‘Naruto’ vs. ‘Dragon Ball Z’: Which Anime Is Better?

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As far as the world of (shōnen) anime is concerned, there is a group of anime known as the “Big Four.” Among them, Dragon Ball is considered to be the predecessor. In contrast, the remaining threeBleach, Naruto, and One Piece – are considered the “Big Three” since they all came out roughly simultaneously. While Toriyama’s anime is a tad older, Naruto is also one of the longest series in history, especially if you add Boruto to the table. This is why we decided to compare the two anime and to see which, between the Naruto and Dragon Ball, is better, and why?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • And while Naruto is certainly more suited for modern audiences, Dragon Ball is a series that has withstood the test of time and has become a true classic from the world of anime.
  • If you’re looking for anime more oriented toward fighting insanely powerful characters, Dragon Ball might be a good fight for you.
  • If you’re looking for more depth to your story, then I would suggest Naruto, due to having more meaningful stories and fleshed-out characters.

Dragon Ball & Naruto: An overview

Dragon Ball is chronologically the fourteenth story of Akira Toriyama. Son Goku’s life is chronicled in Dragon Ball from infancy to adulthood. He constantly looks for the seven Dragon Balls while accompanied by a large cast of characters. Combined, these magical crystal balls enable the summoning of the dragon Shenlong, who can grant wishes to anybody who speaks in front of him by using a certain formula. Son Goku has had to battle ever-more-powerful foes throughout his life, some of whom turn out to be comrades.

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As for, Naruto is a highly popular manga series that Masashi Kishimoto wrote, illustrated, and later adapted into an anime series. The work is focused on the life of a teenage orphaned Ninja named Naruto Uzumaki, whose parents died in the attack of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox (Kyubi), and who aspires to become Hokage to be recognized as someone important within the village and among his peers.

Comparing Naruto & Dragon Ball

Now that you know about the two shows, we can actually provide you with a comparison of the two, which will help you understand what you’re dealing with.

In terms of the plot, both Naruto and Dragon Ball have an equally good plot, although the side-plots of Dragon Ball could get confusing over time, as we’ve seen it all there. Naruto had a more or less coherent plot that focused on the protagonists, and it made a lot of sense narratively, while Dragon Ball, while focusing on Goku, went from here to there in a moment, and that sometimes confused fans. On top of that, you have so many iterations of Dragon Ball, both canon and non-canon, that Naruto is much simpler to follow, actually.

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Is Boruto Canon? How Are the Anime & Manga Connected

On the other hand, in terms of character development, there is no difference whatsoever. Both Toriyama and Kishimoto did a really great job in crafting their principal characters. Still, they also put a lot of effort into world-building in general, which led to the secondary characters being great. And while Dragon Ball certainly has better-known side characters than Naruto, we have to praise both authors for the effort they put into crafting their main and secondary characters.

And while Naruto stuck to its world with very few digressions, Dragon Ball has since expanded and has adapted the multiverse formula in which the main universe we’ve seen is just one of many universes overseen by Zeno. This worked for Dragon Ball, but it also subtracted a lot from the original charm of the series, so not everyone might like such a turn, especially since Naruto doesn’t have anything even remotely similar (the closest thing Naruto has is some time-travel sequences, and one of them is in Boruto, which is a wholly separate topic).

As far as the technical aspects are concerned, we can also only praise both series. Toei has been doing a great job with Dragon Ball and has managed to craft a valuable show even when animation standards were much lower. At the same time, Pierrot made Naruto into one of the best-animated series of the 21st century. On top of that, both series have memorable soundtracks, while Naruto also has numerous OPs and EDs that are still sung by fans.

One thing where Dragon Ball really beats Naruto is the cultural significance and influence, as Dragon Ball is much older and has withstood the test of time much better than Naruto. The former was exceptionally popular during its original run, but when Naruto ended, that was it; the influence lingered on, but Boruto never even came close to the popularity of Naruto, and it never became a cultural phenomenon.

On the other hand, all of Dragon Ball‘s iterations are exceptionally popular and even now, almost half a century since its debut, Dragon Ball is still a phenomenon, and Naruto cannot even measure that, despite being one of the “Big Three” anime series. On top of that, Kishimoto “learned” from Toriyama, and not vice versa, which is definitely worth considering.

Naruto or Dragon Ball – here’s our verdict!

Regarding our final verdict, we must state that comparing these two shows was quite difficult. Namely, Naruto is one of the “Big Three” and is definitely better suited for modern audiences. At the same time, Dragon Ball is a cult classic from a different period in the history of anime.

And while Naruto‘s popularity declined with Boruto, Dragon Ball has greatly adapted to modern trends. It is still alive and well in the series, so we’re leaning toward declaring Dragon Ball the better series overall, but only by a little. Ultimately, we’d suggest that you simply watch both shows, as both of them are definitely worth it.

Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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