One Piece vs Naruto: Which is better?

One Piece and Naruto have faced comparison, as they are both part of the “Big Three” of the shonen series, but determining which is better depends on personal preference.

For anime manga series aficionados, it is well-known that there is aBig Three” of the most popular and iconic shonen anime genre. The three in this classification are Bleach, One Piece, and Naruto.

Bleach is the oldest of the three, but One Piece and Naruto have parallel timelines. As such, the two series have been subject to comparison throughout the years.

While this article will not share which series is “better,” it will compare them and leave it to the viewer to decide which one they prefer.

What is One Piece and Naruto?

One Piece and Naruto are graphic shonen anime books that were serialised at the same time in 1997. However, the first to premiere globally as a televised anime manga series was the first instalment of Naruto in 2002.

In 2007, Naruto concluded its five-year run and introduced its second instalment, Naruto: Shippuden, which concluded in 2017. The third instalment in the expansion of the franchise was in 2017 with Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.

One Piece did not go through the same evolutions that expanded its universe in terms of iterations of the series, but it is still considered one of the longest-running shonen anime series, as the televised version of the series made its global premiere in 1999 and is still ongoing to date, with over 1016 episodes and counting.

One Piece vs Naruto: Which is better?

Before sharing some of the intricate details that distinguish One Piece from Naruto, it is important to understand the premise of each.

This is the first distinction between the two similar but different anime manga series. One Piece was created by Eiichiro Oda and the premise, “Follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew in order to find the greatest treasure ever left by the legendary Pirate, Gold Roger. The famous mystery treasure named ‘One Piece.’”

The first instalment of Naruto, on the other hand, is premised on, “Naruto Uzumaki, a mischievous adolescent ninja, struggles as he searches for recognition and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the village’s leader and strongest ninja.”

The Masashi Kishimoto created series continued to explore this premise in Naruto: Shippuden, only shifting the focus in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.

With the premise of each established, let us take a closer look at the distinctive differences between the two.

1. Plot

In terms of the plot, each shonen anime series adopts a different tone. One Piece has a more light-hearted, comical tone, as opposed to the compelling and philosophical undertones of Naruto. Moreover, this extends to the main protagonists of each series.

In One Piece, Monkey D. Luffy embodies the light-hearted nature of the show, while Naruto does get more serious and responsible as its universe expands.

Furthermore, in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, we experience Naruto as a father, which seemingly will not happen with Monkey D. Luffy, considering that he has remained youthful throughout the over 20-year run of the series.

2. Characters and the world of the stories

While Naruto has created some of the most beloved characters throughout its run, One Piece surpasses the series in terms of the scale of its characters.

This refers to character arcs, character design, powers, and personalities, since the world of the story for One Piece is more expansive unlike that of Naruto, which is heavily focused on the ninja nations and their worlds.

Ironically, when it comes to the standard of animation, Naruto surpasses the former, especially when comparing the seamlessness of the action scenes between the two series. This can be attributed to the fact that Naruto premiered much later than One Piece.

3. Running time

Another big contributor to choosing which series is better is between the running time of both.

For many,  the number of episodes there are to catch up on before watching the story in real-time is one of the deciding factors of whether the series is worth viewing or not.

Therefore, as highlighted before, viewers should note that One Piece currently has over 1 000 episodes and counting, while Naruto has 220 and Naruto: Shippuden has 502, with many of the episodes being filler episodes you can skip.

Depending on the extent of immersion and binge-watching you prefer, the choice is yours.

Final thoughts

One Piece and Naruto have always faced comparison. Primarily, because both of the shonen anime popular series form part of the Big Three of the genre along with Bleach.

Another reason for the comparison is that the series were serialised in the same year, despite not premiering at the same time.

However, comparing the two series and deciding which is better is a matter of personal taste. The biggest differentiator being that One Piece is bigger in scale in terms of characters, powers depicted, and the worlds within the narrative of the story.

Naruto, on the other hand, is smaller in scale, with a focus on attention to detail in terms of the aesthetic, as well as sticking to the arc of the hero’s journey’s.