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The First Episode Of Every Major Shonen Anime, Ranked

Updated May 5, 2021 38.4k votes 5k voters 84.2k views28 items

With so many anime out there, the first episode is of critical importance - many fans won't bother watching any further if the first episode isn't impressive. Every anime creator aims for a great first episode, but which ones actually succeed? That's up to you! 

We're ranking the best first episodes of shonen anime, including series like Naruto, One Piece, My Hero Academia, Hunter x Hunter, Black Clover, and more. Whether you love the art, the storytelling, or the action, there's bound to be a few episodes on this list that you love - and a few that you think are kind of lackluster. Vote up the first episodes that made you want to keep watching, and vote down the ones that had you looking for a different series. 

  • Photo: Wit Studio

    In order to avoid the threat of man-eating Titans, humanity has been living behind a large, protective wall. Eren Jaeger and his friends wonder what it might be like to live outside. But their vague fantasies turn into a terrifying reality when the Colossal and Armored Titans smash through the wall and let in hundreds of Titans that devour the townspeople - including Eren's mother. 

      Good first episode?
    • Photo: CloverWorks

      Emma, Norman, and Raye live what they think are happy lives in an orphanage called Gracefield House. Sure, some things are a little weird - they have to constantly take acuity tests, for example - but overall, things are pretty good. When their fellow foster sibling Conny is supposedly going to be adopted, she leaves her stuffed animal behind, and Norman and Emma try to return it to her. They discover a terrible secret: Conny isn't being adopted at all. Rather, she's being sold as meat for demonic consumption. Can they possibly do anything to save themselves and their siblings from the same gruesome fate? 

        Good first episode?
      • 3

        'Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba' - "Cruelty"

        Photo: ufotable

        Tanjiro Kamado lives a peaceful life with his family until one terrible day when everything changes. While he's in town selling charcoal to help support his family, his mother and siblings are attacked by a demon. The only survivor is his sister Nezuko, but her survival comes with a terrifying condition - she's been transformed into a demon! Tanjiro makes it his mission to find a way to turn her back. 

          Good first episode?
        • Photo: Madhouse

          A Shinigami named Ryuk drops a Death Note to the human realm, and a high school student named Light Yagami picks it up. Upon realizing that he can eliminate anyone whose name and face he knows by writing it in the book, he quickly decides to use his newfound power to eliminate crime. But he isn't content to quietly take out criminals - he wants them to know that a godlike figure is judging them. Ryuk is willing to help on the grounds that it's sure to be amusing. 

            Good first episode?