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Introduction to Shonen Manga

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Bleach by Tite Kubo

Bleach by Tite Kubo

© Tite Kubo

What is Shonen Manga?

Shonen manga literally means "comics for boys." The genre includes action-packed, dramatic and humorous stories about sports, adventure, superheroes and sci-fi. These comics are primarily written to appeal to males between the ages of 8 to 18, but its appeal doesn’t stop there: Many girls, young adults and businessmen regularly buy, read and enjoy shonen manga series such as Naruto, Bleach and Slam Dunk.

In Japan, shonen manga is the most popular genre of comics and accounts for almost 40% of the total sales of manga magazines. Shonen Jump is the best-selling shonen mangapublication in Japan, with its weekly edition typically selling 3 million copies or more.

Popular shonen manga series are adapted as anime or animated TV shows and its characters’ images can be found on toys, candy, clothes and other memorabilia in almost every department store, supermarket and train station in Japan.

Shonen Manga Themes: Ninjas, Robots, Athletes and Demons

Shonen manga stories include a diverse array of characters, themes and artistic styles. Its moods can range from lighthearted slapstick humor to dark and violent drama. It can inspire readers with stories featuring athletes striving for the gold or gross out readers with poop and fart jokes.

Popular themes in shonen manga include:

  • Sports Shonen Manga
  • Superhero Shonen Manga
  • Science Fiction – Sci-Fi Shonen Manga
  • Robot / Mecha Shonen Manga
  • Humorous Shonen Manga

Recommended Reading

Want a sampler of the best shonen manga available in English today? Take a chance on these popular choices:

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