10 Superhero Anime Like Ultraman You Must See

The sci-fi anime ‘Ultraman’ is set in a world where Earth was once protected by the giant hero Ultraman, and follows his son, Shinjiro Hayata, as he discovers his own superhuman abilities and takes up his father’s mantle to become the new Giant of Light.” An adaptation of Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi’s manga series, ‘Ultraman,’ the seinen actioner stands out in its essence of interstellar conflicts.

Rebuilding the rich legacy of Kyodai heroism — a subgenre that focuses on giant superheroes — the original 1966 series left behind, the first Netflix venture in the eponymous media franchise appeals to both old and new generations of fans thanks to its eye-popping visuals and cutting-edge animation. For viewers who enjoy action-packed superhero battles, here are 10 other anime similar to ‘Ultraman’ that you can watch next.

10. Solo Leveling (2024-)

This popular action-fantasy anime follows the story of Jinwoo Sung, a weak hunter who gains the ability to level up in power after surviving a deadly dungeon. Adapted from the web novels of South Korean writer Chugong and illustrator Jang Sung-Rak, the series explores Jinwoo’s journey from the weakest hunter to the most powerful one as he faces numerous horrific entities while trying to locate the source of his magnificent powers.

The anime is known for its dynamic fight scenes and compelling character development. Like ‘Ultraman,’ ‘Solo Leveling‘ centers on an ordinary protagonist who discovers extraordinary abilities and uses them to protect humanity, intertwining epic battles with themes of personal growth and resilience.

9. Mobile Suit Gundam (1979-1980)

In addition to launching the highly successful ‘Gundam’ franchise, ‘Mobile Suit Gundam,’ also known as ‘Gundam ’79,’ is a mecha classic that is often credited for setting the standard for the genre. Set in a future where humanity has colonized space, the series follows Amuro Ray, a young boy who becomes the pilot of the RX-78-2 Gundam to fight in a war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon.

Created by visionary writer-director Yoshiyuki Tomino, the first ‘Gundam’ venture explores the complexities of war, the burden of powerful machines, and the personal growth of its characters, who learn to face fear and care beyond their mission. Like ‘Ultraman,’ the inspiration for this military anime is also rooted in the post-World War period. Both shows combine thrilling combat sequences across Earth and space with a deep narrative that focuses on the hero’s journey and the moral ambiguities of conflict.

8. Gantz (2004)

A darker exploration of life, death, and corrupted morality, ‘Gantz‘ is another sci-fi action anime whose soul lies in brutal battles fought by complex characters in a fantastical world. The plot centers around Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato, who, after dying in a train accident, find themselves in an apartment with a mysterious black sphere known as Gantz. Not permitted to leave the place, the duo meets various clueless inmates, all of whom are instructed that their lives now have long ended.

Kei, Masaru, and the rest of the group are provided various video game-like powers and weapons and are made into a superhero squad that kills Gantz’s targets. Based on the eponymous manga series from writer-illustrator Hiroya Oku, the short-lived anime delves into the psychological and physical challenges the characters face as they seek survival against aliens in deadly games. Similar to ‘Ultraman,’ ‘Gantz’ presents high-stakes battles and a protagonist thrust into a life-or-death scenario, blending intense action with deep existential themes.

7. Darling in the Franxx (2018)

‘Darling in the Franxx’ combines mecha action with romance in its deep exploration of human emotions and relationships. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, it follows a group of children known as Parasites who pilot giant robots called Franxx to protect humanity from monstrous Klaxosaurs. The plot focuses on Hiro, a former prodigy, and his enigmatic partner, Zero Two.

Written by Naotaka Hayashi and Atsushi Nishigori, the latter of whom also directed the animation, the series dives into themes of identity, freedom, and the cost of survival. Like ‘Ultraman,’ ‘Darling in the Franxx’ features high-stakes battles and young protagonists on their way to discovering their purpose in the world. Both series intertwine action with introspective storytelling, highlighting personal growth amid epic conflicts.

6. Revisions (2019)

‘Revisions’ is a thrilling sci-fi that combines mecha battles with a more profound commentary on destiny and friendship. The story follows Daisuke Dojima, a high school student who, along with his friends, gets transported to a future Shibuya besieged by a hostile cyborg race known as Revisions. Directed by Gorō Taniguchi and written by Makoto Fukami and Taichi Hashimoto, this isekai tackles themes of fate, trust, and the fight for survival.

Much like ‘Ultraman,’ ‘Revisions’ emphasizes the transformation of ordinary youths into heroes, facing extraordinary threats to protect humanity. Both anime explore the intricate dynamics of teamwork and the moral challenges faced by their protagonists in a world on the brink of collapse.

5. Giant Robo the Animation: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1993-1998)

This original video animation builds on the legacy of Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s 1967 tokusatsu series, ‘Giant Robo,’ an acclaimed superhero show with rich narrative. The animation spin-off, written and directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa, follows Daisaku Kusama, a young boy who controls the powerful robot GR, aka Giant Robo, as he battles against the evil organization Big Fire to save the world. The series features stunning animation and an orchestral soundtrack that enhances its epic scope and justifies the revival in animation form.

Similar to ‘Ultraman’, ‘Giant Robo the Animation: The Day the Earth Stood Still’ also delves into themes of duty, sacrifice, and the timeless struggle between good and evil. Recreating futuristic narratives — as they were visualized in the 1960s — both anime showcase a young hero piloting a giant protector, emphasizing heroic legacy and intense, large-scale conflicts. Moreover, the two shows are named among a very rare group of anime to have transcended kyodai and kaiju narratives into mecha and atompunk.

4. Ambassador Magma (1993)

This 1993 original video animation reimagines ‘Ambassador Magma,’ the classic tokusatsu series based on the manga of Osamu Tezuka. The sci-fi action anime follows the story of Atsushi Murakami and his family, who encounter Magma, a giant robot sent to protect Earth from the villainous alien Invaders. The anime’s plot is rich with intense battles, dramatic transformations, and a fight against overwhelming odds.

Directed by Hidehito Ueda, this adaptation stays true to Tezuka’s vision and the cmassi6 kyodai tropes of the 1960s while also incorporating modern animation techniques. Much like ‘Ultraman,’ ‘Ambassador Magma’ emphasizes themes of legacy and the battle between good and evil, showcasing heroes who rise to defend humanity from otherworldly threats. Additionally, the two anime successfully fulfill their objective to adapt fan-favorite live-action ventures while heavily relying on rich visual effects.

3. Dinosaur War Izenborg (1977-1978)

‘Dinosaur War Izenborg’ is a classic hybrid that blends the genres of tokusatsu and anime. Also set in a future where humanity battles cannibalistic giants — in this case, intelligent species of dinosaurs — led by the malevolent Tyrannos, the series follows siblings Zen and Ai Tachibana, who pilot the mecha Izenborg to protect Earth.

Created by writer Keiichi Abe and animation director Kanji Otsuka for Tsuburaya Productions, the same studio behind the original ‘Ultraman’ series, this series possesses a comparable knack for delivering thrilling monster battles as the Netflix sequel. Both series share a common thread in their portrayal of giant heroes fighting to save humanity, emphasizing teamwork, courage, and the legacy of kyodai heroes and kaiju villains.

2. SSSS.Gridman (2018)

Inspired by the 1993 live-action series, ‘Gridman the Hyper Agent,’ this adventure series blends elements of both mecha and monster anime, resulting in an absolute spectacle. ‘SSSS.Gridman’ revolves around Yuta Hibiki, a high school student who wakes up with amnesia and the ability to see kaiju. Guided by a mysterious entity named Gridman, Yuta joins forces with his friends to battle monstrous threats.

Directed by Akira Amemiya, the anime shares various parallels with ‘Ultraman,’ such as the contributions of writer Keiichi Hasegawa and the studio Tsuburaya Productions, both of whom have been extensively associated with the ‘Ultra Series.’ Much like the Netflix series, ‘SSSS.Gridman’ emphasizes the transformation of an ordinary individual into a hero, facing interdimensional foes while uncovering hidden truths about their world. Moreover, both series celebrate the legacy of Japanese tokusatsu and kaiju genres with their modern takes on nostalgic Japanese shows.

1. Ultimate Girls (2005)

‘Ultimate Girls’ is a parody anime that humorously pokes fun at the tropes of the entire Kyodai hero genre, and the previous installments of ‘Ultraman’ are no exceptions. The story chronicles three high school girls who gain the ability to transform into giant heroines after they are accidentally killed by a giant hero, UFO Man. The great powers do not come without great responsibilities, and the super squad must protect the city by fighting against the giant kaiju monsters.

Directed by Yuji Mutoh and written by Satoru Nishizono, this satire justifies its comedy with action that can not be distinguished from those tackling giant tropes more seriously, thus providing a light-hearted take on the superhero genre. Similar to ‘Ultraman,’ ‘Ultimate Girls’ features the transformation of ordinary individuals into giant protectors, though it approaches the concept poking fun at the conventions of tokusatsu and kaiju shows.

Read More: Best Anime on HBO Max