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The 25 Greatest Shonen Protagonists of All Time, Ranked

Updated October 9, 2020 97.0k votes 9.5k voters 101.4k 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.

  • 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. 

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  • 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. 

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  • 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. 

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  • 4

    Tanjiro Kamado - 'Demon Slayer'

    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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