20 Anime To Watch If You Love Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z is one of the most iconic anime of all time. There’s no shortage of reasons why fans all over the world have bonded over this classic series. The protagonist, Son Goku, is practically the face of shonen anime. Its incredible fight scenes inspired an entire generation of anime lovers to attempt faux-Kamehameha attacks, while the rich diverse cast of characters is both fun and compelling to watch.



As a franchise that’s been around for decades, there are plenty of episodes to go around. However, unless someone collects all seven Dragon Balls to wish more episodes into existence, there are only so many hours of Dragon Ball Z fans can watch before running out of material. The good news is that there are a number of other amazing anime that the show’s fans will absolutely love.

Updated on January 4, 2024, by Ajay Aravind: There have been countless shonen anime worthy of filling the void left behind by Dragon Ball. As such, this list has been updated to reflect CBR’s current publishing style and to include videos for other anime like Dragon Ball.


20 Jujutsu Kaisen Earned Crunchyroll’s “Anime Of The Year” Award

The cast pose together on the Jujutsu Kaisen Anime Poster

Jujutsu Kaisen

A boy swallows a cursed talisman – the finger of a demon – and becomes cursed himself. He enters a shaman’s school to be able to locate the demon’s other body parts and thus exorcise himself.

Release Date
October 2, 2020

Creator
Gege Akutami

Genres
Action , Adventure

Rating
TV-MA

Seasons
2 Seasons

Number of Episodes
47 Episodes

IMDb Rating

8.6

Streaming Platforms

Crunchyroll & Funimation

Related

REVIEW: Jujutsu Kaisen’s Season 2 Finale Changes Everything About the Show Without Throwing a Punch

Jujutsu Kaisen’s Season 2 finale might be low on action, but the horror that unfolds will forever tilt the balance of power. Here’s CBR’s review.

Released in 2020, Jujutsu Kaisen follows the adventures of its protagonist, Yuji Itadori, as he becomes entrenched in the never-ending war between Jujutsu Sorcerers and Curses. With its solid cast of characters, intense combat, and refreshing comedy scenes, this shonen title shares plenty of similarities with Dragon Ball Z.

Praise for Jujutsu Kaisen has been high. The series took home Crunchyroll’s “Anime of the Year” award in 2020, and in 2021, the series even received a feature-length, prequel film. Given Dragon Ball‘s increased emphasis on canonical film releases, this is just one more similarity between the two titles that should incentivize fans of Dragon Ball Z to give this show a chance.

19 Tokyo Revengers Delves Into The Ramifications Of Masculinity

Tokyo Revengers Anime streaming poster for Disney +

Tokyo Revengers

Hanagaki Takemichi lives an unsatisfying life right up until his death. Waking up 12 years in the past, he reckons with the eventual fate of his friends and tries to prevent an unfortunate future.

Release Date
April 10, 2021

Creator
Ken Wakui

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
3

Studio
LIDENFILMS

IMDb Rating

7.9

Streaming Platforms

Crunchyroll & Hulu

At first glance, Tokyo Revengers might not seem to have that much in common with the adventures of Goku. Whereas Dragon Ball Z heavily leans into its fictional elements, Tokyo Revengers instead presents a much more believable setting, even after factoring in its frequent usage of time travel. However, while the settings of these narratives might be significantly different, there is one overarching concept that unites them — their exploration, both direct and indirect, of masculinity.

While all types of viewers can enjoy either show, the Dragon Ball franchise played a huge role in creating the shonen genre, which is specifically geared towards younger males. Since Tokyo Revengers heavily features Japanese boy gangs, it naturally follows that there is significant overlap between their appeals.

18 Rurouni Kenshin Is Arguably The Most Famous Samurai Anime Out There

The cast of Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin

The adventures of a young wandering swordsman who stumbles upon a struggling martial arts school in Meiji era Japan.

Release Date
January 10, 1996

Studio
Gallop and Studio Deen

Main Cast
Mayo Suzukare, Miki Fujitani, Richard Cansino and Dorothy Elias-Fahn

IMDb Rating

8.4

Streaming Platforms

Hulu

Younger fans of the shonen genre may not be familiar with Rurouni Kenshin. However, when Dragon Ball Z‘s original run came to an end in January 1996, this samurai-centric series was debuting just in time to carry its torch. As one of the more critically acclaimed shonen titles of the ’90s, Rurouni Kenshin is a fantastic option for those who want to familiarize themselves with the anime landscape circa Dragon Ball Z‘s conclusion.

As alluded to, the series focuses on the adventures of a samurai named Kenshin Himura as he navigates the landscape of Meiji-era Japan. Its adventurous tone, unique aesthetic, and fantastic characters should entertain even the most skeptical of viewers.

17 Black Clover Proves That Powers Don’t Matter As Much As Grit

Black Clover anime cover art with Asta and Yuno in front

Black Clover

Asta and Yuno were abandoned together at the same church and have been inseparable since. As children, they promised that they would compete against each other to see who would become the next Emperor Magus.

Release Date
October 3, 2017

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
4

Studio
Pierrot

IMDb Rating

8.3

Streaming Platforms

Crunchyroll, Hulu & Funimation

Pushing past one’s limits is a constant theme throughout Dragon Ball Z, but there is arguably another show that explores this topic to an even greater extent — Black Clover. Both shonen heavily emphasize the need for grit and determination in the face of great evil, creating a natural synergy for fans of the two series.

Black Clover asserted itself as one of the giants of shonen media in the late 2010s, and despite its current production hiatus, the hype around the series is at an all-time high. Asta and the Black Bulls have won over enough fans to earn their own film, which was released in 2023.

16 Demon Slayer Represents The Evolution Of The Shonen Genre

Demon Slayer Anime Poster

Demon Slayer

When Tanjiro Kamado returns home to find his family was attacked and killed by demons, he discovers his younger sister Nezuko was the only survivor. As Nezuko slowly becomes a demon, Tanjiro sets out to find a cure for her and become a demon slayer so he can avenge his family.

Release Date
April 6, 2019

Cast
Natsuki Hanae , Zach Aguilar , Abby Trott , Yoshitsugu Matsuoka

Rating
TV-MA

Seasons
3

Studio
ufotable

IMDb Rating

8.7

Streaming Platforms

Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll & Funimation

In every sense, Demon Slayer is representative of the growth that has occurred in the shonen genre since the debut of Dragon Ball Z. Its nuanced storytelling devices, creative combat mechanics, and absolutely stellar animation are all improvements upon the formula developed by Dragon Ball Z. As a result, it is an absolute must-watch for anyone who appreciates Goku and the Z Fighters.

While Demon Slayer may lean a bit more into horror-related tropes, it still juxtaposes levity and seriousness in a way similar to Akira Toriyama’s beloved series. Its record-breaking film, Mugen Train, is all the evidence needed to justify checking this show out.

15 Fairy Tail Highlights Elements Of Classic Shonen Fighting And Humor

Fairy Tail Anime Poster

Fairy Tail

Lucy, an aspiring Celestial Wizard, becomes a friend and ally to powerful wizards Natsu, Gray, and Erza, who are part of the (in)famous wizard guild, Fairy Tail.

Release Date
September 30, 2011

Cast
Cherami Leigh , Todd Haberkorn , Colleen Clinkenbeard

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
8

IMDb Rating

7.9

Streaming Platforms

Crunchyroll, Funimation & Hulu

Related

What to Expect From the Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest Anime

Fairy Tail’s sequel manga is expected to receive an anime adaptation soon. Here’s everything anime fans need to know about the series going in.

The hunt for the mythic Dragon Balls is the catalyst that gave the Dragon Ball franchise its name. When all seven Dragon Balls are gathered together, the magical dragon Shenron is summoned and grants one wish. In the fantasy series Fairy Tail, the characters travel through the realm of Earth Land, and, eventually, they search for the dragon Igneel.

Beyond this similarity, the characters in this series demonstrate a lot of the classic shonen fighting styles and humor that can also be found in Dragon Ball Z. Fairy Tail also has a spectacular way of handling power-scaling as the characters get stronger.

14 My Hero Academia Is All About The Newest Generation Of Heroes

My Hero Academia Anime Poster

My Hero Academia

Original title: Boku no hîrô akademia.
A superhero-admiring boy without any powers enrolls in a prestigious hero academy and learns what it really means to be a hero.

Release Date
May 5, 2018

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
6

Production Company
Bones

Number of Episodes
145

IMDb Rating

8.0

Streaming Platforms

Funimation, Hulu & Crunchyroll

Dragon Ball Z is all about heroes using their awesome martial arts and ki abilities to protect the world from villains. The Z Fighters have their own costumes, just as the villains do, with the Z Fighters’ orange gis and the armor worn by Frieza’s soldiers amounting to uniforms. With costumed heroes and villains using superpowers, Dragon Ball Z is basically just one big superhero drama.

By far the most popular superhero anime today is My Hero Academia. The villains are perfectly over-the-top, the fight scenes are out of this world, and their haircuts have plenty of spiky tips. While it is quite distinctly its own thing and has a quirky approach to superpowers, My Hero Academia is something most Dragon Ball Z fans will love.

13 Sword Art Online Focuses On A Desperate Struggle For Survival

Kiriko and Asuna in Sword Art Online (2012) official poster

Sword Art Online

Release Date
July 8, 2012

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
4

Production Company
A-1 Pictures, ASCII Mediaworks, Aniplex, Bandai Namco Games, Genco

Number of Episodes
100

IMDb Rating

7.5

Streaming Platforms

Hulu, Funimation & Crunchyroll

The anime Sword Art Online is set in an online VR game world, so all the powers that characters would have in a fantasy action series instead belong to their avatars in the world of the game. However, since every player is trapped in the game’s world, they live every day as their empowered in-game avatars.

This series features a desperate struggle for survival and focuses on building teams of skilled fighters to deal with threats, both of which are integral elements of Dragon Ball Z. Many of Sword Art Online‘s stories will feel familiar to Dragon Ball fans.

12 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Is A Surreal Twist On Shonen Stereotypes

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure hirohiko araki 1992

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

The story of the Joestar family, who are possessed with intense psychic strength, and the adventures each member encounters throughout their lives.

Release Date
October 6, 2012

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
5

Studio
David Production

Characters By
Hirohiko Araki

IMDb Rating

8.5

Streaming Platforms

Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, Prime Video, Peacock, & Funimation

Regardless of whatever else can be said about it, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has certainly earned the middle word in its name. Its strange nature is one reason that it has been received so well. Its characters, fight scenes, and art are all wonderful, and it remains thoroughly original.

No anime will ever do martial arts ki attacks quite like Dragon Ball Z, so JoJo goes in a different direction. Using psychic and spiritual manifestations called Stands to do the fighting, it creates the same sort of superpowered action that Dragon Ball Z fans will love but in an all-new way.

11 Hunter X Hunter Has One Of The Most Gorgeous Worldbuilding In Anime

Hunter x Hunter TV Show Poster

Hunter x Hunter

Gon Freecss aspires to become a Hunter, an exceptional being capable of greatness. With his friends and his potential, he seeks out his father, who left him when he was younger.

Release Date
April 17, 2016

Creator
Yoshihiro Togashi

Cast
Issei Futamata , Megumi Han , Cristina Valenzuela , Mariya Ise

Rating
TV-14

IMDb Rating

9.0

Streaming Platforms

Prime Video, Peacock, Hoopla, Tubi & Netflix

Related

Hunter x Hunter: 15 Best Quotes From The Anime

Whether they be shrewd observations from an antagonist or enlightening words from heroes, here are the 10 best quotes from the Hunter x Hunter anime.

There are a lot of similarities between Hunter x Hunter and Dragon Ball Z, including the fact that its protagonist, Gon Freecss, has hair that looks suspiciously Saiyan. In reality, Gon’s father is a Hunter — someone who possesses unbelievable abilities through the manipulation of their Nen, which is basically just ki.

Gon sets out to become a Hunter, training to pass the annual exam. Hunter x Hunter‘s individual episodes are incredibly enjoyable, but the real pleasure comes from sitting through its longer story arcs and watching Gon grow and meet new friends, as well as overcome adversity along his journey.

10 Naruto Deserves Its Global Fame On Every Possible Level

Naruto Anime cover featuring Sakura, Naruto, Sasuke, Kakashi sensei and Iruka sensei

Naruto

Naruto Uzumaki, a mischievous adolescent ninja, struggles as he searches for recognition and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the village’s leader and strongest ninja.

Release Date
September 10, 2002

Creator
Masashi Kishimoto

Cast
Junko Takeuchi , Maile Flanagan , Kate Higgins

Rating
TV-PG

Production Company
Pierrot, Staralis Film Company

Number of Episodes
220

IMDb Rating

8.4

Streaming Platforms

Netflix, Prime Video, Crunchyroll, Peacock, Roku, Hulu & Tubi

Naruto is the story of its titular ninja hero, who had the spirit of the legendary Nine-Tailed Fox sealed away within him as an infant. While it seems quite different from Dragon Ball Z on the surface, both anime have a number of elements in common, including epic action scenes, and visually stunning energy attacks.

Naruto also features incredibly driven protagonists who dress in orange and never stop eating. Beyond the martial arts fantasy, what makes Naruto such a great series is that its titular protagonist is earnest, a little naive, and determined to overcome great obstacles — all qualities he has in common with Son Goku.

9 Outlaw Star Is A Beloved Space Western From The Late ’90s

IMDb Rating

7.9

Streaming Platforms

Hulu & Funimation

Outlaw Star, a beloved space western from the late ’90s, tells the story of the outlaw Gene Starwind as he travels through space with his crew while battling pirates, aliens, and murderous cyborgs. Its balance of side-splitting comedy and explosive action scenes is what makes this such a great option for Dragon Ball fans.

While Gene Starwind is nowhere near as powerful as any Saiyan, to the point that even Yamcha could take him in a fight, he is the ultimate underdog, relying on his wits and sheer grit to best his opponents. Throughout most of the series, the cast searches for the Galactic Leyline, a nexus of immense power and enough wealth to make wishes come true.

8 Tenchi Muyo! Is Best Known For Its Complex Character Dynamics

IMDb Rating

7.6

Streaming Platforms

Crunchyroll & Funimation

There have been several Tenchi Muyo! series. The franchise began with the original OVA, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohko!, introducing the human boy Tenchi Masaki and the drunken demonic scientist space pirate Ryoko Hakubi. With aliens, ancient mystical powers, and offbeat characters clashing with one another, there is a lot of classic anime goodness to love.

What separates this series from many others is its complex character dynamics. From Tenchi’s relationship with his father to the various interactions between the women of the series, this drama is notable for its emotional complexity. Of course, it also has something every great anime needs — shiny energy effects lighting up the screen.

7 Magi: The Labyrinth Of Magic Is Inspired By The Arabian Nights

Alladin and Simbad in Magi- The Labyrinth of Magic

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana go their separate ways after spending time together in Sindria to develop their own strengths, make new friends and prepare for what is coming.

Release Date
October 7, 2012

Creator
Shinobu Ohtaka

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
2

Production Company
A-1 Pictures, Aniplex

Number of Episodes
50

IMDb Rating

7.8

Streaming Platforms

Crunchyroll & Funimation

Inspired by the Arabian tales of 1001 Nights, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic stars the young boy Aladdin and the runaway prince Alibaba. As a Magi, Aladdin is able to use magic by calling upon the powers of the Rukhs. Meanwhile, Alibaba returns home to his kingdom and begins to fight for the betterment of his people against his corrupt brother and a horde of predatory bandits.

By taking inspiration from Middle Eastern folktales, the series reinterprets various classic anime motifs with breathtaking visual effects and unique cultural perspectives, similar to Akira Toriyama’s flagship series. The good-natured optimism of the main characters and high-stakes action scenes will also delight Dragon Ball fans.

6 Bleach Was One Of The Shonen Big Three For A Reason

Bleach Anime Poster

Bleach

Bleach revolves around Kurosaki Ichigo, a regular always-grouchy high-schooler who for some strange reason is able to see the souls of the dead around him.

Release Date
October 5, 2004

Creator
Tite Kubo

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
17 Seasons

IMDb Rating

8.2

Streaming Platforms

Hulu & Funimation

Related

10 Best Action Anime Tropes in Bleach

From the chosen one to intense rivalries, Bleach used exciting action anime tropes to create a classic shonen hit.

Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki, a boy who gains the powers of a Shinigami from a Shinigami woman known as Rukia Kuchiki. Throughout the show, the Shinigami hunt malevolent spirits called Hollows. Bleach soon joined both Naruto and One Piece to become one of the “Big Three” of shonen anime.

Despite its supernatural monsters and the characters who gain the fantastic powers necessary to defeat them, Bleach doesn’t feel the need to dwell in misery, allowing it to simultaneously be fun and serious in its narrative. There is also a reverence for the dead, which is rare among anime with plots centered on fighting spirits with magic weapons.

5 Inuyasha Balances Medieval History With Contemporary Perspectives

Inuyasha poster

Inuyasha

A teenage girl periodically travels back in time to feudal Japan to help a young half-demon recover the shards of a jewel of great power.

Release Date
October 16, 2000

Creator
Rumiko Takahashi

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
7

Studio
Sunrise

IMDb Rating

7.9

Streaming Platforms

Netflix, Roku, Pluto & Prime Video

It is rare that a series can simultaneously balance contemporary perspectives with stories set in the distant past, but this shonen anime does it masterfully. Set in Japan’s Warring States Period, Inuyasha follows high school girl Kagome Higurashi after she travels back in time and encounters the titular half-demon.

Most of the series follows the two traversing the demon-filled lands of feudal Japan as they search for shards of a shattered mystic gemstone. The show’s mix of action, fantasy, horror, and romance offers something for everyone. However, it is the hunt for a mystical artifact that will feel most familiar to anime fans whose favorite show involves the search for the seven Dragon Balls.

4 Sailor Moon Is Effectively The Shojo Equivalent Of Dragon Ball Z

Sailor Moon, Usagi Tsukino, Ami Mizuno, Ami Mizuno, Rei Hino and Rei Hino in the anime tv series Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon

A group of schoolgirls discover they are incarnations of super-powered alien princesses, and use their abilities to defend the earth.

Release Date
September 11, 1995

Creator
Naoko Takeuchi

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
5

Number of Episodes
200

IMDb Rating

7.8

Streaming Platforms

Hulu, Pluto & Freevee

There were two major anime that dominated the ’90s — Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. Some fans have trivialized these shows by suggesting that one is for boys and the other is for girls. On a superficial level, there is some truth to this, but upon a deeper examination, it’s clear that both are excellent series with universal appeal.

As the most famous magical shojo anime of all time and one of the first animated shows to feature a cast of LGBTQ+ characters, Sailor Moon is historically significant. More importantly, the show’s story, action, and humor all will resonate with fans of Dragon Ball Z.

3 One Piece Has Maintained Its Freshness For Nearly 25 Years

Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Usopp, Sani, Robin, Chopper, Brook, Frankyand Jimbei in One Piece Egg-Head Arc poster

One Piece

Follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew in order to find the greatest treasure ever left by the legendary Pirate, Gold Roger. The famous mystery treasure named “One Piece”.

Release Date
October 20, 1999

Creator
Eiichirô Oda

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
20

Production Company
Toei Animation

Number of Episodes
1K+

IMDb Rating

8.9

Streaming Platforms

Pluto, Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hoopla & Funimation

One Piece is a fantasy series about a group of pirates hunting the show’s titular treasure. It stars iconic protagonist Monkey D. Luffy, a man capable of stretching his body using the powers of his Devil Fruit. This high-seas fantasy adventure is just plain fun and has some of the most imaginative characters in anime.

Sailing with his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, Luffy is determined to become the Pirate King. Similar to Dragon Ball Z, One Piece centers around a classic quest plot, larger-than-life action, and a fun fantasy setting that will keep fans coming back. One Piece invokes the creativity of older shows that did not feel so compelled to limit the magic of their stories by imposing realism onto them.

2 One-Punch Man Is A Brilliantly Framed Shonen Parody Anime

One Punch Man Anime Poster

One Punch Man

The story of Saitama, a hero that does it just for fun & can defeat his enemies with a single punch.

Release Date
October 5, 2015

Cast
Makoto Furukawa , Kaito Ishikawa , Zach Aguilar , Robbie Daymond

Rating
TV-PG

Seasons
2

IMDb Rating

8.7

Streaming Platforms

Hulu

Related

Why Is Saitama The ‘One Punch Man?’

One Punch Man is titled as such due to the main character’s power, but there’s a reason why he can take down the mightiest foes with a single blow.

One-Punch Man is both the spiritual successor and antithesis of Dragon Ball Z. The protagonist of this show, Saitama, is the strongest person on Earth. As such, he is bored out of his mind due to a lack of worthy opponents. The series takes as much inspiration from American superhero stories as it does from classic anime.

In a couple of noteworthy scenes, One-Punch Man parodies Dragon Ball Z, giving a nod to its spiritual successor. There is no shortage of action here, but the greatest battles of the series are the characters’ complicated psychological struggles.

1 Yu Yu Hakusho Is One Of The Most Influential ’90s Shonen Anime

Yu Yu Hakusho Ghost Files 1992

Yu Yu Hakusho

Release Date
October 10, 1992

Creator
Yoshihiro Togashi

Rating
TV-PG

Studio
Pierrot

Number of Episodes
112

IMDb Rating

8.4

Streaming Platforms

Crunchyroll, Funimation, Tubi & Hulu

Similar to Bleach in many respects, the ’90s classic Yu Yu Hakusho features protagonist Yusuke Urameshi, a high school delinquent who is killed when he saves a child from oncoming traffic, only to be given a second shot at life by a woman claiming to be a Grim Reaper.

Yusuke becomes an underworld detective, fighting demons and other evil spirits. With martial arts tournaments, phenomenal power attacks, and former enemies growing to become close allies, this anime has a lot for Dragon Ball Z fans to love. In fact, Yu Yu Hakusho hits every story beat needed to make a great Shonen series.

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