Top 25 Best Shonen Manga Of All Time

25. The Promised Neverland

Promised Neverland is a Japanese manga series written by Kaiu Shirai and illustrated by Posuka Demizu. The story follows Emma, Norman, and Ray as they try to escape from the orphanage they live. It turns out that human children are grown there to be food livestock for demons.

The first arc of the series is one of the best opening arcs of any manga ever. Mysteries, horror elements, and well-developed characters in the first arc were phenomenal. But from that point on, the equality dropped but it is still a good series to read. The frustrating part is that it could have been one of the greatest shonen ever if it kept the same quality as the first arc.

24. Black Clover

Black Clover is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yūki Tabata. The story follows two young boys from the Clover Kingdom: Asta and Yuno. Asta is born without any magic power at all, while Yuno is a prodigy with magic. The two boys are raised as rivals, but when they reach their teenage years they embark on a journey to become the Wizard King of the kingdom.

Black Clover isn’t anything groundbreaking in its themes, characters, or story. It just does everything well. Typical Shonen aspects such as friendship, powerups, willpower, etc are done in a basic way but in an effective way.

23. Demon Slayer

Demon Slayer is a Shonen manga from Shonen Jump written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotouge. It follows a teenager Tanjoro Kamado who loses all of his family members except his sister because of Muzan Kibutsuji. But it turns out his sister Nezuko too is affected by the incident and became a demon herself. Tanjiro decides to become a demon slayer and also find a cure for her sister during his endeavor.

Similar to Black Clover, Demon Slayer doesn’t do anything groundbreaking but it is just enjoyable to read. The plot, characters, or themes of the series isn’t complicated but there is a charm to the series in its simplicity that other such stereotypical series don’t have. The anime adaptation really helped in its popularity too.

22. Assassination classroom

Assassination Classroom is a Japanese science fiction comedy manga series written and illustrated by Yusei Matsui. An extremely powerful tentacled creature comes to the earth and claims that it will destroy the planet in a year. It becomes a homeroom teacher for class 3-E where he teaches regular subjects. The students are considered misfits and are tasked with the goal of assassinating the creature who is called Kuro-Sensei.

The story is one of the most unique from the Shonen manga and it is really great to read.

21. Spy X Family

Spy × Family is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endo. The story follows Loid Forger, a spy who tries to have a normal family for his mission. He adopts a girl called Anya who is a telepath unknowing to him and later Yor agrees to be in a marriage but she is an assassin.

This series is refreshing to read and is wholesome seeing a found family in weird circumstances. Anya is one of the most adorable characters in manga ever and with her at the center, the series is both hilarious and also emotional.

20. D Gray Man

D.Gray-man is a Shonen manga series written and illustrated by Katsura Hoshino. The story follows the adventures of a boy named Allen Walker, who is a member of an organization of exorcists called the Black Order. The Black Order is at war with an organization called Millennium Earl and his deadly Akuma who intend to destroy humanity.

The series is underrated among the masses. The story is rich with intriguing plot and themes and the characters are compelling too.

19. Hajime no Ippo

Hajime no Ippo is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by George Morikawa. It’s about the life of Makunouchi Ippo who starts as a timid, bullied high school student and eventually becomes heavyweight champion. The story follows Ippo’s progression from his first fight with Takamura Mamoru to his first title shot against the world champion, Date Eiji.

Ippo is a lovable main character who you want to root for. The story has compelling characters and a pretty decent plot to follow. Though the story does have flaws it is overall an amazing series.

18. Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. The story follows the adventures of Goku from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven orbs known as Dragon Balls, which summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered.

Dragon Ball is an inspiration to many other series such as One Piece, Gintama, etc. Some of the things that are said to be cliche and repetitive are defined by Dragon Ball. From powerups to simpleton Main characters, this series set a standard for them. The story too is really great with vast characters and a sense of adventure.

17. My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kōhei Horikoshi. The story follows Izuku Midoriya, a boy born without superpowers in a world where they are the norm, but who still dreams of becoming a superhero himself. All Might, the world’s greatest hero shares his powers with Izuku after recognizing his value. And Deku gets enrolled in a high school for heroes in training.

My Hero Academia is very ambitious with its themes, villains, and plot. But the series does fall into the usual pitfalls of the Shonen genre with its cliches and uninspiring concepts from time to time. Still, I think MHA is one of the better new generation Shonen series currently ongoing.

16. Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. Yusuke Urameshi is a delinquent who dies in an accident but is given a choice to be revived and become a spirit detective. The story follows his journey as a Spirit Detective where he fights demons that endanger humanity.

Yu Yu Hakusho aged perfectly and to this date, it is an enjoyable watch. The main characters for me are even more enjoyable than that of Hunter X Hunter. Villains are also great. By the time of the final arc, it felt a bit rushed but I actually liked the ending.

15. Ashita No Joe

Joe Yabuki is great at throwing punches through his self-taught fighting skills but lacks manners and disciple. Seeing his skills in defeating several people at once in the slums of Doya, Danpei Tange-a former boxing coach offers to teach him. Thus the start of his journey to becoming pro boxer starts.

Ashita no Joe is one of the most inspiring stories in the medium. It is heartwrenching, and a very touching story. It still holds up but the art style may be outdated.

14. Bleach

Bleach is a Shonen Jump manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. The story follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki who obtains the power of a Soul reaper from another soul reaper, Rukia Kuchiki. Soul Reaper is a death personification similar to the Grim Reaper.

Bleach is one of the most iconic anime of all time and is part of the famed Big 3. The series goes down in its quality in its later parts but Bleach has some of the highest peaks Shonen has. Soul Society is one of the best arcs in Shonen.

13. Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen is a Japanese Shonen Jump Manga series written and illustrated by Gege Akutami. The story follows the adventures of Yuji Itadori, a high school student who becomes the host of a powerful curse named Ryomen Sukuna. He joins a secret organization of Jujutsu Sorcerers in order to kill that curse.

Jujutsu Kaisen is one of the best modern-day Shonen series. It is dark, gritty, great power system, and has an interesting set of characters. I really liked how they handle the power system in the series and the way Gojo, the strongest character is used to move forward the series.

12. Chainsaw Man

Chainsaw Man is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto. It follows the story of Denji, a poor young man who makes a contract with Pochia – a dog-shaped chainsaw devil. After fusing with Pochita, Denji can turn part of his body into chainsaws. He joins an agency to fight devils known as the Public Safety Devil Hunters.

Chainsaw Man is one of the best ongoing manga currently and it is sure to raise its rank here as it progresses. Chainsaw Man is so unique in its story structure, and it uses the Manga medium innovatively. The series is stylish and surreal, and the horror element adds to the enjoyment of the series.

11. Gintama

Gintama is a fantasy comedy manga series written and illustrated by Hideaki Sorachi. Set in an alternate history, The story takes place in Edo which has been conquered by aliens called Amanto. Amanto has imposed its own set of rules on the populace. The series follows Gintoki Sakata, a freelance Samurai who does any work, and his two companions Shinpachi and Kagura.

Gintoki is a comedy series that can get very serious when it needs. The characters are really great with Gintoki being one of the greatest protagonists in manga. Gintama has several arcs that aren’t interesting but the peaks are really great.

10. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. The first six parts are part of the Shonen medium. Each part focuses on a member of the Joester family and they are known as Jojo. Jonathan, Joseph, Jotaro, Josuke, Giorno, and Jolyne are the protagonists of the first six parts respectively.

Each part is unique with Stone Ocean, Diamond is unbreakable, and Golden Wind being my favorites. Part 1 is definitely weak and didn’t age well but the remaining 5 parts are really great. The characters, villains, and art style is one of the best in Manga.

9. Magi

Magi is a fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Shinobu Ohtaka. The story follows the adventures of Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana. Aladdin is a Magi who travels the world to find his true self along with his mentor Ugo – a djinn. He meets Alibaba and Morgiana on his journey.

Magi is a story about what makes a good king. It handles the tough subjects of politics, country, kingship, etc in a great way. It has one of the best series about politics and world-building.

8. Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue about the life of the Shohoku High School basketball team. The story follows Hanamichi Sakuragi’s love for basketball and his relationships with Haruko Akagi and Yoko Miyaguchi. The coach is young, but he has high ambitions for his team. He wants to show the world that they are not just a bunch of kids playing basketball, they are professionals.

The cast is pretty huge and each character or group gets their chance to shine. It is considered a pioneer of sports anime. From its witty jokes to its inspirational dialogues, it’s a masterpiece from the 90s that aged greatly.

7. Naruto

Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. The story follows Naruto Uzumaki, a teenager who wants to become the Hokage, the leader of his village. It also focuses on Sasuke, who wants to take revenge on his brother Itachi – the person responsible for destroying his clan.

Naruto is one of the most iconic anime of all time that is well known all around the world. The characters are so vast with characters like Kakashi, Sasuke, Itachi, and Pain being some of the best characters of all time. The themes such as peace and the cycle of hatred were surprising for a series that targets teenagers at that time. Naruto’s final war arc isn’t a favorite for me by any means. But Naruto as a whole is genuinely one of the most fun series to read that is also layered.

6. Attack On Titan

Attack on Titan is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. The story centers around the life of Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and their friend Armin Arlert. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, humanity lives behind walls to protect itself from Titans. The story follows Eren’s journey with the Survey Corps as they fight against the Titans while trying to solve the mystery behind all these.

Attack On Titan is a groundbreaking manga that exploded in its popularity after its release. The series is dark, gritty, and has very serious themes to it. The mysteries, world-building, and politics are some of the greatest in Manga. The ending is controversial and I personally don’t like the way how certain ideas were concluded but it doesn’t take away the quality of the series as a whole.

5. Death Note

Death Note is a fantasy mystery manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The story follows Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook called Death Note that belongs to a Shinigami named Ryuk. The notebook grants the ability to kill anyone if their name and face are known. The series centers around Light’s attempts to create a world that is “cleansed of evil” as “God” using the notebook, while the detective L tries to stop him.

It is an edge-of-the-seat thriller filled with mind games between the two main characters. It is considered to be one of the best mystery anime ever made. Death Note is the best gateway anime for any newcomer to watch.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques, the story follows two alchemist brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are searching for a way to restore their bodies after a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life through alchemy.

The plot goes at a very fast pace always filled with mystery and suspense. The characters are perfectly executed and every character leaves a deep impact on viewers. Fullmetal Alchemist is very ambitious in its storytelling and became successful at executing it too. It touches upon various themes such as philosophy, religion, war, and politics, and the story overall has a dark undertone to it.

3. Hunter X Hunter

Hunter x Hunter is a manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. It tells the story of a kid named Gon who sets on a journey to become a hunter and also to find his father who left at a young age.

HxH isn’t a feel-good story about teens rather it has a darker tone to its story than most Shonen anime. It is often considered to be one of the best animes ever made. It has amazing world-building, a gripping plot, and compelling characters. Personally, I think Hunter X Hunter has the best fight sequences in anime and also the best ‘power level‘ design out of all shounen animes.

2. Haikyuu

Haikyuu is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Haruichi Furudate. The story follows Shōyō Hinata, who starts playing volleyball after seeing the “Small Giant” who played volleyball when he is in middle school. Hinata tries to become a volleyball player despite being short which is greatly disadvantageous in the sport. Haikyuu is a really well-made Underdog story.

Haikyuu is a fun-filled feel good anime and a series you never get bored watching. It delves deep into volleyball and stays true to the sports genre by exploring the nuances of the game at great length in an interesting way. The biggest strength of the show is its characters and how everyone shines. It also dealt with the theme of the underdog perfectly through Hinata’s journey. Haikyuu is the best sports anime I have read with certain peaks so emotional.

1. One Piece

One Piece is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. The story follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a boy who wants to become the King of the Pirates, and his diverse crew of pirates, named the Straw Hat Pirates. Luffy gained the power of having a rubber body after eating a devil fruit. They are on a journey to find One Pieve to achieve their dreams.

It might seem like a fun adventure series from the outside but it is essentially a power struggle between various factions in the world. Politics is one of the best in the medium with several groups having their separate ideologies and how they come into conflict with each other. The characters too are really great with Luffy being one of the best heroes of all time. Worldbuilding is the best in Manga. Overall it is the most enjoyable read I had in Manga and it deserves the first position here.


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