The shounen demographic is the largest in sales and popularity . It is mainly aimed at young men, but its themes and its fun and action-packed style end up appealing to all types of audiences.
This list will talk a little about what is already known in the genre, such as the classics that we have all seen, but we will also take into account the MyAnimeList score to classify the best known and most preferred shounen by fans and critics of the genre. Let us begin!
Of course we can’t start the list without mentioning the most important classics of the genre, so we start with the best of all time.
Dragon Ball Z (1989)
Dragon Ball Z is one of the pioneering anime for the shounen demographic . In addition to becoming a beloved classic around the world, it has greatly increased the popularity of the genre.
Goku’s story is explosive and full of action and adventure. And while the franchise began as a fantasy adventure following a young man learning martial arts in search of the seven dragon balls, Dragon Ball Z specializes in a sci-fi action setting worthy of attention.
Naruto is seen as an outcast in his own village due to the fact that he was born with a “demon” inside his body. Tired of being discriminated against, he begins training to become the strongest ninja leader in the village.
It is true that Naruto is an anime that overuses filler episodes, but if you can ignore them and enjoy their energy and incredible fights, you will find in the main episodes one of the best plots in anime history.
One Piece (1999)
One Piece has to offer us hundreds of action episodes with comedic and emotional moments for an excellent balance.
The story follows Monkey D. Luffy who dreams of becoming the Pirate King. To do this, he decides to go in search of the greatest treasure in history, the One Piece. However, he needs his own pirate crew to accomplish this. And so he begins an adventure on the high seas with giant monsters, pirates and dangerous sailors.
Lucy Heartfilia is a 17-year-old witch looking for a wizards guild to join. Of course, she ends up being a part of the infamous Fairy Tail, known for causing chaos wherever she goes.
Fairy Tail is an anime full of fantasy, adventure, comedy, and of course magic. You will never get bored with the action exploding on the screen and the well-constructed plot. Go on an adventure with a dragon slayer, a flying cat and a bunch of different wizards and watch the hours go by!
Gon Freecs is a 12-year-old boy who wants to find his missing father, so he decides to become a Hunter, just like him. In the search for him, he will encounter many dangers, but he will also establish a great friendship with three other aspiring Hunters who will accompany him on his adventures: Leorio, Kurapika and Killua.
Hunter X Hunter , in original is an anime with a very interesting plot, great character development and huge doses of action and emotion. It enjoys great worldwide success and has given rise to a lot of derivative products, such as movies, video games, books, musicals and even a play.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is considered one of the best anime of all time. Its plot is almost perfect and its impact and popularity, gigantic.
The story centers on brothers Edward and Alphonse who, in order to bring their mother back to life from the world of the dead, break the most important rule of alchemy: human transmutation. As a consequence, both are cursed; Edward loses his left leg and sacrifices his right arm to save his brother’s soul, who ends up encased in iron armor to prevent his body from fading away.
Thus begins their search for the Philosopher’s Stone, known for its ability to perform miracles and the only thing that can help them regain their normality. This anime is one of the best stories about redemption and the search for truth.
Yuu Yuu Hakusho (1992)
Yuu Yuu Hakusho is a classic from one of the most renowned authors in shounen, Yoshihiro Togashi, who is also the author of Hunter x Hunter . This series reinvigorated the battle shounen sub-genre, showcasing interesting arcs based on martial arts tournaments. Unfortunately, his ending, both in manga and anime, is not the most worthy. But it still deserves a special mention on this list.
Yuu Yuu Hakusho is considered a classic for being one of the pioneers of the genre. Despite the fact that martial arts series abounded at the time, The series dared to present very well-developed and sensitive characters, as well as strong and interesting female protagonists.
The story follows Yuusuke Urameshi, a 14-year-old delinquent who has no hope for the future. But one fateful day, he decides to do something for someone else, and ends up dying in an accident. This creates chaos in the spiritual society, which does not want the young man to pass to another plane, for which the highest authority of the same offers him a second chance if he fulfills some tasks. And thanks to the help of a goddess of death named Botan, he will have to fight against the evil forces present on earth as a spiritual detective.
This series came at the right time, when anime was at its peak in the year 2000. It is known as part of the “big three”, only comparable to Naruto and One Piece . Bleach , however, did not have a satisfying ending for its fans, not even in the manga. But not for this we would like to leave it out of our list.
Bleach introduces us to Ichigo Kurosaki, a young high school student who will have to face the harsh reality of his world when his family is attacked by a Hollow . These beings are corrupt spirits, who feed on the souls of human beings. For Ichigo, this marks the beginning of his journey as he meets the shinigami , Rukia Kuchiki, who sees in him an innate talent that she wishes to harness. They unite to defend the boy’s family, and Rukia gives him her powers.
But days go by, and Rukia doesn’t get her abilities back, so Ichigo is her replacement. Along with her friends and classmates, she will have to take on the task of ending the Hollows that plague her neighborhood. But little by little she will realize that the Hollows are not the only threat to humanity.
InuYasha is one of those series that we remember very fondly, but we forget how truly successful it was. It is an award-winning manga, and its author, Rumiko Takahashi, is one of the most important mangaka in Japan. She is one of the few female authors who managed to break into the shounen market , which at the time was full of men. But her originality and creativity earned her an important position, and hard-earned renown.
Kagome Higurashi lives a normal life as a schoolgirl, which ends abruptly one day when, cleaning the well of the Shintoist temple that her family takes care of, she is dragged to another time at the hands of a monster. The creature is not looking for her, but a magical pearl that is inside her body. After a confrontation that leads her to awaken the half-beast called InuYasha , the girl discovers that she is the reincarnation of a powerful priestess.
InuYasha seems to recognize her, and despises her. But despite their differences, they will have to work together, since the pearl ended up destroyed thanks to an oversight. Now, we will follow their adventures, as they are joined by endearing characters like a little half-human fox named Shippo, a monster slayer named Sango, and a perverted monk who has a curse on his right hand named Miroku.
Samurai Champloo (2004)
From the brilliant mind Shinichiro Watanabe, who is behind such hits as Cowboy Bebop , comes Samurai Champloo , an offbeat samurai story. With urban and modern elements, he mixes the typical tale of the hero who has to get something by fighting, with a slightly cliché atmosphere within the time.
Kasumi Fuu es una joven torpe que trabaja como camarera en una tienda especializada en té, pero luego de que su torpeza la meta en problemas, es rescatada por Mugen, un samurái que utiliza movimientos similares al breakdancing durante sus peleas. Pero Fuu no tiene poder sobre las decisiones del buscapleitos de Mugen, e inmediatamente lo ve buscándole pelea a un ronin llamado Jin.
Luego de que a los tres los echen del establecimiento por perturbar la paz, Fuu decide que estas dos personas pueden ayudarla en una de los misterios más grandes de su vida. La chica ha estado buscando incesantemente a un samurái que huele a girasoles, y los dos luchadores aceptan, aunque un poco reticentes. Así comienza el cuento épico de Samurai Champloo.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012)
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of those anime that everyone knows but not many have seen. Its fans are passionate and loud, the manga is a recognized classic of the genre, and much of its reputation is due to its long history and eccentric writing.
In a story spanning decades, we meet the Brando and Joestar families, who are destined to constantly clash. Due to a life debt, Joestar adopts Brando’s son, Dio, who has an air of grandeur and dreams of more. This alienates his heirs, who, for decades, will fight each other as his legacy continues.
But the main story follows Jonathan Joestar’s grandson, Joseph, who discovers his grandfather’s legacy at an archaeological site. There he meets an ancient stone mask that gives him a task: to destroy the pillar men, mystical beings who were the genesis of everything.
Do you know all the anime we mentioned above? Looking for something more recent, something new to the genre but with similar elements and lots of action? We present to you the new promises of the genre, those series that began to air more recently and that have all the characteristics to redefine the genre and elevate it further.
Boku No Hero Academia (2016)
Midoriya Izuku has always dreamed of being a hero ever since he was a child. But no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t develop any superpowers. This is until the day Izuku inherits the powers of his idol, the hero All Might.
Boku No Hero Academia presents an emotional and uplifting plot, following the protagonist in his transformation from an ordinary boy to a great hero. Also, the frantic action and funny moments will catch you in the anime episodes.
Kimetsu No Yaiba (2019)
Kimetsu No Yaiba is one of the best exponents of the shounen genre that has come out in recent years. This shows that the genre only needs good writers and a story worth telling.
Tanjiro Kamado is the eldest son of a large family, therefore he is in charge of earning bread for his family by selling charcoal. One day, returning from a sale, he finds a horrifying scene. His entire family has been killed by a demon, and his sister, Nezuko, survived the attack only to become one of those terrifying beings.
Tanjiro decides to defend her from a hunter, and asks for his help to save his life. The hunter takes pity on the brothers and gives Tanjiro the tools to become a demon hunter to find the key that will allow him to transform Nezuko back into a human.
A series with a sensitive and empathetic protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado is one of the best shounen protagonists to ever exist.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (2012)
Aladdin leaves the magical palace where he lives to see the real world. With only the magic flute and his genius Ugo, the boy will find all kinds of adventures while he tries to face the famous labyrinths known as Dungeons.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is an action-packed, magical adventure from start to finish. You will enter a magical world ready to entertain you with several hours of great emotion, without being able to stop watching the anime until you reach the end.
Nanatsu no Taizai (2014)
Known as the greatest criminals in the kingdom, the Seven Deadly Sins go into hiding after being deceived by the Holy Knights.
Nanatsu no Taizai contará la historia de la banda de criminales más infame del reino y cómo liberarán su tierra y limpiarán su nombre de los corruptos Caballeros Sagrados. Todo esto servido con peleas fantásticas, magia exagerada, personajes con fuerza poco realista y momentos muy divertidos.
Yakusoku No Neverland (2019)
Yakusoku No Neverland tomó por sorpresa a muchos fanáticos al momento de su estreno. Uno de los pocos shounens exitosos protagonizados por una mujer; su premisa es mucho más madura y oscura de lo que se cree al inicio. Seguimos a un grupo de huérfanos en un idílico centro llamado la casa Grace Field, bajo el cuidado de una amable “madre” que les deja hacer lo que quieran en su tiempo libre, con tal de que estén listos para la cena. No obstante, no se les permite alejarse mucho de la casa ni pasar las cercas que la rodean. Además, luego de que uno de los niños es adoptado, los que quedan en Grace Field esperan con ansias sus cartas, para no recibir ninguna.
Great Teacher Onizuka (1999)
Great Teacher Onizuka is one of those anime that at first looks like something that, deep down, it is not. The main character, Eikichi Onizuka, is an incorrigible perverted ex-gang member, but he has a wish driven by the worst of intentions: to become the best teacher in all of Japan in order to get a young wife to take care of him when he grows old.
Yet despite this, there is much more to Onizuka than meets the eye, and all of his life experiences lead him to teach at a prestigious school whose students take much for granted, and who immediately decide that they are going to try to go bankrupt. to the new teacher. But they had never dealt with someone like Onizuka…
Great Teacher Onizuka is not the typical school series, but it has an extremely adult black comedy that will leave more than one asking for more.
Hajime No Ippo (2000)
One of the most recognizable sports classics on the list, Hajime no Ippo follows Ippo Makunouchi, a young man who has always lived his life being abused.
His classmates beat him up and force him to do their errands, and he has always wanted to change. But that doesn’t happen until he finds Mamoru Takamura, a boxer, who gives him a one-week challenge that seems impossible. However, his desire to improve is stronger, and he decides to do it for him and his mother, and thus begins his journey as a boxer.
Haikyuu!! follows Shouyo Hinata, a young man who admires a legendary volleyball player called the “little giant”, and dreams of becoming someone like him.
Sin embargo, su entusiasmo no es suficiente, y pierde el torneo para clasificar durante su período de preparatoria. Con una pérdida humillante ante otro equipo con un jugador estrella llamado el “rey de la cancha”, un jugador con fama de ser egoísta y ególatra llamado Tobio Kageyama.
No obstante, el jugador ve el potencial en Shouyo, cosa que lo lleva a confrontarlo al final del partido y decirle que tiene talento. Hinata lo reta para enfrentarse nuevamente a él en el futuro, y se separan poco después.
El protagonista entra a estudiar en Karasuno, la antigua escuela del pequeño gigante, para pulir sus habilidades y mejorar, pero cuál es su sorpresa al encontrarse con Kageyama en la puerta del gimnasio, aplicando para el equipo de vóleibol también…
This story follows two rivals turned into a team who have to learn to collaborate and improve their skills.
Your Lie in April (2014)
After the death of his mother, the musician Kousei Arima loses his bearings and his connection with the art of playing the piano. Two years later, Kousei is still avoiding the instrument, leaving behind his rivals and those who admired him, and lives a simple and banal life together with his friends. But one day, he meets a beautiful violinist named Kaori Miyazono, who turns his world upside down and accompanies him on a journey to rediscover how important music is.
This story is sensitive and moving, dealing with personal loss and growth.
Gintama is a series recognized for its rarity. Its plot, mainly, is extremely strange: It is about a race of aliens called the Amanto, who invade the earth and take over Feudal Japan and ban swords, which causes the samurai to fall from grace. However, Gintoki Sakata still possesses the soul of a samurai, doing small jobs for various bidders.
Gintama ‘s appeal is in its absurdity, its weird humor, and its immense ability to make something funny out of anything and parody any popular anime of the time.
Shingeki No Kyojin (2013)
Attack on Titan quickly became very popular due to its style, more somber than usual within the shounen genre. The series combines action with a post-apocalyptic environment and features a protagonist embarked on an important and dangerous mission.
Eren Yaeger and his childhood friends, Armin Arlet and Mikasa Ackerman, live in a world filled with gigantic, flesh-eating creatures, the Titans. The human population is forced to live concentrated within three great walls to protect themselves.
Being members of the army that is in charge of eliminating those monsters, when they venture outside the walls, the team discovers that the world they live in is bigger and, above all, more dangerous than they imagined.
Assassination Classroom (2015)
Esta podría ser la serie que analiza de la manera más efectiva la experiencia escolar. Assassination Classroom no es una serie corriente, y su premisa es bastante única, pero termina siendo una historia conmovedora sobre un profesor y sus alumnos. El otro aspecto positivo es que la serie abarca toda la historia, dándole un final satisfactorio para todo aquel que quiera verla.
Japón se encuentra en caos. El mundo acaba de presenciar cómo un monstruo con tentáculos devoró la mitad de la luna, y el país del sol naciente recibe una amenaza directa de parte de este ser: o lo matan en un período de tiempo específico, o acaba con la luna (y por consecuencia, la tierra). El país accede, pero tiene que cumplir las condiciones del monstruo, quien les exige que deberán entregarle a la clase 3-E de la escuela secundaria Kunugigaoka, y él será su profesor.
Pero esta clase no es normal, ni mucho menos. Estos chicos son los rechazados por la sociedad, aquellos de los cuales nada se espera, y el profesor les entregará las herramientas para poder acabar con él, incluso dándoles materiales especiales que pueden dañarlo. Pero deben aprender el arte del asesinato, del sigilo, del veneno… en fin, tienen que aprender a matarlo si pretenden salir de allí ilesos, y además, ver clases normales de inglés, matemáticas, etcétera. Pero cuando los alumnos conocen mejor a este misterioso monstruo, se dan cuenta de que detrás de él se oculta un ser curioso, gracioso y muy amable, y sobre todas las cosas, un excelente profesor. ¿Así que serán capaz de acabar con alguien con el que han formado este vínculo tan especial?
Jujutsu Kaisen (2020)
Aside from the many similarities this anime has to Naruto , Jujutsu Kaisen has its own charm. Yuuji Itadori is an excellent protagonist who shows a lot of empathy for others, we have a group of teachers who carry a lot of the weight of power and the scale of it on their backs, and the companions of the “main trio” do not fall into ridiculous stereotypes . Rather, they break them.
Yuuji Itadori is a young man with enviable physical abilities. All the sports clubs want him as a member, but he prefers to entertain himself with the stories about spirits that his companions in the spiritualist club tell him. But in a world where the spiritual and the real are much closer than they seem, they end up coinciding with a cursed object of great power. Young Yuuji feels a responsibility to save and help his friends, and ends up eating the cursed object and gaining great powers.
We soon discover that this object is not just anything, but a finger that belongs to the “king of curses”, Ryomen Sukuna. Now, Yuuji has powers of sorcery, and he can use them to help anyone he wants. But he will also have to learn how his new powers work, and how to defeat the curses. And eventually confront the fact that the most dangerous and powerful curse is within him.
Dr Stone (2019)
Who said that learning science with an anime was impossible? Dr. Stone challenges all perceptions that anime is not educational. The premise is interesting, the protagonist is magnificent, and he teaches us a lot about everyday objects that, in this universe, become crucial.
In Dr. Stone , humanity has mysteriously been turned to stone. Very few humans are left outside this prison, but one of the first to rise is Taiju, who soon after discovers that his science-loving friend Senkuu has been working for months with what nature has to offer on this vast and empty Earth.
Thus begin their adventures, Senkuu trying to reach the level of technology he came to know, and Taiju trying to help him in whatever way he can to find a way to awaken the rest of humanity from its stone prison.
Kuroko No Basket (2012)
Kuroko No Basket is recognized as one of the best adaptations of a spokon in recent times. And not only is it worth it for its excellent quality, but it is also finished! The manga ended several years ago and a cool adaptation of its last arc was even made, with an epic movie.
In the competitive world of youth basketball, there was a legendary team of elementary school students. They called themselves “the generation of miracles,” and many knew them by their five most prominent members. But what hardly anyone knew is that there is a fifth member of that group who was the pillar of the team. And when everyone graduated, that was left in the memory, and everyone went their separate ways…
Now, Kuroko Tetsuya, the “invisible man” of the generation of miracles, is searching for a purpose. When the young man meets a promising basketball player named Kagami Taiga, he promises to become his pillar. And now, they are both the stars of the Seirin school, but as if this were not enough, during the regional tournaments, Kuroko will have to face one by one against his classmates from the generation of miracles.
Mob Psycho 100 (2016)
From the mastermind of ONE, the same genius behind the wonder that is One Punch Man, comes Mob Psycho 100 , with a relatively similar premise but exploring a very interesting system of magic and power. In addition, he has a very peculiar sense of humor that will make more than one smile.
Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama is a young high school student who discovers, at a very young age, that he has psychic powers. But he soon discovers how dangerous those powers can be if he doesn’t learn how to handle them. So, to avoid trouble, he wears them very sparingly, and only to impress his crush.
However, he is unwilling to constantly regulate himself, and so enters the story Reigen Arataka, a con artist who also claims to be a psychic. But this grown man takes advantage of Mob’s abilities to steal. And he doesn’t know that if Mob’s emotions get out of control, it can cause a cataclysm.
Tokyo Avengers (2021)
If there is an anime that has caused a stir in its time of transmission, it is Tokyo Avengers . It is one of the most popular series of the year and has received a lot of good press from its critics and viewers. In addition, it is also said that his manga is practically infallible, with a moving and interesting story that gradually grows as its plot progresses.
The story follows Takemichi Hanagaki, a young man who has declared himself to be out of luck. He knows that elementary school was the best time for him, and now as an adult he feels that he has hit rock bottom. Today, he is a nobody. He used to have friends and a girlfriend. But now, he has to answer to his boss and the little kids make fun of him.
Things get even worse when he finds out on the news that his old girlfriend, Hinata Tachibana, has been killed by an urban gang called Tokio Manji. Takemichi wishes to return to the past, and when he suffers a fatal accident on the train tracks, he wakes up to relive the worst day of his life. But that’s not important. He is in the past. And now that he’s there, he can do everything he can to avoid the tragic fate of the girl he once loved.
Fumetsu No Anata E (2021)
This new series is extremely recent to tell you that it is a masterpiece, but we believe that it is only enough to watch the first episode of it to realize that it is not just any anime. With highly emotional elements, To Your Eternity is one of those new proposals that simply deserves a chance.
In a world where there are multiple threats that want to destroy human beings, a kind of “god” created a sphere. This sphere has only one task: to grow and absorb knowledge. First, it transforms into a rock. Then in moss. And eventually, in a living being: a lone wolf who is injured, and who dies. This is how the immortal being begins his journey.
Eventually, his journey takes him to the home of a young man who dreams of reuniting with his family. The young man treats him like his pet, and teaches him how to eat. With the mentality of an animal, the immortal being doesn’t have to do anything but depend on the boy. But when the boy suffers an accident and insists on continuing the journey, what will become of his fate and that of the immortal being who depends on stimuli in order to continue growing? This story goes far beyond fantasy and explores many facets of humanity. It is without a doubt one of the most interesting works we have seen in years, and we cannot recommend it highly enough.