Shounen anime are often composed of great fight scenes, intimate relationships, lots of shouting, or all of the above. While not exploring the same layered narratives as other anime genres, Shounen anime often have a creative mix of engaging and compelling storylines, complimented by easy-to-digest subplots and themes. Here, we take a look at the best 5 Shounen Anime from this Winter season!
5. World Trigger 2nd Season
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: anuary 2021 – April 2021
After a gate to another world opens on Earth, alien invaders known as Neighbors start their attack on society. Unable to be fazed by traditional weaponry, special weapons known as Triggers are developed and used in combat situations. As time goes on, the battle seems endless as Neighbors continue their advance and humanity continues to push back. Osamu Mikumo is a member-in-training who one day spies a Neighbor attack. Prohibited from using his weapons outside of designated areas, he is forced to rebel in order to follow his moral compass and save an innocent civilian. However, he comes to discover that this ordinary person is actually a humanoid Neighbor in disguise.
World Trigger is back on our screens after five years with this new iteration that improves on nearly everything missing during its first run. Continuing the saga of humans vs. Neighbors, the animation quality is much smoother this time around and, with its reduced runtime, the speedier pace keeps you much more engaged. This second season was such a success that it has even been renewed for a third season! All in all, World Trigger 2nd Season offers more of what World Trigger fans love with an extra serving of quality of life improvements sprinkled on top.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2021 – Currently Airing
Horimiya was THE Shounen romance to look out for this season. Hori, the perfect cocktail of beauty and brains, finds herself fatefully encountering Miyamura, her meek and reserved classmate. Seemingly, the two would have very little in common. However, when they begin to unearth what lies below the surface, they come to find they are, in fact, kindred spirits. Miya’s body tattoos and piercings make him look like a delinquent but he is actually a very nice guy who is forced to live under the nose of his peers due to his unusual tastes. Likewise, Hori finds her life becoming stressful and lacks the time to socialize with friends due to her housework. The two bond over their similarities and share their innermost workings never to be revealed in public.
Horimiya sends a great message about shallow and surface-level judgments. Sometimes, the popular bombshell of your class is harboring a deep sorrow that you may not have realized. Similarly, the brooding, scary guy at your workplace, may just be looking for someone to ask him how his day is doing. As Hori and Miya come to understand each other more, the two eventually develop romantic feelings. Horimiya is a breath of fresh air in the romance genre, not wasting any time in getting to a confession and progressing the story. If you were in the market for a romance anime with a unique story to tell and a powerful underlying message, look no further than Horimiya.
3. Dr. Stone: Stone Wars
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: January 2021 – March 2021
Dr. Stone’s first season saw protagonist Senku waking up several thousand years into the future after the planet had suffered worldwide petrification. Every human alive has been turned to stone and so, Senku, the scientific genius that he is, strives to revive the planet. On his journey, he meets a counter-force that wishes to select only those worthy of revival (the young and healthy) while casting away the adults from yesteryear. Tensions have been building thus far as the race to attain scientific weapons before Shishio Tsukasa’s counter-force makes their attack. The battle we’ve all been waiting for is about to take place. The battle known as, the Stone Wars.
Dr. Stone has always based its experiments on real-life scientific knowledge but for us plebians, there really is no need to go to such extreme lengths to maintain that suspension of disbelief. “Just sprinkle some dust onto this rock and you can make a carpet bomb? Whatever you say science man Senku!” While the science was still abundant in this sequel series, as the name would imply, there was a lot more action this time around. Season one of Dr. Stone does what every high school substitute teacher fails to do—make science cool. Never did we think an anime focused around such a typically level-headed subject, would find a home in the bombastic world of Shounen action anime. While this season received fewer episodes than its predecessor and does at times feel rushed because of this, Stone Wars does a great job introducing several new characters, as well as expanding on the personalities of our favorite mainstays. If you haven’t checked out Dr. Stone or Stone Wars yet, be sure to do so!
2. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu 2nd Season Part 2
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2021 – March 2021
So far, we have seen Subaru come to understand his ability to Return By Death (to return to a random checkpoint after suffering a fatal injury). Season one saw Subaru and his pals attempting to place Emilia onto the throne, whilst simultaneously defending themselves from the Witch’s Cult. After defeating the White Whale (one of the Witch’s Cult’s creations), the future looked bright for Subaru. Picking up directly after the first season’s finale, we have reunited with Subaru and the gang apart from a comatose Rem. Season two sees Subaru attempt to wake Rem from her slumber, whilst also striving to escape from the Sanctuary, where he and several others have been trapped.
Re:Zero was met with critical acclaim when it first debuted its original season. Games, collaborations, plushies, keychains, you name it—Re:Zero slapped their brand all over it. And why not, the show was not only a powerhouse in marketing but just a genuinely enjoyable watch, breathing new life into the Isekai genre. The first season ended after such a rollercoaster of events transpired, that it was understandably questionable whether or not the sequel would live up to such high expectations. Luckily for us, it delivered in spades!! Re:Zero’s second season does what any good sequel does—expanding on the world we are already familiar with. Treading the same tired ground we have come to expect is safe but boring! Re:Zero proves it is not afraid to take risks, foregoing an opening theme in most episodes for the sake of cramming as much story into its thirty-minute allotment as possible.
1. Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season (Attack on Titan Final Season)
- Episodes: 16
- Aired: December 2020 – March 2021
Attack on Titan’s first season made waves when it released and each subsequent iteration of the franchise has been an event in and of itself. While we all choose to watch different anime every season, almost like a Game of Thrones effect, it was expected that we anime fans would all gather around the screen once a week to watch this masterpiece in storytelling. Without spoiling too much of the story until this point, we continue to follow the life of Eren Yeager and the Survey Corps on their quest. Hinted at during the first season, the elusive Yeager family basement has finally been reached and, with this milestone achieved, we finally come to learn the mystery surrounding the titans.
Attack on Titan blends gripping suspense, seamlessly fluid action, and well-developed characters to create what is no less than a piece of art. Shounen action anime sell themselves on crazy spectacles, compelling plot points, and interesting characters. Attack on Titan hits all three points and many more out of the park. Should you watch any anime from this Winter season; make it this one.
2021 was a great year for Shounen anime. While few newcomers threw their hat into the ring, 2021 will go down as the year of the sequel, as all your favorites came back for one last hurrah. What was your top Shounen of this season? Let us know down below!