The Next Big Three
Dragon Ball was one of Weekly Shounen Jump’s central release, until it’s final chapter on the 90s. It’s fame on the shounen action genre carried on, in the form of the current big three of weekly shounen jump, Naruto, Bleach and One Piece. However, even these three may perhaps be reaching their respective conclusion soon. At first, there were just rumors speculating that these three memorable medias will end soon, a little after that, the rumors became a coming reality, Bleach’s last arc had already been confirmed for the manga (incidentally, the anime ended recently too) and Naruto’s author, Kishimoto Masashi himself had revealed that the manga might be reaching it’s climax soon.
Regardless, I think it’s time we think of the next big three. Back then, shounen action were all the hype, perhaps with Naruto, Bleach and One Piece; The Big Three acting as the foundation of all these fame. One way or the other, anime had changed quite a lot too, and there’s no denying that shounen anime and manga had changed considerably too, both in content and atmosphere. Interestingly, the new big three might also be effected by that change. Here’s a few I think that might possibly become the next big three.
This is a no brainer. Gintama is perhaps one of the most hilarious media in terms of anime and manga. They always go crazy: bringing out references, using parodies and breaking down the fourth wall, they will do anything just to get it’s readers a few good laughs, and what they achieved, had certainly surpassed most expectations. Of cause, Gintama’s actions are good too; simplistic but powerful. In the end, I still think Gintama is better in anime, due to the excellent voice acting (some jokes are brought out better via visuals and sound) but in the end, the manga is still one of the best and it will definitely succeed one of the big three in the coming future.
Fairy Tail may be one of the rare gems that is still a reminiscence of old shounen manga; the feeling of friends and family, the feeling of bonds, the way how all the characters work together to defeat a common foe. Fairy Tail’s actions may pale a bit in comparison but the display of friendship and teamwork is beautiful, almost comparable to the chemistry displayed by the One Piece strawhat pirates. Given time, I think Fairy Tail might become the next best thing yet.
An unusual choice I would say. While the success of the anime is questionable at best, the success of the manga is top notch in comparison. Set in a ordinary high school settings, Medaka Box uniquely blends in bizarre abilities and techniques which old school shounen types are accustomed to, while blending in other themes as well.
Other Possible Candidates
I did not watch the anime nor read the manga yet, so i can’t judge this, but I think with the success and positive reception it was receiving, it might perhaps become one of the successor of the big three as well. From what I can see, Toriko is also another rare gem that is like a reminiscence of old shounen manga, perhaps even more so then Fairy Tail. Since shounen wasn’t as popular as it was back then, whether or not this is good remains debatable.
While the anime ended on an unsatisfying note, the manga is still going strong. If there’s another manga which could be a close match (somewhat) to Gintama’s humors, it’s Beelzebub. It has ridiculous and wacky plots, something Gintama specialized in as well, though the latter is still several times better in my opinion.