7+ Of The Best Shonen Anime That Are BETTER Than Naruto

naruto surprised face
Avatar of Theo J Ellis

Naruto has become so big and successful that it’s stamped into the culture. And has a devoted anime fanbase like no other.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

If that were true, Demon Slayer would be the best anime of all time because of its success.

There are better shonen anime than both (not to compare Naruto to D.S., but still).

And I absolutely reject the idea that Naruto is:

  • The best shonen anime of all time.
  • Or that it’s as good as people exaggerate it to be.

I enjoyed Naruto as a series much more than I expected after being pestered to watch it after all these years. Sasuke is one of my favourites, along with Tenten, etc.

That said, it alone doesn’t qualify it for me.

So, here’s my list of shonen anime that are better than Naruto.


1. Bleach

Bleach ichigo hollow fight byakuya

Bleach is the superior franchise between the two anime, and many share this viewpoint.

Both of these anime share one thing in common in the earlier stages: filler content. But Naruto has much more filler than Bleach, making skipping filler in the first and 2nd seasons more of a commonality.

As far as protagonists, Ichigo is more realistic and less exaggerated than Naruto Uzumaki, who is unrealistically positive and committed to forgiving people for the silliest of reasons.

Naruto is a hype series, but that can also be its downfall in some areas. And Bleach dominates. No contest.


2. Dragon Ball Z (franchise)

Dragon Ball Z franchise goku

I’m biased towards DBZ for obvious reasons. It’s the anime I grew up watching and was the first shonen anime I started watching when I didn’t even know the term shonen was a thing or anime itself.

From the first dragon ball series, where Kid Goku and Bulma become friends in the most unlikely ways possible, to the king piccolo era, the tournament. The Saiyan saga in DBZ, and even now with DBS and Broly’s resurgence.

Naruto’s Boruto, in comparison, hasn’t done as well and has, in some ways, hurt the previous anime’s efforts (which is why Naruto is loved in the first place).

DBZ is the father of Shonen, so it’s not surprising it has a leg up, giving its influence anyways.


3. Soul Eater

Soul Eater maka and soul

Soul Eater is one of the most underrated Shonen series of all time and one of the most underrated anime in general.

The focus on female characters is already superior to the Naruto franchise, and anyone debating that is clearly too attached to see things for what they are.

Naruto’s strength is in its male cast, not female. Soul Eater’s Maka Albarn, Tsubaki, and others adds to the anime’s overall quality and entertainment.

Plus, the male counterparts are on point. The anime’s only flaw (Soul Eater) is its ending, but everything else is fresh and unique.


4. Slayers

Slayers classic cover

Slayers, or The Slayers, is a forgotten shonen anime in this day and age, and it’s a shame. The anime is like the female equivalent of DBZ back in the 1990s.

Fast characters, teleportation, OP abilities, and a strong verse few other Shonen can compare to in strength.

It’s more than that, though. It’s a female lead Shonen series with Lina Inverse being the show’s star, her right-hand man Gourry, and others like Zelgadis and Amelia.

It’s an adventure series that ended after season 5 (for no apparent reason) and has enough content to keep up continuously.

And yes, it’s more enjoyable than Naruto as a whole.


5. Akame Ga Kill

tatsumi and leone funny moments

I feel strongly about this one. Akame Ga Kill is a better Shonen than the majority as it is. It doesn’t follow cliches, tropes, or stereotypes as far as characters being saved by mysterious bullshit and plot armour.

In this anime, you die. It’s over. It’s realistic, true to life, and paints an accurate picture of what the real-life equivalent would look like (outside of the flashy fight scenes or supernatural weapons).

Akame Ga Kill is miles better than Naruto for someone who appreciates realism while still giving you solid action scenes, meaningful plots, characters, and stories wrapped neatly together.


6. Magi: Labyrinth Of Magic

Magi Labyrinth Of Magic trio characters

Magi as a franchise is too disrespected. It’s one of my masterpiece Shonen series and deserves more credit than it gets.

Magi season 1 and season 2 count in this argument when talking about whether it’s better than Naruto as a Shonen (it is).

It’s also another anime that we can say learned from the mistakes of shows like Naruto and does a much better job with its female protagonists (Morgiana) and even supporting female characters (Ren Hakuei).

It’s an emotional ride similar to Naruto, and though not as long, it feels much better written than Naruto.


7. Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail natsu happy wendy

Yeah, I said it, and I meant it!

Fairy Tail is so much more enjoyable than Naruto as a franchise. And that’s what counts more than technicalities when comparing which anime is better than the other.

Similar to many newer Shonen anime series, they’ve learned to improve their female characters a lot more and make them more involved, just as involved, or even more involved than any other character.

You have:

  • Erza Scarlet
  • Lucy Heartfilia (a better version of Sakura Haruno).
  • Levi Mcgarden.
  • Mirajane Strauss.
  • Bisca.
  • Kagura.

And so many more memorable female characters.

Then there’s Natsu, Gray, Elfman, Laxus, Cobra, Zeref, and plenty more, who add to the roster (and are memorable).

Fairy Tail’s main admitted flaw is the power of friendship at times when compared to Naruto, but otherwise, the series feels better.


Honorable Mention: Jujutsu Kaisen

YouTube video


10+ Anime Like Jujutsu Kaisen (Recommended)