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The 4 Kings Of Shonen Anime — 21 Comments

  1. Dragon Ball’s art gets kind of bad near the end, though. I noticed a lot of unfinished drawings and strange anatomy in Buu saga (just finished reading it in Japanese today, actually!). What did you think of Naruto’s ending?

    • Haven’t gotten to the end just yet (I’m actually some months behind), but I’m excited to see how they finish it.

  2. I haven’t seen any of them yet, although I plan to. I’ll probably start with either Naruto or One Piece. They are pretty intimidating time investments though. I don’t binge anime as much as some people, so each one would probably take over a year before I catch up.

  3. Dragon Ball was the first of these I saw back when Cartoon Network brought it over. I remember arguing often with a friend who was convinced human beings would eventually evolve into being able to shoot kamehamehas in real life. I think after a point I got tired of the pacing and the ever escalating power levels. I’ve never been a fan of Superman or the like, so once you start getting guys who can obliterate mountains by grunting, I lose interest.

    I liked a lot of Naruto once some character development started setting in, but it hit the same pacing and escalation issues I think most shonen manga-based stuff eventually reaches. I remember not being into Bleach because I kept seeing phallic metaphors everywhere and couldn’t take it seriously. I was already out by the time One Piece arrived in the States.

    Of the four I would probably recommend Naruto the most, though I haven’t seen any of it in years. But out of shonen stuff in general, my vote would easily go to the sleeping giant, Detective Conan!

    It hasn’t received nearly as much attention in the west as these four, but personally I think the quality is much higher. The big arc climaxes and even some of the smaller ones ranks among my favorite storytelling I’ve seen, regardless of medium. It’s largely grounded in reality, so there’s no ever growing list of super powers. Though the writer is kind of a sadist when it comes to progressing the overall plot, the murder mystery structuring at least gives you cases to go over during stretches of filler. From what I’ve gathered from poking into fan forums, it actually is possible to deduce every method and culprit from the clues the author gives, but I’m a big mystery idiot, so I’ve never been able to figure out even one in over 20 years worth of content.

    • Pacing is an issue due to the sheer number of episodes. That’s why sometimes it can be a good idea to skim through some of the slower parts.

      Conan does seen to be a very popular choice in Japan.

  4. I guess since Naruto might be ending, I’ll want to start watching one of the others. I’m pretty sure if you watch them without Filler and if you can get you hands on the Japanese subtitles then you can use the episodes for study material (somewhat).

    One Piece (Filler Episodes)
    http://www.animefillerlist.com/shows/one-piece

    One Piece (Jap-Subs)
    http://kitsunekko.net/dirlist.php?dir=subtitles%2Fjapanese%2FOne_Piece%2F

    One piece (Eng-Subs)
    http://kitsunekko.net/dirlist.php?dir=subtitles%2FOne+Piece%2F

    • You can always use anime as study material. Besides the extra specialized vocab and occasional strange slang, it’s still just regular Japanese.

  5. I have somehow managed to make my way through life with anime without watching a single long running shounen except Fairy Tail. However, based on the urging of basically every single other anime watcher I’ve met, I’m considering starting to watch Naruto.

  6. One Piece is definitely my favourite out of the four.

    My introduction to 少年アニメ・少年漫画 was NARUTO, and while I fell out of it half way through, it still holds a special place in my heart.

    Eventually, I plan to watch and read Dragon Ball in Japanese, as I grew up watching it with my cousins.

    I never liked Bleach much.

  7. I’ve watched all of them before I started Japanese. I even restarted them in Japanese. My favorite would definitely have to be One Piece. I’ve connected with all the characters on a much deeper level than any other show I’ve seen. Slightly ashamed but I have cried a few times throughout the series (And I never cry for shows).

    • One Piece has become my favorite as well. They’ve had more than enough time to delve deep into every character.

      And it just shows that if an anime can make you cry, there is a lot more to it then just fighting.

  8. I would love to watch all 4 of these but I just can’t seem to enjoy them unless I understand everything. I watch some anime with Japanese subs because I can read better than I can listen and understand. But, it’s just not enjoyable only knowing half or less than half of the plot and I get frustrated and just turn the English subs back on… I really don’t know what to do here.

    • How about reading the plot summary of each episode in English before watching it? It only will take about 10-20 seconds of your time, and then you can use the full 20+ minutes as study time?

      • That is something I have been doing recently with new anime that I want to watch. I used to spend lots of time going over drama, anime, and movies that I had already seen, but I also want watch new shows. Reading ep summaries before had was a big help. I also had to learn to be comfortable with ambiguity. Raising that comfortable was also useful when I branched out in reading a wider range of material as well.

  9. Where is gintama? Necessarily,gintama supposed to go in. And of the above options, I prefer one piece.

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