The Pokemon anime looked like it would never end until Ash Ketchum’s journey finally concluded rather suddenly after 26 years. While the series will continue with new protagonists, many fans are also keen to look for something different, yet with the same flavor of material that Pokemon provides. As such, it’s the best time to try out alternatives that have their own spin on things.
These range from anime that have extremely similar outlines to shows that have thematic qualities along the lines of Pokemon. The majority have episode counts sufficient enough to leave out room to watch other anime as well. Because of this, viewers can line up their binge-watches to see what else is out there. With that in mind, here are the 10 best anime like Pokemon.
Yo-Kai Watch takes on the Pokemon concept by making the titular creatures invisible to most people. The main character, Nate, finds a watch that allows him to perceive the Yo-Kai. He decides to befriend as many as he can and ends up with a few signature Yo-Kai by his side.
Yo-Kai Watch has a similar outline as Pokemon in its episodes, featuring the main character’s arrival in a new place where he encounters some Yo-Kai. Even though Pokemon is noticeably geared toward younger audiences, Yo-Kai Watch is even more kid-friendly. But the anime is something of a comedy series with its witty humor, making it good enough for adults to check out as well.
Dinosaur King is about three friends who find dinosaur cards in a wreckage from space. They realize that the cards can be brought to life after each dinosaur has been imprinted upon them. Upon learning that an evil group seeks to capture the dinosaurs, the friends set out to find the remaining ones to keep them safe.
Dinosaur King’s style is very similar to Pokemon’s, seeing as it has cards instead of Poke Balls. Here, catching all the dinosaurs comes out of necessity to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. The villains are known as Alpha Gang, whose basic function is along the lines of Team Rocket’s. The anime has sufficient lore of its own, so it doesn’t feel like a rehash of Pokemon’s, either.
Pokemon Origins is a miniseries set in a different continuity from the main series. This one is about characters from the video games, known as Red and Blue. The protagonists are tasked with traveling the Kanto region in order to find every type of Pokemon to fill the Pokedex.
Fans will find this version as a reminder of Pokemon’s earlier seasons, where there was a sense of wonder from learning about new types. The show’s presentation is such that viewers can consider Red and Blue to be audience surrogates. Despite featuring the familiar Kanto region, Pokemon Origins manages to come across as a new thing.
Bakugan Battle Brawlers
Bakugan Battle Brawlers takes place inside a game world that the protagonists have been sucked into. They gain control of creatures known as Bakugan, which makes them Battle Brawlers. Their goals keep changing since many developments take place, including Earth’s merging with the Bakugan reality.
Bakugan Battle Brawlers is more about adventure than feel-good stories like in Pokemon, but there are several similarities. The protagonists’ possession of the Bakugan creatures is along the lines of characters capturing Pokemon, while the exploration aspect also feels familiar. Bakugan Battle Brawlers’ unique action has its own appeal, though, featuring a lot more action-oriented fights.
Magi-Nation is about a boy who’s chosen to become the world’s protector from an evil Shadow Magi. He and his friends then embark on a journey to find the Dreamstones needed to combat this threat. Along the way, they gather a collection of Dream Creatures to become part of their team.
Magi-Nation has a similar “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” feel to it like Pokemon does, along with a host of powerful creatures to check out. Apart from the evil overlord aspect, the show shares the theme of travel, friendship, and the influence that the unique creatures have on the world.
Monster Rancher is about a boy named Genki, who masters the titular game and ends up finding himself inside it. Genki befriends a girl named Holly and the two capture a few monster friends for the journey. The pair learn about an evil overlord and realize their mission is to stop him.
Monster Rancher has the usual tropes of good versus bad, and friends discovering their potential. While the outline is very similar to Pokemon, Monster Rancher deviates by focusing on a dedicated group of monsters. The show has just the right amount of episodes to get viewers invested before reaching its conclusion.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is about a lonely boy named Yugi who solves the Millennium Puzzle with the intention of wishing for friends as his reward. However, the protagonist ends up chosen as a guardian and fighter against evil, awakening a dark side of him that grants him abilities.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is based around card battles, which is a palette swap of sorts of Pokemon’s Poke Balls. While the series is darker compared to Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! contains a similar hero’s journey of the hero finding his true calling. It’s also interesting to see the various types of cards he uses to up his game.
While the Sonic brand is more famous for its games than for other media, Sonic X tasted significant success in its time. The anime is about Sonic and his friends’ arrival in the human world, where they team up to stop Doctor Eggman from acquiring the Chaos Emeralds.
Sonic befriends a human named Chris, and their bond develops over the course of the story. This dynamic is similar to Ash and Pikachu, although Sonic is closer to Ash in personality while Chris is toward the latter. The theme of finding the emeralds will be familiar to Pokemon fans, as it’s reminiscent of Ash’s discoveries of legendary Pokemon.
Beyblade is about a group of youngsters who become masters at playing the titular game. They reach new heights by entering contests, bringing them fame and fortune. But the characters also have fierce rivals to deal with and have to master their abilities to become champions of the world.
Beyblade features the same level of determination from its protagonists as Ash has in his quest to become the greatest Pokemon Trainer. Also similarly, the heroes travel from one place to another, meeting different personalities around the world. Beyblade battles are presented as big clashes where competitors always have tricks up their sleeves, much like Pokemon tournaments.
Digimon Adventure is about a group of kids who are transported to the Digimon world. They all befriend individual Digimon as their partners, ending up in a battle to protect this realm. Despite later eventually returning home, the children are forced to go up against the biggest threat and protect all of reality.
Where Pokemon has evolving, Digimon has Digivolving; the series also shares similar appearances between the titular creatures, along with pairs of children and their chosen Pokemon/Digimon. This series has a singular arc, though, meaning it all ties up in the end. The tone is a lot more serious as well, but there are plenty of heartwarming and wholesome moments along the way.