What Is Shonen Anime/Manga?

Conflicted, confused, baffled are all adjectives to describe how one truly feels when encountering Japanese terms in anime that s/he has no idea of. As a matter of fact, the anime industry peppers its shows, series, and movies with terms that, sometimes, the translators do not bother translating. However, that refers to the translator getting used to such terms, to the point they became natural, known. Someone new to this domain, though, may beg to differ concerning that. As otakus gather more and more, the new ones find difficulty comprehending terms, genres, since they differ from regular ones in literature. Thus, this article here helps those in need of knowing such terms they deem difficult. Today’s theme is Shounen.

Shōnen, Shonen, or Shounen originated from shounen manga, which aims for young male audience. The word shounen stands for few years, hence its reference to young boys under the age of fifteen. Despite varying its readers in different magazines, one cannot argue that the demographic aimed at is boys between the ages of 8 to 18. Shounen manga and anime are one of the most popular genres out there, as boys and girls from all sorts of age tend to watch it.

If you were asked what is a shounen manga/anime exactly, and what are the subgenres it tackles, it’s rather easy. Shounen is a genre every child grew up with, and the best example for that is Dragon Ball. Now, this iconic anime holds between its folds plenty of action, adventure, and fighting. Usually, the main character, the protagonist plays as a young male hero. The plot revolves around the development of said character. Yet, it did not stop there, as nowadays, since females proved to be into shounen as well, female protagonists appeared. Shounen series pepper their plot with action, adventure, and a hint of comedy here and there. Not only that, but they give a fair amount of fanservice for both gender.

Here are some of the best examples of shounen anime/ manga:


Within its episodes, Bleach tells the story of an ordinary high-schooler, Ichigo Kurosaki who had his family attacked one day by a Hollow. After this horrible accident, the life of Ichigo Kurosaki changed for good. He had absorbed the great power of a Shinigami from the Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki. All because she injured herself when rescuing the life of his family from the Hollow. This newly gained power allows him to defeat any evil spirit, a task, he told himself, not believing the upcoming changes to his life.


Naruto Uzumaki is an energetic, cool , funny and in-training Ninja boy. He plays a gifted young man ever since his birth, a nine-tailed fox sealed inside of him. Growing as an abnormal kid was not a barrier for making friends. Sasuke and Sakura were his life companions while he chased his dream to be a Hokage.

One Piece

The story follows shortly the world of Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year old boy who is labeled as far from a ‘normal’ pirate. He is hardly the buffed up, hard-boiled, tough guy that has a menacing stare to scare his crew mates away. his intentions are just to wander off the world as a pirate. In his new found adventure, he does wander off to some interesting, equally weird people, often tackled by obstacles that lead to heart-warming action and some adrenaline pumping while he looks for One Piece.

For more explicit content, as in recommendations, make sure to direct your eyes at this list’s best action anime, mostly shounen.

Attack on Titan

The story follows mostly Eren Yaeger, who at the fall of the walls, witnesses the most horrendous sight his eyes could see—his mother getting eaten by a titan. Eren, after he grows up into a fine man, he enters the military, then the survey corps in order to eliminate, eradicate any trace of the so-called Titans and protect mankind alongside with his best friend Armin Arlert and his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, not knowing that his hotheadedness will lead him elsewhere, and secrecy never ends.

Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward Elric, a young, bright, intelligent alchemist. He experienced so much loss in life as he grew in those twelve years he held. Edward and his brother Alphonse try to bring their mother from the land of the dead. But instead, it all goes terribly wrong when he choose to do so through the forbidden act of human transmutation. Instead, Edward loses his brother and two of his limbs. But with his genius alchemist abilities, he binds his brother’s soul, Alphonse, to a giant suit of armor.