Why Bleach and Naruto wouldn’t exist without Yoshihiro Togashi

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Bleach and Naruto are without a doubt two of the most popular shonen anime and manga series of the past decade. However it’s a little known fact that both series are heavily indebted to Yoshihiro Togashi, the man behind Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter. It may come as a surprise to fans of both Bleach and Naruto that they each in fact feature many of the same elements seen in Togashi’s works.

First off I will start off by explaining why Bleach would not exist had Togashi not previously made Yu Yu Hakusho. Tite Kubo the creator of Bleach to this day refuses to confirm Yu Yu Hakusho as an influence but taking a look at it’s story is evidence enough;

A delinquent teenager meets a young girl who gives him powers in which he is required to fight demons for beings of the afterlife, he soon encounters a man with red hair and another man with black hair who kidnap the heroes love interest. The hero then sets off to save the love interest, eventually befriending the red haired man and eventually defeating the black haired man and thus freeing his love interest.

Soon after a powerful new enemy appears who was previously thought to be dead, with it turning out the enemy had faked his own death. The enemy then goes on the reveal that they are essentially undefeatable. With no other option but to enter in an arduous series of battles in order to grow strong enough to face this unbeatable enemy the hero as well as his friends battle and grow stronger as they fight. The hero then enters a cave with the challenge of overcoming something within themselves. After overcoming this ordeal the hero is stronger than ever and manages to defeat the supposedly unbeatable enemy. However after the characters defeats the main enemy one of them loses their powers.

Things seem to return to normal, until humans with mysterious powers begin to appear and eventually take the hero to a bizaare house which in turn ends up being a way to train the hero. Not long after it is revealed that the next main villain is also formerly an agent of the afterlife, now causing the hero to have to eseentially face “himself”.

That description fits both series in a nut shell. It is not to say Bleach is a bad series but it clearly owes a lot to Togashi’s manga. That isn’t all though, if Togashi had not made his second series Hunter x Hunter, it’s hard to say Naruto would have ever gotten off the ground.

Admittedly Naruto only begun it’s life following the foot steps of Hunter x Hunter and after Togashi’s hiatuses forced it to live on it’s own, Naruto did distance itself very much Hunter x Hunter. But if you take a look at the beginning of Naruto its clear Masashi Kishimoto was following Togashi’s work closely;

The hero is a 12 year old boy whose father is a legendary Ninja/Hunter. The hero is odd, yet pure, honest and kind of heart. He aims to become a Ninja/Hunter and after gaining friends along the way must undergo an examination in order to be granted the title of Ninja/Hunter. The exams are difficult and feature different phases, such as having to run through a dangerous forest in which the heroes are stalked by a creepy villain with a bloodlust and then a tournament phase in which characters are required to fight one another.

While the story similarities may end there, multiple other elements of Hunter x Hunter are present in the series such as a character who seeks revenge after his clan (famous for their unique eyes) is massacred, a group of criminals (which the previously mentioned creepy villain is a member of) and most of all similar abilities in characters.

Fortunately, unlike Tite Kubo, Masashi Kishimoto openly admits he was heavily influenced by Hunter x Hunter in creating Naruto. While both series are heavily influenced by Togashi’s work that is not to say they do not both feature enough uniqueness in their own rights to make their existence worth while. It is however without a shadow of a doubt because of Togashi that both series exist today.

Togashi laid the ground work for both series and ultimately influenced two of the most popular series of all time. So whether you are a fan of Naruto or a fan of Bleach, you should check out the works that made them possible.

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Senior Editor & Anime Specialist
  • Cellophane Girl

    Cool article!

    I’ve been meaning to watch Hunter x Hunter, but this made me want to watch it more, since I really liked Naruto at first (until it went all dragonball Z with the fights). So it seems like it’s worth watching.

    And man I haven’t seen Yu Yu Hakusho in YEARS. I can barely remember it, though I think I liked it… don’t know if I finished watching the series. I guess I’ll put it on the list of anime to watch.

    The list is FAR to long. :: shakes head ::

  • macirex

    Kubo and Kishimoto have openly admitted a great influence from Akira Toriyama… without him, todays shounen would not exist!

    • Anonymous

      If it weren’t for Osamu Tezuka, manga arguably would not be what it is today. If there is anyone who deserves credit for popularizing shonen manga it is him. Astro Boy is the first true shonen manga.

    • Anonymous

      You should check out Osamu Tezuka’s manga called Apollo’s Story.

  • Brian

    Recently started to watched the remaster episodes of hunter x hunter and i gotta say….. I’m loving it so far!

    • Anonymous

      I love it too. It can only get better from here Brian

    • Aliklana_16

       its indeed as good as the old one…


    Well Kishi could of been influenced, however that doesn’t mean that Naruto wouldn’t exist about it. We don’t know what certain things he got influenced from, and we don’t know who thought some things first,  or was the writer directly influenced by another when he thought of it or it was just a coincidence. 

    • shareme

      Let’s see… After Togashi went on his very 1st long hiatus, Kishimoto did the 2-year timeskip. Coincidence? How about the very similar characters and plot devices between HxH and Naruto before said timeskip? Mind you, there are more than 5 similarities between the two. Another coincidence(s)?

      • InsertAnimeCharacterName

        Stahp it. Many many.. maaaany shonen mangas have similarities. Why? because they r shonen mangas. Mangas for (kid/teen) boys. Because of that, the protagonist ist always a kid/teen boy. And mostly have superpowers or gets it and grows stronger in the story..
        The Viewers/Reader can empathize better with the protagonist // Also the time skip.. not always as big as 2-3 years, but they do. bleach did, naruto did, one piece did (for 3 great mangas as example).

        And what happens if a bad guy gets roasted or defeated? a new, even worse guy appears.

        Maybe you r right and YYH influenced Bleach and HxH influenced Naruto, but it doesnt mean, that Naruto and Bleach wouldnt exist without Togashi. Maybe some details would be different, maybe not.
        Those similarities are not proof for that^^

        (my english is not the best, but i’m tryin :P. so if someone finds mistakes, take them ;D)


    And how is Naruto pure kind and stuff? Naruto is mischievous and totally different from Gon who is a very sincere and polite boy

    • Ging

      Gon is not exactly pure, in the chimera ants incident he is seen manipulating palm and he does have a lot of experience with woman, he also didn’t mind cheating in rock-paper-scissors reason why he was always seen winning at that game.

      So let’s just say that they both have a slight dark side.

  • ????

    You can add Toriko to the list now XD

    • :Pimright

      Toriko : gourmet hunter

  • Mugiwaranogintoki

    Bleach is obviously a complete remake of yu yu hakusho. It may have a different feeling, different characters but only a retardet bleachtard would deny that its true.

    But also bleach is really amazing. I cant imagine seeing a more original artwork as kubos. also he just can draw amazing fight scenes. I think of myself as a bleach fan for that reason and i like it that bleach is getting interesting again.

  • B.Passion

    As you look on the similarity between yu yu hakusho and bleach: When Botan came to Yusuke’s school in school uniform; Same when Rukia came in school uniform to Ichigo.
    Naruto and Hunter x Hunter: Tsunade and Bisuke, Sasuke= Kurapica + a piece of Killua (which is funny), the chakra test aand nen test, both involving tree leaves. what else u didnt notice? 

  • Nerveredning

    come on! You should really watch dragon ball Z! they are dragonball followers

  • Aliklana_16

    well…before this…i also thought the same thing as the fact above…

  • Where is the page that the creator of naruto himself says he was influenced?

  • ???????????

    I would say that Naruto is not 100% HxH and Bleach not being 100% YYH. Both Naruto and Bleach have elements from both YYH and HxH which makes it part YYH and HxH along with other series such as DBZ and Rurouni Kenshin. Actually to make this clear, Naruto and Bleach are DBZ+YYH+HXH+Rurouni Kenshin. Both have spirits, supernatural powers, superpower, demons, monsters, classes, feudal setting, evil organization squads, a survivor whose clan was extinct, a character whose life starts out ordinary only to pit them into an unanticipated threat, female character who has the potential to be a lover, backstories, etc.

  • MadaraLucilfer

    I see the resemblance but naruto manga serialisation was released a year before Hunter x Hunter so yeah…

    • Nentenren

      Hunter x Hunter : March 3th 1998
      Naruto : November 1999
      Do you have something to say about this ?

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