Ari gets credit for making me want to do this post, initially I tried to follow her example and do an overall top ten guys list…but that didn’t work out at all. Comparing guys from shoujo to guys from shonen is like comparing apples to oranges, it’s difficult to say that one character is cooler than another. Especially when that other character is a guy that fights in a cow onsie and an afro, I mean what bishie shoujo character stands a chance against such a unique guy? Characteristics I value in shoujo men aren’t always appreciated in the characters in shonen and vice versa. So I’ve divided things up. But I’m not sure how excited I’ll be about my female Shonen list…there are so many less awesome femme fatales to choose from in Shonen so most will probably be from Seinen series. Also I had to add in “current” to the title because my favorites are easily influenced by what part of the series I’m at when it’s time to make a list. For example if I had made this list when Naruto seriously fought Sasuke for the first time, Naruto would probably be in the top 10. My preferences change around as I see more, and series I liked a lot at the time I watched them sometimes fade from my memory quickly.
#10 – Gray Fullbuster (Fairy Tail)
Character wise I prefer Gray to Natsu, although I cheer on both with a lot of enthusiasm in their fights. Perhaps in the end it’s just that I prefer Grey’s exhibitionist tendencies to Natsu’s motion sickness issues as the running gag I also tend to prefer those who fight with ice over fire, although both are exciting. It could also be that currently I have more details on his back story and feel more sympathy for his childhood mistakes. Even though I prefer Gray, he’s meant to be a side character and not the main character. I like his place in the show as Natsu’s rival/friend.
# 9 – Goku (Dragonball)
I honestly didn’t think much of Goku and the gang from what I had seen of DBZ as a kid, but in college I saw the original Dragonball series and my opinion of Goku completely changed. His cute faces and childish jokes were irrisitible to me. I also appreciated that the battles were more entertaining, and that the fights didn’t last nearly as long as they did in DBZ. I gave up on DBZ after what felt like I was 6 episodes into Cell’s fight and they were still discarding limiters one by one. For me Goku is an adorable little boy with a monkey tail, I’ve somewhat blocked out the DBZ Goku.
# 8 – Mugen (Samurai Champloo)
Every time I think of Mugen I see him spinning on his head/hands before jumping and pulling out his sword. His fighting style was a lot of fun to watch and his irresponsible/competitive personality gave the series the most life for me. I remember I was beside myself with joy when he went back to rescue Fuu from that brothel. I liked Jin a lot too but Mugen won out, I loved that his natural skills were so amazing that his wild custom style of fighting was unpredictable enough to rival classicly trained samurai like Jin.
# 7 – Guts (Berserk)
Guts is one scary guy :/ when I read the first few chapters I didn’t think there was any way I could like this brute of a man. But then Berserk changed pace and showed me his life from childhood. The impossible odds Guts would overcome in battles had me glued to the pages. I’d become so involved in the moment that I’ve even forgot that he has to make it out of those battles alive, since the plot at this point was a recap of his past. I’m currently a bit behind on Berserk though, I think I should re-read everything until I get to the point where I had run out of volumes. I’m at the point where Guts has returned to his friends after being separate for a few years…I think part of the reason I temporarily put down the series is because I felt that his fragile and few moments of happiness are about to be shattered forever in a shocking way. This series has done a lot of unthinkable things to many characters, and I’m sure that whatever happens to Guts’ current rag-tag group of friends will bring a lot tears to my eyes.
# 6 – Kamina (Gurren Lagann)
The character that initially watered the seeds of hope and got Gurren Lagann started! He does what he wants regardless of what the world around him says. And well…he won me over when he picked up a sword in the most ridiculous way possible! You’ll have to see it to believe it, honestly 50% of the reason I picked up this series was someone who had a .gif of that exact scene in their signature. Kamina wins as being a character with some of the most drastic and influencial plot twists in an anime ever. He’s given me quite a few jaw dropping moments in such a short series.
# 5 – Roronoa Zoro (One Piece)
I fell hard for Zoro as a character is when I saw his fighting style with three swords. Initially when I found out he fights with one sword in his mouth I thought it would be a cheap way of giving a character more swords…and it probably is, but Zoro rocks it. I also like that he is very straight forward and dedicated to his goals. In many ways his childhood was the least traumatic of the crew, but unlike most of the rest of the crew he took that life lesson and used it to make new life goals. Plus his ability to get lost, and misunderstand it as being the fault of the others, always makes me chuckle. Zoro has very few facial expressions, and most of them are grumpy ones. He is a great serious character to put into a preposterous situation and laugh about it.
# 4 – Eikichi Onizuka (Great Teacher Onizuka)
Onizuka is quite the man, he is absurdly open about his perverted thoughts compared to every other adult in the series. But despite this he is one of the most (simple) and kind hearted shonen characters in the series. He desires money and women just like every other man, but his students come first. Although if he’s your enemy you really don’t want to get punished by him, he tends to do something that really leaves a lasting impression and has the reader laughing at the absurdity of it. Onizuka’s ability to feel like he is genuinely inspiring the characters around him (despite his many obvious flaws) make him extremely awesome.
# 3 – Hajime Kindaichi (The Kindiachi Case Files)
It’s hard for me to separate Kindaichi himself as a character from the mysteries that make this series amazing. I admit this is a character who I’m probably biased about because the better the mystery is written, the higher I think of the character who solves it! I like that Kindaichi is a genius that only works hard at solving mysteries (kind of like Sherlock). I also like that he acts the role of a male high schooler and is a tad perverted at times Kindaichi is definitely the only character in this group whose favoritism isn’t swayed by cute/good looks…on anyone but Kindaichi I’m not sure I could handle a ponytail with such intense eyebrows. I know it’s hard to believe that Onizuka > Kindaichi (in good looks) when I posted such an absurd picture of Onizuka, but he has his moments where he looks quite cool and composed.
# 2 – Lambo (Katekyoshi Hitman Reborn!)
The most humor in this series is from Lambo, he’s adorably greedy and cocky. His cocky little laugh is hilarious, I also love it when he is about to lose his cool before a crying fit. When he gets into a fight I’m on the edge of my seat worried for him, I mean seriously which other (actual) 5 year olds are hit-men? Although I admit he isn’t always the age of 5 when he fights, Lambo has a 10 year bazooka that allows him to switch places with his future self for a few minutes. All of Lambo’s forms have charmed me, I love that even though on the outside the older forms look more mature on the inside it’s still the cry baby Lambo.
# 1 – Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)
Luffy is the most insanely awesome Shonen character for me, if I had to choose any character to protect me it would be Luffy. My reasons for liking him are very similar to my reasons for liking Zoro, he’s straight forward and dedicated to his lifelong goal. So what makes him so much better than Zoro for me? His incredible naivety and enthusiasm for everything makes it so that I can’t help but smile. Plus as great as Zoro’s battles are Luffy’s are always over the top ridiculous, and far more power packed. I’m currently only a few episodes behind Japan and recent events have made me wonder to what extent Luffy’s character will change, but I’ll support him until the end. For me Luffy is a character that leaves all other shonen guys and gals in the dust, I think I may own more figures of Luffy than any other character. Luffy may have been inspired by Goku, but Luffy brings everything I loved about Goku to the next level.
I admit I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into how I ordered my honorable mentions, pretty much the ones toward the top of the list are closer to my top 10 list than the ones at the bottom. But I couldn’t bring myself to wrestle over numbering them. Getting 10 characters numbered was hard enough. But I feel like I should talk about why Light and L are listed together at the bottom. For these two, one is only good as good as the other, so when they’re both on fire I can’t pry my eyes away from the manga pages. But when the two are facing other opponents the story doesn’t grab me the same and the characters don’t shine as well. Also, I’m kind of shocked at how my favorite character lists don’t seem to appropriately represent all of my favorite anime/manga series. I seem to have a lot of series I adore where I can’t say that it has a “favorite character” outright. Also, I’m sure I forgot to list some insanely awesome characters that people will bring up and make me bop my head over how I could forget!
Black Star (Soul Eater)
Natsu (Fairy Tail)
Mr. Chang (Black Lagoon)
Hibari (Katekyoshi Hitman Reborn)
Crocodile (One Piece)
Hiei (Yu Yu Hakusho)
Jin (Samurai Champloo)
Viral (Gurren Lagann)
Portgas D. Ace (One Piece)
Picasso (Genkaku Picasso)
Mouri (Detective Conan)
Makoto Numata (Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service)
Marco Owen (King of Thorn)
Archer (Fate: Stay/night)
Shinichi Izumi (Parasyte)
Shinta Fukuda (Bakuman)
Eiji Nizuma (Bakuman)
Death the Kid (Soul Eater)
Sagara Sosuke (Full Metal Panic)
Kakashi (Naruto/Naruto Shippudden)
Sai (Naruto Shippudden)
Sagara Sanosuke (Rurouni Kenshin)
Jack Frost (Jack Frost)
Light and L (Death Note)