Everyone has their favorite anime protagonists. Some people love the boy-obsessed protagonists, while others go for the strong, cool, and stoic types. Regardless of your preference, there are a few anime characters that are loved by almost everyone. These are the 15 best shounen anime protagonists ever made.
With an eye on the odds-on favorite, “Evangelion”, I’ve compiled a list of the 15 Best Shounen Anime Protagonists Ever Made – specifically those you can see getting into a cockpit, zooming through the sky, and fighting incomprehensibly powerful foes that seem to have a mind of their own. And yes, while I’m at it, I’ve also included a list of the 15 Worst Shounen Anime Protagonists Ever Made – since no list would be complete without the bad guys.
There’s no denying that the shonen anime has become a staple for many fans who are just beginning to delve into the infinite void that is the Weeaboo cartoon universe.
And more often than not, these series feature the main character in one form or another, sometimes even with his name in the title.
And there are many shonen.
So, which of the main characters really stands out?
In this ranking, we look at the cream of the crop by evaluating the best shōnen anime protagonists of all time.
Message: We’re only ranking the main characters here, so this isn’t a definitive guide to the anime itself – because what a great series like Dragon Ball can’t already carry is a wet carpet of a character named Goku.
15. Naruto Uzumaki
I want to start with Naruto, because he was barely on this list to begin with.
Overall, he’s a pretty standard shonen protagonist.
But the fact that he speaks without jutsu can ruin the mood in some serious fights.
but his relationship with Kurama was always a pleasure to watch. And he’s not one to take it easy when it comes to fighting.
He gave us some iconic scenes and fights and is objectively the only reason Boruto got a second installment. So he must be represented here somewhere at least.
Anime: Magi: The Adventures of Sinbad
While he’s not as influential or popular as Naruto, I prefer Sinbad as the main character.
That’s because the man is in the golden zone known as moral grey.
He’s extremely charismatic and strong, but he’s also not afraid to hit below the belt when it comes to achieving his ultimate goal.
He can flirt with a queen, then blow up a mountain and sleep naked in the middle of the desert years later.
I must love him.
13. Izuku Midoriya
Anime: My Hero Academia
While Deku is also a very classic character, I found him more likable than I initially thought.
The fact that he constantly writes up anyone who shows his quirks really brings out the strategist in him, more than the Superman-lite-architect type.
I still prefer Bakugo. But I guess it’s an acquired taste.
You know, past all the yelling and stuff.
And even though he’s not in my top 10, Deku definitely deserves recognition.
12. Rimuru Tempest
Anime: When I turned to mud
The Rimuru distinguish themselves especially by the kind of show they put on.
Mostly it feels like a relaxing series about life, where you really get to know the Rimura and become attached to them.
But then the series takes a serious risk and we see Rimuru set out to destroy all who dare to oppose her.
This is nothing new in shōnen, but in the case of Rimuru it’s done so masterfully that I have to say it here.
11. Tanjiro Kamado
Anime: Demon fighter.
Although it may sound crazy, I like Tanjiro because he’s so bland.
Unlike almost every other character in the series, Tanjiro doesn’t have a main gimmick that his character revolves around.
He’s just a normal guy who wants to do something good and save his sister.
But that doesn’t mean it’s boring. But it’s mostly thanks to the secondary actors that we can relate to them in comparison.
Plus, I can’t even look at his face without feeling some kind of excitement. Especially after seeing the movie.
Anime: The seven deadly sins
As king of the little ones, I can only love my boy Meliodas.
His character is generally very likable, with a hint of demonic genius and twisted hilarity.
But what really sold me on this guy was his story.
Damn, that’s the Subaru level torture he went through.
Yet he manages to maintain an optimistic outlook on life and shows almost no negative emotions.
I mean, he wouldn’t even get mad if a friend wanted to kill him to achieve his goal.
9. Mob Kageyama
Anime: Mob Psycho 100
I think Mob is one of (if not the) most understandable main character in shōnen.
This is no mean feat, as it can tear apart buildings at will.
But he’s one of the few teenage heroes who acts like a real teenager.
He is trying to find meaning and fulfillment in his life, and he doesn’t care what others think of him.
He’s very sorry. And he’s not going to save the world or anything big like that.
Just seeing him train with the bodybuilding club fills my heart with joy.
8. Senku Ishigami
Anime: Dr. Stone.
In Senku’s case, I just like how direct he is.
It’s like this guy literally has no problem with lies or grand sentimental gestures.
That doesn’t mean he’s a cuckoo, he’s just so passionate about science and an objective view of life.
It will tell you right away if you are going to die. And he never embellishes his chances of winning.
Which, frankly, is very refreshing after the million monologues I give for the sake of my friends.
Anime: Murder class
I instantly fell in love with this yellow tentacle man.
He’s so fun and upbeat, it’s just contagious.
Despite the fact that he teaches children in literature how to handle weapons, he comes across as the most caring being ever created.
As his story became known, my love for Koro-Sensei only grew – for reasons I cannot describe.
He really is a role model. And I could honestly watch it for years without getting bored.
6. Monkey D. Luffy
Anime: One piece
Speaking of which, if we’ve been watching someone for years, we need to look at our boy with the straw hat.
Luffy is both formally and painfully unique.
On the one hand, you have the classic patterns where the main character is kind of stupid and hungry all the time.
On the other hand, he is such a credible leader that you never question his position.
It still feels like he has his team, and he doesn’t have that usual selfie MC package that is so typical of some anime.
He knows when it’s time to run and when to let some people go.
Even though it’s not one of my favorites, I have to give it some credit.
5. Gintoki Sakata
What makes Gintoki so iconic and beloved is the absence of almost all Shonen style characters in his character.
All this guy wants to do is sleep and read manga.
It often seems unreliable and on the verge of bankruptcy.
He also has no real ambitions in life. and just wants to get through the day.
This is remarkable in itself, as it stands in stark contrast to the usual taciturn protagonist.
But even Gintoki has his moments of coolness that remind us that he is a shonen protagonist after all.
4. Hon Yeager
Anime: Attack on Titan.
If last season had ended when I wrote this article, Eren’s place would have looked very different.
That’s because he was originally an obnoxious tomboy who could do nothing but cry and get kidnapped.
However, as the series progressed, we got to see the evolution of the S-Class character into the absolute villain we saw last season.
Even if the whole story failed, I would still watch to see how Eren’s fate plays out. And that’s the sign of a truly convincing protagonist.
3. Edward Elrick
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
What makes Ed so iconic is the fact that everything he does and everything that happens to him seems earned and logical.
He doesn’t have an evil fox in his belly. It’s not some super alien either.
He’s just smart and curious all the time.
If he’s wrong, he won’t be rejected. And when he fights, he’s not just having fun.
We seem to forget that fighting for your life is not all fun and games.
Ed feels like a real guy trying to right a terrible wrong he did himself, avoiding bloodshed as much as possible.
Plus, he’s still a little king, so bonus points.
2. Joseph Joestar
Anime: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
I remember being so absorbed in the new JoJo characters that I completely forgot what an absolute legend Joseph was.
Sure, Jorno and Yotaru are tough guys who give five quotes a minute.
But Joseph’s escapades are even more interesting.
This guy is completely insane and really has the mentality of an internet troll.
His plans are always stupid and yet they are always successful. Plus, it’s impossible not to like his personality and his fights are a fresh mix of excitement and laughter.
He missed his own funeral, used tequila to knock out the guards, and gave the sickest uppercut known to man.
It’s a legend.
1. Gon Freecss
Anime: The Hunter and the Huntress (2011)
I will be 100% honest here:
I like Gon because he’s completely crazy in the head.
At first he seemed like the most mediocre protagonist imaginable, but eventually he became my absolute favorite.
Just search YouTube for a video essay on Gona to see how deep this den is.
He’s a mean little guy who only cares about himself or those who have the same interests as him. And he’s willing to put his own life aside if it gets him what he wants, even if it’s hard.
His transformation is one of my favorite anime scenes of all time.
And Gong is my best sho-nen protagonist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the most popular Shonen protagonist?
What is the best Shonen anime of all time?
One of the best Shonen anime of all time is Dragon Ball Z.
Who is the strongest Shonen anime character?
The strongest Shonen anime character is Goku from Dragon Ball Z.
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