In the shonen/shounen genre of anime, the protagonist is almost always a male character. This is because the target audience of shonen manga and anime are adolescent boys and young adult men. The word ‘shonen’ itself means “young man” in Japanese.
Shonen refers to an anime filled with action, comedy, and typically, with a power of friendship. It is the opposite of the shojo genre, in which the latter caters towards the female audience. Shojo anime tends to focus more on romance, while shonen has little to no romance. Shonen puts more emphasis on the complex plot, which would urge the characters to engage in intense fights or combat scenes.
But given that anime is now widely accessible in the age of internet, the shonen genre is no longer limited to men only. A lot of female viewers also watch shonen now, so there may be some of them who wonder: were there any shonen animes with a female protagonist? Since mostly all of shonen anime have a male protagonist, it can be a nice change if there is a female protagonist.
Take note, they are the protagonist who drive the plot forward. They receive enough screen time and the story revolves around them. This is different from the female characters you see that are one of the main characters yet they have a more supporting role for the protagonist themselves. Their characters are sometimes not as well-developed or fleshed out as the main protagonist’s.
To answer the question if there is any shonen anime with a female protagonist – yes, there are. There are only a few, but we will be listing them for you!
Date of release: April 2007
Synopsis: A mysterious woman named Clare arrived at the village’s rescue that was attacked by a shapeshifting demon known as the “youma”. She also happened to be a “Claymore”, manufactured as a half-human and half-youma with a purpose to eliminate the youma demons. She managed to save a young boy named Raki, whose entire family got killed. Raki was banished from his village, so he decided to follow Clare on her journeys.
As the two travelled and defeated even more youma demons along the way, more of Clare’s past and background have been revealed. In particular, the youma she has sworn vengeance against ever since she became a Claymore will come to light.
2. Soul Eater
Date of release: April 2008
Synopsis: Maka Albarn is a wielder of a Demon Scythe named Soul Eater Evans. Demon Scythes can become Death Scythes in which they are going to be raised as weapons used by the Shinigami or the Lord Death. The Death Scythe project is underway in the famous Death Weapon Meister Academy headed by the Lord Death himself. Demon Scythes are human hybrids that have the ability to transform into weapons after consuming 99 evil souls and 1 witch.
Maka and Soul Eater Evans share a goal of making him a Death Scythe, so the two work tirelessly to make it happen. They also work alongside the hotheaded Black☆Star and his weapon, Tsubaki. They also encountered Death the Kid, who is the son of the Shinigami, with two pistols named Patty and Liz.
3. Medaka Box
Date of release: April 2012
Synopsis: Medaka Kurokami is “perfect” in every sense. She has the looks, the brains, and the athletic body. On top of that, she has a good heart in wanting to make everyone happy. When she ran for student council president of Hakoniwa Academy, it is not surprising that she won the elections.
As the president, her first project is issuing a “Medaka Box”, where students may submit their suggestions or requests if they need assistance. She is being helped by her childhood friend, Zenkichi Hitoyoshi – and she was able to fulfill the requests at a ridiculous fast rate.
However, helping people is actually not as simple as it seems. Medaka and Zenkichi were able to uncover a plot targeting the Hakoniwa Academy and Medaka herself.
4. Shikabane Hime
Date of release: October 2008
Synopsis: Makina Hoshimura, a dead schoolgirl, was revived by Keisei Tagami. She is discovered to be a “Shikabane Hime” or an undead creature tasked to kill others like her who pose threats to society. If she fulfills this task, then she will be able to go to heaven. It turns out she was contracted by a monk to become part of a shady organization called the Kougon Cult where she has to battle monsters.
Will she finally be able to rest in peace in the end?
5. Tokyo ESP
Date of release: July 2014
Synopsis: Rinka Urushiba is living a normal life working as a waitress in Tokyo. It all changed when she saw a flying penguin one day and she started to chase it. When she reached the top of the building, she encounters a flying goldfish and her classmate, Kyoutarou Azuma, who is also seeing the same strange things. The goldfish then phased through Rinka, which caused her to faint.
After regaining consciousness, Rinka found out she now has a capability to phase through solid matters so she is considered an ‘esper’. Her hair also turns white whenever she uses her powers, much to her astonishment. She reluctantly decided to use her powers to become a hero in Tokyo, thus dubbing her as “White Girl”. Alongside Kyoutarou who gained teleportation abilities, they protect Tokyo from espers with ill intentions.
Date of release: October 1989
Synopsis: Set in a future setting, heavy robots are being used for a variety functions: construction, military, and many more. Yet they are still being operated by humans, so the possibility of these robots being used for malicious intentions is high. This poses danger to everyone since these robots can bring destruction.
The police department is working hard to combat these crimes, most specifically the patrol labor units or the “patlabors”. Noa Izumi is one of these, as she belongs in the Second Division. She is easily the best robot pilot among her team. She also excels in doing her job, much to everyone’s admiration of her.
7. Michiko & Hatchin
Date of release: October 2008
Synopsis: Michiko Malandro is a criminal who escaped from her high security prison for the 4th time to search for a man from her past. Michiko is able to find clues on a young girl named Hana Morenos who was trapped in an abusive foster family. Hana had never expected a convict with a stolen motorbike to rescue her from her family. Michiko then claimed she is Hana’s real mother.
Michiko and Hana then set off on a journey on the dry lands of Diamandra, searching for the mysterious man. They encounter a lot of obstacles along the way such as betrayal, poverty, and child exploitation schemes. Their manhunt eventually reached the criminal syndicate Monstro Preto, and danger is looming in the horizon.
8. The Promised Neverland
Date of release: January 2019
Synopsis: Emma has lived a pleasant and stable life in the Grace Field House ever since she was born. She was under the care of their “mom”, Isabella, and has made friends among her peers which are Norman and Ray. They are required to take tests everyday and are allowed to do what they want in their free time. They can also go outside, but they cannot venture too far from the orphanage.
However, Emma, Norman, and Ray grew suspicious of the orphanage because in every few months, a child gets adopted and they are never heard of again. They will be able to discover on what will happen to the children from the Grace Field House, as well as the sinister side of their “mom”.
Date of release: July 2017
Synopsis: Yumeko Jabami is a new transfer student in Hyakkaou Private Academy. The school is greatly different from others because of its curriculum and students. The students are children from the richest people in the world. By day, they were taught history, languages, and the like. By night, however, it becomes a gambling den where they were taught how to manipulate people and deal with money. Those who would come out as victors from these games will be recognized by the school.
Yumeko does not play to win, unlike all the others. She enjoys the thrill of gambling instead, hence her way of gambling is quite insane.
10. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 6: Stone Ocean
Date of release: December 2021
Synopsis: Jolyne Cujoh is framed for a reckless crime, so she was sent to the Green Dolphin Street Jail. Jolyne intends to fight the injustice of it all, hence she decided to investigate the circumstances of her incarceration.
She utilizes her Stone Free power that was gifted to her by her father, Joutarou Cujoh. Her Stone Free power enables her to unravel her body into string. Jolyne uses this ability as she fought her way in prison. She also recruits allies like Ermes Costello and Foo Fighters to aid her investigation. Together, they attempt to zero in Whitesnake, who is responsible for endangering Jolyne’s life in prison.
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