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The Top Ten Series: Shounen (part V)

May 22, 2010

At last I have reached the final post of this little series – took a wee bit longer than planned (but no where near as long as it did to get my Shounen list finished!) due to holiday induced backlogs and RSI flare-ups, but I got here in the end!  However as predicted at the start, now that I’m finished I kind of want to reshuffle the list again :3

Anyway, onto the final 2 in my personal Top 10 Shounen series – fairly predictable choices considering my tastes really. (Oh here’s Part I , Part II, Part III & Part IV).

2. Fullmetal Alchemist

The high-ranking of FMA stems not only from it being fecking brilliant, but also due to the fact that since the manga and latest anime adaptation are so close to finishing, my fangirling of this series is at a fever pitch!  Seriously at the moment FMA is easily my most anticipated series both in terms of manga chapters (only one left!!) and weekly anime episodes.

My first experience of FMA was (like many others) the 2003/4 anime adaptation, which due to the lack of manga material at the time, was mostly anime original.  I still highly rate that original anime, IMO Bones did a brilliant job of building a believable plot based on what they knew of the characters and setting.  In hindsight it doesn’t hold a candle to the epic pacing and plot of the manga material, but that doesn’t detract any from the fact the original anime series was fantastic in its own right.

What I love about FMA is the characters.  It always seems to boil down to characters for me, they make or break a series – without memorable characters it doesn’t matter how brilliant or original the plot and setting is, it just won’t reach the higher end of my rating scale.  Thankfully FMA doesn’t have this problem, both the setting and characters are brilliant – it would be difficult to find an anime fan that couldn’t identify Edward Elric even if they hadn’t seen the series.

I love the artstyle of FMA to bits – it’s so clean and dynamic, the action scenes are really well drawn and easy to follow – a major plus point in shounen manga.  In the anime the colours are bright, easy on the eye and the character designs are readily identifiable with lots of variety.  The Brotherhood anime adaptation has some of the best animation I’ve ever had the pleasure to feat my eyeballs on!

What really makes FMA special though is the fact it hasn’t dragged on and on with no purpose or destination in mind – it has successfully managed to avoid the classic downfall of shounen series.  FMA has been tightly plotted, well paced and the end is now nigh – and its been a fantastic ride to get to this point.  It’s amazing how well Arakawa has planned this series out!  FMA will easily go down as one of my favourite series of all time – but it’s not my favourite shounen series of all time; that privilege goes too……

1. Dragonball /Z/Kai

Yes the mighty Dragonball franchise (excluding GT which I refuse to watch on principle) claims my top spot in this shounen top10.  What else but DB could I really choose!?  When you ask anyone to name a shounen series, Dragonball is one of the 1st things to come to mind – its presence and influence in the genre is unavoidable.  Toriyama’s masterpiece is the source of many of our most cherished shounen tropes, and current authors always credit him and the DB franchise as inspiration for modern shounen.

For me DBZ was a gateway anime.  I started off later than most people in the fandom, being 16 when the bug bit (although that was 11 years ago now!).  DBZ is responsible for my love of shounen, just like Gundam Wing and Escaflowne are responsible for my interest in mecha.  I remember being completely sucked into the world of DBZ – it was addictive, high-octane action with tonnes of shouting, cheesy dialogue and larger than life characters – and I adored it.  My brother (who’s 4 years younger than me) and I never missed an episode and a few years later when I was at uni, my brother and I used portions of my loans and his wages to purchase all of the DB/Z boxsets – my first anime DVD purchase.  Uni was my wilderness years, I didn’t really watch anything during those 3 years outside of my DB/Z and Gundam Wing DVDs – but the fact I kept coming back to Dragonball speaks volumes about how much I loved it!

Even now I await each new episode of Dragonball Kai with bated breath – its been wonderful to revisit this series remastered and with all the filler trimmed back.  Kai is Dragonball Z in its purest form – you get the best bits without the padding, and even though I liked the padding I appreciate the fact you get to the meat of the action without messing about or having the characters stare at each other for hours on end!

Once again its the characters in all their god-moded glory that I love.  It was sad to see some to the Dragon Ball characters get so badly sidelined in DBZ, but at the end of the day I’d rather have my Vegeta and Freeza over Yamcha and Pilaf 😛  Of course I also acknowledge that DBZ suffered from a lacklustre finale, with each progressive arc the plot got thinner, the characters got polarised and the villains became parodies of themselves – however I still find it difficult to get annoyed at this.  DB was never anything to be taken seriously – it certainly never took itself too seriously at all, and that kind of bleeds over into the audience.  It’s still a pity that it didn’t end wonderfully, but such is my love and nostalgia for the series I can over look that.

So that’s my personal Top 10 Shounen series – to recap:

  1. Dragonball /Z/Kai
  2. Fullmetal Alchemist
  3. One Piece
  4. Death Note
  5. Gintama
  6. Naruto
  7. D.Gray-Man
  8. Hunter x Hunter
  9. Rurouni Kenshin
  10. Bleach

It was difficult to pin down the shows I wanted in the list, and even more difficult to assign them a number – even now that I’m looking at the finished list I feel like changing it……but I won’t since that would be too much work! 😆  I’d be interested in hearing what your list looks like as I’m positive mine isn’t to everyone’s taste!

Its been fun doing these posts – I’m not sure what genre to tackle next so suggestions are welcome!

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2010 7:39 pm

    oh yes I forgot about FMA, Its shonen but has a very different feel compared to the other series in your lists. I remember when I was watching it for the first time a few years back, I wasnt really that into it, the pace was a bit slow for my liking, but then came episode 9. Nina and Alexander and I was hooked to the series. Even now Brotherhood is amazing.

    DBZ now thats because of nostalgia isnt it.:p But thats the one I knew was gonna be one of the top two.:giggle: That was the next series I watched after pokemon. Compared to DBZ it just looked like childish crap after. 🙂

    I dunno what series Id pick, I dont even think Ive seen 10 shonen series, I guess DBKai towards the top with Brotherhood, HxH in the middle maybe, I really didnt like those final brightly coloured OVAs :(, I guess bleach towards the end. Its like a friend from school who has since turned into a moron.:(

    Well done on your list mummy. 😀 You should so do your top 10 favourite sugary loli series next! or 10 worst series you’ve ever seen and would use to torture people with.:)

    • May 22, 2010 7:45 pm

      FMA and Death Note are the oddballs of the list – they’re shounen, but a wee bit different to the norm.

      I wasnt keen on the Greed Island OVAs either as you know – although they really did adhere to the traditional shounen conventions. Still vastly prefered the Hunter Exam arc and York Shin arc – the current manga arc is pretty good too.

      “You should so do your top 10 favourite sugary loli series next! or 10 worst series you’ve ever seen and would use to torture people with.:)”

      Surely those lists would be exactly the same? 😆

  2. Aiko permalink
    May 22, 2010 8:07 pm

    Well, these two were something of an expectancy and deservedly so. Both have set the benchmark for shounen in their own way, especially the Dragon Ball series, which is an undeniable classic.

    If I were to compile such a list for shounen (which I’d find near impossible to condense to 10), I’d include Hajime no Ippo and Major, both of which represent the very best of sport shounen, in my opinion, while also including Detective Conan, Saint Seiya, Yu Yu Hakusho, Fist of the North Star, Astroboy, Katekyo Hitman Reborn! and, at a push, Konjiki no Gash Bell!!, amongst those you’ve already cited. No doubt I’ll probably think of more that I’ve failed to mention offhand here.

    However, all in all, a good rounded list. 🙂

    • May 22, 2010 8:15 pm

      Such is the quandry of having seen twice the amount of shows that I have! Hajime no Ippo and Major I definately plan to watch in the future – I’ve mostly got over my distaste for Sports anime now; took a while, but I got there!

      • Aiko permalink
        May 22, 2010 8:21 pm

        As I was saying to a certain ‘concerned child’ above, you’ll often find that the sport in question is very much a backdrop, or more accurately, a ‘vehicle’, if you will, in delivering the same shounen formula we’ve come to love. With Hajime no Ippo and Major, characterisation and its development is very much the central theme too. I also encourage you to watch YYH. In a similar vein to HxH, it adheres to all of the ingredients to make a good fighting-centric shounen series. In fact, I’m having an inkling to “source” this series for you right now. 😛

        • May 22, 2010 8:25 pm

          Yeah I eventually got that about Sports anime – the sport element is just something I had a stigma about for the longest time given my utter distaste for anything sporty 😆

          YYH is a series I keep forgetting about despite the fact I know I’d probably like it. Your sourcing skills are god-tier 😀

        • Aiko permalink
          May 22, 2010 8:36 pm

          I used to view sport, in its entirely, in the same light, but have since changed my view, quite amusedly, due to watching sport anime, most notably of late with Adachi’s Touch, Cross Game and H2 (even though I’ve told my husband it’s due to him). From this, I’ve taken an unexpected interest in watching baseball. Yes, that’s right, I’m actually following the real sport… Anyway, lest I digress any further, I very much consider Hajime no Ippo and Major as ‘must sees’.

          As for YYH, expect a ‘package’ in due course. 🙂

        • May 22, 2010 10:00 pm

          Poor hubby – the influence of anime is greater than him 😆

          Package – you make it sound like we’re trading drugs….which I suppose anime kind of is 😀

  3. May 22, 2010 8:28 pm

    I just came here while searching for blogs to inspire me of what i would write on my blog 😀 ….
    But i really liked ur top 10 and here is mine (ehmm..dunno now maybe i will go more than 10 )
    well let’s start with
    1- one piece : because Oda is just ammazing with the characters and powers and moral conflicts and i can go on ….
    2-Dragon Ball : it’s just awesome *point*
    3-berserk : but i think its more seinen than shounen …. no it’s seinen but worth mentioning since it’s awesome (but u have to continue with the manga )
    4-Gurren Laggan : it is shounen but under mecha as well ….. if someone love any anime , he should watch it . I made most of my university addicted to anime by just making them watch this one.
    5-Bleach : we all know why ….. although it is starting to go down this list when the new arc in manga started
    6-Death Note : 2nd pure awesomeness *another point*
    7-Rurouni Kenshin: it has all elements to watch it .. (although the OVAs and Manga are way better than the original anime)
    8-Fate/stay night : This one also deserves praise , although it doesnt have a very deep storyline …. but it is actually wonderfull , with the arts and the fights .
    9-heroic age : although not known very well , it has a good stoyline and good characters
    10-Samurai deeper Kyo:This also has a good story , well made characters and powers , along with a long and good storyline ….
    11- Murderer princess/ blackblood brothers : those are actually really good but really short
    I finished both in a day and i actually liked the two of them , short story could be more developed….
    12-Darker than black : the original series , dunno it’s name , is good.
    13- Naruto : i just put it here since it hurts that all this time of my life will never come back so at least i should put it somewhere

  4. May 22, 2010 8:30 pm

    oops forgot D.grey-man but i actually hate the author since this anime/manga had a lot of potential and she just killed it (actually to be more accurate “rapped it and then murdered it”)

    • May 22, 2010 10:03 pm

      Hey! Thanks for your comment and list – hope you found some inspiration 🙂

      A few of those I definatly wouldnt class as shounen (Berserk, Fate/Stay Night, Darker than BLACK, Heroic Age) but mostly agree with your assessment of them.

  5. May 22, 2010 10:08 pm

    Well thnx for replying 😀
    I found something 😀 it’s a new style of writing ….
    and the best thing is that ….i am actually considering giving Ginatama a second chance ….
    thnx 😉

    • May 22, 2010 10:10 pm

      Ah Gintama – love that show, really miss it now the anime is over – I highly recommend it.

  6. May 22, 2010 11:14 pm

    Ah yes. DBZ. Yeah I wasn’t sure if FMA should be on there but I think it mainly fits the genre for the list. (of course the fact that it doesn’t completely is part of the reason why I like it so much)
    And I really need to get back into D Grayman and Gintama. I started the two but the high number of episodes overwhelmed me.

    • May 23, 2010 12:46 pm

      Yeah FMA definitely is shounen but a bit different, which is why I also love it so much.

      DGM and Gintama have smaller ep counts than some on the list, but yeah looking at so many unwatched eps can be daunting (or a challenge! I like challenges :P)

  7. May 23, 2010 9:00 am

    Gintama should be at #1

    There. I said it again.

    • May 23, 2010 12:47 pm

      It would probably easily make it to #1 on my comedy list! 😆

  8. May 23, 2010 1:21 pm

    And that I didn’t expect, Dragon Ball as first? XD

    Well, can’t argue with that! It was one great show back in its days.

    Hmm overall I like your list, just that I don’t like Naruto’s and Gintama’s place, unless you’re judging only part of it, not the whole thing.. But again, then Bleach would be way lower imo.

    • May 23, 2010 5:51 pm

      Judging Naruto on the whole thing since I’m up to date with both manga and anime – Gintama is only judged on the anime since I havent started the manga.

  9. May 23, 2010 9:22 pm

    I’m glad you took my suggestion and saved Claymore for the #0 spot.

    • May 23, 2010 10:17 pm

      No doubt that once I finally get round to reading the Claymore manga I’ll want to rearrange the list. As it is I’ve only seen the anime with the dodgy end 😦

  10. Stern permalink
    August 9, 2011 8:08 am

    great list. would have loved to see yu yu hakusho up there as well

    • August 9, 2011 3:17 pm

      Ah I haven’t finished YYH yet – stalled at about ep30. Must finish that actually…….

  11. Igneel permalink
    October 29, 2011 3:21 pm

    Thank you so much for this, I wasnt sure wether I should continue watching gintama but it turned out to be great. The only problem i have is that DB was no. 1 on your list. Although, I am probbaly saying that because I am a die hard one piece fan, but thanks anyway

  12. Brandon permalink
    June 25, 2013 6:10 am

    My number one would be FMA of course but it’s great to see DB/DBZ/Kai as your number one.My gateway Anime was also DBZ and I used to think it was the greatest Anime lol but, I never finished it or DB which is sad.

  13. Brandon permalink
    June 25, 2013 6:12 am

    I think One Piece is pretty awesome too and it would most definitely be in my top 10 Shounen Anime!

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