To say that Shounen anime style series are good is an understatement. In fact, over the years, the Shounen anime genre remains to be the top choice among all available categories in the manga realm. That’s why we created a list of the best Shounen anime worth watching.
But why is Shounen anime so popular you ask?
From intense fight scenes, bigger-than-life adventures, likable characters, to mind-blowing plot twists. This genre remains to be the undefeated king in the manga realm. If you’re one among the many neophytes in the anime world, chances are you’re eyeing to explore the bizarre and action-packed empire of Shounen anime.
To help you with that, we have developed a brief guide on what to expect and what to watch in order to get the most out of this popular anime series.
What is Shounen Anime?
To simply explain, Shounen, or Shōnen, refers to the type of manga or anime that are characterized by high action content. When translated to Kanji characters, the term literally means “boy” and “comic.” Thus, the complete phrase can be extracted as “boys’ comic.”
Among the most common factors that compose the archetypal Shounen formula includes a young male hero. The prevailing themes of camaraderie and self-growth, and the fight of good prevailing against evil.
Best Shounen Anime Series You Should Watch
There comes a lengthy list of anime series that seamlessly carry the seal of Shounen. To give you a good start, here are 5 timeless shows you should definitely check out today.
Nothing deserves to be part of our list other than Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball. Although the series isn’t the first shounen anime to be introduced in the industry, it remains to be one, if the not the most, influential among the list.
In the story, Son Goku, a young monkey-tailed boy, has befriended a teenage girl named Bulma. Together, they have set out on an adventure to collect the seven mystical Dragon Balls. According to legends, if one manages to collect and put together the seven Dragon Balls. A powerful dragon, by the name Shenron, will appear and grant whoever summoned him their greatest desire.
From shape-shifting pigs, bandits, terrorist groups, aliens, androids, to many more. Goku confronts a broad range of strong and powerful enemies all through the series in order to complete his goal and save mankind from total extinction.
Fun, thrilling, and unforgettable, Dragon Ball, along with its sequels. The Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Super serve as a classic in the list of top Shounen anime series.
In fact, almost all the big-names in shounen anime of today’s world are highly based on the narrative formula of the franchise. From superb transformations, hard and long training sessions, to time skips. It is no exaggeration that Dragon Ball has affected and inspired almost all the Shounen series that came along after it.
Hunter x Hunter
Surely, nothing could give you the tension and thrill better than Yoshihiro Togashi’s Hunter x Hunter. First introduced in 1998, the story follows the adventure of a talented young boy named Gon Freecss. He struggles towards achieving his dreams and finding his legendary father.
In the story, Gon, a twelve-year-old rural boy, lived in the idea that both his parents have already died. However, during one faithful incident, he discovered that his father, Ging Freecss, is still alive. And has stood as one of the top hunters in their land. Driven by surprise and hope, Gon decided to leave his hometown and set out to become a great professional hunter himself.
Jam-packed with likable and interesting characters, carefully-developed storylines, and spectacular development, Hunter × Hunter has been a huge critical and financial success in the manga world. Having sold over 72 million copies in Japan alone as of 2018.
Following the typical Shounen formula. The story features a far-from-the-ordinary protagonist who struggles to develop his true potential in order to overcome relatively stronger opponents.
Moreover, what makes Hunter x Hunter even more special is the writer’s way of relaying suspense and thrilling fight scenes. Which are typically defined by careful, meticulous plans relying on timing, concentration, and assumed reactions from opponents.
Let’s admit it. No other ninja has managed to leave a permanent mark in the public consciousness other than Naruto Uzumaki. Despite the whopping number of filler episodes in the series, the Naruto and Naruto Shippuden remain to be part of the top shounen anime series of all time.
Following the story of Naruto Uzumaki, who grew up with the monstrous nine-tailed demon fox sealed inside him. The series tells the adventure of Naruto as he rises into achieving his dream of becoming the Hokage. The highest leader and ninja of the village.
Characterized by a moving plotline, relatable and interesting characters, and carefully-crafted twists. Naruto is a remarkable tour de force that will transform you into a certified Shounen fan.
Alongside Bleach and One Piece, Naruto serves as one of Shonen Jump’s Big 3. The series has become so popular that it has become one of the biggest media franchises across the globe.
Today, although the series had already ended, Masashi Kishimoto had found a way to continue the alluring world of Naruto by creating a whole new series that focuses on Naruto’s son, Boruto.
No one has managed to make pirates look so cool and grand other than the way Eiichiro Oda does in One Piece. Tagged by millions as the best Shounen series in history. One Piece currently stands as the last remaining member of Shonen Jump’s Big 3 (Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece).
In the story, the legendary Gol D. Roger, the King of the Pirates, has been captured and executed by the world government. However, before he died, he revealed the existence of the greatest treasure in the world, called One Piece. From there, the Great Pirate era began. Where thousands of men sail through the sea in the hope of finding One Piece and rising to become the new Pirate King.
Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year-old boy, is one of the aspirants. However, what made him special and interesting is how he had challenged all the stereotypes associated with pirates. As summarized by My Anime List, “Luffy’s reason for being a pirate is one of pure wonder: the thought of an exciting adventure that leads him to intriguing people and ultimately, the promised treasure.”
Completing our list is none other than Horimu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist, which tells the tragic yet riveting story of two brothers in search of redemption.
In the story, devastated by their mother’s death, brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric committed the ultimate taboo in the field of alchemy by attempting to do human transmutation. As a terrible price, Edward loses his left leg while Alphonse his loses physical body.
In order to gain their lost body parts back, the two brothers decided to set out in an adventure in search of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.
Smart, gripping, and poignant. FMAB is a remarkable type of Shounen anime that is deeply grounded in reality and carries the theme “in order for something to be obtained, something of equal value must be lost.”
For years, Shounen has remained to be the top anime genre of all time. Featuring talented main leads, solid plotlines, and thrilling fight scenes, this genre has stood as the leading story type you should not miss to check out in the anime world.
Which among these series caught your interest the most? Which one do you think is the best Shounen anime?