If you found yourself caught up in the habit of watching Dragon Ball Super on a weekly basis, you’re probably still feeling a colossal void in your schedule. There was something downright comforting about following Goku’s journey, especially during the high-stakes final run through the universes-shattering Tournament of Power arc. Now that we’ve had some time to soak it in, the lack of Dragon Ball Super feels more deflating than ever.
Don’t let it get you down, though! While nothing can perfectly match the electrifying heights of Akira Toriyama’s world of Dragon Ball, there’s plenty of anime out there for those looking to scratch a similar itch. So, prepare your watch list accordingly, and get ready to commit to a few more ground-shaking journeys and the unforgettable characters that make them all worth taking.
Yoshihiro Togashi’s Shonen Jump manga may be in an eternal flux of on-again-off-again hiatus status due to the author’s health concerns, but 2011’s Madhouse adaptation is about as complete as it gets. Over the course of 148 episodes, our plucky and squat hero Gon Freecss goes from an aspiring Hunter to a battle-hardened warrior who has been through some serious stuff. He teams up with a few fellow Hunters along the way, and he’s going to need all the help he can get to overcome the increasingly dark and gruesome challenges that follow.
What Dragon Ball Super fans will love: As beautifully unique as its story, setting, and characters may be, Hunter x Hunter‘s Gon is about as close as I’ve gotten to that feeling of Son Goku’s initial adventurous excursion in Dragon Ball. It’s not just the jet black spiky hair; there’s a sense of wonder and limitless possibilities coursing through Gon from the very beginning of Togashi’s ongoing series. If you’re looking for similarly strong villains too, Hunter x Hunter has plenty to both love and loathe.
Way back in the Land Before Time, Hirohiko Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was a manga that was hard to picture being faithfully (and successfully) animated. Thanks to the triumph of David Production’s anime adaptation—from the brutal twists of Phantom Blood to the small-town vampirism of Diamond is Unbreakable—JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is finally a certified phenomenon with English-speaking anime fans. With a sprawling line of generation-spanning sagas that dip their toes in a variety of genres—with the eternal clash between the Joestar family and the vile vampire Dio at the heart of it all—there’s something in JoJo’s for everyone.
What Dragon Ball Super fans will love: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is perfect for those who love the world-hopping aspects of Dragon Ball. This goes doubly so for the third, and arguably most famous arc, Stardust Crusaders. A globe-trotting adventure from head to toe, this adventure is full of sinister enemies, buck-wild superpowers, and enough “OH MY GOD” moments to keep your tank full for the foreseeable future.
Like many sports yarns, George Morikawa’s Hajime no Ippo is the type of series that’ll have you hopping out of bed at dawn to do some heart-pumping roadwork. The story of the still-ongoing manga (around 120 volumes at the time of this writing) and its anime adaptation follows Ippo Makunouchi, a somewhat wimpy high schooler who is prone to bullying. Things evolve in a major way when he runs into middleweight pro boxer Mamoru Takamura, who changes his life with a simple trip to the local boxing gym. The rest, as they say, is sweat-drenched, belt-battling history.
What Dragon Ball Super fans will love: Even if you don’t care about boxing, Hajime no Ippo will hook you with its focus on the endless quest toward improvement. Just as Goku strived to challenge himself—never satisfied no matter how many impossibly strong opponents he faced—so too does Ippo continue to boldly step forward with boxing. Seriously, Ippo once inspired me so much I bought boxing gloves and headgear. To what end? The world may never know.
Manga author Yoshihiro Togashi finds himself on this list once again, and that’s simply because Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the best shonen series of all time. The battle-heavy tale of Yusuke Urameshi starts with… our hero’s death. In a move that’s totally uncharacteristic for Urameshi’s delinquent tendencies, he dies pushing a young boy out of the way of oncoming traffic. This selfless act also takes the Underworld by surprise, and Koenma, son of Underworld ruler King Enma, rewards Urameshi with an opportunity to get his body back. All he has to do is work as an Underworld Detective with supernatural powers; no biggie. Cue plenty of training, tournament fighting, and some of the most entertaining supporting cast members you’ll ever encounter.
What Dragon Ball Super fans will love: Tournaments are nothing new in the world of shonen storytelling; they’re practically mandatory. Yu Yu Hakusho goes above and beyond in this regard, though, and the explosive competitions that light up the screen should do wonders for the hot-blooded hearts of any Dragon Ball Super fan.
If you don’t know One Piece at this point, you’ve got a lot of watchin’ ahead of you. The saga of Luffy and the Straw Hats has been running strong since 1997, and if you read our strategy guide to getting into One Piece, you know it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Thankfully, the anime is worth the effort; you won’t find a better use of the classic shonen trope of friendship and loyalty, and author Eiichiro Oda’s character writing translates to the screen impeccably.
What Dragon Ball Super fans will love: There are plenty of big-name Shonen Jump staples you could put on this list, but some of them would be a stretch. Speaking of stretches (ahem), Luffy is the current long-standing candidate for the King of Shonen Jump, just like Goku was during his heyday in Shueisha’s magazine. The sense of grand-scale adventure, the camaraderie, and the high-stakes action are all present and accounted for. Best of all, you’re not going to have to worry about running out of episodes any time soon.