Surprising absolutely nobody, My Hero Academia‘s season 5 has been confirmed to be in the works. The shounen franchise’s popularity has been nothing short of overwhelming, with the heroes, villains, and world all leaving mostly positive impressions on viewers. According to the teaser including in season 4’s finale, the next batch of episodes should focus on Midoriya Izuku’s One For All Quirk.
Even if shows like Dragon Ball and One Piece have their superpowered heroes, anime is not necessarily known for its superhero franchises, outside of a few properties. However, the sub-genre has produced its share of gold over the years. Here are some series worth watching while waiting for My Hero Academia‘s next season to debut.
One-Punch Man and Devilman Crybaby are obvious recommendations, which is why they will not be included in this article.
10 Tiger & Bunny
In Japan, Tiger & Bunny needs no introduction; in the west, the anime never quite managed to replicate the same levels of success as My Hero Academia or One-Punch Man. This mostly comes down to the main heroes – the jaded Kotetsu T. Kaburagi and the young Barnaby Brooks, Jr. – looking like they belong in a mecha series rather than one revolving around superheroes.
Set in New York City, Tiger & Bunny envisions an alternate reality where a few select individuals developed powers, with some becoming superheroes. In this universe, the hero business is treated like, well, a business. The biggest superheroes have sponsors, they compete in a reality show-esque competition, and the best hero is crowned as “King of Heroes.” Tiger & Bunny‘s world is not all that different from that of My Hero Academia, only with the focus being on professional heroes rather than students.
9 Punch Line
Punch Line can initially be off-putting. The premise revolves around Yuuta Iridatsu, a teenager who can become a spirit that grows incredibly strong after seeing a pair of panties. However, if he sees another pair after already “unlocking” his potential, the world will be destroyed.
The premise is ludicrous and the first few episodes devote too much time to hit-and-miss humor; thankfully, Punch Line picks up a lot of steam during its second half, as it explores its likable characters and absurd but ultimately engaging mysteries. For a superhero show, Punch Line does not offer consistent action, but it makes up for it through sheer personality.
Zetman is held back from greatness due to trying to stuff too much material into just 13 episodes, resulting in a story that feels like a bullet point version of the manga. Despite its flaws, 2012’s series still has flashes of brilliance and two interesting leads who have wildly different ideologies when it comes to justice and the role of a superhero.
The anime launches with a battle pitting Jin Kanzaki against Kouga Amagi, before flashing back to show how these two people ended up in this situation.
7 Astro Boy
Be it the original 1963 anime, the 1980 color remake, or the 2003 iteration; Astro Boy delivers timeless characters and engrossing action. The 1963 adaptation is considered as the first anime series, while Astro Boy‘s manga and adaptations helped shape the shounen genre. The franchise also left a big enough mark outside of Japan to spawn a 1987 American comic series and a 2009 CGI movie.
Astro Boy‘s age might cause some to hesitate from giving this classic a try, but that would be a shame. The 2003 anime, especially, holds up really well.
6 World Conquest Zvezda Plot
What if the League of Villains were My Hero Academia‘s protagonists? That is kind of the central concept behind World Conquest Zvezda Plot, an anime that revolves around Zvezda, an organization seeking world domination. They are opposed by the government-run White Light, this society’s version of superheroes.
Now, in all fairness, Zvezda’s members are about as wicked and threatening as a litter of kittens, with most of their “villainous” acts being more about showmanship than actually causing harm. With a decent sense of humor, a lovable bunch of villains, and a solid story that plays around with conventions, World Conquest Zvezda Plot is a fun superhero anime with a twist.
In a dream mashup, Stan Lee teamed up with Bones to create an anime adaptation of the Marvel legend‘s superhero-themed manga. A bullied boy picks up a broken robot toy that, to his surprise, turns into an actual hero after being struck by lightning. Although there have been a few anime series based on Western properties, Heroman is an original concept that fuses elements of both Eastern and Western cultures, to mostly satisfying effect.
Heroman is quite a straight-forward action series that harbors back to classic robot anime while also sprinkling elements of American superheroism, with the latter being quite similar to My Hero Academia.
4 Astro Fighter Sunred
Going in a completely different direction to every other entry on this list, Astro Fighter Sunred is a parody of the superhero and sentai genres. As the beacon of justice, Sunred is stuck in a seemingly never-ending struggle to protect the defenseless from the sinister schemes of the wicked Florsheim organization, led by the cunning General Vamp.
While they embrace their roles in the public eye, Sunred is an overly violent thug who is anything but a model hero; conversely, General Vamp and pretty much all of Florsheim’s troops are modest and friendly. They just happen to occasionally schedule battles with Sunred to try and take over the world.
3 Gatchaman Crowds
Science Ninja Team Gatchaman debuted all the way back in 1972 and has received quite a few anime sequels, remakes, and new productions over the years. Gatchaman Crowds is a reboot of the franchise that delivers a fresh spin on the concept of heroes, one that revolves more around social media rather than intergalactic threats, although the latter is not completely absent.
Gatchaman Crowds takes place within Tokyo and centers around the Gatchaman, a group of heroes who hide their identities and protect the world from the shadows. The anime explores whether that traditional type of superhero still has a place in modern society.
2 Samurai Flamenco
Masayoshi Hazama wants to be a superhero but lacks any form of superpowers. Unlike Deku, Masayoshi is not gifted abilities; despite that, he decides to try and be a superhero by donning a costume and hitting the streets at night. Eventually, his identity is uncovered by a policeman, who ends up being inspired by Masayoshi’s sense of justice.
Samurai Flamenco is a complicated anime that starts out as a grounded superhero series before transitioning into super sentai territory and becoming more fantastical. That shift tends to be quite divisive, but this is nevertheless an anime that deserves a watch.
A rare anime adaptation of an American comic book that does justice to the source material, Witchblade is an adult-oriented series with a memorable protagonist, a strong mystery that runs through the entire anime, and a dark almost post-apocalyptic setting.
Initial impressions may suggest Witchblade‘s prioritizes lie with excessive violence and titillation, but the anime’s story does have a decent amount of depth and is quite unique for a superhero series. With the use of a strange bracelet, Masana Amaha can transform into the Witchblade, an extremely strong entity whose power is sought out by governments and corporations. Amaha just wishes to use the Witchblade to protect her daughter.
While waiting for My Hero Academia to return for season 5, here are 10 superhero anime that should help fill the void.