Are you ready to embark on a thrilling journey into the world of anime? If you’re new to the captivating realm of Japanese animation and seeking the perfect starting point, look no further! We’ve curated a list of the 15 best shounen anime series for beginners, packed with exhilarating action, heartfelt friendships, and epic quests. Whether you’re a teenager discovering your passion for anime or an adult seeking an adrenaline-pumping escape, these handpicked shounen gems are sure to keep you hooked from the very first episode. Get ready to dive into worlds filled with extraordinary abilities, intense battles, and stories that will stay with you long after the credits roll. Let’s explore the best shounen anime series that guarantee an unforgettable and action-packed adventure for all!
15. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer follows Tanjiro Kamado, whose life takes a tragic turn when his family is slaughtered by demons. Tanjiro, driven by the desire for revenge and the hope of finding a cure for his younger sister Nezuko, who has been transformed into a demon, embarks on a journey to become a Demon Slayer. Demon Slayers are skilled warriors who dedicate themselves to protecting humanity and eliminating the threat of demons. As Tanjiro trains to become a proficient Demon Slayer, he joins forces with other skilled fighters and encounters a range of unique adversaries. Together, they face off against powerful demons and navigate a dangerous world filled with supernatural beings and mysterious events. The anime has breathtaking animation, visually stunning fight sequences, and captivating character development. It showcases the unique combat style of the Demon Slayers, which involves wielding special swords and harnessing breath techniques to enhance their physical abilities. Demon Slayer has become a global phenomenon and is considered one of the best shounen anime series ever made, captivating audiences with its dark and fantastical world.
14. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
While many zombie narratives emphasize the grim prospects of a future filled with the undead and the looming threat of a miserable demise, Zom 100 takes a refreshing approach by tackling the situation from a completely different angle. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead stands out by focusing on the exhilarating aspects of survival in a post-apocalyptic world. The story revolves around Akira Tendou, a former office worker who embarks on a thrilling adventure to seek happiness and purpose by fulfilling a list of long-held dreams. The series delivers a fast-paced and action-packed experience, earning its place among the greatest action anime of all time, despite its relative newness.
Bleach revolves around Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenager with the ability to see ghosts. His life takes a dramatic turn when he encounters a Soul Reaper, a spiritual being tasked with protecting the living world from malevolent spirits known as Hollows. After unintentionally obtaining the powers of a Soul Reaper, Ichigo becomes embroiled in a world of supernatural battles. He joins forces with other Soul Reapers and allies to combat Hollows and unravel the mysteries surrounding the Soul Society, the afterlife realm where the Soul Reapers reside. Bleach has the best action anime sequences, dynamic sword fights, and intricate world-building. For those who have yet to delve into this series, missing out on it is something you wouldn’t want to continue.
12. Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga is a shounen that happens in medieval Europe, particularly during the Viking Age. It follows the journey of Thorfinn, a young warrior seeking revenge against Askeladd, the Viking leader who killed his father. Thorfinn joins Askeladd’s band and becomes embroiled in a larger conflict between Viking factions and rival nations. Vinland Saga explores themes of war, power, morality, and the consequences of revenge. It delves into the internal struggles of its characters and the price they pay for their actions. The series also touches upon the historical account of Vikings and their encounters with other cultures. Vinland Saga delivers breathtaking battles and weaves a captivating tale of fatherhood and revenge. Despite its limited 24 episodes, the story continues in the extensive 25-volume manga. This ensures a wealth of content to immerse yourself in!
11. Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is an action, dark fantasy, and post-apocalyptic anime. The story takes place in a world where humanity is on the brink of extinction due to the existence of giant humanoid creatures called Titans. It revolves around Eren Yeager, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert. They live within the confines of a walled city that serves as humanity’s last line of defense against the Titans. These colossal beings, with a taste for human flesh, relentlessly seek to devour any human they encounter. Driven by a desire for vengeance against the Titans, Eren joins the military alongside Mikasa and Armin to become members of the elite fighting force known as the Scout Regiment. Their mission is to venture beyond the walls, explore the Titan-infested territories, and unravel the mysteries surrounding the Titans’ origins. This series stands as a contemporary masterpiece, brimming with gripping action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
10. Tokyo Ghoul
Ken Kaneki is a college student who becomes involved in the world of Ghouls after an encounter with one. Ghouls are beings that resemble humans but must consume human flesh to survive. After a tragic incident, Kaneki undergoes a life-altering transformation and becomes a half-human, half-ghoul hybrid. Tokyo Ghoul explores themes of identity, morality, and the struggle between humans and Ghouls. Kaneki must navigate the complexities of his newfound existence, torn between his human side and his insatiable ghoul hunger. He becomes entangled in the underground world of Ghouls, encountering various factions, both friend and foe. Tokyo Ghoul presents intense action sequences, showcasing the supernatural abilities possessed by Ghouls as they engage in battles with each other and with human investigators. Derived from its manga counterpart, this series presents a captivating blend of beauty and terror. Witnessing Ken’s gripping transformation into a half-human, half-ghoul creature makes for one of the most captivating journeys depicted in any anime series.
9. The Seven Deadly Sins
One of the top shounen anime of all time, The Seven Deadly Sins blends action, adventure, fantasy, and action genres. Accused of betraying the kingdom, the legendary knights known as the Seven Deadly Sins supposedly perished. However, rumors of their survival persist! Years later, the Holy Knights stage a coup, driving Princess Elizabeth to seek the Sins’ aid in reclaiming the corrupted kingdom. Led by Meliodas, the Dragon’s Sin of Wrath, they recruit allies and battle with unique abilities tied to their sins. With a diverse cast, comedic, dramatic, and romantic elements, and visually stunning animation, the series captivates audiences. Its twist-filled plot keeps viewers engaged, eager to unravel Britannia’s secrets. This series is a must-watch for fans seeking both thrilling action and an engrossing plot.
8. One Piece
One Piece is a popular long-running shounen anime series created by Eiichiro Oda. The story takes place in a world where pirates roam the seas. The plot centers around a young boy named Monkey D. Luffy. This Luffy is an ambitious pirate who possesses the power of the Gum-Gum Fruit, which grants him the ability to stretch his body like rubber. Luffy sets out on a grand adventure to find the ultimate treasure known as “One Piece” and become the next Pirate King. Throughout his journey, Luffy gathers a diverse and quirky crew, known as the Straw Hat Pirates. Together, they sail the dangerous seas of the Grand Line, facing numerous challenges. The features a rich and expansive world filled with imaginative islands, strange creatures, mythical treasures, and powerful individuals. One Piece has intense action sequences and a perfect balance of humor and emotional depth. With a staggering 974 episodes, it’s safe to say that you’ll have an abundant supply of content.
7. My Hero Academia
My Hero Academia happens in a world where having superpowers, known as “Quirks,” is the norm, and follows the journey of a young boy named Izuku Midoriya. Izuku idolizes superheroes and dreams of becoming one himself, despite being born without any Quirk. However, his life takes a dramatic turn when he encounters the greatest hero of all, All Might, who bestows upon him a powerful Quirk called “One For All.” With his newfound abilities, Izuku enrolls in U.A. High School, a prestigious institution for aspiring superheroes. He joins Class 1-A, where he trains alongside other talented students, each with their unique Quirks and aspirations. The series focuses on Izuku’s growth as he navigates the challenges of hero training and intense battles. The anime showcases thrilling action sequences and epic battles against villains. If you have a fondness for superheroes, My Hero Academia is guaranteed to capture your heart!
Naruto revolves around a young ninja named Naruto Uzumaki and his quest to become the strongest ninja in his village and ultimately achieve his dream of becoming the Hokage, the leader of the village. Set in a fictional world where ninja clans coexist, Naruto takes place in the Hidden Leaf Village (Konohagakure) and follows Naruto’s journey from being an outcast and mischievous troublemaker to a powerful ninja who fights to protect his friends and the village from various threats. One of the defining aspects of Naruto is the presence of powerful spiritual energy known as chakra, which enables individuals to perform incredible feats and use various mystical techniques called Jutsu. Throughout the series, Naruto and his friends face dangerous adversaries, including rogue ninjas, evil organizations, and even otherworldly entities. Once fans become captivated by Naruto, they can indulge in the excitement by immersing themselves in Naruto: Shippuuden, a continuation of the series comprising a whopping 500 episodes, along with a plethora of action anime movies.
5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Entering the top 5 on this list of the best shounen anime of all time, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime series that falls under the genres of action, adventure, fantasy, and drama. The story follows the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, in a world where alchemy is a widely practiced science. Set in a fictional universe resembling the Industrial Revolution, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood focuses on the Elric brothers’ quest to restore their bodies after a failed alchemical experiment. In their attempt to bring their deceased mother back to life, Edward loses his left leg, and Alphonse loses his entire body, his soul being bound to a suit of armor. The brothers embark on a journey to find the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary artifact said to grant immense alchemical power. Their goal is to use it to regain their original bodies. However, their quest leads them into a much larger conspiracy that involves political intrigue and the dark secrets of alchemy. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has well-developed characters, intricate storytelling, and the ability to tackle complex themes with nuance. It has gained a dedicated fanbase and is widely regarded as one of the greatest anime series of all time. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to dive into this series yet, it’s time to make room in your schedule. However, be prepared to keep a box of tissues nearby because this show has a profound emotional impact!
4. Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop is a highly acclaimed anime series that falls under the genres of adventure, sci-fi, and neo-noir. The story is set in a futuristic universe where humanity has colonized several planets and moons in the solar system. The series follows a group of bounty hunters, known as “cowboys,” who travel aboard their spaceship called the Bebop. The main protagonist is Spike Spiegel, a skilled and laid-back bounty hunter with a mysterious past. He is accompanied by a diverse group of companions, including the ex-cop Jet Black, the femme fatale Faye Valentine, the hacker prodigy Edward Wong, and the highly intelligent Corgi dog named Ein. The show masterfully combines elements of Western films, film noir, and space opera, creating a unique and compelling atmosphere. Cowboy Bebop flawlessly blends high-octane shounen and lighthearted comedy, earning its reputation as an exhilarating space Western that seamlessly merges the intensity of a sci-fi thriller with the art of gunslinging.
3. One Punch Man
One Punch Man is a popular anime that falls under the genres of action, comedy, and superhero. The story revolves around Saitama, who possesses immense power, capable of defeating any opponent with a single punch. Despite being an incredibly powerful hero, Saitama struggles with a sense of dissatisfaction due to the lack of challenge in his battles. He faces an existential crisis as he becomes disillusioned with his seemingly unbeatable strength. As the story progresses, Saitama encounters a variety of villains and monsters threatening the world. Alongside Saitama, other colorful characters are introduced, such as the cyborg Genos and the self-proclaimed “The Strongest Man” King. With its ideal balance of action and comic relief, One Punch Man immerses fans in a world where they witness countless battles, leaving them anything but underwhelming.
2. Hunter x Hunter
Based on the manga created by Yoshihiro Togashi, Hunter x Hunter follows a young boy named Gon Freecss on his journey to become a Hunter. In the world of Hunter x Hunter, Hunters are licensed individuals who possess exceptional skills and expertise in a wide range of fields, from hunting down rare creatures to uncovering hidden treasures or even pursuing criminals. Gon, inspired by his absent father who is also a Hunter, sets out to pass the rigorous Hunter Exam and fulfill his dream of finding his father. As Gon embarks on this path, he befriends other aspiring Hunters, including the calm and analytical Kurapika, the mischievous and resourceful Leorio, and the mysterious and unpredictable Killua. Together, they face numerous challenges, encounters with dangerous foes, and explore the intricate and perilous Hunter Association. Prepare for a shounen anime that will keep you on the edge of your seat, craving more as the credits roll.
1. Dragon Ball Z
Our top pick for the best shounen anime, DBZ is a popular anime series and a sequel to the original Dragon Ball series. The story follows the adventures of Goku and his companions as they defend the Earth from powerful threats. Dragon Ball Z takes place several years after the events of Dragon Ball. The narrative begins with an adult Goku, who is now married to Chi-Chi and has a son named Gohan. As the series progresses, Goku learns that he is a member of the Saiyan warrior race and possesses incredible power. The storyline revolves around Goku and his friends, collectively known as the Z Fighters, as they face various enemies. These adversaries threaten not only the Earth but the entire universe. Throughout the series, Goku and his allies undergo intense training, unlock new powers, and engage in iconic battles. The series also introduces various memorable characters, including Vegeta, Piccolo, and Krillin, who play crucial roles in the narrative. The plot twists and writing in Dragon Ball Z are truly exceptional, allowing the series to maintain its longevity. However, it is the breathtaking action sequences that truly set Dragon Ball Z apart from its counterparts. DBZ is truly an anime series like no other!