10 Anime Similar to 'Kimetsu no Yaiba'
Kimetsu no Yaiba, known in English releases as Demon Slayer, is perhaps the biggest hit of the 2019 spring season. Though it looks like standard shounen fare on the surface, its dark twists and convincing antagonists make it better than most manga. Plus, it's animated by ufotable, which basically guarantees that it'll be well-animated.
Sadly, the manga has just ended, but there is an anime movie announced for release in October 2020. If you've enjoyed Kimetsu no Yaiba and are looking for similar shows to watch while you wait for more, here are ten recommendations.
This fast-paced shounen series tells the story of two brothers whose mother is human, but whose father is literally Satan! The premise and plot are fairly dark, but there are plenty of lighter moments scattered throughout the series. Like many shounen shows, the plot isn't always very character-driven, but the characters themselves are likable and make a great team.
Unfortunately, the Blue Exorcist anime only ran for 25 episodes plus an OVA, so there's tons of unexplored material. Luckily, the manga continues the character development that makes the series so good.
Like Kimetsu no Yaiba, Tokyo Ghoul explores the boundaries between “human” and “monster” as the main characters fight to survive in an unforgiving world. While main character Ken Kaneki is compelling, female lead Touka Kirishima is even more well-written. Even the antagonists, the ghoul-hunting police known as the CCG, manage to be relatable.
Tokyo Ghoul's anime adaptation wasn't perfect, and some fans far prefer the manga to the four-season anime adaptation. There are major plot differences and the animation is sometimes flawed. Still, the anime-versus-manga comparison is a matter of personal preference, so why not try both?
Two young siblings on a journey, fighting morally complex enemies as they try to restore the younger sibling's non-human body – the similarities between FMA and Kimetsu no Yaiba are clear! Fullmetal Alchemist's various adaptations all tell an incredibly compelling story with well-written characters and rich worldbuilding. It's hard to find a single unlikeable character or scene. There's a reason why Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is consistently the highest-ranked series on MyAnimeList!
The original 2004 anime adaptation is excellent, but the plot veers away from the manga's storyline around episode 25. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the 2009 remake, is more faithful to the manga and is more revered by fans. The manga itself, of course, is also amazing. All three versions of the story are shorter than many shounen series, though the manga still spans 27 volumes!
The Fate franchise is full of rich worldbuilding and action, but that doesn't mean it skimps on the character development. Every installment of the main storyline and its spin-offs presents the characters with tough moral dilemmas and shifting alliances as the magical war for the Holy Grail rages on. While there are some harem tropes and predictable characters, the vast majority of the plot is focused on action and drama.
The original Fate/Stay Night is no walk in the park, but it's not as dark as its prequel anime, Fate/Zero. If you're in the mood for something dark after Kimetsu no Yaiba, Fate/Zero may be the place to start, but be warned: it's probably the darkest series on this list! You could also try the movie or TV series version of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, which tells an alternate version of the original Fate/Stay Night.
The team dynamics and family relationships of Blood+ are different from those of Kimetsu no Yaiba, and those seeking a traditional shounen story should look elsewhere. However, Blood+ is a mature, gripping tale that depicts an epic adventure with broad appeal. Saya is a solid main character, but the best characters are actually the supporting cast – especially her adopted siblings. As the plot takes darker turns, the story never loses sight of the relationships that made Saya who she is, even as she changes and grows. And, of course, there's a healthy dose of action and adventure to keep things moving!
Blood+ tells its story with a few different arcs and a timeskip in its 50-episode run. There are a few manga spin-offs, but they vary in genre and length.
Hunter x Hunter
At first glance, Hunter x Hunter looks like significantly lighter fare than Kimetsu no Yaiba. Main character Gon has a cute character design and is generally cheerful, and to a certain extent, his allies fall into well-known shounen archetypes. Over time, though, the characters' motivations and secrets come to light, making Hunter x Hunter one of the most compelling shounen series of all time.
With 146 episodes in the 2011 remake, it's easy to mistake Hunter x Hunter for just another tournament-filled shounen show, but don't let that episode count deceive you. The series remains riveting for its full duration, and manages to put fresh twists on every trope it uses.
This 12-episode show is entertaining, but it's a little lacking in character development and worldbuilding. Still, it's a great show to marathon over the weekend while waiting for more Kimetsu no Yaiba. The premise revolves around your typical sword fights and demons, but the drama and amazing plot twists allow this series to stand out from the rest.
Ga-Rei: Zero is actually a prequel to a manga, Ga-Rei, which follows the complicated and compelling tale of the two main characters from Zero while introducing a new protagonist. It's an excellent read if you enjoyed the prequel.
Claymore is a close fit to Kimetsu no Yaiba in terms of overall tone and themes. The young protagonist of Claymore, Raki, journeys with a half-demon warrior named Clare. Clare herself usually drives the plot, but Raki grows and matures alongside her. The worldbuilding is also incredible and surprisingly believable.
The anime adaptation of Claymore only ran for 24 episodes, and many of the manga's arcs were never adapted. The manga's art is beautiful and easy to follow, so if you enjoy the anime, definitely dive into the rest of the manga afterward.
This classic tale of a wandering warrior may be decades old, but it's still worth a watch. Though the plot and sources of conflict are a little simplistic at times, Kenshin's journey is well-written and compelling. If you can, watch the original story subtitled, since the dub isn't great by modern standards.
With 95 TV episodes and several OVA adaptations, Rurouni Kenshin has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, the various studios involved and gaps in the adaptations mean that the story becomes a little disjointed at times. The manga is revered as a true masterpiece of storytelling, especially since it addresses themes of peace and atonement.
This underrated gem of the samurai genre tells the story of two brothers who end up working for the Shinsengumi in feudal Japan. There's just one problem: the younger brother knows nothing about fighting! All he knows is that he wants revenge for his parents' death. As the story unfolds, the brothers and their new allies slowly grow and reevaluate their own paths. It's a fairly slow-paced show, but it's still an entertaining watch.
Peacemaker Kurogane manages to tell a solid story in just 24 episodes, though the manga is also worth reading if you're so inclined. Even better: a new two-part anime film adaptation premiered in 2018!