New anime series against the big three

In the world of anime, few have managed to achieve the success of Bleach, naruto and A piece. These three shows have become behemoths in the medium, with few shows managing to attract as many viewers and readers as they did, earning them the title of the “Big Three” of the industry. shonen anime.

After their success, many anime/manga “imitators” tried to repeat their formula, but they were almost never much more than temporary competitors. However, there have been a few shows to come out in recent years that have seemingly broken this trend. Rather than trying to recapture the feel of any or all of the “Big Three” shows, they seem to have learned from their example and attempted to create something fresh and new, yet still somewhat familiar. In this way, these shows have become like spiritual successors to the classics.


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Naruto – My Hero Academia


my hero academia

Probably the most obvious to any viewer, my hero academia acts as the perfect successor to naruto. For many fans of naruto, it was hard not to notice the similarities between the show almost immediately. They both present a young boy of mediocre ability with the potential for greatness if given the proper training and support. They also both introduce rival characters that motivate the protagonist to grow stronger as well as a strong and friendly supporting cast. They both even have evil organizations run by a timeless old enemy.


That being said, my hero academia somehow managed to distance itself from its obvious inspiration. Every time he’s given the opportunity to have a similar storyline, he finds a way to go in a completely different direction. Instead of having a situation where protagonist Izuku “Deku” Midoriya has to stop his rival Katsuki Bakugo from becoming evil like Sasuke did, Bakugo never lost sight of who he was when he was captured by mean guys. It created a very different dynamic between the characters that fans didn’t necessarily expect.

In many ways, my hero academia and naruto are two board games with exactly the same pieces but each game being unique and following a different set of rules from the other.


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Bleach – Jujutsu Kaisen


Jujutsu Kaisen manga cover

Although very different at a glance, Jujutsu Kaisen succeeded in filling the void left by Bleach after the anime was canceled and the manga ended in a way no other could. Featuring its own red-haired character who has a living monster inside of him and battles demonic creatures with supernatural powers, it’s easy to see the similarities between the two shows. That being said, that’s how it is Jujutsu Kaisen has managed to stand out from its worthy predecessor.

Bleach did a lot of good, but he also did a lot of harm and Jujutsu Kaisen had the advantage of learning from them in a way his predecessor never could. For example, Bleach hasn’t always done well with its female cast, usually using them as props for fan service or the tired damsel in distress trope (or both in Orihime’s case). Jujutsu Kaisen in contrast, has an incredibly strong female cast and gives them as much agency and respect as the men on the show, and sometimes even more.


The show also features a very dark atmosphere much like Bleach did, but probably leans into it a lot more. Bleach was dark in its own right, for sure, as fans will soon see in the Thousand Year Blood War arc set to be animated and released next year, but not in the same way. Jujutsu Kaisen revels in its darkness to the point that it sometimes feels more like a horror anime than an action anime. It gives the show a very unique feel, similar to how Bleach did for its watchers when it first aired.

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One Piece – Demon Slayer


Inosuke Zennitsu Nezuko and Tanjirou from Demon Slayer

This one is arguably a bit of a stretch, but in many ways demon slayer became a sort of successor to A piece. While in the last two examples the new shows shared a lot in common with their predecessors, in this situation it’s more about the role they each played. They both take an established story premise and manage to breathe enough life into it to be able to stand out from the rest of the competition. This is probably why they are each among the most successful manga to be released in recent years.


A piece is the story of a rubber boy who wants to become king of the pirates, while demon slayer is the story of a boy who wants to turn his evil sister into a human being. So far, nothing is really shared between the two, but oddly enough, that’s what they have in common. They each follow certain tropes that are in most shonen anime, but none strictly adhere to the established formula.

Both series feature stories that have a lot more lore and world-building than readers/watchers would initially expect, with stories from the past being key to victories in the present and future. The characters are also depicted quite realistically for the most part, which makes it easier to understand and understand their motivations. These two things combined help to make the world much more real and believable and therefore more enjoyable for the audience.

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Honorable Mention: Black Clover


This one is a bit tricky, as it no longer has an anime series, but regardless, it shouldn’t be ignored. Which makes black clover it’s important enough to mention that it could be argued that it succeeds each of the three great originals at once, which the other shows don’t really do.

He has the loud but lovable failure as a protagonist that can be found in naruto, as well as a prodigious rival character. It features dark elements as well as a literal devil as the source of the protagonist’s power which he wields through a sword, much like Bleach done, as well as dark themes without leaning too much into it. It even has the adorable crew who act more like a family than a team and some philosophical themes of class and inequality that are sometimes found in One Piece.

In more ways than one, black clover is a fusion of the Big Three, and a pretty good one at that. It sits somewhere in the middle of the three but in a way that allows it to stand on its own, even if it can get a bit too derivative of the shows it’s obviously drawn inspiration from at times.

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