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Love it or not, one of the smash hit (pardon the pun) anime series of the last two years is My Hero Academia.
Personally, this is one of my favorite recent anime. I adore the range of characters that the series takes on. It handles a massive amount of characters in a comprehensive way that leaves the viewer craving more from every episode.
As of writing this article, season four has finished and season five is on the way. Recently a teaser has been released that even hints at another movie for the franchise, which is great news for the hardcore fans like myself.
If you finished season four and are not a manga reader, then unfortunately you have still got a few months until season five drops, and in the meantime may need a new anime to obsess over.
In this article, I detail some of the series that I used to fill the My Hero Academia void between season releases.
As usual, I will give the best summary possible for each anime while trying to limit spoilers, save for the first episode or two.
Let us not waste any time and jump right in!
My Hero Academia
For those who need a little refresher of My Hero, it is a superhero-based series that takes place in a slightly futuristic alternate reality where superpowers are more common than not.
Eighty percent of the population has some type of power passed down from their parents.
These powers are deemed “quirks” and regularly accepted as a normal part of everyday life. Some people, however, have powerful abilities that exceed what a “normal” person can do.
These exceptional individuals have the choice of—if they have the drive and passion—going into the superhero profession. Others, of the more dubious sort, can even go into the crime world and become villains if it suits their fancy.
It is here we meet the young protagonist Izuku Midoriya, a quirkless middle school student who is determined to become the number one hero no matter what.
In this society, a person rarely becomes a hero if they do not have a quirk, so the odds are stacked against young Midoriya from the start. That is until he runs into his favorite superhero All Might.
All Might is the current number one hero and is lauded for his unification of hero society as well as his reputation as the pillar of peace.
After running to face a villain who has captured his childhood friend, Katsuki Bakugo, he proves himself capable of being a hero to All Might.
From here he gains extraordinary abilities from All Might and begins his journey to become the number one hero, all while training at the esteemed UA High School for heroes.
It is at this school that he will forge his path and hone his abilities.
Along the way, he meets an ambitious group of young heroes just like himself, and together they become stronger while facing off with fearsome villains intent on causing havoc.
This list needs to start with one of the original stories of powerful young people training to become realized adults, Naruto.
Naruto is a pillar in the genre as well as for the anime scene as a whole. Even people who do not know anything about anime have heard about Naruto.
In this series, Naruto, a young misunderstand boy, is seeking to gain acknowledgment from his village and become not only a powerful ninja but also the Hokage. The Hokage is the title for the leader of his village.
He is ostracized by his village because a fearsome fox called Nine-Tails is sealed inside of him, thus why he is determined to prove himself.
With these high aspirations and desire to prove the village wrong, he begins training with some of his peers to become a ninja.
Sasuke is a moody, loner who excels in the art of the ninja, but lacks social skills. Sakura is a boy crazy girl with an overreactive personality who is head-over-heels for the mysterious Sasuke.
At first, their team is uncoordinated and distractible as they constantly feud with each other.
But this unlikely team begins to complete missions and find their rhythm. They find their cohesion under their sensei Kakashi Hatake, an extremely skilled ninja in his own right, and prove themselves worthy as ninjas over time.
From here they need to complete the ninja exam to be certified.
During their journey, they face dangerous organizations, rogue ninjas, and each others’ bickering to reach the top. The story unfolds gradually, showing how they are all intertwined to each other one way or another.
A wonderful classic to have playing in the background, or to binge-watch through the night. There is plenty of content with an astounding 700+ episodes to view if you include the sequel series Shippuden as well.
Or if you are truly desperate for more Naruto, take a chance on Boruto, the sequel series that follows Naruto’s kids.
Dive into this classic on US Netflix.
- Fun ninja narrative.
- Cool powers.
- Unique, distinctive character design.
- Fleshed out world.
- Silly humor breaks up the heavier parts.
- Backstories matter and help intertwine narratives.
- Fight scenes are intense and high stakes.
- There is a character for any type of fan.
- The series is finished.
- Some of the characters are boring.
- Naruto can be grating, as can some of the other characters like Sakura.
- Fights can be drawn out.
- There are a ton of episodes, so it is a time commitment.
- The animation is a bit older.
- There is a sequel about Naruto’s children; the animation is lacking, and the story is just okay.
Attack on Titan
As far as comparable titles go, you may be surprised to see this series on the list. Attack on Titan is a far cry from the lighthearted, inspirational tone of My Hero Academia. However, this does not mean that it does not compare in some ways.
I opted to include Attack on Titan because it has similar themes to My Hero Academia regarding the characters and their journeys as they strive to achieve their goals.
The story takes place in a dystopian future where humanity lives in a massive wall-encircled city, divided into districts based on class and status.
These walls serve to protect what is left of humanity from giant, monstrous humanoid cannibals called Titans. Titans are seemingly mindless and feed on humans with abandon, never sating their hunger.
They manage to flee as the Titans wreak havoc on the outer ring where they used to live.
Now refugees of this great tragedy, they sign up for the Survey Corps, hoping to strike back at the Titans and retake the outer ring.
The Survey Corps is a branch of the military specifically for fighting, studying, and killing Titans.
While they go through their training, they meet other like-minded individuals and start to unravel the intricacies that tie humanity to the Titans.
Intense and action-packed, guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Stream this anime on Hulu to catch up on the last three seasons before the fourth one drops!
- Intense fight scenes.
- Intriguing plot.
- Training arc.
- Motivated characters.
- The series is not yet finished, but the final season is set to air soon, December 2020.
- Conspiracy arcs.
- Creative, compelling world-building.
- Excellent animation.
- Wide variety cast of characters.
- Each battle has stakes.
- Characters stick together and push each other towards their respective goals.
- Lacks humor.
- An extremely serious tone.
- Very heavy topics.
- Lots of death.
- Lots of gore and violence (if you do not like disturbing imagery avoid this show).
- The English dub is not great, so if you like dub it may be a challenge to watch.
Mob Psycho 100
I absolutely had to include this anime, as the main character Shigeo Kageyama, aka. Mob reminded me of Izuku from My Hero Academia in tons of ways.
This anime follows young middle school protagonist Mob, who at first seems completely unremarkable due to his bland behavior.
However, despite his mundane nature, he is an extremely powerful esper. An esper is a rare person who has psychic abilities.
For him to keep control of said abilities, he needs to keep his emotions in check, hence his overall bland, socially awkward demeanor that he constantly displays.
To try and control his powers, he works as an assistant to a con man claiming to also have psychic abilities.
From here he keeps encountering trouble that requires him to use his powers, despite his hesitancy.
As he develops, he finds out which emotions allow him to control his abilities and which ones make them go haywire.
Along the way, the audience is constantly reminded of his endless compassion as he struggles with using his powers against enemies.
Both his compassion and trouble controlling his abilities are very reminiscent of Izuku.
Mob Psycho 100 is a fun series that surprises and engages the viewer.
You can locate this series on Crunchy Roll.
- Well-rounded protagonist.
- Interesting take on psychic powers.
- Characters grow from their mistakes.
- Action-packed face-offs.
- Unique setting.
- Distinctive character design style.
- Great animation.
- Some episodes are a bit boring.
- There are a few anticlimactic moments.
- Mob’s hesitation to fight is a good character flaw but sometimes makes for uneventful fights.
- The style can take getting used to.
- Only 25 episodes are available.
Bleach has been mentioned in another one of my recommendation articles, but I could not help including it in this one as well.
Like My Hero Academia, it focuses on trying to balance the responsibilities of powers with that of normal school life.
It also hits on the idea of students discovering their powers and supporting each other as they grow and develop these abilities.
If you are looking for a time-passing anime, this is another one like Naruto as it has over 300+ episodes.
Ichigo Kurosaki was a normal high school student, that is until he picked up the title of soul reaper and now must protect humanity from angry spirits called Hollows.
Soul Reapers are an elite organization of protectors that defend humanity from soul-feeding Hollows. They hail from the Soul Society, which is essentially the land of the dead.
Ichigo trains his newfound skills to become a worthy Soul Reaper while his classmates discover their own unique abilities.
Together they support each other as they unlock and harness these skills to defeat various villains.
Like Naruto, this is a classic Shonen that is easy to follow and enjoyable to watch.
You can start this anime on US Netflix.
- Ichigo has a punk-type personality.
- The friend group is explored through their dynamics with each other.
- Backstories add to the plot, not take away from it.
- Uniquely designed villains.
- It has a blended setting of contemporary and fantasy.
- Tons of engaging characters.
- This series remains unfinished.
- The story strays from the original manga.
- There are lots of filler episodes.
- Some of the arcs feel pointless to the overarching plot.
Little Witch Academia
After seeing a witch named Shiny Chariot, Atsuko determines that she wants to pursue becoming a witch despite her nonmagical background.
It is her goal to show the world that witchcraft is still a magical and lovely practice, despite it falling out of use and magic across the world waning.
Alongside Akko and her magical-filled journey are her two roommates and friends Lotte and Sucy who help each other with their goals. Whether it be practicing flying with brooms or gathering ingredients for potions, they stick together.
Akko is reminiscent of Izuku in her motivation to become a witch. In addition, her naïve ideals about the wonders of magic also remind the viewer of Izuku’s ideals about being a hero.
Overall, Little Witch Academia is a wholesome, sweet anime that sparks magic for the viewer in its animation style and storytelling.
Start this anime on US Netflix.
- Short time-commitment.
- Beautiful animation.
- Cute characters.
- Sweet humorous moments.
- A cast of distinct characters that have chemistry with each other.
- Colorful design and art style.
- Pacing is odd at times.
- Lotte and Sucy fade into the background as the story progresses into the larger arc.
- The main plot takes a bit to get momentum and really pull the viewer in.
If you can not tell by now, one of the main factors that I am using to compare other anime to My Hero Academia is the school/training trope.
Blue Exorcist is one of these shows that falls into this category.
Meet Rin Okumura, a teenager who finds out he is the son of Satan. Yes, Satan. Oh, and he also has a twin brother.
Both brothers had a human mother, but despite this, Rin inherited some of Satan’s powers, making him a half-demon.
Determined to defeat his “dad”, Rin enrolls at the True Cross Academy to learn how to become an exorcist.
The True Cross Academy is a branch of the True Cross Order, an organization that secretly protects humanity from demons.
At this school students are taught the skills they need to destroy demons to protect humanity via exorcism.
Joining him in his journey is his brother Yukio, who trains him on how to be an exorcist.
As the story progresses, he meets other students and most of them become friends, all the while hiding his demon nature.
Together they push each other to do their best during their training.
Rin’s goal is to hone his abilities at the academy so that he can defeat his “father” Satan and punish him for the terrible acts that he has committed against Rin.
A great laid-back watching experience to help with the Shonen itch.
You can binge-watch it on US Netflix.
- Has a unique idea behind the series.
- School setting.
- Interesting side characters.
- Solid animation.
- Fun humor.
- Not a huge number of episodes.
- Sweetheart protagonist.
- Great dubbed voice acting
- Episodes in the middle are a bit slow.
- Emotional conflict is rushed.
- Predictable in its execution of tropes.
- Plot holes are noticeable.
- Characters are not deep in their motivations.
- The show had a soft reset of events in season two.
- The show is unfinished.
Honorable Mention: One Punch Man
I put this anime as an honorable mention because the only thing it really has in common with My Hero Academia is the superhero aspects, everything else is not super comparable.
Join Saitama, a once normal man who, after implementing a strict workout regimen, is now the most powerful person in the world. He is on a quest to find a worthy opponent who can survive than one of his punches.
Ever since he finished his workout routine, he can defeat anyone with a single punch. It does not matter if they are a hulking villain with insane powers or an extraterrestrial god, they will fall to a single blow from this remarkable man.
As he is always disappointed that his foes fall after a single punch, it takes him time to determine if the disappointment is worth the effort of a fight.
After a fortuitous encounter with a cyborg named Genos, he joins the Hero Association to perform deeds to help the villain plagued cities.
Despite the general populous remaining unappreciated for his power and contributions to their safety, he still helps when he feels like it.
An excellent, comedic romp that satirizes the politics of heroes and the epic battles they face in Shonen anime.
Jump into this show on US Netflix!
- A funny take on hero tropes.
- Hilarious villain interactions.
- Dynamic fights.
- Good animation.
- Unique villains and heroes.
- Interesting superpowers.
- Because of Saitama’s strength, the fights lack stakes.
- The villains do not seem strong, though the series indicates there is a power scale.
- No hero or villain compares to Saitama, so they feel underpowered.
- Some of the villains are lame.
- The series can be repetitive.
Answer: In my very bias opinion, I do believe it is an excellent anime, possibly one of the best ones.
Answer: Anything on this list will be a good place holder till season 5.
Answer: If you like Naruto and My Hero Academia, then anything else on this list would be a good fit for you!
Answer: Personally, I would have to say yes. My Hero Academia has more layers than Naruto and the characters are more engaging to me.
Answer: No, the movie was not canon. It is a separate side story overseen by the author of My Hero.
Answer: You can find it on Funimation and Hulu.
Answer: Yes! It will be coming out in the spring of 2021! There is even a teaser trailer out already.
The list is complete! There are seven other series to fill you My Hero Academia itch until the fifth season is released in spring of 2021.
Out of my list, if you are looking for protagonists that are similar to Izuku, pick up Mob Psycho 100, Blue Exorcist, or Little Witch Academia.
However, if you are looking for a more school/training-based series go ahead and start Naruto, Bleach, or Attack on Titan.
If you are simply here because you are craving another superhero anime, One Punch Man is the show for you.
I feel that my go-to picks would be Mob Psycho 100, Blue Exorcist, Attack on Titan, Little Witch Academia, and One Punch Man. At this point in my life, I feel I just do not have the time available for humongous anime like Bleach or Naruto anymore.
What are some of your favorite shows from the list? Which ones do you think are the most comparable to My Hero Academia? Let us know in the comments down below!