Attack On Titan is widely regarded as one of the best shonen anime series. It has a revolutionary premise and isn’t afraid of exploring controversial social commentary. Eren Jaeger joined the Survey Corps to avenge his family and eradicate the Titans but quickly realized that, sometimes, humanity can become the biggest monster.
He quickly went from average shonen hero to complicated antihero. By the series’ conclusion, Eren became a controversial villain. Though Attack On Titan is critically acclaimed, some viewers may be unable to overlook the series’ flaws. Luckily, there are tons of other anime series out there.
10/10 Jujutsu Kaisen’s Protagonist Is Sentenced To Death
Attack On Titan isn’t the only dark shonen anime to exist. Though it has several elements of a generic shonen series, Jujutsu Kaisen reinvents the wheel by combining lighthearted characters with heartbreaking occurrences and dark themes.
After consuming a cursed object, Yuji Itadori is met with a death sentence and has to buy more time through jujutsu sorcery to keep the cursed spirit possessing him in check. It’s impossible for Jujutsu Kaisen to have any kind of happy ending, but the characters make it worth the ride. Yuji, in particular, always tries to make the best out of the worst situations.
9/10 Hunter X Hunter Is A Battle Shonen Masterpiece
Hunter X Hunter follows Gon Freecs on his journey to find his estranged father, but he has to become a Hunter. He meets Kurapika, Leorio, and Killua along the way, and the quartet goes on several adventures throughout the series as they each set out towards their own unique goals.
Hunter X Hunter receives praise for its hype-worthy fight scenes, well-written characters, and power system that inspired countless others. Like Attack On Titan, Hunter X Hunter also cracked IMDb’s list for the best anime. It took a generic battle shonen formula and created something entirely revolutionary out of tried tropes.
8/10 Neon Genesis Evangelion Is Vastly Different But Equally Controversial
Neon Genesis Evangelion, like Attack On Titan, generated more than enough controversy over the years. Both series have polarizing protagonists in Eren and Shinji. Plus, both series have terrifyingly gory scenes that even the most avid horror movie fans struggled to stomach.
Still, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a classic series that every anime fan must watch at least once. It makes meaningful commentary by venturing into territory that was revolutionary for its time. It’s a psychological doozy and one of the darkest mecha anime of all time.
7/10 D. Gray-Man Is A Dark Fantasy Shonen Series With A Unique Plot
D. Gray-Man is a critically acclaimed dark fantasy series that, like Attack On Titan, is almost too gritty to fit the shonen mold. D. Gray-Man follows Allen Walker. He’s an exorcist who works for the Black Order, an organization tasked with defeating the Earl of Millennium and his army of Akuma.
D. Gray-Man has an unsettling aesthetic and a unique art style that immediately immerses viewers in this bizarre take on a 19th-century setting. It has a unique narrative and dynamic characters who drive the plot, making it easy for fans to fall in love with this series.
6/10 Serial Experiments Lain Takes Viewers Into The Wired
Even though it came out in the ’90s, Serial Experiments Lain is a case study of those who spend their lives mostly online. In hindsight, it’s more of a warning than anything else of what would come in the digital age.
Serial Experiments Lain follows the titular Lain, a girl whose entire life revolves around thriving in the Wired, an online environment where nobody is really who they say they are. Lain takes on a forged identity and claims she’s all but dead to the physical world. Lain becomes socially isolated and suffers from a fragmented sense of self.
5/10 My Hero Academia Explores What Makes A Hero & A Villain
My Hero Academia receives more flack than it really should from the anime community. Though several aspects of the series certainly feel contrived and it plays up shonen tropes to the point of campiness, there are meaningful lessons to be learned from My Hero Academia.
The series continually questions what makes somebody a true hero and challenges the notion of doing good for recognition’s sake. The villains, of course, are a commentary on hero society. Quirk discrimination is a major theme of My Hero Academia, and many forms of it are comparable to real-world ableism and genuine prejudice.
4/10 Monster Proves That Even Good Intentions Have Consequences
Monster follows Kenzo Tenma, a neurosurgeon who was faced with the troubling decision of choosing to save the mayor’s life or that of a young boy’s. He chose the latter, but it had dire consequences later down the road.
The young boy he saved, Johan Liebert, grew up to become a prolific serial killer. Kenzo saved his life, but he had to be the one to take it away and end his terrible killing spree. Monster is a psychological classic that proves that all actions have consequences.
3/10 91 Days Is A Perfect Mafia Series With An Epic Antihero Protagonist
91 Days stars Angelo Lagusa, the sole survivor of his family’s massacre. He infiltrated the Vanetti crime family to avenge his losses after years of dealing with terrible survivor’s guilt. Angelo took on a new persona and pretended to be a ruthless killer, but that forged personality became his truth by the the end,
Angelo is one of anime’s best anti-heroes and serves as the perfect protagonist for this criminally underrated anime. 91 Days‘ gripping mafia story is vastly differnt from Attack On Titan, but it still covers dark topics that fans of the series will surely enjoy.
2/10 Tokyo Ghoul’s Man Versus Monster Battle Is An Internal One
Tokyo Ghoul and Attack On Titan are more similar than one would originally think. They’re both man versus monster series with complicated protagonists who went through the hero to anti-hero turned villainous pipeline. However, both series turn the battle into an internal struggle. Eren is a Titan Shifter, while Kaneki is a half-ghoul.
Tokyo Ghoul, arguably, handles this better than Attack On Titan by amping up its edginess, gore, and grittiness to truly show the dichotomy between man and monster. It also shows the possibility of co-existence between the two, since Kaneki is the only one who can understand both sides.
Attack On Titan and Code Geass are often compared to each other. After all, Eren and Lelouch had similar character arcs. They both started wanting to avenge their losses and usher in a new world, but they quickly became everything they despised. However, it’s universally agreed that Code Geass handles this plotline much better than Attack On Titan.
Code Geass doesn’t waste time on edgy sentiments. Lelouch took the wheel as a proactive protagonist and drove the story wherever his brilliant mind saw fit. Code Geass is sets in a world of morally grey, ambiguous characters and plot developments that always keep viewers on edge.
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