Shounen (少年) literally means “few years” in kango (not to be mistaken for its counter part shojo). This means that this type of demographic is targeted at young boys, usually around the age of fifteen or younger. In shounen manga and animes, the stories are typically revolved around a male (or female) protagonist that is on a journey with many scenes that involves action, fighting and hints of comedy along the way.

Shounen manga and animes also explore into character development. For example, a typical shounen anime/manga will show the hardships and challenges that will ‘test’ the main character and push them to become stronger as they strive to get closer to their goal. Developments of friendship/comradery are usually also shown in shounen to strengthen the bonds between characters in the series that will give each character their own unique personality and character depth so that the audience can relate to them.

Linked Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy


A good shounen example would be the popular anime, “One Piece”. Published in 1997 by author Oda Eiichiro, One Piece started off as a manga that was in the ‘Shounen Jump’ magazine and became popular very quickly. In 1999, due to this popularity, has now got an anime series that is still on going along with the manga as well.

This series revolves around a boy named Monkey D. Luffy. He is a rubber-man due to eating a devil fruit (a fruit that grants special powers), whose goal is to become the pirate king, who is entitled to claim the greatest treasure on earth, the one piece. To enter the vicious sea that is the grand line, Luffy sets out to look for crewmembers and a ship. During his travels, he will encounter foes like the marines who will do everything in their power to capture all pirates including our hero.

Monkey D. Luffy, middle, with other members of the Straw Hat Pirates

Monkey D. Luffy, middle, with other members of the Straw Hat Pirates

In this anime, we get to see how Luffy’s character develops through the series from the start. We also get to see how he encounters his friends/ crewmates who have their own back-stories. They soon become a member of his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates.

This is a great to watch as it contains a right balance of fighting, adventure and comedy throughout the series and keeps you in suspense with plot twists and epic fight scenes that will keep you asking for more.

If you are interested in this series, you can get the manga here or you can buy the anime here

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