Anime Vice News

The Holy Shonen Trilogy: What will replace NARUTO and BLEACH?

These two big shows are retiring soon. What other franchises stand a chance to fill their shoes?

As we pause to reflect on the year gone by, you also have to wonder about the year ahead and what it holds for us in terms of anime and manga. Something we know to expect are the ends to two super-popular shonen series: BLEACH and NARUTO. Together with Eiichiro Oda's ONE PIECE they form the Holy Shonen Trinity, delighting fans in both their manga and anime forms (and reaping the benefits of being the most popular franchises around).

So when those two seminal series end, what will step up to take their places? There are a few candidates in the running, but do they have what it takes to reach the divinity of the Trinity?


The brawling gourmet Toriko has been devouring the competition, doing quite well with sales of collected tankoban volumes and toys based off the franchise and the anime is going strong. But I can't help but think something's holding it back... perhaps it's the paint by numbers story, or the bizarre worshipful relationship that Komatsu has with Toriko. It may just be a power trip for younger boys, and that's ok, but does it have the mass appeal to be on top?


FAIRY TAIL operates as a sort of fusion between ONE PIECE and NARUTO. Take the visual style that could have been taken straight from Oda's pen and throw in sword n' sorcery combat centered around individual powers like the shinobi in NARUTO and you're getting close to FAIRY TALE. While telling stories neither of the other two stories do, FT might just be a little too familiar to the old guard to really stand out from the pack. We'll just have to see what happens when the anime starts up again in April, and in the meantime gorge on the 175 previous episodes of the first series.


Having restarted the anime in 2011, the adventures of Gon and his pals have now almost doubled the episode count of the original 1999 series and earned themselves a lot of love from Tom Pinchuk and Sam Weller in The Vice Pit. With over 30 volumes of manga to draw stories from, hopefully the dreaded specter of filler plot will be kept far away. This might have been the strongest contender for the crown if there wasn't a more massive, nay, titanic show that premiered this year...


While aimed at an older crowd, TITAN has been so well received it's impossible to ignore. I've heard people calling it "transcendent" in the way that it resonates with people who don't even watch anime. It's got action, pathos, intrigue, tactics... all that and a bag of chips. The only thing really keeping it away from the top slot is the fact that the anime studio is actually taking their time to tell the story faithfully with the manga, which means taking break for it to catch up. While this is great because that means there'll be no filler, the fact that it doesn't air each week could be a wall this titan can't kick down.

What other shows are in contention to join the Trinity? Give us a shout in the talkback below and let us know!

Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.

Destinyheroknighton Dec. 31, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.

Naruto and Bleach isn't ending anytime soon, it probably will take five more years or so

Any who, I believe it not going to be either of those you listed. I think a new Shonen Manga will take Bleach and Naruto place, not ones that already ongoing. So I will throw World Trigger into the hat, have great hopes for that series

Anyway, Attack on Titan and Kuroko's Basketball pretty much out selling Bleach and Naruto (also why it have to be action series?)

FoxxFireArt moderator on Dec. 31, 2013 at 5:19 p.m.

I don't know if anything could replace any of the trilogy. What made this trilogy special is that these three began only a year or so apart, they were strong series that were unique in their own ways, and they're all from a single publisher.

I don't think that's something that could be repeated. TORIKO is probably the best contender. I don't find it all that appealing, and the world is too similar to ONE PIECE, in the zany worlds setting. FAIRY TAIL is also very OP-esque.

What's ironic is that BLEACH started last but will end first.


Did you miss that BLEACH is well into the final arc of the series, and there is no way that will last five years. At most, late 2014 or early 2015.

NARUTO is obviously going to end soon. They've summed up way too much in a single arc. There are no loose ends left in that series.

I find WORLD TRIGGER to be far too generic. It starts off with so many cliches, and the monster enemy is uninspired. They all look like Hollow rejects from BLEACH. The cast, to date, is nothing more than little kids or old men. It's a zero in variety.

Destinyheroknighton Dec. 31, 2013 at 5:59 p.m.


Seeing how the fighting going, probably will go on until 2018 (for both)

I saying I have high hopes for it, series can always change. Also the villains are robots, they not design to look good :)

othus12on Dec. 31, 2013 at 7:02 p.m.

wait isnt this like a carbon copy of my thread? lol.

zaldaron Dec. 31, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.

@othus12: is your thread copyrighted? If so I can help you out ;). But then the bread and butter of this site is making money of the unpaid work of volunteers so....(why I have a problem paying money to get a membership to say Giant Bomb).

Oh and can we hope nothing replaces them and we move back to a different type of show that focuses on say philosophy and ideas as much as action?....yeah I we can't (sigh).

takashichea moderator is online on Dec. 31, 2013 at 7:20 p.m.


Don't say that, Zaldar. My teammates and I volunteer to provide content for the site.


I think they need to tweak HST's definition because the newer shows are not endurance runners. Some of the popular shonen manga series like Kuroko's Basketball are not battle shonen style.

zaldaron Dec. 31, 2013 at 7:22 p.m.

@takashichea: Don't say what...yes I know you volunteer. But the site does make money from Ads - maybe not much but I expect it isn't a not for profit corporation...?

Destinyheroknighton Dec. 31, 2013 at 7:36 p.m.


I believe he was joking

You do know there will always be shows like that, it just need to look for them.

These shows are fun entertainment and fun is always more popular then serious. There nothing wrong with having fun with your entertainment :)

sickVisionz moderator on Dec. 31, 2013 at 7:37 p.m.

I'll preface everything by saying I'm solely talking about "battle" shonen anime.

TItan can't take it's place imo if for no reason other than length. From what I've heard, Hunter x Hunter is about to end. Personally I'm hoping they make filler until the mangaka gets far enough ahead to go back to canon but if they don't, the series will finish before Naruto and most definitely long before One Piece. Fairy Tail got canceled already so it's out of the picture.

I don't know what will take it's place. Probably Toriko. Long-running shonen anime seems to be on it's deathbed. Anything that isn't more comedy than action can't get greenlit for more than 2 cours at a time and even that mix isn't a guarantee that it'll last for more than that initial run. Oddly, the much hated (although I don't think it's bad) Saint Seiya Omega is like the dark horse series that's been running for a long time and seems to be doing well enough to continue being produced.

takashichea moderator is online on Dec. 31, 2013 at 7:46 p.m.

Another show that hasn't been talked about a lot is Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Though, I don't know much about it. Its manga series is over 100 volumes I think and ongoing.


Fairy Tail anime is coming back in April 2014, but I don't think it would last long. I'm not sure about Bleach anime.

I do agree with you that longer running Shonen series are dying.

Destinyheroknighton Dec. 31, 2013 at 8:28 p.m.


Saint Seiya Omega is a spin off, the original Manga have been over for a very long time


Jojo's Bizarre Adventure jump from Shonen to Seinen. (The same thing happen to Fist of the North star), the reason why nobody really talk about it, is because it did poorly over here and Viz drop the series (because they couldn't use any of the real stands names, do to copyrights)

Long running Shonen series isn't dying, Detective Conan, One Piece and Toriko are still going strong. The long series will always be there, it will not die (only if it stop making them money LOL!)

Marshal Victoryon Dec. 31, 2013 at 8:33 p.m.

@sickVisionz: Ya i agree Attack on Titan doesnt qualify or long enuff to replace any.

@takashichea: If the new animation team is good then i would guess Fairy Tail woudl have a shot.Read some where when Tetsuya Kakihara the voce of Natsu Dragneel did a guest shot on Detective Conan it had a small ratings spike.He does other characters but thats the best known.An people knew it was him from the previews the week before.I would think thats a good sign.

But then again its hard to predict what will be big there.Would have expected Hunter x Hunter to already be in take over spot.But since what made those special was they came out so close to each other odds are we wount see something replace the others.

or else what we see is

which means TORIKO an pokeymon take the spots.

Destinyheroknighton Dec. 31, 2013 at 8:46 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

Pokemon shouldn't count, since it Anime and Manga are totally different and the Manga didn't even make it to the top 30. To be part of HST, you have to have both Anime and Manga running at the same time and both be very popular

sickVisionz moderator on Dec. 31, 2013 at 9:09 p.m.

@Destinyheroknight said:

Long running Shonen series isn't dying, Detective Conan, One Piece and Toriko are still going strong. The long series will always be there, it will not die (only if it stop making them money LOL!)

Detective Conan isn't a battle series, One Piece started over a decade ago, and Toriko is far more comedy than battle. Long running battle shonen is going the way of the dodo.

Bleach isn't retiring soon. It ended in 2012.

Lowon Dec. 31, 2013 at 9:10 p.m.

I don't think either HxH, FT or Shingeki no Kyojin has what it takes to replace either Bleach or Naruto. Though, I'm counting on two new mangas Nanatsu no Taizai and Iron Knight, seeing as they have that visible potential IMO. As far as I know, Magi anime is stopped, otherwise that would've been a good pick.

Oh and yes, Toriko is a good option.

Destinyheroknighton Dec. 31, 2013 at 9:29 p.m.


If it was really dying then HxH, One Piece, Naruto and Toriko would be off the air like Bleach. Also they need a decade to have a huge number

Hunter X Hunter is having a good run, it brake the hundred mark.

Also Toriko is a battle series, the anime is probably getting close to it battle arc

Username_Undefinedon Dec. 31, 2013 at 10:59 p.m.

If it eventually gets an anime adaptation, I think UQ Holder could be a contender. It's the next work by Negima's author that takes place ~200 years after Negima ended. Also pretty much all of the main characters are immortal in one way or another.

Jinbeifan1 is online on Dec. 31, 2013 at 11:04 p.m.

@Destinyheroknight: Bleach is more likely to end soon since apparently this is the final arc and final battle according to the writer, if he plans to drag this war out a whole five years then this is going to be a REALLY stupid arc

As for Naruto this SHOULD be the final arc, unless there's more bull crap you can add onto that somehow. (sorry, avid naruto hater XD). But on a more logical note I have no idea how it can keep going after this, unless he drags the war out ANOTHER two freaking years, I mean they've literally brought all elements of the story possibly unknown and answered them. The only possible thing that could happen more is the sage coming back to life evil or some crap like that

othus12on Dec. 31, 2013 at 11:52 p.m.

@zaldar: it was a joke lol

bigz007on Jan. 1, 2014 at 2:11 a.m.

Kishimoto said it himself that Naruto is ending this year,

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