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I decided to rewatch Naruto Shippuden last month. It’s a favorite of mine, and I wanted to revisit all the emotions I experienced while reading it years ago. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I haven’t cried (the Pain arc!!), shouted, smiled at my screen while watching it because I have done all of those and more. A hero to root for, epic battles, friends for life, and defeating evil even if the chances are not on your side—these 10 manga might not be Naruto, but they all have that little something that will enchant Naruto fans immediately.
Naruto is a Japanese manga created by Masashi Kishimoto. The first volume was published in 1997 and it tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village. However, inside Naruto lives a monster known as the Nine-Tails, a nine-tailed fox hungry for blood and revenge, making his journey way harder.
What makes Naruto so endearing is the hero himself. Naruto was shunned by the whole village because of his Nine-Tails and lived a pretty lonely life until he found friends and family who stood by him. He was a hero you could root for, who gave his all to fight for his village, and never, ever gave up on his dreams. Through hardships and pain, he, somehow, always stood up and fought his next battle. This list will categorize certain aspects of the manga and from there, list new manga that share these themes.
If You Want a Continuation…
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations by Ukyo Kodachi and Mikio Ikemoto
Though Boruto isn’t written by Kishimoto, it is the manga to read if you want to go back and see where your favorite Naruto characters are. They all have grown up and had children of their own, which is why it is called “Naruto Next Generations,” because it tells the story of a new, modern ninja way.
Being the son of the Seventh Hokage hasn’t been great for Boruto Uzumaki. His dad doesn’t give him the time of day, and he’s starting Ninja Academy and is going to be assigned to a team. Boruto follows the life of Naruto’s son where he has to pass the Chunin exam, fight dangerous enemies, and try his hardest to reconnect with his father.
Bleach by Tite Kubo
Most of the time when you ask for recommendations someone will mention one of the big, popular manga. Naruto is one. Since we are searching for manga like it, it’s only fair to mention Bleach.
Instead of ninjas we have soul reapers. Ichigo Kurosaki is a normal teenager…if you count seeing ghosts as normal, of course. This gift lets him meet Rukia Kuchiki, a reaper who comes into his room to search for a Hollow, an evil lost soul who can harm humans and ghosts.
Soul Eater by Atsushi Okubo
Soul Eater is set at Death Weapon Meister Academy, and Naruto had to learn at Ninja Academy.
In Soul Eater, there exist Death Scythes, these weapons that the Shinigami want to wield in order to save their world. However, Death Scythes are not weapons…not entirely. They are born from human hybrids who can transform their bodies into Demon Weapons and only after they have consumed 100 souls (99 from evil beings and one from a witch), they can be Death Scythes. Soul Eater Evans and his meister Maka want to achieve just that!
Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki
I remember reading this so long ago and loving it completely. It’s so mysterious and has so many secrets, so you don’t really know anything until you get to that certain point of the story where everything is revealed.
There exists the Abyss, a dark realm home to horrible monsters called “Chains.” Oz Vessalius, the heir to the noble Vessalius family, thinks this is a children’s tale to make them have nightmares. But it’s not until his coming-of-age ceremony where he finds out that everything he was told is real. He is sent to the Abyss for crimes he did not commit (nor remembers!). To escape the Abyss he will have to make a contract with a Chain named Alice.
Manga With a Hero Like Naruto
Demon Slayer by Koyoharu Gotoge
Tanjiro is a bit like Naruto in that something terrible happened to him and he evolved and grew from that particular moment in his life. Naruto is an orphan while Tanjiro has only his sister. But both of them share deep connections with the people around them and try to help them as much as they can.
Tanjiro comes home one day to find his whole family murdered by demons. The only survivor is his sister. Though her fate was worse because she was turned into a demon. Tanjiro will do anything to help his sister turn back into a human and avenge his whole family.
Hunter x Hunter by Yoshihiro Togashi
One of my favorite stories, Hunter x Hunter also follows a young kid. Gon is 12 years old when the story starts and the first thing he does is take the Hunter exam. This might resemble Naruto because there is a Chunin exam arc in the story, and we get lots of action, introduction to important characters, and friendships.
Gon wants to find his father who left him when he was very, very young. To find him, he must become a Hunter so he can travel the world and search for information available only to Hunters. In his journey to find his dad, Gon meets Killua, a kid just like him, except he is a former assassin. These two will enter adventures so fun and intense, you won’t be able to stop reading.
Blue Exorcist by Kazue Kato
Rin is a similar hero to Naruto in many ways, like finding out he is something more than a human, knowing your dad gave his life for you (let’s not cry about Minato today please), and going to an Academy to learn and grow.
Rin Okomura’s life changes completely when he finds out he is the son of Satan himself. After that, his adoptive father is possessed by Satan and dies, leaving Rin and his twin brother Yukio alone. Rin and Yukio decide to become an exorcist just like their father to go after their old man.
Black Clover by Yuki Tabata
Asta, an orphan, lives in a world full of magic but he has none. Though Naruto does have the power of the Nine-Tails inside him, at first he isn’t really that clever with it, and it can be said that other characters are far stronger than him. Asta also wants to become the Wizard King while Naruto’s dream is to become Hokage.
This manga can also be featured in the category below because of the rivalry between Asta’s childhood friend, Yuno, and himself. Yuno has magic and also harbors the same dream as him. In order to achieve his dream, Asta decides to train every single day so, even though he has no magic, he can catch up to Yuno. You can clearly see some similarities with their relationship and Naruto and Sasuke’s.
Manga With An Epic Rivalry
Seraph of the End by Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, and Daisuke Furuya
One of the main things in Naruto is the relationship between Naruto and Sasuke. Naruto’s first friend Sasuke has a wild storyline and most of us don’t like the decisions he makes, but Kishimoto wrote him like that, so! Though we cannot argue that it created some amazing battles between them.
In Seraph of the End, the world is wiped by a virus which kills people over the age of 13. Vampires take that opportunity and appear after years of hiding, taking humans as blood bags. The protagonist, Yuuichirou, and his friends get taken, but soon enough, they find a way to escape. It doesn’t go as planned and Yuuichirou is the sole survivor of their little escape crew. But he doesn’t know his childhood friend also survived and has become a vampire.
Death Note by Takeshi Obata
Another manga with a rivalry that you can’t help but be enchanted by. Light and L are two young people from different sides of the law. Even inside the story, they are two very different personalities though they somehow respect each other.
When Ryuk, a Shinigami, drops a Death Note on Earth, he didn’t really expect a high school kid to pick it up. Light’s first idea is to cleanse the world of corruption and criminals, but this perfect world he wants to create isn’t appealing for other people, like the police. They enlist the help of a mastermind detective, L. These two will have incredible, smart, and outstanding battles.
Naruto will always be there for us to reread and relive all the epic emotions that it brings us. But sometimes we want something a little bit similar, but also a little bit different, you know? If you want manga like One Piece or Death Note, we have those too!