Naruto‘s tale of secret Shinobi villages and super-powered ninjutsu is easily one of the most popular and influential anime of all time. That being the case, it should come as no surprise for fans that Naruto has several series that directly draw from it as inspiration.
Naruto is also a series that is very much a product of the shonen demographic of anime, and thus pulls many of its own core concepts and ideas from classic shonen series that came before it as well. As a series that is so steeped in anime culture, it only makes sense that there would be some truly great anime that have strong similarities to Naruto. In fact, by virtue of the wide array of emotions and ideas that Naruto covers, it might not even be wrong to say that all the greatest shonen series have to have something in common with the world’s most famous ninja anime by default.
10 My Hero Academia
6 Seasons, 138 Episodes
My Hero Academia serves as a clear evolution from what Naruto and the rest of the Shonen Big Three created. Its characters embody the archetypes that characters like Naruto and Sasuke did, and then take things a step forward in telling a more modernized story.
Instead of a world of ninja, My Hero Academia focuses on a world full of superheroes, but the result is still epic fight scenes and memorable characters. Their worlds may be very different, but both Deku and Naruto are heroes all the same.
9 Black Clover
4 Seasons, 170 Episodes
Asta, Black Clover‘s main protagonist, is almost a perfect representation of what Naruto would be like in a medieval of magic and sorcery. Born as a person who was an outcast and abandoned as an orphan, Asta’s dream of becoming the Wizard King is very reminiscent of Naruto’s own goal of becoming Hokage.
Even Asta’s relationship with his childhood friend and rival Yuno is not far off from Naruto’s complicated rivalry with Sasuke. Even as shonen themes and tropes are evolving with the times, Black Clover is one of the few series keeping the traditional feel of the classics like Naruto alive.
16 Seasons, 366 Episodes
Bleach is like the edgier middle child of the Big Three with Naruto and One Piece. As a result of its timing and status as a shonen battle series, Bleach shares a good amount in common with both series.
On the other hand, Bleach is a very original series whose unique emphasis on Soul Reapers and the afterlife was itself a big inspiration for the series that would come after it. While it never reached quite the same level of popularity as Naruto or One Piece, its current adaptation of The Thousand Year Blood War Arc has revitalized Bleach in getting the series the attention it deserves from more modern audiences.
7 Chainsaw Man
1 Season, 12 Episodes
Chainsaw Man prides itself in using the tropes created by classic shonen series like Naruto and then subverting or just outright parodying them with its characteristic dark sarcasm. Denji is a much different character than Naruto, but he ultimately goes through a similar struggle as an outcast to society in his early life.
Both characters learn the meaning of friendship along their journey, and both also are forced to deal with loss and grief as well. Chainsaw Man definitely has a much more bloody take on its action sequences, though Naruto was certainly no stranger to violence either.
6 One Piece
20 Seasons, 1,075 Episodes
Alongside Bleach, One Piece is constantly mentioned in the conversation with Naruto as the top three shonen manga and anime series of their era. To this day, One Piece is the best-selling manga series of all time, and its popularity has not wavered in the slightest.
While some newer fans may find it hard to get started with One Piece, that’s only due to its longevity as a series that has been ongoing for nearly 30 years and still going strong. One Piece has some great actions scenes, but what really keeps fans coming back for more is its lovable cast of characters and engrossing lore that is in many ways just as intriguing and mysterious as the Village Hidden in the Leaves.
5 Jujutsu Kaisen
2 Seasons, 37 Episodes
Jujutsu Kaisen has many aspects that make it quite similar to Naruto. In fact, its power system, while unique conceptually, even consists of a form of jutsu that requires making hand signals akin to those done by the Shinobi in Naruto.
This isn’t an accident: the creator of Jujutsu Kaisen, Gege Akutami, has specifically referenced Naruto as a major inspiration for the series. Even Yuji’s signature neck covering is a direct nod to Naruto’s own jacket. JJK definitely has its own identity and is a great series in and of itself, but fans of both series can’t help but notice where JJK is clearly inspired by Masashi Kishimoto’s opus.
4 Demon Slayer
3 Seasons, 45 Episodes
Demon Slayer is the rare kind of series that comes around once in a generation to completely raise the bar for the medium of anime. In much the same way that Naruto helped set the standard for a generation of anime fans during its run, Demon Slayer is currently taking up that mantle for the current era.
The Demon Slayer anime’s latest arc actually even took a page directly from Naruto‘s book in depicting a hidden village in a forest shut off from the world where Tanjiro goes to get a sword forged and to train as a swordsman. A series that leans as readily into shonen tropes as Demon Slayer does would be hard-pressed not to have drawn at least some inspiration from Naruto.
3 Dragon Ball Z
9 Seasons, 291 Episodes
Dragon Ball Z was a revolutionary moment for shonen anime. It defined the kind of intense action that series like Bleach and Naruto would come to copy in the future, and set up many of the tropes that those and future series would emulate.
Goku’s air-headed demeanor and obsession with eating essentially created the archetype of the shonen hero that Naruto himself would come to embody. In many ways, Naruto was a response to the paradigm that Dragon Ball created, so Naruto fans will certainly see a lot of Dragon Ball Z both in what Naruto is, and what it isn’t.
2 Hunter X Hunter
6 Seasons, 148 Episodes
One of the mangaka that Masashi Kishimoto cites the most as an inspiration for what he tried to accomplish in Naruto was none other than Hunter X Hunter’s Yoshihiro Togashi. Kishimoto was a big fan of Togashi’s first big series, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Togashi even Kishimoto personal feedback on Naruto when the series was first starting.
Being that Hunter X Hunter was being serialized around the same time as Naruto, it’s a series that’s very much of the time, and shows how shonen trends and tropes permeated these popular series as newer artists pushed the boundaries. Hunter X Hunter is a must-see series for fans of Naruto, and fans of anime in general.
1 Hell’s Paradise
1 Season, 12 Episodes
One great modern series that very clearly has a lot in common with Naruto is Hell’s Paradise. Mainly, the fact that both series’ protagonists, Naruto and Gabimaru are ninja trained as such from a young age is already enough to warrant comparison.
Even Gabimaru’s signature Ascetic Blaze jutsu is very much reminiscent of something Sasuke might use himself. Despite the similarities though, Hell’s Paradise has its own identity that has made it an iconic manga series in its own right. It’s a series that definitely pays homage to legacy of Naruto and other shonen classics, but it’s also not afraid to mercilessly tear apart everything fans think they know about Shinobi in anime.
NEXT: 10 Things Modern Shonen Anime Do Better Than The Classics