Attack on Titan

10 Anime You Didn’t Realize Were Shonen

10 Anime You Didn’t Realize Were Shonen
Written by publishing team

Many anime fans consider shonen to be a genre, but the actual definition of the word merely implies a story’s intended demographic. When looking at a shonen magazine, it’s normal for a viewer to see a wide variety of stories with a vast range of tones and genres.

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There are plenty of anime that, at a superficial glance, feel as if they were adapted from shojo or seinen manga. But in reality, these anime have roots in popular magazines like Weekly Shōnen Jump gold Monthly Shōnen Magazine. These anime may not be battle-centric or follow the lives of young, teen boys, but they’re still as shonen as they come.

10 Death Note Is Shonen’s Psychological Thriller

When fans think of the Death Note anime, they often mistakenly assume that it’s a seinen story. It’s an easy mistake to make considering the anime’s heavy subject material and just how brutal it can be.

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Death Note deals with complex topics like justice and the legal system. Combine that with its ruthlessness in the killing of beloved characters and it isn’t hard to guess why many fans don’t associate it with the average Shonen Jump anime. Regardless, Death Note was published for a shonen demographic and thrived due to its mature nature.

9 Food Wars Took Shonen Archetypes To A Unique Setting

Food Wars Souma

Food Wars is a unique addition to the Shonen Jump library due to its particularly unique setting. Unlike many battle anime, Food Wars is not a story about supernatural fighters or slaying monsters. Instead, Food Wars is centered around a cast of young chefs and the dramatic world of culinary school.

At a glance, it may not seem very shonen, but watching just a couple of episodes reveals why it fits so perfectly in the Shonen Jump line-up. Food Wars manages to blend classic themes and archetypes belonging to the shonen aesthetic and applies them to an unconventional world.

8 Attack On Titan Is More Brutal Than Most Shonen

Attack on Titan Eren Armin Mikasa

attack on titan has a lot of similar elements to many shonen anime. It follows a spirited, hotheaded protagonist on his adventure slaying monsters and saving the world. Where attack on titan separates itself from others of the same ilk is just how brutal it can be.

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attack on titan is a slaughter-fest incomparable to many other shonen anime. With a death count that would impress even Game Of Thrones fans and themes that would fit in a seinen story, it’s no surprise many fans doubt whether attack on titan should be considered a shonen at all.

7 The Promised Neverland Is Intellectually Unique

The Promised Neverland Emma

During the height of The Promised Neverland’s popularity, many considered it to be the next Death Note. This title was bestowed to the anime for its intelligent writing, the cast of genius characters, cat-and-mouse-like plot structure, and unique twist of horror.

It makes sense then that, like Death Notemany might be surprised to learn that The Promised Neverland is in fact a Shonen Jump story. The Promised Neverland premiered alongside the likes of My Hero Academia and One Pieceproving that there is more to being a shonen than just genre.

6 Nichijou Is A Comedic Slice-Of-Life


When fans think of the shonen demographic, they think of stories centered around action with strong, male protagonists. Nichijou challenges these expectations by being a story of mostly young girls in the day-to-day life of a small town.

Nichijou is a slice-of-life comedy that many would not think of when considering shonen anime. However, its publication in the Shonen Ace magazine solidifies its intended demographic despite that. Nichijou may not be the average shonen, but it’s managed to carve out a niche of popularity with a dedicated core fanbase.

5 Your Lie In April Feels Like A Shojo Romance

Your Lie In April

Your Lie In April is a romance drama following a 14-year-old piano prodigy and a vibrant, young violinist. The anime gained great acclaim for its touching, emotional core and devastating characters. However, it’s not the type of story that would commonly be associated with shonen anime, leading many fans to overlook the fact that it was published in Monthly Shōnen Magazine. At the time, Monthly Shōnen Magazine published manga like Noragami and Seraph Of The End as well, making Your Lie In April a definite black sheep of the magazine.

4 A Silent Voice Was A Shonen Manga Before It Was A Movie

A Silent Voice

Due to the immense popularity of the movie, many fans never realized A Silent Voice was originally adapted from a manga. A Silent Voice follows Shoyo Ishida as he attempts to sluggish for his past life as a bully and rehabilitate his relationship with a young deaf girl he picked on.

Despite its tone and genre as a romance drama, A Silent Voice was published in both Bessetsu Shonen Magazine and Weekly Shōnen Magazinesolidifying its intention for a shonen demographic.

3 Samurai Champloo Became a Shonen Manga After The Anime

Samurai Champloo Mugen Jin

Samurai Champloo was an anime original television series that premiered in 2004. Unlike many popular anime, Samurai Champloo is not adapted from any specific manga. It follows the lives of two outlaws and their new friend as they travel the roads on a search for a samurai who smells of sunflowers.

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Due to its popularity as an anime, Samurai Champloo would eventually be adapted into a manga. The manga would be published in Monthly Shonen Aceconfirming the demographic to be shonen despite many fans considering the anime to be a seinen story.

2 Future Diary Is A Shonen Battle Royale

Mirai Nikki Future Diary Yuno Gasai

Future Diaryotherwise known as Mirai Nikki, is a battle royale anime following a yandere girl named Yuno Gasai and the object of her affection, Yukiteru Amano. It’s a twisted story with deep, psychological themes and many brutal depictions of violence.

Despite how intense the anime could be, Future Diary was originally published in the Monthly Shonen Ace magazine, making it a story intended for a shonen demographic. Due to its popularity, the series would receive several adaptations, including a live-action television drama in 2012.

1 Horimiya Started As A Shonen Webcomic


Horimiya is a romantic comedy anime that premiered in 2021. The series was a global hit, quickly amassing a huge and dedicated fanbase. The anime follows two high school students named Hori and Miyamura as they balance secret lives and the complex politics of popularity. Unlike many anime, Horimiya is adapted from both a manga and a webcomic. The manga was published in a magazine mostly known for action fantasy stories called Monthly GFantasy. Despite being the odd-one-out of the magazine, this solidified Horimiya‘s intended demographic as shonen.

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