises like Naruto and One Piece have hundreds of volumes, Shaman King only has 32. While anime like Dragon Ball Z and Case Closed have been around since the 1980s, Shaman King ran from 1998 to 2004.

Despite its short length, Shaman King is an awesome anime series. The show follows Yoh Asakura, a young man who can talk to spirits and enters a tournament called the Shaman Fight. If Yoh can defeat all his foes, then he can commune with the Great Spirit and wish for anything in the world. Shaman King has just as many fights and laughs as Bleach or any other Shonen anime.

8 Yu Yu Hakusho

4 Seasons, 112 Episodes

Yu Yu Hakusho is a classic anime series from the early 1990s. It follows Yusuke Urameshi, a teenage troublemaker who sacrifices his life to save a little kid. This act of kindness earns Yusuke an audience with the proxy ruler of the Spirit World, Koenma.

Yusuke proves himself to Koenma and earns a job as a Spirit Detective. From there, the hero encounters many friends and foes along his journey. This show has tons of great characters and story arcs. In particular, the Dark Tournament Saga gets a lot of praise for its gripping writing and nail-biting fights.

7 Samurai Champloo

1 Season, 26 Episodes


Samurai Champloo may not be a Shonen series, but Bleach fans are going to love it. Unlike Shaman King and Yu Yu Hakusho, Samurai Champloo wasn’t exactly created with an adolescent male audience in mind. On the contrary, this anime show is rather raunchy and delves into heavy subject matter in nearly every episode.

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Thankfully, Champloo’s morbid moments are balanced out with knee-slapping comedy. For every episode that critically examines Edo Period Japan, there are episodes like #23 — in which the Champloo crew plays baseball. Shinichiro Watanabe, also known for Cowboy Bebop, is the man behind this Hip Hopping samurai show.

6 Blue Exorcist

2 Seasons, 37 Episodes

Blue Exorcist is relatively new compared to Bleach, having been first written and illustrated by Kazue Kato in 2009. Since then, he’s worked on this series at a fairly consistent rate. Anyone hesitant to jump into a new show should genuinely consider Blue Exorcist. If you’re hesitant to jump into a new show, consider giving Blue Exorcist a try.

Similar to Bleach, this show centers around a group of warriors who hunt spirits for a living. Rin and Yukio Okumura are the stars of Blue Exorcist — twin brothers with an uncanny knack for taking down demons. Blue Exorcist is a fun Shonen series that’s only getting better with each new manga installment.

5 D.Gray-Man

5 Seasons, 116 Episodes


D. Gray-man is an admittedly creepy premise, but any Shonen anime fan would love this show. Much like Blue Exorcist and Bleach, D. Gray-man follows young protagonists who battle unclean spirits for a living. What sets this show apart from its contemporaries, however, is its freakiness factor.

D. Gray-man ramps up its horror elements in a number of ways — for most of the series, Allen Walker wages war with a demonic left arm. Furthermore, this weapon is actually a parasite that replaced Allen’s original appendage years ago. The show’s main villain, Millennium Earl, is just as cryptic and devilishly clever as Bleach‘s Aizen.

4 Afro Samurai

1 Season, 5 Episodes

Afro Samurai is arguably one of the goriest, bleakest, and most vulgar shows out there. This anime has it all: sex, drugs, violence, and Samuel L. Jackson swearing up a storm. Fans who prefer a wholesome anime that can be watched with the entire family should unquestionably avoid Afro Samurai.

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On the other hand, anyone seeking a show with white-knuckled action set pieces, a unique art style, and a great soundtrack will enjoy this anime. Afro Samurai is an extremely short series — the manga has only two volumes and the anime contains just five episodes.

3 Rurouni Kenshin

3 Seasons, 95 Episodes

Those searching for an anime that’s a bit more grounded can’t go wrong with Rurouni Kenshin. Nobuhiro Watsuki created this series back in 1994 and worked on it until 1999. Similarly to Samurai Champloo, Rurouni Kenshin is partially based on the real world. To be more accurate, this series is set after the Meiji Restoration in the mid-19th century.

Samurai were barred from practicing their traditions during the Meiji period. Himura Kenshin is a retired warrior who wants to leave his old life behind, having realized that helping other people is far more important. When he’s forced to fight, he uses a non-lethal sword with a reversed blade. Rurouni Kenshin has tons of heart and a romantic story to complement its great fights.

2 Gintama

10 Seasons, 201 Episodes

Far too many Shonen anime series prioritize action first and comedy second. Conversely, Gintama makes comedy its first, second, third, fourth, and fifth priority. This show is set in an alternate version of the Edo period, where a race of aliens invaded, conquered, and transformed Japan into a modern quasi-paradise.

Gintoki Sakata used to be a samurai rebel, but retired after the invasion and started working as a sword for hire. Bleach definitely has its funny moments, but it’s overall a serious show. Gintama works in the opposite fashion: most episodes are goofy and lighthearted, while only a few are dramatic and austere.

1 Dragon Ball Z

7 Seasons, 167 Episodes

Dragon Ball Z didn’t just inspire Bleach, it paved the way for Naruto, One Piece, and My Hero Academia. Mangaka like Tite Kubo and Masashi Kishimoto are hardcore Dragon Ball fans. The sequel series DBZ earns a special mention for popularizing many tropes that are now common in Shonen anime.

Dragon Ball Z pioneered the concept of going Super Saiyan, something that inspired the numerous forms Ichigo takes on in Bleach. DBZ also rose the bar for action anime as a whole. The most devoted Shonen anime fans have probably devoured the Dragon Ball franchise already — anyone who hasn’t should leap on the bandwagon.

NEXT: 10 Best Bankai In Bleach


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