One of the most popular anime and manga series in recent years has been author and illustrator Koyoharu Gotouge’s Demon Slayer. Taking the world by storm with its anime adaptation, Demon Slayer has become universally popular, resonating with both hardcore anime fans and those new to the medium.
The series’ anime became popular thanks to spectacular animation from ufotable Studios and incredible direction from the entire adaptation team. This stellar adaptation actually helped to boost the sales of Gotouge’s original Demon Slayer manga, with numbers skyrocketing after the series’ first season.
Here are 8 manga like Demon Slayer that became popular because of their anime adaptation.
Old classics and new hits see similar paths as Demon Slayer in terms of manga popularity and anime adaptation timing
1) Fullmetal Alchemist
First up on the list is Fullmetal Alchemist, an especially interesting inclusion due to the fact that the manga has received two adaptations. Both adaptations of author and illustrator Hiromu Arakawa’s smash-hit manga, however, helped propel the series’ manga to Demon Slayer levels of retroactive popularity.
The series follows brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric after they each lose their body to varying degrees in an attempt to perform human transmutation and revive their dead mother.
Now, the two brothers have resolved to find a Philosopher’s Stone to get their bodies back, but uncover a decades-long sinister plot which threatens their entire country.
Author and illustrator Tite Kubo’s Bleach was adapted into an anime during the mid 2000s, where the series ran for roughly 8 years and covered roughly 80% of the story.
However, the anime adaptation failed to adapt the series’ final arc (until recently), causing people to buy the manga to see how the story ends and creating Demon Slayer levels of retroactive hype.
The Bleach series follows protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki, who one day meets Rukia Kuchiki and must become her Substitute Soul Reaper in order to save both their lives.
After spending some time fighting malevolent spirits in his city, Rukia is taken to Soul Society and sentenced to death for saving Ichigo and giving him his powers. Now, Ichigo must go rescue his new friend, discovering an insidious plot that threatens both worlds along the way.
Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto manga is one of the most popular anime series of all time, both within Japan and internationally as well. The anime adaptation’s international hype, like Demon Slayer, resulted in a plethora of new anime fans being born, as well as generating retroactive overseas interest in the series’ manga.
The series follows titular ninja Naruto Uzumaki, who is ostracized by his village for having a Nine-Tailed Fox beast sealed inside him. Despite this alienation, he resolves to become the leader of the village, the Hokage, so people have to recognize him.
Along the way, he learns about himself, his village, his world’s history, and even what it means to be acknowledged and to be the Hokage.
4) One Piece
Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece manga is arguably one of the most popular of all time in Japan, having ran for 25 years as of late July 2022. International adaptations for programming blocks such as 4Kids helped to boost the series’ worldwide popularity (even if the adaptations weren’t the best), resulting in globally renewed interest in the series’ manga.
The story follows Monkey D. Luffy, a boy who was made of rubber after eating a Devil Fruit. Despite losing the ability to swim as a result, he sets out to sea with a desire to become the King of the Pirates, whom he feels to be the freest man in the world.
But before that, he has to find a crew and circumvent the world via the mysteriously dangerous Grand Line, learning his world’s history and how cruel pirates can be along the way.
5) The Promised Neverland
Author Kaiu Shirai and illustrator Posuka Demizu’s The Promised Neverland series saw its popularity skyrocket thanks to the first season of its anime adaptation, much like Demon Slayer.
Unlike Demon Slayer, however, the series’ second season wasn’t quite as well received, even by anime-only fans, resulting in many turning to the manga to continue the story instead.
The series follows genius children Emma, Norman, and Ray, who discover that their life in the Grace Field Orphanage is actually one of being raised as livestock for demon-like creatures.
Now desiring to save her and those she considers her family, Emma convinces Norman and Ray to escape with her, taking everyone in their family they can with them, but escape ends up being much harder than they initially thought.
6) Bungo Stray Dogs
Author Kafka Asagiri and illustrator Sango Harukawa’s Bungo Stray Dogs manga was something of a sleeper hit before the series’ anime adaptation. This is similar to Demon Slayer, whose manga mainly blew up in popularity after the anime’s first season began airing.
The series follows Atsushi Nakajima, a boy with the Gift to turn into a tiger who meets Osamu Dazai and other employees at the Armed Detective Agency.
However, he soon learns the notoriety of his gift precedes him, eventually being targeted by several groups for malevolent and mysterious purposes. Now, Atsushi must fight for the life he’s earned, as well as to protect his new home in the city of Yokohama.
7) Spy x Family
Tatsuya Endo’s Spy x Family manga series is one of Shueisha’s most popular manga offerings currently, much like Demon Slayer was in its fledgling stages. One major difference between the two is Endo’s series receiving an incredibly early adaptation, which has helped to boost the series’ international renown, as well as global manga sales.
Spy x Family follows the legendary Westalis spy Twilight, whose latest assignment has him infiltrating neighboring, potential-enemy nation Ostania as psychologist Loid Forger.
As Loid, his goal is to infiltrate political leader Damian Desmond’s inner circle, with the goal of preventing war between the two countries. However, Loid must create and rely on a fake family to get him there, resulting in a unique situation that no spy (or fan) is prepared for.
8) Jujutsu Kaisen
Gege Akutami’s Jujutsu Kaisen has been one of Shueisha’s most consistently high-quality manga offerings in the new-gen era. MAPPA Studios’ anime adaptation only further heightened this quality, in a manner extremely similar to how (according to many) ufotable’s Demon Slayer adaptation elevated the series’ already excellent art style.
Jujutsu Kaisen follows highschooler Yuji Itadori, whose grandfather asked him to ensure he doesn’t die alone before passing on himself. Taking the lesson to heart, Yuji attempts to save his friends from being attacked by a Cursed Spirit, committing taboo and becoming a host to a legendary Cursed Spirit himself.
Faced with the option of dying now or after fully hosting the Cursed Spirit, he chooses to continue living with the goal of making his death mean something.
For comprehensive coverage of One Piece, check out SK One Piece Wiki