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There is an incredible amount of well-known manga that influenced the 'Naruto' series (Image via Studio Pierrot)

10 times Naruto was inspired by other mangas

Going on for three decades, the Naruto manga has been one of the most iconic and influential franchises of all time. It shaped the childhoods of many otakus and paved the way for several ongoing series, such as Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen, to become successful mainstream shows.

This list will include various anime series that have influenced the creation and content of the Naruto manga in some way or another. Many of the mentioned franchises on this list range from mainstream masterpieces to underground gems, but they all serve an important role in making Naruto what it is today.


Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for each series listed and reflects the author's opinion.

Blade of the Immortal, One Piece, and 8 other series that influenced the creation of the Naruto manga


1) Hunter x Hunter


The Hunter x Hunter manga series recently came out of a three-year hiatus as Yoshihiro Togashi decided to get back into writing the series. Before going into hiatus, Hunter x Hunter was considered one of the most popular shonen mangas, and as the hiatus ended, the series rose to popularity once again.

Interestingly, the series had the most influence on the Naruto manga than any other franchise listed. Kishimoto explained that the Kurta Clan from Hunter x Hunter influenced in the conception of the Uchiha Clan. Meanwhile, the former's infamous Scarlet Eyes are known for being blueprints for the Sharingan as well.

2) Dragon Ball series

Goku, Yamcha, Puar, Bulma, and Oolong as they appear in the original Dragon Ball anime (Image via Toei Animation)

The Dragon Ball franchise is one of the original big shonen series that made anime mainstream. It follows the story of Goku and the other Z-fighters as they defend Earth, as well as the Universe, from unimaginably powerful foes and strange powers.


Kishimoto has gone on record detailing that the Dragon Ball series' protagonist, Son Goku, influenced a large portion of Naruto Uzumaki's personality. They are both fun, filled with energy, and heavily influence the characters around them. Moreover, their bright personalities were the reason why their main rivals abandoned the dark side and became good again.

3) Blade of the Immortal


Blade of the Immortal is one of the most obscure anime on this list despite being relatively popular in Japan. The 1993 manga series follows Manji, a special samurai with an interesting ability where the only thing that can kill him is a mysterious poison nobody has seen in years. After his sister's death, he became an immortal ronin (a masterless samurai) and vowed to kill 1,000 men on his journey for vengeance.

Kishimoto drew inspiration for the designs of Kakashi Hakate and Iruka Umino from Magatsu and Manji. This can be seen quite clearly as Kakashi reflects Magatsu's habit of covering half his face with a black mask. On the other hand, Iruka has a scar that goes across his face, just like Manji's.

4) Akira

Akira is an incredibly iconic anime film that both older and younger generations have heard of at some point. It follows the main protagonist Shotaro Kaneda as he journeys through a cyberpunk world after the Japanese government bombed Tokyo in 1988. The film features corrupt politicians, anti-government protestors, unethical human experimentation, biker gangs, and much more.


Although Akira did not directly inspire the content of the Naruto manga, it was the movie that motivated Kishimoto to write his magnum opus. The mangaka once saw a promotional trailer for Akira, which inspired him to begin working on Naruto.

5) One Piece


One Piece has been the undisputed king of the shonen anime genre for decades. This iconic franchise follows the story of Monkey D. Luffy as he travels across the world in search of the legendary One Piece while also aiming to become the next King of Pirates.

Kishimoto did not actually draw inspiration for the Naruto series from One Piece. However, he credits the intense rivalry between him and Eiichiro Oda that pushed him to work as hard on Naruto. This allowed the series to become incredibly successful throughout the time it was being serialized and aired.

6) Fist of the North Star

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Fist of the North Star was serialized in the 1980s with 27 volumes in total. The story follows Kenshiro as he navigates the Earth after an international nuclear war eradicates almost everyone and everything. With nearly all of humanity extinct and the environment contaminated with radiation, all Kenshiro has is Hokuto Shinken, a deadly martial arts form.

Although the plot of Fist of the North Star is different from Naruto's, Kishimoto was greatly influenced by the manga while growing up. He even mentioned once that Fist of the North Star was a part of the shonen Jump's "golden age" when he was younger.

7) Yu Yu Hakusho

The main cast of the Yu Yu Hakusho anime (Image via Studio Madhouse)

Yu Yu Hakusho is the second Yoshihiro Togashi series on this list and has had a significant impact on the Naruto series, just like Hunter x Hunter. The series follows Yusuke Urameshi as he discovers his true lineage as a demon and son of the King of the Underworld. Most of the manga takes place as martial arts tournaments and acts as the precursor to Hunter x Hunter.

The interweaving of both Japanese and Buddhist mythology throughout Yu Yu Hakusho inspired Kishimoto to incorporate the same elements in Naruto as well. Hiei's character also bears a similar resemblance to Sasuke Uchiha, even though he was not his direct inspiration.

8) Kerberos Panzer Cop

Kerberos Panzer Cop is a short manga series with only 10 chapters and two volumes. It takes place in a parallel universe of Japan as the government struggles to control rebellious factions across the country. The group leading this fight against the rebels is the Tokki-tai: Kerberos Special Armed Garrison. However, after defeating the rebels, Kerberos loses his trust in the masses and makes an important decision.


The manga inspired Naruto's mangaka to develop his own art and storytelling style. Hence, Kerberos Panzer Cop got the creative gears in Kishimoto's mind going as he was able to create a whole manga series once he discovered his unique art style.

9) Ghost in the Shell

Motoko Kusanagi as she appears in the Ghost in the Shell movie (Image via Production I.G.)

Ghost in the Shell is a cyberpunk/sci-fi anime movie that takes place sometime in the future in a technologically enhanced city. Motoko Kusanagi, the protagonist, is somewhat of a cyborg detective focused on tracking down and capturing a man known as the Puppet Master.

As a student, Kishimoto practiced his art skills by copying Ghost in the Shell drawings and comparing them to the actual thing. He also held the movie in high regard, claiming that it allowed Naruto to become as successful as it was due to its influence on mainstream media.

10) Ninku

Fusuke and his friends as they appear in the Ninku anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Despite his funny appearance, Fusuke, the protagonist of Ninku, is a master in both ninjutsu and kung fu, hailing from the Ninku school of martial arts. The series follows him as he and other masters fight against the Imperial Army to protect the legacy of the Ninku and protect their way of life.

Although not obvious at first, Ninku had a great influence on some important aspects of Naruto. Fusuke had a speical move known as the Kuatsuken, a spinning sphere of white energy. The art style bears its resemblance to Rasengan, Naruto's signature technique.

While the aforementioned 10 franchises have influenced Kishimoto in the world-building and character designs of Naruto, the mangaka had other sources from which he drew his motivations to enhance his magnum opus. On that note, let us know if there are any other franchises that Kishimoto has cited as the inspiration behind Naruto.

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Edited by
Priya Majumdar
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