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These Are The Best Arcs From Your Favorite Shounen Anime

Updated January 5, 2021 45.6k votes 10.1k voters 180.2k views15 items

List RulesVote up the arcs you believe best represent the anime.

A great narrative arc needs more than just an interesting plot and captivating action. While these are both appreciated, the best arc shounen anime also feature exquisite writing that takes the cast into uncharted territory. All great shounen sagas are packed full of intense fights and brutal takedowns, but they also feature incredible moments of victory, tragedy, redemption, and deceit. It's these terrific ingredients that make them the best shounen anime ever made. After all, who wants to read the same old boring thing? 

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    'My Hero Academia' - Hideout Raid Arc

    The "Hideout Raid Arc" (AKA the "Kamino Ward Arc") in My Hero Academia gave fans one of the most epic fights in the series—All Might Vs. All For One. This dramatic battle proved to us why All Might is the No. 1 hero as he gave it his all until there was nothing left of his quirk. While All Might continued to bring hope to all the citizens, Deku understood that his time as the Symbol of Peace has come to an end.

    Plus, fans got to see Bakugo in a whole new light as he subverted our expectations by not joining the League of Villains. Deku's mission to save Bakugo made for an amazing scene that showed off the squad's teamwork. This arc was a nail-biting and emotional ride as All Might met his match with the series' most formidable villain, All For One, and foreshadowed what's to come with All Might and All for One passing down their torches to their respective successors—Deku and Shigaraki.

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  • Medusa Gorgon is up to her old tricks again as she prepares to trap Death and revive an all-powerful god underneath Death Weapon Meister Academy. This batch of episodes is Soul Eater at its best, as it expands upon the history of Death City and its mysterious creator. It also provides viewers with the tragic background of Crona, making it hard to not pity the villain. Then there's the exceptional fight between Medusa and Franken Stein that puts their strength, skills, and intelligence on full display. 

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  • It's easy to see Gintama as nothing more than a goofy action show that breaks the fourth wall so frequently it gives Deadpool a run for its money. However, the "Shogun Assassination Arc" marks a serious change in direction for the series, as it shifts focus to tell dramatic, plot-driven stories, beginning with the assassination attempt on Tokugawa Shige Shige's life.

    The story arc keeps you guessing about whether or not Shige Shige has been saved or betrayed, and thrusts the show's typically goofy cast into some of the most intense fights of their lives. Nothing demonstrates this better than the long-awaited battle between Gintoki and Takasugi, which is easily one of the best anime swordfights of all time. The surprisingly bittersweet ending cements the "Shogun Assignation Arc" as the series's best saga. 

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  • "The Frieza Saga" in Dragon Ball Z is a constant nail-bitter. Despite all their amazing growth in the previous storyline, Gohan and Krillin have to walk on eggshells so they can avoid the deadly wrath of Freiza, his henchmen, and Vegeta, who's stronger than ever before. Freiza is built up as an unstoppable killing machine, and he doesn't disappoint when he finally steps into the ring.

    Operating at 50% of his true power, Frieza easily defeats Vegeta, Goku, and a Spirit Bomb made up of all the living energy on Namek. Just when everything seems doomed, Goku transforms into a Super Saiyan for the first time, and serves Freiza the thrashing he rightly deserves. 

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