11 Youngest Shonen Anime Protagonists Ever

Shounen is ripe with anime tropes, but perhaps the most prevalent of them all is the young protagonist. All these Ash Ketchums, Gon Freecs and Kid Gokus are made to appeal to the “shounen” demographic. Yet some of the protagonists are absurdly young.

From naive high schoolers to literal babies, these protagonists are great examples of the pros and cons of having a young protagonist. Of Spy x Family: Part 2 in october, shounen fans don’t come looking for cute kid main characters anytime soon.


11 Nobita (Doraemon) – 10 years old

Nobita is one of the first shounen comedy protagonists and therefore shares many recognizable qualities with children. They can be a little selfish at times, want shortcuts on everything and complain about adults. Deep down, however, they do care about their friends and loved ones.

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Nobita’s childhood, despite having a robotic cat with a pocket dimension in his belly, is actually quite grounded. The show often dealt with heavy topics such as alcoholism, loss of loved ones, and fear of adulthood. The show uses the character’s innocence to portray these feelings in a way that kids will understand.

10 Suika (Dr. Stone) – 9 years old

Suika is one of the youngest members of Ishigami village that Senku and his friends discover. She is an energetic child with horrible eyesight. Still, she does her best to help in the village, just like everyone else. Soon, Senku makes goggles for her helmet to make her even more effective.

Her role in the beginning is more of a side character, but as the series progresses, Suika becomes one of the main protagonists. She is incredibly agile and her sneakiness has turned the tables more than once in unwinnable battles.

9 Dororo (Dororo) – 9 years old

Dororo is a young child who acts as Hyakkimaru’s eyes and ears. Since blindness and deafness make socializing a bit of a problem during the Muromachi period, Dororo also acts as Hyakkimaru’s caretaker. It shakes up the usual “escort mission” dynamics that these stories usually have.

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Instead of a one-sided protector-protective relationship, Dororo and Hyakkimaru need each other. As a child, Dororo has no way of protecting himself from the brutal samurai and bandits that roam the land. Hyakkimaru’s only real ability is to purify evil, as all he sees are the souls of people. However, he needs help with everything else, and Dororo is happy to offer.

8 Professor Shinonome (Nichijou) – 8 years old

Professor Shinonome is the spectacularly smart but surprisingly naive child scientist from Nichijou. She’s brilliant enough to make a ribbon for cats to talk to, and even her own robotic caregiver. Despite her obvious scientific genius, she’s still a normal kid with a penchant for sharks.

A big part of the dynamic is Nano, her “teen” robot, who is the “responsible” in the house, doing all the chores and keeping the professor, or “Hakase”, fed. This is made even funnier by the fact that Nano is only a year old. Their dynamic makes Nichijouone of KyoAni’s best comedy anime.

7 Happy (Fairy Tail) – 6 years old

Happy is a young member of the Exceed, a race of cat people from a parallel world. Like an egg, Happy was separated from his parents along with 99 other Exceeds. He acts as a very important source of support for the group, despite having no real combat experience.

Still, he and Nasu overcame the difficulties with their determination and unique combination of skills. While Happy’s wings don’t offer direct combat applications like others, the mobility it gives is more than enough to even out the odds against powerful enemies.

6 Conan Edogawa (Detective Conan) – 6 years old

Though he was once a 17-year-old teenager, a mysterious process on Shinichi Kudo changed his life forever. After an unknown organization turns the young detective into a prepubescent boy, he changes his name to Conan Edogawa.

He is adopted by his love interest Ran and her father, Kogoro. Unbeknownst to both of them, the child they adopted is a person they already knew. Conan continues his detective work with the brilliant “Sleeping Detective” gimmick. While Conan retains a very intelligent mind, he also gains some childish qualities.

5 Gohan (Dragon Ball Z) – 5 years old

Gohan is one of Dragon Ball Z‘s best and youngest protagonists. He debuts in the series at a much younger age than his father, only 5 years old. Unlike his father, Gohan is much more meek and academic. However, his naive appearance belies incredible strength.

Often early DBZ, Gohan’s anger would explode and often play a role in turning the tide of battle. His potential was built early in the series, as he was supposed to take the place of Goku as the franchise’s new hero. Well, at least until Dragon Ball Super came out, but hey, at least he graduated cum laude.

4 Anya Forger (Spy x Family) – 4 to 5 years old

Anya Forger is a seemingly normal orphan girl at first glance. What she hides from the world is that she is a telepath. The ability is both a blessing and a curse to her, but she uses it in surprisingly clever ways for a child. First, she lies about her age in order to be adopted by Twilight for his plans.

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What makes Anya attractive are the two sides of her powers. On the one hand, it’s a great source of comedy, as she tries to use telepathy to create shortcuts or accidentally hears something strange from her adoptive parents. On the other hand, it has proved essential to keep the peace in the country, all without the knowledge of the greatest spy in the world.

3 Reborn (Hitman Reborn) – 2 years old

Bit of an unorthodox example, Reborn is not a normal toddler. Despite being a cute baby wearing a cute outfit, Reborn is actually the strongest assassin in the world among the Vongola Famiglia. His specialty is his impeccable headshots from his trusty pistol. Yes, it’s a baby. With a gun. Animation is really nice.

The secret to Reborn, however, is that, like Detective Conan, he wasn’t always a kid. He is actually an adult who was cursed to be a baby along with six other hitmen. As for curses, Reborn eventually got over it, as he retains most of his deadly abilities.

2 Baby Beel (Beelzebub) – 2 years old

Baby Beel may look like your everyday green-haired baby, but he’s actually one of the most powerful creatures in the world. Beel’s real name is Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub IV, also known as the son of the Great Demon Lord. To hone his powers, he is assigned to a human, Oga, a delinquent with absurd strength, even without Beel’s help.

Funnily enough, most people just assume that Beel is Oga’s biological child, despite Oga’s seemingly nonexistent interest in romance. There are also small reminders of Beel’s demonic legacy beyond the powers, such as a fascination with the grotesque and terrifying. Still, through it all, Beel remains a rather cute baby, with minor fatal injuries to Oga aside.

1 Platelets (cells at work) – 7 to 10 days old

A morbid fact for a children’s program, but it’s scientifically sound. Cells at work takes pride in teaching children about the various functions in the human body. That includes the “moefication” of the organisms in the body, such as the carrier red blood cells, brute white blood cells, and of course the cute platelets.

One little fact that the anime (sensibly) goes by is that, scientifically speaking, platelets have a lifespan of just a few days. Like most organisms in the body, they exist to perform a function, and once the function is completed, they disappear. Still, the cells can perceive time differently than humans, so it could be a full life from their point of view. Or at least that’s one way to deal with that “fun fact”.

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