A hero’s journey. The quest to push beyond your limits. Friendship, adventure and change. These are the components of a shounen anime and the serialized stories that make up staple series like Naruto, Dragon Ball Z and Bleach.
And the decade brought with it a ton of fantastic shounen series. From the legacy adventures of Hunter x Hunter and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, to the twists and turns of The Promised Neverland and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, there was no shortage of unique shounen to watch.
Presenting the fan-voted shounen series of the decade:
My Hero Academia (2016)
It’s no secret that the story of Izuku Midoriya and his classmates at U.A. High School has completely captivated audiences since its 2016 debut. This masterful take on shounen storytelling and superhero tropes has everything you could hope for: amazing action and animation, unique and relatable characters and a premise that keeps you coming back for more.
What makes My Hero Academia so welcoming is its focus on the idea that anyone can be a hero. We follow Deku and All Might at first, but every character in the series gets a time to shine — from budding students to pro heroes.
Attack on Titan (2013)
From the moment you hear the first OP song for Attack on Titan Season 1, you know the series is going to be something special. Attack on Titan tells the story of Eren Jaeger, who throughout the series learns that the apocalyptic threat of Titans, grotesque and towering monsters, plaguing his homeland might not be what they seem.
The series is a gripping, brutal tale of adventure, mystery and discovery as it brings viewers into its characters relationships and experiences. From the commanding Erwin Smith to the smug like-ability of Levi Ackermann, there’s something for everyone to stand for in Attack on Titan.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2019)
All you need to do is look at Twitter’s worldwide trends on August 10 to understand why Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba made it onto this list. Episode 19’s fire-fueled action got thousands of fans hyped, leaving them desperate for more.
But the series’ overwhelming success is thanks to more than just its high-energy action. The team at ufotable reminded anime fans exactly why they’re known for their ability to seamlessly mix 2D hand-drawn animation with 3D CG and unique camera movements, a feat that brought the story’s rotating rooms and various breathing forms to life in a way most other studios could never match. Add to that a small but mighty cast of lovable misfits, and it’s no surprise that this series is one that will be remembered for years to come.
Hunter x Hunter (2011)
There’s no way to talk about massively-popular series without mentioning Hunter x Hunter. Even if you only tangentially know about anime, it’s likely you’ve seen Gon, Killua or Hisoka before.
The 2011 Madhouse reboot is commonly referred to as one of the greatest anime series of all time. Difficult, complex topics are masterfully woven into a compelling, action-filled storyline. No matter how old you are or what kind of anime you like, there’s something to love in this series. It’s a brilliant mixture of so many things that just works.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012)
It’s pretty hard to explain the appeal of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure without just telling people to “Watch JoJo’s!” but here we go. Ultimately the story of the Joestar lineage and their eternal battle against the man known as Dio, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure turns its caricature, burly male characters into lovable softies, adding in layers of emotional depth and drawn-out, engaging storytelling to create something wholly unique.
Each subsequent part of the series introduces us to a new member of the family, from the headstrong and over-confident Joseph Joestar to the stylish Giorno Giovanna.
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