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The 25 Greatest Shonen Protagonists of All Time, Ranked

Updated October 9, 2020 124.7k votes 12.3k voters 127.5k views25 items

Shonen is one of the most popular anime genres out there, and there are plenty of great reasons for it. One of those reasons is the protagonists who drive the show. 

Who are the best shonen protagonists? There are plenty to choose from. Some fit the typical hot-blooded hero profile: Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto, Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail, and Yusuke Urameshi from Yu Yu Hakusho are great examples of that - though of course all three are more complicated than that description. A shonen hero doesn't have to fit the mold to be great: Senku Ishigami from Dr. Stone would lose in a fist fight but dominate with his intelligence, while Chise Hatori from The Ancient Magus' Bride has to overcome her lack of confidence and emotional issues before anything else. Some shonen protagonists aren't even heroes: Light Yagami might be the main character, but he's more of a villain.

Vote up the shonen protagonists you love, and vote down the ones you'd rather see demoted to side character.

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  • 5

    Tanjiro Kamado - 'Demon Slayer'

    Photo: ufotable

    While Tanjiro Kamado is out selling charcoal to support his family, a demon attacks his home, leaving his sister Nezuko as the only survivor. But Nezuko has been transformed into a demon herself, and in order to change her back, he'll have to find the demon who did it. In order to safely get anywhere near a demon though, he'll have to be able to fight them - which is why he begins training to become a demon slayer. 

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  • As a human being who also works as a Shinigami, Ichigo Kurosaki leads a complicated double life. Using his bankai Zangetsu, his Quincy powers, his Hollow powers, and plain old fighting techniques, he works hard to keep the peace in Soul Society. 

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  • 7

    Izuku Midoriya - 'My Hero Academia'

    Despite being born without a superpower (quirk) in a world where almost everybody has one, Izuku Midoriya still wants to become a hero more than anything. He gets his chance when he meets All Might, the world's most famous hero, and the legend decides to pass along his quirk to Izuku. But just because he was granted an incredible power doesn't mean the road to heroism will be an easy one - Izuku still has a lot of work to do if he wants to achieve his dreams. 

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  • Asta was born without any magical potential, but that doesn't stop him from wanting to become the Wizard King. As it turns out, not being able to use magic is actually to his benefit: it's why he can use Anti-Magic, a powerful technique that lets him nullify all other forms of magic. It's a good thing he didn't give up even though everyone told him to! 

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