Some of the most beloved and popular manga titles have diehard fanbases that are always clamoring for more content. These series have left immense legacies, and their popularity doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon. But many of those shonen manga are now finished and their fans are eagerly awaiting the next big thing. Dragon Ball, Naruto, Bleach. These names are being replaced, but by what? By these fantastic modern shonen manga.
This list of modern shonen manga begins with the most popular ones and moves into the more recent, obscure, dark, and mature stuff as it goes.
Some of these manga have been adapted to anime and some haven’t (some will be).
Not all of it may be suitable for younger readers, even though it is classified as shonen manga (for younger readers). So, if you’re a parent or guardian, use your discretion here.
Speaking of the shonen manga definition, let’s go over that quickly before diving into this list. Shonen manga is typically aimed at boys aged 13-18. The stories are usually fast-paced and action-packed, with a strong focus on male protagonists.
Table of Contents
What is Shonen Manga?
At its simplest, the classic or modern shonen manga definition is: manga targeted towards a young male audience. There are, of course, a few things to unpack with this description.
The word shonen/shounen directly translates to ‘youth’, with the character 少 meaning small/few and 年 meaning year. In Japanese, the word shonen/shounen does not specify a gender but, in most cases, it refers to young boys specifically (with shojo/shoujo/少女 meaning young woman). As such, shoujo manga is its own well-defined genre.
Shonen manga has become known for embracing certain tropes and themes over the years. Some of the most popular shonen manga tropes include: free sex chat
- A long, epic journey
- Personal growth and development (both physical and emotional)
- A classic hero vs villain story
- An underdog story
- Training and mastery of a skill or power
- Bonds of brotherhood and friendship
Not all shonen manga and shonen anime feature all (or even any) of these tropes, but they are still considered staples of the genre nonetheless.
Shonen or Shounen?
There is a discrepancy between shonen and shounen, with the latter being closer to the Japanese spelling. In the hiragana alphabet, shounen is spelled しよぅねん (shi-yo-u-ne-n). However, the u is sometimes removed for simplicity and, as a result, shonen is an equally acceptable English spelling. Therefore, you can use either version.
Now that we have clarified that, let’s take a look at some of the best modern shonen manga that you should be reading right now.
The Most Exciting Modern Shonen Manga
We’ll start with the most popular shonen manga and move on to the slightly less well-known stuff. By ‘slightly less well-known’ we mean the manga that isn’t yet adapted into anime (or is maybe soon to be adapted).
This list also descents into darker territory as it does. Shonen manga is going through a horror period right now and a lot of the manga on this list are dark, scary, ******, and some even feature distressing scenes.
My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi
One of the best things about shonen anime is that it’s enjoyed by people of all ages – not just kids. And My Hero Academia is a perfect example of this. It’s filled with thoughtful themes, compelling villains, and character arcs that more resemble twisting, winding roads.
My Hero Academia is the biggest shonen manga and shonen anime in the world right now (or, at least, it was until another contender further down this list burst onto the scene. But we’ll get to that).
Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo
Tatsuya Endo’s Spy x Family is a hilarious and action-packed new shonen manga that has yet to be adapted into an anime, but it’s only a matter of time.
The story follows legendary spy Twilight, who must get close to a dangerous and corrupt politician for his latest mission. To do that, he’ll have to put together an entire fake family.