This article has multiple issues. Please help talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)( or discuss these issues on the Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Sh?nen, shonen, or shounen manga (?, sh?nen manga) is manga aimed at a young teen male target-demographic. The age group varies with individual readers and different magazines, but it is primarily intended for boys between the ages of 12 and 18. The kanji characters () literally mean "boy" (or "youth"), and the characters () means "comic". Thus, the complete phrase means "young person's comic", or simply "boys' comic"; its female equivalent is sh?jo manga. Sh?nen manga is the most popular and best-selling form of manga.
Sh?nen manga is typically characterized by high-action, often humorous plots featuring male protagonists. Commonly-found themes in sh?nen manga include martial arts, robots, science fiction, sports, horror or mythological creatures. The camaraderie between boys or men on sports teams, fighting squads, and the like are often emphasized. Protagonists of such manga often feature an ongoing desire to better themselves., and often face challenges to their abilities, skills and maturity, where self-perfection, austere self-discipline, sacrifice in the cause of duty and honorable service to society, community, family and friends are stressed.
None of these listed characteristics are a requirement, as seen in sh?nen manga like Yotsuba&!, which features a female lead and almost no fan service or action; what defines whether or not a series is sh?nen is the official classification of the magazine it is serialized in.
The art style of sh?nen is generally less "flowery" than that of sh?jo manga, although this varies greatly from artist to artist, and some artists draw both sh?nen and sh?jo manga.
Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball (1984-1995) is credited with setting the trend of popular sh?nen manga from the 1980s onward, with manga critic Jason Thompson in 2011 calling it "by far the most influential sh?nen manga of the last 30 years." Many currently successful sh?nen authors such as Eiichiro Oda, Masashi Kishimoto, Tite Kubo, Hiro Mashima and Kentaro Yabuki cite him and Dragon Ball as an influence on their own now popular works.
Manga has been said to have existed since the eighteenth century, but originally did not target a specific gender or age group. By 1905, however, a boom in publishing manga magazines occurred, and began targeting genders as evidenced by their names, such as Sh?nen Sekai, Sh?jo Sekai, and Sh?nen Pakku (a kodomo manga magazine).Sh?nen Sekai was one of the first sh?nen manga magazines, and was published from 1895 to 1914.
The post-World War II occupation of Japan had a profound impact on its culture during the 1950s and beyond (see culture of Post-occupation Japan), including on manga. Modern manga developed during this period, including the modern format of sh?nen manga we experience today, of which boys and young men were among the earliest readers. During this time, Sh?nen manga focused on topics thought to interest the archetypical boy: sci-tech subjects like robots and space travel, and heroic action-adventure.Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy is said to have played an influential role in manga during this period. Between 1950 and 1969, an increasingly large readership for manga emerged in Japan with the solidification of its two main marketing genres, sh?nen manga aimed at boys and sh?jo manga aimed at girls.
The magazine Weekly Sh?nen Jump began production in 1968, and continues to be produced today as the best-selling manga magazine in Japan. Many of the most popular sh?nen manga titles have been serialized in Jump, including Dragon Ball, Captain Tsubasa, Slam Dunk, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, and others.
With the relaxation of censorship in Japan in the 1990s, a wide variety of explicit sexual themes appeared in manga intended for male readers, and correspondingly occur in English translations. However, in 2010 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government passed the controversial Bill 156 to restrict harmful content despite opposition by many authors and publishers in the manga industry.
In early sh?nen manga, men and boys played all the major roles. Of the nine cyborgs in Shotaro Ishinomori's 1964 Cyborg 009, only one is female, and she soon vanishes from the action. Even some more modern instances of sh?nen manga virtually omit women, e.g. the martial arts story Baki the Grappler by Itagaki Keisuke, and the supernatural fantasy Sand Land by Akira Toriyama. By the 1980s, however, girls and women began to play increasingly important roles in sh?nen manga. For example, in Toriyama's 1980 Dr. Slump, the main character is the mischievous and powerful girl robot Arale Norimaki. Discussing his character Lisa Lisa from Battle Tendency, the second story arc of the manga series Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, author Hirohiko Araki stated that at the time female characters in sh?nen manga were typically cute and designed to be "a man's ideal woman." He said readers were not interested in realistic portrayals of women, but rather the type of girl "that giggles during a conversation" with heart marks next to her. He believes this made the warrior-type Lisa Lisa feel fresh and "unheard of" in both manga and society in general and said it was exciting to challenge people's expectations with her. Araki also said that the supernatural basis of the fights in his series evened the battlefield for women and children to match up against strong men.
The role of girls and women in manga for male readers has evolved considerably since Arale. One class is the bish?jo or "beautiful young girl." Sometimes the woman is unattainable, and she is always an object of the hero's emotional and/or sexual interest, like Shao-lin from Guardian Angel Getten by Minene Sakurano or Belldandy from the seinen manga Oh My Goddess! by K?suke Fujishima. In other stories, the hero is surrounded by such girls and women, as in Negima! Magister Negi Magi by Ken Akamatsu and Hanaukyo Maid Team by Morishige. The male protagonist does not always succeed in forming a relationship with the woman, for example when Bright Honda and Aimi Komori fail to bond in Shadow Lady by Masakazu Katsura. In other cases, a successful couple's sexual activities are depicted or implied, like in Outlanders by Johji Manabe. In still other cases, the initially naive and immature hero grows up to become a man by learning how to deal and live with women emotionally and sexually; examples of heroes who follow this path include Yota in Video Girl Ai by Masakazu Katsura and Train Man in the seinen manga Train Man: Densha Otoko by Hidenori Hara.
However, since the 80s, there have been increase in female protagonists in sh?nen manga, albeit lesser in number. They are often portrayed as central characters or characters with important roles in manga. Some examples include Fullmetal Alchemist,Urusei Yatsura, Inuyasha, Attack on Titan, Ranma ½, Fairy Tail, Gunslinger Girl, WataMote, Nisekoi, Strawberry Marshmallow, School Rumble and Soul Eater.
The bestselling manga magazine, Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump, rose in circulation from 2.79 million copies to 2.81 million.