20+ Of The Greatest Shounen Anime You Need To Watch In 2021

shounen anime wallpaper

There is no denying that Shounen anime are some of the most popular anime out there.

Most people get into anime through Shounen and no matter what type of anime you watch, chances are you’ll crave more Shounen anime.

This list contains 20 old, new, popular, and all kinds of Shounen you can start watching.

 

1. Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho characters cast

Yoshihiro Togashi has created two of the best shounen stories of all time… Yu Yu Hakusho being his first.

Yu Yu Hakusho provides some of the best main character groups in anime.

  • Yusuke Urameshi
  • Kurama
  • Hei
  • Kuwabara.

All of them go through amazing character arcs accompanied by Togashi’s strong point, the fights.

Yu Yu Hakusho is a 90’s anime so its animation is not the best.

It still holds up due to its good story.

 

2. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K kusuo eyes

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K isn’t like your usual Shounen anime.

Its protagonist Saiki is an overpowered psychic, so the show doesn’t have serious conflicts since Saiki can solve anything.

Basically it’s a comedy anime.

The anime follows the day to day struggles of Saiki as he wishes to live alone peacefully. He gets constantly bothered by his family and friends.

It’s one of the greatest comedy shows of all time. It also does have its serious moments, making it a must-watch.

Relevant: Yes, These 19+ Anime Shows Are Better DUBBED Than Subbed

 

3. Naruto & Naruto Shippuden

naruto uzumaki leaf

Naruto has everything:

  • great characters
  • great fights
  • great plot (not perfect but still great)
  • great humour
  • great philosophy.

This is the reason Naruto is one of the most popular anime in the west. It’s as mainstream as it gets (ok.. DBZ might be more popular)

Naruto is a story about Naruto Uzumaki a young ninja who was shunned by his village. It’s because he had a “monster” sealed in his body for no fault of his own.

He is stubborn and wants recognition from the village by becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village.

What starts as a ninja story, transcends to the battle of Gods by the end, but the main theme of Naruto remains the same. Which is the “never give up”.

Naruto is also a generation-defining show which has become an integral part of many people’s lives.

 

4. Haikyuu

Haikyuu characters cast

Hailyuu is the most popular sports anime out there and it got its popularity for a reason.

The show piques your interest with its extremely exciting and amazingly animated volleyball matches.

What makes people fall in love with the show is its characters.

Haikyuu gives character arcs and relevant moments to almost every side character which makes viewers care about the matches even more.

Having these amazing side characters doesn’t mean  the protagonist Hinata gets overshadowed though.

He’s easily one of the most inspiring new-gen shonen protagonists out there and is very likeable.

 

5. Assassination Classroom

An extremely overpowered tentacled creature destroys 75% of the moon and threatens to destroy Earth within a year.

Governments from various nations try to kill him but he remains untouched.

The task of killing him is given to class 3-E which contains a group of outcast students.

The twist is this creature becomes a homeroom teacher of Class 3-E and he helps these students by teaching them various assassination tricks…and also tricks to improve their lives.

Relevant: 11 Great Educational Anime Shows

 

6. My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia kendo deku iida

What happens when you mix superheroes with the shounen concept? You get a show that bursts into mainstream popularity.

MHA is a generation-defining anime as it got many people into anime in recent years.

MHA presents a huge roster of characters, both heroes & villains. Their dynamic calls for interesting interactions that progress the story.

MHA is also one of the modern shounen that raised the bar for the animation for new-gen anime, so rest assured the show is packed with amazing action.

Related: 13 Anime About Achieving Your Dreams And Becoming A Better Person

 

7. Bleach

Bleach cover characters ichigo

Bleach follows the journey of Ichigo Kurasaki after he obtains the power of a soul reaper.

Bleach is one of the more grim shounen as it deals with concepts of death often.

When a show involves battles among Death Gods, a group of characters that want to kill Death Gods, mutant ghosts & similar bizarre beings, you can assure yourself that it’s a crazy adventure.

Bleach has one of the best character designs in all of anime. You might say it’s Tite Kubo’s (the mangaka of Bleach) greatest strength.

Ichigo as a character is written to be more relatable to a regular teen.

He doesn’t have absurd dreams to change the world, he just wants to protect the people he cares for.

It’s a part of ‘Big 3’ for a reason.

Related: The Greatest Tite Kubo Quotes For Bleach Anime Fans

 

8. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Magi The Labyrinth of Magic alibaba aladdin scene

The story of Magi takes place in a Middle Eastern setting, taking inspiration from Arabian Nights which makes the story feel unique.

It presents a bunch of extremely likeable characters, amazing lore and politics, which makes the show intriguing.

Magi’s comedy is on point too, so Magi is a enjoyable watch and totally worth your time.

 

9. Demon Slayer

Demon Slayer tanjiro snow

One day the protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado’s family gets killed by demons while he is off for work. The only survivor is his sister Nezuko, but she’s become a demon herself.

Tanjiro makes turning his sister back to human his life’s priority.

While the story of Demon Slayer is nothing extraordinary, it’s still entertaining and one of the most well-produced animated shows out there.

It’s a must toe experience it.

 

10. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood edward holding alphonse head

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is the perfect show when it comes to shounen anime or anime in general.

It’s one of the shorter shounen anime consisting of 64 episodes. It executes almost everything perfectly.

The Fullmetal Alchemist manga had an adaptation of a similar name in 2003, but it deviated from manga’s story midway and had an anime original story.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was produced by BONES studio in 2009 and it follows the manga 1:1.

FMAB is for many people their gateway anime and is easy to consume even if you are not an anime or shounen fan.

 

11. D.Gray-Man

D.Gray Man allen walker scene

D.Gray-Man’s story takes place in Europe filled with demons known as Akuma. There’s a special force of Exorcists assigned to deal with Akuma.

D.Gray-Man features one of the best and underrated shounen protagonists of all time, Allen Walker.

The side characters and villains in the show are amazing too.

Although D.Gray-Man suffers from hiatus, the show is still considered a masterpiece by many.

 

12. Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen gojo nobara yuji megumi

Jujutsu Kaisen is the most recent addition to mainstream shounen anime.

The manga already had a pretty big fan base before getting an anime adaptation. After Studio Mappa did an extraordinary job in adapting the story the series’ popularity skyrocketed.

While Jujutsu Kaisen is filled with a lot of Shounen tropes, one of the things it does differently is having brutality.

Important characters, civilians and villains constantly die in the show which makes the stakes pretty high.

Jujutsu Kaisen is also fast-paced so if you are looking for a show which will constantly entertain you from the start, Jujutsu Kaisen should be your choice.

 

13. Black Clover

Black Clover noell asta

The tropes that made old gen shounen anime great, were borrowed and executed almost perfectly when Black Clover was created.

Black Clover is the most “shounen” shounen anime, it doesn’t do anything unique, but it applies the existing shounen concepts to a story and makes it entertaining.

Black Clover also has some of the best written female characters, something most of the shounen anime lack.

It’s safe to say that its characters are the best thing about the show.

If you are a die-hard fan of shounen you are going to like the show.

 

14. Slam Dunk

slam dunk poster

Slam Dunk is to sports anime, what Dragon Ball Z is to fighting anime.

It is considered one of the best sports anime of all time.

The show is filled with awesome basketball matches, character moments and Takehiko Inoue’s specialty and philosophy.

While you can watch Slam Dunk’s anime and feel nostalgic, picking up its manga is recommended because the manga has one of the best endings in all of shounen.

The anime didn’t adapt the manga’s ending and took an anime original route.

 

15. Gintama

Gintama trio

Gintama is not your typical battle shounen. Most of the show is a parody of other shows, so yes most of it is a comedy and it’s one of the funniest anime of all time.

That said it does have its serious plot and moments which is amazing.

Gintama is set in Edo Japan conquered by aliens. It follows the life of Sakata Gintoki, a previous war criminal x samurai, the journey is filled with sad, funny and epic moments.

Gintama got a movie adaptation called Gintama: The Final (recently). This movie marked the end of the adaptation so now is a good time to get into it.

Although this show is not for new anime fans since it has a lot of references to other anime, be sure to watch this show at some point in your life.

 

16. Death Note

Death Note light l lawliet phone

Death Note presents one of the best rivalries in all of anime, the rivalry between Light Yagami (the protagonist) and L Lawliet.

Every episode keeps you at the edge of your seat as these two amazingly written characters compete against each other.

Despite not being an action heavy anime, the production value of the show is great thanks to Madhouse studios.

Death Note is one of the most binge-worthy shows out there because of its great pacing and cliffhangers.

 

17. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan mikasa eren levi

The story of Attack on Titan takes place in a world filled with human-eating monsters called Titans.

Humanity lives inside a kingdom surrounded by walls. There’s a group called Survey Corps that is charged with exploring the outside world.

This post-apocalyptic story soon transcends to a story filled with political warfare and mind blowing plot points, making the show a masterpiece and obviously, a must-watch.

 

18. One Piece

One Piece luffy serious face

On the surface, One Piece is a story about a boy named Monkey D Luffy who wants to be the Pirate King (yes! it’s a story about pirates).

That said, in 900+ episodes the story of One Piece is much more than that. It’s fascinating and it’s something that can not be summed up in a paragraph.

While One Piece does not have the best fights, it has a huge number of good characters, a consistent plot, mysteries and more.

It’s a once in a lifetime experience which you will not regret getting into. Though you will have to commit some time to it.

 

19. Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z is easily one of the most iconic and influential shounen anime of all time.

It was a gateway anime for the majority of anime fans and it popularized most of the shounen tropes that are used in modern anime.

The story of Dragon Ball Z is still going on in the name of Dragon Ball Super, and a new movie is set to come out in 2022.

 

20. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Jojos Bizarre Adventures cast

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure’s manga started publishing in 1987. The story currently has 8 parts and its 8th part is ongoing.

It started getting popular outside Japan after its first part got an anime adaptation by David Production in 2012.

As of right now, 5 parts of the manga have been adapted and fans are waiting for further adaptations.

As the name suggests, JJBA is a  bizarre series and is heavily battle focused.

If you are craving for action, JJBA is your calling.

 

Other shounen anime to watch:

  • Fairy Tail.
  • Twin Star Exorcist.
  • Food Wars
  • Samurai Champloo.
  • Soul Eater.
  • Dr. Stone.
  • Blue Exorcist.
  • Horimiya.
  • Tsuredure Children.
  • Dororo.
  • Kekkai Sensen.
  • Kuroko No Basket.
  • Akame Ga Kill.
  • Attack On Titan.
  • Edens Zero.

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