One of the most popular manga genres in the world is undoubtedly the shonen genre! There’s something here for everyone which is why it has captivated audiences from all over the world. Shonen manga also has the biggest legacies and the most dedicated fanbases–from classic to modern shonen!
But what is shonen manga in the first place? Well, “shonen” literally translates to “young boy.” This means that the genre is traditionally catered towards younger male audiences and filled with tropes that young boys usually like. But don’t let that name stop you! Nowadays, shonen has grown to be a globally loved genre that appeals to anyone regardless of age or gender.
There are typical tropes when it comes to shonen, like having superpowers and fantastical settings, lots of action scenes, and having the main character go on a long epic journey. While not all shonen mangas feature those, these are definitely some of the things that draw readers in! Without further ado, we’ll be introducing 19 of the best shonen mangas you can read today!
The 19 Most Exciting Shonen Mangas You Have To Read
From the iconic classics like Naruto, Bleach, and Dragon Ball Z, we are now in the age of a shonen renaissance. Inspired and often paying homage to those beloved classics, here we have the new generation of shonen manga for everyone to enjoy!
- My Hero Academia
- Ayakashi Triangle
- Spy x Family
- Me and Roboco
- Sakamoto Days
- Toilet-bound Hanako-Kun
- Call of the Night
- To Your Eternity
- Blue Box
- Dr. Stone
- Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!
- Demon Slayer
- Mashle: Magic and Muscles
- The Promised Neverland
- Chainsaw Man
- Jujutsu Kaisen
1. My Hero Academia
We’re kicking things off with a certified modern classic. Few mangas reach the heights of popularity that My Hero Academia achieved. From its serialized days to having its own anime adaptation, My Hero Academia has been a fan favorite from the start–and for good reason!
My Hero Academia has it all: a goofy cast of characters, exciting and unique superpowers, and a protagonist you’ll want to root for. Inspired by American superhero comics and early shonen classics, here we follow our main guy Izuki Midoriya. He enrolls in a school for kids with superpowers where he meets all sorts of different people. He’s even in the same class as his childhood frenemy!
We follow his journey as he aims to become the new symbol of peace, the greatest Pro Hero there is. He’s mentored by All Might, the former greatest Pro Hero who wants to pass on his legacy. My Hero Academia appeals to both shonen beginners and seasoned shonen fans!
2. Ayakashi Triangle
If you’re looking for a story with great world-building and compelling characters, then look no further than Ayakashi Triangle! It’s set in the fictional city of Omiko, a shining metropolis in the Japanese countryside. But in this city, there’s more than meets the eye. Aside from people, it’s also home to strange supernatural creatures called ayakashi!
Ayakashi remain invisible to the majority of people. Some of them are harmless, but some are vicious enough to attack humans and devour their life force! That’s why exorcist ninjas are tasked with protecting Omiko City from these beasts. One of these ninjas is Matsuri Kazamaki. We follow his journey as he tries to protect his childhood friend, Suzu Kanade, from akayashi.
You see, Suzu is no ordinary girl. She’s an ayakashi medium, meaning she attracts way more ayakashi than regular people. While she believes not all ayakashi are bad and she even wants to befriend them, all Matsuri wants to do is keep her from harm. Ayakashi Triangle is an exciting read with cool supernatural creatures and a heartwarming friendship (or maybe even something more than that) at its core.
3. Spy x Family
After having its own anime adaptation, Spy x Family has skyrocketed to cult classic heights! This exciting read is full of espionage and secrets with a heartwarming found family at its core. We follow Twilight, a legendary spy whose new mission requires him to assemble a family to hide his identity.
He adopts the adorable six-year-old Anya without knowing that she is actually a gifted telepath. Next, he recruits Yor to be his pretend “wife.” She’s a young woman desperately looking for a boyfriend to be able to blend into society because she’s also actually a secret assassin!
Spy x Family is a delightful shonen manga that combines comedy and action in the best way possible. This family’s antics are just a joy to watch as they try to pretend to be a normal family while secretly being ruthless killers!
4. Me & Roboco
Me & Roboco is definitely one of the most cute and colorful shonen mangas out there. It’s a delightful coming-of-age story that will definitely keep you smiling from start to finish. Here we follow Bondo Taira, an elementary school student who wants to have a robot maid. You see, in this world, everyone has a robot maid to do their errands for them!
Bondo is thrilled when he gets Roboco, but he soon realizes she’s not exactly what he dreamed of. Powerful yet clumsy, Roboco causes a lot of trouble whether she intends to or not! Despite this, Bondo still likes Roboco and treats her just like one of his friends. The hilarious antics these two get into make this manga a must-read for everyone!
5. Sakamoto Days
Sakamoto Days will definitely catch your eye at first sight. With a charming vintage style when it comes to art and storytelling, Sakamoto Days will transport you back into the world of 90s shonen manga and anime!
Here we follow Taro Sakamoto, a retired hitman who used to be revered as one of the legends in the field. Five years before the story starts, he gives up his incredible reputation all for a chance at true love. Now he lives a quiet life with his wife Aoi and their cute daughter Hana. He’s content with living the slow life while running their family store.
But apparently, life has other plans. A colleague from his old life unexpectedly turns up and threatens to destroy the peace and comfort Taro has built for himself.
Our next pick is one of the newer ones on this list, but it’s already making its mark as one of the most memorable shonen mangas out there! RuriDragon is an adorable coming-of-age story with a fantastical twist.
What happens when the phrase “growing pains” becomes a little more, er, literal? That’s what happens to our main protagonist Ruri Aoki, a teenage girl who suddenly wakes up one day with horns growing on her forehead! While this surprised Ruri, what’s more surprising is how her mother wasn’t shocked at all. She reveals that Ruri is actually half-dragon, coming from a long line of draconic beasts.
Now Ruri has to deal with this new discovery along with all the other stuff we deal with during puberty. RuriDragon is a fun journey of self-discovery with an absolutely loveable main character!
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If you’re looking for shonen with a bit of a horror twist, then you’ll definitely enjoy Dandadan. With incredible worldbuilding and characters you’ll want to root for, Dandadan stands out as a shonen manga with a heart. The story starts with Momo Ayase, a short-tempered teenage girl raised by her spiritualist grandmother. When she defends a guy called Okarun from vicious bullies, the two quickly become close.
As the two start sharing their love for conspiracy theories, they then start to challenge one another’s beliefs. Ayase goes to an abandoned hospital to prove that Okarun’s belief that aliens live there is dumb. On the other hand, Okarun goes to a “haunted” tunnel to prove that there aren’t any ghosts unlike what Ayase believes.
But the two find out that these conspiracies are more real than they ever realized. As Ayase gets abducted by aliens and Okarun gets possessed by evil ghosts, the two must work together to get back to their normal lives.
Akane-Banashi stands out from other shonen manga for incorporating traditional Japanese culture! This story revolves around rakugo, a traditional Japanese art form centered on comedy. We follow Akane Osaki, a young woman who’s grown up admiring her father who is a rakugo performer.
In the art of rakugo, you have to pass certain tests so you can move up the ranks and become a top-caliber performer. However, Akane’s father unexpectedly fails one of these tests. In order to boost her father’s name, Akane decides to secretly learn the ways of rakugo and succeed as a high-ranking rakugo performer. We follow her journey as she sets out on a mission to prove to the world that rakugo is a respectable kind of entertainment!
Akane-Banashi is a vibrantly drawn story and full of laughs in every chapter!
9. Toilet-bound Hanako-kun
What happens when supernatural themes are mixed with loads of comedy and charm? Well, you get Toilet-bound Hanako-kun! This charming shonen manga with an absurd plot is full of whimsy and excitement. We follow the titular Hanako, a supernatural creature who haunts a stall in the girls’ bathroom of a high school. Legend has it that Hanako can grant wishes to those desperate enough to seek it–but of course, everything comes with a price.
The story’s other protagonist, Nene Yashiro, is one of those lovestruck girls who will do everything for a chance at true love. Desperate, she summons Hanako to grant her deepest desire–to have the boy she likes fall in love with her! But it turns out, Hanako may not be as all-powerful as she thought. She has to do some of the legwork herself, but Hanako is still willing to help her out.
Little did she know that this one favor would end up in a curse! Toilet-bound Hanako-kun is a funny and entertaining story about two unlikely friends caught in a whirlwind of supernatural magic.
10. Call of the Night
Looking for a bit of romance with your shonen manga? Then Call of the Night might be for you–especially if you love vampires! We follow our main protagonist Ko Yamori, an 8th grader with a turbulent life. He feels like he doesn’t belong in mainstream society and has always seen himself as a bit of an outsider.
One night, he wanders the city alone as he tries to figure out his life. There he meets a friendly and outgoing vampire girl named Nazuna Nanakusa, and the two instantly hit it off. Thus begins a wacky and fun friendship between the two as Nazuna tries to bring Ko out of his shell and helps him enjoy life. But as the two get closer, Ko realizes Nazuna may not be as bright and cheerful as she seems on the outside.
11. To Your Eternity
Pivoting off from some of our more wacky picks, we offer a shonen manga that’s a little bit more on the serious side–but that doesn’t mean it’s any less charming. To Your Eternity is a breathtaking story about family, humanity, and so much more. It’s a beautiful celebration of human nature rendered in captivatingly gorgeous artwork.
To Your Eternity starts when a god-like being sends a tiny orb down onto the surface of a planet. This orb is special–it has the incredible ability to mimic just about whatever it touches, the only caveat being that thing has to be dead first. So the orb becomes a rock, then a piece of moss, copying all of these things around it. Then an injured wolf comes into view and dies on top of the orb.
The orb becomes the wolf and makes its way to a snowy village where it meets a lonely boy who believes that his lost wolf has now returned. We won’t say anything else because it might spoil the story, but trust us, you’ll want to pick this one up! To Your Eternity is a unique and lyrical epic perfect for those with a soft spot for the found family trope.
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12. Blue Box
Big fan of sports stories? Then Blue Box is for you! We have to admit, there’s something really charming about sports manga and anime. The competitive spirit, the strong sense of teamwork, and the long journey to hone one’s craft–all of these make sports stories so intense and entertaining! Blue Box is one of those, blending elements of sports, shonen, and rom-com all into one!
We follow Taiki Inomata, a teenage boy who diligently practices badminton every morning. He loves the sport and wants nothing more than to be better at it. But he’s not doing this alone. In fact, every morning his classmate and crush Chinatsu Kano practices basketball on her own too. As they keep trying to be better at their respective sports, Taiki also hopes to start a relationship with Chinatsu.
13. Dr. Stone
Shonen takes the form of an apocalyptic world with a sci-fi twist in Dr. Stone. This manga seamlessly blends all sorts of different genres together to form a story that’s endlessly compelling and entertaining for its readers. We follow Senku, a high schooler who also happens to be a mad scientist. One day, the apocalypse comes and turns everyone in the entire world into a stone statue!
Thousands of years pass–3,700 years to be exact. Senku is one of the first humans to return to life after being petrified. Using his superior intellect in chemistry, physics, and engineering, he sets out to find a cure to recover humanity from petrification. Dr. Stone is perfect for both sci-fi buffs and those new to the genre. It offers real, tangible lessons on science and engineering while still being super enjoyable for the readers!
14. Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!
Our next pick is a sweet romantic comedy called Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! Just like the title, it’s an adorable story between two opposite teenagers growing up and sharing their lives together.
We follow the main protagonist Tsubasa Shiki. At the beginning of the story, he moves into the Hokkaido Prefecture, a region in northern Japan known for its incredible winter scenery and gorgeous landscapes. It turns out, the view isn’t the only eye-catching thing around here. Tsubasa is quickly enamored by Minami Fuyuki, a gorgeous and outgoing girl who immediately welcomes him to her hometown.
Minami is unlike anyone Tsubasa’s ever met before. There’s a strange magnetism to her that just draws Tsubasa in. As the two get closer, their relationship also grows deeper!
15. Demon Slayer
We’re sure many of you have heard about Demon Slayer. Like My Hero Academia, it’s become something of a modern classic, reaching unbelievable heights of popularity with its manga and anime adaptation. It stays faithful to the shonen genre while incorporating unique twists on its own!
Demon Slayer takes us back to Taisho-Era Japan, which is shortly after the turn of the 20th Century. We follow Tanjiro, the eldest boy in a family on the mountainside. One night, Tanjiro comes home only to find out that his entire family has been massacred by demons! Well, all of them except his younger sister Nezuko. Heavily injured, Nezuko has been infected by demon blood which means she now has the ferocity and strength of a demon inside her.
Tanjiro vows to get revenge for his family. Together with Nezuko, he sets out to become a demon slayer and cure his sister. Demon Slayer is pure shonen fun! With amazing characters and awesome fight scenes, it’s no wonder it’s become such a fan favorite!
16. Mashle: Magic and Muscles
For fans of Harry Potter, we have the perfect shonen manga for you! Mashle: Magic and Muscles has all those fantastical tropes we love like having a school for magical kids and awesome supernatural powers, but this manga does them with a twist!
In this world, everyone is born with supernatural magic. People use magic in pretty much every aspect of their daily lives. It’s also a strength of pride and power for them. So what happens when someone is born without any magic at all? That’s what our protagonist, Mash Burndead, experiences.
Though he was born powerless, he didn’t let that stop him. He more than makes up for his lack of magic with his incredible physique! His extraordinary strength can even lead him to be the next Saitama from One Punch Man. Having these abilities grants him a spot at a wizarding school, where his superhuman physical abilities are way cooler than being able to cast a spell.
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17. The Promised Neverland
Our next pick is definitely one of the most unique mangas on this list. With an eery atmosphere and filled with a looming sense of dread, The Promised Neverland is sure to set you on edge when you read it. It’s set in an idyllic country manor called the “Grace Field House.” This is where orphans live under the protection of someone they call “Mother.”
We follow the three eldest orphans: twelve-year-olds Emma, Ray, and Norman. The three of them uncover a dark secret about the Grace Field House that makes them realize it’s not quite such a paradise after all, and that “Mother” may be more of a monster than a mom. The three orphans will have to face vicious psychological mind games against Mother if they want to make it out of Grace Field House alive.
18. Chainsaw Man
If our last pick was more on the creepy side, Chainsaw Man is the complete opposite. It’s a fun and wacky ride that’s a little bit all over the place in the best way possible! Outrageously funny and just a bit absurd, it’s become a cult classic for shonen fans looking for their next entertaining read.
We follow Denji, a man from an impoverished background. His desperation leads him to sign a contract that fuses his body with that of a strange devil named Pochita. This union grants Denji the ability to transform his body parts into chainsaws! Sound strange? Well, Chainsaw Man is one wild ride!
With his newfound powers, Denji joins the Public Safety Devil Hunters to defend the people of Japan against vicious devils. Thus begins an action-packed adventure filled with crazy powers and creatively absurd fight scenes!
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19. Jujutsu Kaisen
We’re ending this list with the rising star of the shonen world: Jujutsu Kaisen! Jujutsu Kaisen is a modern classic in the making. It feels reminiscent of older classic shonen mangas like Naruto and Bleach but with a significantly darker and more modern feel. This manga takes classic shonen tropes and gives them a monstrous twist!
This story stars Yuji Itadori, a high school student who’s naturally gifted in anything physical. He’s great at sports, running, and even fighting. One day, he meets a mysterious sorcerer who tells him his school has become cursed because of a creepy talisman in the shape of a finger. Itadori swallows this finger and instantly becomes the host of a powerful demon!
While trying to suppress this demon inside him, Itadori has been asked to join the school for jujutsu sorcerers. There he is given the special task of finding the rest of the demon’s nineteen fingers.
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We hope you enjoyed our take on the best shonen mangas around! Which one are you most excited to dive into?
Shonen manga is beloved for many reasons. It’s jam-packed with excitement and filled with themes like friendship, believing in yourself, and overcoming some of life’s greatest challenges. What’s not to love about that?
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