Crunchyroll's hit new action anime Demon Slayer (or Kimetsu no Yaiba) has already established itself as one of 2019's fan-favorite anime shows. It features a charming cast of characters with innovative visual design, creative action sequences, and a tangible setting of early-1900s Japan modernizing rapidly by the day. Demons, magic swords, mountain castles, and semi-modern Tokyo (complete with cars!) are the norm here.
Demon Slayer recently concluded its first electrifying season, and a feature-length film is also on the horizon. Until a second season of this anime arrives, what are some similar Shonen titles that fans can watch to whet their appetite for stylish anime action? There's a lot to choose from. Let's consider ten well-established titles in the same vein as Demon Slayer.
Out of the ten anime titles on this list, Rumiko Takahashi's Inuyasha may be stylistically closest to Demon Slayer. Both shows feature a fantasy Japanese setting, magic swords and weapons, cool outfits, stunning backdrops, and most of all, vicious demons big and small!
The half-demon titular character roams feudal Japan on his quest to destroy Naraku, his lover's killer, and he's got a merry band of adventurers backing him up. One of them is Kagome, a modern girl who fell into a time vortex in an old, dried up well.
This is another widely popular Shonen title with a lot of overlap with Demon Slayer. They're almost cousins, in fact. In both series, you get a teenaged boy (Tanjiro, Ichigo) whose family is threatened by monsters, so both boys take up the way of the sword and fight the forces of evil. Both series feature strong Japanese themes (such as Bleach's rustic Soul Society setting) and enchanted words galore.
Most characters have a Shikai or even a Bankai alternate form in their sword, such as ice dragons, fire, assassination blades, or even swarms of sharp cherry blossoms. The Bleach anime covers most of the major arcs, and the manga has recently concluded with 686 chapters, all action-packed.
8 Yu Yu Hakusho
This is an older anime action series, dating back to the early 1990s, but it's a beloved staple of the genre. In fact, evidence shows that it inspired many elements of both Bleach and Naruto later on. So, what's the story of Yu Yu Hakusho? We meet a high school punk with a good heart, Yusuke Urameshi, who is killed in an auto accident when he saves a child's life.
Impressed, the underworld's bosses hire him as a supernatural investigator, and he rallies some minions to his side, such as his classmate Kazuma and the scheming demon Hiei. Together, they will fight the forces of evil, and every battle is edge-of-your-seat action.
7 Avatar: The Last Airbender
Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender is produced mainly by Western studios, but it draws heavily from anime visuals and storytelling methods, and it's been a fan favorite since the early to mid 2000s.
Viewers are introduced to a rich, pan-Asian inspired setting where benders can control the four classical Greek elements, and the almighty Avatar can wield all four. 12-year-old air monk Aang launches a quest to defeat the villainous Fire Lord and end a century-long war that has ravaged the world, and plenty of action, comedy, and vital life lessons are found along the way.
6 Samurai Champloo
The short but popular anime known as Samurai Champloo shares a setting Demon Slayer: early 1900s Japan that is seeing rapid modernization, where cars and telephone poles coincide with yukata robes and roadside Shinto shrines.
This anime is a work of art, forgoing plot or major life lessons in exchange for a whimsical, almost dreamlike adventure as the three heroes set off to find a missing samurai who "smells like sunflowers." You never know what this anime will throw at you next, and there's plenty of cool sword fights and stunning setpieces, too.
The setting of D.Gray-Man differs somewhat from Demon Slayer, being set in late 19th century Europe for the most part. But still, it checks off many of the same fantasy action boxes that Demon Slayer does. Here, we meet the tough orphan boy Allen Walker, who uses the power of magical Innocence to destroy Akuma monsters that erupt from innocent people without warning.
Allen is a boy of a pure heart, and like Tanjiro, he fights tirelessly to protect the innocent and vanquish evil. And like Tanjiro, Allen joins a dedicated monster hunter organization. In this case, the gothic-inspired Black Order, which has branches all over the world. No rest for the wicked!
4 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
This is another juggernaut in the Shonen world, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime with adventure, rich world building, vivid characters, and most of all, clever action scenes and a lot of science and philosophy.
The artist, Hiromu Arakawa, delved deep into real-world mythology and alchemy concepts to create this narrative, and in it, we watch the Elric brothers on their quest to restore their mangled bodies. Along the way, they meet terrifying homunculi and learn that their entire nation of Amestris may be involved in a sinister plot...
3 My Hero Academia
My Hero Academia is among the most recent on this list, and like Demon Slayer, it is currently updating (season 4 is underway as of this writing). Meet Izuku Midoriya, a 15-year-old who was born with no quirk, or no superpower.
But that doesn't dampen his heroic spirit, and once the pro hero All Might gifts him the quirk known as One For All, Izuku's quest begins! He enrolls in UA, a school for heroes in training, and he gets his first taste of battle much sooner than expected. Villains chafe under a society ruled by heroes, and Izuku and his classmates soon have their work cut out for them.
2 JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
Hirohiko Araki's manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has thrilled readers since 1987, and in 2012, an anime adaptation was launched. This classic series follows not just one hero, but the entire Joestar family, starting in the Victorian era with Jonathan Joestar. Jonathan gives his life to fight the forces of evil, including his foster brother turned vampire, Dio Brando.
In 1938, Joseph Joestar resumes the quest and vanquishes four terrifying Aztec demigods, and in the 1980s, Jotaro Kujo and his allies trek from Japan all the way to Egypt to slay the vampire overlord DIO once and for all. With a legion of cool characters and magic powers (stands), exotic settings, and great drama and humor, there's something for everyone in this truly bizarre adventure.
1 Dragon Ball Franchise
Akira Toriyama stands among the manga/anime giants with his smash hit action series Dragon Ball and its many descendants, such as Dragon Ball Z and now Dragon Ball Super.
In this high-voltage franchise, heroes such as Goku and Gohan fight muscle-bound bad guys and monsters from outer space, and every battle is a titanic clash of will that can alter the very landscape! But this series balances it out with some truly inspirational characters such as Goku himself (a Superman analog) and his family. Evil will never win as long as the Super Saiyan heroes have anything to say about it!