In shonen anime involving supernatural abilities, there are usually clashes among characters, which are spearheaded by a number of different motivations. Most of these anime revolve around a unique fantasy world or universe with various fantasy-based factors, ranging from unrealistic fighting methods to power systems like magic.
Power systems are usually universal factors most characters within a given universe can utilize for many reasons. These systems are usually harnessed to increase battle strength and skill. From One Piece’s Haki to Jujutsu Kaisen’s Cursed Energy, there are multiple power systems amidst the shonen genre. Among these, though, which are the best and most interesting?
Updated September 7, 2022, by Emedo Destiny: Power systems are a major defining factor in shonen anime. They elevate storylines by adding fantasy elements that give a show more depth and a creative outlook. Regardless of the similarities between most shonen shows, it is very rare to see different titles with similar power systems. Every shonen anime brings its unique power system to the table, making the concept a very flexible one. A power system can be very broad, as in the case of One Piece & Naruto, or it can be streamlined in a single direction, just like Fire Force’s pyrokinesis. Either way, power systems are always something to look forward to in shonen anime, and these power systems are among the best the genre offers.
15 Rukh – Magi
Rukh is the unique power system featured in Magi, a compelling fantasy anime with a wide variety of characters. Rukh can be likened to magic but is fundamentally different from the popular concept. It resembles a large cluster of tiny bird-like beings that exist everywhere in the world of Magi. This magical element is inherent in every creation, ranging from humans to even air.
This element is controlled by the magicians in Magi, who manipulate Rukh to create powerful spells. One prolific user in the series is Aladdin, known to be loved by “Rukh” and capable of controlling it on a large scale.
14 Pyrokinesis – Fire Force
Anime characters using fire powers is a common occurrence in the shonen genre; however, none of them handles the element of fire like Fire Force. The anime revolves around the concept of fire using pyrokinetics. The world of Fire Force was born as a result of the Great Cataclysm that destroyed the old world, creating infernals and pyrokinetics in the process.
The pyrokinetics are flame-manipulating individuals that wield flames in different ways depending on their categorization, which are either second-generation pyrokinetics, third-generation pyrokinetics or hybrids. Above all are the Adolla users, who possess otherworldly abilities that sometimes allow them to bend the concept of space and time.
13 Grimoire/Magic – Black Clover
Grimoires are magical tools used by the characters of Black Clover to manipulate mana/magic. The Grimoire is a special book that enables users to cast magical spells, ranging from offensive attacks to healing-oriented spells. Grimoires are used by mages in Black Clover, who are often members of the Magic Knights.
A mage can only use one grimoire in his lifetime, so every mage has to increase their mana manipulation skills to unlock powerful spells in their grimoire. Although there are exceptions to these rules, considering Asta and Yuno, the series’ main characters. Regardless, these rules remain fundamental to the concept of magic & grimoires in Black Clover.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is one of the greatest shonen classics following the story’s amazing themes and well-crafted power system. Alchemy is a remarkable power system closely associated with science. Essentially, it involves the manipulation of matter by alchemists. The whole process of matter manipulation is referred to as Transmutation.
The concept of alchemy is by far one of the most dangerous power systems in the shonen genre. It exacts a high price on unsuspecting users and is a delicate art that can only be implemented successfully by users with a deep understanding of the process.
11 Power Of The Titans – Attack On Titan
Undoubtedly, Attack on Titan has grown to be one of the most popular shonen anime of the decade. Looking at the story’s themes and plot development throughout the four seasons, it is easy to see why it is considered a gem in the shonen world. The power of the titans is the main power system in the series.
Although the default titans are mindless creatures with the aim of consuming humans, the titan shifters are of a special category. The Nine Titans are titan shifters with special abilities and traits, all traced to the bloodline of Ymir, the Founding Titan. Although using the power comes with great risks, it is a formidable asset in the war-torn world of Attack on Titan.
10 Servants – Fate
The Fate series presents a world involving different classes of mages battling for one purpose: The Holy Grail. To win the Holy Grail War, each contestant has to summon a Servant, who they can manipulate to perform their bidding using command spells. These servants can be very powerful, depending on the class.
Servants in Fate are grouped into Knight classes, Calvary classes, and Extra classes. Knight classes consist of saber, Lancer, and Archers, while Calvary Classes include Assassin, Berserker, Rider, and Caster. Lastly, the “Extra” class consists of rare types of servants that are generally powerful. They include Ruler, Moon Cancer, and Pretender Ego, among others.
9 Ki – Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball is a leading anime within the shonen genre. Due to the complex power scaling of Dragon Ball, viewers tend to forget that the underlying power source in the show is Ki. “Ki” is the energy within the characters that they can harness and manipulate for different reasons.
Generally, Ki increases the fighting abilities of the user, and Ki manipulation experts can emit beams, blades and other powerful attacks.Dragon Ball’s Ki can’t be ranked high as a power system since the anime barely capitalizes on the concept.
8 Breathing Forms – Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer added a unique power system to the shonen anime franchise. In the Demon Slayer universe, characters wield blades while adopting different forms. Season 2 of the anime revealed the apex breathing form to be the Sun Breathing Style, since every other breathing form can be traced back to it.
Breathing forms in Demon Slayer are remarkably diverse. For instance, Rengoku’s fire breathing style and Tomioka’s Water Style are inherited from previous Breath User masters. However, deviant, self-made styles such as Inosuke’s Beast Breathing and Obanai’s Snake breathing form also exist.
7 Cursed Energy – Jujutsu Kaisen
Jujutsu Kaisen’s power system is as malevolent as it sounds. Cursed energy emanates from negative emotions, such as anger and bitterness, so every human in Jujutsu Kaisen has a certain amount of cursed energy. However, when a person’s Cursed Energy exceeds a certain level, they can see curses themselves, which are the manifestations of Cursed Energy.
Ideally, Jujutsu sorcerers, who are responsible for eliminating these curses, possess a large amount of cursed energy, which they can manipulate to different extents using cursed techniques – techniques created for curses erasure. These range from innate techniques to extension and maximum techniques.
6 Stands – JoJo Bizarre Adventures
Jojo Bizarre Adventures uses an interesting power system with limitless potential. A stand is the external manifestation of one’s life energy, and is an entity that can perform superhuman feats. Stand users control these stands to do their bidding, which can be good or evil, depending on the user’s intention. Occasionally, Stands are representations of one’s fighting spirit.
Each Stand is in no way similar to each other. For instance, one Stand can exhibit extraordinary strength, while another may have a more complex ability. An example is Kujo Jotaro’s stand, Platinum, which can stop time temporarily.
5 Quirks – My Hero Academia
In all of shonen, My Hero Academia’s “Quirks” is one of the most diverse power systems. In this hero-villain anime, Quirks are innate superhuman abilities. Some individuals with powerful quirks aspire to become heroes that can guarantee the public’s safety, mostly against villains – individuals who choose to use their Quirks to commit heinous acts.
Generally, Quirks manifest from birth, but in rare cases, they can be transferred – a case depicted by the show’s protagonist, Midoriya Izuku, and one of the apex villains in the show, All for One. Some quirks can be powerful, like Deku’s One for All, while some can be weak but effective, like Mineta’s Pop Off.
4 Nen – Hunter x Hunter
Nen is introduced in Hunter x Hunter anime after the first few arcs. Like Ki, Nen is a form of life energy mostly harnessed by Hunters when they embark on expeditions. Due to the danger the ability can pose in the wrong hands, it is kept a secret from society.
Before one can unlock their Nen ability, they must first undergo intense training to discover their Nen Specialty. There are six types of Nen: Manipulation, Transmission, Conjuration, Enhancement, Specialization and Transmutation. Generally, Nen users can use only one type, but it is possible to use different classes. Pitou and Ging Freecs are prime examples.
3 Spiritual Pressure – Bleach
Spiritual Pressure, referred to as “Reiatsu,” is the signature power system of Bleach. The Bleach universe features the Shinigami, Quincys, Fullbringers, and other classes. However, the Shinigami is the main focal point of the show, and individuals in this class possess Spiritual Pressure, which is the basis of their abilities.
One of these abilities is Shikai, the first or second upgraded form a Zanpaktou can change into. However, the Shinigami’s supreme power lies in their Bankai, the final release of the Zanpaktou, which is incredibly powerful. To unlock Bankai, a Shinigami needs to materialize and effectively dominate their Zanpaktou spirit after they have been summoned to the physical world.
2 Chakra – Naruto & Boruto
Chakra is the core essence of Naruto and Boruto. Naruto features a world of ninjas that constantly engage in battles as a result of trans-generational malice between different clans. In such skirmishes, these ninjas, referred to as “Shinobis,” perform jutsu-based attacks that utilize Chakra.
The origin of Chakra was shrouded in mystery until the Fourth Great Ninja War, where it was revealed that Chakra was initially foreign energy that was brought to the world by Kaguya, an alien, after she consumed the Chakra Fruit. Generally, Chakra can be manipulated by ninjas to produce basic forms of ninjutsu, genjutsu and chakra-enhanced taijutsu techniques. However, it can also support advanced techniques like the Uchiha’s Susanoo.
1 Devil Fruit & Haki – One Piece
One Piece has a vast power system featuring double power sources that are separate, unlinked entities. Unlike Naruto’s Chakra-Jutsu connection, Haki and Devil Fruits work independently, but can be used together to achieve a higher power output. Devil Fruit is a unique fruit that, when eaten, empowers the user with unique abilities similar to the fruit’s nature. Devil fruits are classified into three types: Zoan, Paramecia, and Logia. The fruit types differ in the abilities they offer, which can range from animal-based features to elemental ones like ice and fire.
On the other hand, Haki is also a distinct power source. This unique power that allows users to utilize their spiritual energy for different reasons. Haki has different forms: Observation Haki, Armament, and Conqueror’s Haki. Observation Haki serves as a sixth sense that predicts the opponent’s moves, Armament Haki strengthens the user physically, and Conqueror’s Haki allows users to overpower the will of others. Even though Haki and Devil Fruit are different power systems in One Piece, some characters can use Haki in conjunction with Devil Fruit abilities. The main character, Luffy, is a classic example.
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