The 2022 anime season is not over yet, but fans have already seen several great shounen premiere or continue their runs. The shounen demographic is unsurprisingly one of the most crowd-pleasing anime worldwide, helping the genre elevate its international popularity. And on top of anime TV becoming more mainstream, movies have propelled it as well.

So far, the review and rating aggregator MyAnimeList has the usual shounen suspects in its highest ranks. These range from the recent blockbuster hit in Jujutsu Kaisen 0, to the latest cour of Attack on Titan’s final season, to first-time adaptations like Spy x Family that’s taking the community by storm.

Best Shounen Anime Of 2022

Case Closed (8.16)

It isn’t as widely known as other long-running shounen anime, but Case Closed is another longtime staple. Known as Detective Conan in Japan, the series is centered around Shinichi Kudo, a prodigy of a detective. This astonishing reputation attracts enemies, with two criminals force-feeding him an experimental poison that turns him into a child.

Case Closed continues with Shinichi trying to continue solving cases under this new form. The series is beloved for its brand of comedy mixed with an episodic case-by-case story structure. It’s run for over 1,000 episodes, as TMS Entertainment’s adaptation of Case Closed’s whimsical premise continues to prove to be an enduring one.

The Case Study Of Vanitas Season 2 (8.21)

Taking place in 19th century Paris, The Case Study of Vanitas tells a vampire story mixed with steampunk elements. It follows the vampire Noé Archiviste as he joins doctor Vanitas on a quest to cure cursed vampires by using a grimoire called the Book of Vanitas.

Both Jun Mochizuki’s manga and studio Bones’ anime adaptation so far have enjoyed a positive critical reception thanks to this stylishly seductive blend of vampire, dark fantasy, and steampunk aesthetics. In particular, Season 2 has garnered an improved reception thanks to its well-executed fight scenes, tasteful comedic relief, and more.

Komi Can’t Communicate Season 2 (8.26)

Taking things to a slower pace, Komi Can’t Communicate has become a fan-favorite slice-of-life and romantic-comedy anime. Komi starts school at an elite private high school, where she almost instantly becomes popular among her classmates due to the stoic beauty they perceive her as. But her classmate Tadano discovers that underneath that appearance of composure, Komi has a severe communication disorder. Tadano later agrees to help Komi branch out and make friends.

Komi Can’t Communicate has been well-received for being a fun and small-scale story, namely for making the titular protagonist relatable rather than a punchline. Given the premise, it would’ve been easy for it to become tasteless, but the series has built a strong cast of grounded characters worth getting invested in.

Summertime Render (8.36)

Summertime Render animated by OLM adapts Yasuki Tanaka’s manga of the same name, which recently finished publishing late last year. It’s a supernatural mystery-thriller surrounding the death of Shinpei Ajiro’s childhood friend Ushio Kofune. He returned to the town to attend her funeral, only to discover marks around Ushio’s neck. Shinpei and co. work to unravel a dark mystery that suggests old folklore is more than just a fantasy.

The anime adaptation has had strong traction so far, with the mystery proving intriguing to most fans. Similarly, the tight scope of the setting has been well-received for achieving a balance of grounded yet surreal thanks to its ominous supernatural element, along with a well-rounded cast of characters.

Teasing Master Takagi-San Season 3 (8.50)

Teasing Master Takagi-san is a comedic coming-of-age series by Soichiro Yamamoto, with the anime adaptation done by Shin-Ei Animation. The series starts simple enough, with a young pair of classmates challenging each other with pranks and jokes to one-up each other. The titular Takagi usually ends up winning, with Nishitaka desperate to outwit her.

The first two seasons were warmly received for being fun and colorful stories without too much depth. However, the recent third season was noticeably more praised. This is thanks to the series honing in more on character development and growing the two leads’ dynamics, all while maintaining the nostalgic and innocent theme of childhood first crushes.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (8.53)

Animation studio MAPPA has broken into the anime mainstream in recent years thanks to its string of critically praised adaptations. 2020 saw the studio adapt Gege Akutami’s Jujutsu Kaisen to excellent reception, and that high standard was maintained in the recent Jujutsu Kaisen 0 theatrical prequel movie.

It adapts Akutami’s one-shot manga of the same name, centering around Yuta Okkotsu as he seeks to tame the spirit of his childhood best friend and first love that haunts him. The franchise overall is praised for being a grimly stylish blend of shounen action, dark fantasy, and horror, borrowing from some of the most iconic shounen of decades past while trimming the fat that held them back. And given the reception, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 easily maintains that reputation.

One Piece (8.64)

Of the “Big Three” from earlier Shounen Jump days, Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece is not only the last one standing, but it’s still thriving to boot. One Piece tells the grandiose seafaring tale of Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hat Pirates as they aim to hunt down Gold D. Roger’s titular and coveted treasure.

Ever since its publication, Oda’s sprawling pirate-themed odyssey has been acclaimed as one of the best shounen manga and anime ever. Praises go to its expansive lore, worldbuilding, impressive attention to detail, and deep cast of colorful characters — heroes and villains alike. The anime recently celebrated its 1,000th episode.

Attack On Titan Season 4 Part 2 (8.85)

Though fans might be surprised to see how long this 4th and “final” season of Attack on Titan has stretched out, it’s impressively held onto its widespread following. This second cour of season 4 takes place after the shocking revelation that came in early 2021, as Eren Jaeger continues his terrifying band of insurgents into a rogue fight to settle the conflict between Eldia and Marley.

Wit Studio (seasons 1-3) and now MAPPA (season 4) have fashioned Hajime Isayama’s beloved manga into a worldwide phenomenon. It’s one of those anime that became many fans’ first, using its dark-fantasy setting, a backdrop of political intrigue, and riveting mystery at its core to gain mass appeal. Fans are now eagerly awaiting a staggering season 4 part 3 next year.

Demon Slayer Season 2 (8.88)

2019 was a densely packed year for anime, and Demon Slayer was arguably the biggest mainstream hit. It certainly has the typical shounen tropes veteran fans have seen in many other series, but Demon Slayer has become one of the most stunning action anime out there. Season 2 takes place after the tense and heartbreaking events of the Mugen Train movie, the Entertainment District arc.

Much of this adaptation’s continued success is thanks to studio Ufotable, as their vibrant and elegant brand of action is still on full display. It cemented the studio’s talent in the industry, helping Demon Slayer’s cast of characters become instantly recognizable among the anime community.

Spy X Family (9.05)

While Weekly Shounen Jump magazine is most famous for the headlining series in its print edition, the digital Jump + version has its gems. One of which is Tatsuya Endo’s thrilling and charming spy-comedy Spy x Family. The series follows agent Twilight, a spy tasked with a high-stakes diplomatic mission and has to manufacture the “Forger” family as part of the act.

It’s been beloved since first going into publication, and the Spy x Family anime adaptation has garnered emphatic acclaim. Wit Studio and CloverWork’s Spy x Family is filled with irresistible characters, each with their respective charms. Likewise, it’s been lauded for being equal parts wholesomely funny, exciting, and impressively emotional.

The original post is from Screenrant. 

Where to watch Shounen anime online for free

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