What Does It Really Mean When We Say “Shounen”?


Today’s topic is going to be about ‘What Does It Really Mean When We Say “Shounen”?’. Just like any other point of interests, the world of Anime and Manga is a vast collection of different things. And when it comes to Anime and Manga, a lot of genres are available to choose from. There are series which focuses on romance, horror, sports, mystery, adventure, and any aspect of humanity you can think of. But the most popular of them all is the “Shounen” genre, which encompasses almost all the mainstream anime shows like Naruto, My Hero Academia, One Piece, Black Clover, and almost any other anime appearing on popular manga publications. But what would be the real meaning of this genre?

 Shounen Manga (少年漫画)

In Nihonggo, the word Shounen means “boy”, which speaks clearly of the target viewers of the show: young male audiences. If you happen to watch My Hero Academia, you would notice that All Might uses this a lot to address his students (Midoriya-shounen).  But it doesn’t mean that this genre is only for younger audiences. Anime and manga fans in all gender and ages sometimes find themselves enjoying Shounen shows. Why are people being drawn to this genre?

It is all thanks to the formula of every Shounen anime and manga shows: the satisfying journey of the main protagonist. Usually, the protagonist is an underdog that has a different trait in the anime universe they live in. They’re not necessarily weaker than most of the “normal” characters, but they have something that makes them different. One such fine example is Asta from Black Clover, who cannot use magic in a world where magic matters the most.

What Does It Really Mean When We Say “Shounen”?
What Does It Really Mean When We Say “Shounen”?

A proper rival, an over-powered boss, and one or two romantic interest for the protagonist and the powerful bond of friendship: there you have it, the typical formula for this genre. This genre usually promotes hard work and perseverance. After training and gaining a lot of experience, with the support of your friends, you can be the person that you wanted to be. What’s the best thing about this genre is that it does stick to its basic, but the universe that can house the story is limitless.  That is why we have All Blue, Konoha, Planet Namek, Fiore Kingdom, and other anime settings.

One Punch Man

What Does It Really Mean When We Say “Shounen”?
What Does It Really Mean When We Say “Shounen”?

One Punch Man is a different flavor but is still a part of the same cake. Instead of following the main protagonist on his journey to power, Saitama is already the most powerful human on Earth (although not that successful). It is still considered as Shounen despite its peculiarity.


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