When it comes to the most celebrated anime series of all time, it’s hard to top Naruto, the mega-popular adaptation of Masashi Kishimoto’s manga series. The Shonen epic follows the young adolescent orphan Naruto Uzumaki’s perilous evolution as a novice ninja who becomes his village’s Hokage, overcoming a slew of obstacles, enemies, betrayals, and many other harrowing encounters on his epic hero’s journey.
Naruto joins a rich tradition of Shonen anime set in the past that centers on brash young heroes out to prove themselves by relying on close friends and allies, engaging in intense ninja fighting, and taking on a slew of supernatural enemies.
Boruto: The Next Generations – Stream On Hulu
Also created by Kishimoto, Boruto: The Next Generations is the TV continuation of Boruto: Naruto the Movie. With 250 episodes and counting, the 2017 series traces the heroic exploits of Naruto’s son, Boruto Uzumaki, as he follows in his father’s path and bolsters his ninja skills by going on a series of dangerous journeys with his friends.
The direct umbilical link to Naruto speaks for itself and should be appointment viewing for fans who want to continue the Uzumaki legacy after completing more than 700 episodes of Naruto. While set in the more modern Konoha village, the blend of old traditions and new ones provides a fascinating insight into the differences between the kindred ninja heroes.
Bleach – Stream On Hulu
Adapted from the Tite Kubo manga, Bleach overlapped with Naruto during the 2000s to become massively popular TV rivals. Whereas Naruto wants to hone his ninja skills to become the Hokage of Hidden Leaf Village, Bleach follows the equally mischievous Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenager gifted with the ability to see ghosts and uses his power to deliver the world from the evil Hollows.
With 370 episodes released between 2004 and 2012, Bleach is one of the most comprehensive Shonen anime series that, thanks to its awesome battle sequences, compelling teenage lead, and profound themes of self-discovery, is bound to appeal to Naruto fans. Both shows do a great job of making audiences identify with the lead and feel their sense of angst in avenging loved ones.
Hunter X Hunter – Stream On Peacock
Ardent anime fans know full well how entertaining Hunter x Hunter continues to be. The story tracks Gon Freecs, a young boy abandoned by his father, who comes of age and discovers his family’s hidden past and vows to become the greatest hunter in the land. Swap out ninja fighting for hunting and add the same number of heartfelt friendships, and the show is very similar to Naruto.
While Naruto can be curt and hurtful at times, Gon comports himself with a more chipper attitude. Still, both young orphans do their best to do right by their name and honor their families by becoming the best killers in their respective classes. Both shows run 24-minutes per episode, reinforcing their breezy and binge-able sitcom structure.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Stream On Hulu
While the original Fullmetal Alchemist series is currently unavailable to stream, fans of Naruto ought to check out Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood instead. The series centers on Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers out to resurrect their fallen mother by using alchemy to craft a cure. When the plan fails, they must fuse their bodies and continue to search for the Philosopher’s Stone.
A deeply enriching tale of survival, brotherhood, resilience, and overcoming the loss of family members to find one’s heroic place in the world, Fullmetal Alchemist and Naruto both depict the meaning of sacrifice better than few other anime.
Yu Yu Hakusho – Stream On Tubi
Predating Naruto by a decade, Yu Yu Hakusho is an awesome demon anime series that appears to be a major influence on Kishimoto’s most famous anime. Yusuke Urameshi is a 14-year-old boy who accidentally dies after rescuing a child away from traffic. After being given a second chance to live as a Spirit Detective, Yusuke is assigned to solve supernatural crimes.
Using his trusty Spirit Gun, Yusuke gets into all sorts of adolescent hijinks with his mates, just as Naruto often does. Moreover, both Naruto and Yusuke are 14 when they begin their respective arcs, with both showing rude behavior throughout the show that somehow makes them more endearing when they do act heroically and save the day.
One Piece – Stream On Netflix
Arguably the greatest Shonen Jump anime of all time, it’s hard not to immediately think of One Piece any time Naruto comes up. The notorious teenage Monkey D. Luffy shares many characteristics with the equally-famous Naruto, using immense fighting skills and magical Devil Fruit to become the mightiest pirate in the land and obtain the hidden One Piece treasure. Both teenagers are brash, cocky, and require serious humility before growing into their heroic own.
While treacherous pirates replace skilled ninjas, the satisfying mythology of the hero’s journey resonates in both One Piece and Naruto, putting the massive weight of the world on the young shoulders of the teens like the best Shonen anime found families do. With over 1,000 episodes to boot, One Piece is one of the only anime longer than Naruto.
Soul Eater – Stream On Hulu
Set in a Shinigami school for the afterlife in a world called Death City, Soul Eater is another excellent anime about wayward youths finding their own path to empowerment. The dark humor, riveting action sequences, and stellar artwork are alone worth recommending to Naruto fans, but it’s the profound sense of friendship that truly stands out.
Soul Eater follows Maka Albarn, a brilliant trainee who partners with a Soul Eater named Evans in order to reach the top of their class by collecting the souls of 99 evil humans and a single witch. Inventive, irreverent, and genuinely captivating, Soul Eater and Naruto are simpatico indeed.
Inuyasha – Stream On Netflix
Fusing samurai lore with supernatural demon hunting, Inuyasha makes for a terrific companion piece with Naruto. Set in feudal Japan, Kagome is a teenage girl tasked with retrieving shards from the mystical Shikon Jewel of the Four Souls in order to save her half-demon friend, Inuyasha. Wildly imaginative, ahead of its time, and full of scintillating fight scenes, Inuyasha hits all the right anime notes, especially in the romantic Shonen storylines.
Aside from another alienated teenage lead to root for wholeheartedly, the way Kagome and Inuyasha constantly rescue each other in order to stay alive themselves is a great device to build on their kinship over time. The way both Inuyasha and Naruto explore ancient Japan as it relates to the modern world is second to none.
My Hero Academia – Stream On Hulu
Clearly inspired by Naruto, My Hero Academia revolves around Izuku Midoriya, a powerless yet superhero-obsessed 14-year-old boy who enrolls in a fancy superhero school to learn how to become the world’s greatest crimefighter. When the school becomes much tougher than he imagined, Izuku must mature, stick to his moral sense of right and wrong, and climb the heroic ranks by finding his own inner power.
With hilarious misadventures, dazzling animation that is drawn in the style of Naruto, and another aimless young soul to feel for along the way, My Hero Academia reinforces what it means to come of age, bear responsibility, pursue justice, and find the confidence to be one’s self no matter the consequences.
Dragon Ball Z – Stream On Crunchyroll
Presaging every other aforementioned anime, Naruto and all the best shows like it owe a debt of gratitude to Dragon Ball Z, arguably the most beloved anime series of all time. With over 275 episodes released from 1989 to 2003, the long-running half-hour action-adventure anime laid the foundational groundwork in terms of visual aesthetics, characterizations, humor, and of course, riveting Japanese fighting styles.
Aside from the similar themes and storylines, it’s interesting to note how both Naruto and Dragon Ball‘s Goku both have two children, including sons that look identical to them. The similarities are so striking that many anime fans have wondered for years if Goku and Naruto are related, if not the exact same person. Either way, for serious anime fans, it would be downright blasphemy to omit Dragon Ball Z after watching Naruto.
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