Scintillating. Electrifying. Erudite. These are only some of the adjectives that go hand-in-hand with shounen anime (at least, the first two are… the third one just sounds nifty).
It’s one of the most celebrated genres of anime, typified by exhilarating battles, nerve-racking cliffhangers and valiant champions. Don’t let the name fool you — shounen effectively translating to young male — there is something here for everyone, and the rising intensity of a monumental arc evokes some real fire within.
Here on Funimation, you have got a veritable wealth of shounen bliss at your disposal, and you may be wondering where to look first. Fear not, loyal kohai, because we’ve got a few that we think you’ll enjoy, and we’ll discuss why in this dapper article (more adjective curiousness afoot!)
We assure you, wherever you start, you shan’t misstep. This genre is so very accessible, and has a thriving community that will show you the ropes.
Isn’t anime tremendous? Let’s explore.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
You want to talk about epic? That is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s M.O., and the only thing it tugs harder than your interest is those darned heartstrings with its devastating emotional gut punches. Pow! Pow! Pow!!
Something of a transcendent anime, it willingly dabbles in multiple genres with aplomb. It’ll set your hair on end with elements of body horror one episode, before extrapolating a tragic tale that rivals the greatest dramas the next.
The trials of Tanjiro Kamado and his colleagues are incredibly gripping, featuring stunning animation that make every conflict akin to a piece of art. This is no hyperbole, the choreography in these sequences is nigh unrivalled, and each Breathing Technique brings its own distinctive look.
It blesses us with the most exquisite brutality, and as much as that seems like an oxymoron, once you’ve seen it, it’ll make total sense.
There’s a reason it has got the world abuzz, and things are ramped up even higher in the newest chapter. After a record-breaking cinematic premiere in Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train — you may have heard of it, it was not only the highest grossing film of 2020 but the all-time highest grossing anime film and oh yes, the highest grossing Japanese movie ever — fans will get a chance to relive this arc in full detail through 7 glorious episodes, complete with extended takes and all-new content that reveals exactly how this event came to pass.
Needless to say, you will get to see Rengoku-san kicking all kinds of ass. He would say this idea is UMAI, and we’re inclined to agree.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
One of the most prevalent themes in Naruto was the idea of belonging; finding friends and family after years of isolation. Because of these hardships, the path is brighter in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations — and here, the major theme is that of identity.
Vivid and optimistic, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is an anime that exudes warmth. As the son of the fabled Seventh Hokage, Boruto Uzumaki is naturally gifted in the art of ninjutsu. Despite this, living in the shadows of his father has created a degree of urgency to carve out his own legend, and he’ll make sure he does it with a panache that exceeds even his old man.
Don’t let the peaceful setting lull you into a false sense of security, as the combat in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is slick and creative, able to get you hyped in a flash. It brings a balance of tenderness and classic shounen action, introducing us to the offspring of yesteryear’s acclaimed shinobi, each with their own unique struggles, dreams and fears.
Similarly, seeing all of these beloved characters return as wise and powerful leaders is such a raw, visceral experience. They grew up, just like we did, and we still love them just as much as we did twenty years ago.
As with any good high school anime, there are lessons to be learnt and growth to be found within. The hallowed halls of the Ninja Academy should make for a safe learning environment, however peace is always an ephemeral concept. Foes await, more barbaric than you could ever imagine…
Suspense!! You’ll have to check out Boruto: Naruto Next Generations to find out what that means (and perhaps a quick Google to find out what ephemeral means.)
Similarly to the eponymous guild it is based on, FAIRY TAIL is an anime that is bursting at the seams with weird, wonderful and fearsome characters. They’ll either crack your skull for looking at them the wrong way, or crack your rib from laughing too hard at their exploits. Hope you’ve got a good orthopaedic surgeon on speed dial.
In both thrills and comedy, FAIRY TAIL is an unrelenting joyride. It introduces us to memorable mages like the plucky yet impulsive Natsu Dragneel, and Lucy Heartfilia, who comes equipped with a myriad of Celestial Spirits capable of massive damage and fabulous haircuts.
At surface value, these adventures are just as Natsu himself would like them: loud, wild and filled with lots of breakable objects. But the underlying threads that unravel along time are what keep us coming back, including the ever-evolving dynamic between Natsu and his rival/frenemy Gray, the shirtless wonder.
Mismatched though they may seem as comrades, watching the members of the guild put aside their differences to protect the weak is simultaneously awe-inspiring and hilarious; particularly when ultimate valkyrie senpai Erza steps into the fray. Put simply, FAIRY TAIL is thoroughly uplifting, and will stop at nothing to irradiate your day. It is the utter embodiment of wackiness, perfectly worthy of the many similes we’ve thrown at you in quick succession.
Also, one would be remiss to overlook the Celtic rock soundtrack on offer here. It absolutely slaps, as the hip kids say.
Cardfight!! Vanguard overDress
Card games can be pretty fun. There’s nothing like a wholesome game of go fish with the family, where everyone can have a nice time and relax.
Except, sometimes, don’t you kind of wish the four of diamonds would come to life and slap your uncle Jim in the face? Of course you do! That’s a very normal desire to have, and it’s par for the course in the madcap game of Vanguard, where participants play host to fantastical skirmishes. Not so smug now, are you Jim?
In this anime, the hot underground activity is to challenge rival teams in Cardfighting, whereupon competitors build a deck adept at withstanding blows before dishing out the hurt. Yu-Yu Kondo is an unassuming newcomer to this craze, who finds that he has a knack for constructing unorthodox strategies. His meek demeanour may lead to his opponents’ underestimation of his abilities, but to misjudge is akin to disaster, and he will willingly leave a path of destruction in his wake.
It’s not just all high-octane, however, and the cast here oozes charm. Danji is best boy and we will protect him at all costs, or more accurately, he will inevitably end up protecting us at all costs.
The climax of season one ramped up the tension between factions to a boiling point, and now, Team Blackout may never be the same again. There is a tectonic shift in motivation that is dividing the once picturesque atmosphere of Wonder Hill… that sickening feeling when your passions are standing in the way of your responsibility, and vice versa.
It’s crunch time, and if this core wants to remain intact, they’ll have to band together like never before. Check out Cardfight!! Vanguard overDress Season 2 now on Funimation!
Season one of the shounen phenomenon has crashed onto Funimation, and we couldn’t be more excited to fear for our lives as we face off against the legions of deadly curses. Plus… they’re icky! They probably smell real bad, too.
This engaging anime follows the rather unfortunate plight of Yuji Itadori (and if you’d rather go in completely unaware of the plot, this is your chance to skip ahead to the next paragraph). In a moment of desperation, he consumes a cursed item, thereby becoming a vessel for the wicked spirit Sukuna. Now, he is tasked with devouring the remaining pieces in order to take this ghastly apparition with him to the grave.
All this goes to say, the way Jujutsu Kaisen explores the boundaries of morality and duty is a particular strength, and it is constantly upping the ante with its increasingly grotesque gallery of ghouls. Juxtapose this against the effectual personalities of its cast — from endearing goofball Yuji to surly Nobara Kugisaki, with the reserved stick in the mud Megumi Fushiguro thrown in for good measure — and you have an action packed romp that just begs for binging.
After watching a particularly engrossing episode (of which there are many), I literally shouted ‘it’s so good’ to nobody in particular. Though it’s an embarrassing admission to be sure, it should give you an indication of just how captivating it is. Please don’t tell anyone I did that.
Obviously, we’ve just barely scratched the surface, and we would love to hear what shounen anime has captured your fancy. There are new episodes of the hottest additions dropping constantly, as well as a robust catalogue of classics that are sure to leave you verklempt.
…Actually, that adjective might work this time.