Best Anime Like One Punch Man – 12 Top Recommendations in 2021
The world of anime is as vast as it is strange — strange in wonderful ways, in exhilarating ways, and even in surprisingly profound and emotional ways. Anime, like many other forms of media, manages to tell the human experience and some fundamental truth about who we are as a collective of individuals through the most preposterous or outlandish reality conjured up by some very creative individuals.
Though no being has likely ever actually been a half-demon super-being or a mystically inclined wisp, we have all overcome some feat that felt impossible, or have experienced something out of normal and seemingly otherworldly.
One Punch Man is no exception to an insanely impossible universe reflecting some of the most real struggles we carry in our lives. There are many reasons to love One Punch Man.
Following the terminus of an anime can leave a few feelings, including an absolute craving for more, or an emptiness longing for more. Regardless, a show so loved can only beg the desire and pursuit of that understanding and exposure to a new but relatable experience, that refreshing feeling resemblant of the first watch.
Rest assured, we understand that feeling. For the following, there are 12 recommendations with briefings (not containing spoilers, though!). While this is a long list, it is varied with some shows being more similar to One Punch Man, but also some shows to diversify the eclectic world of anime and its pleasant ever connecting tangents.
With so much to explore, you have to start somewhere. It is also important to add that the order of the list is not in some ranked order, but the best recommendations are towards the end, as well as an explanation regarding the reasoning.
The list is as follows:
- Mob Psycho 100
- The Disastrous Life of Saiki K
- My Hero Academia
- Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoi Yo!! Masaru-San
- Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
- Assassination Classroom
- Concrete Revolutio
- To Be Hero
- Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Why One Punch Man Stands Apart
What makes One Punch Man such a wonderful Anime show is that it takes such an exaggeratedly overpowered character, and grounds him to a level anyone can relate to. In the world of superheroes and anime protagonists — especially in shonen anime — overpowered characters can occasionally become watered-down to very strong individuals who face mild struggle. Perhaps they fight incredible enemies, but the struggle within is not always addressed.
Saitama is riddled with constant underappreciation from his fellow citizens and struggles with the realities of being as powerful as he is. For someone who is supposed to have it all, Saitama is a relatively normal man with the same emotions and self-reflections we all find in ourselves.
The shows mentioned will have some aspect of One Punch Man in them. There is the overpowered super being, the self-realizing inner character development, a cast of characters who highlight the foils and layers of the main character, comedy in the form of parody for the genre, and of course similar bouts of action and excitement.
Mob Psycho 100
Shigeo Kageyama is the teenage protagonist of this show. This is another creation by One Punch Man creator, ONE. The show features another overpowered super-psychic being who is forced into living an ordinary life as a means to stifle his inherent ability.
The show is very similar to One Punch Man in the sense that there are lots of slice of life moments and themes, while also having a lot of comedy scattered throughout the series.
Shigeo is also very similar to Saitama in the sense that both characters really share a sense of calmness amidst adversity. That is not to say that the characters do not struggle, but rather that both demonstrate an incredible and level-headed resolve.
This characteristic is what makes Saitama so relatable and inspirational, and Shigeo shares that same virtue. Seeing their growth as super-beings follows a very tandem experience throughout, and as such comes highly recommended for shows to watch following One Punch Man.
Another brilliant aspect of the show is the very whimsical and almost dreamlike moments the show can have. The supporting cast of the show also very excitingly keeps the pace fresh full of twists and turns and there is a real sense of development that occurs in a familiar way to One Punch Man.
Overlord is another anime featuring a series of hyper-powerful and overpowered characters. The show revolves around Overlord, an MMORPG player who is stuck inside the game world after the gaming service terminates its servers, and all of the trials and tribulations he faces. While the characters are overpowered, there are many instances of grounding those characters into palatable and relatable notions.
Overlord is socially inept and not actually endowed by magic powers and skills, but is rather like anybody else, but through the character he inhabits, his humanity is enhanced through the abilities the game provides him with.
One of the greatest features and strengths of the show is the immense supporting cast. Very few characters feel out of place or undeveloped, and there are many opportunities to fall in love with one of the side characters, as the show is written very well. The show itself tends to be comedic.
Though there are much more effortless fights than in One Punch Man, the show loses no sense of substance by developing the villains often better than one punch man. What results is that the villains become personally despicable, with the immense action and brutality providing a sense of relishing closure, something not always prevalent in One Punch Man.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K
The mouthful of a title is a show about a series of strange and always fresh adventures regarding the protagonist, Kusuo Saiki. The character is once again like Saitama in the sense that compared to those around him, he is a superpowered godlike being.
More similarly, Saiki is a relatively normal boy born to normal parents and having a normal life with the expectation of all the adventures he finds himself dragged into. Moreover, his powers are limited by various arbitrations, keeping him from being too overpowered for too long, and avoiding the watered-down tropes of super beings.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K is similar to One Punch Man in the development of its side characters. You will want to learn just as much about Saiki’s friends as you will about him, and his friends are easily one of the best plot enhancing aspects as they are involved in many of his adventures.
The show also tends to run on the side of very strange and whimsical animation moments, which really works for the show and draws in a lot of wonder for certain episodes. It is fresh and exciting, and the adventures are so varied that there are hard moments to be bored by. The episodes are also incredibly short, which is an extra incentive to check out, as there is little to lose, but so much to gain.
Gintama is set in a world where extraterrestrial invaders inhabit the same lands humans roam in. The protagonist Gintoki Sakata finds himself in a series of strange tangentially-tied adventures along with a slew of friends and companions.
A complete trouble maker, this anime differs from One Punch Man but is a fun show nonetheless (if, of course, action and overpowered individuals living their daily lives is of interest to the viewer). The show is crude and raunchy at times, but very comedic in nature and is a good segue out of One Punch Man.
It is not all far from One Punch Man, however. The show contains scores upon scores of side characters who all see development and really bring out the attention from Gintoki, and create memorable moments throughout.
Much like One Punch Man, the side characters draw attention to the main character through their differing perspectives, but also draw the viewer in because of their unique characteristics.
My Hero Academia
Protagonist Izuku Midoriya, or Deku, is a teen boy who wants to be a hero. Much Like Saitama, Deku is obsessed with the act of helping others, of seeing action, of fighting for what is right, and having a role beyond his own self. Both shows employ well what it means to be a hero. Do power and strength make a hero, or does sheer will and character make the hero?
With Saitama, you have a man who is a hero regardless of his powers. Having been bold, Saitama realized his true power early on in the series but was a hero before he ever found out his nature.
For Deku, we have a hero who so desperately wants to be like someone resembling Saitama, but has found himself powerless, lacking the physical manifestations of a traditional superhero. Fortunately, fate winds its way into Deku’s reality when he has endowed a Hero to be his companion for the series.
While not as overpowered, Deku is certainly a force to be reckoned with. The show deals a lot less with slice of life aspects, and more with a strong and more dramatic storyline. But while not incredibly similar to One Punch Man, it is incredibly enjoyable to watch and makes for a good transition into the world of shonen anime.
Not to worry, as the show isn’t all drama; there are also moments of comedy, and good side character developments made. And if action fights were exciting in One Punch Man to you, My Hero Academia has some of the best-animated fights in anime in general.
Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoi Yo!! Masaru-San
An older less well-known anime, this is definitely a venture from what a One Punch Man appreciator may be used to. Nonetheless, if you can find this hidden and obscure gem, it will be a pleasant reward.
One Punch Man pokes a lot of fun at traditional shonen tropes and themes throughout, especially with its villains, and some of its side heroes, but not quite as whimsically as Sexy Commando Gaiden.
Perhaps the most differing recommendation on this list, this anime is for those who seek belly laughs paired with action-adventure, as well as a hyper-powerful main character.
While the philosophies of the two shows may differ, and even their parodies differ, both take different roles on what being a super-powered being could be outside of the common characteristics shonen tend to attribute to them. As another reiteration and side note, there are many funny scenes and catchy themes that will stick for days weeks, and years to come.
Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is another mouthful title, but similar in nature to Sexy Commando Gaiden. Both are parodies of the shonen anime and as such are hilarious to watch. If comedy is your foray, then look no further for a more modern and accessible comedy piece.
The show revolves around a joke and theme of villains who cut people’s hair against their wills, and one brave soul and his friends who oppose it. The ever-powerful Bo-bobo is a very powerful super-being much like Saitama and other shonen anime protagonists but lacks the same level of inner struggle and philosophy carried by One Punch Man.
The show is more like every satirical moment in One Punch Man, elevated to 11, and carried throughout the show’s entirety. The show does not delve deep into the psyches and struggles of the characters so much as it focuses on having fun and ridiculous battles, many of them fought with nose hairs and other farces.
Regardless, the show is recommendable for its comedy alone, and if one isn’t quite ready to head the route of traditional shonen anime like Dragon Ball Z and others.
Assassination Classroom is another anime that may not necessarily be incredibly similar to One Punch Man, but is absolutely a great show to watch for many reasons. The show revolves around the class 3-E, full of delinquents and special individuals, and their task to kill their teacher — the unkillable Korosensei.
The teacher of class 3-E fulfills the role of a dual citizenship protagonist and antagonist character. The teacher destroys the moon and threatens to do the same to earth, but instructs the class in all personal and educational matters of life, while also testing the students’ growths in their pursuit to kill and defeat him.
In a sense, as the students grow to respect and even value their teacher, they must remember that he is the enemy and ultimately an unfortunate soul they must learn to end.
There is a bounty placed for whoever can best the yellow squid-like Korosensei, which only makes matters more complicated. Better trained assassins enter the spotlights and really push the students to their wits, and don roles of antagonists themselves, despite ultimately also having the same goal of killing Korosensei.
What makes the show worth a look is that there are plenty of exciting action scenes. Korosensei is anything but killable, and his arsenal of powers is showcased brilliantly throughout. Much like One Punch Man, the show manages to make the most of the wide hosting and varieties of characters that are introduced throughout the series.
Many of the students feel like whole characters, and the complex role Korosensei plays is worth the watch alone. How do you fulfill a destiny to kill the person who has helped you so and made you the best you? How do humans overcome their pasts? What is true growth? The show ultimately develops its characters so well that one cannot help but find a super-kid they identify with.
Concrete Revolutio takes place in the future, the past, and the present. The show is centered around Jiro Hitoyoshi, a former agent to an organization that kept the world of superheroes in check. Like a United Nations of sorts, the Super Population Research Laboratory is charged with taking care of rogue heroes and villains.
Deciding to leave the bureau and bureaucracy of the organization, Jiro sets out to become his own boss and live life freely as a vigilante. What follows is his string of adventures and grapples with the hard hitting philosophies of life.
Concrete Revolutio is only somewhat similar to One Punch Man. It deals with superheroes, and it deals with the ordinary struggles of everyday life. On one hand there are the heroes and villains that need to be dealt with, but on the other hand, most of the internal combats and struggles stem from Jiro himself, and those he interacts with.
The show grapples heavily with what is right and what is wrong, and through its narrative, seems to drag in the viewer to ask themselves the same questions, or at least postulate what they would do if given the chance.
The show overall is colorful, but some have described the show as messy or not well developed. To each their own, but the only true way to discover whether this is a gem or a gamble is to check it out for oneself. If superheroes and philosophy are what drew you into One Punch Man, this anime is certainly worth considering.
To Be Hero
This one is in the name. This show is exactly like One Punch Man! Well, not quite, but it shares many similarities. The next few anime in the list all have very tangential similarities to One Punch Man.
While not exactly featuring overpowered characters and animation styles, it is ultimately the shows’ philosophies that warrant intrigue and a watch for those who appreciated every aspect of One Punch Man’s storyline.
To Be Hero revolves around struggle. The show is certainly about a hero but focuses more on what makes a hero. To Be Hero revolves around Uncle, a sly, raunchy, self-absorbed, and overall despicable father who sells toilet seats and lives the high life, while his family lives in emotional and societal squalor. He is as attractive and seductive as he is sleazy, and life goes well for him, while his daughter and wife struggle to stay afloat.
When he has sucked down a toilet seat comedically one day, he is granted powers and undergoes a great transformation into Earth’s hero. The caveat is that he becomes a grimy and obese sleazeball who is unrecognizable. Gone are his halcyon days, and so the struggle to accept reality sets in.
Following a divorce, the new superhero struggles to find balance with scales he tipped through his poor character. His desire to turn a new leaf with his daughter is tarnished by the new mistakes he makes due to his transformation, and he finds out what it truly means to be a hero whether it be for his daughter or planet earth.
This show is a good segue into a refreshing storyline because it is a short series, but mostly because it follows a parallel to One Punch Man. Both Uncle and Saitama are transformed in their processes to becoming heroes, and both realize their lives remain full of struggles that no amount of physical power can resolve with blows alone. Instead, they both find themselves addressing the portions of their lives that need repairing all while they help save the world time and again.
This is a more traditional shonen anime, but why not? Naruto might be a traditional and popular anime, but it is popular for a reason. Focusing around Naruto Uzumaki, the show follows the quests and destinies of Naruto and his friends and enemies made along the way.
Naruto is a super being and often comes close to being overpowered, and so do his friends and adversaries. The show is action-packed and has very emotional drama while still maintaining a healthy and vibrant level of comedy scattered throughout.
While not very similar to One Punch Man, the show develops its side characters well. If Genos felt well developed and real to the viewers, so will Sasuke and many others. There are many equivalents of side characters littered gratuitously throughout Naruto, enough to keep the story interesting and to leave you wondering where your favorite supporting character will go.
Finally, Naruto deals a lot with the notions of the roles one must face, and the burdens carried by superbeings. Naruto only ever wanted a family, and Saitama only ever wanted to be a hero with a challenge.
Both find their powers messing up those desires, and both take different approaches to handling those realities. For Saitama, it was always remaining level and optimistic. And for Naruto, it’s about an explosive nature that winds up making things worse. Naruto is worth the watch.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure follows the tragedy-wrought lineage of the Joestar Bloodline, with each protagonist being replaced periodically. Revolving around the eponymous bizarre adventures, a wide cast of well-developed side characters face off against rather traditional shonen villains.
The characters aren’t all that overpowered compared to many of the other heroes on this list, but there are lots of extravagant fights with characters who match each other’s statures and create a unique balance of rivalry.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is similar to One Punch Man in the sense of creating a cast of side characters who each have their own motivations, stories, philosophies and growths, while still highlighting the protagonist and evolving over a journey of fisticuffing with enemies.
Furthermore, both anime answer differently how destinies affect their protagonists. For Saitama, his powers and immense abilities necessitate that all villains go to him, for the Joestar bloodline, each protagonist learns to overcome their destiny of wandering into their enemy by fate.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a show that is refreshing and different from many traditional shonen anime. The protagonists switch with every season, and each new storyline keeps the greater arc of the series fresh and palatable.
The show also features very unique fights and powers and deals with various themes such as how to forgive someone who is truly evil, what makes humanity persevere, what toll do serial killers take on a community, and whether human destiny exists with the ability to alter it.
Which Anime Should You Watch?
With something as subjective as drawing similarity and recommending a work of art based on those similarities, it is impossible to avoid potentially skipping over what could otherwise be a gem to an individual. What makes a show truly enjoyable is the effects it has on the viewer.
That being said, while there is no rank, there is an easier method of classifying the shows into two categories: shows most like One Punch Man, and shows that would be a new and refreshing tangent for those who liked the freshness of One Punch Man.
For shows most like One Punch Man, they will include the overpowered main character trope and some semblance of inner-character growth and insight.
Mob Psycho 100
Mob Psycho is a show incredibly similar to One Punch Man, and it makes sense as to why. The anime was made by the same creator and deals with many similar themes regarding the inner struggles of a human being with such power.
Overlord deals with an ordinary person with powers way beyond them that they can’t seem to actualize themselves with. Much like with One-Punch, Saitmama is physically attached to his powers, but may as well be dissociated from them.
Concrete Revolutio deals with many of the same internal struggles as is thematic to One Punch man. While the main character is not grossly overpowered, he does share in powerful tendencies.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K
Another overpowered main character dealing with the struggles of wanting to live a more fulfilled life, Saiki is a great character to delve into if Saitama was a favorite. And once again, the episodes are absurdly short and simple.
Gintama is a comparable show if what you are looking for is a solo chill guy who has powers toppling all others.
To be Hero
To be Hero is the last show recommended that greatly reflects One Punch Man. The circumstances are different, but many details go the same route for either show. Both feature a normal man who undergoes a great superhero transformation in such a way that leaves them just as desolate internally as before. Both characters also learn through their adventures growth as individuals who retain and create valuable meaning through experience.
The rest of the shows are still worth a watch in every sense. My Hero Academia has some of the best fight scenes of sheer power and extravagance. Naruto has a long storyline full of what friendships mean and what one’s chosen family represents and signifies in their life.
Assassination Classroom explores what it means to grow out of delinquency into confidence and maturity, while also exploring the gift of teaching. Sexy Commando Gaiden and Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo both are a non-stop riot poking fun at how absurd shonen anime make their characters and feature some killer soundtracks.
Finally, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and its protagonists divulge and approach the different faces and nuances of what “good” looks like; as well as what it means to have a destiny and overcome fate through free-will. These shows all have stellar fight scenes and combat dynamics that are downright bonkers and will keep you interested the whole way through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Saitama is a human being. There are references to reiterate that he is a human being throughout the series; however, he is an elevated human. Having broken the limitations of the human physical experience, his resistance has increased immeasurably, as well as his strength and overall feats. He is a human with superhuman attributes.
Answer: One Punch Man saw roughly a 4-year gap between seasons 1 and 2. The show’s popularity is immense and will likely see a third season renewal. Unfortunately, there have been no official confirmations as to if or when a third season will be produced. Due to Covid-19, more delays are to be expected.
Answer: There are many reasons why Goku could beat Saitama, as well as why Saitama could defeat Goku. Being from two arbitrary fictional worlds, and having no definite way to measure not only ability but most importantly their potential, both are subject to a fan’s understood preference.
The reason for this is that both characters seem to have limitless potential. Very simply, Goku can continue to train and become more godlike, as well as utilize his dragon balls as a backup. For Saitama, his power is already beyond conventional measurement, and being a limitless individual, there is very little capping to his potential. As such, both forces are difficult to determine and would likely just evolve into an explosive stalemate with one knocking the other over until the other overcomes and vice versa.
Answer: Before Saitama became the unbelievable super-being he was, he had already had a solid workout regimen. A simple workout for a superbeing, the actual workout is a tough workout for average citizens. The workout consists of a base-10 repetition system. Simply put, it is 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and 10 km of running every day for seven days a week. Don’t work out 24/7, however, as the body will always need rest.
Anime is a brilliant world of animation that finds a way to reflect some human truths about us. With One Punch Man, we learn that power of many forms does not contain meaning in and of itself. We learn that friendships are some of the purest experiences we can take a part of.
There will always be monsters in supervillains of material and nonmaterial shapes for us as humans. When we choose to fight the battles within is when we become true heroes and super beings. We hope this list helps, and that the anime you watch will teach you something new about yourself.