1.1k voters

Which Shonen Anime Had The Best First Opening Arc?

Updated February 10, 2021 7.6k votes 1.1k voters 17.6k views20 items

Viewers often decide whether or not they're going to keep watching an anime based on the first few episodes. If they really love it, they'll stick around for the first arc, and maybe even the whole series. Not every first anime arc has the power to keep viewers watching - but some do. For this list, we're looking at shonen anime in particular, and asking the question: what's the best first arc in shonen anime?

Is it the first arc of Hunter x Hunter, which focuses on Gon Freecs' attempts to take on the Hunter Exam? Or is it the first arc of My Hero Academia, which sees Izuku Midoriya getting into the hero school of his dreams? What about the first arc of Dragon Ball Z, which shows Goku's throwdown with his older brother, who wants him to join the Frieza Force? Everyone has a different take, so let your voice be heard and vote up the first arcs you think deserve recognition.

  • Photo: Madhouse

    In order to find out what was so great about being a Hunter that it led his father to abandon him, Gon Freecss sets out to take the Hunter Exam. Along the way, he meets a child assassin named Killua, a would-be doctor with an anger problem named Leorio, and Kurapika, who seems calm but is bent on vengeance. Together, the four of them take on the onerous exam. 

    Great first arc?
  • Photo: Wit Studio

    Attack on Titan begins by introducing a world in which humanity is walled off to keep them safe from giant man-eating monsters called Titans. But just as Eren, Mikasa, and Armin are lamenting their lack of freedom, the Colossal Titan and the Armored Titan break through the walls and lay waste to their home. 

    Great first arc?
  • The first arc of Naruto is actually two parts that are bundled together. During the first part, we're introduced to Naruto Uzumaki and his life as a village pariah and school mischief-maker. During the second part, he's graduated and is on his first genin mission. What should be a simple mission turns out to be an extremely dangerous one where they have to take on two powerful ninja, Zabuza and Haku - as well as contend with the harsh realities that made them into their enemies in the first place. 

    Great first arc?
  • Photo: ufotable

    After Tanjiro Kamado's family is slaughtered by demons, he wants to find a way to help his surviving sister turn back into a human after being turned into a demon herself. But in order to do that, he'll have to undertake some serious training and become capable of facing demons himself. In the first arc, he trains under Sakonji Urokodaki, and prepares to take the Final Selection Exam.

    Great first arc?