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One of the most popular manga series of this millennium is Bleach. Created by Tite Kubo, as it grew to a long epic of 74 volumes total, it collected fans all over the world.
There are many things that explain Bleach’s popularity among readers. The action, the complex mythology, and the diverse cast of characters that make the adventure worth reading. Of course, such a long series also had its share of controversy, as the ending left a lot of readers wanting more. But one reason why people may have found the ending lacking was because, after 74 volumes, Bleach had become part of their lives. And now that Ichigo and co. were no longer fighting Hollows, and fighting against the many threats against humans and shinigami… what else could we read?
Well, here we have some suggestions to fill that demon-fighting hole in your reading schedule for you to enjoy.
Similar Manga to Bleach
1. Kyoukai no Rinne (Rin-ne)
- Mangaka: Takahashi, Rumiko
- Genre: Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 35+
- Published Date: 2009 – Ongoing
Sakura Mamiya is a highschool girl that, due to an accident in her childhood, can see the spirit world. This is really an annoyance to her, pretty useless, until the day when she meets Rokudo Rinne, a student in her class that only she can see. At first, she thinks he is a ghost, but in truth, he’s a part-time shinigami who works to lead souls to the wheel of reincarnation. Soon, Sakura ends up raiding Rinne in his job, in order to help him to pay his debts.
At first glance, the similarities between Rin-ne and Bleach are pretty obvious, down to the looks of the characters, with a bit of a gender reversal. Instead of being a normal boy who ends up with powers thanks to meeting a supernatural girl, it’s a normal girl who meets a supernatural boy. But the similarities are not just skin deep. They also have a very rich mythology; and although Rin-ne, as most of Rumiko Takahashi’s works, leans towards comedy, the world building is so complex that if what you loved from Bleach was exactly that, this is the series for you.
2. Soul Catcher(s)
- Mangaka: Shinkai, Hideo
- Genre: Action, Drama, School, Shounen
- Volumes: 11
- Published Date: 2013 - 2016
Kamine Shuuta has a very curious power. He’s able to see people’s hearts and emotions, to a point where they overwhelm him since he is unable to help those who really need it. On the other hand, we have Tokisaka Hibiki, a young saxophonist in the school who can actually heal those who hear him –except for his best friend. When Kamine manages to get through his own melancholy to help him, it’s then Tokisaka who decides that, together, they can form a band that would help more and more people.
Soul Catcher(s) is a very strange manga as, at first, it’s more focused on Tokisaka’s music –which we can’t hear- and its effects on people, rather than Kamine’s ability to direct it to the right effect. We follow them as they work as a team in school, and have different problems helping the other members of the band, and other students. If what you liked about Bleach was the supernatural element in the school, Soul Catcher(S) will be your cup of tea.
3. Ao No Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)
- Mangaka: Katou, Kazue
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Demons, Drama, Fantasy, School, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 19
- Published Date: 2009 – On going
Ao no Exorcist is another very popular manga. You’ve probably seen the tv series, about brothers Rin and Yukio Okumura, raised by an exorcist all their lives. Rin, however, doesn’t know about his father’s secret until the day he realizes that their real father was Satan himself, and his adoptive father dies trying to defend Rin from Satan. While Yukio is a perfectly normal human, Rin inherited all of Satan’s powers, which means he could become a danger to all mankind. While that part of the manga has little resemblance to Bleach, once we move away from the animated episodes, the manga takes a very interesting turn.
Because in the manga, Ao no Exorcist focuses less on Rin and Yukio’s background and more on the teamwork between all the Exorcist apprentices. How they work together, how their powers evolve, and of course, their interpersonal relationships. There’s also a very dark subplot about the corruption within the Academy’s ranks, and how the teens may not have many allies in high places, which is a bit similar to the resolution of the inner workings of the Soul Society the first time we met them. Because of that, Ao no Exorcist definitively will be one of your favorites if you liked Bleach.
Any Manga Like Bleach?
- Mangaka: Koide, Motoki
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 9
- Published Date: 2008 - 2011
In ancient times, people believed that illnesses were caused by demons, which meant that exorcists were more useful than doctors. And this is very true in the world of Akatsuki, where that is the name of a very specific illness brought by demons of the same name. Hibiki and Kiria are two Kiri-ishi, doctor warriors who fight the demons that bloom within people’s bodies. In order to “cut” them from their victims, the Kiri-ishi use very special swords called Craves, before sealing the demons in vials. They’re not very high in the organization, but both have different reasons to work together: Kiria wants to improve her level to help people, while Hibiki is a bit more interested in the money to be made as a Kiri-ishi, or at least, that’s what he claims.
Akatsuki’s action takes place in an alternate ancient Japan, and it deals with a very strict organization of exorcists, where the levels of their weapons do matter when fighting different species of demons. So if the Soul Society was your favorite part of Bleach, Akatsuki will definitely be up your alley. Unlike some other manga on our list, this one also has a team made of a boy and a girl, and their chemistry at first is very similar to Ichigo and Rukia, so if that was your cup of tea, Akatuski will definitely manage to scratch the itch that Bleach may have left behind. However, those things are not what make Akatsuki shine on this list; it’s the Akatsuki’s different demonic forms, as well as the sword fights to cut them that will make you enjoy it as much as you enjoyed Bleach.
- Mangaka: Yagi, Norihiro
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Shounen
- Volumes: 27
- Published Date: 2001 - 2014
Moving away from Feudal Japan and into Medieval Europe, Claymore has a similar setup to the idea of the special warriors dedicated to fight demons that are not easily vanquished by humanity, the same way we’ve seen in Bleach and other manga in this list. Only that in this case, the warriors are not fully human, and that is more or less known by the general public. The Claymores are silver-haired women, all of them armed with a sword that gives them their name. And just as Ichigo runs the danger of turning into a Hollow, Claymores in general run the risk of becoming “Awakened Beings”, super demons that will destroy everything in their path.
Once again, the main link between Bleach and Claymore, is the story behind the actual story. Yes, we can follow Claire and her search for Priscilla, but behind that, is the story of the Claymore’s origins. How did the Organization create them? Why there are no male Claymores? What is their final goal? Why did they send Claymores to kill their own teammates? And, on the other side, we have Priscilla’s story, which is itself tragic and caused mostly by the Organization’s secrets. It comes to the question of who are the real monsters, especially when the Awakened Beings we met as the story advances far beyond the anime, are far more compassionate than the humans. So if what you want is a lot of monsters, intrigue, and sword fights, look no further than Claymore.
- Mangaka: Iwashiro, Toshiaki
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Game, Romance, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Supernatural, Psychological
- Volumes: 16
- Published Date: 2007 - 2010
There’s an urban myth about a secret society named Psyren. Led by a mysterious man, Nemesis Q, they spirit away people to an unknown place. It sounds like a crazy story, but among the people who believe this myth there’s a millionaire that offered a reward of 500 million to whoever finds the truth behind the cult. Ageha Yoshina, a high school student, gets involved in this when he finds a red card with the word Psyren written on it, and then realizes that one of his childhood friends, Sakurako Amamiya, has one too. However, when Amamiya disappears, is when he decides to start investigating seriously, both because he wants to save Amamiya, and because he really wants the reward money.
Psyren has many hooks for those who loved Bleach. The main one is that every person who gets sucked into the world of Psyren gets powers in the world where they fight. There’s of course, the teamwork among the youngest contenders, and finally, that the truth behind Nemesis Q and the Psyren world is far more complicated than it appears at first, and will have some very interesting intrigue as the main characters start figuring out what is really going on, starting with the nature of the game arena. And finally, unlike the other manga on our list, this one has art similar to Kubo’s, so if that was what you missed the most from Bleach, Psyren will bring you some good memories without being a rip off.
It’s very hard to compete with long-running manga like Bleach. It’s even harder to be able to tackle the same basic plot elements from those manga and not be accused of repeating what they already did. In the case of Bleach, we can’t deny that Tite Kubo managed to create almost the perfect storm with the alternate worlds, the sword fighting, the incredible powers, the family secrets of the main character, and finally, the dark truths behind the so-called good guys’ organization. Because of this, finding good manga that are similar to it is harder than it looks: A lot of manga had similar elements, but not many manage a similar hit combination.
Still, we hope you enjoy our selection, and please, let us know what you think of each manga in the comments.