Shonen Jump and its numerous rivals have contributed to the abundance of excellent shonen anime over the years. Which anime shows are the finest is a contentious topic among fandoms, but the best shows will undoubtedly have something special to offer. Just take a look at Demon Slayer or My Hero Academia to see how successful well-made shonen anime can be.
It is undoubtedly one of the most well-liked “genres” of anime, inspiring innumerable manga adaptations and original programmes for fans. Shonen also refers to a demographic instead of a specific genre, therefore it encompasses a variety of shows. There is a reason shonen anime is still among the most popular genres, despite the criticism it receives for being formulaic. That’s largely because most shonen series focus on what they do best, which tends to be stunning combat scenes, strong and frequently endearing character archetypes, and compelling narratives with themes of family, camaraderie, and generally being a great person.
It can be challenging to decide which anime series to start watching in a group with so many options. However, some shonen anime are so superior to the rest that they should be among every fan’s must-watch checklist until they have all been viewed. We have compiled a list of 19. shonen anime that must hit everyone’s lists, although this will not include anime that blur the line between shonen and seinen like Attack on Titan, Tokyo Ghoul, etc. or anime not included in Shonen Jump like Fairy Tail.
Naruto and 17 other shonen anime that are ranked on the basis of its characterization
19. Fire Force
In the Fire Force universe, spontaneous human combustion is a problem for the planet. Unexpectedly, regular humans are converted into Infernals, fiery beings that assault the rest of humanity. Some people don’t want to change, and instead develop the ability to control fire. Many of these individuals go on to join the Fire Force, a team that defends mankind from the Infernals. Shinra Kusakabe joins Fire Force Company 8 in this location. This organization was created to both defend humanity and learn the cause of spontaneous combustion. This was standard shonen fare, with characters as fiery as they came.
18. Dragon Ball Z
The character writing of this series is a little weak, but the same enabled shonen to become what it is today. Numerous individuals were introduced to shonen and anime in general because to Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball. It may be the best anime for beginners of all time because it has remained popular for four decades. The two series’ pinnacles are Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. The former demonstrated Toriyama’s comical skills through characters like Krillin or Vegeta, while the latter established the bar for the action-packed battle shonen shows that would come after in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
17. Chainsaw Man
Denji remains unique because of his lack of grand motivation, making this series stand out. Given the overwhelming number of sequels that were broadcast during Fall 2022, the reality that Chainsaw Man was by far the most anticipated anime of the season illustrates how well-known Tatsuki Fujimoto’s manga is. Chainsaw Man revolves around a man who has the ability to turn portions of himself into chainsaws, as the title of the film suggests. There is a lot of blood and gore in the plot, as well as the involvement of the Yakuza and devil hunters.
16. My Hero Academia
The show has had a long and prosperous run with a total of six seasons and a few films under its belt, and Deku’s tale is still unfolding. The story of a hero who wishes to be the best touches all our hearts indeed. The best episodes of My Hero Academia feature memorable battles, terrifying antagonists, passable humor, and a consistent feeling of the protagonist’s development. Now, the series has experienced a few dull arcs. In reality, seasons 4 and 5 are both significantly weaker than the remainder of the show. Since they contain roughly 50 episodes, they can be challenging to get through.
15. Jujutsu Kaisen
The excellent balance of comedy, behavior, and storytelling in Jujutsu Kaisen has drawn in a lot of anime lovers throughout the years. Not to add, the motion picture is a visual feast that will have many people’s jaws dropped. In contrast to other anime, Yuji, the main character, is compelled to get stronger after coming across a cursed object and the character writing really shines in case of side-characters.
14. The Promised Neverland
Imagine a story of three kids who are part of a creche, being raised to feed supernatural monsters. Now imagine these kids attempting to find a way to get out, while they are being thwarted at every step. This really sounds like nightmare fuel, doesn’t it? If you want a good night’s sleep, maybe steer clear of the manga but for all other reasons, this is set to tick off all the boxes for fans of anime, horror, and intrigue.
13. Black Clover
Even though Black Clover represents one of the more recent shonen anime, it already has a sizable and amazing fanbase. The programme has been running since it debuted in 2017. It was made by Studio Pierrot, who also produced the hugely successful shonen series Naruto and Bleach. Two young boys called Asta and Yuno, that were both left as infants and were nurtured together, are the subjects of the film Black Clover. Their sole objective is to rise to the position of Wizard King, the strongest mage in the realm. The rivalry here is even better developed than the clash between Bakugo and Deku.
12. Demon Slayer
personally I think tanjiro is a great main character pic.twitter.com/eDVYKyj1Nh
— amber ♡ (@tanijrou) September 19, 2022
Demon Slayer has established itself as a sort of modern battle shonen classic because of its morally grey characters and the protagonist who manages to understand the same. It is a beginning anime, purely out of consideration for those who may be interested in it despite not having fully embraced Japanese animation due to its widespread success. Demon Slayer is enjoyable right away, but it really gets going in episode 19. The popularity of the anime skyrocketed almost immediately after this chapter, and the flames haven’t subsided since.
so yes all these random thoughts from me today just to say that i truly believe hinata has the greatest development in this story and that he is the best main character haikyuu could have ever asked for.
peace ✌🏼🥺 pic.twitter.com/rYy9hkKBsm
— Aria🌺 playing tru ARR (@vitaaeris) June 2, 2020
Known by many to be the quintessential sports anime for the new generation, Haikyu!! tells the story of two rivals who are forced into an uneasy alliance, before they find a way to develop a healthy respect for each other. These kids set out to take on the nation, and later the world – introducing character dynamics as interesting as that of Yamaguchi and Tsukishima, Asahi and Nishinoya, Oikawa and Iwaizumi, Hinata and Kageyama, Ushijima and Tendo.
10. Hell’s Paradise
I think Gabimaru is gonna be my favourite character pic.twitter.com/ZLQTZAWsUK
— 『 Chuks 』 (@VongolaChuks) December 19, 2021
Gabimaru the Hollow, who has been given the death penalty, is apathetic. He feels that he deserved to die because he has lived a bloody life. However, every attempt to kill him somehow fails. Finally, a young member of a renowned executioner clan named Sagiri Yamada Asaemon is ordered to kill Gabimaru, but Sagiri refuses to carry out the request. She offers Gabimaru the opportunity to receive full forgiveness for his sins, insisting that he won’t perish out of love for his wife. His freedom will be guaranteed if he can go to the island of Shinsekyo, find the elixir of life, which is purported to confer immortality, and bring it back to the shogun.
I'll say 5:
1. More mature theme and atmosphere in comparison to previous arcs
2. Great impact on some characters development especially Ichigo
3. Amazing antagonists
4. Exploring and expanding BLEACH's world building and Karakura Town
5. Fullbringers https://t.co/oTFEoBXypF pic.twitter.com/ZguChN47k0
— Mark (@Mark_Himself_) August 4, 2023
When it’s at its best, Bleach holds its own against every other action anime on the market because of its fast-paced action, unique characters, and supernatural angle. The 40 episodes of the Soul Society arc, which is widely regarded as one of the best early sagas in shonen, have amazing action, world-building, and storytelling. Aside from that, the Fullbringer, Arrancar, and Thousand-Year Blood War arcs also feature some of the greatest character developments. Another high point that helped bring back Bleach significantly after a protracted break is the Thousand-Year Blood War arc, which debuted in the autumn of 2022.
8. Blue Lock
obviously isagi is number one, maybe not his jersey number, but it makes sense since he is our main character so obv the first volume of his manga should have isagi on it. then who is on volume 11's cover? that's right. ego. pic.twitter.com/PFZvmxMJoA
— 、#daisy @ p5r 2/2 mourner (@lzydaizies) July 29, 2023
Star soccer player Yoichi Isagi is reeling from a devastating defeat when all of a sudden he receives word that he has been chosen for the project Blue Lock. Project Blue Lock, which puts 300 contendants through intense instruction to determine which of them will become the best, aims to identify the best striker on the Japanese national team. Unlike most other anime series, Blue Lock has a unique stance on sports. Most television programmes emphasise the value of bond, but Blue Lock places more emphasis on rivalry.
And the villains are also mostly amazing, Zabuza and Gaara are perfect villains for Naruto and they have powerful characterization and conclusions, Orochimaru is pretty good too but i need to see more of him to have a full opinion. My disappointment would be the the sound four+ pic.twitter.com/D3ysdwIYtd
— Haddes (@HaddesAoT) June 14, 2023
For a few years, Naruto surpassed the long-dormant Dragon Ball, gradually bridging Bleach and One Piece to become the most watched anime in Western nations. The titular ninja, who lives in the Hidden Leaf Village, has spent most of his life as an outcast, but instead of continuing to wallow in self-pity, Naruto intends to win everyone’s approval and confidence as he works to become the village’s Hokage. Starting shinobi training is the first stage in this quest. Naruto teams up with the moody Sasuke and Sakura, and the students work under Kakashi’s guidance. Naruto’s success and the series’ primary character dynamics have gone on to influence many other modern shonen.
6. Yu Yu Hakusho
Yu Yu Hakusho Dark Tournament Arc (1994)
Absolutely phenomenal, what else is there to say? The writing, character development, humour and obviously, the fights themselves were stunning. And that Yusuke vs Toguro fight…I could write an entire essay about that shit.
— 🐍❗️ (@SnakesInAlaska) July 30, 2023
Yusuke Urameshi, a delinquent 14-year-old with a bleak future, gets a miracle chance to change his life one tragic day when he jumps in front of a rapidly moving automobile to save a small boy. The rulers of the immortal spirit realm are still reluctant to allow him to pass on because his ultimate commitment is so out of character. Yusuke is given the chance to reclaim his life by completing a series of challenges by Koenma, the next in line to the crown of the spirit realm. As a Spirit Detective, he is to stop evil forces on Earth under the direction of the death deity Botan. Yusuke recruits two demons with a history of crime, Hiei and Kurama, as well as his former nemesis Kazuma Kuwabara, to assist him in his endeavour.
5. Assassination Classroom
Koro-sensei, who resembles an octopus, has previously promised to kill the Earth by the month of March of the following year after destroying the moon. The pupils have discovered that murdering him is more difficult spoken than done in considering their purpose. Koro-sensei is not only capable of moving at speeds up to Mach 20, yet he can also withstand practically all weapons found on Earth. He turns out to be one of the best instructors Class 3-E ever had, which is ironic. The kids in this class, who are despised by their classmates, seem to have little hope of progressing their academic careers. However, one of the most endearing stories ever told is concealed under this absurd concept.
4. One Piece
His purity, his kindness… Luffy is the best Main Character ever created!
Chase your dreams, don't let people opinions get in your way, be free and have empathy! THE GRATEST EVER! pic.twitter.com/zlxZ40cUkR
— RJupiter👑♣️ (@JPeterGod) August 5, 2023
With almost 1000 episodes, One Piece is on a pedestal that not many other anime can match. At this point, the exploits of Luffy with his crew are epic to the extent of legend, making it impossible for anime fans to sit through the full series. Despite its length, a large number of individuals continue to start the series from scratch and watch it through to the conclusion. It only serves to highlight how amazing the world-building, scale, and characters in One Piece are. Luffy seems to be a flat character when we see him initially, just another cardboard cut-out shonen hero – but his personality really shines in manifesting the epitome of will and devil fruit abilities. Not to mention other amazing characters with their backstories like Law, Sanji, Oden, Robin, Whitebeard, Sabo, Vivi, Senor Pink, Doflamingo, Katakuri, Coby and many more.
3. Hunter X Hunter
Hunters devote their lives to doing dangerous activities, such as exploring undiscovered regions of the earth and seeking out rare objects and beasts. One needs to clear the Hunter’s Examination in order to become a Hunter, which is a risky selection process where the majority of candidates end up disabled or, worse, dead. Ambitious candidates that take the infamous exam do it for a specific motive. Gon Freecss is motivated by the desire to discover Ging, his father, and another Hunter. Gon begins to follow the same route since he thinks that by being a Hunter, he will eventually run into his father. Gon makes friends with Leorio Paladiknight, a medical student, the vengeful Kurapika, and Killua Zoldyck, a former assassin, while they are all taking the Hunter Examination. Despite having quite different motivations, they unite for a common cause and start combating. Togashi’s real merit is in character writing, and this shines through in his morally grey heroes, who often succumb to dark powers because of their naivety.
2. Dr. Stone
Senku is up there with Bulma as one of the smartest anime characters of all time pic.twitter.com/SfbfA6fLBn
— Remy (CR: Jujutsu-Kaisen) (@Remysenpaii) August 3, 2023
The premise of Dr. Stone is fantastic, and the protagonist is even better. Over the course of a few 1000 years, the majority of people on Earth are suddenly turned to stone, forcing the world to slowly regress. Senku escapes from his confinement eventually, and the quick-thinking kid sets out to unpetrify everybody while accelerating humankind’s technological advancement. Senku may not be a strong man, but he is highly intelligent. The characters do seem flat, but that is only on the surface – each of them bring to light one of humanity’s greatest endeavours, manifested in their characteristics and skill sets, bringing on screen a stellar cast of heroes.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Brothers Edward and Alphonse were stuck in a terrible new reality after a horrifying alchemy experiment fails at the Elric home. The lads tried to revive their recently departed mother against the alchemical principle prohibiting human transmutation. Instead, they experienced terrible personal loss. Alphonse’s body crumbled, and Edward lost a leg before giving up an arm to preserve Alphonse’s soul bound to a massive set of armour, which allowed him to remain in the physical world. Characters such as Roy Mustang, Envy, Pride, Olivia Armstrong carry the show when it comes to character writing and their motivations, sins, regrets, griefs and prides, nothing else comes close to holding a candle to the Number 1 ranked anime on MyAnimeList.