Takakura and Momo Walking Together While Cow Gets Abducted Behind Them in Dandadan Anime
Image Credit: Science Saru

8 Shonen Manga & Anime That Could Be the Next Big Thing

Shonen is dead. Long live Shonen.

2024 marks a huge turning point for Shonen manga and anime. Major series have ended with others primed to wrap up soon, which leaves a huge vacuum just waiting to be filled by the next mega hit. But with so many different works out there right now, how can you narrow down what might be the next big thing?

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We had that very thought, and after doing some digging, we found eight Shonen anime and manga that could be the next big thing. Please bear in mind that while these series might have already been around for a while—and have already enjoyed a fair amount of success—we’ve included them here due to their potential to blow up among the fandom in the near future.

Dandadan

Okarun Transformed Into Turbo Granny Form in Dandadan (Shonen Anime and Manga That Could Be the Next Big Thing)
Image Credit: Science Saru

Dandadan might not be the next Chainsaw Man, but it’s still primed to be one of the biggest series to hit the genre this decade.

Set in a world that bleeds creativity, emotion, and insanity in equal measure, the series boasts a sense of imagination few other works could hope to have. One moment, the main cast is up against a giant ghostly crab that wishes to curse them for all eternity; the next, they’re in a tense game of hide and seek with a laser-blasting Loch Ness monster swimming around their school.

What’s more, its art style is one that feels distinct and lively. Each panel of the manga moves and flows with a sense of action and energy that other series never achieve. The anime looks to have captured this strength as well, thanks in no small part to the fact that Science Saru is at the helm of the first season.

I could go on, but the fact remains: There’s nothing like Dandadan out there right now, and it’s hard not to see it becoming one of the heaviest hitters in Shonen anime and manga.

Dark Gathering

Yayoi Chopping Head Off of Possessed Doll in Dark Gathering
Image Credit: OLM Team Masuda

Dark Gathering is an odd beast among the current Shonen offerings out there.

It’s one of the more well-established series around right now with both a 25-episode anime on HiDive and over a dozen volumes of chapters currently being translated by Viz Media. There’s likewise a case to be made for it being on the very cusp of the genre, as its horror elements are graphic enough that it could very well be mistaken for a Seinen series.

And yet, when you look at franchises that could be a good stand-in for Jujutsu Kaisen, it’s a clear frontrunner. The ghost designs are among some of the most detailed and disturbing around, and the lore it draws off of for dealing with them is impressively well-detailed.

Likewise, the ways it pits different ghosts against each other turns what would be straight horror into an enthralling Shonen battle system. Said system is complete with Strengths and weaknesses the protagonists need to account for, and which fans can easily get caught up in thanks to its deceptive depth.

Top all of this off with the fact that its second season is being made as we speak, and there’s little doubt this series could go on to terrify the wider anime community as a heavy hitter.

Elusive Samurai

Tokiyuki Looking Out Over Town in Elusive Samurai (Shonen Anime and Manga That Could Be the Next Big Thing)
Image Credit: CloverWorks

It’s little wonder the author of Assassination Classroom would be responsible for one of Shonen Jump’s more consistent Shonen series at the moment, but most might not realize how novel the series is.

Set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan, the series follows the young lord Tokiyuki. On the run after his clan was slaughtered in a power grab, he needs to gather allies and reach his full potential in order to regain his birthright and save his people.

But there’s a catch: Tokiyuki doesn’t have a violent bone in his body. Instead, he has a heightened survival instinct and is incredibly talented at avoiding danger. As a result, the series is less a series of straightforward battles and more so one where the protagonist must outwit and outmaneuver his much stronger opponents.

It’s a welcome change from the usual Shonen formula and is likely a big factor as to why the series has been going for over three years now. We’d put good money on its popularity shooting into the stratosphere now that its anime adaptation has kicked off on Crunchyroll.

Sakamoto Days

Sakamoto Watching TV With Family in Sakamoto Days
Image Credit: TMS Entertainment

Sakamoto Days has the potential to fill a very specific niche within the larger Shonen manga and anime sphere; that being the spoof-y take on a variety of Shonen trends.

Whereas other series seek to spout platitudes about the power of friendship and hard work paying off, this series instead just sort of “is”. The titular protagonist Sakamoto simply wants to enjoy his retirement from being an assassin and run his family’s convenience store, and anyone or anything that gets in the way of that is liable to be dispatched within an instant via his otherworldly strength and skills.

It’s One Punch Man by way of Assassins instead of heroes, and its underlying irreverence for some of the more hallowed Shonen elements gives it an undeniable appeal on par with Gintama. It’s also got a sizable amount of chapters that its upcoming anime can draw from too, so it’s well-positioned to be one of the better animated shows around.

Kagurabachi

Chihiro Drawing Sword in Kagurabachi (Shonen Anime and Manga That Could Be the Next Big Thing)
Image Credit: Takeru Hokazono and Shonen Jump

The fact that Kagurabachi is being recommended by the likes of Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, My Hero Academia creator Kohei Horikoshi, and so many others should tell you everything you need to know about the series’ potential.

Set against the backdrop of a world irreparably changed by the creation of insanely powerful blades, it follows the exploits of Chihiro. The son of the blades’ creator, he’s intent on tracking down every blade and keeping them out of the hands of those who would use them for evil.

Though this might be a pretty generic premise, the series’ execution is top-notch. When the story isn’t nailing some emotional high points, the art and action elevate the whole package to exceptional heights and give one the impression that it could be the next Demon Slayer or Bleach.

Its only fault is that it’s still too early in its run for it to have an anime adaptation. But given its rising popularity within the wider Shonen fandom, it’s only a matter of time before that’s rectified.

Blade of the Moon Princess

Kaguya Wielding Forked Sword in Blade of the Moon Princess Key Art
Image Credit: Tatsuya Endo and Shonen Jump

Blade of the Moon Princess is pure, refined Shonen goodness by way of the genre’s more recent hits.

Whereas its premise and setup are your standard “royalty forced to gather allies to regain their throne,” the art and action design are highly reminiscent of big names like Naruto or One Piece. Its panels and pages flow with a sort of grace that keeps you reading on and on until you’ve torn through all the available chapters, and then you start over again because it’s all just so enjoyable.

This is made all the more impressive when you consider that there are only 16 chapters available through Viz Media. Even if it is a monthly released series, that’s a good sign that this series has some major heat that could be properly tapped into once it has enough material for an anime adaptation.

Choujin X

Heroes Fleeing From Choujin Mother in Choujin X (Shonen Anime and Manga That Could Be the Next Big Thing)
Image Credit: Sui Ishida and Shonen Jump

Choujin X is, without a doubt, one of the weirdest manga out there at the moment.

To be sure, the series has its merits. Tokyo Ghoul creator Sui Ishida injects the same insanity into this series as he did into his breakout work, complete with world-building, character dynamics, and carefully paced plot points that all paint a picture of a world irreparably changed by the introduction of supernaturally powerful beings.

And yet, when you read Choujin X, it’s hard to think of anything you can compare it to. The manga is entirely its own thing. It doesn’t care about measuring up to other works, and instead only wants to tell its own tale for as long as you’ll stick around.

It has to be seen to be believed, and we firmly believe that almost anyone willing to give it a look will end up thoroughly hooked.

Show-ha Shoten!

Main Pair Performing in Show-ha Shoten!
Image Credit: Takeshi Obata, Akinari Asakura, and Shonen Jump

There are a lot of aspects of Show-ha Shoten! I could point to as proof that it’s a Shonen hit waiting to happen.

I could focus on its outstanding art. Designed by Death Note illustrator Takeshi Obata, the characters and world are distinct and memorable, with emotion and energy that drips out of every panel and page. I could also focus on the writing by author Akinari Asakura, which weaves an engrossing tale of two unlikely friends aiming for the heights of the Manzai comedy world.

Instead, though, I’ll simply say this: Show-ha Shoten is a comedy manga that can actually make you burst out laughing. It uses all of its strengths in tandem to deliver an experience that is so hard to find, and that’s without even having an anime adaptation to its name. Here’s hoping that changes sooner rather than later, and that this series’ success isn’t limited to a single medium.


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Author
Image of Keenan McCall
Keenan McCall
Keenan has been a nerd from an early age, watching anime and playing games for as long as I can remember. Since obtaining a bachelor's degree in journalism back in 2017, he has written thousands of articles covering gaming, animation, and entertainment topics galore.
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