aimed primarily at pre-teen and teenage boys. Tends to be focused more on "action" than relationships, with romance generally either perfunctory
or Played for Laughs
. Fighting or combat — even if it is sublimated into a form such as a sports competition or even a Tabletop Game
— is a common element. The title character, and most of the cast, is predominantly male.
Note that while Shōnen tends to include a few standard genres, it literally refers to the target demographic (and in Japan, generally refers strictly to manga, rather than anime). Its older counterpart is Seinen
, although both are enjoyed by other audiences as well
. The Distaff Counterpart
to Shonen is called Shoujo
It should also be noted that there is no definite marker for a series being or not being Shōnen. Though the magazine it runs in is a good indicator, many Shōnen magazines aim for the huge Seinen Periphery Demographic
that also purchases them. Thus, many series that are mostly popular with the Seinen demographic after being published in tankoubon volumes have run in Shōnen magazines when they were serialized.
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.
- Almost anything with Humongous Mecha.
- Sometimes, adaptations of stories with Multiple Demographic Appeal will create two versions of the story, one Shōnen and one Shōjo (Demographic). For example, 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. Not to mention the fact that its popularity has more or less inspired most of the current Shonen Manga of this day and age. The Creators of the Big Three all admit to having their series greatly inspired by Dragon Ball Z.
- Of all the ongoing Shōnen series, One Piece is the most popular. It has drawn a great deal of inspiration from Dragon Ball, but developed a very unique and compelling flavor of its own.
- Bleach is part of the Holy Shonen Trinity and unlike Naruto and Dragon Ball, the Bleach anime is still going on in America.
- Completing the current Jump Triforce is Naruto, which was the most popular manga in America for a long time.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, released in 1987, is one of Shōnen Jump's longest running Shōnen series, having reached over 100 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 to Ultra Jump 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).
- Ham. Lots and lots of ham.
- Angel Densetsu
- Ansatsu Kyoushitsu
- Barefoot Gen
- Beet the Vandel Buster- Notably put on permanent hiatus due to one of its creators being ill and the other moving onto a different production
- Binbougami ga!
- Black Cat
- Bleach — The third of the "Big Three" among currently active Shonen Jump series.
- Blue Exorcist
- Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo— A humorous and surreal deconstruction on shonen
- Butsu Zone
- Captain Tsubasa — up until the Road to 2002 saga, that is: then it moves into seinen territory. Makes sense, the readers are mostly adult males (and some adult females) who grew reading it in ''Shonen Jump'.
- Cats Eye
- Claymore — although it's sometimes thought to be Seinen for the same reason and because of its dark themes as well as bearing a superficial resemblence to Berserk.
- Death Note — although even plenty of anime fans still mistake it for Seinen, mostly because Light is an adult for most of the series and there's the What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? factor. Played with in the Bakuman。 series (by the same creators), in which several characters support Seinen-type stories running in Shōnen magazines.
- D.Gray-Man, even when its Estrogen Brigade says otherwise.
- Chounouryokusha Saiki Kusuo no Ψ Nan
- Dr. Slump
- Dokonjou Gaeru
- Double Arts
- Dragon Ball — It and especially its sequel Dragon Ball Z , is a major contributor to many tropes to shonen in general.
- Eyeshield 21— Football oriented
- Fist of the North Star, although Yuria Gaiden and Juuza Gaiden (the most recent ones) are Seinen. Again, a major contributor, if not the original fighting shonen
- Ginga Nagareboshi Gin
- Hikaru no Go: Go game oriented
- Hunter × Hunter
- Iron Knight
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (Parts 1-6. It moved to a Seinen magazine for Part 7, Steel Ball Run.)
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn! — though its audience appears to consist mostly of Periphery Demographic
- Kimagure Orange Road
- Kinnikuman: Wrestling oriented, but also a major contributor to shonen tropes. It's sequel, Nisei/ Ultimate Muscle is Seinen.
- Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen Mae Hashutsujo
- Kurogane (2011)
- Kuroko No Basuke
- Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro
- Mazinger Z — its first run, anyway. In 1974, it was moved to Kodansha's TV magazine.
- Medaka Box
- Muhyo And Roji: contains Seinen elements
- Naruto — One of the Big Three, it is currently the most popular manga in America
- One Piece, although it attracts nearly every demographic, from kids to teens and adults. Currently Japan's most popular ongoing manga.
- Papa no Iukoto o Kikinasai!
- Read or Die: Rehabilitation — Often confused as Seinen due to it being more risque than Read or Die and Read or Dream, both genuine Seinen.
- Ring Ni Kakero - Starts as Shonen, the sequel switches to Seinen.
- Rokudenashi Blues
- Rosario + Vampire: Cointains Seinen elements
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saint Seiya — Trope Codifier for Cast Full of Pretty Boys in the genre, and the Genre Popularizer for the Shonen Estrogen Brigade. Also, the term "Yaoi" was coined by the series' fandom to refer to the Male/Male Slash Fic generated by said fandom.
- Sakigake!! Otokojuku — Though its extreme violence is more typical of Seinen nowadays.
- Samurai Usagi
- Shaman King
- Sket Dance
- Slam Dunk
- Space Adventure Cobra, but only in it's original run in Shonen Jump. Every story afterward is Seinen.
- To Love-Ru: It's sequel is much more shonen
- Toriko - Starting in 2008, it is considered Bleach's replacement among the Big Three.
- YuYu Hakusho — another paradigm of Shōnen.
Non-Shōnen Jump Examples
- A Certain Magical Index
- AI Love You
- Air Gear: Roller blade oriente
- Akarui Sekai Keikaku
- AKB49 - Renai Kinshi Jourei
- Aku no Hana
- Apocalypse Zero
- AR∀GO: City of London Police's Special Crimes Investigator
- Area no Kishi
- ARIA - Although it contains elements commonly found in Shōjo (Demographic), Seinen, and Josei manga, it was serialized in a shonen magazine and it tends to be labelled as such.
- Attack on Titan
- Azumanga Daioh, which, along with the whole genre it codified, is often mistaken for seinen or shoujo.
- Bt X
- Baby Steps
- Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts - Oddly, its manga adaptation is Darker and Edgier than its light novel counterpart.
- The Big O
- Big Order
- Black Butler — even though it resembles a mix of Seinen and Shojo much more than actual Shōnen.
- Blue Exorcist
- Cat Paradise
- Change 123
- Chūka Ichiban!
- Most Code Geass manga
- Crimsons - The Scarlet Navigators of the Ocean
- Cromartie High School
- Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai.
- Deadman Wonderland — Often mistaken as Seinen due to its violent content and basically having an identical story to Elfen Lied
- Detective Conan
- Digimon: Mon Trope Codifer along with Pokémon
- Et Cetera
- Eureka Seven — the anime can go into many genres, but both the manga adaptations were published in Shōnen magazines.
- Fairy Tail
- Flame of Recca
- Franken Fran
- Fukashigi Philia
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Alchemy themed, as well as a major contributor to anime tropes
- G Gundam
- Gamble Fish
- Get Backers
- Getter Robo
- Ghost Talkers Daydream
- Girls Bravo
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gunslinger Girl — Often mistaken as Seinen due to themes of child abuse and terrorism and bearing a superficial resemblance to Black Lagoon
- Hajime No Ippo
- Hanako and the Terror of Allegory
- Hanasaku Iroha
- Haruhi Suzumiya
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Heaven's Lost Property; Contains Fanservice
- Hekikai No Aion
- Highschool of the Dead — Yes, THAT Highschool of the Dead. For all the violence and gorn, it was published as a Shonen series instead of Seinen.
- Horimiya - despite looking like a shoujo series, it is serialized in Monthly G Fantasy, a shonen magazine.
- Ichigo Mashimaro
- Ikoku Meiro no Croisée
- Inazuma Eleven: Soccer themed
- Karakuridouji Ultimo
- Karakurizoushi Ayatsuri Sakon
- Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl
- Katteni Kaizo
- Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer — by CLAMP, a mangaka team well known for their work in Shōjo (Demographic).
- Kimi To Boku
- Kongoh Bancho
- Kunisaki Izumo No Jijou
- Kurogane Communication
- The Law of Ueki
- The Legend of the Legendary Heroes
- Live On Cardliver Kakeru
- Lost+Brain — which is mistaken for Seinen for just about as much as Death Note.
- Love Hina
- Lucky Star
- Magic Users Club
- Magi - Labyrinth of Magic
- Mazinger Z — second run.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- Mai-HiME — again, has been mistaken with both Seinen and Shojo.
- Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
- Mirai Nikki — Often mistaken as Seinen due to its violent and horrific content, and its spinoff series Mirai Nikki: Paradox, is genuine Seinen.
- Muv-Luv Unlimited
- Nanatsu No Taizai
- Neko-de Gomen!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion- often mistaken as pure Seinen, but most of its manga adaptions as well as the anime are either Shōnen or Shōjo.
- Oda Nobuna no Yabou
- Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo: Bewitched Agnes (a.k.a. My Wife is a Magical Girl: Bewitched Agnes)
- Pandora Hearts — like many series published in GFantasy, it has a Multiple Demographic Appeal and blends shounen and shoujo tropes with more mature storytelling.
- Phi Brain Kami No Puzzle
- Pokémon, which, along with Dragon Ball Z, helped to popularize the genre in the West.
- Popcorn Avatar
- Princess Tutu — the manga, ironically, according to That Other Wiki.
- Rave Master
- Red Eyes
- Rising X Rydeen
- Ronin Warriors — the manga adaption was aimed at a younger male audience with heavy depictions of violence and gore.
- Saijou no Meii