Everybody knows the usual top shounen animes like One Piece, Naruto, HunterxHunter, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fairly Tail etc. – I have deliberately excluded these here. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like these animes, but I hope that you will discover a new shounen anime for yourself on this list. I have listed my top 30 somewhat less known shounen anime that i really enjoyed.
Here are my Top 30 “Less Known” Shounen Animes:
© MAPPA Co., Ltd.
The daimyo Daigo Kagemitsu of the Sengoku period promised 48 demons the body parts of his unborn son in exchange for power over Japan. So his son was born without limbs, and internal organs, and his mother abandoned him at a river. There he was found by doctor Jukai, who gave him prosthetic arms and legs. After 14 years, he was given the name Hyakkimaru. He set out to kill the 48 demons and get back his body parts.
2. Guilty Crown – (Giruti Kuraun)
© Production I.G, Inc.
Japan in 2039. ten years after the outbreak of a deadly virus, Japan is still under the occupation of the organization GHQ, which was the first international organization to help clean up the chaos of Christmas 2029 and record the incident as Lost Christmas. After all these years, the epidemic has been contained, and society would be on the road to normality if it weren’t for the resistance that is stirring within the population against GHQ, which rules ruthlessly and despotically. Since Lost Christmas, the organization has had the occupying power over Japan, which a rebel group called Undertaker under the leadership of Gai Tsutsugami wants to change.
3. Black Cat – (Burakku Kyatto)
© Gonzo K.K.
In the world of Black Cat, there is a worldwide mafia organization called “Chronos” that controls much of world politics and economics. It has now become indispensable to the world and, with the help of its professional killer unit “Chronos Numbers”, it eliminates risk factors by striving for global stability. The Chronos Numbers is a unit of 13 professional killers, which is directly subordinated to the Council of Elders of Chronos. The antipole of Chronos is a revolutionary group of Taoists, the “Apostles of the Stars”. They plan to break the supremacy of Chronos and to rule the world themselves. At the moment still in the building phase, they try to recruit enough members to be able to seriously threaten Chronos.
4. Seraph of the End – (Owari no Serafu)
© WIT STUDIO, Inc.
In 2012, a catastrophe allegedly triggered by a virus killed all people over 13 years of age. Afterward, the vampires came out of their hiding places and took over the world under the pretense of protecting the children. However, these only serve vampires as blood donors. Among these children are the two orphans Yuichiro Hyakuya and Mikaela Hyakuya. Four years later, both now 12 years old, the two of them and the remaining children from the orphanage plan an escape from the underground city of vampires to which they had been brought.
5. God Eater – (Goddo Ītā)
© Ufotable, Inc.
In the early 2050s, researchers discovered a new life form called “Oracle Cells” or later “Aragami” which spread in an uncontrolled way on earth and consumed organic materials. Their ability to adapt to changing conditions through targeted evolution and their appetite pushes humanity to the edge of extinction. After conventional weapons against the Aragami proved ineffective, so-called “God Arcs” were developed. These are living weapons through a connection with Oracle cells, which are the only ones that are effective against the Aragami. The story takes place in 2071 as God Arcs compatible fighters called “God Eater” who fight the Aragami to save the remaining part of humanity.
6. Rokka – Braves of the Six Flowers (Rokka no Yuusha)
© Passione Co., Ltd.
A thousand years ago, the Saint of the Single Flower defeated the Majin (demon god), but was only able to seal him up on a peninsula connected to the rest of the world only by a narrow spit of land. Since she knew that the Majin would awaken again, she arranged for the six strongest fighters to become heroes, all of them wearing the pattern of a six-petalled flower, in order to defeat him. As the third resurrection of the Majin approaches, six heroes gather to fight him once again.
© GoHands, Inc.
The high school student Yashiro Isana lives a peaceful school life and is popular with his classmates, although he does not have any close friends. When one day Tatara Totsuka is murdered by the Homra-clan, Yashiro Isana gets into suspicion because the murderer resembles him a lot. Thus, Yashiro is targeted by several clans, which are led by the so-called Seven Kings. These were chosen by a mysterious slate and have supernatural powers. For example, the violent red king Mikoto Suo, who leads the Homra clan. The only unknown king is the colorless one, and soon Yashiro is also suspected to be this so far unknown king.
8. Bungo stray Dogs – (Bungō Sutorei Doggusu)
© Bones Inc.
The series revolves around the “Armed Detectives”, whose employees all have psychic abilities. They solve – often on behalf of the police – particularly difficult cases or those involving other people with supernatural abilities. Their opponent is the Port Mafia, the plot takes place in the city of Yokohama.
© Madhouse Inc.
Within a medieval world, Yoma exists, disguised as humans, who also live among the humans and feed on their entrails. However, an unspecified organization trains women called claymores, who have been implanted with the flesh of a Yoma and are thus half human and half Yoma. As a result of this treatment, their hair colour changed to light blonde, and their eyes look silver. They have a much higher physical strength than ordinary people, can detect Yoma disguised as humans and possess other individual abilities. Although they are a mixture of human and Yoma, their human self remains in control. In difficult situations, they can release more power by using the Yoki, the Yoma slumbering within them. In doing so, they slowly mutate into a Yoma themselves, making it increasingly difficult for them to maintain control over their body. However, if they exceed a critical limit, they are no longer able to transform back and have to let themselves be killed by their comrades before they become an Awakened Being. These beings are much stronger than normal Yoma and often possess sadistic tendencies. Many of these beings were created during the organization’s early experiments when it was still trying to control the situation with male claymores. However, it turned out that men too often exceeded their limits in the battle frenzy. For this reason, only female claymores are still being trained. The claymore stands between the people and the Yoma, but is despised and feared by both sides. The organisation provides a claymore for all 47 regions of the country, which are numbered according to their estimated strength.
10. Samurai Champloo – (Samurai Chanpurū)
© Manglobe Inc.
The young girl Fuu works in a teahouse and gets molested by a customer. She lets something like this happen to her because she needs the money to go on a journey to find the ‘Sunflower Samurai’. This samurai is her father, who left her and her now-deceased mother when she was a little child. For this reason, Fuu wants to take revenge on him.
11. Trinity Seven – (7-nin no Masho Tsukai)
© Seven Arcs Co., Ltd.
The story is about the teenager Arata Kasuga, who lived with his cousin Hijiri Kasuga until one day, a black sun appeared in the sky, destroying the city and disintegrating all its inhabitants. Before it disappeared, Hijiri gave him a book of spells with which he unconsciously created an illusion of the former city, including Hijiri. A few days later, the sorceress Lilith Asami appears and frees him from this illusion and gives him a choice to either destroy the spellbook due to its immense power and lose all memories of the event or to die. He chooses the third way, becoming a magician himself, to find a way to bring Hijiri back.
12. Blast of Tempest – (Zetsuen no Tempest)
© Bones Inc.
The parents and stepsister of the youngster Mahiro Fuwa were killed under strange circumstances. One year later, Mahiro himself also disappears. His friend Yoshino Takigawa first searches for him in vain. Finally, Mahiro Yoshino reappears. Mahiro has made contact with the magician Hakaze Kusaribe through a carving he found. The two boys are supposed to help her in the fight against her clan, which has abandoned her. The Kusaribe are guarding the “Tree of Beginnings”, but Samon Kusaribe has taken Hakaze’s position as a leader and now wants to re-create the “Tree of Zetsuen”, which could lead to the end of the world. The magic of the clan comes from the power of the “Tree of Beginnings”. Products of civilization must always be sacrificed for its magic. Although Mahiro has little interest in this mystical conflict, Hakaze wants to help him in return to take revenge on the murderers of his family. Thus both young people enter into the trade. The invocation of the Tree of Zetsuen leads to the awakening of the fruit of the tree throughout the land. At each of these events, the people in the surrounding area faint, great destruction is wrought, and many die. Therefore, the government will soon be working to stop the clan.
13. Katekyo Hitman Reborn – (Katekyō Hittoman REBORN!)
© Artland Inc.
Tsunayoshi Sawada is bad at school, unathletic, not very popular and therefore not self-confident. This changes when his mother hires the private tutor Reborn. Reborn is a hitman and, as he explains, is supposed to train Tsuna to become the tenth head of one of the most influential mafia families, the Vongola family. Reborn has special bullets, which give Tsuna superhuman powers for a short time. In the course of training, Reborn provokes dangerous situations for Tsuna again and again, including fights against overpowering opponents. At first, the fights are limited to fellow students who, impressed by Tsuna’s abilities, join his “family”. Later, other mafia families become aware of Tsuna, and a fight breaks out within Vongola for the succession of the Ninth.
14. Black Butler – (Kuroshitsuji)
© A-1 Pictures Inc.
Black Butler is about the life of the 12-year-old British Ciel Phantomhive and his butler Sebastian Michaelis in the 19th century, the Victorian age. In his childhood, Ciel lost his parents in a planned fire. He was kidnapped by a sect and abused for a month for occult ceremonies. Ciel’s hatred for those who abused him conjures up a demon with whom Ciel makes a contract. From now on this demon shall act as his butler under the name of Sebastian Michaelis, never lie to him, act as his shield and sword and obey his orders. In return, Sebastian will receive Ciel’s soul as soon as he has carried out his revenge on those who humiliated him.
15. Yu Yu Hakusho
© Fuji TV
After 14-year-old Yusuke Urameshi saved a child from being run over by pushing it off the road, he is dead. Since he otherwise shows such bad behaviour, even the world of ghosts is surprised by this action. However, Yusuke wasn’t destined to die yet and thus got a second chance to live. After his resuscitation, he becomes a “Spirit Detective”, who defeats demons for Lord Koenma, the prince of the spiritual world. Over time, demons and humans gather around him to help him in his battles.
16. The Legend of the Legendary Heroes – (Densetsu no Yūsha no Densetsu)
© Zexcs Co., Ltd.
The Legend Of The Legendary Heroes plays in a scenario comparable to the technical state of the medieval. However, the world is not based on the real world and has been supplemented with magical abilities that can be used in warlike conflicts. Thus, the Empire Roland and the surrounding states face each other and are involved in various political conspiracies, often resulting in the elimination of their leaders.
17. Shaman King – (Shāman Kingu)
© Xebec, Inc.
Every 500 years, a tournament between shamans from all over the world takes place to determine the king of the shamans, who is supposed to maintain the balance between life and death. Among them is the 13-year-old Yoh Asakura with his guardian spirit Amidamaru. In the fight against other shamans, Yoh is assisted by his best friend Manta Oyamada, his fiancée Anna Kyouyama and many more friends. But for Yoh himself, there is a particular goal, which was already set at his birth. He has to defeat his twin brother Hao Asakura, who previously lived 1000 and 500 years ago and is now reborn for the second time because he wants to destroy all humans to found a kingdom of shamans. Thus begins a long and dangerous journey for Yoh and his friends.
18. The Ancient Magus’ Bride – (Mahō Tsukai no Yome)
© WIT STUDIO, Inc.
After the suicide of her mother, the 15-year-old Japanese Chise is repeatedly taken in and passed on by various relatives until she finally sells herself as a slave, hoping to end up in a place where she will not be sent away again. At an auction, she is bought by Elias Ainsworth. Elias Ainsworth, a monstrous-looking magician with a large figure and animal skull, wants to take her on as his apprentice and teach her magic. Chise is, as it turns out, a Sleigh Beggy – a person with special magical abilities. These uncontrolled abilities were also the reason for the deaths in her family. Since she will die sooner or later if she doesn’t learn to control these powers, she is apprenticed to Elias and lives with him and his housekeeper Silky, a Banshee, in Great Britain. Elias soon shows that he is not only interested in Chise as an apprentice, but also as a young woman and calls her his future bride. But their relationship remains undetermined as they slowly get to know each other better.
19. Pandora Hearts – (Pandora Hātsu)
© Xebec, Inc.
The life of Oz Vessalius, one of the heirs of an influential duchy, changes abruptly on his 15th birthday. During his initiation ceremony, he is suddenly confronted with a mysterious chain named Alice and is thrust into the Abyss by three strange hooded figures. The Abyss, which is in another dimension, is supposed to be a prison for criminals who are said to have committed unforgivable sins. The Chains, creatures from the Abyss, can only leave it through a contract with a human, the Contractor. The Contractor has a watch-like mark on his chest – the hand moves when the power of the Chains is used. Once the pointer has moved around, the Contractor is pulled back into the Abyss along with his Chain. When Oz regains consciousness in the Abyss, he faces the Chains. Before he knows it, he’s being chased by one of them…
20. Blood Blockade Battlefront – (Kekkai Sensen)
© Bones Inc.
Three years earlier, a gate to the “netherworlds” opened in New York, in the course of which the separation between the two worlds broke down, and New York became Hellsalem’s Lot, a melting pot of people and monsters, everyday life and the paranormal. To maintain the balance between humans and monsters, the secret society Libra was founded under the leadership of Klaus von Reinhertz. Through a mix-up, the photographer Leonardo Watch gets into this society, who previously received the ability of an all-seeing eye from a mysterious being at the expense of his sister’s eyesight.
21. Wandering Samurai – (Rurouni Kenshin)
© Studio Deen Co. Ltd.
The nine year old Shinta is kept as a servant until robbers kill his owners. He only escapes death with the help of Seijuro Hiko, who becomes his master and calls him Kenshin. He learns the art of sword fighting named Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, and at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration, he goes into battle as a 15-year-old assassin for the Shishi to prevent further tragic fates like his own…
22. The Heroic Legend of Arslan – (Arusurān Senki)
© Liden Films, Inc.
When Prince Arslan, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Pars, starts his first battle against the neighbouring kingdom of Lusitania at the age of fourteen. He is betrayed by a general of his father and loses in the battle not only thousands of his followers but also the rule of his kingdom. While his father, King Andragoras III., is captured, Arslan has to build up an army with the help of his loyal companion Daryun alone to regain his kingdom. But he is not only confronted with the hostile kingdom of Lusitania; the mysterious Lord Silvermask, who also seems to have a connection to the Parsian royal family, is also after the throne.
23. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan – (Nurarihyon no Mago)
© Studio Deen Co. Ltd.
Rikuo Nura is partly human and a quarter Yokai (demon). He lives with his Yokai grandfather in a house filled with ghosts and demons. Rikuo Nura tries to escape his fate as a Yokai by doing good deeds, although his grandfather wishes him to follow him as master of the Nura Clan. Throughout the series, Rikuo Nura reconciles with his demonic ancestry and decides to take the position at the head of the clan. However, various groups try to prevent him from doing so or even take his place. To fight for his position within the clan, a group of friends and comrades unite under his banner to establish a new Hyakki Yako.
24. Chrome Shelled Regios – (Kōkaku no Regiosu)
© Zexcs Co., Ltd.
In a post-apocalyptic world overrun by Filth Monsters, people can only live in huge mobile cities called Regios. These Regios are divided into different functions, with Regios with the same function competing with each other and fighting for the rights to use selenium mines through military manoeuvres with fixed rules. This selenium is the energy source for the regions. The 15-year-old Layfon “Wolfstein” Alseif, a former bearer of one of the 12 Grendan Heavens Blades, which he won at the age of 10, comes from one of the most unusual regions. Grendan is the only one of the Regios that seeks the encounter with Filth Monsters and produces a high number of exceptionally strong military artists. All other regions try to avoid the Filth Monsters. Because of an unforgivable offence for Grendan, Layfon Alseif was banished from there. As a result, he starts the long and dangerous way with the “Roaming” busses to the academy region Zuellni, where he wants to start a new life far away from the military arts and lead a civilian life. But because of an unfortunate incident at the beginning of the semester, his unusually strong abilities as a military artist in the use of Kei (Source of power for Martial Artists) come to light….
© David Production Inc.
The Maison de Ayakashi, better known as Ayakashikan, is a highly secure building where people with demon ancestors, or Yokai (Ayakashi), reside, each with their own “Secret Service” bodyguard who is also a kind of butler. A Yokai girl named Ririchiyo Shirakiin moves into the Ayakashikan, hoping to get her peace from her family there. However, she gets a “Secret Service” bodyguard herself, Soshi Miketsukami. To her displeasure, he behaves like a dog, extraordinarily submissive and does more things for her in the background than she would like to do at all. At the same time, Ririchiyo struggles with herself, as she sees herself trapped in the role of a person who discriminates against her fellow human beings. Thus, she always speaks out some very hurtful words before she can even do anything about it herself. Soshi is practically the opposite of her.
26. Deadman Wonderland – (Deddoman Wandārando)
© Manglobe Inc.
The student Ganta Igarashi lives in Tokyo, which was heavily destroyed by an earthquake. He is a survivor of the catastrophe in which three-quarters of Tokyo sank into the sea. Nevertheless, people are trying to lead a normal life, so Ganta attends school together with his friends. One day, however, a strange man dressed in red appears, hovering outside the windows of the classroom. Before they, visibly shocked, can even react to it, there is already a kind of explosion that devastates the whole room. When Ganta regains consciousness, he finds himself in the middle of the rubble and has to watch the attacker carrying the head of his best school friend as a trophy. He is quickly noticed, however. Seeing himself dead as well Ganta gets a red crystal implanted into his chest before he loses consciousness…
27. Berserk – (Beruseruku)
© OLM, Inc.
The orphan boy Guts spends a loveless childhood in the mercenary unit of his foster father Gambino. Frustrated with his crippling, he attacks one day and kills Gambino in self-defence. Guts joins various armies of mercenaries in the following years, but he doesn’t last long anywhere. He only finds camaraderie with the Falcons. The charismatic and ambitious Griffith leads these mercenaries. While Guts wanders through the world, Griffith has a lofty dream to which he subordinates everything: Griffith wants to become ruler of his empire, even though he comes from poor circumstances.
28. Letter Bee – (Tegami Bachi)
© Pierrot Co., Ltd.
The land of Amberground lies in eternal night, only in the capital Akatsuki, an artificial sun spreads light. Only the “Letter Bee”, messengers who transport the hearts of the people, travel between the three districts of the country. So they travel through the country, in whose darkness the Gaichuu live. These huge insects eat the hearts of the people, and only the Letter Bee dare to travel through the darkness. The 12-year-old boy Lag Seeing was rescued from great danger by the Letter Bee Goos Suede when he was seven years old. Afterwards, he wanted to become a messenger himself and now travels on behalf of the Bee Hive “company”. He is accompanied by Niche, a so-called “Dingo”, who acts as a bodyguard. She also has her pet steak (an endangered animal) with her.
© Toei Animation Co., Ltd.
In the gourmet age, the delicacy hunter Toriko travels the world to satisfy the appetite of the wealthy for new tastes. The delicacy hunters are needed at this time because the most sought-after ingredients are dangerous animals or are guarded by them. Even the 440 pounds muscleman himself is a gourmet. He wants to experience every conceivable taste on his travels in order to be able to put together the ultimate eight-course menu at the end of his life. He is accompanied by the young and talented cook Komatsu, who wants to observe the animals in their natural environment and get new ideas for their preparation. However, unlike Toriko, he is weak and fearful, so that he always stays out of the fights. On their travels, the two also meet other delicacy hunters and an organization that wants to control all the food in the world and is looking for the legendary ingredient GOD.
30. Assassination Classroom – (Ansatsu Kyōshitsu)
The series revolves around a tentacle-like monster called Korosensei, which can move at Mach 20. After Korosensei destroyed about 70% of the moon, he wants to do the same with the Earth. Before he realizes this plan, he wants to teach the 3-E of the Kunugigaoka middle school as a class teacher for one year. This is the worst class in the school, and the other students look down on it. The class is also used by school management as a deterrent. As a reward for the killing of the monster, 10 billion yen are being offered. From now on, the students try to kill Korosensei during and also outside of the lessons.