The 26 Greatest Shonen Protagonists of All Time, Ranked

Over 19.6K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The 26 Greatest Shonen Protagonists of All Time, Ranked

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. 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.

Latest additions: Denji

  • Gintoki Sakata - 'Gintama'
    Photo: Sunrise

    Half parody character, half sincere representation of what going through a war does to a persons' psyche, Gintoki Sakata is unlike any other character on this list. One minute he's screaming about the value of strawberry milk or his bowel habits, and the next he's taking on enemies like a real shonen hero. 

    3,590 votes
  • Monkey D. Luffy's goal is to become the King of the Pirates - that and to support his fellow members of the Straw Hat Crew as they work towards their own goals. His Devil Fruit, the Gum-Gum Fruit, lets him stretch his body like rubber, a trait that helps him greatly whether he's fighting off the Marines and the World Government, or dealing with villainous pirates. 

    9,712 votes
  • After Edward Elric's mother passed away, he taught himself alchemy to try to bring her back. This led to an accident that cost him an arm and a leg, and forced his brother to bind his soul to a suit of armor. Together, the two of them try to find a way to get their bodies back - and save the world from dangerous homunculi in the process. 

    8,657 votes
  • Despite being to one of the most powerful ninja in history and having a powerful Tailed Beast sealed into his body, Naruto Uzumaki still manages to be underestimated throughout most of his early ninja career. But after saving the world from everybody from the Akatsuki to an alien goddess, Naruto proves his worth - and rescues his best friend Sasuke from himself in the meantime. 

    10,698 votes
  • 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. 

    7,386 votes
  • Yuji Itadori - 'Jujutsu Kaisen'
    Photo: MAPPA

    In order to save his friends at the Occult Club, Yuji Itadori consumes a cursed finger that belongs to Ryomen Sukuna, an evil and powerful spirit. Now serving as a vessel to Sukuna, Itadori must help his new friends and teachers at Jujutsu High School recover the rest of Sukuna's fingers and exorcise the evil spirit once and for all. 

    2,830 votes