I spoke about My Hero Academia’s newest season recently — and with that in mind I am dedicating this piece to all of my shounen-loving brothers and sisters out there who are looking to fill the void that the season has left in our collective hearts.
In this piece, I will be giving you guys a list of series that hit the same notes that My Hero Academia does, but they may differ in setting or be a bit on the darker side. Regardless of all that, they will give you that shounen fix that I know you guys are all craving.
The golden child of 2019, and one of the most explosive rises to popularity I have ever witnessed in my 15+ years of being a weeb — I thought anime had become mainstream before Demon Slayer, but my God, this series took it to another level.
Demon Slayer is a Shounen Jump series that most definitely hits all of the battle-based beats that My Hero Academia does. However, as I alluded to above, it is set in a much bleaker and more gruesome world than the Hero-centric society of MHA. From the second half of episode 1, you will understand exactly what I mean when I say this about Demon Slayer.
Demon Slayer starts off feeling like a “Monster of the week” type series similar to Stardust Crusaders or Ushio and Tora, but it does have an overarching story and main motivation. As the series progresses towards the massively famous episode 19, the pace shifts from this weekly monster format to something much more reminiscent of your classic Shounen Jump arc format.
When it comes to the new Shounen Jump anime series — I consider anything after Naruto Shippuden ended as “new” shounen — Jujutsu Kaisen was the one that stuck with me the most, and the one I enjoyed the most. If you are a fan of the shounen series that I grew up on — Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece — then you are guaranteed to love Jujutsu Kaisen.
Similar to Demon Slayer, Jujutsu Kaisen is a tad grimmer than some of the other currently running shounen, but all that does is add to the series’ atmosphere. From the get-go, the series tackles concepts such as death, morality, and finding purpose where you believe there may no longer be one.
I mentioned how much the series was inspired by the “Big Three”, and considering the main cast of characters consists of two boys, one optimistic and dumb, the other slightly edgy, and a girl who — thank god — is in no way at all like Sakura Haruno, all topped off with a white-haired sensei… I think you can see why I said Naruto fans will enjoy Jujutsu Kaisen.
I know what you’re thinking. “This is a sports anime! I want a battle series, damn it!”
What if I told you that sports series are just battle series where the battlefield is the stadium in which they compete, and the battle is fought through the sport they play? Because that’s exactly what Haikyuu is.
For people coming from My Hero Academia, Haikyuu has a ton to offer you as well. Something that a series like MHA does so well is motivating you as a viewer; it hits you with a surge of emotional power that honestly feels really good — and I promise you that you will feel that more in Haikyuu than any other series. There have been too many times that while watching Haikyuu, I have felt pushed and motivated to go out and just do something. Whether it be going for a run, working out, beating a boss in a game that’s been kicking my ass for the last 2 hours — Haikyuu gives you a real-life shounen power-up.
Haikyuu also features music composed by Yuuki Hayashi, the same incredible composer as MHA, so you can expect some motivational bangers in Haikyuu that are on the same level with the best that MHA’s soundtrack had to offer. Lastly, the story focuses on the main character who has the odds stacked against him. He is short and competing in a sport that rewards the tall, and yet perseveres throughout everything regardless. He shows exactly what hard work, passion, and dedication can provide.
What are your favourite shounen discoveries of late? Let us know down in the comments — or write us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page!
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