Hello guys and welcome. As always, I’m here to give you “expert” opinion on a “very important” matter. Today, it’s shounen.
What’s shounen you ask? Well, many mistake it for a genre in anime, but it actually isn’t. It’s a demographic – so when someone says shounen anime, they’re actually referring to a targeted demographic for said anime. Now, enough of the definition, let’s dive into this bad boy. And yes, that was a gay joke.
More importantly, though, whenever someone says shounen, most anime fans instantly think of big trio, or quarto, depending on your point of view: One Piece, Naruto, Bleach and Fairy Tail. All of these shows are quite massive, and are oftentimes a starting point for anyone who’s entering the massive world of anime. Now, they’re all really average by all means, but they’re fun enough, if you exclude filler which they have plethora of, to blaze through and move on to better shit like any sane person. Shounen “genre” doesn’t end there – no, not even close. If you dive a bit deeper, you’ll find some that are far better than the mentioned ones. I’m not saying the said shows are terrible … but yeah, they’re kind of terrible. If you like them that’s cool and all, but please stop showing it into our faces as true masterpieces of art that are ought to be admired, loved and worshiped.
Now that the personal issue is out of the way, let’s talk about what “shounen” specifically means and what can you expect of such anime. In general, these types of shows are aimed at pre-teen to teen boys (12-17 or so, to be age specific), and have everything you’d expect boys of that age to love: action, big boobs, more action, even bigger boobs, friendship, and yes, you guessed it, even bigger boobies. Although it may vary, both in content and the usage of such, in general most of these types of shows have at least one or two of them, if not all.
Okay, seriously, all definitions are out of the way. Let’s talk my personal opinion. Do I enjoy shounen “genre”? Well … to a certain extent. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing anime that have that label, but they are a far cry from your typical one. Shows like Fullmetal Alchemist, Hunter x Hunter, hell, even Shingeki no Kyojin, while boosting action and friendship/family, also have deeper themes that cater towards older audience. If you compare, for instance, Naruto and Hunter x Hunter, the only thing you’ll find in common is a lot of action, themes of friendship and kids growing up. And kind of similar main characters. When I say kind of similar, I’m only referring to Gon & Naruto. While Gon can be annoying (oooooh little fucker can be annoying), he’s far more likable than Naruto. To stop with Naruto-bashing, what should you actually expect from shounen shows, in general? Expect lots of yelling. Lots of stupid comedy, stupid characters, stupid decisions, lots of sudden power-ups, lots of deus-ex machina, lots of friendship speeches, lots of pretty ladies with prettier bodies … you get it. However, if you move away from the action part of the shounen, you enter the romance/slice of life. I really, really, really tend to avoid these for several simple reasons:
- They are dumb. And I mean DUMB. You won’t be able to make sense out of anything, no matter how hard you try.
- It takes forever for something even remotely meaningful to happen. Shows are filled with random filler chapters, stupid comedy, fuckton of misunderstandings and so on …
- I’m way past that age point, so humor presented isn’t funny, characters aren’t relatable, and there’s no action to mask just how shitty the show is.
Now, obviously, there are exceptions (Daily Lives of High school Boys comes to mind; even School Rumble), but in general if you want to watch one of these shows (for example, Nisekoi and everything remotely resembling it), be warned that 85% of the show is just a random filler and does nothing to move the plot.
The thing about shounen “genre”, again, is that it targets specific demographics, so it has a lot of sub-genres that fall into it. Generally though, they do fall into old habits and patterns, and you’ll soon find yourself bored out of your mind, even with action ones. Show tend to mask drama with slapstick humor, or just flat out ignore it, or even when they bring it forth, it’s usually cheap, cringe-worthy and makes you wanna punch a hole through your monitor.
To prove just how similar all these shows are, I’ll take 3 shows with completely different sub-genres that cater towards young boys: Shougeki no Souma, Fairy Tail, Nisekoi. And here are things they have in common:
- Motherfucking dense MC. And I mean dense. I mean so oblivious you might as well call him mentally challenged.
- Fuckton of pretty girls. While Nisekoi has fewer than SnS & FT, they’re still there. Pantsy shots, booby shots, flat-the-fuck-out naked girl masked with conveniently placed stuff … you name it.
- So many misunderstandings, you being to question your own existence. No, seriously. One-two misunderstanding is expected, BUT NOT BY A FUCKING EPSIODE LIKE HOLY SHIT WHAT THE HELL
- Main characters get thrown into so many awkward situations, you begin to wonder how you never touched a single tit till you were old enough to drink fucking bleach. (uhm, not the show guys, drinking that will not just kill you, but turn your body into a thirty year old hot loli. Kappa)
I can go on and on, but you get the idea. No matter the sub-genres (if you don’t know what they are of the shows mentioned, it goes: Fairy Tail (action, fantasy), SnS (comedy, romance, echii, “action”), Nisekoi (comedy, romance, harem) you’ll find the same tropes cum all over these shows, even the actually good ones. Like Fullmetal, for instance, considered to be best/second best/third best shounen of all time, uses a lot of deus-ex machina, stupid comedy, pointless filler etc.
All in all, it’s a decent “genre”. It’s a good starting point if you’re entering the world of anime, but please don’t stop at it. Don’t be that guy that goes to the sub-forums of new shows and keeps posting “This shit, One Piece better. I’d rather watch One Piece 10 times that this shit”. Be that guy that doesn’t give a crap and just watches whatever he finds interesting.
Next up: Horror. I think. If I feel like it.