I will battle every day to claim my rightful place!
Come with me, the time is right, there's no better team...
Arm and arm, we'll win the fight, it's always been our dream!"
After the massive genre-defining, global, and still ongoing success of Dragon Ball, its hero Son Goku quickly became the codifier for a wave of young male spiky-haired heroes in Shonen shows around the world. Goku himself is an expy of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong.
Most franchises will start with a big-hearted, energetic Kid Hero. Intellectually, he's nothing to write home about, but this average simple-minded boy is actually a cunning genius when it comes to the Serious Business of choice. He's got a natural gift that blows others out of the water. On the rare occasion he loses, he'll train so hard that he catches up to and outsmarts masters of the craft one after the other.
For as strong he is physically, he's got an equally strong sense of justice (often in those exact terms on official bios). He'll go out of his way to help complete strangers, sometimes show mercy on his enemies, and always stand up and speak out for what's right.
The simpleness of the trope allows for endless kinds of age-appropriate stories about growing up, making friends, overcoming rivals and occasionally befriending them, getting acknowledged for winning, being determined enough to work through your failings, and generally being a good person. All subjects that hit home with the target audience.
An encompassing trope that's usually some combination of Book Dumb, Hot-Blooded, Idiot Hero, The Gift, Unskilled, but Strong, Training from Hell, Instant Expert, The Determinator, Time to Unlock More True Potential, The Power of Friendship, All-Loving Hero, To Be a Master. Often tends to be a Big Eater, again harkening back to the trope codifier, Son Goku. He is usually Oblivious to Love if not an outright Chaste Hero, though it is common that he experiences a Last-Minute Hookup at the end of the series. If he is not Oblivious to Love, he may be a Dogged Nice Guy who is comically rejected by most girls or have Single-Target Sexuality for the female lead. May also include aesthetic tropes like spiky Shonen Hair, Primary-Color Champion (leaning more towards Red (or increasingly Orange) is Heroic), using elements like Pure Energy, the vigor of Fire, or free-spirited Wind. Since these guys tend to have Heroic Builds or otherwise be drawn in an attractive way, he may or may not also be a Mr. Fanservice in real life; either way, expect Hollywood Homely to be in play and for most female characters to find him unremarkable in comparison to his Stock Shōnen Rival, a la Naruto. Following Goku's example, the character is very likely to have Cross-Dressing Voices (an adult woman affecting the voice of a preteen/teenage boy) in Japanese versions; in English and other dubs, this is less common, but can still be seen in characters like Ash Ketchum, Luffy, and Naruto.
A nearly Omnipresent Trope in the genre as of the late '80s and beyond. See also Japanese Spirit. Compare its companion trope, the Stock Light-Novel Hero and contrast with its genre Distaff Counterpart, Stock Shoujo Heroine, who is also Book Dumb and friendship-oriented but is usually not as Hot-Blooded.
- Dragon Ball:
- Son Goku is the Trope Codifier, as most of the traits in the description are ones he introduced. He has noticeably spikey hair, is simpleminded sometimes to the point of stupidity, a Big Eater that can put away 40+ full course meals in one sitting, showed mercy to the evil emperor of the galaxy after he had just committed genocide of the Namekians and killed his best friend, got excited at the challenge when he was informed that robots were going to kill all of his friends, mastered techniques after one glance that took other people hundreds of years to develop. Even after becoming a master he still trains, believing there's no upper limit to self improvement, and is soon on par with literal gods (and on a first name basis with them). Goku is also an unbuilt example, as he's not as noble and unselfish as others inspired by him; if his friends or the world are threatened he'll surpass any and all limitations to pull out a win, but he mainly fights for the thrill of it and his final goal is always something for his own benefit (namely to get stronger or to have a good fight).
- Despite being one of the Trope Codifiers for the Stock Shōnen Rival, Vegeta also possess some of the typical traits of a shonen hero; he is a Hot-Blooded Determinator, with spikey hair, who seeks to become the most powerful warrior in the universe. It helps that, like Goku, he too is an unbuilt example of Stock Shōnen Rival.
- Dan Kuso from Bakugan. Dan is a boy who really loves Bakugan and aspires to be the best brawler to ever live, which he achieves in the last episode of the first season. However, he tends to be impulsive and rash, which often leads him to trouble when his overconfidence gets the better of him. He is easily frustrated, which combined with his eagerness to brawl, causes him to complain a lot when he has to wait around in hiding, as shown in the first and second season. Dan, however, plays with the Idiot Hero trope. In the beginning, Dan played using raw power without any kind of strategy, only caring about winning and not the consequences that would follow. Because of this, he and Drago got into an argument that ended with Dan throwing Drago in the river. After losing a battle to Ryo and reuniting with Drago, Dan learned that there's more to Bakugan than just power. After that experience, Dan started using a little more strategy in his battles, allowing him to take on world-ranked Bakugan champions like Chan Lee.
- Bakuten Shoot Beyblade: Tyson is on the route To Be a Master on a Serious Business show, has a powerful bit-beast, and he does the typical "The Power of Friendship and Hot-Blooded sportsmanship will always defeat the 'heartless' type of Training from Hell and mindsets that make you a 'winning-justifies-means' creepstain". What makes him an example of the Idiot Hero is the fact that the celebrity gets to his head and he needs to relearn to be a proper teammate Once a Season.
- Ginga from Metal Fight Beyblade is a Kid Hero with a noticeable case of Shonen Hair. He is a Legendary Blader, likes food, and has some goals To Be a Master. He lacks the normal Idiot Hero traits for the most part, though.
- Valt from Beyblade Burst is an excitable and friendly kid with Shonen Hair. He wants To Be a Master, but he's not much of an Idiot Hero.
- Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach is a orange spiky-haired teenager who is determined to protect the vulnerable because he knows what it's like to be powerless. His mother was murdered in front of his eyes by a Hollow just before his ninth birthday and he doesn't want anyone to feel the way he felt about that. Three of the five story arcs are based around his determination to protect his friends (Rukia, Orihime and dealing with Uryuu's odd situation in the final arc). His genetic and spiritual inheritance means that his soul is made up of all four of the story's soul-types (Human, Soul Reaper, Hollow, Quincy) giving him enormous power. Soul Reapers can take decades or centuries to develop their power; Ichigo can surpass them after training for days. The villains keep "helping" him to power up because they want his power for themselves, but this just enables him to eventually defeat them. Unlike most shonen heroes, he actually gets good grades in school. He's very studious because he's conscious that the teachers are biased against him because of his odd-coloured hair. However, in battle, he fights instinctively instead of strategically.
- Waku from Bokurano is eager to be Falling into the Cockpit. Out of the dozen main characters he gets the most emphasis early on and has the most "stereotypical" shonen protagonist traits, despite the series being seinen. He's boisterous, shouts while attacking, is Book Dumb, and is happy to become a hero. Waku is the Decoy Protagonist, as he dies before the first volume is done (episode 2 of the anime). This sets the tone of the series.
- Denji from Chainsaw Man shares some traits of the archetype initially; however, their origins stem from depressing circumstances. He's a Big Eater, but it's because he lived in abject poverty and frequently had to eat from the dumpster to survive, so when given the chance to indulge he can't help it. He often comes across as an Idiot Hero, but that's because he had no access to education or any real parental figures or intellectual stimulation, so he's not really stupid so much as emotionally and socially underdeveloped. This aspect of him slowly changes across the series as Denji becomes more self-actualized.
- Allen Walker from D.Gray-Man isn't an Idiot Hero, but otherwise he fits the trope to a tee. He's a cheerful, kind-hearted, and compassionate young man with a strong sense of justice. He loves and wishes to save everyone — humans and Akuma alike. Nothing you do will make him give up or keep him down for long. He also is quite the Big Eater.
- A Recurring Element internal trope to the Digimon franchise. Almost every season of the anime has a goggle-headed boy, who is predictably Hot-Blooded, probably good at soccer, extremely caring, uses a fire-breathing and/or dragon-like mon, becomes the most powerful team member, and is the glue that keeps the team together. Usually, over the course of the adventure, they tone down the hot-bloodedness and focus more on helping their friends and becoming a better leader. There are a few aversions, though: Tamers' Takato, who was a bit of a wimp to start but got stronger as it went on; Data Squad's Marcus, who didn't wear goggles but was hot-blooded to the point that he would physically punch Mega level evil Digimon with his bare fists; and App Monsters' Haru, who is explicitly bookish, utterly non-athletic, and much more restrained with his arc mainly being developing into that archetype of a leader who does courageous stuff for his friends.
- In Fairy Tail, Natsu is a Destructive Savior (the whole Fairy Tail group is this, but Natsu is one of the most egregious examples), very Hot-Blooded (understandably because of his Playing with Fire Personality Powers), applies "Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!" whenever he can, never quits, no matter what, seriously believes in The Power of Friendship, shares the role of The Heart of the team with Lucy...
- Shiki from Hiro Mashima's Spiritual Successor to Fairy Tail, EDENS ZERO, serves as a Deconstructed Character Archetype, particularly his obsession with making friends, as it only makes him come across as a creep or a weirdo. His tendency to put his friends' needs before his own very nearly leads to him getting marooned forever on a deserted planet when everyone he knows on his home planet — who are all robots — are on the verge of breaking down forever and have to pretend they've turned on him to get him to leave.
- Flame of Recca: Recca Hanabishi, the main hero of the series, is a spiky-haired Ninja fanboy and an overall reckless but good hearted boy who is also quite Hot-Blooded and not very good with studies. With his own flame power and his own battle instincts (thanks to trying to imitate ninjas), he ends up facing many tribulations, turning many rivals into friends and allies and eventually overcoming his and his original clan's destiny.
- Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star is a downplayed example, alongside his manga, as the series is the grandfather of modern shonen manga and thus he predates many shonen heroes who better fit this trope. While Kenshiro is a determined All-Loving Hero, he's also more brutal, serious and intelligent then most other shonen protagonists, as well as being older and quieter. However, he does give a good Bruce Lee impersonation that's loud and shouty whenever he uses his signature Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken. He's also quite strong from the beginning and doesn't need to go through any more training to improve himself, unlike most modern examples of the trope.
- Soma Yukihira from Food Wars! is a Fiery Redhead who enters the prestigious Tootsuki Academy to become a great chef. While he is at first looked down upon due to his humble background, he manages to survive the academy's cutthroat environment due to his determination, creativity and experience. Despite being very proud of his skills (he antagonizes the entire student body during his entrance speech where he practically calls the other students a bunch of losers for not having any practical experience in the kitchen), he is also very loyal to his friends, being willing to wager his position in the academy to save a school club from being shut down, and prevent Megumi from being expelled after she failed an exam.
- Averted with Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist. Despite being a Hot-Blooded Big Eater, he's also The Cynic, The Atoner, and a Badass Bookworm. Furthermore, he's rich and well-connected due to his military status, somewhat uncool, doesn't have many close friends to draw motivation from, and was already a powerful alchemist from the start, which is all brought up in one Omake questioning how he managed to get so popular anyway.
- Mori Jin in The God of High School is a Monkey King Lite like Goku, with all the secondary characteristics that come with it. Spiky hair? Check. Big Eater? Check. Idiot Hero? You betcha. The Gift? Being able to channel Sun Wukong himself in battle and obtain power equivalent to a Physical God is a pretty good gift, I'd say.
- Shoyo Hinata from Haikyuu!!. He's a tiny, energetic, Book Dumb volleyball enthusiast with fiery orange Anime Hair who's at a disadvantage because of his height. Although inexperienced, he has incredible speed that allows him to become a team with Kageyama, is determined to get better at all costs, and learns The Power of Friendship through the series.
- Gon from Hunter × Hunter is a compassionate Kid Hero with very spiky hair, is a one-in-ten-million Nen prodigy, and fiercely loves his friends and allies. Unlike other shōnen heroes, he has become something of an Anti-Hero over the course of the series and his bright-eyed personality has been called into question. He's more of a deconstruction than anything.
- i tell c has Sakon Futatsuki. He's an enthusiastic newcomer to the police force who has a very idealistic outlook about heroism and justice. At first, he disapproves of Risa Aioi, a fellow detective who basically breaks the law to apprehend criminals in order to "fight poison with poison", but he is also concerned about her safety because she tends to put herself in danger in doing so, and is disgusted by the rest of the police department's ambivalence towards her (they consider her quite useful, but otherwise an expendable liability due to her criminal activities). It is actually lampshaded by another character (a self-proclaimed novelist at that), who says that Sakon is a cliched character.
- Inuyasha from the series of the same name starts out as an Anti-Hero who wants to take the Shikon Jewel for himself and become a full-fledged demon, but as he starts to surround himself with friends he abandons that goal and starts fighting on their behalf as well. While he meets most of the criteria for this trope, he is definitely not Oblivious to Love, as he was previously in a romantic relationship with Kikyo and has lingering feelings for her for much of the series, while still picking up on a few hints from Kagome. The only thing that keeps his relationship with Kagome from progressing past Belligerent Sexual Tension is the fact that they're both Tsunderes who Cannot Spit It Out.
- Yuji Itadori from Jujutsu Kaisen is a downplayed one. Yuji is a friendly, somewhat simple-minded teenager with spiky pink hair who naturally has superhuman physical strength. His motivation in becoming a jujutsu sorcerer is not To Be a Master, but to help as many people as he can so that he can have a meaningful death.
- Atsuko "Akko" Kagari from Little Witch Academia is a Rare Female Example, and she's the main character of a Cute Witch series to boot. Even then, Akko, is loud, very impulsive, eats a lot, most of her misfortunes are played for laughs, wants to be a witch to follow her idol's foosteps, is not very knowledgeable, and makes up for her lack of smarts and talent by sheer determination. Both her childhood dream and lack of talent take a tragic turn when a certain event of her and her idol's past is revealed.
- Hikaru Shidou from Magic Knight Rayearth is actually the main character of a shoujo series, but she fits this trope much more than the Stock Shoujo Heroine. She's a Hot-Blooded All-Loving Hero who's associated with fire and the color red, is very protective of her friends, has befriended some of her enemies and is Oblivious to Love. Her heroism takes a severe blow thanks to the traumatizing events of the end of the series' first half where it turns out that Princess Emeraude, who Hikaru thought she and her friends were supposed to rescue in order to save Cephiro, actually brought them to her world to kill her. Although she still tries her best to stay positive, it soon becomes obvious that it's really a mask to hide her own self-loathing since she feels those events were her fault, so much so that it creates an Enemy Without in the anime's second season. She manages to pull through in the end with help from her friends and from her own determination.
- Maken-ki! deconstructs the Shounen Hero archetype by showing that overwhelming power and determination alone aren't enough to overcome differences in skill, intellect, and experience. Takeru's lack of book smarts and forethought is often a detriment to himself and those whom he's trying to protect. Which is why Haruko and the rest of the student council usually have to come to his rescue, even though he's stronger than they are.
- Dating back to the 70's, there is a Trope Maker of this trope, though it took form of a giant robot pilot. Kouji Kabuto from Mazinger Z is the spiky-headed, Hot-Blooded pilot of the titular Mazinger Z and has many Idiot Hero tendencies, showcased with his Tsundere girlfriend Sayaka Yumi. Nevertheless, he's also very big on The Power of Friendship, befriending one of his school bullies Boss, and will fight to hell and back if it's about helping his friends. Said passion and determination ends up being the bedrock of a crossover series that very much runs with this and always featured him 99% of the time.
- My Hero Academia:
- Izuku Midoriya is a downplayed version of the trope. He aims to master his powerful Quirk and become the most powerful hero, gathers a group of True Companions and is a Determinator. However, he's definitely not an Idiot Hero, as he has the fourth highest grades in his class and is skilled at strategizing during fights, and the few times he recklessly charges into a battle it almost always comes at a cost — by the time he finally figured out that he should be asking for reinforced knuckles on his costume as a Mid-Season Upgrade (among other changes to his fighting style), he's got such wrecked arms from his use of One For All that people are afraid he's going to get them permanently crippled. He's also not very Hot-Blooded and tends to be more timid and cautious, although he does have his occasional moments of shouting and going Large Ham.
- Katsuki Bakugo is an interesting case. While he has many story beats of the Stock Shōnen Rival to Midoriya, in terms of personality he instead has many of the Stock Shonen Hero traits Midoriya doesn't have, but portrays them much more negatively (i.e. his Hot-Blooded personality and determination to be the best caused him to bully Midoriya in the past and doesn't endear him to his classmates).
- Eijiro Kirishima is a much straighter example than Midoriya or Bakugo despite being a Breakout Character at best. He has much spikier red hair, Hot-Blooded personality, and not enough intelligence. He also makes friends with everyone, including Bakugo and has gained the respect of at least two of his opponents and rarely, if ever, has shown any interest in the opposite sex (in fact, once he was shown to be rather annoyed by Kaminari's attempt at flirting with Mei Hatsume). It's later revealed that this is not his natural behavior and he's consciously projecting the image of an enthusiastic bruiser in hopes of burying his insecurities.
- The Big Good of the series, All Might is also an example. He was a Quirkless underdog who ended up becoming The Ace who wanted to be the #1 hero. His skills are so amazing that he was the most successful wielder of One For All, became the World's Strongest Man, and held the Quirk longer than his predecessors who died young. Furthermore, while his predecessors struggled against All For One and died, All Might is the only one who actually defeated All For One, twice, albeit he sustained severe injuries in both battles. Heck, he even managed to maim All For One in their first battle. He even has his own Stock Shōnen Rival in Endeavor. Horikoshi has revealed that All Might is somewhat inspired by Son Goku, who is the shonen hero.
- Naruto himself is one of the most well-known examples in the 2000s and 2010s. He even has orange as a trademark color, much like Goku. He starts out as a hyperactive, twelve year old ninja with heavy Idiot Hero qualities. He has spiky Shonen Hair (though, as an adult he keeps it shorter and tidier) and can eat a lot. Despite his negative traits, he's quite caring, exceedingly determined, dedicated to his friends, and ends up very powerful by the end of the series. He calms down and becomes more level-headed as an adult, but still has some of his childhood qualities. Naruto is Oblivious to Love, but this is deconstructed in that his obliviousness comes from his troubled early childhood: Naruto doesn't understand how Hinata, or any girl, could like him and, due to all the scorn he received growing up, he has trouble distinguishing platonic love from romantic love.
- Subverted with Boruto from the Sequel Series, Boruto. He is Naruto's son and looks near-identical to his father (complete with spiky hair, albeit in a different style and more combed downward), however he has a completely different personality. His clothes are predominantly black and his main colour is pink, in contrast to the primary colours of his father. He's a powerful Child Prodigy (even before getting into the ninja academy), but is an overly cocky Smug Super at the same time. Boruto can be knuckle-headed but is not an Idiot Hero, instead being Brilliant, but Lazy. He also isn't quite the All-Loving Hero his father is. He doesn't seem to be a Big Eater but does like eating burgers a lot.
- Kotaro from Negima! Magister Negi Magi is a subversion. While he hits a good chunk of the requirements (Big Eater, Shonen Hair, Book Dumb, etc.), he's The Lancer instead of the hero. The actual main character (Negi) is an inversion. He's highly intelligent, something of a worrywart, and doesn't rely on the Power of Friendship (in fact he started using dark magic specifically so his friends wouldn't have to fight along side him).
- Touta from the Stealth Sequel series UQ Holder! is far closer to the standard model by virtue of being a Contrasting Sequel Main Character with Negi. Although he notably averts To Be a Master.
- Inverted with Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion. He's about as far from a stereotypical shonen protagonist as can be, especially for a mecha series. Shinji has a good heart but he's very docile and is Troubled, but Cute, with a lot of self-esteem issues and a fear of getting too close to others.
- One Piece:
- Monkey D. Luffy is three things: The Heart of the crew, a Leeroy Jenkins of a caliber so major that the rest of the cast tolerate him only because he wins as many fights as he starts, and the Idiot Hero of modern anime and manga. In point of fact, the only time that his incredible drive to keep fighting and his on-the-spot inventiveness failed him was during the Marineford arc, which was a massive Wham Episode.
- Portgas D. Ace might qualify as a non-protagonist version. He's a Big Eater, he has a red and orange color scheme complete with fire powers, and he has an immense loyalty to his crew and friends, as well as being nearly as big a moron as his (adopted) little brother Luffy. On the whole, though, he ends up as a Deconstruction of the idea, since his Hot-Bloodedness leads to him being lured into a trap when he tries to avenge the death of a friend, and ultimately he's killed when another villain baits him by insulting his honor. He's the main character's big bro, it runs in the family.
- The mangaka ONE seems to like turning this trope on its head:
- Saitama from One-Punch Man is someone who was at some point a more shonen-esque protagonist, with spiky hair, a love of fighting, and a drive to get stronger and fight more powerful opponents. However, he eventually got so powerful that the things a Shonen hero lives for became too easy to excite him, resulting in Saitama eventually losing his passion... and his hair.
- Shigeo Kageyama from Mob Psycho 100 is part Inversion, part Deconstruction — he's kind of average-ish intelligence, emotionally stunted, hates fighting, and the few friends he has are less to bolster an already existing confidence and more to keep what little he has from collapsing in on itself. In addition, while he does get spiky hair when his powers flare up, his usual 'do is a round, subdued bowl cut.
- Most adaptations of Trainer Red give him some degree of this to make him more accessible than his stoic game-canon personality:
- Red from Pokémon Adventures has mild qualities. He's a Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero with The Gift at the outset, but goes through a Character Development arc where he recognizes his own cockiness and tones it down, although he still maintains the positive qualities of this trope. He has the most Goku-like hair of any Pokémon protagonist. Gold plays it a little straighter, never growing out of the Idiot Hero, but he's less innocent and more of a flirt.
- Ash Ketchum from the anime starts as Idiot Hero Big Eater and is a Friend to All Living Things on a quest To Be a Master. In the early seasons he was always put down for acting before he thinks, but after going through about 4 regions he's the more experienced mentor to whatever newbie starts traveling with him. He only displays The Gift in the films, but season to season he averts it, having only won 1 league (the Alola League) after over 900 episodes. Ash having stock shonen hero qualities has only gotten emphasised as time goes on. In Kanto, and to a lesser extent Johto, he was stubborn, bratty, and could be mean and greedy when he wanted. Since then his bad traits have vanished with more emphasis being put on his All-Loving Hero and Idiot Hero aspects. His old personality almost never gets referenced and most flashbacks use his newer one.
- Red from Pokémon Origins hits somewhere between Adventures Red and Ash from the anime, with a little of the original's levelheadedness. Instant Expert applies more to him than any others besides the game canon, disbanding Team Rocket, becoming champion and catching 150 Pokemon in under a year.
- Isamu "Red" Akai from Pocket Monsters is a spiky-haired Idiot Hero boy who's on a Pokémon journey To Be a Master.
- Hareta (who is based on Lucas from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl) from Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! is a clear expy of Goku from the pre-Z arcs. He's a compassionate but ignorant Wild Child who loves Pokémon battling and food.
- Ginji from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Ginji's Rescue Team is a boy who gets transformed into a Torchic. As a human he has spiky Shonen Hair, which translates to the crest Torchic have. He's very Hot-Blooded and is a bit of an Idiot Hero. Ginji is powerful to the point where he goes on an adventure with his Mudkip friend where he defeats several legendaries, including a Groudon, with only a little help. Mudkip is attracted to Ginji because he comes off as a hero who protects others and he feels Ginji has a special "power".
- Ryouga from Pokémon RéBURST is a very Hot-Blooded Determinator with spiky Shonen Hair. He is Made of Iron and has Super Strength due to training (which is emphasised by the fact humans fight instead of Pokemon). Ryouga has Idiot Hero traits and is Oblivious to Love.
- Gold from Pokémon Golden Boys is a Hot-Blooded boy with slightly spiky hair (though his cap hides it) who is on an adventure to become a Pokémon master. He's very emotional and loving, in sharp contrast to flamboyant and cruel rival, Black.
- Most adaptations of Trainer Red give him some degree of this to make him more accessible than his stoic game-canon personality:
- Another female example is Emma from The Promised Neverland, surprisingly, despite the series being mostly horror-mystery with some action. She's bright and energetic, rather impulsive, a little silly (though still way smarter than your average kid), is the most physically fit of the kids, a very quick learner including when it comes to fighting, and can will herself back on her feet through sheer determination after being stabbed through the abdomen. It doesn't get more shonen than that.
- Zig-Zagged in Radiant. Seth is easy to identify as a shonen protagonist, being a Book dumb teenager with spiky black hair and a punch first, ask question later kind of attitude. However, he rapidly loses his happy go lucky demeanor to become a bit of a Knight in Sour Armor at times. He doesn't have any rivals and doesn't show any Blood Knight tendencies, often trying to defuse situation by speaking rather than punching.
- Ranma Saotome from Ranma ½. Trained all his life to be a martial artist which he has natural talent for, has a Fun Personified personality, is a terrible student who borderlines on being Book Dumb, many of his story arcs are focused on training and learning new techniques, and he's a very Big Eater. Unlike most Shonen protagonists however, he possesses an Unwanted Harem. There's also the added twist that he turns into a girl whenever he's splashed with cold water, and his personality doesn't change at all in his female form.
- Real Account has Yuuma Mukai, an All-Loving Hero, Determinator, strong, and a Nice Guy all around to the point of Chronic Hero Syndrome. He's ultimately a deconstruction as he only cares about himself, and his girlfriend before she unfollowed him (he's trapped in a survival game where they need followers to survive) who enjoys watching the carnage of others and doesn't care how many people he sacrifices to get what he wants.
- Tsunayoshi "Tsuna" Sawada from Reborn! (2004) starts out as an inverted example, having low self-esteem and being easily discouraged from trying his best in almost anything, though he does have the stereotypical Shonen Hair down. He plays the trope straighter as the story progresses and he faces more dangerous enemies that may potentially harm his friends, He can become quite determined when he is in Hyper Dying Will Mode, and eventually he gains more confidence in himself as well.
- Rebuild World: While the Unscrupulous Hero protagonist Akira may look like one, he's actually anything but. The Rival Katsuya is a Satire of this, however, and it is Deconstructed through him, with how we see other people gossiping about his harem building and forcing decisions through via popularity instead of listening to those with experience. The latter issue gets a lot of Katsuya's friends killed, and leaves him vulnerable to a Honey Trap.
- Tougo from The Red Ranger Becomes an Adventurer in Another World plays this hilariously straight. He's passionate about anything and everything, is super strong and fast, and is a highly emotional guy with Chronic Hero Syndrome. He approaches everything with wide-eyed joy and wonder and is obsessed with the Power of Friendship, to the point that he will run out of power if people are holding grudges against one another near him!
- Pegasus Seiya in Saint Seiya fits most of the criteria. He's the most immature of the main Bronze Saints, tends to be extremely rash and impulsive, often not thinking about the consequences, and he frequently jokes around when fighting. He subverts the Oblivious to Love part, though, as he evidently has a Bodyguard Crush on Saori, and would readily give his life to protect her no matter what. He also is the God of Determinator, no kidding, nobody seems to be able to kill him. Nobody.
- Yasaka Hachiki from Shuukan Shounen Hachi. It's actually pointed out in-universe that he exhibits a number of traits of a standard "nekketsu" protagonist and also that said archetype has become outdated.
- Symphogear: Hibiki Tachibana is another Rare Female Example, and takes it Up to Eleven. Hot-Blooded? Check. Book Dumb? Double check. All-Loving Hero? Check, though she evolves into one over the course of the series. Calling Your Attacks? Technically, though it pops up on the screen instead of her actually saying them, though she does often Scream really loud. Her companion Chris Yukine also has some of these traits, while adding in the Big Eater trope and having poor manners.
- Simon and Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann embody different parts of this trope. Kamina is a borderline exaggeration of the Stock Shōnen Hero; he is very impulsive and Hot-Blooded and prone to rash decisions, and finds every opportunity to give bombastic speeches about his utter manliness. Meanwhile, Simon is depicted as a small, timid person similar to Shinji Ikari, who was deliberately written to be much bleaker than the typical shonen hero. Once Kamina bites the dust, Simon ends up building up his own strength and taking on characteristics of the Stock Shōnen Hero himself, albeit more successfully than Kamina.
- Haneru from Tribe Cool Crew has some elements. He's a terribly Hot-Blooded kid with huge Anime Hair who has some Big Eater qualities. He's friendly and determined but lacks Idiot Hero qualities. Haneru isn't a fighter but a street-dancer, and is determined to be a great one.
- Nate from Yo-Kai Watch is a more downplayed example, because the anime is a Slice of Life mon anime. For starters, Nate has the Shonen Hair and also wears red clothes. He can be selfish and bratty but Nate's heart is usually in the right place. Nate is one of the very few people who have a yo-kai watch, which allows him to interact with youkai, and it's implied Nate is special even amongst those few. When it comes to solving problems or (rarely) fighting battles, Nate calls upon his yokai friends to help him. Nate is not Oblivious to Love, but his crush Katie is.
- Yuna from Yuki Yuna is a Hero is a Rare Female Example. She's a Hot-Blooded middle schooler Magical Girl Warrior. Yuna isn't very motivated in school and is Book Dumb (however she is very good at perceiving others emotions, though she downplays that). She has Big Eater traits (but not on the league of Cool Big Sis Fu), has a very strong sense of friendship, uses her fists during combat, and is a Plucky Girl who enjoys being a Hero even after learning the Awful Truth behind it. She is oblivious to the fact her best friend Togo likes her (and it's implied Karin does too). Yuna has red hair, however it turns pink when she goes into Hero form.
- Yusuke Urameshi from YuYu Hakusho. He's short-tempered, impulsive, one of his most notable traits is his desire to fight which is more out of enjoyment of a good brawl, and he doesn't like killing if he can avoid it. He is a genius at fighting as noted by Genkai (his teacher) despite being noted on many occasions to be rather unintelligent, and, at times, just plain stupid. He possess a sense of justice, as he doesn't tolerate evildoers and always has a firm resolve to capture or even beat them for the sake of doing the right thing. Underneath his bold, cocky attitude, he has a joking and kind nature and he also is very protective of his friends.
- The titular protagonist of Zatch Bell! is similar to Goku. Zatch is a determined, excitable young boy who has Super Strength. He can literally eat an animal whole (bones and all, cooking optional) and is Oblivious to Love.
- Spider-Man is a Western precursor of this trope (as well as the progenitor of another, similar archetype), as a Fun Personified Primary-Color Champion who's one of the most frequent mascots for the Marvel Universe and initially (and often) depicted as a Kid Hero. A key difference between Spidey and the typical Stock Shonen Hero is that he's very intelligent, and his ineptitude instead comes from being a social outcast as a teen (and a Born Unlucky Doom Magnet) in many adaptations. Naturally, Spidey is one of the most popular Marvel heroes in Japan.
- DNMC: D'Arg is practically the embodiment of this trope. Spikey colorful hair? Check. No Indoor Voice? Check. Book Dumb? Check. Reckless to a fault? Checkity check check check! Deconstructed in that these traits are more of a hindrance than a benefit to D'Arg, as seen in Chapter 5, where the whole plotnote could have been avoided if he kept his cool instead of storming off.
- The Good Hunter from The Night Unfurls flips the character archetype upside down. He's an adult man (or rather, he appears to be one), not a kid; is a Celibate Hero, not a Chaste Hero; is introverted instead of being extroverted; and is cynical rather than idealistic. While the shonen protagonist starts out as The Gift who trains like hell to unlock his true potential To Be a Master, the Good Hunter starts out as the World's Strongest Man that's Strong and Skilled who mentors others so they can obtain strength. A level-headed Pragmatic Hero who draws strength from his own might, he doesn't believe in friendship, but he's not averse to working with people either.
- Percy Jackson from the Camp Half-Blood Series. Brilliant at his universe's Serious Business (Monster-Slaying)? Check. Extremely kindhearted? Check. Energetic? He's got ADHD to prove it. Believes in True Companions? Check. Idiot Hero? Check. Strong sense of justice, mercy, and fairness? Check.
- Wakatake of Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note is agile, Hot-Blooded, the most Book Dumb of the cast, and has a fixation of Power of Friendship, but this being a Shōjo series with a female protagonist, he is mostly a deconstruction — he's seen of having the most flawed personality of the cast, being an egocentric Glory Seeker with a Hair-Trigger Temper. His male friends have a Warts and All opinion of him, and the protagonist's relationship with him is at best a case of mutual Tsundere.
- The lead hero of ARMS, Spring Man, is described as one of these. He is said to be a goofball outside of the ring and a pizza-loving Big Eater, but he loves to fight, trains incredibly hard, and has enough determination to come back from a tight spot. The latter is incorporated into gameplay as a Comeback Mechanic, as when he gets low on health, his punches get permanently charged.
- Bang is pretty much a stereotypical shonen hero... while not being the protagonist. He's got the sense of justice, the Hot-Blooded-ness, the somewhat gullible disposition and the utter hamminess. He even says (in one of his win quotes) "tune in next week!" He starts off as a loudmouthed fool whom everyone looks down upon, but over time he gains more prominence, badassery and resolve.
- Ragna the Bloodedge would be an example, being quick to anger, stubborn, and even in cases where he cannot win or is on the brink of death, Ragna possesses an undying will and persistence, refusing to give up even when he is clearly out matched. But he's actually a subversion; he's sardonic, rude, and abrasive to anyone he comes across, and he also never misses a chance to use as much vulgar language as possible. His quest isn't To Be a Master but rather Revenge caused mainly by Yūki Terumi practically destroying Ragnas life, which has created a mass of hatred in him; stronger than that of any other individual. In this regard, Ragna is more similar to the '90s Anti-Hero archetype. Ragna does possess a softer, more compassionate side but is not enough to fit this trope.
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy VIII: Zell Dincht was designed after one, being friendly, chatty, hyperactive, Hot-Blooded, and a Big Eater. By contrasy, Squall (the protagonist) and Seifer (Zell's rival) falls into the Stock Shōnen Rival archetypes.
- Crisis Core: Zack Fair was characterized as the opposite of Cloud, which, ironically shows what would happen to such guy in a more cynical world.
- In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Caspar is not the leading protagonist, but he checks off many of the boxes: Hot-Blooded, spiky hair, prone to Leeroy Jenkins moments, Oblivious to Love (to the point where one potential suitor has to lure him to her room just to get the point across that she wants to jump his bones), wants to prove himself through military service to stand out from his elder brother, and can excel as a brawler or grappler.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising: Pit is a thick-headed, think-with-his-gut hero who doesn't strategize much beyond Attack! Attack! Attack!, but remains effective enough to be Palutena's personal One-Man Army, motivated by his Incorruptible Pure Pureness and Undying Loyalty to Palutena. Uniquely, his character combines this with being a dorky Butt-Monkey; he is constantly picked on and thrown into perilous situations, causing him to express a lot more reluctance and vulnerability than usual of this archetype.
- Kingdom Hearts: Sora is an All-Loving Hero who often gets into trouble because of his naivety. He's got the spiky hair, red color scheme, and a strong sense of justice. He's constantly going out of his way and derailing missions to help everyone he comes across, and only grows stronger because of it. Despite being an Un Chosen One, he ends up as one of the most reliable and powerful Keyblade wielders. May be a Subverted Trope, however, in that Sora never makes any real effort to befriend nor proselytize to his defeated foes, employs lethal force freely, never wanted to be a hero, doesn't get all fired up often, and isn't the toughest Keyblade wielder in the series by a long shot. He also has a tendency to refer to people as his friends when he's said perhaps thirty words to them in total, unlike the classic manga archetypes that inspired the trope, who generally known their companions quite well.
- Estelle Bright from The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is a female example. She's Hot-Blooded, prone to Chewing the Scenery, Book Dumb, loves fighting, is quick to help out anyone in need, a Wide-Eyed Idealist and oblivious to her own romantic feelings. By later instalments in the series she's become Older and Wiser and no longer truly fits the trope, but she never loses her optimism, becoming a Hope Bringer for the rest of the cast. Joshua from the same game fits many aspects of the Stock Shōnen Rival, except that he's the Deuteragonist and Estelle's Love Interest.
- Mega Man Battle Network: Lan is a textbook example; he's not terribly bright or well-organized but is immensely skilled at the Serious Business of Virus Busting, makes good use of the Power of Friendship (not to mention Defeat Equals Friendship), and is generally brave, outgoing and heroic. He even has a cooler but less talented rival and a dose of To Be a Master when it comes to Net Battling tournaments. The same can't be said for Geo Stelar from the sequel series.
- Tracer from Overwatch is a female example. She has the trademark spiky hair, dresses in bright yellow/orange, and has an energetic, happy and childish personality and a strong sense of justice. Overall, she's the cheeriest character on the roster, making her a great choice for the game mascot like so many shonen heroes are for their series.
- Talus from Paladins is an energetic, bighearted, Cute Monster Boy who is quick on his feet and finds battle exciting. His species, the Ska'drin, are looked down upon and horribly maligned, but Talus is unfazed. He's optimistic and believes he can change the world (and the Ska'drin reputation) with the power of his ancestors.
- The Charizard species in Pokémon is occasionally depicted with shades of this. Charizard is an orange, boisterous Hot-Blooded dragon-like creature whose Pokédex entries state that it always seeks strong foes to battle, and very little focus is placed on any intelligence the species may have. Charizard is frequently the signature Pokémon of Red, himself a Stock Shōnen Hero in many depictions, as well as a strong recurring member of Ash Ketchum's team who usually acts as his ace whenever present. Some adaptations give it a rivalry of sorts with Pokémon with a cooler-toned color scheme that would fit the Stock Shōnen Rival archetype in comparison, such as Blastoise, Mewtwo and Greninjanote .
- Sonic the Hedgehog: The title character, mixed in with some Totally Radical '90s cool and swapping fighting with running. He's got the equivalent of spiky hair, a strong sense of justice, is fueled by the Power of Friendship, and (particularly in spin-offs) loves to compete with other speedsters to see who comes out on top. Even when a giant alligator chases down the team in a jungle level, his only response is "Interesting, let's see who's faster." Unsurprising, since the series has several Dragon Ball Shout Outs, including seven Cosmic Keystones and a Golden Super Mode that makes his hair stand on end.
- Suikoden Tierkreis: Sieg fits the criteria. He is a simple-minded determined Kid Hero who believes in The Power of Friendship, hates injustice and even has a stock Catchphrase "We won't know until we try!".
- Super Mario Bros.: The titular character Mario is an unusual example, being a blue-collar everyman rather than a youth (although he possesses enough boyish exuberance to make up for it), but nonetheless is acknowledged as the greatest hero of the Mushroom Kingdom, goes out of his way to help anyone he meets, is quick to forgive and forget, dresses in primary colors and defeats entire armies through sheer determination and athleticism. He is associated with the element of fire and has the Hot-Blooded-ness that comes with it. The spin-offs, particularly Super Smash Bros., put more focus in his competitive streak.
- Undertale: A rare antagonistic example. Undyne is one of the strongest fighters in the Underground and is a hero among monsters. She's Hot-Blooded, believes strongly in the Power of Friendship, and in a game where determination is a recurring factor, she possesses it in droves. She even discovered the wonders of anime through Alphys and thinks it's all true, so it can be assumed that she got at least some of her personality from it.
- Of course, from a certain point of view, Undyne can be interpreted as a Deconstruction of this archetype, by observing what happens when an ordinary person spends her whole life binge-watching anime with a Stock Shōnen Hero and desperately tries to emulate them in every way, shape and form: she would be come an obnoxious, egotistical, short-tempered, Wrong Genre Savvy, Knight Templar, Tautological Templar, Politically Incorrect Hero who would deliberately and repeatedly try to murder an innocent human child to retrieve their soul for the greater good. She would also refuse to acknowledge the possibility that said human child might have a genuine reason to fight back in the name of self-defense, assuming that they simply chose to harm their attackers because it was easy. In short, she would become a rather unsympathetic Designated Hero.
- Avan from Valkyria Chronicles II is one, being a Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero and The Determinator. As the previous game was a mostly-serious War Is Hell story with a more grounded protagonist, he wasn't particularly well-received by the fanbase, especially since his Idiot Hero nature causes him to do some things that would be a terrible idea in wartime. Most-infamously, he tries to help one of his teammates get over her phobia of blood by shooting himself in the foot.
- Dean Stark from Wild ARMs 5 is an Oblivious to Love Idiot Hero who wants to become a famous Golem Hunter, like his hero Nightburn.
- Rex from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a textbook example. He's an All-Loving Hero who relies on The Power of Friendship (which he even specifically mentions in one of his battle quotes), and is an optimist who goes through life following the "Salvager's Code" and is naive to the point of wanting to befriend the villains after defeat.
Rex (on Malos): I'll punch him in his stupid face. And then... probably get a drink with him or something.
- Parodied in the video Hiro The Dense -- Dense Shonen Protagonist. It's about a spiky-haired man named "Hiro" who is on a quest to become a knight. He comes to a castle to kill a demon lord. When he comes across a succubus, Hiro's ridiculously dense towards her advances and just wants to defeat a demon. Later, the demon lord tries to seduce him as well, but he doesn't understand her innuendo. When the demon lord breaks it down to Hiro that he was supposed to "lay the demon lord" (not "slay the demon lord"), he still has no interest in having sex with her because he's just interested in being a knight.
- The sequel shows that the Demon Queen's family might just have a type.
Demon Queen's Mother: It's just... your human is much like your father. As unlikely as it is, there is a narrow range of intelligence where a creature can still think, but will be too stupid to be affected by the strongest spells and enchantments...
- The sequel shows that the Demon Queen's family might just have a type.
- Stinkoman from Homestar Runner is a parody of this archetype brought about when Strong Bad was asked what he'd be like if he were an anime character. Despite (or because of) Strong Bad's limited knowledge of anime, Stinkoman has a lot of Shonen trappings down pat, having an inexplicable mop of blue hair and single-minded passion for challenges and combat that he expresses with rip-roaring hamminess. His best friend 1-Up (Homestar's 20X6 equivalent) also nods to this trope; he wants To Be a Master but is Just a Kid.
- Ruby from the animesque cartoon RWBY is a downplayed Rare Female Example, mixed with a Stock Shoujo Heroine. She's a young and energetic All-Loving Hero who wants to become a huntress to help people. She also has a red colour palette, is the product of a Heroic Lineage, and is unusually powerful for her age. She, however, lacks many traits such as being an Idiot Hero, being a Big Eater, being Brilliant, but Lazy, and being Oblivious to Love (though she is a Celibate Hero). Ruby's original hairstyle isn't particularly spiky, but she gets Spiky Hair in volume 7.
- Billie Ignivento from Aventia has a lot of the traits, including blue spiky hair. He's an Idiot Hero, a Big Eater, and is always trying his best to achieve his goals.
- Ax from Steamgear Inc, a Rare Female Example. Wants To Be a Master - more specifically, she's striving to be a Steamgear Defender. Announces her full name and her goals to everyone she meets. Young, energetic, and outgoing, with a strong sense of justice. A competent fighter, but oblivious to the way the world works. Canonically asexual, making her a Chaste Hero.
- Finn of Adventure Time is a deconstructed example. At the series' start, Finn was a simple-minded yet righteous Kid Hero who lives to right wrongs and go on dangerous adventures. The problems started when he slowly came to see the Graying Morality of the world around him, and his impulsiveness bit him in the buns as he entered adolescence without anyone qualified to offer him any helpful wisdom or guidance, leading him to make some really dumb moves and blow his chances with two Love Interests. Nowadays, while he's never stopped being a hero and fighting evil, he's a lot more of a mature Mellow Fellow, a sharp contrast to the early days when "I'll slay anything that's evil, that's my deal!" was his Signature Line.
- Aang, the titular protagonist of Avatar: The Last Airbender, has many of this archetype's characteristics owing to his show's anime influence. He is a naive, energetic Kid Hero who lends a hand to everyone in need, and as the Avatar, he has a natural gift for bending the elements, and indeed has the latent ability to become the most powerful bender on the planet. However, he is a youthful Keet as opposed to a masculine Hot-Blooded hero, he lacks the Big Eater component common to shonen heroes, and he actively dislikes fighting, unlike most shonen heroes who love doing so.
- Ace Ambling of Ballmastrz: 9009, although he serves as the deuteragonist rather than the main character. He's an energetic, pure-hearted kid who keeps his team together with The Power of Friendship, and he has a latent ability where he can fuse with his ball, which gives him an advantage in and out of The Game.
- Ben 10 is a hotheaded Kid Hero who saves the day from alien (and sometimes human) bad guys. He can turn into 10 (and more) different aliens with powers and skills, which he improves on over time with the help of his badass grandfather and magic-using cousin. His stock shonen rival counterpart would be Kevin Levin.
- Cleopatra from Cleopatra in Space is a hot-headed, impulsive, loyal, hero, who relies on her friends. She is highly Book Dumb, constantly ignoring her class lectures if not skipping them outright, but she uses her instinct to save the day. She also finds out she has the ability to absorb power and release it back out.
- K.O. of OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes is an obvious parody of this type. He's Hot-Blooded, hammy, loyal, kind, and always eager to battle evil and learn a new fighting move. He's also very stupid, but luckily the Troperiffic nature of the setting ensures his foes are Obviously Evil enough for him to succeed. For bonus points, he's voiced by Stephanie Nadolny, who voiced kid Goku in Dragon Ball and Gohan in Dragon Ball Z.
Radicles: Is that kid really brave or really stupid?
Mr. Gar: Both.
- The eponymous Steven Universe is something of a Shoujo-esque take on the archetype. He's an excitable Large Ham All-Loving Hero who wears his heart on his sleeve, tends to act without thinking, extends a kind hand to anyone, and cherishes his family and friends above all else. However, his energy is more Keet than Hot-Blooded, he's In Touch with His Feminine Side, and is also The Heart who prefers to make friends with his enemies rather than fight them, which fits with the series' emphasis on love and understanding. That said, he's still a Super-Strong Child who will fight if need be and has expressed a drive to get stronger, though it's less out of any inherent desire To Be a Master and more about living up to the legacy of his mother and predecessor, Rose Quartz, who left a great void to give birth to him.