8 Books/Manga like Dragon Ball
The original Dragon Ball is a timeless classic. It harbors the wacky and wonderous adventures of Goku and his friends when they were all a bit younger. The manga series was created by Akira Toriyama. The series was serialized for Shueisha’s shonen manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump from 1984 to 1985. It’s an incredible action-packed adventure with enough comedy to make you laugh.
If you’re in the mood for more action-packed adventure manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 8 books/manga to check out when you’ve finished reading Dragon Ball. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
One Piece – Eichiro Oda
Similarities – Action & Adventure
One Piece has made quite the name for itself as it holds the mantle for being the best-selling manga in history. With its whimsical world, memorable characters, and engrossing narrative, it offers a pirate-themed adventure that’s unmatched in the eyes of many manga and anime fans.
This manga follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew as they set sail across a vast ocean called The Grand Line. Their mission is to find the One Piece, a treasure hidden at an undisclosed location by the current Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. Upon finding One Piece, Luffy hopes to become the world’s new Pirate King.
Underneath its childlike exterior lies a series built upon tragedy, angst, and sadness. Luffy and his friends will visit some islands that are dealing with issues involving unruly kings, enslavement, and child experimentation. This manga does a fantastic job at building upon its current cast and ones who’ll only stick with Luffy for a specific timeframe.
With its excellent foreshadowing elements, twists, and action bits, One Piece is a wonderful manga worth reading.
666 Satan – Seishi Kishimoto
Similarities – Characters & Adventure
Not many people know about Masashi Kishimoto’s brother, Seishi. Unfortunately, 666 Satan isn’t as well-known as Naruto considering the series never received an anime adaptation to promote it. It’s a manga with some stellar action scenes, phenomenal characters, and a decent storyline. The series falls short of balancing the action and information drops, though.
There will be times when everything feels clumped together and overwhelming. Sometimes the protagonists don’t appear for 3-4 chapters which are 50 pages in length. However, if you can overlook those subtle issues, you’re in for a fun supernatural action series with deep themes and lore. Our tale takes place in a futuristic world where humanity battles for ancient relics called O-Parts. Only certain people can harness the full potential of the O-Parts and those that can are deemed O-Parts Tacticians (O.P.T.s).
These devices can be used for good or evil purposes, though. That said, our story revolves around a youngster named Jio, who values cash like no other. Unbeknownst to Jio, he’s a powerful O.P.T. with a sleeping demon inside him. Eventually, Jio meets a girl named Ruby, and the two venture off on a quest to discover as many O-Parts as they can. Like Dragon Ball, this is colorful adventure fans won’t want to miss despite its narrative issues.
Ranma 1/2 – Rumiko Takahashi
Similarities – Martial Arts & Comedy
Rumiko Takahashi is valued as one of the greatest female mangakas of all time. She’s known for her expertise in romantic comedy-driven works like Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2. Many argue she set the gold standard for many romantic comedy manga writers to follow because of how well-written her stories and characters are.
While Dragon Ball doesn’t delve into romance as much as Ranma 1/2, both series contain remarkable similarities in the comedy, character, and martial arts departments. Like Goku, Ranma 1/2’s protagonist Ranma Saotome is a martial arts prodigy who finds himself suffering from a supernatural dilemma that can alter his appearance.
While it isn’t as barbaric as Goku’s Great Ape form, it still provides Ranma with multiple issues like harassment. Essentially, Ranma has the power to transform into a woman after falling into a cursed spring. He can only revert to his former self by getting splashed with hot water. Ranma even gets set up to marry a famed martial artist’s daughter.
Although Goku’s not forced to marry ChiChi, many fans will adore how Ranma’s getting set up with a royal-like figure too. Anyway, the manga delves into Ranma’s partnership with his soon-to-be spouse, Akane, as they fight numerous villains and seek new love interests. This manga features some incredible slapstick and gag humor reminiscent of the content you’d find in Dragon Ball. Akane and Ranma’s journey will remind folks of Goku’s adventures with Bulma, despite Akane sharing similarities with ChiChi.
Kinnikuman – Yudetamago
Similarities – Action & Comedy
If you thought early Dragon Ball was outrageous then you haven’t seen anything yet regarding Kinnikuman. Many may recall this being called Ultimate Muscle in the west. This manga starts off comedic but gradually grows into something serious and action-centric the further you dive into its storyline.
The storyline itself has a lot to be desired, though. The series is known for having many plot holes that don’t tie together nicely. The over-the-top nature of its content might turn people away. It’s one of those mangas that you’ll either grow to appreciate or dread binge-reading. However, if you can overlook its faults, then you’ll find yourself enjoying what this series offers.
Hajime No Ippo – George Morikawa
Similarities – Well-Drawn Fights & Comedy
Hajime No Ippo is an incredible story about a kind-hearted boy who strives to become a formidable boxer. Even if you don’t enjoy the sport, you’ll find Ippo’s journey satisfying. With a slew of motivational segments, incredibly drawn fights, and well-written characters, Hajime No Ippo has all it needs to be a formidable piece of work for fans to read after Dragon Ball.
Aside from the action, Hajime No Ippo offers humor on par with what you’d find in Dragon Ball. From sensual humor to funny interactions, this manga delivers some emotionally impactful lines that’ll make you tear up from laughter or sadness. Ippo’s character feels identical to Goku’s concerning his never-give-up and kind-hearted attitude and striving to become a formidable fighter.
However, it’s important to note that Hajime No Ippo feels more grounded than Dragon Ball. Although some fights feel like the characters are displaying supernatural feats, every bout feels grounded in realism. Don’t expect Ippo to turn into a savage beast or to knock someone out with a superpowered punch like Nintendo’s Little Mac. If you’re okay with a more realistic boxing anime with a well-written plot and memorable cast then you’re in for a treat with Hajime No Ippo.
Bleach – Tite Kubo
Similarities –Characters & Action
Bleach harbors a creative power system, distinct character designs, and epic battles that are on par with Dragon Ball’s. Its narrative feels more complex and has twists that’ll make your jaw drop. This series’s protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki has the same mindset as Goku when it comes to protecting his friends from people who wish to harm them.
This manga begins with a deadly creature attacking Ichigo when he’s at home. Ichigo receives help from a soul reaper named Rukia who informs him about the Hollows. Unfortunately, Rukia’s strength proves nothing against the might of the Hollows. Rukia bestows Ichigo with her power, allowing him to vanquish the creature.
With his newfound powers flowing through his veins, Ichigo must defend his home from many looming threats. Like Dragon Ball, Ichigo and his allies will continue developing into capable fighters after each bout. Whether it’s attaining a new form or learning a new attack, fans can expect Ichigo’s growth to feel natural like Goku’s. With cunning villains and mind-numbing twists lying in wait, Bleach is a wonderful manga to start after Dragon Ball.
Naruto – Masashi Kishimoto
Similarities – Action & Themes
Masashi Kishimoto owes a lot to Dragon Ball for setting the groundwork for his and others’ works to follow. Naruto and Goku feel a part of the same mold in many ways. Both characters embark on journies that’ll take them across many different parts of their world. Naruto never journeys alone, as he’s always accompanied by his master or friends when taking on missions.
The Naruto series also features familiar shonen tropes. From tournament-centric arcs to call-out attacks, Naruto and Dragon Ball aren’t too far off from feeling like identical series. Mind you, the characters in Dragon Ball are far beyond those found in the Naruto universe. However, these characters fight for similar causes and are heroes in the eyes of those around them.
For those unaware, Naruto is an action-adventure anime about a knucklehead ninja named Naruto Uzumaki. He starts off as an arrogant prankster who’s belittled by his fellow villagers. Many despise him for his behavior while others hate him for harboring the terrifying Nine-Tailed Fox, Kurama. This is a beast that once laid Naruto’s home, the Village of the Hidden Leaf, to waste in the past.
Against the odds, Naruto dreams of becoming his village’s Hokage (king/ruler). The battles in this series are intense like Dragon Ball’s. Villains will push Naruto and his allies to their limits, helping them grow as ninjas and fighters. This series features some ounces of comedy that range from slapstick to sensual-themed humor. If you enjoyed seeing Goku develop into his adult years, you’ll find Naruto’s quest equally enjoyable.
One Punch Man – ONE
Similarities – Action
Although many adore the One Punch Man anime, the manga written by ONE and drawn by Yusuke Murata is equally enjoyable. Like Dragon Ball, this series features phenomenal artwork, exhilarating fights, and humorous characters. It follows a lonely hero named Saitama, who can defeat any foe in front of him with one punch.
While some would love this power, Saitama dreads it. Despite working hard to obtain this strength, Saitama finds fighting foes tedious and bland. He continues living a mundane life until he meets a cyborg hero named Genos. Genos informs Saitama about the Hero Association, a place where many of his world’s best fighters gather to tackle heroic missions and claim fame.
To attain a better reputation for himself, Saitama accepts Genos’s offer to register with him, in exchange for taking the cyborg on as his pupil. Thus the series follows Saitama and Genos as they work their way to becoming heroes worshipped for their strength and courage. This is a series filled with well-drawn fights and unique character designs.
Fans will adore the numerous heroes present in this series. They harbor abilities that will blow your mind. Although Saitama can defeat foes in one punch, there will be some that will push him to his limits. If you’re wondering who can go toe to toe with a man like Saitama, I suggest giving the One Punch Man manga a shot.
So there we have it, our 8 books/manga to read after you finished your helping of Dragon Ball.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!