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10 Best Shonen Jump Anime, Ranked From Strong to Mightiest

Here are the top 10 Shonen Jump anime of all time, ranked from strong to strongest!

Shonen has been the defining style that helped manga and anime on the map internationally and continues to garner the most readers and fans alike. With no signs of slowing down or weakening, it’ll be worth your time to learn about and watch every single title on this list. Let’s review Twinfinite’s breakdown of the 10 best shonen jump anime, ranked from strong to mightiest.

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10. Fairytale

Image Source: Crunchyroll

Fairytale ushered in the end of the 2010 shonen era and provided everything a shonen anime should, but didn’t make as big an impact as most others in this list. Belonging to the fantasy genre, the world of Earth-land is full of wizards and guilds that put up their magic for money. Natsu Dragneel is a young man belonging to the Fairy Tale guild, who’s searching the Kingdom of Fiore for his adopted father, the dragon Igneel. As a dragon slayer wizard, Natsu goes on an exciting adventure full of danger, evil enemies, and magical battles in the classic shonen way.

Fairytale does a good job of disguising the typical shonen tropes by bombarding audiences with a variety of elements but didn’t excel at any of them. That being said, don’t be discouraged to give this anime a try because it does contain everything a successful shonen manga and anime series should have, and it features enough variety and entertaining distractions to satisfy someone who craves a magical world, a straightforward story, and action.

9. Bleach

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Bleach builds upon the Japanese culture’s fascination with spirits and adds the flavor of samurai history to a modern-day setting in urban Japan. In the late 2000s, it quickly became one of the top three dominating shonen anime and tells the story of Ichigo Kurosaki as he becomes one of the Soul Reapers. This special group of Shinigami helps departed souls reach the afterworld Soul Society which resembles feudal Japan in many ways. The only problem is, there are evil spirits known as Hollows that enjoy harming humans, both in living and spirit form.

If you’re a huge fan of feudal Japan, Japanese culture, and supernatural horror, this shonen anime is the perfect formula for you. Although the series’ popularity waned relatively quickly, causing the anime to be prematurely canceled, the manga continued for another four years, and the final arc has finally been adapted into an anime movie. Give Bleach a try and put on your favorite kimono for the ultimate Japanese shonen experience.

8. Hunter X Hunter

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Hunter X Hunter belongs to the newer wave of shonen stories that began in the early 2010s and does everything its predecessors did right for a new generation of anime fans. Gon Freecss, a young boy, is the central protagonist who lives in a world where people can assume a professional license and title of “hunter” and choose to hunt animals, treasures, or criminals. Gon lost his father early in life and has decided to become a hunter and search for his father’s whereabouts, who also happens to be a world-famous hunter.

Gon’s journey is a typical shonen adventure that has him recruiting allies, passing difficult exams to become a hunter, and entering a tournament to battle powerful opponents resulting in the discovery of new powers. This isn’t a bad thing since it’s the shonen formula that benefits from infinitely unique variations and Hunter X Hunter evolves into its own unique experience during the last half of its arcs.

The cast is both generic and memorable enough to remind you of other popular shonen characters of the past while keeping things fresh with new environments, thematic elements, and complex problems that always result in the shonen way – climactic and epic battles! Find the time to hunt down this series and give it a try.

7. Yu Yu Hakusho

Image Source: IMDB

YuYu Hakusho was one of the first Shonen manga to usher in the 90s era and lasted from 1990 to 1994. This supernatural series follows a teenage delinquent named Yusuke Urameshi who gets hit by a car and dies while trying to save a young boy who would have been hit instead. As a ghost, he meets a girl named Botan who guides him through the underworld where he’s offered the chance to come back to life as an underworld/spirit detective who handles supernatural activity.

This anime is definitely worth watching if you’re interested in retro anime and understanding more about the foundation for all modern-day shonen stories. There’s plenty of fighting action complete with signature special attacks that capture the style of every main character on Yusuke’s team.

YuYu Hakusho provides an entertaining balance of urban Japanese fantasy with plenty of vile monsters and otherworld threats that add a spice of the horror genre to the mix. All of the heroes have their distinct personalities, and there’s plenty of comedy infused with the unique dramatic moments of the story. You might even find yourself pointing your finger and thumb in the shape of a gun and pretending to blast demons to their doom.

6. My Hero Academia

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My Hero Academia is the first manga and anime to successfully crossover shonen with American superheroes along with elements from other famous franchises. As a result, the series was almost guaranteed a high level of success and popularity, and it appears to be cementing its place in anime history. In modern-day Japan, people known as quirks have been becoming the next evolution of the human race as beings who are born with a unique superpower.

The main character of this story is Izuku, someone who actually doesn’t have power but dreams of becoming the world’s greatest superhero. With sheer determination, he trains and somehow gets accepted into UA highschool, which is known for producing powerful heroes through its intense program.

What entails is a typical story about a driven protagonist who only has one thing on his mind, but learns, grows, and matures throughout his journey. For fans of superheroes and stories about powers, My Hero Academia will not disappoint with its variety of colorful characters and deadly villains, so suit up, and be a hero by watching this anime.

5. Demon Slayer

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Demon Slayer closed out the 2010s with the conclusion of its manga in May of 2020 and was the catalyst for a new generation of shonen anime that began in the 2020s. The main story is not entirely original but it remixes popular elements from other shonen and elevates Japan’s feudal history with supernatural fantasy and excellent animation quality. Taking place in the early 1900s during the Taisho Period, the story features a fascinating look at a transitional period of Japan’s history.

The main premise of the story revolves around a young boy named Tanjiro Kamado who returns home one night and finds his family slain by flesh-eating demons, except for his sister Nezuko, who’s now on the verge of becoming a demon herself. Vowing to avenge his family and hoping to find a way to save his sister, Tanjiro joins the demon slayer corps and embarks on his journey. Surprisingly, Demons Slayer is not a typically extended series like some of the most successful shonen titles. But don’t let that deter you— there’s more than enough here to enjoy with fully developed characters, wicked villains, flashy art, and a complete story that’ll have you feeling like you belong in the demon slayer corps.

4. Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventure

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is truly a ground-breaking shonen story that began in the late 80s and continues to maintain its popularity into the 2020s thanks to newly produced anime and continued seinen publication. The story consists of nine different arcs, all interconnected through nine protagonists each with the JoJo name and family relations, and a fantasy-infused storyline of powerful characters who wield stands which are visual manifestations of a being’s soul.

Each arc of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is fascinating and fun to watch due to the sheer diversity and variety of characters, stands, storylines, genres, and plot points that are showcased throughout the entire story. It’s no surprise that the manga is one of the best-selling in all of manga history, especially with its detailed art and multiple references to American music. Highly unpredictable, the series is full of fantastic fight scenes, interesting locations, drama, and comedy to keep you standing in awe.

3. Naruto

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Naruto capitalized on the popularity of the fantasized Japanese ninja from feudal times and evolved it into a fantasy-filled world of illustrious characters and supernatural enemies. The titular protagonist of the series, Naruto Uzamaki is a young boy who dreams of being his village’s leader or Hokage when he grows up, and later discovers that an ancient nine-tails fox demon was sealed in his body to save his village. Naruto hails from the end of manga and anime’s golden era in 1999 and lasted until 2014, and was revived in 2016 with a new story following Naruto’s son, Boruto.

Naruto is an exceptional portrayal of an anime character’s journey from childhood into adulthood and captures multiple themes that deal with life, love, friendship, and good versus evil. Many characters are incredibly detailed and developed, and as a result, remain memorable favorites for many fans of the series. Naruto’s world of supernatural ninja fantasy almost feels real and makes for a worthwhile visit to experience— enough to give it 10 jutsu hand signs up!

2. One Piece

one-piece-funimation anime
Image Source: Funimation

One Piece is just shy of being number one, and could easily tie with the number one entry on this list due to its record-setting accomplishment as the best-selling manga of all time. Hailing from 1997, this series is a classic from the golden age of manga and anime that’s managed to stay at the top 20 years later in 2022, a feat only capable by the absolute best. Truly an innovation for shonen, the story focuses on a young boy named Monkey D. Luffy who lives in a world of pirates and special fruits that bestow the eater with uncanny powers.

Luffy’s dream is to find the legendary One Piece treasure and become the king of pirates, and as he goes on his adventure, he grows up, assembles his crew of nakama, begins helping those who are oppressed, and starts making the world a better place.

One Piece is easily unique in every aspect without losing any of the appealing elements of shonen. Much of the cast of characters is based on American music, but even those who aren’t are still fresh, cartoony, whimsical, and incredibly powerful. Luffy’s world is wonderfully immersive, with new areas and lands bringing different cultures, races, and genres to One Piece.

The tone of the story is balanced between lighthearted fun, comedy, and serious, intense battles. It’s quite the investment to start One Piece from the beginning, but it’s worth it if you’re ready to set sail and experience a fantasy adventure unlike any other.

1. Dragon Ball

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Dragon Ball takes the number one spot on this list because its humble beginnings in 1984 have evolved into one of the world’s most recognizable franchises, and it’s arguably the shonen series that introduced the epic hyper-fighting action that has become commonplace today. The story starts with an alien little boy named Goku, a Saiyan with a monkey tail who ended up on earth after his parents sent him there to escape the destruction of his planet.

It’s obvious where this concept is taken from, but the story quickly shifts into traditional shonen territory with the introduction of martial arts before revolutionizing manga and anime with an adult Goku and his fellow Z-fighters taking on powerful cosmic beings to keep earth safe. Not to mention, seven mystical dragon balls can be collected and brought together to summon an ancient dragon named Shenron who will grant one wish and then rescatter the dragon balls. The result is an action-packed sci-fi story that can be enjoyed in video games, trading card games, and collected in numerous memorabilia.

While other titles on this list are also being granted video games, card games, and memorabilia, Dragon Ball has been the most successful shonen franchise in all of these mediums. This is the result of some of anime’s most iconic characters, some of the most wicked villains ever created, and the most exciting display of ultimate superhuman fighting action ever brought to life.

Although there does seem to be a repeated formula of Goku and Vegeta constantly training to become stronger, only to face an even greater challenge, and then rise to that challenge, the charm and entertainment of the story keep audiences wanting more. Dragon Ball is the benchmark for shonen and any fantasy or sci-fi story that deals with ultra-powerful beings doing battle. Make sure to watch as much Dragon Ball anime as you can and prepare to power up to the highest levels of anime fandom, and hopefully, your wish for the best shonen anime will be granted.

Now that you’re aware of the ten best shonen jump anime, ranked from strong to mightiest, maybe you should start watching as much as you can from this list and prepare for your transformation into an ultimate otaku. If you want to continue expanding your anime fandom, check out our top 10 best mecha & robot anime of all-time, ranked from ghosts to autobots and the top 10 toys based on anime & manhwa.

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Dennis Limmer
Dennis is a freelance writer for Twinfinite covering all things video games and anime since August 2023. A storyteller and artist who enjoys partaking in the art created by others and promoting culture.