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Shonen Anime: Catch the fever!

Ultra Hero is definitely inspired by anime. Particularly Shonen anime. The long, expanding adventures appeal to many and can be used as inspiration for all kinds of life-goals!

What is Shonen Anime?

You can define Shonen as 'few years', 'youth', or 'boy'. Beginning as Japanese comics (manga) and then later developed into Japanese cartoons (anime), these stories are typically marketed and geared towards younger males and/or are centered around a young male character's journey.

Shonen anime is considered the most popular genre of anime due to its accessibility. Because the formula of these shows usually breaks down multiple personality types across a large cast, there is always a character the viewer can identify with most. The appeal to viewers then has only increased as everyone can relate to or enjoy the journey of their favorite character.

Adding to its accessibility, shonen anime are more often very familiar feeling. There is a common theme of a hero journeying for one ultimate goal. This makes the show easy to immerse in and something everyone all over the world can identify with.

Keeping Generations Optimistic

While these stories are usually geared toward a younger audience, they tend to be long-lasting shows! The audience ends up growing up with their favorite cast of characters. The show doesn't evolve to appeal to an older age group, but rather it has affected us so much that we continue to watch. It becomes our journey as well. There is a giant sense of optimism within that idea.

The main character of these shows is almost always a cheerful, friendly person. So the driving force of the show is already set up to be optimistic. What ends up capturing our attention for years, decades even, is that main character's drive to never give up and pursue their dream until the bitter end! These protagonists earn our respect, empathy, and love because they work towards some goal in spite of any hardships or pitfalls they may encounter. Watching them grow and conquer obstacles in the face of adversity, while all fictional, undoubtedly helps the audience identify with similar aspects of their own lives.

Giving New Meaning to the Underdog

Most shonen anime start with a main character that seemingly has nothing special about them. Their special quality relies in their personality or morals. But more often than not, they are regular, average joes.

By taking these underdog characters and showing how they build up a large line of friends, become ultra powerful, or just even finally acknowledged has been one of the more identifiable aspects of shonen anime.

For those of us out there that always struggled to find a place or felt like a loner, these shows illustrate the power of friendship. There is ALWAYS someone out there that can change your life. Not one of these heroes got through it alone. The wholesome bonds that are strengthened countless times in these shows help illustrate that anyone can find their group, kin, family, or crew.

They're Downright Cool!

On top of all the amazing narrative themes and application to real human life, shonen anime characters do AWESOME things.

The sense of fantasy and extreme power has always inspired thousands. If you've ever seen a kid grunt and pretend to charge up like Goku, you know the effect these shows have on the sense of wonder in kids.

It doesn't stop with kids though! As time goes on and these characters learn how to do cooler and cooler things with their abilities, we can't help but watch. It may have started with a simple beam shooting out of their hands or just stretching their body like rubber, but eventually these characters end up perfecting their craft and doing so many creative things with the same abilities that it keeps us coming back for more.

There is something about the Japanese cartoon animation style that always feels more powerful. The animation gets the point across of the severity of these abilities and the impact that they create. The awe that is struck in the audience's eyes typically only gets better as the shows go on.

Where do I start?

If you are brand new to anime, here are a few starter shows! It is hard to recommend too many of the more classic shows to begin with. Animation has only gotten better and the art quality start these shows got in the 80s and 90s might be a turn off for newcomers. It is also similarly hard to recommend some of the newer generation popular shows because the animation is SO good that it doesn't represent the genre as a whole. Keep that in mind, but here is a decent list to get you started!

One Punch Man (24 Episodes, ongoing)

  • 2009-present

  • Short and sweet, the story follows Saitama who is so strong he can defeat anything with a single punch. Constantly looking for something that will take more than one punch, this show is riddled with satire and humor surrounding common superhero tropes

My Hero Academia (113 Epsiodes, ongoing)

  • 2014-present

  • Inspired heavily by American comics, this show follows Izuku Midoriya who was born without powers in a world where 80% of the population is born with one. Follow his journey to becoming the Number One Hero!

Dragon Ball Z (291 Episodes, finished)

  • 1989-1996

  • Often considered one of the grandfathers of modern shonen anime, Dragon Ball Z follow the very famous Son Goku who is an alien that was raised on Earth and becomes its mightiest protector

One Piece (1005 Episodes, ongoing)

  • 1997-Present

  • One of the longer-running shonen anime, the only reason not to watch is if you can't fathom 1000+ episodes. The show follows Monkey D. Luffy and his crew of pirates as they search for the ultimate treasure: The One Piece!

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood (64 Episodes, finished)

  • 2009-2010

  • One of the more iconic anime of the past few decades, this series is a reboot in a more faithful manner to the original manga and it follows brothers Edward and Alphonse trying to heal their bodies after a failed alchemy experiment

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