Shōnen

: 少年 【しょうねん】
(n.) boys; juveniles.

Demographic indicator for anime and manga aimed at boys. An obvious and common example of shōnen is "fighting" anime, where extremely powerful warriors duke it out amongst each other with various forms of martial arts and superpowers. Typical examples of this include Dragon Ball Z, Flame of Recca and Rurouni Kenshin.

Giant Robots (known as "Mecha" among English-speaking fans) are also a very common form of shōnen. What began with Mazinger Z eventually evolved into Gundam and Macross. Even though they are huge hulking machines that should have limited mobility, giant robots often display a flexibility and range of motion comparable to humans. For this reason, it has been commented that giant robots are more an extension/extrapolation of the knight/samurai's armor than an anthropomorphization of tanks/war machines.

Despite a great increase in sophistication through the years, may shōnen anime remains largely centered on the resolution of conflicts through combat. However, that is not to say this is the only thing. If nothing else, this is proven by the large quantity of romantic comedy "harem" anime where a large cast of attractive females are vying for the attention of the (indecisive) male protagonist, like Tenchi Muyo! and Love Hina. Other examples of non-fighting shōnen anime are the sports anime like Initial D that are starting to make an impact in the West.

Besides violence or combat, one characteristic of many shōnen anime is a fast-paced story where action and adrenalin are emphasized over plot. There are exceptions to this, like the serious romantic stories of Oh My Goddess! and Boys Be...

See also: shōjo, josei, seinen

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