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Best Shounen Anime

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winter 2024 anime where to stream

Well-made shonen anime (or shounen anime, as it is sometimes spelled) tend to be massive hits — just look at Attack on Titan or Dragon Ball. It is by far one of the most popular “genres” of anime with countless numbers of manga adaptations and original series being created for fans. Shonen is also a demographic rather than a traditional genre, so it covers a wide spectrum of shows.


In a category with countless anime to watch, it can be difficult to choose which series to get into. Still, there are some shounen anime so excellent they stand above the rest and should be on every fan’s must-watch list until they’ve seen them all. What are the best shonen anime ever?

Best Shonen Anime Of Winter 2024

Every anime season comes packed with shonen goodness. Out of all the possible demographics, the industry tends to cater the most to teenage boys, and Winter 2024 has not bucked that trend. Ignoring light novel adaptations that technically do not qualify for this discussion, this season has roughly 15 shonen anime, and they cover a few genres. Naturally, battle shonen properties dominate the selection, but there are a few comedies and romances as well.

Sengoku Youko and Shaman King: Flowers have been overshadowed by a few other action series, but they are both decent. Blue Exorcist: Shimane Illuminati Saga has been steadily building up momentum as well, and it features one of the season’s most detestable villains. Even though it has not quite lived up to the manga, Chained Soldier is a fine harem series. Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! and ‘Tis Time for “Torture,” Princess are both cute (despite being wildly different), and Urusei Yatsura is hilarious.

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Winter 2024 Anime Lineup: Where To Watch Every Series

The Winter 2024 anime lineup is split across Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, Hulu, Netflix, and more. Here is where every show will be airing.

The Dangers In My Heart Season 2

The Dangers In My Heart Season 2 episode 1

The Dangers In My Heart

MyAnimeList Score
8.81 (Season 2)

Japanese Title
Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu

Studio
Shin-Ei Animation

Creator
Norio Sakurai

Streaming Service(s)
HIDIVE

Out of all the sequels currently airing, The Dangers in My Heart is by far the most memorable. Although a slow-burner, the first season gradually built steam as it explored Anna and Ichikawa’s friendship, leading to one of the best final episodes of the year. The sequel not only preserves its predecessor’s momentum but also intensifies it, cementing itself as an early contender for 2024’s best romance anime. While their relationship has taken a complicated turn, Ichikawa and Anna are still fantastic together, with both characters bringing out the best in each other.

Anime tends to overuse the “popular girl falls in love with the school’s biggest loner guy” trope, with most shows struggling to justify the former’s interest in the latter beyond “they are the protagonist.” The Dangers in My Heart dedicates a lot of time to properly exploring Anna and Ichikawa as individuals, along with allowing them to have proper cute moments that highlight both of their positive qualities. While romanticized, this anime is quite realistic for this type of story.

Mashle: Magic And Muscles – The Divine Visionary Candidate Exam Arc

mashle season 2 episode 1

Mashle: Magic And Muscles

MyAnimeList Score
8.13 (Season 2)

Release Date
April 8, 2023

Studio
A-1 Pictures

Creator
Hajime Kōmoto

Mashle: Magic and Muscles got off to a decent start in 2023, establishing itself as a lighthearted Harry Potter parody laced with battle-shonen tropes. While nothing amazing, season 1 laid a solid foundation for a sequel that could potentially produce something of a higher quality, and that has proven to be the case with the Winter 2024 cour. Even though Mashle‘s second season is not that different from its predecessor, it benefits from a few key improvements.

The story has gained direction and structure thanks to the start of a tournament along with the introduction of a more explicit opponent for Mash to try and overcome. The secondary characters have also started to burst out of their shells, allowing them to shine as comedic forces rather than just foils for the protagonist. While not amazing, the action has been enjoyable and creative.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (Fall 2023 Continuation)

frieren best female characters of 2023

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

MyAnimeList Score
9.14

Japanese Title
Sousou no Frieren

Release Date
September 29, 2023

Studio
Madhouse

Creator
Kanehito Yamada

Madhouse’s Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End was one of the best series of 2023, and considering it will be continuing until March 2024, it will likely be remembered as one of 2024’s best shonen anime as well. Once upon a time, a group of heroes went on a grand journey that ended with them defeating the Demon King. After that point, they went their separate ways, and Frieren – a long-living elf who struggles to connect with humans – did not adequately stay in contact with her comrades. Decades later, Frieren decides to go on a similar journey with a few new companions to honor the memories of her now-deceased former partners.

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Frieren tells a moving story about the crushing passage of time and the need to make the most of every moment. Balancing humor, action, and world-building, the anime immerses viewers in a gorgeous and engaging universe while setting them on an adventure with endearing characters who all have nuances that make them three-dimensional.

Shangri-La Frontier (Fall 2023 Continuation)

Shangri-La Frontier

Shangri-La Frontier

MyAnimeList Score
8.01

Japanese Title
Shangri-La Frontier: Kusoge Hunter, Kamige ni Idoman to su

Release Date
October 1, 2023

Studio
C2C

Creator
Katarina

Starting as a web novel before transitioning into a manga, Shangri-La Frontier is all about gaming. Rakurou loves demolishing bad games; it is his passion and joy. One day, he is recommended a virtual reality title called Shangri-La Frontier, and he decides to take the plunge and jump into its gorgeous world.

Surprisingly, Shangri-La Frontier does not go down the isekai route since Rakurou is not trapped inside the game’s world; basically, the anime is kind of similar to Bofuri, at least in concept. The story attempts to capture the spirit of playing a game by focusing on things like character builds, leveling up, and hidden side quests, delivering a more authentic representation than most anime set in MMORPGs. The action is consistently spectacular, and the characters are lovable and funny.

Now, let’s take a look at the best non-airing shonen anime…

28 Call Of The Night

MyAnimeList Score: 7.99

call of the night nazuna nanakusa

Call of the Night

Japanese Title
Yofukashi no Uta

Release Date
July 8, 2022

Number of Episodes
13

Studio
LIDENFILMS

Creator
Kotoyama

Streaming Service(s)
HIDIVE

Call of the Night is all about freedom. Although he is a good student, Kou Yamori finds that he struggles to relate to other teenagers, particularly when it comes to matters of love. While suffering from insomnia, he ventures out in the night, a decision that changes the guy’s life forever when he meets Nazuna Nanakusa, a vampire.

Enamored by her approach to life, Kou sets out on a path to become a creature of the night, but he will need to first fall in love with Nazuna to actualize this dream. Call of the Night is whimsical, stylish, and funny. Kou and Nazuna have instant chemistry, and they are hardly the only great characters to exist in this world.

27 Chainsaw Man

MyAnimeList Score: 8.55

chainsaw man anime

Chainsaw Man

Release Date
October 12, 2022

Number of Episodes
12

Studio
MAPPA

Creator
Tatsuki Fujimoto

Chainsaw Man was by far and away one of 2022’s most hyped anime, which speaks to the popularity of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s manga. As its title suggests, Chainsaw Man is about a man who can transform parts of himself into chainsaws. The story includes the Yakuza and devil hunters, along with a lot of gore.

Yes, this is a battle shonen anime for adults, and this goes beyond just grotesque villains. The source material touches upon mature themes, even if they are presented through Denji’s juvenile perspective. The adaptation delivered on its promise for the most part, although the show’s legacy will depend on the quality (and existence) of the sequels. Chainsaw Man could dominate the shonen anime scene for a few years.

26 My Hero Academia

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 7.88

my-hero-academia-shorter-seasons-featured

My Hero Academia

Japanese Title
Boku no Hero Academia

Release Date
April 3, 2016

Number of Episodes
138

Studio
Bones

Creator
Kōhei Horikoshi

While hardly the first to feature superheroes, My Hero Academia is anime’s most famous example of the theme. With six seasons and a couple of movies under its belt, the show has enjoyed a long and successful run, and Deku’s story is not done yet.

At its best, My Hero Academia offers unforgettable fights, chilling villains, decent humor, and a constant sense of growth for its protagonist. Now, the series has had a few flat arcs; in fact, seasons 4 and 5 are both considerably weaker than the rest of the show, and they can be difficult to get through since they span almost 50 episodes. Thankfully, season 6 was a massive step in the right direction for the anime.

25 Bleach

MyAnimeList Score (Original Series): 7.93

Bleach Fullbringers Tsukishima Ichigo

Bleach

Release Date
October 5, 2004

Number of Episodes
392

Studio
Pierrot

Creator
Tite Kubo

Streaming Service(s)
Hulu

At its best, Bleach compares favorably with any other action anime out there. The Soul Society arc is wildly recognized as one of the strongest early sagas in shonen, and those 40 episodes feature fantastic action, world-building, and storytelling. The Thousand-Year Blood War, which started airing in Fall 2022, is another high point that brought back Bleach in a big way after a long hiatus.

While the positives outweigh the negatives, Bleach notoriously overuses filler arcs to the point they regularly derail the show’s momentum. Sagas like The Bount arc have their moments, but they are so overly long that they drag down the rest of the series. However, as they are filler, these arcs can be skipped, and that is arguably the best way to enjoy Bleach.

24 Dragon Ball Z

MyAnimeList Score: 8.17

Show-Changing Dubs- Dragon Ball Z EU Portuguese Dub

Dragon Ball Z

Release Date
April 26, 1989

Number of Episodes
291

Studio
Toei Animation

Creator
Akira Toriyama

Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball introduced countless people to not only shonen but also anime in general. It might be the greatest gateway anime of all time, and it has retained its popularity for four decades. Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z are the franchise’s peak; the former showcased Toriyama’s talent for comedy while the latter set the standard for the action-heavy battle shonen series that would follow in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

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Dragon Ball has had more than a few disappointments and low points throughout its history, but the anime’s longevity is beyond question. And, when the show peaks, it reaches heights only the greatest shonen anime have seen. While an argument could be made that the original Dragon Ball is better, DBZ is undoubtedly the most popular and influential entry in the franchise.

23 Spy X Family

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 8.58

spy-x-family-season-1-part-2-1

Spy x Family

Release Date
April 9, 2022

Number of Episodes
25 (Season 1); 12 (Season 2)

Studio
Wit Studio, CloverWorks

Creator
Tatsuya Endou

A highlight of Spring and Fall 2022, Spy x Family chronicles the Forgers’ comedic escapades that can range from school break-ins to terrorist attacks with potentially widespread consequences. Tasked with befriending an important diplomat, Twilight, the eponymous spy, crafts a fake family man persona and adopts a girl named Anya, who just so happens to be a mind-reader. As Loid, Twilight also marries Yor, a woman who moonlights as an assassin.

These secrets simultaneously separate and bring this family together. Part 2 starts to develop the characters’ relationships, showing that something genuine is threatening to blossom from this artificial connection. Spy x Family season 2 aired as part of the Fall 2023 season; for the most part, the show remained very entertaining, although the story’s lack of forward movement did begin to grate after a while.

22 Death Note

MyAnimeList Score: 8.62

Death-Note-1

Death Note

Release Date
October 4, 2006

Number of Episodes
37

Studio
Madhouse

Creator
Tsugumi Ohba

A psychological thriller about a serial killer and the detective(s) seeking to bring him to justice, Death Note is a shonen anime that focuses on a battle of minds rather than biceps. Light Yagami finds the Death Note, allowing him to kill anyone by simply writing their name within the book’s pages. As Kira, Light starts to shape a new world in his vision, one that naturally attracts the attention of the authorities.

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Death Note is at its best when concentrating on Light and L’s rivalry and strange friendship. Their cat-and-mouse chase is the stuff of legend, and outside of maybe Monster, few anime have done it better.

21 Naruto & Naruto Shippuden

MyAnimeList Score (Naruto): 7.99

classic-naruto-team7

Naruto

Release Date
October 2, 2002

Number of Episodes
220

Studio
Pierrot

Creator
Masashi Kishimoto

For a couple of years, Naruto was the most popular anime in Western countries, eclipsing the long-dormant Dragon Ball and the slow-to-crossover One Piece. Living in the Hidden Leaf Village, the eponymous ninja has been treated as an outcast for most of his days, but rather than wallow in self-pity, Naruto plans to gain everyone’s respect and trust as he strives to become his home’s Hokage. The first step in this journey involves starting shinobi training, which sees Naruto partnering up with the brooding Sasuke and Sakura, with the students operating under the tutelage of Kakashi.

Lasting for more than 700 episodes, Naruto goes through its share of highs and lows, but the series is generally quite consistent. Naruto and Sasuke’s friendship/rivalry drives the story forward, and the anime has one of the strongest roster of antagonists in shonen.

20 Dr. Stone

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 8.28

Dr. Stone New World Episode 3

Dr. Stone

Release Date
July 5, 2019

Number of Episodes
58

Studio
TMS Entertainment

Creator
Riichiro Inagaki

Dr. Stone has an awesome premise and an even better protagonist. Out of nowhere, most of Earth’s population is turned into stone, causing the world to gradually regress over the span of a few thousand years. Eventually, Senku breaks from his prison, and the intelligent teenager quickly sets out to unfreeze everyone while speedrunning humanity’s technological progress. While he might not be strong, Senku is incredibly intelligent.

Dr. Stone is an unapologetic celebration of scientific discovery, and the anime tries to keep things grounded when it comes to Senku’s inventions. Narratively, the show tells a good story filled with likable characters, including a few memorable villains.

19 Your Lie In April

MyAnimeList Score: 8.65

Your Lie In April

Your Lie in April

Japanese Title
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Release Date
October 10, 2014

Number of Episodes
22

Studio
A-1 Pictures

Creator
Naoshi Arakawa

Despite popular opinion stating shonen consists of only the battle variety, the “genre” extends far beyond the confines of just Dragon Ball and Naruto. Your Lie in April highlights a different side to shonen, one driven by emotion, heart, and humor.

Your Lie in April centers around a prodigy who is struggling to rediscover his spark for music following the death of his mother. He forms a friendship with Kaori, and things get powerful from there. Prepare the tissues as Your Lie in April is the ultimate anime tearjerker.

18 The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K.

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 8.41

Saiki K

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

Japanese Title
Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan

Release Date
July 4, 2016

Number of Episodes
56

Studio
J.C.Staff, Egg Firm

Creator
Shuuichi Asou

Streaming Service(s)
Netflix , Tubi

Kusuo Saiki is an all-powerful psychic who can do nearly anything, a fact he wants to very much keep under wraps. Unfortunately, Kusuo’s efforts to keep a low profile are undermined by his magnetic ability to attract lovably weird people, and his school has quite a few of them.

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A sketch comedy show, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is a laugh riot that seldom has a dull moment. Kusuo’s stoic demeanor serves as the perfect foil to the rest of the cast’s quirky characters, and the anime balances the humor with its share of sweet moments.

17 Great Teacher Onizuka

MyAnimeList Score: 8.69

Onizuka of Great Teacher Onizuka

Great Teacher Onizuka

Release Date
June 30, 1999

Number of Episodes
43

Studio
Pierrot

Creator
Tooru Fujisawa

Who wouldn’t want someone who previously ran a biker gang as their teacher in school? Especially after they suplex the Vice-Principal! Great Teach Onizuka features plenty of comedic moments as Eikichi works magic in the way only he can with the worst students around at Holy Forest Academy.

Great Teacher Onizuka‘s age shines through in quite a few areas, and some of the humor does not hold up to the test of time; however, despite that, the anime is rightfully hailed as a classic that explores several serious themes well. Also, while not always timeless, GTO is still pretty hilarious.

16 Bakuman

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 8.18

dream of life op bakuman

Bakuman

Release Date
October 2, 2010

Number of Episodes
75

Studio
J.C.Staff

Creator
Tsugumi Ohba

Streaming Service(s)
Hulu , Peacock , Tubi

Bakuman gets a bit meta at times, with the main story following Moritaka’s journey to becoming a mangaka with his friends. It’s an amazing and realistic look into what life would be like for a full-time manga artist, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see them work hard and find ways to succeed each step of the way.

Bakuman is not as heavy on action scenes as most shonen anime, which makes it unique compared to most fan favorites.

15 Tomorrow’s Joe

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 8.30

Tomorrow's Joe anime

Tomorrow’s Joe

Japanese Title
Ashita no Joe

Release Date
April 1, 1970

Number of Episodes
126

Studio
Mushi Production

Creator
Ikki Kajiwara

Streaming Service(s)
Amazon Prime Video

Tomorrow’s Joe, more commonly known as Ashita no Joe, is by far one of the greatest boxing stories to ever be animated. Despite coming out all the way back in the ’70s, new fans are still checking it out to this day showing that it has incredible staying power.

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This anime was so influential that it received a spiritual successor known as Fighting Spirit which is also highly regarded. This in turn inspired the creation of Megalo Boxwhose main character is named Joe as an homage to the series that defined boxing in anime.

14 Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 8.49

Demon Slayer: Season 3, Episode 2

Demon Slayer

Japanese Title
Kimetsu no Yaiba

Release Date
April 6, 2019

Number of Episodes
55

Studio
ufotable

Based On
Manga

Creator
Koyoharu Gotoge

Demon Slayer has cemented itself as something of a modern battle shonen classic in the vein of Dragon Ball and Naruto. It is an entry-level anime, simply because its mainstream success might attract the attention of people who have yet to fully embrace the world of Japanese animation.

Although enjoyable from the start, Demon Slayer hits its stride at a specific point: episode 19. This chapter caused the anime’s popularity to explode almost overnight, and the fire has not stopped raging since. 2020’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train was a massive international hit, while season 2’s Entertainment District arc is a contender for shonen’s best cour of the last few years. Even if the Spring 2023 season did not reach the same heights as its predecessor, the Swordsmith Village saga was still very good.

13 Fist Of The North Star

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 7.96

Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star pointing

Fist Of The North Star

Japanese Title
Hokuto no Ken

Release Date
October 11, 1984

Number of Episodes
152

Studio
Toei Animation

Creator
Buronson

When discussing influential action shonen anime (and manga), Fist of the North Star has almost no peers. Debuting in the early ’80s, the manga and its adaptations were such massive successes that their stories and characters continue to be referenced to this day. Its influence can be seen in properties like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Berserk, two series that also cast long shadows over the anime and manga industries in general.

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Fist of the North Star is obviously dated, and its animation can be difficult to stomach if someone is only accustomed to modern shows. That said, its storytelling has aged surprisingly well considering decades have passed since its inception. While it might be tempting to dismiss the anime as a historical piece rather than something to be enjoyed in this day and age, Fist of the North Star still packs an impressive punch.

12 Jujutsu Kaisen

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 8.63

sukuna smiling maniacally In Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen

Japanese Title
Jujutsu Kaisen

Release Date
October 3, 2020

Number of Episodes
47

Studio
MAPPA

Creator
Gege Akutami

Jujutsu Kaisen has a great mix of comedy, action, and storytelling that has driven many fans of anime to watch it over the years. Not to mention the animation is a feast for the eyes that will leave many with their jaws on the floor. In contrast to most anime, the main protagonist Yuuji isn’t simply choosing to become stronger but is forced to when he encounters a cursed item. This new angle keeps things incredibly fresh for those who have seen many mainstream shonen titles in the past.

With two seasons and a movie under its belt, Jujutsu Kaisen has already produced quite a lot of content, and the story is far from done. While some might argue that season 2’s second half focused too much on just action, the anime is for the most part consistently great, and it arguably raised the bar in terms of fight sequences. Even if the story’s brisk pacing hurts the overall characterization, Jujutsu Kaisen is arguably still the best action shonen anime of the modern era.

11 Nichijou – My Ordinary Life

MyAnimeList Score: 8.46

nichijou anime manga

Nichijou – My Ordinary Life

Japanese Title
Nichijou

Release Date
April 3, 2011

Number of Episodes
26

Studio
Kyoto Animation

Creator
Keiichi Arawi

A prime example of shonen’s underappreciated range, Nichijou is a sketch comedy about a group of high school girls, a talking cat, a child genius, and a robot. The slice of life anime starts ordinary enough, seemingly setting the stage for what will be a relatively relaxing and “normal” series; then, a school principal wrestles a deer, and things fly completely off the rails.

Nichijou is unpredictable, surreal, heartfelt, and consistently hilarious. The anime blows most other comedy series out of the water, and it holds up well to repeat viewings.

10 Attack On Titan

MyAnimeList Score (Season 1): 8.54

season 3 part 1 cover

Attack On Titan

Japanese Title
Shingeki no Kyojin

Release Date
April 7, 2013

Number of Episodes
94

Studio
Wit Studio, MAPPA

Creator
Hajime Isayama

Arguably the most popular shonen anime of the last decade, Attack on Titan‘s penchant for shocking moments, vicious action, and haunting music have made it a must-watch show for nearly the entirety of its lifespan. Improving with each season, Attack on Titan is arguably at its best when its titular monsters are removed from center stage to provide room so that the anime can explore its universe’s origins and human characters. Attack on Titan will be coming to an end soon, and it will be a huge loss for shonen in general.

The anime has changed a lot since its initial incarnation, emphasizing political and social themes alongside its visceral action and shocking twists. The Final Season challenges what fans have come to expect from these characters, and the twists and turns generally feel earned.

9 One Piece

MyAnimeList Score: 8.71

Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)

One Piece

Release Date
October 20, 1999

Number of Episodes
1082+

Studio
Toei Animation

Creator
Eiichiro Oda

One Piece has over 1000 episodes under its belt, putting it on a pedestal few other anime can reach. The adventures of Luffy and his crew are epic to the point of legendary at this point and trying to watch the entirety of the show has become an ultimate challenge for anime fans.

Even with this length, there are still countless people starting the series fresh and following it through until the end. It just goes to show just how incredible One Piece‘s world-building, scope, and characters are. While the storylines tend to stick to a formula, they are elevated by a strong sense of adventure and a willingness to dive deep into the backstories of both heroes and villains.

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