10 Shonen Manga Must-Reads

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Cover artwork for Naruto Volume 17 by Masashi Kishimoto, published by VIZ Media / Shueisha
Naruto Volume 17. © Masashi Kishimoto

Author & Artist: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shonen Jump / VIZ Media
Visit VIZ Media's Naruto page
for Naruto Volume 1

Misfit ninja-in-training Naruto just can't seem to do anything right -- he's at the bottom of his class at the Ninja Academy and everyone in town treats him like dirt. But Naruto has a secret: His body houses the powerful spirit of a nine-tailed fox demon that almost destroyed his village 15-years ago. As Naruto grows into his power, he meets other ninjas, both friends and foes, who help him on his path to becoming the next Hokage, the most powerful ninja in his village.

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Bleach Volume 1 by Tite Kubo, published by Shonen Jump / VIZ Media
Bleach Volume 1. © Tite Kubo

Author & Artist: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Shonen Jump / VIZ Media
Visit VIZ Media's Bleach page
Read a review of Bleach Volume 1
for Bleach Volume 1

Average teen Ichigo already had a not-so-average life: His father acts like an overgrown child, his younger sisters practically run the house and oh yeah -- he can see ghosts. As if that wasn't enough, Ichigo meets a "soul reaper," a metaphysical warrior who battles demons and helps the deceased find their way to their final reward. By accident, Ichigo acquires the powers and responsibilities of a soul reaper. Now he not only sees ghosts, he has to battle the undead "Hollows" and eventually, face "real" Soul Reapers who don't take kindly to his newfound powers.

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Death Note

Front cover artwork of Death Note volume 1 by Tsugumi Ohba / Takeshi Obata
Death Note Volume 1. © Tsugumi Ohba / Takeshi Obata

Author: Tsugumi Ohba
Artist: Takeshi Obata
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced / VIZ Media
Visit VIZ Media's Death Note page

Light Yagami has got it all: Good grades, good looks and a good family. Trouble is, he's bored out of his mind. After he finds a notebook that gives him the power to kill anyone just by writing their name, Light faces the ultimate test of wits: Can he use his power to rid the world of criminals before the police, the FBI and the shinigami grim reapers catch up with him? Death Note is a brilliantly-written supernatural suspense story that hooks readers in and won't let go until the surprising climax in Volume 12.

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Full Metal Alchemist

Cover artwork for Full Metal Alchemist Volume 1 by Hiromu Arakawa

Writer / Artist: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Viz Media

Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric tried to ressurect their deceased mother. Their attempts failed, but by violating one of the most sacred laws of alchemy, they were punished severely: Edward lost his arm and a leg, and Alphonse lost his body. Now armed with metal prosthetics and a robot body, the two brothers roam a quasi-European steampunk world as they try to right wrongs and find the legendary Philosopher's Stone.

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Initial D

Writer / Artist: Shuichi Shigeno

For easy-going high school student Takumi Fujiwara, life is like coasting in neutral. He lives in a small town, goes to school, works at the gas station and helps his dad deiver tofu in his trusty '86 Trueno. But everything changes when he discovers his hidden talent: An almost unnaturally-natural knack for the extremely dangerous sport of high-speed drift racing.

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One Piece

Writer / Artist: Eiichiro Oda
Publisher: Viz Media

Yo ho ho and a bottle of pop! Monkey D. Luffy dreams of being a legendary pirate -- but after taking a bite of the gum-gum fruit, he's able to stretch his limbs like Stretch Armstrong, but now he'll sink like a stone if he ever falls into water. Monkey and his misfit crew of pirates sail the seven seas in search of treasure and adventure, and find both in spades.

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Gon Volume 1 by Masashi Tanaka, published by CMX Manga / Kodansha Ltd.
Gon Volume 1. © Masashi Tanaka / Kodansha Ltd.

Writer / Artist: Masashi Tanaka

Pint-sized dinosaur Gon may be tiny, but he manages to make a monster-sized impact wherever he goes. Tanaka's impeccably-drawn, detailed artwork describes Gon's misadventures without dialogue -- and not a word is needed for readers to marvel and laugh at this tiny reptile's hilarious exploits.

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Slam Dunk

Cover artwork for Slam Dunk Volume 1 by Takehiko Inoue
Cover artwork for Slam Dunk Volume 1 by Takehiko Inoue, Japan edition published by Shonen Jump / Shueisha. © 1999-2007 Seven and Y Corp

Writer / Artist: Takehiko Inoue
Publisher: Shonen Jump / VIZ Media

Would-be juvenile delinquent Sakuragi wants to be big man on campus, but somehow always falls short. Then one day, in an effort to impress a girl, he joins the high school basketball team. After a shaky start, helps turn his team into a force to be reckoned with on the courts. Beautifully drawn with action and drama, Slam Dunk is a powerful sports manga that captures the adrenaline-fueled energy of basketball.

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Ranma 1/2

Writer / Artist: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Viz Media

Ranma Saotome has got the strength and the moves to be one of the best martial artists ever. His only problem? Thanks to a Chinese curse, he's turns into a curvaceous girl whenever he gets splashed with water. A wacky mix of slapstick humor and kung-fu action, Ranma 1/2 is a fun read for teens and up.

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Air Gear

Writer / Artist: Oh! Great

Air Gear

with lots of dazzling action scenes, cute girls and a heaping helping of fan service (a.k.a. cheeky nudity).