Top 25 Best Shounen Anime

The word behind almost any sprawling anime franchise or much raved about show is usually shounen. But while it seems like "shounen" just means action anime where a bunch of guys aim to be the best, it's so much more than that.

Read our Shounen Subgenre Guide

Shounen's all about huge life-or-death battles, side-splitting comedy, heavy suspenseful atmosphere, mindless fun and even a bit of romance. That's because shounen isn't a genre; it's a demographic – that is, it's a whole lot of solid gold anime aimed at young teen boys. It covers every genre and every level of entertainment, from the simplest of comedy shows to the most serious philosophical anime.

And because there's so much good to be found in shounen, we've battled through it to bring you a mix of old and new shows that make up the very best it has to offer.

We've just updated this list from August 2015 to bring a new perspective to this list and to address many of the complaints people had with our previous version of the list.

The list is far more thorough and comprehensive now -- and we feel it's the best list out there that covers the best of the shounen genre.

Note: if you want more anime recommendations, do check out our Best Anime Series list, our Best Anime of 2014 list and our new Top 50 Manga list







As we reach the top anime on the list, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood appears, the anime version of the hit shounen manga that has won the hearts of many. But it's not just the great animation, nice pacing or huge cast of deep characters that makes the series great – it's also a show that takes serious topics well.

 

The Elric family hasn't been the same since their mother died. But in a world of magic, reviving someone isn't that hard, right? The answer to that is what Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse find out the hard way. While they manage to revive their dead mother, it comes at the price: Alphonse's body and two of Elric's limbs. Realising their mistake, the brothers set off on a journey to obtain the Philospher's Stone, a magical item that can help them regain what has been lost.

 

Even though Fullmetal Alchemist has been animated before, Brotherhood gives the series a more distinct shounen feel, expanding its cast of characters, developing its plot more and overall staying true to its source material (which in itself is also amazing).

 

Best aspect: The show's heavy themes dealt with thoughtfulness and grace. There's a seriously good characterization thrown in -- this is not some simple action anime with magic, but a thoughtful, precise characters study of two brothers trying to redeem past mistakes. And of course, there's awesome action, violence and a surprisingly dark theme running through the entire series.

 

Why it made the list: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the go-to serious shounen anime. Brotherhood manages to pace its story more evenly than its predecessor, going into the more serious themes of the manga with more time to explore. It prides itself on being a close adaption of the manga and feels more true to the concept due to that.

 

Watch if you like: Epic final battles, mature themes, Bones, brothers, friends, journeys, magic, fantasy, faithful adaptions, large casts of characters, long series, recent series.

 

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Here we are: the shounen endgame boss. With over 600 episodes spanning 15 years, One Piece is the second longest running shounen anime, beaten only by Detective Conan (and really, that's more of a kids' show). Beloved by many around the globe, One Piece has seen the world and looks like it'll sail on forever, and that's why it's at our number two spot.

 

Gol D Roger – the strongest, wealthiest, piratiest pirate to ever sail the Grand Line – had his legacy cut short after he was captured and killed by the World Government. But Gol D's final worlds usher in the Grand Age of Pirates, for he lets slip the existence of a great treasure called One Piece. Whoever finds it is guaranteed endless riches, fame and the coveted title of Pirate King. It's this exciting adventure that seventeen-year-old Luffy jumps at, and he's quick to gather a crew and set sail for the treasure everyone has in their sights.

 

You may be thinking that starting an endless series that's already 600+ episodes long is kind of daunting, and you'd be right. But in that regard, you'd also be missing out on a long franchise of interesting arcs, classic shounen set-ups, amazing adventures and arc after arc of great stories. There's nothing quite like One Piece, and perhaps it's good that there's no end in sight.

 

Best aspect: The long, sprawling story that's told like an endless fun adventure. There are two arcs -- young Luffy and adult Luffy. The adult Luffy part deals with a time gap period in which all the characters grow substantially -- it's an interesting twist that puts a new spin on an old series.

 

Why it made the list: The series may be monstrously long, but for its length, it's by far the most consistently interesting. Its huge cast of characters is only a bonus, and with how long the series lasts, it honestly feels like an adventure. Cartoonish art style be damned, it's a true pirate adventure.

 

Watch if you like: Pirates, powers, adventures, a massive cast of characters, long series, cartoonish art styles, classic shounen series, friendship.

 

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3

Hunter x Hunter (2011)

With every hundred generic shows, there comes something truly different, something that starts and ends just as amazing as ever. Hunter x Hunter makes it to our third spot for being the anime that brings so many new things to shounen and keeps it going strong for the entire 148-episode run.

 

Twelve-year-old Gon never really knew his father after the man just up and left like anime dads like to do. When he discovers that his father, Ging, is actually a widely respected hunter, Gon decides to leave home and become a Pokemon mas— I mean, a hunter. On the way, he crosses paths with various people and gets into trouble thanks to his new friends. But it's all good fun, because you can't kill a twelve-year-old. Not right away, at least.

 

Although an action/adventure show just like so many other series, Hunter x Hunter ditches the long training arcs to victory, preferring to let everyone suffer just that bit longer. Fight scenes (when they do happen) focus on strategy, and it's not uncommon for Gon and friends to lose. There's a lot more adventure to be had, and when the action happens, it's surprisingly realistic.

 

Best aspect: Its strong story from start to finish.

 

Why it made the list: Hunter x Hunter seems like it could be another Pokemon anime, but if you look at it for more than a second, it unravels to show you a thoughtful story that doesn't lose itself in trying to imitate everything else. The focus on the journey is key in this series, and developments are supported by the cast of promising but ultimately human characters.

 

Watch if you like: A break from action, hunting, young protagonists, journeys, being different, tone shifts, smooth arcs, unpredictable series, not being overpowered, character development, strategy, long series.

Next in our top anime spot is something a bit outside the usual shounen anime but can be snuck into your shounen list with good cause. It's gory, violent and mature as hell, but it warrants a peek into if you need something with a little more edge.

 

Griffith isn't the usual man you'd see leading a formidable, deadly band of rogue soldiers, but his wit and will is the powerhouse behind the Band of the Hawk. It's in this world of endless war and strife that Griffith meets Guts, a mercenary with a giant sword and an equally giant kill record. Griffith recruits Guts into his Band of the Hawk and together they set out to take on the world, but as always things aren't that straightforward.

 

Berserk has aged greatly over the years, but it is still a stand-out when it comes to weaving a compelling story into an action-based series with a heavy atmosphere. It's not hard to see why its popular, and its exact mix of elements blend together to make it truly amazing even decades later.

 

Best aspect: Mature character interaction and development.

 

Why it made the list: The show's combination of action, plot and characterisation almost make it too good to be true, but by god does it pull it off. It delivers violence and action like any other show, but its grand-scale plot, mature themes and how it handles itself make the series stand out time and time again.

 

Watch if you like: Blood, manly men fighting manly battles, action anime, fantasy, demons, the supernatural, well-set up plot, reading the manga.

 

 

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It's not rare to find an ambitious anime where the show's creators try to tackle multiple themes and issues only to fail – or sometimes even crash and burn. Code Geass itself is crammed with observations about power, racism, love, war, culture, history, justice, violence and societal standing but manages to tie everything together beautifully, though not without a few ass-pull moments.

 

Code Geass introduces us to one of the most prominent anti-heroes in anime, Lelouch vi Britannia, an abandoned prince of an empire that has conquered most of the world and forced foreign populations into servitude and poverty. After wishing to change the world for his crippled sister, Nunnaly, Lelouch is granted the power of geass, which manifests as a power to bend people to his will. Surprisingly, he uses it to launch his own plan for world domination rather than doing what every other teenager would do.

 

What follows is a long tale of strategy and deception elevated to a worldwide level but never too overpowered to be bad. Everyone has clear goals that clash and merge to become something incredible. While everything works on a global scale, Code Geass is really about the personal and you'd be hard pressed not to want to root for everyone.

 

Best aspect: The entire show being a huge game of well-played chess (with a few cheats).

 

Why it made the list: Code Geass is like an action-packed chess game that pulls out a few questionably legal moves but is so entertaining that it's completely passable. It should be a classic by now.

 

Watch if you like: World-changing powers, Norio Wakamoto, a humungous cast of characters, plots with intricate plans, mecha, alternate world history.

6

Gintama (2006)

Breaking into the top six is shounen's best comedy series, Gintama. Whether you like Japan's own brand of comedy or the more Western approach, Gintama has a joke for everyone and for every taste.

 

Aliens have conquered feudal Japan and banned the public use of swords to prevent samurais from fighting back. Now that samurais are out of business, the talented swordsman Gintoki has no way to earn a living, instead turning to odd jobs to finance his Weekly Shounen Jump and candy obsession. But he has another job that makes him important – it's to make you roll on the floor with laughter.

 

It might seem like hundreds of episodes could dull Gintama's comedic blade, but the series' strong point it its consistent comedic standard, giving you laugh after laugh every single episode. Don't be intimidated by the episode count; each episode is pure gold.

 

Best aspect: Its consistent style of comedy.

 

Why it made the list: Gintama is one of the few comedy anime that is endlessly funny and doesn't get old. Not only are there referential jokes, the series takes comedy styles from both the east and west, making an anime that can truly make anyone laugh – and that's something downright commendable.

 

Watch if you like: Long series, samurai, dick jokes, episodic anime, large cast of characters, watching the series for the rest of your life, referential humour, aliens, sitcoms.

You can't have a best of shounen anime list without some cool samurai series. Rurouni Kenshin (or Samurai X in some parts of the world) is your fill of samurai, assassins, old-time Japan and cool action, with just under 100 episodes.

 

Kenshin Himura was an assassin, a man who killed many with his incredible sword skills. But before the revolution that would see Japan move from feudal society to what it is today, he simply walks away. Now Kenshin is a wandering samurai, a ronin, who travels the land to protect people with his sword.

 

Rurouni Kenshin has a strong feel of the traditional samurai values: honour, valour and the rule of cool. It doesn't disappoint with fights, but it also takes time to delve into the characters and explain how they came to be.

 

Best aspect: The large cast of characters who each have their own story and way of life.

 

Why it made the list: Rurouni Kenshin is a classic 90s anime that has charmed many with its tale of wandering samurai, quirky characters and cool action. Of course, under the humour and seemingly carefree façade is a serious anime about dark pasts that continue to influence the present, and for that extra layer it's good. Just watch out for the filler episodes towards the end.

 

Watch if you like: Samurai, assassins, feudal Japan, action, adventure, comedy, romance, backstory, older anime, long series, large arcs.

For the slightly older side of the shounen demographic, we have the anime that inspired many scribbling of names in class notebooks in the hopes that enemies would meet an untimely death. Definitely a very normal thing. Of course, the anime is the story of two geniuses in a stealth battle, overseen by a death god – Death Note.

 

As with a lot of teens his age, Light Yagami is cynical about the world and so tired of it all. It's at this point that he stumbles across a notebook that contains a terrible power: it will kill anyone whose name is written inside. When Light tests it out, he discovers the true extent of the notebook's powers and, realizing he can change the world, sets out to kill all that's wrong with it. But his path to becoming some kind of god isn't without its obstacles, which is where the genius detective L appears.

 

Death Note's reverse-mystery approach is refreshing to see. Instead of siding with the "good guy" (who is a bit too creepy anyway), we get to see what the criminal mastermind is up to, and ultimately it's a more interesting story. Death Note is still sure to set up some great pieces of information so the ending is that much stronger.

 

Best aspect: The reverse-mystery plot that ties the series together.

 

Why it made the list: Death Note's focus on the criminal mastermind's side of things makes the show an interesting watch. The careful set up of information makes the ending come together very nicely while taking you on a carefully planned rollercoaster in the first arc.

 

Watch if you like: Killing people, power, the supernatural, psychological anime, death gods, chases, teen geniuses, some politics.

 


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9

Attack on Titan / Shingeki no Kyojin (2013)

Even if you've been hiding under a rock, you would have heard the rumblings of the Shingeki no Kyojin fandom as they rose from the earth to form a towering giant of fanart, AMV makers and avid watchers. And really, their size is second only to the colossal behemoth that is the franchise itself, because it's so damn good.

 

The world has been forced to live behind giant walls as mysterious beings called titans roam the Earth, devouring anyone in their path. Many efforts to reclaim land have been made, but centuries of fighting have only dulled humanity's will to live. It's at this point that Eren Jeager, his sister and his friends join the war effort to reclaim his home from the rampaging titans. As they realise just how horrific the outside world is, Eren awakes to a tremendous power that can finally turn the tides. But he's not the only one with it.

 

Shingeki has everything where it counts: a fast-paced plot supported by thought and strategy; amazing animation during actions scenes; and a solid, memorable soundtrack. The only bad thing about the series is that it doesn't cover all of the manga, but chances are damn good we'll be seeing some more.

 

Best aspect: Amazing animation.

 

Why it made the list: Even if you're not looking to sink your teeth into a high-tension action series, Shingeki easily draws you in with its large cast of characters and incredible set-up of an intriguing premise. Action scenes will not let you down and are spaced appropriately with slower scenes and crucial dialogue.

 

Watch if you like: Catchy opening themes, stellar animation, stories where people struggle with what it means to be human, a large cast of characters, lots of action.

 

 

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Another long-running series breaking into our top selections is Fairy Tail, the sword and sorcery anime that captures the most common aspects of shounen anime, especially when it comes to the power of friendship. It doesn't have terribly many surprises, but it's still good, and that's why it sits at our number ten position.

 

In a land of sword and sorcery is the strongest mages' guild: the prestigious Fairy Tail. It's seventeen-year-old Lucy's dream to be a member of the guild and, as luck would have it, she stumbles across the right guy who can help her join. After a bit of trouble, Lucy joins the newbie ranks of the guild and begins her journey to becoming a stronger mage as part of the most well-known mages guilds in the land.

 

Don't be daunted by the episode count; Fairy Tail has a lot of short arcs and a fairly calm atmosphere, allowing you to watch it in short bursts or cram it into your eyes over the year it takes to watch it.

 

Best aspect: Solid story arcs that lead smoothly into the next.

 

Why it made the list: Fairy Tail is just about the longest traditional fantasy anime out there. It borrows a lot of shounen anime aspects but keeps things fresh with fast-moving action and a story that keeps its pace up.

 

Watch if you like: Magic, guilds, shounen anime, long series, Shounen Jump, story arcs, cute animal mascots, adventure, large cast of characters, action, dragons.

 

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Sports have a way of getting into your mind and making you some emotionally-charged zombie. While it's easy to see how repetitive anything can be, somehow sports find a way to make you jump up and cheer when people clash sticks with each other or punch some guy in the face. This is the essence of Hajime no Ippo.

 

Ippo is a kid who is constantly being bullied by his classmates. After one particular bullying session, he's saved by a boxer called Mamoru, and is brought back to his gym. Mamoru tries to make Ippo vent his frustrations on a punching bag, but when Ippo makes the jump to wanting to be a boxer, Mamoru doesn't believe in him and issues an impossible challenge. Ippo leaps into the challenge, eager to train himself up and become a stronger person.

 

What follows is a story about how Ippo grows as a person and boxer, filled with shouts, tears and laughter as everyone who watches the series suddenly loves boxing. It doesn't matter if you're not keen on the sport – this series will make you a fan.

 

Best aspect: Watching Hajime grow as a person inside the ring and in life.

 

Why it made the list: Like any good sports anime, Hajime no Ippo is addictive and will have you cheering for your favourite character to win. Even outside of the ring, following Ippo on his path to growing stronger as a boxer and a person is pretty moving. Like it or not, you're guaranteed to become a fan.

 

Watch if you like: Boxing, competition, bullying victims getting stronger, training, sports in general, comedy, romance, growing in general, strong supporting characters, long series.

Our number twelve spot on this list goes to Trigun – the anime that handles badass action scenes, comedy and character depth carefully enough that everything comes out right. It even has some mature thoughts on humanity, if you want some brain food.

 

This may not be a traditional pick for shonen anine (it's far more), but there are enough of the shonen elements that we can toss it here with the best of the best.

 

Vash the Stampede is the most wanted badass in the universe. Anyone who follows his trail of destruction is met with a bullet, but nobody really knows that the man himself has never killed anyone. He's just the right kind of careless idiot to get away with the sixty billion dollar count on his head, though there's much more to him than anyone can see.

 

Trigun has a kind of Cowboy Bebop appeal where its episodic structure leads to more serious episodes. Of course, it has a lot more shoot-em-up action, and Vash himself is something more of an enigma.

 

Best aspect: The well-blended mix of comedy and action.

 

Why it made the list: Trigun is one of a very few series that is able to draw together comedy, action and serious development and make everything come out okay. It draws you in with Vash's contradictory character and takes you through how he and his friends develop, all while keeping the action pumping.

 

Watch if you like: Guns; older animation; strong supporting characters; moral tales; silliness; well-formed characters; episodic series; tone shifts; strong soundtracks.

 

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If you're tired of the sausagefest that is most shounen anime, InuYasha offers something different, with a female protagonist and, well, another guy but he's totally under control.

 

Kagome is a fifteen-year-old girl who doesn't really believe in myths or superstitions. The joke's on her though, because when she falls down her family shrine's well, she's pulled into feudal Japan and finds out she has a very powerful jewel inside of her. After being confronted by a man with dog ears and a powerful demon, she accidentally breaks the jewel, meaning she has to travel with the dog man (Inuyasha) to find them all lest Japan be destroyed.

 

InuYasha is something of a classic journey, but much of the series brings out neat ideas that give the whole Journey to Save the World story some life. It doesn't last all the way, but for how far it goes it's very entertaining.

 

Best aspect: Kagome and Inuyasha's weird master/pet relationship played for jokes and romance.

 

Why it made the list: InuYasha is another one of those older series that you can look back on fondly, but if you're getting into it for the first time it's a nice relief to have a lady taking the lead. It's also pretty damn enjoyable for the most part but still gets into some classic shounen tropes later on.

 

Watch if you like: Dogs, journeys, feudal Japan, large cast of characters, animal ears, fish-out-of-water stories, romance, fantasy, older anime style, long series, older series.

 

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If we can generalise drastically here, the key aspects of shounen anime seem to be friendship, action and adventure, with a lot of perseverance thrown in. While there may be varying tones, it tends to boil down to that, and Magi knows this, basically taking all those aspects and making a cast of hundreds to support it.

 

Aladdin (not the one from Disney) is just your one-of-a-kind magic kid whose best friend is a flute. While on his journey to search for the chosen king, he stumbles across Alibaba, an enslaved prince who has only just broken free. With a bit of genie magic and dagger-wielding, the two set out on a long genie-hunt to catch 'em all so that they can use new magic powers against dark forces and corrupt kings. 

 

Magi is interesting in that, while the story focuses on Aladdin and Alibaba being all buddy-buddy, the story isn't entirely about them and actively shows you that there are other "chosen kings" and people in the world. Magi can get pretty political, but it never strays from the core shounen aspects of friendship, fighting and perseverance.

 

Best aspect: A wide-reaching tale of a story you know, but with a lot of differences.

 

Why it made the list: If you're something of a Japanese voice actor fanatic, Magi's cast will give you something to fan over, but if you're not, it still holds a lot of entertainment and keeps its core goals in mind. It has a surprising amount of awareness that the world isn't made just for protagonists and throws in some politics for the thinkers to boot.

 

Watch if you like: 1001 Arabian Nights, genies, exploring dungeons,  kingdoms, magic, fights for land, fights for justice, good and evil, an all-star Japanese voice acting cast, royalty, the slums, a large cast of characters.

15

Great Teacher Onizuka (1999)

Sitting on spot number fifteen is an oldie but a goodie: Great Teacher Onizuka. With delinquents, high schools shenanigans and a teacher who doesn't take shit, you know you're in for a good time and something a little different to the usual anime.

 

Onizuka, the former leader of a bike gang, has decided to take a new path in life and become an official skirt chaser who also teaches classes, I guess. With the ambition to teach kids and hopefully meet cute high school girls, Onizuka starts classes. And when delinquent students and strict teachers stand in his way, there isn't an underhanded trick Onizuka doesn't know.

 

Onizuka and his delinquent class are made for each other, and while Onizuka dishes out deserving punishments that are as funny as they are crazy, in the end he reaches out to everyone to make this a touching anime as well.

 

Best aspect: The everyday school life element turned on its head by just one character.

Why it made the list: Great Teacher Onizuka is a classic comedy series. But while its comedy aspects are amazing, it also balances it with some drama and serious moments, making it more than another anime about harmless fun. It all works well together to make this series absolutely great.

 

Watch if you like: Delinquents; school settings; older series; slice of life; long series; drama; situational humour; older art style; moral lessons; large cast of characters.

Viewers tired of historical try-hard shows can take a break when hip hop meets Edo period Japan in Samurai Champloo. With fluid action scenes, hilarious episodic adventures and striking animation techniques, there's a lot to love in the show directed by the same man who directed Cowboy Bebop.

 

A breakdancing warrior gets into a fight with a straight-laced ronin and both of them are thrown into jail to be executed for being such badasses. But the night before, they're saved by a girl who wants them to seek out a samurai who smells of sunflowers (actual plot point). They find him. The end.

 

Samurai Champloo's plot very obviously doesn't make demands on the script, the show instead opting to make the journey the most entertaining aspect. It's truly a very different show from the usual fare, and how it mixes things you normally never see together is just amazing.

 

Best aspect: The show's weird blend of hip-hop and Japanese aesthetics.

 

Why it made the list: Samurai Champloo's unique mix of pop culture and traditional Japanese culture makes it stand out musically and visually, with plenty of entertaining aspects. Those tired of shows heavily embedded in Japanese ways can take a break with this mix of Western and badassery.

 

Watch if you like: Hip hop; Edo period Japan; samurai; sword fighting; Cowboy Bebop; creative animation; fun; episodic shows; a small cast of characters.

 

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Fantasy is a big part of shounen anime, and what better introduction to shounen fantasy than the huge world of Shakugan no Shana.

 

Yuji Sakai is a normal high school kid who stumbles upon his untimely demise. When he encounters Shana, a sword-wielding girl who protects him from a doll monster, he's told that he doesn't exist anymore – that he is a shadow of his former self and no more than an object. But now that he's this "torch", Yuji realizes that he has a special power, a power that can give Shana new strength.

 

As confusing as the premise can be, Shakugan no Shana opens up an exciting world of imagination, the supernatural and great action scenes. While there's a fair share of romance and drama, Shakugan no Shana is all about the cool fantasy fights.

 

Best aspect: How the first few episodes introduce you to the world of Shakugan no Shana.

 

Why it made the list: Shakugan no Shana is an interesting anime for the fantasy setting, but when it comes to characters and action, it really shines. It also has a fairly even pacing, allowing you to soak in the setting, the battles and the characters.

 

Watch if you like: The supernatural, fantasy, action, drama, fire, school setting, tsunderes, romance, setting, standard length series, watching the second season.

 

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18

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders (2014)

Even though this is a sequel, each Jojo series is self-contained enough that you can watch it without knowing anything. And this means you can start with the best adaptation of the hugely famous anime and manga so far: Stardust Crusaders.

 

The Joestars are a family with a long history, dating back centuries to when their ancestor fought with a formidable man-turned-vampire. Not yet able to defeat the immortal menace, the task is left to the youngest of the generation. It's at this time that Jotaro awakens to the strange spirit inside him; a powerful being called a Stand. Now that he can stop bullets and punch through anything, he teams up with a group of guys to travel to Egypt to stop his ancestral enemy and save his mother.

 

Jojo – and the Stardust Crusaders arc – is a difficult series to describe but once you watch it, there's no stopping. Its mix of stylistic fighting, absurd poses, muscles, 80s flair and art style make it incredibly unique and just as interesting.

 

Best aspect: The series' unique style, from art to music.

 

Why it made the list: Any Jojo anime is a class in its own, but Stardust Crusaders is one of the longer animated arcs and a little easier to get into if you want more fantasy with your battles. It also opens into a second season, giving you an overall longer arc than the previous ones.

 

Watch if you like: Muscular men, action, journeys, the major arcana, watching the second season, vampires, the '80s, the supernatural, being fabulous, all-star voice acting cast, rock music.

 

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Making it to our number nineteen spot is Naruto, the series that has spawned plenty of movies, hundreds of chapters of manga, and more than a few spin-off series.

 

When a great demon fox attacks the small Hidden Leaf Village, the village's most powerful ninja has no other choice but to seal the demonic beast in the yet-unborn Naruto. As Naruto grows up, he's teased and shunned by the villagers, but he keeps strong to his goals of being the village's next strongest ninja. A goal that takes him far.

 

The first of the Big Three shounen series to finish in manga form, Naruto is a ride from start to finish. It's more a series to watch for the characters, and maybe enter a few shipping wars, but it also delivers on cool ninja fighting action and cooler techniques. It falls to tenth place on our list for having a strong start but not keeping it up, leading to a sequel that just doesn't live up to this one.

 

Best aspect: The strong start that leads into the rest of the series.

 

Why it made the list: Naruto, the long epic of a franchise it is, is often a great start for anyone looking to get into a lengthy series. It's very much a shounen title, but it has a lot of nice action and an easy way into the manga that ends up a very easy read. The second part of the series, however, collapses into a mess and there are more than enough filler episodes in the series.

 

Watch if you like: Ninjas, long series, stylistic fighting, idiot heroes, super powers, power ups, broody friends, rivals, watching all the movies, watching the sequel.

 

 

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20

Bleach (2004)

Here we are, at the endgame of shounen anime. Bleach, an anime spaning eight years and countless arcs, is one of the Big Three – the three most popular, long-spanning anime series of all time. Longevity doesn't guarantee quality, but there is a reason Bleach is so popular.

 

Teenage boy Ichigo sees dead people. When he and his family are attacked by a particularly malevolent spirit, called a "hollow", they are protected by a soul reaper. But ultimately unable to defeat the hollow, the soul reaper transfers her powers and responsibility to protect humans to Ichigo, who becomes a badass hollow slayer. From there, Ichigo goes on a long journey of slaying evil spirits, training to get stronger and protecting friends, which throws him into some intense situations. 

 

Bleach's seemingly predictable storyline that follows the shounen trend of friendship being the highest form of human connection is broken by surprises and twists as the large cast pops up now and again with surprises. It takes our number fifteen spot for being a great anime full of ideas but eventually starting to repeat itself.

 

Best aspect: The show's cool setting and core concepts.

 

Why it made the list: Bleach has its story, large cast of characters and setting going for it, with a whole bunch of cool ideas that look great from the first bunch of episodes in the series. If you're all aboard the shounen train no matter what, the show is a decent watch, but can become repetitive after a while.

 

Watch if you like: The supernatural, action series, comedy, powerful spirits, monsters, long series, a large cast of characters, red hair, reading the manga.

 

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21

Home Tutor Hitman Reborn! (2006)

Shounen anime may have its tropes, but series like Hitman Reborn are what shows that shounen can be anything, and even change as it goes along.

 

Tsuna, known as "no-good Tsuna", is clumsy, a bit dull and pretty much your average protagonist. But in him is the blood of the Vongola family: the Italian Mafia's family. As the current head of the Mafia prepares to step down, he sends Reborn to prep Tsuna for the role. But Tsuna doesn't like the prospect and the tiny baby Reborn might be the most skilled hitman, but he'll need to do a lot of convincing to turn this kid around.

 

Hitman Reborn has a very slow start, but once it gets rolling, there's no stopping it. There's plenty of actions, fights, bonding and everything you'd expect of a shounen anime with the same weird ideas and premise.

 

Best aspect: Getting to the action scenes after a lengthy gag anime beginning.

 

Why it made the list: Hitman Reborn is a weird anime, what with the baby hitman and all, but once you pass the gag anime set-up, it becomes a more serious, action-packed series. It's not about how cool it is to be in the Mafia and instead takes its own considered approach to an otherwise quirky idea.

 

Watch if you like: The Mafia, action, comedy, school setting, babies, hitmen, long series, family ties, bonding, getting stronger, recent series, fire.

When it comes to the end of it, a lot of MMOs can be a grindfest and bosses can become boring after a while. If only there was a show that spanned a number of episodes, maybe some specials and a second season, where you could experience the adventure and friendship of MMOs and have exciting new boss fights. Well, there's a few, but then there's Sword Art Online.

 

When Kirito buys a copy of what seems to be a promising virtual reality MMO, he expects it to be the usual fare. But when he and the other 10,000 players try to log out, they are told they're trapped and must beat the 100-floor tower of beasts and bosses in order to gain their freedom. What could be heaven for many people soon becomes hell when the creator of the game informs them that if you die in the game, you die in real life. Not to mention that everyone's avatars become their real-world appearance, filling the game with more men than anyone would like.

 

Sword Art Online doesn't take the psychological approach that other trapped-in-world anime take, instead focusing on how awesome MMOs are. The appeal lies in how the characters choose to accept their new reality and work together (or not) to save others who are essentially leechers. The anime also delves into other MMO worlds, bringing a really refreshing aspect in how the new games and scenery change.

 

Best aspect: The cool hero moments where the lead characters get to shine.

 

Why it made the list: Sword Art Online takes the concept of .Hack//Sign and pumps it with action and a bit of a more modern setting. It also brings in something new with the characters getting to visit various game worlds, giving you a huge range of places to see and changing up what you'd expect of the show.

 

Watch if you like: Playing MMOs, different kinds of heroes, the .Hack series, cousins, steady relationships, a reasonably-sized cast of characters, protagonist-exclusive powers, fantasy settings.

A running theme in shounen seems to be endless fantasy, whether it's escaping to an online reality filled with monsters or killing huge monsters. Or fighting alongside huge monsters. Or transforming to become huge monsters, or… you get it. Soul Eater is another one of these titles but it doesn't get old.

 

In the world of Soul Eater, there are two kinds of people: those who can transform into a weapon and those trained to wield those weapons to full potential. This is where Shibusen comes in; as a technical school specialized in training weapons and their partners to fight, it gathers students from all over the world and trains them to become demon hunters. Part of this involves collecting 100 souls in a feat that allows the weapon to transform into something more fitting of a soul reaper.

 

Soul Eater combines the quirky style and animation of FLCL with the general world of Bleach to make something really stylistic and entertaining. Fight scenes are a pleasure, and the progression of the story is about as much as you'd assume.

 

Best aspect: Soul Eater's quirky fun art style.

 

Why it made the list: Soul Eater seems to be Bleach's cartoony child that's exciting and energetic when it's younger and quickly grows into an angsty teen. Its fight scenes are stylistic and fun, with perhaps a more serious story in the second half to make up for the mindless fun in the first half.

 

Watch if you like: The supernatural, people-as-weapons, school, hunting demons, long series, action, fantasy stories, comedic shows, souls, a colourful cast of characters, cartoonish animation style.

 

 

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Sequels, or prequels made after the original story (if you want to get confusing), don't normally meet the expectations set up by the original series, let alone surpass them. But Fate/Zero makes it onto this list for doing exactly that and showing off a well-animated, immediately accessible version of the chaotic fourth Holy Grail War. Fate/Zero pits ideals against reality and strategic combat against intuition, bringing a darker interpretation to the much loved Fate series.

 

Fate/Zero is the prequel to Fate/Stay Night, a popular series (perhaps more for the visual novel) where a group of magic-users are chosen to summon famous heroes and fight in a secret battle for a wish-granting device. This series centres around Kiritsugu Emiya, his wife Irisviel and his summoned hero Saber as they fight to essentially save the world.

 

You would expect that jumping into a prequel would be as easy as, well, jumping into a prequel. And it is. Experiencing Fate/Zero before the rest of the franchise is surprisingly fine, and any further viewing only adds to the show's details. It is all about the details, after all, and one character's actions in the past can vastly change how you see them in the future. The series gets high marks for being a fine entry point to the franchise as well as for being well-animated, having a solid soundtrack and being well-planned overall.

 

Best aspect: Gorgeous animation for everything from dialogue-heavy scenes to large-scale fights.

 

Why it made the list: Everything about Fate/Zero far exceeds the anime adaption of its sequel and is brought together with excellent execution. Seeing a series of novels brought to life so faithfully is a wonder and never has a dull moment.

 

Watch if you like: Life or death plots; tragedy; world history; elaborate schemes to kill people; lots of talking; recent series; split-cour series.

In a long line of precious childhood memories, many may look back fondly on the supercharging slideshow that was Dragon Ball Z. But while many were introduced to the series through the sequel, the original story, Dragon Ball, is still an alright anime.

 

During Bulma's search for magical orbs called dragonballs (no euphemisms here), she finds a kid named Goku who just so happens to have a ball (seriously no euphemisms, probably). The two join up for the hell of it and set out on a huge quest to collect all the dragonballs in order to grant a wish, and for Goku to get stronger as he trains to become the massive hulk of muscle he will be later in life.

 

Make no mistake: Dragon Ball is pretty old and looks the part. In fact, it's at the bottom of our list because it has various problems, from ageing animation to being too repetitive. But credit where credit is due, shounen wouldn't be the same without it and it's worth a watch to see where so many things started.

 

Best aspect: Seeing where the whole Dragon Ball saga started.

 

Why it made the list: While many fans remember Dragon Ball Z with a manly tear in their eye, the original story of Dragon Ball is a solid series in its own right. It still has the same goal of getting more powerful and fighting enemies, but the stronger focus on adventure and comedy does the series a world of good.

 

Watch if you like: Quests, wishes, getting stronger, fights, comedy, long series, martial arts, adventure series, young protagonists.

 

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Honorable Mentions

We can't get enough of shounen anime, and that applies to this list too! If you've seen everything already or just want a few more recommendations, here are five more great series to consider. These are 5 bonus honorable mention picks you might want to look at. These may be shounen that make your own top list.

 





Joining Sword Art Online in this list is the other recent anime about MMOs: Log Horizon. But rather than pull some .Hack//SIGN story together (well okay, not all of it), Log Horizon is more of a surprising show about strategy and game rules.

 

Elder Tale is a pretty big MMO in Shiroe's life, so much so that he is a veteran player and knows basically everything about it. When a new update is released to the game, Shiroe and 30,000 other players are trapped in the game world. Now faced with a new reality, Shiroe and his friends decide to party up to challenge the world.

 

As much as it seems like it, Log Horizon isn't actually about amassing friends and overcoming obstacles with friendship and pure will. The show focuses a lot more on the back lines, Shiroe's way of fighting and the rules of the world. There's no permadeath in Elder Tale, and the stakes are thankfully less high because of it.

 

Best aspect: Well thought-out strategy.

 

Why it made the list: Log Horizon is a bit different when it comes to trapped-in-MMO plot and how characters tackle challenges in their way. It's something more for the introverted shounen lover who needs something different but still has that shounen feel.

 

Watch if you like: MMOs, politics, strategy, database database, fantasy, magic, large cast of characters, watching the second season, dialogue.

 

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Nothing's too creepy when it's in an anime for young teens. Most of the time, kids are whisked away by large friendly animals, but in Hikaru no Go's case, the protagonist is possessed by an ancient spirit. Oh well, all part of the course.

 

When searching through the attic, young Hikaru discovers an old Go board (a game that's kind of a cross between chess' war strategy and checkers' tiles). Upon touching it, he's possessed by a thousand-year-old spirit who has no problem being inside a twelve-year-old boy. It turns out that the spirit just really likes to play and wants to use Hikaru's body to play the perfect game.

 

Jokes about possession aside, Hikaru no Go is another sports anime that gets you interested in a game you likely never knew about. Hikaru grows as he learns and is mentored about the game he has an interest in, but the characters surrounding him are just as interesting. You'll start rooting for everyone in a matter of time.

 

Best aspect: Slowly starting to love a game you barely even heard about.

 

Why it made the list: Hikaru no Go opens your eyes to one of Japan's more niche games and takes you through a journey of rivalry and growing up. As the protagonist grows, you can see questions arise that apply to more than just sports and can give you something to think about.

 

Watch if you like: Go, possession, sports, competition, rivals, older era Japan, a moderately sized cast of characters, growing up, mentors, the supernatural, coming of age stories

 

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Gurren Lagann feels like the ultimate coming of age anime, except with a huge burst of testosterone and hundreds of robots. You could almost call it the anime form of a rite of passage for the shounen audience, especially with the literal time jump from the young and scared protagonist to a twenty-something man of awesome.

 


Gurren Lagann starts deep underground in a particular network where humans have lived for centuries. Simon, a young driller, and his brother figure Kamina are one of the few residents who wish to see the surface world. During his daily job, Simon unearths a peculiar mecha head and sets in motion a chain of events that one day sees mankind surface from the ground to take on the universe. But really, drills are a metaphor for dicks and that’s the entire show.

 


There’s nothing quite like a coming of age story that has a strange mix of sexuality, action and emotion. Gurren Lagann certainly has the outrageous factor with stylised fights and mechs that need to get bigger to defeat enemies. But what makes it worth a watch is how entertaining aspects mix with some pretty big concepts to think about. The drills never really get old, either.

 


Why it made the Bonus Picks: I honestly think this is the anime form of achieving manhood. It’s also got one of the most giant-scale battles I’ve ever seen. You’re gonna need a bigger drill to watch this show.

 


Watch if you like: Mecha; Studio Trigger; a large cast; time jumps; coming of age stories; battles on a galactic scale; drawing dicks on tables.

 

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Giant battle robots on hoverboards. An incredibly memorable soundtrack. Fluid animation. Mature themes and a large cast of flawed but thoroughly likable characters. Need I say more? Eureka Seven has it all.

 


Renton, a 14-year-old kid who loves hoverboards just as much as anyone, has his dreams come true when his home is destroyed. After a chance meeting with a girl in a robot, Renton is willingly dragged into being the mechanic for a mercenary group he admires. And thus his 50 episode saga begins.

 


Just like what you’d expect from a story about growing up, Eureka Seven’s focus is on characters and development, though a little robot action now and then doesn’t hurt. The episode count might be high, but it’s honestly nothing compared to the giants in the rest of this list, and is compelling enough to want to down over a few short days.

 


Why it made the Bonus Picks: Characters are the strong point in this series but are thoroughly supported by a moving soundtrack and solid animation for action scenes and somber moments. This really is one of the better shounen series out there, made even better that it's less than a couple dozen episodes and made by Bones, one of the best of the best anime companies out there. Do watch it.

 


Watch if you like: Realy long series; mecha; hoverboards; coming of age stories; battles; a large cast of characters.

 

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Another anime that leans to the older end of the shounen demographic is Claymore, where deformed women can still be appealing. Don't let the mature rating deter you from all the demon beheadings and breast flashing.

 

Clare is a half-human, half-demon warrior who travels from town to town scaring people. She also slays fellow demons. On completing a job in which she slays the remaining family member of a young and confused boy, she finds that the boy is intent on following her, despite her job being to be torn apart by powerful demons. The two eventually set out to the next job and climb the endless mountain of bodies to fight even more punishing demons.

 

Claymore is a complete gauntlet of suffering for everyone. If you take joy in watching every bit of happiness be killed in front of people, this is your anime, but otherwise it's still awesome. This anime is all about the fight scenes and getting to see everyone's special power is pretty damn nice.

 

Best aspect: Getting to know everyone's special power and seeing how they use it in a fight.

 

Why it made the list: Claymore is pretty depressing when you stop to think about it, but the journey is action-packed and full of good fights. It's a bit more packed full of gore than your average shounen but you can't stop watching the series after just one episode.

 

Watch if you like: Demons, half-breed humans, fighting, swords, the supernatural, different powers, lots of women, death, journeys, backstory, hierarchies, samefaces, reading the manga, transformation, despair.

 

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Mobile Suit Gundam SEED

Just like the endless stream of episodes for a long-running series, the Gundam franchise has way too many series to consider when thinking about the best one. Thankfully, one of the series that stands out adds a human level to all the chunks of metal and is good for a change if you don't want to wallow in angst.

 

As anime as a whole makes sure to establish, teenagers are the best military personnel when it comes to piloting large robots. Kira, the series protagonist, is no exception. After an attack by a race of genetically engineered humans, Kira is forced to pilot a giant robot and ascends to main character glory where he must fight his best friend in a largely meaningless war. But the battles look cool.

 

While semi-recycled fight scenes can intrude on some of the large-scale battles in space, Gundam SEED lets its characters carry the show, deviating from the stoic personalities of its other series to something much more human, even if the main character could easily cry a river early on. SEED falls to our number twenty spot on this list for being a bit hard to get into, since the mecha aspect can be a weird part for many people.

 

Best aspect: The show's complicated characters that don't necessarily appeal to everyone but interact and clash in interesting, human ways.

 

Why it made the list: There are more Gundam anime than I can throw a robot at, but Gundam SEED manages to stand apart, being a breath of fresh air in a long-standing series. It's also fairly accessible to anyone new to the set of shows but could be a harder step into for people not familiar with Everything is Robots.

 

Watch if you like: Mecha, galactic battles, wars split between two factions or races, Code Geass, a large cast of characters, friends fighting against friends.

 

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Durarara is a series that has a few things out of the ordinary but blends it all together in a very satisfying way. It's not as heavy on the action as other series like to be, preferring to focus on the story and its various twists. Durarara's prominent visual style and frequent point of view shifts only add to its goodness.

 

Don’t lose your head – Durarara (formerly number 14 on our last version of this list) is from the same creator who brought us the lovely chaos that was Baccano. Both series have a lot in common, though Durarara likes its supernatural elements and its more modern setting.

 


Durarara blends science fiction and the fantastical in its modern Tokyo setting. After Mikado arrives in the big city, his contact with the supernatural sets him on a path involving him in the number of rising supernatural events that begin to take over Tokyo. Then plot twists happen. Also, Dullahan has cat ears.

 


Durarara (you’ll get used to how many “ra”s there are) blends its seemingly clashing elements nicely, incorporating fantasy, supernatural and science fiction elements into its own style. Easily the best part about the show is its huge range of lovable characters who get more screentime as Mikado settles into his protagonist spot.

 


Why it made the Bonus Picks: Durarara is an anime series that blends its elements well, and supports it with an extensive cast of characters. It’s not as heavy on the action as other series like to be, preferring to focus on the story and its various twists. Durarara’s prominent visual style and solid soundtrack only add to its goodness.

 


Watch if you like: The supernatural; science fiction; some action; a large cast of characters; the city; Tokyo; Ikebukuro; Dullahan; mystery elements; plot twists; friendship; gang wars; themes about identity.

 

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Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

Slice of life comedies seem reserved for high school girls because guys are off building muscle to save the world and someone needs to hold all the culture festivals. But not in the case of Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, where high school boys can be high school boys who also make you laugh like nothing else.

 

There's no point summarizing this show other than it's about three friends who do stupid shit together, just like everyone else. There are no club activities or romantic plots, just guys hanging out together and letting their imagination take over. Whether it's fighting bugs or dealing with annoying sisters, the three friends (sometimes joined by their classmates) are keen to enjoy their high school lives to the fullest.

 

The show isn't just an amusing look into what could probably be all our normal lives, it also parodies other slice of life shows for extra humour. It's an unusual shounen series and definitely for those a bit older, but has such a realistic charm that it's hard to ignore.

 

Best aspect: The incredibly realistic and comedic take on high school life.

 

Why it made the list: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou is that rare shounen comedy show that focuses on guys in their everyday life, separating scenes into skits so that things don't get too boring. On top of being naturally hilarious, the show also parodies other shows of the genre, pointing out the funny aspects of common anime tropes.

 

Watch if you like: High school life, playing around with your friends, parodies, short series; lots of guys, reaction face humour, manliness.

When it’s time to save the world, you can always rely on mysterious powers and the strength of household appliances. Guilty Crown is the anime that teaches us that inside us all is a pair of shears or a can opener that can be used to fight epic wars. And also that highly animated action is fantastic.

 


Ouma Shu is just a regular high school kid until he receives a rare and mysterious power that lets him pull kitchen appliances from people’s chests. When he’s caught up in a huge organization that wants to take back Japan from filthy foreigners, Shu must use the kitchen appliances (and a sword) to fight against the government and combat the Apocalypse Virus that was the cause of Japan losing its independence.

 


Guilty Crown is something like Code Geass, where the protagonist receives a mysterious power that grants him the ability to change the world. Where it differs is in its reach: Guilty Crown takes the easy road by staying home in Japan, in addition to the main guy being more of an emotional wreck. That doesn’t stop him being awesome though.

 

Guilty Crown is a nice combination of Code Geass and Sword Art Online, mixing grand-scale drama with cool action moments. Every single aspect of the series is eager to show you how much effort went into it, and it looks fantastic while being exciting to watch and listen to.

 


Why it made the Bonus Picks: Guilty Crown is a more understandable version of Code Geass, where you don’t have to have a PhD in International Relations to know what’s going on. Supported by that, every single aspect of the show is eager to show you how much effort went into it, and it looks fantastic while being exciting to watch. It's kind of the red-headed step brother of Gode Gease -- it doesn't get the same attention, but there's still something there.

 


Watch if you like: Music; high production values; “what if”s; fight scenes; stories about virises; high school characters; a reasonable cast of characters; Code Geass; powers; action; mysterious girls.

 

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Another comedy show on this list, Cromartie High School is a different breed of humour, perhaps a delinquent kind of humour that threatens to punch your guts out but is just a tough guy on the outside.

 


When regular guy Takashi enrolls in his new school, he finds that the entire school’s population is delinquents – outcasts and bad guys. Thinking that it takes an extra tough person to sit with the bad kids, everyone accepts him. What follows is a hilarious take on tough-guy anime tropes that make all these tough men pretty damn endearing.

 


Cromartie’s sense of humour is pretty unique but it doesn’t let up once it gets rolling. With each short episode, expectations are defied and the tough legions of manly men in the school quickly become something like friends.

 


Why it made the Bonus Picks: Cromartie High School is a classic comedy anime and isn’t afraid to make fun of tough guys and the tropes surrounding them. With varied humour that only gets funnier later in the series, it’s great a short comedic break or to marathon and laugh the day away.

 


Watch if you like: High school; comedy shows; robots; delinquents; short series; long jokes; clever comedy.

Leaning towards the older side of the shounen demographic is Ben-to, the anime that makes eating food the most exciting and manly pursuit possible. If you ever thought late-night shopping was for moms and deadbeat college students, this anime proves you wrong.

 


Sato is one of the hundreds of average anime protagonists who goes to an average high school. Everything seems like it’ll go as usual for him, but when he stumbles across the fight for half-priced meals at the local supermarket, he’s thrown into an epic battle between unions of school students who fight for discounts and the glory of day-old leftovers.

 


There’s no joke that you can make about Ben-to that isn’t true in some way – the series practically wears its ridiculous premise on its face and runs around screaming. But what makes the show lovable is its self-awareness and brevity, giving you just enough mindless action to leave on a good note.

 


Why it made the Bonus Picks: Ben-to knows it’s stupid and won’t try to pretend to be otherwise. It’s the kind of show that works its way into your guilty pleasure collection while being damn entertaining and memorable. The unexpected factor is only the beginning to this action-packed bite of escalated action and silly goals. Worth watching once you've worked your way through the Top 25 first.

 


Watch if you like: Food; fighting; SEGA; nicknames; comedy; short series; girls; innuendo; the unexpected factor; shows that don’t take themselves seriously; low-level powers; guilty pleasures.

 

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Shounen isn't a stranger to blood and survival games and neither is Mirai Nikki. With enough blood, yandere moments and rotting corpses to span twenty-six episodes, the series knows exactly what it wants and will show it to you. Censored, of course.

 

Loner and all-around strange guy Yuki just likes to type on his phone and talk to his imaginary god friend just like everyone else. When his imaginary friend turns out to be real, Yuki is thrust into a battle royale with twelve players, each whom have a phone that gives them a unique power. These people have 90 days to kill each other to become the new god of time and space, but there's just one problem: Yuki's an extreme wimp.

 

Weak protagonist aside, Mirai Nikki opens up a damn interesting world with a range of different characters that have just as much range of agreements and strategies. It's pretty satisfying to watch Yuki grow into someone who can kill and even more gripping to wonder if plans will go through or if someone is powerful enough to turn things around.

 

Best aspects: Watching everyone's sinister plans unfold and watching Yuki struggle out of it.

 

Why it made the list: Mirai Nikki essentially delivers what it promises: a battle royale game involving phones and lots of blood. It's fun to guess what sort of powers each character has and how they'll interact with other players to get what they want. In the end, there's some character development (but face it, dead people can't develop), and many more twists to keep you on your toes.

 

Watch if you like: Survival games, blood and gore, technology-based powers, strategy, weak protagonists, yanderes, the future, pacts, timelines.

 

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Nothing says ‘ultimate shounen anime’ quite like the show that literally started anime as a popular medium – Astro Boy. While the series has gone through numerous remakes and is several decades old, the 2003 remake of Astro Boy brings it closer to the visual style we all know while telling the same story with minor changes.

 


Astro Boy is a child robot that doesn’t go astro but gets close enough. Created by a lonely scientist after the death of his son, Astro Boy was meant to fill in for the boy but was instead shut down. Another scientist finds Astro Boy and reboots him, deciding that it’s best to let the animated hunk of metal experience normal life as a 6th grade student, but action finds him anyway because not wearing a shirt kind of makes him stick out.

 


Astro Boy is a nice mix of big robot family and big robot battles. Even though the protagonist was created to be perfect, his childish naivety and will to avoid conflict make fights between him and other robots interesting and not at all how you’d think they’d play out.

 


Why it made the Bonus Picks: Astro Boy is the show that started it all and is a classic in its own right. The 2003 remake of the series updates the art for those snobby about black and white TV or 80s cartoons while tweaking minor stories to give the show something a bit new. There’s lots of fight scenes to be in awe of, but there’s always a careful air about the series, or just Astro Boy in particular. An oldschool classic that you should watch.

 


Watch if you like: Mecha; robot fighting; creation plots; large noses; remakes; lots of battles; futuristic settings; long series.

 

Watch Astro Boy on Amazon Right Now

Alright, here’s a hard-hitting dose of nostalgia: the first ever Pokemon movie, way back when the world was flat and there were only 151 Pokemon. While this movie may ride more on childhood memories than anything else, it’s still one of the few movies in the everlasting franchise that just gets things right, and endures because of that.

 


Pokemon trainer Ash (or Satoshi, if you’re an elite subtitle watcher) is sent an invitation to battle the best Pokemon trainer in the world. What he doesn’t know is that he’s being invited to a great Pokemon purge, set up by an experimental Pokemon called Mewtwo. After calling many elite trainers to his island hideout, Mewtwo clones everyone’s Pokemon and sets on dominating the world with his super overpowered Pokemon, but he doesn’t count on Ash and Mew to team up to stop him.

 


Whether re-watching the movie in English or jumping into the subs for the first time, the first Pokemon movie is one of those childhood beacons that doesn’t really get old. For younger viewers, jumping into the English cut is fine, but if you’re older and want a little more thought for your buck, the Japanese edition has some hard-hitting questions that were taken out for Western release.

 


Why it made the Bonus Picks: Pokemon: The First Movie is a classic of the classic, 90’s childhood-wise, but it’s still a pretty enduring shounen movie. Whether watching it again for Ash’s endurance or experiencing Satoshi in the Japanese subs, the movie is always interesting and definitely ranks as one of the classic, old school Shounen shows. Yes, there's better stuff out there now, but this is still a classic you should watch.

 

Watch Pokemon: The First Movie on Amazon Right Now

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