With the growing realization that people loved watching underdogs overcome odds to defeat the evil guys, a new age of Japanese media began as writers and artists took advantage of this insight. In the anime/manga industry, it marked the birth of the Shonen genre that has been responsible for some of the biggest shows in anime history. Since the Shonen genre soon became an anime staple for decades, there was no dearth of shows to choose from, which created a paradox of choice for the viewers. In order to make it easier for the newcomers, today we look at some of the excellent Shonen anime that everyone should watch.
Officially released in 2019, Demon Slayer took the anime industry by storm and became the Crunchyroll anime of the year. It was soon followed by the release of the 2020 anime film, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train that broke many global box office records and surprised everyone. The show has now made a name for itself, especially for its mindboggling animation and masterfully executed fight scenes. The anime series’s success soon led to the record manga sales that dethroned sales giant, One Piece in 2020. Demon Slayer’s success is not just because of hype and luck, as some critics might claim. The storytelling, animation, and fight scenes all come together to create a fantastic show that often leaves viewers in awe.
Demon Slayer recounts the story of Tanjiro Kamado, whose entire family is attacked and killed by a demon, and only her young sister Nezuko survives the tragic attack. However, she turns into a demon, which sets the protagonist on a journey to find a way of turning her back while also avenging the murder of his family. Tanjiro becomes a demon slayer and finds new friends as he looks for the antagonist to kill him.
My Hero Academia
Ever since the conclusion of Naruto and Bleach, the search for the successor of the Shonen Jump’s Big Three is going on, and it would not be wrong to say that My Hero Academia just might be the true successor. The show has taken inspiration from Naruto, and the protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, is a timid and feeble young boy. Like Naruto, Izuku has big dreams as he wants to become the best hero in Japan, following the footsteps of his ideal All Might. Unfortunately, he is born without any powers in a world where 80 percent of the people have some Quirk.
However, his life takes an unexpected turn when All Might, his ideal, decides to give him his Quirk, One for All, when he sees Izuku’s resolve to become a hero. But Izuku is confronted with the fact that his journey to become the greatest hero has just started as he is met with one challenge after another.
Shonen series are famous for their impressive fight scenes. Still, Death Note stands as an anomaly to this generalization since it is just as fascinating as other shows without ever portraying a grand battle with fists. The show is focused for the most part on the mind games between L, Near, and Light Yagami. The antagonist, Light, once used to be the brightest student in Japan; however, everything changed when he once got his hands on a Death Note. It gave him immense supernatural powers, and he immediately decided to become the god of the new world that he will create using the Death Note. He starts by killing dangerous criminals, which soon culminates into the indiscriminate murder of anyone who got in his way. The show makes the viewers take a side and then confuses them by showing how even good ideas can be corrupted when taken to an extreme. It raises some mind-bending moral and philosophical questions that can get anyone hooked.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood introduces viewers to a world where advanced scientific knowledge allows people to manipulate matter using transmutation circles. Two young brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who were shocked by the demise of their mother, foolishly tried to resurrect her only to lose their body parts. In order to get back their bodies, Alphonse and Edward are set on a journey to get back their bodies. They soon realize that they are part of a grand conspiracy that might lead to the death of millions.
Attack on Titan
In the world where humans are at a constant threat of being eaten by giants called Titans, humanity has found a few ways to defend themselves. They have created an elite group of soldiers to fight these titans while living in cities surrounded by massive walls. Like many other people in these cities, Eren Yeager loses loved ones when the Titans successfully breach the civilization’s main defenses. His family’s death understandably hurts Eren, so he decides to join the Survey Corps to fight Titans. However, he soon finds out that he has gained the power to turn into a Titan. Attack on Titan has been the most popular anime of the last few years, and as the final season of the series approaches, there is no doubt that it will break many records soon.
As mentioned earlier, there is no shortage of great anime to choose from when it comes to the Shonen genre, but the ones listed here are the best shows of the last two decades. There are others too that might have been better, but most of them can be watched in a month, so they require little time commitment; hence are ideal for newcomers.