8 Shonen Anime That Challenged Their Audience

As with all fiction, every shonen anime has a moral to its story. While the common themes in shonen are friendship and hard work, there are certainly some with darker implications. Although the genre generally appeals to a younger male demographic, there is plenty of insightful commentary to be found if one digs deep enough into a story’s themes.

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While younger audiences may not understand the heavier themes of a shonen title, adult audiences will resonate with its message. Some shonen anime draw the audience into questioning philosophical questions such as the meaning of life and how political corruption materializes.

8 My Hero Academia unabashedly claims that not all men are the same

Although mostly enjoyed by younger anime fans, my hero academia he makes quite a bold statement in the first few seconds of the anime. After the protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, appears on screen as a young boy being bullied, he states, “Here’s the sad truth: not all men are created equal.” While this directly applies to his situation as a boy with no quirks still looking to become a hero, this statement carries over to many facets of my hero academia the quirkless are the dregs of society.

However, if someone has a quirk that is not considered marketable enough, that person is on the same level as the quirk. After Shigaraki’s quirk manifested, he was left behind by society. No hero came to save him as he wandered the streets aimlessly. In Twice’s case, his quirk inflicted great mental terror on him; however, there were no institutions to provide him with the support he needed.

7 Hunter X Hunter’s Chimera Ant Arc Criticizes War And Politics

Hunter x Hunter Meruem

Chimera Ant Arc hunter x hunter presented various criticisms of humanity and its inherent hypocrisy. While humans see no problem in keeping other species as livestock, circumstances change when humans are treated in the same way. However, the theme of humans vs. beasts is not the focal point of this arc.

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There are several references to real governments in Hunter x Hunter’s Chimera Ant Bow. NGL is a hermit nation ruled by an authoritarian who sells drugs that deteriorate the world. East Gorteau is an allegory for North Korea, a fascist government in which the elites are rich, but the average people go hungry. At the end of the arc hunter x hunter it presents how useless war and politics are in relation to the happiness of mankind.

6 Deadman Wonderland used shady scenarios to reveal political corruption

Deadman Wonderland Poster

dead man wonderland it’s almost too disturbing to be considered shonen. He follows Ganta and her classmates on a field trip to an amusement park called Deadman Wonderland. There, the convicts turn into spectacles as they perform dangerous stunts to impress the audience. However, all of Ganta’s classmates are killed by a mysterious man in red and Ganta is framed for the tragedy.

In essence, the Deadman Wonderland amusement park symbolizes the most twisted trio of all: the media, the judicial system, and corrupt politicians. While the media thrives on vicious criminal acts, the courts pick winners and losers regardless of the laws on the books. Behind the curtains, however, are the corrupt politicians pulling the strings.

5 The Promised Neverland presents a nightmarish existence for children at Grace Field House

Ray Emma Norman from The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland is a psychological thriller that follows three children who live in an orphanage. On the surface, Grace Field House seems like the ideal living situation for these orphans. However, the main trio quickly discover the nightmarish truth of the world and the very place they call home.

The Grace Field House orphanage serves as an incubator in The Promised Neverland until the children are sold to the demons like cattle. Children are forced to submit through dishonesty. While the central theme of the story is friendship, various social commentaries can be found. The Promised Neverland comments about growing up and realizing that those in power are rarely who they say they are. Many fans described walking away from this story feeling empty and deeply disturbed.

4 Akame Ga Kill! It has a government that is based solely on fear of civilians

Esdeath captures Tstumi, Akame ga Kill!

Akame Ga Kill! is a rather dark shonen title that follows a villager named Tatsumi who visits the capital in order to raise money for his household. However, the Capital’s corruption becomes glaringly apparent almost immediately.

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The civilians of the Empire pay taxes immensely, which makes it impossible for them to buy the basic necessities of life. Due to high taxes, parents sell their children into slavery for financial gain. The Capital thrives by creating a culture of fear among its constituents; no one dares to rebel. Anyone who speaks out against the regime becomes a victim of public crucifixion. Even surviving in the Empire feels like punishment to its civilians.

3 One Piece Disguises Its Political Commentary Behind Common Shonen Tropes

Luffy during the Onigashima raid in One Piece

Despite the quirky qualities associated with One piece, the series has an inherently political theme beneath its familiar shonen tropes. Its theme of friendship is one of the best representations of the anime as a whole; however, it hides something significantly deeper. At a surface level, One piece It is about a young man who follows his dreams of becoming a pirate. However, he morphs into comments about corrupt governments.

On One piece, all the protagonists are pirates. However, this puts them in direct contradiction to the World Government. Initially, the Government has no real prominence in the story. However, in later chapters, his reign of tyranny becomes apparent. If someone goes against the will of the government, the regime attacks him with force. This organization relies on censorship and indoctrination to stay in power. The Straw Hats, objectively, are the only ones who can defeat them.

two Death Note makes the audience realize the inherent fragility of morality.

The light holds the note of death

Death Note adheres to a cat-and-mouse dynamic between its protagonist, Light Yagami, and the forces trying to end his reign as “Kira.” Death Note introduces psychological warfare with earnest commentary on the meaning of life, death, and what morality really is.

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Finally, Death Note it makes the audience recognize that morality is inherently subjective. Light’s plan to abolish crime was established alongside an ever-growing complex of gods. While she started out killing criminals, she eventually killed anyone who got in her way. The police have the same goal of abolishing crime, but their sense of morality is different from Light’s. While Light and L declared themselves to be the very definition of justice, their moralities were opposite. Therefore, there is no true definition of “justice” within Death Note.

1 Attack On Titan understands that humanity can be monstrous

attack on titan eren the rumble begins

Attack the titans The protagonist, Eren Yeager, has become a radicalized extremist whose priorities have changed since the beginning of the series. At first, he sought to avenge everything he lost by exterminating the Titans.

However, Eren became just as corrupt as the Palladian government he swore to fight against. He has committed numerous atrocities and massacred countless people. Eren even has fanatical followers called “Yagerists”, who encourage these monstrous actions. While he started out as a hero, Eren is becoming more of a villain every day. attack on titan does an excellent job of presenting the idea that humanity has the potential to become genuinely monstrous.

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