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Manga and anime aimed primarily at pre-teen and teenaged boys. Tends to be focused more on "action" than relationships, with romance generally either perfunctory or played for comedy. Fighting or combat -- even if it is sublimated into a form such as a sports competition -- is a common element. The title character, and most of the cast, is predominantly male.

Shōnen series were the first to be brought over en masse to the Western world, and makes up much of the popular American perception of anime. However, it should be noted most anime is aimed at younger kids simply because they possess the most free time for TV, and nearly all popular western animation is either geared towards males or has Multiple Demographic Appeal. Pure Shojo bounces between the realms of cutesy and melodramatically scandalous for most Media Watchdogs, so it does not get shown in the West as much.

Note that while Shonen tends to include a few standard genres, it is first of all an official designation of manga that were published in self-proclaimed shonen magazines, and anime that was based on such manga, rather than a label that is freely chosen to describe their content. That can lead to some series that are different from the typical shonen style but still count as an example, and series that follow all the typical shonen-like tropes, but aren't originating from a shonen magazine

Don't list examples until you checked that they are officially shonen.


General Examples

  • Almost anything with Humongous Mecha.
  • Sometimes, adaptations of stories with Multiple Demographic Appeal will create two versions of the story, one Shōnen and one Shojo.
    • The attempted localization of Cardcaptor Sakura in the U.S. could be very generously described as an attempt to create a Shōnen version of the series (i.e., increase appeal in the proven male market), despite the show being entrenched like a rock in Shojo tropes.
    • This practice also occurs in Japan. The Vision of Escaflowne had a Shōnen-version manga produced of its story, while Magic Knight Rayearth's OAVs have a similar bent as compared to the original series.
  • Nearly all the titles featured in the Weekly Shōnen Jump (or simply Jump) magazine have a kind of legacy with each other, enough that a Crossover video game was highly received.
    • The Dragon Ball series is by far the quintessential Shōnen, and due to its age, length and influence provides examples of most of the classic tropes.
    • Of all the ongoing Shōnen series, One Piece is by far the most massively popular. It has drawn a great deal of inspiration from Dragon Ball, but developed a very unique and compelling flavor of its own.
    • Completing the Jump Triforce is Naruto, the most popular anime in America, period.
    • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure, released in 1987, is one of Shōnen Jump's longest running Shōnen series, having reached over 90 volumes in Japan. It was only very recently that it got an official English release, and even then it jumped the gun a little, starting with the more-famous Series 3. With its 7th part, "Steel Ball Run", it has switched magazines and became Seinen.
  • Three-Point Landing: They love this to make the characters look cool.
  • General rule of thumb on the scale of idealism vs. cynicism, most Shōnen works (particularly the action fighter types), tend to fall in the idealist side. Deconstructions, Darker and Edgier, and/or, those that fall in the opposite side of the scale can easily be mistaken as a Seinen series and give a What Do You Mean It's for Kids? reaction (Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion are some of the notable examples).

Other Examples in Shonen Jump


Non-Shōnen Jump Examples

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