Shonen anime is known for being pretty violent. Most series, though not all, also fall into the action category, and focus on fighting. Though enjoyed by people of all genders and ages, its target demographic is boys, ages 12-18. That's a pretty broad demographic, encompassing everything from middle school kids to college freshmen.
This means that how much and what kind of violence will be present varies significantly - a series that's too intense for an average 12-year-old could barely make an 18-year-old raise an eyebrow. While younger kids totally do watch shows like Attack on Titan and Akame ga Kill, those shows are aimed at older kids. Not every show is an easy case, though - The Promised Neverland has a brutal premise, but it's actually fairly subdued in how it presents its content.
For this list, we're voting up the most violent shonen anime, and voting down the ones that are on the tame side.
- Photo: Wit Studio
Attack on Titan is one of those shows that's so violent it's hard to understand why it was ever labeled a shonen. The first episode makes this clear when Titans start devouring human beings. The camera lingers on these moments - we don't get to look away. Every skirmish with the Titans involves buckets of blood, half-destroyed bodies, and gruesome details like eyeballs being squeezed. There's also human-on-human violence - watching Levi beat Eren bloody is almost as terrifying as any Titan fight.2,77795Graphic for a shonen?
- Photo: White Fox
Akame ga Kill! is a show that's aimed at the tail end of the shonen demographic - it's definitely not for 12-year-olds. It's a hyper-violent show that features near constant bloodshed. It's focused on Night Raid, a group of well-trained assassins who work to liberate their people from tyranny. Each battle involves massive wounds and buckets of blood - seriously, there's even a moment where a character has her head mounted on a pike. Yikes, yikes, and yikes.1,614135Graphic for a shonen?
- Photo: Madhouse
Depending on which aqe you are, watching Hunter x Hunter can seem like a fun, fantastical romp, or it can be one of the most terrifyingly violent things you've ever witnessed. This is a show where you'll watch Chimera Ants fiddle around in a human's brain, witness gun violence, watch an animated corpse do battle, and see a kid chained to a wall after clearly being tortured by his family. It's a lot more graphic and intense than it appears on the outside.1,750232Graphic for a shonen?
Samurai ChamplooPhoto: Manglobe
Samurai Champloo is a masterpiece of a series - if you haven't already seen it, you definitely should - as long as you can tolerate some serious violence. A lot of the more dreadful things that happen are depicted offscreen, but what is shown is intense - you likely won't get the moment where Jin destroys his master out of your mind for the rest of your life.
The violence here isn't gratuitous - it serves to further the story.612168Graphic for a shonen?