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After growing up on Toonami and Adult Swim for all my anime needs in the early-mid 2000s, there is nothing more nostalgic than a good adventure Shonen anime—especially one that contains many of the elements that are consistent in the genre.
Hunter x Hunter may not be one of the Shonen that I grew up with (I missed its run on Adult Swim), but its early animation style and typical tropes make it an immediate classic in my book.
Since it is a medium length Anime series with over 140 episodes, it can leave you craving another exciting adventure.
If you finished Hunter x Hunter and you need to fill that Shonen void, no worries! Below I have compiled a list of comparable anime that touch on similar qualities of the series.
This list contains both newer and older shows to give you a wide variety to satisfy that itch.
Of course, as any recommendation goes, these series only touch on some of the same aspects and are not a one-for-one comparison due to obvious various setting, plot, and character differences.
I have summarized each anime to the best of my ability with minimal spoilers. Any spoilers I include happen within the first episode or two of the show.
The Hunter x Hunter Plot
Before we jump in, it is always good to start with a refresher as to what makes Hunter x Hunter so good.
This is a lengthy series, so to give a cohesive summary would take up the rest of the article—that said I will attempt to do my best for a quick overview.
Hunter x Hunter follows Gon, a young boy who grew up in a small village on Whale Island. He learns that his father is a hunter. A hunter is a person who has exceptional abilities to find people, treasures, and creatures.
His father left the village when Gon was small, and now knowing the reason his father left (to be a hunter), Gon begins his adventure to seek a deeper understanding of his father’s mindset.
Essentially, he wants to also become a hunter. This will help him understand why his dad left his family life behind. This motive sends Gon on an epic adventure while getting him tangled up with some new friends and foes.
The Hunter x Hunter anime adaptation I am referencing is the one that aired from 2011-2014, as there have been a few different attempts at an animated series since the start of its serialization in the publication Shonen Jump in 1998.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
I discovered this show years ago on US Netflix. Immediately I was drawn to it because of the colorful animation and unique, desert setting.
After some research—and before diving headfirst into binge-watching—I learned that this anime is based on the Arabic folktales collected in 1001 Arabian Nights. It specifically pulls from the ones around Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad.
Despite it pulling from old folktales, it weaves together intricate stories into a compelling, action-packed series that will delight any Shonen fan.
The general summary of the first season of The Labyrinth of Magic is that Ali Baba wants to complete some of the dungeons that have popped up across the land. Completing a dungeon is extremely dangerous but the reward is a powerful artifact with a Djinn inside.
The Djinn imbues the artifact, usually a weapon, with great power. Possessing a Djinn is also a sign to the outside world of one’s power.
From this point, the other arcs expand out and take the party on wild adventures, and these adventures slowly unravel the overarching plot that ensnares them with other important characters.
What struck me about this anime is one of the main characters, Aladdin, is remarkably similar to Gon. Both are always happy-go-lucky and support their friends no matter what.
Another thing that it does well like Hunter x Hunter is the accumulation of people who become important friends and allies through the series. As it goes on, more and more people join the main character in their quest.
- A fun, happy main character like Gon.
- A quirky group of unlikely friends.
- Despicable and interesting villains.
- Colorful, lovely animation.
- A light atmosphere with serious parts.
- It has a spinoff of one of the more powerful side characters, Sinbad.
- A unique setting for an anime.
- The anime was never finished and ended after only two seasons.
- The first few episodes portray Aladdin in an odd, perverted way.
- Some of the villains’ motivations are lame.
- It can get a bit convoluted here and there.
- The spinoff also got canceled after one season.
This anime is one of the classics that I had the joy of experiencing when I was younger as it aired on Toonami and Adult Swim.
He does not want to be just any pirate though; he wants to become King of the Pirates and find the legendary treasure called One Piece.
Setting off on this journey alone, he soon finds himself in the company of a rag-tag crew that he curates and names the Straw Hat Pirates.
With each adventure, a new crew member is added, and another foe is beaten. Gradually they become stronger and transform into a well-known pirate group.
Similarly, with each new arc, there are new enemies to face, whether they be from a competing pirate crew, a crime organization, or even government officials.
This anime is still ongoing and is huge. Just like some of the other titans of the anime world, this series numbers in the hundreds of episodes. It is close to hitting the 1000th episode mark in the anime at the time of publication of this article.
This does make sense at it started airing in 1999.
It also delivers on some of the same qualities that Magi did with the main character similarity and the team trope.
You can find this anime on US Netflix.
- Tons of content to watch
- Luffy is reminiscent of Gon, sweet and naïve.
- Diverse crew, lots of unique characters.
- A good blend of wacky and serious villains.
- Lots of goofy humor.
- Every important character gets a backstory.
- Follows Shonen tropes to a T.
- Fast-paced action.
- Fun abilities and powers.
- Pirate setting.
- This anime is a huge time commitment.
- Arcs stretch out over many episodes, making battles take ages.
- The fights become repetitive.
- Character growth is limited.
- The art style is a bit odd at times.
- It takes a bit for the characters to shine on their own.
- It takes forever to gather the whole crew.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Both of the previous shows are a bit older, but Demon Slayer came out in 2019 and became a hit sensation.
This series starts with Tanjiro Kamado selling charcoal to support his family after his father’s death. He has a large family with many siblings and his mother, and they live some distance away from the main village.
One snowy day Tanjiro finds himself in town after dark and decides to spend the night with a local village resident before heading home the next morning.
As he approaches his home the next morning, he can smell blood, hurrying his pace he discovers his family slaughtered, except for his sister Nezuko who survived miraculously.
But not is all as it seems, for Nezuko is acting odd and turns violently on Tanjiro. After he is saved by a strange swordsman, he starts his quest to become a demon slayer and find a cure for his ailing sister.
Follow young Tanjiro Kamado and Nezuko while they travel through Taisho-era Japan on their adventure as they face demons and make friends!
Check out this anime on Hulu.
- Lovely, intense animation.
- Great fight scenes.
- Tanjiro is a sweetheart like Gon.
- Packed with interestingly designed demons.
- Engaging characters tag along to keep the excitement going.
- Secondary characters are extremely developed.
- Powerful attacks.
- Shonen Tropes abound.
- There is a movie for one of the more compelling arcs.
- One of the main characters in Tanjiro’s crew is insufferable
- The story lacks depth.
- Each fight feels like the end-all battle (and surprise, surprise, it never is).
- The main crew grows little in their characterization.
- Anime is not finished.
Yu Yu Hakusho
Yu Yu Hakusho is an anime that also got a run on Toonami/Adult Swim but never got past a certain tournament arc in the early 2000s.
This was one of the series that I grew up with and I feel fits well with Hunter x Hunter.
The story follows a rough and tumble delinquent named Yusuke Urameshi who is killed after he is hit by a car.
Offered a second chance at life by the son of the ruler of the underworld, he faces a series of tasks to become a spirit/underworld detective.
Under this title, he investigates cases of demons in the human world and usually uses his skills to get rid of these entities via martial arts and supernatural abilities.
Along the way, he, like many of the other protagonists on this list, gathers an eclectic crew of friends who help him along the way.
As each arc progresses, the characters find themselves ensnared in grander, and grander problems.
You can watch this on Hulu.
- This series is finished.
- The group of friends he gathers are all fun and engaging characters.
- Backstories are interesting.
- Action-packed fight scenes.
- Some goofy humor.
- Follows Shonen tropes.
- Memorable voice acting.
- Yusuke breaks the “nice” trope of the protagonist.
- Battles take place over many episodes.
- Yusuke himself can be unlikable and stubborn.
- The villains are usually one tone.
- The animation style is older.
Seven Deadly Sins
If you are tired of the typical modern-day or feudal era Japan Shonen, you may find that Seven Deadly Sins is a good pick as it takes place in a fantasy-based medieval Europe.
These most wanted criminals were a band of knights in the country of Britannia who were subsequently disbanded after supposedly plotting a different coup.
They were called The Seven Deadly Sins based on their powers and personalities.
First, she meets Meliodas, the previous leader of the group, and begins to search for the other Sins with his help.
As they travel, they gradually gain more and more members while fending off attacks from their enemies.
Locate this series on US Netflix.
- Fun, lighthearted adventure.
- Silly comedy.
- It subverts expectations in a unique, fun way.
- Meliodias is goofy like Gon can be.
- There is a large crew of interesting characters.
- Distinctive setting.
- Has Shonen tropes.
- The most recent season has been adapted by Studio Deen, who has butchered the animation.
- Meliodas is a rather flat character.
- Meliodas is a pervert (which may not be your cup of tea).
- The Series is not finished.
- Elizabeth is sweet, but like Meliodas, a bit one-note.
- Elizabeth can be somewhat of a damsel at times.
Inuyasha is another classic from my childhood that would regularly appear on Toonami and Adult Swim. This series was my first anime (and manga) and is the reason I got into the genre in the first place, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.
Unlike some of the other anime on this list, this one has a blended setting with it taking place both in contemporary times and feudal Japan.
Kagome Higurashi, a 15-year old middle school student, begins the adventure of a lifetime when she falls into an ancient well in her family’s shrine.
After falling in, she is transported to feudal Japan where she encounters a young half-demon named Inuyasha pinned to a tree by an arrow.
Freeing him, she learns that there are demons around, which Inuyasha helps protect her from.
Mysteriously, something called the Shikon Jewel is inside of Kagome’s body. The Shikon Jewel is a powerful pink orb that, if given to a demon, can have catastrophic consequences.
Shortly after this discovery, she accidentally shatters it, and the pieces are scattered throughout the land.
Now she and Inuyasha must team up to collect all the shards so that they do not fall into the wrong hands.
Along the way, they will form a powerful group of warriors and fight off the nefarious demons that long for power.
This anime can be watched on US Netflix and Hulu.
- Inuyasha is a spunky but lovable protagonist.
- The secondary characters are as developed as the main cast.
- Everyone has a backstory that ties them to the overarching plot.
- It is a finished series.
- Goofy interactions and comedy.
- Serious moments
- Four movies have been made and they hold up well.
- Cool demon and villain design.
- Blended setting.
- This year a sequel was released called Yashahime.
- The animation style is a bit older.
- Battles can take many, many episodes.
- There is a perverted character who never ceases his antics.
- Filler episodes are common.
- The Final Act, which is the last season, is a breakneck speed experience, so you need to have watched the previous seasons to understand it all and keep up.
Though I did miss the initial hype-train for Bleach when I was younger, I did catch a few episodes while it was airing on Toonami.
This is another one of the long-haul series, like One Piece as it has 300+ episodes.
Join Ichigo Kurosaki—a seemingly regular high school student—as he picks up the mantel of Soul Reaper to defeat Hollows and help save humanity.
Soul Reapers are essentially death gods that are tasked by the Soul Society to defeat Hollows; terrible ghosts that feed on souls if not taken down and defeated.
As he begins his training, classmates around him are revealed to also have powerful abilities that can help him in his journey.
The sometimes-begrudging rag-tag group of friends fight through each arc as they try to stop an evil Soul Reaper who is experimenting on Hollows and Soul Reapers.
You can start this anime on US Netflix.
- Ichigo is a grumpy protagonist.
- Fleshed out friend group.
- Interesting, thought out backstories.
- The villain group is designed after South American motifs.
- Unique fantasy setting.
- A smorgasbord of characters—there is somebody for every type of fan.
- As usual, battles are drawn out.
- Some of the arcs are weaker than others and can drag down the over-arching plot.
- Does not follow the manga entirely.
- Fillers arcs were added to give time to the author to finish.
Honorable Mention: Avatar the Last Airbender
This series is an honorable mention because the debate about it being considered anime is something that people talk about frequently.
By true definition, it is not an “anime” because it was not created in Japan.
But! It is a great animated series that carries a lot of the same appeal that Hunter x Hunter does, which is why it is an honorable mention. Plus, it is classic on my list as well.
Even though it is not technically an anime, it still has a lovely anime-esk animation style and follows some tropes present in Hunter x Hunter.
If you have not heard or seen Avatar the Last Airbender, that would honestly surprise me.
This show was on Nickelodeon from 2005-2008 and is more of what I would call a “kids” show than most of the anime on this list.
The story follows Aang, a young boy who is something called the Avatar. The Avatar is a figure destined to save the world and master control of all four elements: fire, water, earth, and air.
In this world, people can control only one element, whereas the avatar can control them all.
As the story progresses, he gains some friends to help him master the elements needed to defeat the Fire Lord who is trying to take over the world.
US Netflix recently added this to their library.
- Beautiful, crisp animation.
- Aang is another one of those protagonists that is optimistic and lighthearted.
- Lots of excellent representation.
- Great world-building.
- Deals with heavy topics in a fresh, light way.
- Characters are unique and add something to the story.
- Smooth action scenes.
- Good character development.
- Completed, with three seasons available.
- As it is made for children, some people may not like the toned-down content.
- A few filler episodes detract from the plot.
- Watching as an adult can be frustrating for some because the characters do act like children with their behavior/decisions.
A: Any of those listed above!
A: Hunter x Hunter is a great anime and a pillar in the community. Personally, however, I do think there are better Shonen anime out there.
A: The series is still ongoing, but the author is known for going on hiatus.
Q: Is Hunter x Hunter better than Naruto?
A: That is up to your opinion! I feel they are similar in many regards and excel in different aspects.
A: Hunter x Hunter is an action/adventure Shonen anime that takes place in a fictional world.
A: It is a good Shonen. I feel that there are better ones out there.
A: Again, like the Naruto comparison, both these series have their ups and downs. Debating which one is better depends on what you like in your Shonen.
There you have it! Eight more anime to fill all your action/adventure Shonen needs!
If you feel overwhelmed with that number of recommendations, I recommend them in this order: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Avatar the Last Airbender, Inuyasha, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, One Piece, Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Seven Deadly Sins.
If you still can not decide, start small with Avatar, Magi, or Demon Slayer, as they are not as big of a time commitment as the others on the list.
As far as which one compares the best to Hunter x Hunter, I would have to say that One Piece does the most due to the similarities between Luffy and Gon, as well as the outlandish nature of the fights and villains.
Overall, I hope that this list keeps you Shonen itch satisfied for a bit longer!
Which of these series is your favorite Shonen? Which one do you think is most like Hunter x Hunter? Let us know in the comments down below!