Dragon Ball is one of, if not the most popular anime of all time.
It has a simple yet compelling story that can take hold of anyone’s interest and never let go. It also prides itself on its many intense action scenes.
Seriously, you’ll very rarely get an episode where there isn’t any fighting or training. Then again, the fast high-octane pacing might be what hooked us into DBZ in the first place.
But let’s not forget the most important element that made it so great. I’m talking about the characters, of course, which are all memorable and iconic in their own ways.
With that said, what other anime series should you check out if you liked this masterpiece of an action/martial arts anime?
Here’s our top recommendations for similar anime that DBZ fans might like.
To start with, we have Baki — a show that captures several of the certain engaging elements that makes Dragon Ball a good watch.
Like Dragon Ball, it also has a ton of good fight scenes, training scenes, eating scenes, and a hell of a lot of muscle-bound characters.
I mean, there probably isn’t a single recurring character (except for Kozue and Baki’s mom) who aren’t completely jacked to the bone.
That’s how you know there’s going to be a slugfest every single damn episode.
If you’re a fan of ripped guys beating each other to a bloody pulp, and a main character that’s hell-bent on getting revenge, this one’s for you.
Kingdom might be a bit of an unconventional entry for this list.
After all, it’s based on a real historical event about the unification of a country. And it’s not really all that “Dragonball-like” in the sense that the main character Shin doesn’t fight aliens and gods on a daily basis like Goku does…
With that said, Kingdom still comes as an easy recommendation for me because of the action-heavy theme that’s been woven into its fascinating story.
Shin might not start out as the strongest at first.
But through overcoming certain trials and tribulations, he’s on his way there.
13. Dr. Slump
Instead of Saiyans, humans, and whatnot, how about a show that has a robot as its leading character?
Most Dragon Ball fans probably already know this show since Dragon Ball Super aired a hilarious collaboration episode with it.
And from that episode, some of you might’ve already guessed what kind of show it is.
Dr. Slump is not exactly a series that focuses mainly on fighting or action in general, unlike Dragon Ball.
Instead, what it has is Toriyama’s particular brand of comedy that’s prevalent throughout – especially in Dragon Ball’s earlier episodes— only that it’s dialed up to 11 in Dr. Slump.
A show with a badass MC and a lot of intense bloody fight scenes?
Who doesn’t want a piece of that?
While I recommend this one for the more mature anime fans, I think this anime is a brilliant masterpiece that everyone should try at least once in their lifetime.
Heck, I even recommend you to read the manga since it’s just so damn good.
Furthermore, the series is not just about Guts’ fights and him beating overwhelming odds with a badass scowl on his face.
This show also explores themes such as camaraderie, betrayal, trust, and companionship, like none other anime in its genre.
11. Seven Deadly Sins
It’s obvious that the current adult Goku and Meliodas don’t resemble each other much.
The latter looks like a boy who’s still in grade school, after all.
But believe it or not, Meliodas shares a few of Goku’s traits – except the physical ones.
They’re both strong, stubborn, and more often than not, calm and easygoing to the point that not everyone might expect that they can obliterate their opponents if they get serious enough.
This goes double for Meliodas, as he turns to a literal demon. Then it’s really time to play.
Remember Goku’s first Super Saiyan transformation against Frieza? The one where he’s actually mad and scowling?
Meliodas more or less captures that intimidating aura whenever he goes full demon.
The only difference is, he most probably won’t be naive enough to spare any opponents when he’s in that form. (*cough Unlike what Goku tried to do with Frieza on Namek *cough)
Did you enjoy seeing the Z Fighters’ progression throughout the series?
How about all the training and day-to-day scenes that come in between the fights?
If yes, then have I got quite the recommendation for you.
When it comes to character progression, there are very few anime that are on the same level as Naruto.
Like Dragon Ball, this series started when Naruto was a still child, and further dives into how he develops his strength and overall character as he grows old.
And in the end, we fans were finally rewarded by seeing that all the training and suffering Naruto went through eventually paid off.
And in this anime, you can actually see the main characters age as time goes by – unlike the Saiyans in Dragon Ball.
Of course, with a few notable exceptions, such as Tsunade and Orochimaru who both use anti-aging (hax) abilities.
9. Hajime no Ippo
Ippo might not be able to hurl energy beams or spirit bombs at his opponents.
But he’s still one anime MC you wouldn’t want to mess with in real life.
And even if he could do those things, I’m pretty sure they would be illegal inside a boxing ring.
The hypothetical notion of Ippo learning ki and becoming a Z-Fighter aside, there are a lot of things to love about this series.
It has a phenomenal progression-based story with memorable characters, a realistic portrayal of sports, and a main character that’s chasing a big dream.
What does it mean to become strong?
It might sound like an easy question at first. But you’d be surprised as to what lengths Ippo would go through just to find his own, definitive answer.
8. Kengan Ashura
This show gets a lot of heat for being Baki’s “copycat”.
But I personally disagree with it being a straight-up imitation.
It does have several elements that are very pronounced in Baki – like the nonsensical abilities and feats of “human” characters, the tournaments, and the severe excess of muscles.
But then again, it still presents its main characters and explores its story in a way that’s vastly different from most of the titles in its genre including Baki.
Besides, Ohma is nothing like Baki.
In fact, he’s instead a pretty much laid-back guy like Goku who just really loves fighting to the point that he would literally die for it.
I would suggest giving it a watch if you want to see what I mean.
7. Yu Yu Hakusho
This series is one of the older titles in this ranking, featuring the tried and tested “weak-to-strong” anime trope.
And damn does Yusuke get so frickin’ strong.
In Dragon Ball, we have watched Goku and his friends get stronger episode after episode, and fight increasingly strong enemies along the way.
This is exactly the same case for Yu Yu Hakusho, which also features one of the best tournament arcs I have personally ever seen in anime.
If you liked Dragon Ball’s Tournament of Power segment, and its early Martial Arts Championship days, then Yu Yu Hakusho is most definitely worth checking out.
6. History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi
Kenichi might not possess Goku’s trademark child-like innocence and naiveté.
But that just makes this anime better in some ways.
This series, at its core, isn’t that far off from Dragon Ball when it comes to the flashy battles and the side characters that rival even the MC when it comes to their likeability.
But unlike Dragon Ball, it isn’t afraid to sprinkle in fanservice here and there.
Well, a lot actually.
If you’d be a fan of a slightly more raunchy Dragon Ball-type action storyline, then this series should hold a very special place in your watchlist.
5. Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken
If you’re an intensive RPG fan like I am, then I’m sure you’ve definitely heard of the Dragon Quest franchise.
Maybe you’ve even played some (or all) of the installments yourself!
To which I say ‘good for you’. The games are actually pretty darn good, and I’m sure a certain author of a series that you’ll see further down this list would agree.
(Spoiler Alert: It’s Togashi Yoshihiro a.k.a Hunter X Hunter’s author/gamer extraordinaire.)
Now a few of you might not know this, but Akira Toriyama is actually a huge influence as to why the Dragon Quest franchise turned as great as it did.
He is, after all, one of its writers. And I’m sure you’ll see glimpses of Dragon Ball here and there if you watch the anime adaptations of the games.
All in all, I recommend Dragon Quest 10/10.
Both the anime and the games, of course.
4. One Punch Man
You’ve probably heard of this show and Saitama before, right?
And I’m guessing it might be from somewhere that discusses whether who among him and Goku could beat the ever-living daylights of each other.
Although these two MCs might often be pitted against one another, One Punch Man isn’t actually that much different compared to Dragon Ball.
It has great well-animated fights, several hilarious and relatable side characters, and a brilliant comedic theme that’s perfect for even the most casual of anime fans.
Hell, they even got a bootleg Piccolo who got stomped in the very first episode.
Now that’s a Dragon Ball reference if I’ve ever seen one!
Toriko might just be the closest to Dragon Ball in terms of its theme and art-style choice.
Moreover, Toriko almost exactly mirrors Goku as a character, now that I think about it.
Both of them are heavily muscled, likes a good fight, stubborn, easygoing, and more importantly, they’re two of the most well-known gluttons in anime history.
Seriously, these two could probably take out an entire KFC branch’s supply stock if they ever decided to have an eating competition.
While it’s a shame that we might not get to see more Toriko episodes, there should be no doubt that there are a few good similarities between it and Dragon Ball.
While it lasted, at least.
2. Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter, in my opinion, is like the slightly more serious version of Dragon Ball that’s surprisingly led mostly by two kids — Gon and Killua.
It has thrilling fight scenes, training montages, and a whole lot of scenes where the main characters get beat up despite them improving at every turn.
Simply put, it’s similar to Dragon Ball in the sense that there’s always a harder challenge or a bigger and badder villain that awaits after every victory.
Whether it be space aliens or man-eating ants, it doesn’t matter for these two shows.
They’re always throwing conflict towards their main characters with very few breaks – which is why I think you’ll love Hunter X Hunter if you loved this aspect of Dragon Ball.
1. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Believe it or not, this show is more than just the memes.
JJBA, much like Dragon Ball, is the epitome of anime shows that will make you grind your teeth and make your blood pump faster with non-stop action and ass-kicking.
Regardless of whether it’s the villain or the protagonist that’s getting their ass kicked.
At the same time, it also sports the same brand of humor and hilarity that made Dragon Ball an easier watch for even beginner anime fans.
JJBA doesn’t take itself too seriously most of the time, so to speak.
But just like in Dragon Ball, you will really appreciate those few times when it actually does.
I know I did.