Shounen’s anime series aimed at young male audiences continues to dominate the anime landscape. With so many great series airing currently and upcoming, it can be tough to decide where to start.
Here are 10 must-watch shounen anime for newcomers and veterans alike:
Top Shounen Anime List To Watch
My Hero Academia
It’s no wonder My Hero Academia has become such a massive hit worldwide. Who doesn’t love a great superhero story?
This superhero action series has quickly become one of the most popular shounen anime worldwide. It takes place in a world where 80% of people have superpowers or “quirks.”
Protagonist Izuku Midoriya was born without any abilities, but he inherits the ultimate quirk “One For All” from his idol, the legendary hero All Might.
My Hero Academia balances Izuku’s coming-of-age tale, his relationships with lively classmates like Bakugo and Uraraka, and thrilling superhero battles. With professional heroes, sinister villains, and complex world-building, My Hero Academia satisfies any comic book fan.
Jujutsu Kaisen is my newest shounen anime obsession. Yuji Itadori is such a likable underdog protagonist, and the jujutsu sorcerers have the coolest abilities.
The hand-to-hand fight choreography blows me away every time, especially with Maki and Nanami. But fair warning, the cursed spirit designs are no joke – some of them terrified me! Anime horror is done right.
Yuji Itadori is an ordinary high school student until he is forced to swallow a cursed talisman housing the feared “King of Curses,” Ryomen Sukuna.
At Jujutsu Tech, Yuji trains to control Sukuna’s power so he can join his fellow sorcerers in battling cursed spirits. Blending hand-to-hand martial arts, gruesome creatures, and supernatural techniques, Jujutsu Kaisen is a visceral thrill ride.
Talk about gorgeous animation! Demon Slayer is a visual masterpiece. Tanjiro’s journey to save Nezuko and join the Demon Slayer Corps grabbed me instantly.
Inosuke and Zenitsu make the perfect comedy duo, while Hinatsuru and Tengen brought style to the last arc. And don’t get me started on the Hashira like Rengoku and Mitsuri – all badass! The emotional gut punches hit hard too.
Follow the Demon Slayer Corps as they defend Japan’s Taisho era from the scourge of deadly, cannibalistic demons. After his family is slaughtered and his sister Nezuko turned into a demon, kindhearted Tanjiro Kamado vows to avenge them and turn Nezuko human again.
Demon Slayer’s early 20th century setting provides a bloody backdrop for Tanjiro and Nezuko’s poignant bond amid nonstop, beautifully animated action scenes. It’s easy to see why this series is breaking anime records.
Spy x Family
This show totally took me by surprise and stole my heart! I never thought a series about a makeshift spy family could be so funny, wholesome, and action-packed all at once.
For a uniquely endearing twist on the action-comedy genre, check out this spy thriller parody. Super spy Twilight must build a fake family to infiltrate an elite school, so he adopts the telepathic Anya and marries the deadly assassin Yor.
Watching the oblivious new family members balance their secret missions with school life makes for an absolutely delightful blend of action, humor, and wholesome found family warm fuzzies.
One Punch Man
Need an action comedy shounen anime that totally mocks standard superhero stories? Say no more – watch One Punch Man! Seeing Saitama nonchalantly demolish villains with one blow after all his insane training is too funny.
He looks so blasé and bored all the time! I love how the animation switches between detailed fight scenes and Saitama’s simplistic style. Genos makes the perfect obsessed disciple. The Hero Association meetings are hysterical too. Lighthearted superhero satire at its finest!
The problem? Saitama is depressed that no enemies pose a challenge anymore. The manga’s simple but expressive art complements Saitama’s deadpan humor and parodies everything from battle shonen to sentai teams.
I’m not even a volleyball fan, but Haikyu!! got me totally invested! This sports anime turns high school volleyball into an intense character drama as short teen Hinata strives to be his team’s ace.
Haikyu!! excels both at capturing the thrills of volleyball gameplay. The volleyball matches are easy to follow but still so intense! Seeing Hinata and Kageyama pull off their new freak quick was so satisfying. Haikyu!! delivers the thrill of sports with colorful characters.
Even viewers uninterested in sports may find themselves cheering for Karasuno High.
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Death Note is a psychological thriller anime done right! The cat and mouse mind games between genius mastermind Light and enigmatic detective L had me on the edge of my seat.
Brilliant high school student Light Yagami finds a supernatural notebook that lets him kill anyone just by writing their name. He quickly launches a self-righteous mission to punish all the world’s criminals, setting off an intense battle of wits with a mysterious detective known only as L.
Death Note offers a darkly fascinating look at crime, justice, morality, and the corrupting nature of power through its tense psychological cat-and-mouse game.
I’m obsessed with thriller anime, and Summertime Rendering delivered big time!
After his childhood friend dies mysteriously upon his return to his island hometown, Shinpei Ajiro discovers a sinister secret behind the frequent deaths plaguing the islanders and gets caught in a deadly time loop racing to sae his friends.
The creepy rituals, island lore, and sinister Ushio reveal had me theorizing nonstop. Visually stunning too. The emotional gut punches hit hard. A must-watch mystery show!
Attack on Titan
Few good shounen anime shows handle heavy drama like Attack on Titan. Seeing the last of humanity fighting back against the Titan threat is intense! Eren is one of my favorite protagonists as he evolves from an emotional kid to a determined leader.
Mikasa and Armin ground him well. And Erwin and Levi are standouts among the complex military cast. I’m dying to see how this epic saga will end!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
It’s easy to see why Brotherhood remains the gold standard for fantasy anime – it’s that good! Ed and Al’s tragic backstory got me instantly invested. The unique alchemy power system lends itself to so many creative abilities and fights too.
Uncovering mysteries like the origin of the Homunculi built an epic conspiracy. Pair that with fluid action, humor, and tear-jerking moments like Hughes’ death. Brotherhood really has it all. An engrossing adventure from start to finish!
For science and adventure with a shounen twist, Dr. Stone is a clever post-apocalyptic series where everyone on Earth has been turned to stone, and teen science whiz Senku must rebuild civilization from scratch.
If you ever wanted to geek out and learn more about engineering, chemistry, and physics while enjoying classic shounen tropes, this series delivers.
Top Three Shounen Anime Series
Flashy powers, giant swords, ghosts – what’s not to love? Ichigo makes a great substitute Soul Reaper, and his squad is so much fun. Bleach blends slick urban fantasy action with lots of great humor.
The Arrancar and Quincy raised the stakes so high! Seeing Ichigo clash with baddies like Grimmjow and Ulquiorra kept me glued to the screen. More Bleach now, please!
I admit it took me a while to get into One Piece’s quirky style, but once I got hooked I binged it so fast! Luffy and his crew feel like old friends by now. Yes I am caught up with wano arc.
Join Monkey D. Luffy and his lovable pirate crew on the hunt for the ultimate treasure, One Piece, so Luffy can become King of the Pirates.
One Piece blends goofy comedy, rich worldbuilding, inventive powers, and epic nautical battles as Luffy makes new friends and overcomes dastardly enemies along the Grand Line.
Last but not least, Naruto is what got me into anime, so it will always have a special place for me! Who didn’t grow up inspired by Naruto’s ninja adventures?
No shounen anime starter list would be complete without this legendary Ninja Saga. Naruto Uzumaki is a wild, orange-clad ninja determined to become the Hokage leader of his village, gaining friends and power along the way.
Come for the world-building, stay for the heartfelt relationships and surprising gut punches of emotion.
Best Shounen Anime of All Time
Dragon Ball Series
This is where all of this started, the godfather of shounen anime shows.
You can’t be an anime fan without experiencing the classic adventure that is Dragon Ball! Following Goku’s journey from a playful monkey-tailed boy to the planet’s greatest warrior never gets old.
The original Dragon Ball lays such a colorful, hilarious foundation even before the action ramps up. Seeing Goku and Bulma meet for the first time and set off on their quest for the dragon balls brings me so much nostalgia.
The World Martial Arts Tournaments never disappoint with crazy techniques and rivalries. And who could forget how epic it felt when Goku first went Super Saiyan against Frieza?
The animation holds up remarkably well too. Dragon Ball is a must-see pillar of anime history in my book!
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Whether you’re looking for superpowered battles, tense sports rivalries, thought-provoking philosophy, or good old-fashioned adventure and comedy, modern shounen anime has something for everyone. These best shounen anime series will immerse you in the creativity and variety the genre has to offer.