15 Shonen Anime You Might Not Know Were Created By Women
While shonen anime has a ton of female fans, it's aimed primarily at a young male audience. But that doesn't mean that the creators behind these series are all male. Shonen anime by female creators are more common than you might think, and some of them are pretty incredible.
The most well-known example of a female shonen creator is probably Hiromu Arakawa, whose works include Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon. There's also Rumiko Takahashi, who wrote and illustrated Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2, and Kore Yamazaki, the creative force behind The Ancient Magus Bride. These aren't just some of the best female-created shonen anime, they're some of the best anime created by women, period.
- 11,579 VOTESPhoto: Studio Bones
You probably did know that the wildly popular Fullmetal Alchemist was created by a woman, but you can't have a list about female shonen creators and not give a shoutout to Hiromu Arakawa. The series is about two boys who accidentally destroy their bodies via alchemy, and then get involved in both the aftermath of war and fighting a group of homunculi trying to seize power.
Arakawa has been asked several times about her views on women writing in the shonen genre. She had this to say:
“It is often said that women are better to talk about emotions, to write dialogues that hit the nail on the head, and men know how to create stories with twists and turns. As for me, I think it’s difficult today to make a distinction between genres. Some men are really able to imagine sensitive and complex characters, while some women are able to create sometimes violent action scenes. Nowadays, each writer has their own specialty. It doesn’t matter if they’re a man or a woman.”
- 2942 VOTESPhoto: Studio Bones
Noragami isn't just created by one woman - it's actually created by two! Character artist Adachi and background artist Tokashiki work together under the pen name Adachitoka. The series follows Yato, a minor god who tries to amass a following and save up to buy a shrine by doing odd jobs. In the meantime, he has to prevent ayakashi from causing too much damage, and deal with drama from the other gods and his own troubling past. By his side is Hiyori, a human girl who got a little too involved with things otherwordly, and Yukine - a shinki, or human weapon forged from the soul of a deceased person.
- 3743 VOTESPhoto: Kyoto Animation
The Kyoto Animation adaptation of A Silent Voice won the Japanese Movie Critics Awards for Best Animated Feature Film, the Japan Academy Film Prize for Excellent Animation of the Year, and was nominated for Mainichi Film Award for Best Animation Film. The film was based on a manga by a woman named Yoshitoki Ōima, while the film itself was directed by another woman, Naoko Yamada. This female-led production tells the story of a young man trying to come to terms with the fact that as a child, he bullied a female classmate for being deaf. Now he hopes to not just make up for what he did, but build a meaningful relationship with his former victim.
- 4952 VOTESPhoto: Sunrise
Rumiko Takahashi is one of the most renowned creators in manga history. She's written titles like Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2, and Urusei Yatsura.
But her best-known work among shonen fans is probably Inuyasha, a story about a girl from modern-day Japan who travels back to the Sengoku period, has a magic jewel reborn inside of her, and then has to find its shattered pieces with the help of her half-demon pal, Inuyasha. It's an action-packed battle series that still has plenty of romance.
- 5861 VOTES
Blue ExorcistPhoto: A-1 Pictures
After publishing Space Traveller Robo & Usakichi in Monthly Shōnen Sirius, Jump Square contacted Kazue Kato and asked her to develop a long-running series. This would end up being Blue Exorcist, a series about a boy named Rin Okumura who is raised to be an exorcist, but whose biological father is Satan himself.
Kato was interested in animation and manga since childhood, but her father didn't feel like she was serious enough about it, so he sent her to college. She dropped out and started making manga. If you're a fan of Blue Exorcist or any of her other work, you're probably glad she did!
- 6599 VOTESPhoto: A-1 Pictures
Shinobu Ohtaka is the creator responsible for writing and illustrating Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic and for writing Magi: Adventure of Sinbad. They offer their own unique take on 1001 Arabian Nights, a classic collection of Middle Eastern folk tales that contains the story of Aladdin. Labyrinth of Magic centers around a young boy named Aladdin who goes from leading a secluded lifestyle to traveling to a dungeon in the hopes of defeating the Djinn that lives there and claiming the treasure for himself. Meanwhile, Adventure of Sinbad dives into the childhood of a character who will eventually become the king of Sindria.