Shounen anime is synonymous with superpowers. After all, while not all of them use superpowers, the overwhelming majority of action-shounen anime utilize some form of superpowers. Different titles may have different ways of showcasing the powers, such as magic, technology, chakra, cursed energy, etc. That being said, some powers do end up being used by lots of different series, such as elemental powers. These kinds of powers are almost ubiquitous in shounen anime that you might even expect to see in a new series. With that being said, here are the Top 10 Most Common Powers in Shounen Anime.
10. Mind Control
Let us start this list by talking about one of the most treacherous powers in anime, which is mind control. As the name suggests, this power allows its users to gain control over the mind of its target and make them do whatever the users want them to do. Some mind control users love to turn their target into a puppet-like state, while others can inject their powers without anybody realizing that the target is under a strong mind control.
Some of the most skilled mind controllers are the determined Shinso from My Hero Academia, the foxy Shokuhou from A Certain Scientific Railgun, and the austere Shisui from Naruto. Some of the users of this power who like to treat their target like puppets are the cruel Q from Bungo Stray Dogs, the devilish Marik from Yu-Gi-Oh!, and the ambitious Lelouch from Code Geass.
The ability to cast an illusion might not seem that interesting. After all, compared to the other power in this list, this one appears to be the most passive one. However, that is actually not the case at all. In the hand of certain characters, an illusion can be a very versatile tool, or even downright lethal. This ability is usually used in tandem with other kinds of attacks.
Some of the most dangerous illusion users in anime are the mysterious Itachi from Naruto, the manipulative Aizen from Bleach, and the enlightened Virgo Shaka from Saint Seiya. Although their techniques are not as dangerous as the first group, other notable illusion users are the awkward Tanizaki from Bungo Stray Dogs, the cheery Mavis from Fairy Tail, and the pitiful Kenny G from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.
Telekinesis is the ability to move objects with the power of the user’s mind, otherwise also known as Psychokinesis. This is one of the most, if not the most, versatile power on this list. After all, while most of the powers mentioned here are great for combat, telekinesis is also extremely useful for everyday life. That is why most of the characters who use telekinesis are highly creative and resourceful people.
Some of the strongest telekinesis users in anime are the psychotic Tetsuo from Akira, the brutal Accelerator from A Certain Magical Index, and the catastrophic Tatsumaki from One-Punch Man. There are also characters who would often use their powers for everyday life, such as the weary Saiki from The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, the compassionate Shigeo from Mob Psycho 100, and the childish Chiaotzu from Dragon Ball.
7. Super Strength
Sometimes, rather than using some fancy and complicated superpowers, the author might decide that all their characters need is a simple and straightforward superstrength. That being said, these types of characters can be a bit difficult to work with. After all, their fighting style is much more limited compared to characters with more unique superpowers. But if the author manages to execute it properly, then it can be such a fun character to follow.
Some of the characters that manage to gain their popularity due to their brute strength alone are the iconic Goku from Dragon Ball, the laid-back Saitama from One-Punch Man, and the glutton Toriko from Toriko. Other than the main characters, there are also side characters who have absurd strength, such as the unbreakable All Might from My Hero Academia, the savage Uvogin from Hunter x Hunter, and the dandy Major Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist.
One of the classic pairings of powers that are usually destined to fight each other is the power of light and dark. That being said, between those two, darkness is easily the most popular one, especially when it comes to shadow. Though darkness and shadow are often associated with evil and covert operations, there are plenty of good characters who use it out in the open like any regular attacks.
Some of the good guys who fight with shadows are the crafty Shikamaru from Naruto, the reserved Tokoyami from My Hero Academia, and the artful Fushiguro from Jujutsu Kaisen. As for the bad guys, well, there is the ruthless Pride from Fullmetal Alchemist, the arrogant Moria from One Piece, and Alessi from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Now we move on to a power that comes from nature, gravity. This power allowed its users to not only affect their own gravity, but also everything around it. Some even have the ability to affect the gravity of other objects as well. Along with telekinesis, gravity is easily one of the most versatile powers of the bunch because it can be used to attack, defend, support, and even lay some traps.
Some of the most popular characters that use gravity powers are the whimsical Fujitora from One Piece, the hotheaded Shiki from Eden Zero, and the lovable Uraraka from My Hero Academia. But not all of them are good guys, there are also some bad people who use the power of gravity, such as the sinister Dante from Black Clover, the unhinged Ishiguro from Mob Psycho 100, and the sly Chuuya from Bungo Stray Dogs.
Now we enter the most popular category for superpowers, the elementals. Let's start with the flashy power, lightning. Just like the nature of lightning, the characters who wield this elemental power often look extravagant, loudmouths, and a bit of a show-off. That is why they often have one of the most exciting and entertaining fighting scenes in their given series.
Some of the characters that perfectly embodied the aforementioned traits are the erratic Enel from One Piece, the wild Kaminari from My Hero Academia, and the flamboyant Sinbad from
Magi. However, there are also characters that are exactly the opposite of the stereotypical lightning user, such as the quiet Gilthunder from Seven Deadly Sins, the moody Laxus from Fairy Tail, and the crybaby Lambo from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!
Another common elemental power in Shounen anime is wind. Unlike fire and ice which are mostly aggressive even though they live on the opposite end of the spectrum, wind powers can be as gentle as a breeze, or as dangerous as a tornado. And that is pretty much the description of the characters who wield this power.
Some of the most notable wind users that grace the shounen anime are the endearing Yuno from Black Clover, the mighty Howzer from Seven Deadly Sins, and the adorable Wendy from Fairy Tail. There are also wind users who use tools to produce the wind, such as the charismatic Temari from Naruto, the cheerful Fuuko from Flame of Recca, and the aloof Kagura from Inuyasha.
Still, with the theme of natural elements, the next power that you can often spot in most action-shounen anime is Ice. There are characters who use its original form, which is water, however, ice is by far the most popular option of the two. And just like how fire is usually handled by reckless characters, Ice is often wielded by cool and level-headed individuals.
Some of the most iconic ice users are the cool and gentle Haku from Naruto, the calm and collected Hitsugaya from Bleach, and the straightforward Todoroki from My Hero Academia. There are also some eccentric people in this category, such as the rather scatter-brained Aokiji from One Piece, the involuntary nudist Gray from Fairy Tail, and the sadistic Esdeath from Akame Ga Kill.
Fire is by far the most common power that you can see in shounen anime. There seems to be something so appealing to this force of nature to the point of multiple creators blessing their characters with this particular element. Some of them utilize fire through certain kinds of tools, while others can produce fire directly from their body.
When it comes to characters who use fire that is created directly from his body, there is the happy-go-crazy Natsu from Fairy Tail, the cool and charismatic Ace from One Piece, and of course, the enigmatic Endeavor from My Hero Academia. Similar to the wind users, there are also those who ignite fire by using certain tools, such as the fiery Kyojuro Rengoku from Demon Slayer, the sly and cunning Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist, and the friendly Tsunayoshi from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!
Super Powers are an integral part of most action-oriented shounen anime. However, coming up with a new and original superpower is not an easy task, which is why similar superpowers ended up being used in different titles. This list represents some of the most common superpowers that you can find in shounen anime.
That being said, this is not an extensive list by any means. So if you know any other common powers that deserve a spot on this list, don't hesitate to let us know in the comment section below.