We’re all familiar with some repeated shonen tropes throughout the years such as a feisty, determined protagonist embarking on a journey, a group of lovable supporting characters, the prevalence of magical abilities and superpowers, tournament arcs etc.
This article is a list of best shonen anime series that break away from conventional tropes and surprise viewers with their unique concepts.
Mawaru Penguindrum is a very interestingly bizarre series that leaves a major impact on the viewer. Created by Kunihiko Ikuhara, best known for Revolutionary Girl Utena, the plot begins when a strange, penguin-shaped hat saves Himari’s life.
After this, her brothers are made to obey the hat’s spirit, which commands them to find a mysterious object called the Penguindrum. The story deeply dives into the family history which shows that a shared trauma runs through them all. Quite head-scratch inducing initially, the meaning that you’ll uncover at the end of the series if profound.
One show that you won’t ever dare confuse with another is Gintama because it is so uniquely created there’s nothing else like it. A parody series, it criticizes everything from daily life in Japan to Hollywood.
The main plot premise is so bizarre too: it is about aliens invading Edo-Japan, which turns out highly inconvenient for a samurai freelancer and his friends.
Shokugeki no Soma
This is one of the most unique and fresh takes the shonen anime community has come up with in years, without a doubt. And who says shonen shows can’t be about cooking?
Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma is a captivating novel series and it does follow some familiar shonen patterns. That, we do admit. But can you say that any other shonen anime has made viewers want to buy a recipe book?
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
This is probably the longest-running shonen manga of all time and non fans may wonder what makes it have such a cult following. But avid fans know they won’t find such an outlandish story and strange adventures in another series.
Its beauty lies in its capacity to offer a plot that’s so outside the box and in terms of typical shonen expectations, it’s a recipe for rejection. But JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure makes it work, many consider it superior entertainment and its popularity as one of the best shonen anime, shows no sign of stopping.
Attack on Titan
From the very first episode where viewers were put in shock with the appearance of the Colossal Titan peering over the Wall’s edge, we knew this was not your average shonen anime. Isayama is a certified genius and undoubtedly one of the best shonen anime series, Attack on Titan fearlessly breaks away from many conventional tropes.
This series carves out a new path for shonen anime to take through its portrayal of: bleak view of humanity, prevalence of antiheroes in lead roles, the big existential questions. Its popularity is definitely going to create more room for darker, and more brooding shonen series.