The Shonen manga or anime is aimed at a young male audience. Therefore, it presents events that evoke a lot of emotions in them and seem relatable. Many existing shonen manga have male authors. But women have always excelled in the field just as much as men. Some have been able to perform better than the men and create works so brilliant that it sometimes feels like they understand young male characters better than male writers. Similar to how English novelist Mary Ann Evans worked under the pen name George Eliot, the Japanese manga industry also has authors who still use a pen name.
When we make an overall estimate, the number of female mangakas is still low compared to male writers. But that in no way makes their contribution to manga and anime culture any less important. In fact, most of them can be present in your top ten favorite anime list. They created great stories with captivating characters. I can assure you that some of them made me very emotional. Below are 10 famous shonen works that were created by women. You might not expect to see some of these names
1. Fullmetal Alchemist (Hiromu Arakawa)
What better way to start this long list than Fullmetal Alchemist? The shonen action-adventure series follows brothers Edward and Alphonse who are on a journey in search of the Philosopher’s Stone. Their mission is to find Edward’s lost limbs, Alphonse’s entire body, and bring their dead mother back to life. The series was equally touching and uplifting and continues to be one of the best series to exist.
Fullmetal Alchemist is written by Hiromu Arakawa, and Full Metal is his first official work. When it received an anime adaptation, Arakawa requested an original ending as the manga was still ongoing at the time. It ended with a sequel film titled Conqueror of Shamballa in 2005. But once she finished the manga, the precise comedy series called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood came. It became an even bigger hit than the first version.
2. The Blue Exorcist (Kazue Kato)
blue exorcist Where Ao no exorcist is a dark fantasy series that started in 2009 and is still ongoing. It tells the story of Rin Okumura, who discovers that he and his twin brother Yukio are the sons of Satan. However, they are half demons as their mother is human. They were raised in a church by Father Shiro Fujimoto, who is also an exorcist. However, Satan shows up and kills Shiro, and Rin is forced to leave and learn exorcism. His ultimate goal is to kill Satan and his evil forces.
blue exorcist is written by Kazue Kato, the award-winning mangaka of Robot in Usakich. It became the first and only Jump Square manga to reach one million copies. From the seventh volume, blue exorcist had sold 15 million copies.
3. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Koyoharu Gotouge)
Undoubtedly one of the most popular anime to exist, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba began serialization in 2016. The story is set in a fictional version of Edo period Japan. It follows a teenager named Tanjiro Kamado, who loses all of his family members except his sister Nezuko to demons. While Nezuko survives, she herself has turned into a demon. Tanjiro vows to return Nezuko to normal and kill all demons by becoming a Demon Slayer.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is written by Koyoharu Gotouge. The anime has sold over 150 million copies as of February 2021.
4. D. Gray-Man (Katsura Hoshino)
D.Gray-Man is a dark fantasy series set in an alternate 19th century where demons and exorcists exist. The protagonist is Allen Walker, a new recruit from the exorcism society called Black Order. The series first appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 2004 and is still ongoing. It has been adapted into an anime series twice. The first was released in 2006 and lasted until 2008 with 103 episodes. A named revival D.Gray-Man Hallow was released in 2016 and consisted of 13 episodes.
D.Gray-Man is written by Katsura Hoshino and is still considered one of the best manga out there. It became the top-selling shonen manga and manga in general between 2009 and 2010. In 2021, it ranked No. 95 in TV Asahi’s Manga Sosenkyo poll.
5. Deadman Wonderland (Jinsei Kataoka)
deadman wonderland begins with a massive earthquake destroying most of the Japanese mainland, with three-quarters submerging in the Pacific Ocean. Fast forward ten years, and we see middle school student Ganta Igarashi. He is a survivor of the earthquake tragedy but has no memory of it. However, things turn upside down when a strange person in red armor shows up at her classroom window and murders her entire class. Ganta is held responsible for mass murder and sentenced to death at deadman wonderlanda theme park/prison.
The dystopian thriller is written by Jinsei Kataoka and illustrated by Kazuma Kondou. It continues to be a popular shonen series, long after it ended in 2013.
6. Noragami (Adachitoka)
Noragami debuted in January 2011 in Kodansha Monthly Shonen Magazine. In 2014, it became the 14th best-selling manga series. it tells the story of an unnamed god named Yato, and his mission to make a name for himself and gain his own sanctuary. Along the way, he meets a young girl named Hiyori, who is a half-ghost. She can live in the normal world and the spirit world. Later, Yato acquires his Living Insignia or God Weapon which was once a human named Yukine.
Noragami is written by Adachitoka, a pseudonym and portmanteau of its two creators – Adachi and Tokashiki. In addition to writing, Adachi serves as character artist and Tokashiki serves as background artist. Noragami was their first original work, which is amazing to say the least.
7. The Black Butler (Yana Toboso)
black butler was first released in 2006 and continues to be one of the greatest series to exist. The story takes place in Victorian London. The main character is a twelve-year-old earl named Ciel Phantomhive. He is kept as the Queen’s watchdog and is responsible for solving the various crimes that occur in London. Apart from his daily duties, he also searches for the criminals who tortured and murdered his parents in revenge. To this end, he forms a contract with a demon called Sebastian Michaelis. Sebastian disguises himself as Ciel’s butler and accompanies him on his duties.
Yana Toboso is a writer and illustrator and has sold over 28 million copies worldwide.
8. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (Shinobu Ohtaka)
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic inspired by the stories of 1001 thousand and one nights and introduces the characters with various adjustments. It first appeared in Weekly Shonen Sunday in 2009 and ran until 2017. The chapters consist of 37 volumes. The series has characters like Aladdin, Alibaba, and Sindbad, and the story is beautiful and exciting. It ranked 75th in the TV Asahi poll of the 100 most popular manga of all time for 2021.
The hit series comes from Shinobu Ohtaka.
9. Vanitas Case Study (Jun Mochizuki)
This dark fantasy series recently got its anime adaptation and is now one of the trending anime to stream. The Vanitas Case Study began serialization in Monthly Gangan Joker in 2015. The story is set in 19th century Paris during the steampunk era. Paris is crawling with vampires, and the story follows a young human named Vanitas, with a grimoire that can cure cursed vampires. However, he gets bitten by the Blue Moon Vampire and is now indirectly part of the Blue Moon Clan. Another vampire, Archivist Noah, meets Vanitas and joins his cause on cursing the cursed vampires.
The Vanitas Case Study comes from Jun Mochizuki, who got the inspiration for the story after first visiting France and watching a movie about vampires.
The Vanitas Case Study
10. A Silent Voice (Yoshitoki Ōima)
This list would not be complete without A silent voice. The popular 2016 film is based on the manga miniseries that ran from 2013 to 2014. It is a shonen coming-of-age story of a former bully turned social outcast. Shoya Ishida, the main character contemplates suicide, but at the last minute decides to make amends. He starts by going to see Shoko Nishimiya, the girl he bullied in sixth grade. The two then begin a new journey to start over.
The brilliant work comes from Yoshitoki Ōima. His mother is a sign language interpreter and seeing her inspired Yoshitoki to write the story. The story won him many accolades and became a worldwide sensation.
We have now come to the end. Did any of them surprise you? Let us know in the comments.