Interested in the shonen genre of anime and manga? We’ll be covering what shonen is as well as getting some of the opinions from several community members!
Special thanks to charm#2004, Arima#2568, Tasty Filet Mignon #5241, Ember Militia #9978, Insomnia#4510 and Rui#9994 for the interviews.
What is Shonen?
Shonen is a genre of anime/manga which primarily targets younger audiences (specifically male) anywhere around 8-18. However, it is one of the most popular genre ever and is enjoyed by audiences by pretty much every age group. Shonen is a genre that is very easy to get hooked into. It is simplistic and sometimes does deal with more mature, psychological themes while maintaining its simplicity. (It can be written as either shonen or shounen.)
What makes it unique?
What’s the most sensible way to know more about the genre? It’s simple, just ask the audience itself. So I interviewed some people to have a broader opinion.
“In the shonen genre what attracts people are visually outstanding fights, cool side characters, a relatable protagonist and an interesting world building. So what makes a shonen anime unique could be everything out of the ordinary and basic formula that most mangakas use. It could be a weird main character, some original topics or extraordinary world building.”
This Is something most of us can agree on. This genre is very stunning in visuals which probably even stands out more than the other genres. Characters pretty much are the soul of the genre as they play a very major part in connecting the audience. Though this applies to pretty much every genre, sometimes a shonen can be refreshing to watch and sometimes it pumps you up. There is variety, sometimes you can’t take too much of it, especially long runs.
Is it for everyone or is it hit or miss?
“i feel that although it’s not quite for everyone. it’s certainly for more than the name suggests, i think it’s probably the genre with the biggest variety in viewers as well”
I strongly agree with this opinion. Shonen has a huge variety of shows to offer. ‘Black Clover’ for example, which is very action based is very different from something like ‘Your lie in April’ or ‘A Silent Voice’ which is based more on real life related topics. I definitely think it’s a hit or miss for the most part, but it’s really broad. It has all kinds of shows to offer, so it can also be enjoyed by everyone at some point. It’s definitely for a more wide range of people than the name suggests, probably one of the reasons why it’s so popular.
What do you appreciate about it?
“It would have to be the amount of work, effort and detail the author/creators and the studio + animators put into the anime/manga since most shounen are filled with great amount of lore, story and charming characters”
This is something we all can respect. In the artistic aspect, shonen is at the top of the list. No matter how high or low budget an anime/manga is, the art is what makes it feel more real and give life to the characters. The mangaka/animators are the key to this. The amount of effort put into the art is very admirable. The story and the lore of course is a product of the creativity and hard work of the author. This is a part where the genre really shines, another reason why it’s so popular.
Why is it disliked?
“Simple reasons I suppose such as people having watched better anime and is judging some shonen on that other anime’s criteria. Cliche’d, bland, not creative enough or straight up uninteresting.”
-Tasty Filet Mignon#5241
This is usually the reason why it’s hated, and it’s understandable, but the hate towards shonen is quite a lot. There aren’t many criticisms apart from the ones mentioned above. Another reason is because of how popular it is, so it’s exposed to all kinds of audiences with different tastes which ends up either boring, or just too cliché to them.
“I would say it’s completely different from the actual animes. Each shounen anime has its own fanbase, most of these fan bases are filled with toxic people arguing over each other and sharing hate all the time which gives off a negative vibe to an outsider which can affect their decision of whether or not they’ll watch the anime.”
This is definitely the case with all the long-run fan bases, you can see it very commonly these days as the anime community is growing constantly.
“Well i would recommend mainstream ones if you’re starting out, such as Boku no Hero Academia, Fullmetal alchemist and Seven deadly sins before they find a genre they like in particular and branch out ^^”
This is my recommendation if you are starting out as well, these are all pretty good anime/manga which are not long and worth your while
Hunter x Hunter (148 Episodes)
(Recommended by charm#2000, Insomnia#4510, Tasty Filet Mignon#5241)
“Hunter x Hunter 2011: Not only does it focus on the story all the time, the characters (main + side + villains) are just so amazing and well done. The voice acting is top tier and so is the writing and animation. The fight scenes are climactic and once you’re done, you’ll wish you never saw it just so you can have the feeling of watching it again. Truly a masterpiece.”
Hunter x Hunter is my recommendation as well. It’s easy to get hooked into. Its characters are really unique in their own way, the storyline is filled with moments that will definitely give you the chills and there are a good amount of arcs for you to not feel bored. This is, in my opinion, one of the best anime in shonen to be made. Everyone has their tastes, but it’s definitely worth a shot if you want to watch shonen. I recommend watching the anime over the manga, as there is doubt that the manga will be finished due to the medical issues of the author.
One piece:(950+episodes/1000+ chapters)
(Recommended by Insomnia#4510, Tasty Filet Mignon#5241)
“One Piece was the first manga I’ve ever read, it introduced me to this amazing art and since that day I’ve never stopped loving the story. The manga has recently reached 1000 chapters, an enormous amount of panels and pages.
Oda (the mangaka) created a story with an incredible level of detail, the amount of characters, bondings, localities, power structures, stories and references is incredible. The story is intriguing and the characters are entertaining, you’ll unlikely get bored.
Most people don’t want to start One Piece because of its duration which is completely understandable but as soon as you resonate with the story and characters you’ll want more and more. One Piece is a complete shonen that will make you feel manifold emotions.
It’s a great start point for someone who’s new to Shonen and a must to Shonen fans.
I hope you give One Piece a chance :3″
This is pretty much it, if you aren’t someone who likes manga that much, but don’t want to watch 900+ episodes, then read the manga until the chapter you want to and then switch to the anime. (Only if you prefer animation)
Naruto (223 episodes) and Naruto Shippuden (500 episodes)
If you are a fan of long runs, this is one of the best recommendations for you. The longer this show is the better it gets.
Here are some other recommendations, if you don’t prefer long runs.
Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
(recommended by Arima#2568, Rui#9994)
“Fullmetal Alchemist, since it was one of the few ones which were short and compact, while still carrying a complete feel. The art style and story both drew me in”
Like mentioned above Fullmetal Alchemist is good for starting out, it’s short and pretty well written as well.
A Silent voice
It’s a movie, a really meaningful one. Not the most shonen movie but really worth it as it has a message to convey and that’s the most important thing.
Your lie in April
A really good romance shonen and worth it if you like romance anime. The story is pretty simple, this anime is a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s definitely worth a shot.
In all honesty, I don’t even think I could describe the amount of features that this genre has. It is very broad and open to many kinds of stories, but in the end it depends on the taste of the particular person. These are all opinions I gathered around the community to get a more broad view of the genre, but of course everyone has a taste. Although shonen isn’t the genre a lot of people like, it’s still worth your time if you like seeing variety. It’s a good genre to start out with until you get to know what kind of anime/manga you like. Thanks for reading the article!