By now we’ve all heard about the “big three” of anime, One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach. However all of these anime have one thing in common, they are all shonen anime, a genre that aims to appeal to younger kids in their pre-teens, though these anime, more often than not, continued to be followed by us older watchers due to the number of episodes and the time they have been airing for. Still, these types of anime tend to lose popularity the older they get, all apart from One Piece, the manga for the anime is still ongoing, unlike Naruto and Bleach, having ended recently. So if One Piece is still the most popular out of the three, then why would Bleach be the best one?
Well, some people may disagree with me, some may agree, but in my opinion, everything from the action sequences to the soundtrack of the anime makes every time Ichigo draws his Zanpakuto feel intimidating and all round epic. Ichigo’s own theme song ‘Number One’ while not the best musical composition ever, is a feast of guitar solos that makes you pumped up for the fight about to happen, as well as all the other themes and battle music throughout the anime, as it makes use of Hard Rock instrumentals and sometimes more Metal music depending on the characters featured in the fights, and this is something of great importance to a shonen anime, you need to get the viewer pumped and excited to the action, an anime that would also have this type of build up would be Naruto, though Bleach’s soundtrack surpasses it by far, while One Piece’s battle music comes to me as mediocre at best, as it doesn’t really take the fights seriously nor adding any intensity that makes you more excited for said fights.
Furthermore, animation wise, Bleach is superior to the others due to the animators use of intentionally designed dorky moments used in the manga and implemented to the anime to compensate for possible budget cuts or to focus the animation budget on making the action sequences all the more satisfying, while both One Piece and Naruto have suffered from bad animation throughout the running time of the anime, while One Piece not as much due to the same use of intentional dorky moments as Bleach, though with much more frequency which can make it annoying to watch at times, Naruto, on the other hand, has no such thing due to the anime’s edgier tone (though not as edgy as Bleach), leaving little space to simply make these dorky moments of animation so it can focus the budget on the action sequences.
Moving on to the protagonists of each series, we have Naruto (Naruto), Luffy (OnePiece) and Ichigo (Bleach). In shonen anime, more often than not, the MC is a dumb happy-go-lucky character with an immense appetite with the same goal of becoming the God figure of whichever world they inhabit, traits shared by both Naruto and Luffy, while Naruto has the goal of becoming Hokage (a ninja king of sorts) Luffy wishes to find the legendary treasure of One Piece (making him king of pirates). However, Ichigo has no such thing, while at times he can be a knucklehead, he still knows full well what he is doing and often has a plan for victory, and while not the most intelligent person, he is far from dumb as we know from early on in the series’ introduction of Ichigo’s school as he is shown to have average grades or above, unlike both Naruto and Luffy. Furthermore, Ichigo has no overall goal, all he wants is to protect his friends, in fact, he only becomes involved in any problem of the soul society when one of his friends are harmed or threatened, making his character very unique among the other MCs of the shonen genre.
Moreover, when it comes to villains and their motivations and personality, One Pice has way too many to count, while Naruto had Orochimaru (the best one) and Madara and Bleach had Sousuke Aizen and Juha Bach (manga) as the main villains. Some may argue that having a villain drive the series would become boring quickly as we would know what to expect at every turn, though this is true for Naruto, it couldn’t be further from the truth for Bleach, as the villains are only leaders of their respected factions, the Espada (led by Aizen) and the Wandenreich (led by Juha) both factions containing a set of personalities that can even sometimes clash with their leaders or even have their own agendas or vendetta toward Ichigo or the Shinigami. While with Naruto we have something similar in the shape of the Akatsuki, though most characters have bland personalities and no real motivation, apart from Itachi and Deidara who are very enjoyable or even disturbing to watch, however, they are abruptly defeated with only Itachi having a real conclusion to his story. One Piece, however, has too many (main) villains that can become forgettable throughout the series and they lose their appeal every time a new one is introduced.
However, Bleach is at a loss when it comes to filler episodes, having possibly the most consecutive filler arcs of all the big three. Now while all of these anime suffer from filler, they are mostly boring and add nothing to the anime or the characters as they are not cannon to the actual story. However, bleach has two filler arcs that, in my opinion, makes up for the amount of filler in the anime, being the Zanpakuto spirits arc and the Bounts arc where the story and the characters are all interesting and continue with the trope of an organisation of villains as opposed to one single boss fight. While these arcs are good stories, they don’t really add to the characters or the story due to their non-canonical nature. One Piece is the same in this regard but Naruto is smarter when it comes to some of its filler arcs, as they can be implemented seamlessly into the story while making sense with the continuity and sometimes even filling plot holes that even the manga couldn’t (depending on whether you would consider them canon), in this regard Bleach would lose to Naruto by far.
Although, when we take all of these factors, Bleach is by far the superior anime of the three as checks most of the boxes with excellent soundtracks animation protagonist and villains. Do you agree with me? If not please leave a comment telling me why yours is the best anime of the Big Three. Also be sure to follow us for more on Geek culture! As a side note my schedule has changed and now I will not be releasing articles for the weekend, instead, I will be uploading for Mondays or Tuesdays.