Complex shounen/action style anime

Discussion in 'Anime Recommendations' started by Tebak, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Tebak

    Tebak New Member

    Posted by Tebak on Jul 9, 2019
    I'm looking for an action anime that has fights centered mainly on strategy and tactics, such as JJBA and HxH. I'd also like it if the story has philosophical elements and twists such as those in HxH. It'd be cool if there's an anime like this with more strong female characters, but it's not a necessity.

    I wouldn't mind the story's pacing being on the slow side, but I'd prefer good animation. Unique characters and development are very welcome too.

    Some anime more or less similar to what I'm asking for that I've already seen: JJBA, HxH, FMAB, Death Note
    EternalYumeLove likes this.
  2. FunkyTime

    FunkyTime Well-Known Member

    Darker Than Black features battles against so-called "Contractors" who each have a unique ability, so naturally lots of strategizing is necessary to overcome each one.

    Golden Kamuy has fairly strategic fights along with a strong female lead. This one's not entirely action oriented though, and the animation is more on the sketchy side. Still very much worth watching for the story and characters in my mind.

    Classroom of the Elite has no action at all, instead being a battle of the minds akin to Death Note. Lots of strategizing in that one, so it might be your cup of tea.
  3. RogueLynx

    RogueLynx Well-Known Member

  4. Tebak

    Tebak New Member

    Posted by Tebak on Jul 9, 2019
    Thanks a lot! These are all anime I've considered watching, but I didn't have a clue what I could expect from them. I'll definitely check them out now!
    EternalYumeLove and FunkyTime like this.
  5. Tebak

    Tebak New Member

    Posted by Tebak on Jul 9, 2019
  6. Ebonyslayer

    Ebonyslayer Well-Known Member

  7. EternalYumeLove

    EternalYumeLove Well-Known Member

    Terror in Resonance: this has physical action & mind action, it's high rated, and the main characters (terrorists) are very likeable.

    Erased: I could never stop recommending this anime... it's rated high, the story is very interesting and unique, and it really touches your emotions whether it's fear, sadness, or happiness. The mc is trying h to find out who's the murderer who has murdered many girls in his school... it's mostly about the characters using his mind to solve everything.
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  8. Tebak

    Tebak New Member

    Posted by Tebak on Jul 10, 2019
    I was considering checking out Yu Yu, especially considering I liked HxH so much. It really helps knowing it shares that trait! Samurai Champloo is one I should really watch soon as well, but I've never heard of thunderbolt fantasy, so that'll be interesting. Thank you!
    Ebonyslayer likes this.
  9. Tebak

    Tebak New Member

    Posted by Tebak on Jul 10, 2019
    I've actually already seen both of these, but I did enjoy both of them! Thank you for your time ^^
    EternalYumeLove likes this.
  10. blitzburns4

    blitzburns4 Member

    Hey Tabek, I was trying to figure out a good list of recs for you. But I have to be honest here, it does seem like there are some anime you rated poorly that I would have thought you would have liked.

    Here are the anime you like:

    - Jojo (4 Stars)
    - FMA:B (4.5 Stars)
    - HxH 2011 (4.5 Stars)
    - One Piece (Currently caught up.)

    But then you go on to rate the following low:
    - Fairy Tail (.5 Stars)
    - Seven Deadly Sins (1.5 Stars)
    - One Punch Man (2 Stars)
    - My Hero Academia (1.5 stars)
    - Soul Eater (3 stars)
    - Naruto (Dropped)
    - Log Horizon (2 stars)
    - Sword Art Online (1 Star)
    - Assassination Classroom (1 Star)
    - Noragami (2 Stars)
    - Steins;Gate (1 Star)
    - Angel Beats (.5 Stars)
    - Penguindrum (Stalled)
    - Made in Abyss (2.5 Stars)
    - ERASED (2 Stars)
    - Mob Psycho 100 (2.5 Stars)
    - Future Diary (1 Star)
    - Is it wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon? (.5 Stars)
    - Attack on Titan (1.5 Stars)
    - Akame ga Kill (.5 Stars)
    - Tokyo Ghoul (.5 Stars)

    Just to be clear: you're perfectly allowed to have a picky taste. It's just confusing because it seems to me that you ought to have enjoyed at least a few of these more than you did, particularly the ones that I bolded followed by italics. I think I can garner some of what's going on from this list, because there are a few themes common to all the low-ratings.

    1. Clearly, you don't like excessive blood/gore/shock value. (Tokyo Ghoul, Attack on Titan, Akame ga Kill, Made in Abyss)
    2. You aren't a particular a fan of psychological stuff. (Steins;Gate, Future Diary, Death Note a mere 3.5 stars)
    3. You aren't a fan of deconstructions that stray too far from traditional shonen formula you are comfortable with. (Mob Psycho 100, My Hero Academia, or One Punch Man.)
    4. You aren't really a fan of anything with kids (Naruto, My Hero Academia, Made in Abyss, ERASED) though HxH 2011 is the exception to this.
    5. It also seems you have a big dislike any anime with more than moderate levels of sexualization, or weak writing of female characters. (Fairy Tail, Sword Art Online, Seven Deadly Sins, Noragami)
    6. And, I'm just going to go out of limb here, but it seems to me that you don't really care for shorter-running anime either. You're open to watching them but prefer longer shows.

    Given what's available. I'm going to be honest...most of the recommendations here are not things you are probably looking for when you posted this, or you've already seen or heard of. One Piece is probably the the big precedent-setter here, right? But most fans already realize when they're talking about One Piece that it is one of the greatest anime (and manga, arguably) ever created. So to realistically ask us to provide recommendations as good as that is a little futile. There are a few that you may like, which I will mark for you with a (*). But there aren't going to be a lot, and from what I can tell you've already heard of most of them and seem to get frustrated when you don't end up liking them as much. (Naruto, for example.)

    (*) Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine - The only short, non-shonen anime I'm including on this main rec list. This anime is a hard reboot of the classic franchise Lupin, acting as a prequel to it. It features stylistic animation and non-traditional storytelling very reminiscent to Jojo's. Frankly, its probably one of my favorite anime of all time.
    Dragon Ball Z - Godfather of all Shonen. I used the normal Z trailer. Stick to the Kai version because it removes all filler.
    Naruto - Look. I know you dropped this already. But this is literally the King of Shonen Anime in the West (America); I recommend picking it back up. Just be sure to follow a viewing guide this time to skip its filler arcs, and if the fact they are kids as well as Sakura whining over Sasuke irks you so much, just jump to Shippuden. Unfortunately, modern shonen like HxH 2011, FMA:Brotherhood, and Jojo established the modern convention of sticking to adapting manga without any filler to it. That doesn't mean its not worth going back to watch Naruto, it just means you're going to have to follow a guide to skip the filler. Its not that big of a deal.
    Bleach - Part of the "Big 3" of 2000s Shonen, along with Naruto and One Piece. Its also a spiritual successor to Yu Yu Hakusho. The same deal with Bleach applies as it would to Naruto. This is a great anime mired and plagued with filler arcs, but its still objectively great if you just skip the filler arcs. Fans and writers were cognizant of this which is why in the 2010s anime like HxH 2011, Jojo's, or FMA:B have no filler.
    (*) Yu Yu Hakusho - Considered one of the OG great Shonen. Same lead writer as HxH. My all-time favorite anime ever made. Seconded from @Ebonyslayer
    Rurouni Kenshin - Considered one of the OG great Shonen of the 90s. Its older, and you also did sort of spoil yourself by watching Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen first, but the anime and its darker/bloodier prequel are completely different products. Just be aware that the final 20 or so episodes were complete filler and not the ending. You'll have to see the OVA Reflection for that.
    (*) Inuyasha - Considered the greatest feminine shonen anime. Its older, but judging from your tastes I think its something that will reward your investment into it because it has incredible writing as it goes on.
    (*) Fighting Spirit - This one is also sort of a long-shot, but this is actually an incredibly well-respected long-running shonen series. You also seem to really like boxing from your rating of Ashita no Joe. Maybe its time to make the switch to sports anime if you can't find any more traditional shonen.

    Other Recs:
    Eureka Seven - Considered one of Studio Bones' finest works. Since you like FMA:Brotherhood, which is their other great action-adventure epic, I don't see why you should not like E7, which is an all-time classic along similar emotional lines.
    The Twelve Kingdoms - Considered one of the great underrated epics of the 2000s. Same deal as Eureka Seven. Since you liked FMA:Brotherhood, which is another great action-adventure epic, I don't see why you should not like this one. Just be aware that the anime is an incomplete adaptation.
    The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya - Considered the great Kyoto Animation work of the 2000s; this anime is sort of a long shot considering how low you rate most high school-based anime. But its not impossible, considering you really liked Kaguya-sama and Jojo's, which I'd say this is a combination of in a abstract sense.
    Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash - Incredibly grounded Fantasy Combat. My favorite Isekai ever made. Seconded from @RogueLynx
    Black Lagoon - Famous Action-Adventure. Incredible gunplay and amazing action, particularly in its second season.
    Cowboy Bebop - All-time classic anime that features great emotional payoff. Requires more patience because its episodic nature, however, we're currently doing a group re-watch over in the discussion thread and you're welcome to join in.
    Samurai Champloo - All-time classic anime that features great emotional payoff. Requires more patience because of its episodic nature, however, this is by the same director as Cowboy Bebop and is its spiritual-successor. Obviously has to be recommended right alongside it.

    Some food for thought: you're always welcome to browse the season-by-season listings of anime released to dig for stuff you think you'd like. That's what most of us do every season when choosing shows to follow. You can also make the jump to manga, which have many, many more shonen-type stories that are simply never adapted into anime form. Its actually considered a big deal for the magazine/publisher when one is picked up for an adaptation, which should give you a vague idea of how many more manga shonen there are than anime.
    Tebak likes this.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  11. Tebak

    Tebak New Member

    Posted by Tebak on Jul 14, 2019
    Thank you very much for taking your time to make this in-depth analysis! While a lot of the recs you've given I would bet are going to be very enjoyable and I have to check out, there are some misunderstandings that may have occured partly because of my rating system, but also because I like all genres and I think trying to find genres I don't like by drawing lines between failed examples of them won't work out too well in most cases.

    My ratings are very different from your average user's. You can see my profile text for a longer explanation, but to be concise: I only have 2 ratings for things I consider bad: 1 and 0.5. Anything 1.5-2 is decent, and at 2.5, it's something I thought was good and liked. 3 is an anime I consider great, and 3,5 is a great anime that I love. 4 is a favorite of mine and anything above that is just unbeatable in my opinion. The reason for my review system is because I want a lot of nuanced ways of saying I liked something. I don't see the value in having 7 ratings for bad anime and only 3 for the good stuff, when it's the things I like that matter. I'm not really that picky, I just don't like calling things out on being "bad", so I'd rather have 2 bad ratings and leave it at that.

    So, the ones you bolded out in italics were mostly generic shounen, solely focused on fights. The type of shounen that I do not enjoy. I want a deeper story, fleshed out characters, and more interesting fights where you don't win with friendship or muscle, but with tactics. On the other hand, I did enjoy a lot of those, as you might now see going by my rating system. I actually enjoy a lot of the stuff I put in 2 and 1.5, but at the same time have too many problems with its writing or other aspects.

    1. I don't mind blood and shock value, I just don't like it being used as a substitute for good writing as it is in many shows, such as Akame ga Kill. It's just another form of fanservice at that point.

    2. I love psychological anime! The reason I didn't like steins;gate isn't because it "wasn't for me", it's because it felt dumbed down and uninteresting to me. You can also see I loved Death Note now, since 3,5 is a rating I use for anime that I love.

    3. It's a bit weird to hear someone say I don't like deconstructions of the "shounen forumula I'm familiar with". I detest generic shounen like Naruto, Fairy Tail and Bleach. One Piece is a manga I love for many reasons because it isn't simply a generic action shounen, but yes, it does share some of those traits I can't stand, and the anime really is unwatchable.

    Hunter x Hunter is an amazing deconstruction of the shounen genre, and very likely my most favorite anime of all. I don't consider MHA a deconstruction, it very much follows the tropes with some minor exceptions. While I did enjoy and like Mob for what it was, the things I didn't love about Mob 100 had nothing to do with it in a way being parodic of its genre. I did like some parts of OPM, but it didn't stick out to me as anything special, hence the "decent" rating.

    I actually came here looking for more anime that breaks the formula, rather than having more of those "My power level is higher than yours so I win" shounen.

    4. I don't mind anime with kids in it, but it tends to have a younger target audience, which might be why I tend to enjoy it less, since I'm not a small kid anymore. The only parts I liked about Erased were when they were kids actually.

    5. You're right about this. While this isn't what makes me instantly give an anime a low rating, I don't like sexism, and would wish to see more strong women. Fanservice of any kind, be it ecchi or gore, isn't actually much of a problem for me, but most anime that use it do so to cover up their otherwise lackluster plot and characters, like in Fairy Tail. Fanservice is definitely more common in poorly written anime.

    6. I do think a longer story gets more of a chance to build up and make an interesting story. The longest arc of Hunter x Hunter was by far the best in my eyes, for example. That doesn't turn me off from shorted things however, and I do find it easier to watch shorter things these days.

    I'm a bit confused by you saying Tsuikokuhen spoils Rurouni Kenshin, but either way, I've tried the manga and while I did like the Tsuikokuhen ova a lot, the manga wasn't that interesting for me. It felt a bit too slow and silly for what it was trying to be.

    I don't hate Naruto and Bleach for the filler, which I didn't even notice when I tried them. The problems I had with them was that the characters weren't anything special and the action was just bland and didn't have any strategy or anything like that to it. It's just people punching and cutting each other, I really don't get any enjoyment out of that. DBZ is just an even simpler version of that (I read all of it as a kid).

    There are things better than One Piece that I've already seen. Sure, parts of it are unrivalled, such as the world-building, but a lot of its bad aspects really weigh it down. One of those aspects is the action which I don't really care for most of the time in there either. When it comes to the action part, the precedent-setters for this would probably be JJBA and Death Note. I'm looking for mind-game battles, not people firing beams, punches and magics at each other until one dies.

    I have, as you said, already heard of all of the things you recommended, but all of the things I haven't already seen are definitely things I've been wanting to check out, so you pushing them forward and recommending them to me helps a lot! I'll be sure to give them all a watch in the near future. Thank you!! I can tell a lot of work went into this, and even though there were some misunderstandings, you've definitely been of great help! I appreciate it <3
  12. Tebak

    Tebak New Member

    Posted by Tebak on Jul 14, 2019
    @blitzburns4 I forgot to mention, the manga advice you gave at the end is really good advice too! I've been thinking about getting into more manga lately and hearing someone else recommend the option really helps to motivate me!
  13. VivisQueen

    VivisQueen Well-Known Member

    I'm a bit surprised nobody has mentioned Code Geass. It's on your want to watch list already, and I think it's brilliant fun. Death Note-style strategising, lots of action, every episode is basically crazy twists that ends on a cliff-hanger, some decent female characters (note: second season introduces fanservice, and I think the script gets dumber), and though not a shounen, it's an innovation on another classic genre, namely mecha. Lelouch Lamperouge is a unique character, and he's plenty of fun to watch.

    Oh, and Kaiji. How could I forget that? Twists, cliff-hangers, literally death games where you need to strategise to survive, although zero female characters and character development is very, very beside the point.

    I also just realised that great sports anime have almost everything you want. Action, strategising, twists, great character development, and no fanservice. Hajime no Ippo, Major, and Cross Game are probably the most intelligent representations. Cross Game has an excellent female character (the other two are just about men).

    FYI, I've written reviews for all these shows, so maybe they can help give you a more in-depth idea of what they're like.
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    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  14. Tebak

    Tebak New Member

    Posted by Tebak on Jul 14, 2019
    @VivisQueen Thank you for your recommendations!

    I've heard a lot of mixed opinions about Geass, and have therefore always been sort of hesitant towards watching it. I'll definitely try it out though, and as always, hearing someone suggest it personally makes it that much easier to take the first step!

    As for Kaiji, I watched it not too long ago, and it's certainly the type of thing I have in mind. I enjoyed those mind games a lot!

    And yeah, I definitely need to check out more sports anime. The best one I've seen so far is Ashita no Joe, a ridiculously underrated (although understandably so, it's very old) show which is probably the predecessor to a lot of sports anime. I'm going to give Hajime no Ippo a shot soon enough definitely, but as can be seen in this thread, I have quite a lot to go through already x)

    I've read a lot of your reviews already, actually. You're a great reviewer!! Thank you for taking your time to give some recommendations! ^_^

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