Shonen anime is one of the most popular genres of anime. Still, it has its critics. Detractors of shonen dislike it for its formulaic nature and “chosen” protagonists. However, some shonen anime are so captivating that they make fans out of their haters.
These amazing anime all have things that are unique about them, but the threads that tie them together as great shows are dynamic characters, compelling stories, and amazing animation. Anime fans may have disliked shonen before seeing these titles, but afterwards they couldn’t get enough of these stories.
10/10 Spy X Family mixes several genres
Spy X family is a recent addition to the shonen collection, but it has already made a name for itself. The spy-action comedy captivates audiences with the adorable Forger family and their many tribulations. With a spy father, an assassin mother and a telepathic daughter, Forgers sneaks into the fans’ hearts.
Although there is plenty of traditional shonen action in the series, Spy X family has many heartwarming moments between the Forgers, as well as some romantic tension between the parents – Loid and Yor. It also has a good dose of comedy that appeals to a wide variety of fans.
9/10 Haikyuu!! Makes fans feel part of the team
Haikyuu!! is a shonen sports anime about a volleyball team on the rise. Shoyo Hinata is an aspiring volleyball player, but his middle school has no members. Not to be deterred, Hinata finally recruits enough people for a team. While they end up losing, Hinata’s determination to play in the Nationals remains strong as he attends Karasuno High School and realizes that his rival is now his teammate.
Fans can’t resist this coming-of-age story about a young boy who refuses to give up on his dreams. The inspiring story of the “Wingless Crows” makes fans feel like part of the team as they strive to regain the school’s reputation. Whether viewers are fans or not, this story is irresistibly motivational – making audiences believe in the power of hard work and perseverance.
8/10 Horimiya finds love amidst the struggles
While most shonen anime are action-centric, others focus on romance. Such a lovable anime is Horimiya. The story follows two teenagers, Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura, who fall for each other after learning secrets about each other that no one else knows. It is a deeply heartwarming tale of two people who love each other despite their differences.
People who dislike traditional shonen shows are sure to fall for this heartwarming love story. Horimiya has brilliant characters and a relatable romance that highlights Hori and Miyamura’s insecurities. Still, the teenagers fight to be together because they ultimately love each other. This anime is perfect to watch with a loved one who may not like typical action stories.
7/10 Bleach has action in spades
Ichigo Kurosaki is an ordinary high schooler until his family is attacked by a mysterious being. Eager to save his family, Ichigo accepts the powers of an equally enigmatic figure, Rukia Kuchiki, and becomes a Soul Reaper. While this sounds like the premise of most shonen shows, Bleach stands out for its impressive fight scenes.
Fans of this series love it for its action and mystery story. Plus with the new Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War that just came out, old and new audiences can see the end of their beloved series. Full of great fighting and heart, this anime has been popular for so long for a reason.
6/10 Jujutsu Kaisen has dark themes and relatable characters
Although it was not the first, Jujutsu The quay is a dark shonen anime that isn’t afraid to scare the audience. Yuji Itadori trains as a sorcerer after becoming the host of an evil cursed spirit. To keep an eye on him, the teachers and wizards of Jujutsu High take him in and teach him about the dark world of Cursed Spirits.
Not only does this show have gorgeous animation and exciting fight scenes, but it also has extremely relatable characters. Even though they have magical powers, each character feels like they would exist in the real world. Fans watch this show to see the students grow and see what terrifying new Cursed Spirits await them.
5/10 Demon Slayer has amazing animation
As Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slaughter is not afraid to get a little bloody. The story of Tanjiro Kamado’s crusade against demons draws audiences in with its tragic yet touching plot. However, what attracts fans the most is the gorgeous animation.
Due to the different types of breathing styles in the story, the animation focuses heavily on making each style not only distinct, but beautiful. The effort makes for a visual feast that is as alluring as it is haunting. In addition, the series is filled with stunning fight scenes and incredible heroic performances that inspire even the most cynical anime fans.
4/10 My Hero Academia puts a spin on superheroes
Izuku Midoriya realizes his dream of becoming the greatest hero of all time My Hero Academia. Yet evil forces seek to control the world and Izuku’s inherited powers. This superhero origin story is universally appealing for a coming-of-age story involving super-powered characters.
The characters in this series are all unique and have distinct personalities, unlike many other shonen titles. Plus, the fight scenes are so much more dynamic because of the different powers that are displayed in the show. Even non-anime fans can enjoy this tale of overcoming adversity at all costs.
3/10 Naruto depicts young ninjas
Naruto is another coming-of-age story about a group of young ninjas in training. The titular character, Naruto Uzumaki, is particularly motivated to become the leader of his village, despite his bad reputation as the owner of the Nine-tailed Fox. Viewers get to watch Naruto and his friends learn and grow throughout the series from new fighters to some of the best shinobi in the land.
Although this anime has many filler episodes, it also has some of the most iconic characters. Naruto was also many fans’ first introduction to anime alongside Pokémon and Sailor Moon. This beloved series has been the impetus for many anime fans to fall in love with the genre.
2/10 Attack On Titan is a bloody tale of survival
Attack on Titan took the world by storm when it first aired. The gruesome tale of survival at all costs resonates with fans for its brutality. Eren Yeager and his comrades fighting the man-eating titans is a must-see series.
Unlike most shonen, this anime is extremely brutal. Virtually no character is safe, as even beloved or important characters perish in the line of duty. Horror fans, whether they enjoy the action genre or not, are sure to enjoy the dark brilliance that is Attack on Titan.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the harrowing story of two brothers who search for a cure after they perform an alchemical taboo. Edward and Alphonse Elric are simultaneously relatable and awe-inspiring as the brothers succeed in overcoming powerful obstacles despite their age. Meanwhile, a new war is brewing in their country that could mean the end of Amestris altogether.
This hugely popular show is so beloved because it tackles different themes and tones throughout its run. There are as many funny scenes as there are tense ones, which adds more depth to the story. In addition, the characters are distinct, with their own motivations that drive the story and show all sides of a war. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the perfect show to convert shonen haters due to its universal appeal and human story.
NEXT: The 10 Finest Shonen Protagonists, Ranked