Is My Hero Academia Better Than Naruto?

By Sydney Butler / March 10, 2021

Ultimately, comparing two shows in an effort to decide which one is "better" is doomed to fail. That's mainly because what's good is largely subjective. We love plenty of shows and movies that have utterly abysmal scores on Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes. Likewise, there are critically-acclaimed programs we can't stand. Yet, people keep typing "Is My Hero Academia Better Than Naruto?" into Google.

We suspect a lot of people who are searching for the answer to this question have already made up their minds about it. They're probably just looking for ammunition to use in forum flame wars. Still, under the charitable assumption that at least some of you want this to be played straight, let's dig a little into what makes each show tick.

Animation Quality

My Hero Academia is a hugely more recent show than Naruto. This is especially true if you compare it to the first episodes that aired all the way back in 2002! Even Naruto Shippuden ended not long after MHA first aired, so there's a pretty big generational gap in animation technology and quality.

It might be nostalgia talking, but we still think Naruto has great animation. Action scenes, such as the excellent Chuunin exam battles, still look pretty amazing, and there are plenty of mind-blowing sequences to be found in Naruto's multi-decade run.

In the end, however, we have to give it to MHA. It's got all the latest tricks and a tighter story to tell. Not to mention very little in the way of filler. At least for now.

Characters and Character Design

This is another tough comparison to make because both shows have very different art styles and aesthetics. Naruto has an incredible variety of interesting characters, detailed costumes, and an eclectic mix of modern and traditional Japanese fashion.

However, because My Hero Academia is essentially a superhero show, they don't have the same constraints as Naruto. With ninja, anime character designs all have to fit into the ninja (and sometimes samurai) aesthetic. There's no reason why the different MHA heroes have to fit together at all, so the creator can really have fun with wacky and cool designs.

While we absolutely love Naruto's characters and aesthetic, we think MHA has more freedom to surprise us and makes good use of that advantage.

World Building

Both shows offer us worlds with pretty unique core concepts, but in practice, MHA has a much more mundane and familiar feel. Everyone's a superhero, but their civilization is pretty much like any modern urbanized world.

Naruto, on the other hand, has to do some real heavy-lifting when it comes to world-building. It's a unique and fantastic mix of modern and feudal society - but centered around ninja villages and ninja magic as being the primary forms of military power. Yes, Naruto has some pretty big holes in its mythos. For example, why do cars not exist in a world with electricity, trains, and electronics? People just sort of run everywhere, and it's weird.

However, if you can look past some of the inconsistencies, Naruto offers a rich fantasy setting with a unique mix of Japanese and Western elements. For us, Naruto wins here easily.

Time Investment

There's no getting around it. Naruto has been airing since 2002 with hardly a break. Technically the show goes on with Boruto, but even if we only consider Naruto and Shippuden, that's a whopping 720 episodes to chew through. That's before you take all of the movies into account!

My Hero Academia is heading for its fifth season, and the mangaka has stated the end of MHA is closer than fans might think. So it's never going to be anywhere near as long as Naruto. Which, again, hasn't technically ended since the story continues in Boruto.

So here the prize goes to MHA since you can catch up on it quickly, and it doesn't have decades of fan culture and supplementary material to digest.

The Main Characters

This is perhaps the biggest question of all. When we're talking about Naruto vs. MHA, we might as well be talking about Naruto vs. Deku. After all, the protagonist is our main point of contact with the world and the story.

This is quite possibly where the two shows diverge the most. Naruto and Deku are two very different people with different backgrounds and motivations. Naruto is a kid who's been abused by his community for no reason he can figure out. So he's grown up to be a rebellious, annoying brat. He wants to reach the highest office in society to prove his worth to all those people, but he also exhibits a massive amount of character growth along his journey to realizing that dream. Though Naruto isn't very likable at first, we get to watch him turn into someone worth admiring.

Deku grew up with a loving, doting mother and also had a seemingly impossible dream, but his outlook on life and the world is very different from Naruto. Like any good character, Deku shows growth and faces adversity, but he has far more in common with Harry Potter than Naruto.

For our money, Naruto is the character with more depth and a more interesting journey.

So Is My Hero Academia Better Than Naruto?

Both of these shonen anime has enough broad commonalities that it's very likely fans of one show will also like the other. So whether you think one is better than the other, what's stopping you from watching both? Well, maybe you're having trouble with region blocking, but that can be easily resolved with a VPN.

Must Read: How to Watch Crunchyroll Online Without Geo-Blocks – Stream Anime From Anywhere!

We recommend starting with MHA since it's shorter and then tackling the long saga that is Naruto. It's an epic worthy of your attention and time, so there's no reason to choose one over the other when you think about it. You can watch Naruto and My Hero Academia on Crunchyroll.

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