Shonen anime is a genre of anime that is aimed at males aged between 12 and 18. The plot of these anime typically feature a male protagonist who is trying to be the best at what he does. In Naruto it’s becoming Hokage or in My Hero Academia it’s Deku becoming the number one hero.
This list looks at the 10 best shonen anime that have ever been released according to its IMDb rating. Shonen series are some of the most popular anime out there. While some of the series on this list appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump, a Japanese manga magazine, all the ratings are based on their anime.
10 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012) - 8.4
Kicking off the list is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Released during the fall 2012 season, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure follows the Joestar house with focus on Joseph Joestar. Dio Brando, wants to kill Jonathan Joesatar, also known as JoJo, but causes the two to travel through time in the process.
In the future of New York City, JoJo has a grandson named Joseph who learns about JoJo’s legacy. This causes a rivalry between Joseph and Dio. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has currently been adapted to five parts with the most recent part, Golden Wind, airing during the fall 2018 season. The original series has 26 episodes.
9 Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) – 8.5
Released during the winter 1996 season, Samurai X (originally Rurouni Kenshin) is a historical samurai anime. The series takes place during the end of the Bakumatsu era. Hitokiri Battousai is an assassin with a reputation of being a ruthless killer.
Ten years later, the legendary assassin now goes by the name Kenshin Himura and lives a different life. Swearing to never kill again, Hitokiri protects those who cannot protect themselves. Samurai X is one-season long and aired for 94 episodes.
8 Dragon Ball – 8.5
You were probably aware that this anime was going to be somewhere on the list, Dragon Ball is next up. Released during the winter 1986 season, Dragon Ball follows Goku Son, who has an encounter with Bulma, who is searching for the dragon balls. Bulma wants to gather the dragon balls to make a wish, and Goku helps her search.
Goku owns one of the dragon balls but doesn’t want to give it to Bulma. Along the journey Goku and Bulma meet many new people and enemies. Dragon Ball has many seasons, side stories, and movies throughout its years. The original series has 153 episodes.
7 My Hero Academia – 8.5
Released during the spring 2016 season, My Hero Academia is arguably the most popular currently airing anime alongside One Piece (see below). The series follows everyone’s favorite green haired boy, sorry Senkuu, Izuku Midoriya. Izuku, also known as Deku, has a goal to be the number one hero, but a problem stands in his way.
In a world where people have quirks, a trait that acts as a superpower, Deku doesn’t possess one. Deku looks up to the current number one hero, All Might. After a fateful meeting with All Might, he decides to make Deku his successor. All Might passes down his quirk, One For All, giving Deku the quirk for super strength. My Hero Academia is currently airing its fourth season during the current fall 2019 season. The original series has 13 episodes.
6 Fullmetal Alchemist – 8.6
The original anime in the Fullmetal Alchemist series, the 2003 version of the series is the less popular one. Released during the fall season, Fullmetal Alchemist follows Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse. The two attempted to revive their deceased mother using forbidden alchemy.
Being unable to control the alchemy, Edward lost two of his limbs and Alphonse was bound to a suit of armor. Edward and Alphonse search for the fabled stone to help bring Alphonse back. Along the way they run into some other people also in search of the stone. Fullmetal Alchemist is one season and aired for 51 episodes.
5 Hunter x Hunter (1999) – 8.7
The original anime adaptation of the Hunter x Hunter manga was first released during the fall season in 1999. Hunter x Hunter follows Gon Freecss, a hunter in training. Gon’s father left when Gon was small, so he sets out a journey to find him.
Gon takes the hunter exam along the way to become a full-fledged hunter. Gon’s journey is much harder than he anticipates as he runs into conflict after conflict along the way. Hunter x Hunter is one season and aired for 62 episodes.
4 Gintama – 8.7
Released during the spring 2006 season, Gintama is a historical action anime. The world is set in feudal Japan where aliens have attempted to take over the world. Gintoki Sakata is one of the last remaining samurai due to a ban of swords. Gintoki, Shinpachi Shimura, Kagura, and their dog Sadaharu, live their lives in this new world doing very odd jobs.
Gintama has eight seasons with the final season having two parts. Additionally, there are a plethora of movies, side series, and specials in the series. The original series has 201 episodes.
3 One Piece – 8.7
Rivaling My Hero Academia for one of the best anime currently still airing, One Piece was released during the fall 1999 season. The show follows Luffy D. Monkey, the captain of the straw hat pirates. Luffy became a pirate to search for adventure.
Joining Luffy are his friends as they all search for pirate king Gol D. Roger’s greatest treasure. The eponymous treasure is said to bring fame and wealth and the title of pirate king. One Piece is still airing during the current fall 2019 season of anime. As of this writing, the anime has over 900 episodes.
2 Hunter x Hunter (2011) – 8.9
The reboot of Hunter x Hunter, the 2011 version was released during the fall season. Following the same plot line, Hunter x Hunter received an updated art style, and new angles for shots in the series. The story still follows Gon on his search for his father, but the more modern look to the anime far surpasses the original. Hunter x Hunter 2011 is one season, and it aired for 148 episodes.
1 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 9.1
Deemed one of the greatest anime reboots, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood rounds out this list as the greatest shonen anime of all time. Released during the spring 2009 season, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood starts like its original version.
However, the ending of Brotherhood follows the manga closer than its original version did. The redone ending of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood staples it as one of the greatest anime to ever be released. The series is one season, and it aired for 64 episodes.