Shonen series discussion

Lutga

Mad Scientist
So, I wanted to start this thread as I feel Shonen series get quite short shrift on here most of the time. But is there anything to them you actually like? Did you used to love Bleach before it all went downhill? Are there any diamonds in the rough when it comes to the seemingly endless Naruto and One Piece? And why is Hunter x Hunter the greatest thing ever?

Does anyone still actively follow/enjoy Shonen stuff?
 

st_owly (witch)

Time-Traveller
I loved the Soul Society arc of Bleach but I felt it went downhill after that. I gave up on it partway through the Arrancar arc. I only read the manga rather than watched the anime, but there's probably not that much difference other than the filler.

I could never get into Naruto, mainly because I think the main character is an annoying little brat. He reminded me of my brother when he was young, and I hated my brother when he was young because he was so annoying. Besides, what kind of ninja wears traffic cone orange?

One Piece. I've read about 6 volumes and I really enjoyed them, but the sheer length of it is so intimidating when there's so much else on my backlog.

Shounen series I'm currently reading are Tegami Bachi, Blue Exorcist, Arata Kangatari (the manga is so much better than the anime), Inuyasha (saw the anime a couple of years ago and enjoyed it despite the filler), Kekkaishi (took me a while to get into but gets better after the first few volumes), Pandora Hearts, and Black Butler.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I can only take shounen in moderation these days since a lot of it is very formulaic and obsessed with endlessly remaking YYH or DB, but I'm really enjoying Food Wars, Gintama, Magi, Attack On Titan, Zettai Karen Children, Black Butler, the current Arslan Senki manga and pretty much anything involving hot-blooded guys playing sports. I was just watching some Meitantei Conan this morning too.

I slowly follow One Piece via FUNimation's DVD release and it's wacky enough to still be fun. Bleach couldn't hold my interest at all though, and I gave up on Naruto after a brief attempt to care about it. So I'm certainly not tired of shounen on the whole, just a few select strains of it!

R
 

IncendiaryLemon

Captain Karen
I enjoy Shounen stuff, but nothing that seems to run endlessly like Naruto and One Piece. As soon as there has to be filler, I loose interest rapidly. There are a couple of exceptions like Gintama (Which is currently at about 280 episodes) where it's long running but there isn't any filler because it's not a story focused series to begin with and JoJo (Currently as about 75 episodes but will probably get a lot longer) which has no filler because it's about 20 years behind the manga. My favourite Shounen show is (of course) Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, which is probably just one of, if not, my favourite Anime of all time. It's just got an amazing cast of characters, great action and, since it's an adaptation of a completed Manga, has no filler at all, meaning it has perfect pacing.
 

Lutga

Mad Scientist
Naruto - I think the earlier stuff is quite poor, where the series was still working out what it wanted to be. The animation from this period looks pretty dated now, too - and I agree Naruto's personality here is really abrasive, and it put me off the show for a long time. I finally got into it by starting with Shippuden though, which I think stands in a league of its own. Yes, there's still filler - and it's probably some of the worst filler in anime to date - but there are particularly arcs that really stand out. The Akatsuki are brilliant villains and the Naruto vs. Pain sequence in particular is a real gem.

Bleach - I've never quite understood the love for the original Soul Society arc here, as I think what comes afterward with the Arrancar arc moves through a lot of the same story beats with increased bang for you buck. What you're here for is endless battles between immensely powerful individuals, and I'd argue that Bleach often does this better than any other Shonen series. The show has many sins - not least padding out every episode with a three minute re-cap every single time, but the central premise of fantastic match-ups in the various battles always kept me coming back.

One Piece - the one I've never really been able to get into. I followed it for about a year in Weekly Shonen Jump (probably a bad jumping on point) and found it impossible to get into - the cast just seemed too large, the style - both artistic and story-wise - too wacky and unwieldy - so it always baffled me how it continues to sell so well. More recently, I finally watched the first 25 episodes and enjoyed that - so I'm starting to see why it works, but I think I'll need to sample a bit more before I really know how I feel about it.

Magi - I think, is probably one of the best of the current crop, and it seems to sell pretty well too. I really hope Kaze get the second series out here too, as I really enjoyed the first arc. It just really shines with high production values, strong characters and a distinct aesthetic.

One thing I'll always say about Shonen series is, what works for me is where the arc/process is very clearly outlined - show me a bunch of ridiculously powered up characters, tell me how many there are of them, what rank/power level are they? And away you go. Shonen thrives on its capacity to deliver those kinds of dream 'who'd win?' match ups - and if it can keep scratching that itch, it will always have a certain entertainment value.
 

Joshawott

Monsieur Monster
AUKN Staff
Although I had watched other series' in the past, it was my love of Naruto that propelled me into collecting anime and manga as a hobby. I may have stopped watching the anime adaptation due to the fillers and animation "quality", but I still consider the manga to be one of the best in the genre. Although the title of "The Best" goes to Fullmetal Alchemist, because Hiromu

I was initially very positive towards Bleach but these days I only follow it because I've read so much already, that I might as well see how it ends. Tite Kubo's artwork has improved a hell of a lot since the manga's beginning, but I wish the same could be said about the story. I actually sometimes think to myself "When was the last time Ichigo fought a regular Hollow?" because to be honest, I still think The Substitute Arc was the best. Back then, Ichigo was caught between the realms of life and death by having to deal with the tragic stories of Sora Inoue and Yuichi Shibata.
Then the Soul Society arc happened and the series became a battle manga, just with the opponents changing every arc (first Soul Reapers, then Arrancar, then Fullbringers, then Quincy). The Fullbring Arc was a nice change of pace though, mainly because it focused on the human characters again and the Xcution were actually a pretty interesting bunch of characters.
Ichigo as a protagonist is pretty ridiculous though; he's like bad fanfiction at this point (what with being a half-human, half-quincy Fullbring using Visored - he's basically everything).

I gave One Piece multiple attempts to win me over but it just couldn't. I also ended up dropping Fairy Tail because it was just becoming a battle manga without paying attention to the overarching plot. At the moment, only Food Wars and Nisekoi are really holding my attention.
 
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Lutga

Mad Scientist
Yeah, I think out of the big 'three', Kubo - in my opinion - is definitely the best 'artist' in a traditional sense - I've always found One Piece too messy/goofy and Naruto too loose-looking and fluid. Kubo's designs are always very clean cut and fashionable looking, with some striking use of light and dark spaces - plus, he draws cute girls very well. That said, I think looking back you can see some of the goofier elements like the designs of the Hollows not perhaps fitting in with the more serious tone the series developed into.

I'm enjoying the anime adaptation of Food Wars at the moment - though it's hard to know where it's going to go, that series kind of feels a bit like a one trick pony at times, especially as it's dialled down the explicitness of the reaction shots.

I kind of feel like Shonen Jump must be in real trouble at the moment with Naruto now finished and Bleach looking likely to finish soon too - I think out of all the recent series to start in it, including all the Jump Start series, none of them have continued - so they must have been pretty unpopular with the readership. A shame, as some of them like Stealth Symphony, were really promising.

I can see World Trigger continuing on for a while, and Seraph of the End genuinely looks like it'll benefit from the success of the currently airing anime, but aside from that the immediate future doesn't look great for the magazine.
 

Y-San

Shinki
Lutga said:
And why is Hunter x Hunter the greatest thing ever?
Because does away with a lot of the flaws that exist in battle manga, especially those serialised in shonen magazines. You know, you don't have characters going around calling their attacks or explaining their abilities only to get slaughtered for revealing their weaknesses, on the contrary, the less someone knows about your nen abilities, the better. Well, that and also because the power scaling isn't as lopsided, you know, just because the protagonist is the star of the story doesn't mean he always has to be center of attention or necessarily the strongest, they just has to be involved in some way and because nen abilities are kind situational, with enough forethought, it's possible for an ant to take on a lion, it's more about using what you have to your advantage rather than comparing absolute values. And because those 'unknown' elements work in favour of both sides, the main characters don't quite feel absolved of risk.

There is always a chance that they could run into the wrong person and get caught unaware like when Genthuru's group attempted to recruit Killua and Gon at the start of Greed Island unlike say Luffy, who, no matter what comes his way, just tanks it through sheer will power. After a while characters like that feel more like gods than people, they take more punishment than any mortal could without any apparent defined limits. At least HxH isn't quite so detached, like, it's still fantasy but at least you can almost imagine that were the setting applicable to you, you'd be just as relevant as anyone else. The exact same opportunities could be afforded to you as they are to the main character rather than them being one of a kind.

I feel like I'm just rambling though. I'm sorry. I guess the most important thing to take a way from this - since my criticisms of other battle manga are also applicable to HxH to some degree - is that a protagonist should also feel fallible and side characters shouldn't exist for the sake of making the protag look better.
 
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Lutga

Mad Scientist
Yeah, it's hard to go into just what makes HxH 'work' without going into spoilers, and I've only seen the first 24 episodes of the 2011 series, so imagine the best is yet to come for me - but even in that space, it's clearly a very different beast from many other Shonen shows.

Also, it provides endless LOLs if, like me, you were prompted out of curiosity to Google 'Is Kurapika a girl or a boy?'
 
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Joshawott

Monsieur Monster
AUKN Staff
Lutga said:
I kind of feel like Shonen Jump must be in real trouble at the moment with Naruto now finished and Bleach looking likely to finish soon too - I think out of all the recent series to start in it, including all the Jump Start series, none of them have continued - so they must have been pretty unpopular with the readership. A shame, as some of them like Stealth Symphony, were really promising.

I can see World Trigger continuing on for a while, and Seraph of the End genuinely looks like it'll benefit from the success of the currently airing anime, but aside from that the immediate future doesn't look great for the magazine.
I wonder if the issue with recent JUMP Start series' is less to do with the actual quality of the series' or rather, Shonen JUMP's editors being too impatient and wanting an instant success on the levels of Dragon Ball/Naruto.

Two examples from the JUMP Start initiative I will mention are Stealth Symphony and Hi-Fi Cluster. Neither had the most impressive start but I personally thought that both were showing promise just before they were cancelled - especially the former. I thought even E-Robot had potential before it lost to pre-school Phoenix Wright (which I wasn't sad to see get cancelled).
 

Lutga

Mad Scientist
Yeah, I have to admit I chuckled when the Phoenix Wright-alike got cancelled - it was like, well what was the point of this 'winning' if it just gets cancelled a month or so later anyway?

Nothing is going to be a mega success straight out of the gates - I don't even see how you could possibly know? And look what happens when you try too hard to 'force' a success - you get Toriko, which is somehow still plodding along...

I mean, in a way it makes Seraph's success all the more remarkable, that it's made the transition to anime already - but then it was clearly a quality product from the off, and maybe its monthly schedule helps too.
 

Joshawott

Monsieur Monster
AUKN Staff
Lutga said:
Yeah, I have to admit I chuckled when the Phoenix Wright-alike got cancelled - it was like, well what was the point of this 'winning' if it just gets cancelled a month or so later anyway?

Nothing is going to be a mega success straight out of the gates - I don't even see how you could possibly know? And look what happens when you try too hard to 'force' a success - you get Toriko, which is somehow still plodding along...

I mean, in a way it makes Seraph's success all the more remarkable, that it's made the transition to anime already - but then it was clearly a quality product from the off, and maybe its monthly schedule helps too.
Yup; the sales of Toriko's anime in North America and Australia were so low that there's no chance of us seeing it here. Now that you mention it though, it's weird that I remember seeing so much buzz about it and then it just seemed to drop out of existence.

I'm honestly surprised by Seraph of the End's success though, because I actually found the manga to be very dull and generic. Shinoa was basically the only reason I kept reading until I forgot to renew my Shonen JUMP subscription.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I don't really think Owari No Seraph is all that good, it just has that popcorn movie-style simplicity to it that it's easy to enjoy. And all of the vampires are hot.

Bakuman was a fantastic SJ title while it was running. I don't think it gets as much credit as it deserves, though its disastrous western anime release probably didn't help.

R
 

st_owly (witch)

Time-Traveller
Bakuman was great, if cringeworthy and rather sexist in places. I started the manga as it began in Jump and read it week by week all the way through, thoroughly enjoying it.
 

IncendiaryLemon

Captain Karen
st_owly said:
Bakuman was great, if cringeworthy and rather sexist in places. I started the manga as it began in Jump and read it week by week all the way through, thoroughly enjoying it.

I was very confused for a second there when I thought you meant Bakugan.
 

Smeelia

Thousand Master
For some reason, when I hear Bakuman my brain often twists it into Barakamon so I get even more confused.

These days I find that I'm not so much of a fan of "battle anime", which puts me off of most Shonen Action shows. I often like the characters, stories and the more strategic/tactical battles but I tend to gradually lose interest in long running battle escalation where there's a new even more powerful move/enemy every few weeks. I often find it frustrating to watch Shonen shows because there's a good deal that I enjoy but there are common elements that tend to detract from my enjoyment too.

It's kind of strange because I enjoy most of the DC animations (plus some Marvel) and they probably have similar aims and audiences. I do tend to prefer Batman to Superman (although I'm quite fond of good ol' Clark Kent) so it's probably a similar situation since Batman stories tend to be about character and planning rather than power and battles.

I've watched some Bleach, Naruto and One Piece but haven't kept up with any of them. I wouldn't say I particularly disliked any of them but my interest tends to fade until I just stop getting around to watching them. I did also watch some of Fairy Tail, it might be in a similar situation but I'm tempted to give it another chance (although I'm still annoyed that Natsu stole the protagonist role from the infinitely more interesting Lucy).

I watched the original Fullmetal Alchemist and enjoyed it a lot, it was the anime that got me into anime though and I haven't re-watched it since so while I'd like to watch it again I'm concerned that I might not like it. I still haven't watched Brotherhood, which I really should get around to doing.

I think one of the problems with any long-running show (especially an episodic or arc-based show) is that you can often pick out episodes or arcs that you didn't like and wouldn't watch again if you re-watch the show (except maybe just to be complete). I think I find it more annoying to be watching something that I theoretically like but not enjoying stretches of it because it's a bad episode/arc than if I was just watching something bad that I could just drop. I have a similar feeling about games I enjoy that have annoying segments or busywork to get to the good stuff.

More generally, I think there are quite a few shows that are officially Shonen that I've enjoyed. Shonen comedies, romances and such can be enjoyable (probably because they're like battle anime without the focus on battles). I get a bit mixed up about what does and doesn't count though (and there seems to be a lot of debate about it).
 

Buzzkillington

Za Warudo
So as you can probably tell by my display picture, I like Bleach. I was looking for a longer series to watch, so watched the first 10 episodes of Naruto, One Piece and Bleach and found Bleach to by far the most enjoyable for me, and was able to get the first 10 series on DVD for £50 so, well yeah. With that being said, I am under no under no illusion of what Bleach is, it's loud, dumb, over the top nonsense where OP cartoons beat the crap out one another with crazy powers, but you know what sometimes that's all I want, just brain dead fun.
 
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