The best and easiest way to differentiate shonen manga from other types of manga is that this type of genre is led by male protagonists and usually has high action scenes and comedic plots. The protagonists have this huge desire to become better and are put in situations wherein their skills and abilities are put to a test.
Shonen manga is popular. In fact, some of the well-known examples are Bleach, Dragon Ball, and Naruto. Even non-manga readers are aware of these titles which explain how well-admired these pieces are. In 2021, there is a new set of the best modern shonen manga, and we have decided to compile them for those who are interested in this type of genre.
Sports manga like Haikyuu!! can be considered as shonen manga too. The series is full of action and centers on a male protagonist who does his best to improve. The manga started with an underdog volleyball team that eventually become better as the story progressed. It was loved by manga readers in Japan and even turned them into volleyball fanatics.
What readers will appreciate is that all of the members of the team have their own struggles. There’s no character who was great from start to finish. All of them had a weakness they had to overcome which make it interesting to read. The story also talked about the importance of teamwork and never giving up on one’s dream.Advertisement
The anime adaptation of Jujutsu Kaisen received the best animation award from the top streaming site, Crunchyroll. This is enough reason for manga readers to check out the manga. Jujutsu Kaisen follows Yuji Itadori, a high school student who decided to join an organization comprised of sorcerers after eating a finger of a powerful curse.
He became a vessel for the curse and once he ate all 20 fingers, he will be executed along with the curse. Readers will appreciate the comedic side of the story and the personalities of each character.
Tokyo Ghoul might seem to be more of seinen than shonen because of its dark horror, but it has a lot of qualities that make it a shonen manga. Ken Kaneki possesses the characteristics of an ideal shonen protagonist which will make readers follow his story. He started as a nerd who surprisingly got a date. What he didn’t know is that she plans to eat him instead.
Surprisingly, she accidentally died before she can achieve her goal and her organs are placed in his body to help him survive. This helped him gain the powers of a ghoul, creatures who have amazing physical abilities but are craving for human flesh.
Tokyo Revengers earned the interest of manga readers with its intriguing story. Aside from its gang fights that surely created a lot of action, the story follows a middle-aged loser who was able to travel back in time, particularly during his school years. His mission is to save the person he loves the most from dying in the present. To do that, he must become a leader of the school gang.
The story will make readers feel a lot of emotions as the story progressed. Fans will anticipate if he really succeeds in his mission or not. There are also some characters worth following too.Advertisement
Season 2 of Beastars was released in 2021, and this encouraged a lot of manga readers to read its manga. It follows the story of Legoshi, a wolf who tries his best not to eat his classmates. As he solves his own internal issues, he vowed to himself that he must protect the weak. He also has this goal to fix his relationship with Haru, a white rabbit he has feelings for.
Beastars is an interesting story worth checking out. Legoshi will undergo a lot of challenges but each time, he manages to survive them. His drive to improve himself is also inspiring.
Cells At Work
While most of the shonen manga takes place in a city, a school, or any other location, Cells At Work happen inside the body. As the title suggests, it follows the different cells in the body and their daily job to keep a person healthy. The story has two protagonists: a rookie red blood cell and a white blood cell who is relentless.
The story is interesting in a sense that the readers will understand how each cell work and their importance in one’s body. It also helps the reader be mindful of how he or she takes care of himself or herself. Aside from the educational value that the manga has, the story has some action to keep things entertaining.
It is a manga that has a mix of horror and action with a lot of zombies. What makes it unique is that it has an unlovable protagonist who is also childish. He is unlike any other protagonist but for some reason, readers will be intrigued to know what will happen in the story especially since it is set in a world where devils exist.
These devils come from human fear. There are humans who are tasked to hunt these like Denji for him to lessen his debt. He has a devil dog who works and looks like a chainsaw to accompany him in his missions. One day, he was killed by his boss and his body merged with his pet. This resulted in a human-devil hybrid with an ability of a chainsaw.Advertisement
Another shonen manga worth reading is Kemono Jihen. It centers on Kohachi Inugami who went to a remote Japanese village in the countryside. He is a detective who is tasked to investigate a series of incidents related to mutilated livestock corpses. These corpses appear without any reason which quite caused a mystery.
It is the perfect manga for those who are into mystery and solving crimes. Readers will be hooked to find out the truth at the same time, appreciate the skills of Kohachi.
The Promised Neverland
While a lot of anime fans were disappointed at how the anime ended, manga fans won’t. The Promised Neverland manga contains all the unanswered questions the anime has and the storytelling is way better. While most of the shonen manga have a male protagonist, The Promised Neverland has a female protagonist.
Emma grew up in the Grace Field House along with other orphans. They are watched by Isabella who acted as their Mother. While they thought that the outside world is filled with love and wonderful things, they were surprised to find out that it was filled with demons, and they are actually raised to be the monsters’ food. The story will focus on how they will escape the mansion and go to the side of the world where humans reside.
Akame ga Kill
The manga follows a naïve boy named Tatsumi whose friends were killed as they were finding a way to help their poverty-stricken village. He thought he was saved when he was taken by a noble family but to his surprise, they plan to kill him too. He eventually discovered Night Raid, a group that is comprised of skilled swordswomen.
He will join them in a journey to fight the Empire and other powerful assassins. Readers will see how Tatsumi’s morals and values will be tested in various situations.Advertisement
One Punch Man
The manga is well-known for its amazing artwork and well-thought-of plot. It centers Saitama, an unbeatable hero who can beat any enemy with a single punch. He trained for years to become who he is but now that he found himself powerful, his goal is to find a worthy opponent.
The story has a fresh intriguing concept with some comedic scenes to complete the package. It also tackles the importance of goals, true satisfaction, and personal motivations. The manga will not only make readers laugh but also give them lessons that they can incorporate into their lives.
My Hero Academia
Another superhero-themed manga to read is My Hero Academia. It is set in a world where some people are born with quirks and others are not. Midoriya’s parents have their own powers which is why he and his family expected him to have one too. Unfortunately, he was born normal.
This did not stop him from dreaming to become like his idol, All Might, who is also the number one hero in Japan. One day, he meets his idol and All Might decided that Midoriya should be his successor. The series focuses on an underdog protagonist who will work hard to reach his dream.
Spy x Family
At first glance, Spy x Family will get any reader interested in its premise. It is about Twilight, a legendary spy, whose mission is to be close to a corrupt politician. For him to succeed, he needs to form a family. He first gathers Anya, a six-year-old girl who is a telepath. He enrolls her in the same school as the politician’s kid.
He then chose Yor, an assassin at night and desperate to have a boyfriend. With a unique combination of characters, Spy x Family is a manga that is full of action, comedy, and mystery. There is also some political drama to add excitement.Advertisement
Mob Psycho 100
Shigeo Kageyama or popularly known as Mob awakened his psychic powers at a young age. He realizes that his skills could put people in danger so he did everything he can to suppress it except when he is impressing his crush.
He decided to learn how to control his skills by working with Arataka Reigen, a con artist who uses Mob’s skills to earn money. The story will get readers hooked as they want to see how Mob can control his powers.
Soul Eater takes place at Death Weapon Meister Academy. There are 3 teams with a goal to collect 99 evil humans and one witch. They must do it in that order or they have to start again. The school is led by Shinigami who accepts humans who can transform into weapons. After their goal is completed, the weapon transforms into death scythes that will be used by Shinigami.
The manga is filled with action and adventure. Readers will continue reading to find out what will happen to the teams and will they complete their tasks. There are also powerful enemies waiting for them.