A ‘Dark Trio’ of Shonen Anime Has Acclaimed Global Influence (2024)

MAPPA, bloody gore, and the total rejection of shonen clichés bind the Dark Trio of Jujutsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man, and Hell’s Paradise together.

Of all the manga and anime, shonen is perhaps the most well-liked. A few franchises in particular have contributed to the surge in popularity of anime; some have even surpassed the present buzz around historical figures. Their success can be attributed in part to the fact that they are notably darker than most other shonen series, with more gore, blood, violence, and cynicism than most previous shonen.

Jujutsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man, and Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku is a gloomy trinity of anime/manga that has a similar gritty look and pessimism. This unholy trio is a fantastic illustration of what shonen manga and anime can and most definitely will be in the future because of these qualities, as well as its defiance of shonen clichés and unwillingness to be generic. The three qualities of this Dark Trio have shaped and contributed to the success of utterly unconnected works, which has affected anime and manga in general in numerous ways.

Updated on February 4, 2024 by Timothy Blake Donohoo: The popularity of the “Shonen Dark Trio” has not decreased, particularly in light of the popularity of the Jujutsu Kaisen manga and anime. This has led to the startling current pause of that series, which has caused some manga readers to seek out the other parts of the trinity. Since these brands are the face of the genre for a new generation, it seems natural that their popularity has started to affect shonen in general.

The Shonen Dark Anime Trio: What Is It?

A 'Dark Trio' of Shonen Anime Has Acclaimed Global Influence (2024)

Hell’s Paradise

During the Edo era in Japan, the Shogunate of Japan gave a small group of prisoners who were about to be executed the chance to be freed and pardoned if they looked into a newly found island southwest of the Ryukyu Kingdom. To make sure the inmates won’t escape, special guards accompany them.

Release Date:April 1, 2023
Cast:Chiaki Kobayashi , Yumiri Hanamori , Alejandro Saab , Rie Takahashi
Main Genre:Anime
Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku
Creator(s) Release Date (Manga) Release Date (Anime) Volumes (Manga) Episodes (Anime)
Yui Kaku January 22, 2018 – January 25, 2021 April 1, 2023 – Present 13 13

Hell’s Paradise was the first of the three manga books that make up the shonen dark trio to appear in 2018, however, they were all published in 2018. The main character of the series is an unkillable assassin named Gabimaru, whose mission is to locate an elixir that would give the shogunate a comparable level of immortality. There will be many casualties on this trek, since all prior excursions have been extremely difficult. Still, the chance to reconcile with his loving wife is what motivates the unlikely hero to succeed.

Hell’s Paradise defies the shonen genre’s generally dismal record of producing deep and lasting love relationships. Gabimaru’s wife gave him the motivation he needed to transform from a heartless, empty shell into a kind warrior who stood up for others while he battled to return home.

Jujutsu Kaisen

TV- MAAction  Adventure

After ingesting a demon’s finger, a youngster consumes a cursed amulet and is cursed himself. In order to identify the other sections of the demon’s body and exorcise himself, he goes to a shaman’s school.

Release Date:October 2, 2020
Cast:Junya Enoki , Yuichi Nakamura , Yuma Uchida , Asami Seto
Main Genre:Animation
Seasons:2 Seasons
Creator:Gege Akutami
Production Company:Mappa, TOHO animation
Number of Episodes:47 Episodes
Jujutsu Kaisen
Creator(s) Release Date (Manga) Release Date (Anime) Volumes (Manga) Episodes (Anime)
Gege Akutami March 5, 2018 – Present October 3, 2020 – December 28, 2023 25 47

Jujutsu Kaisen, another eerie shonen series with an unusual color scheme, was the next entry in the Dark Trio. When Yuji Itadori, the main character, joins the occult club at school, he finds out that the other students actually own a cursed relic. Yuji must learn to master both his own magic and the monster inside of him after he becomes entwined with a demonic presence. He must also learn to defend his friends and other jujutsu practitioners while avoiding his own impending demise.

Jujutsu Kaisen is incredibly well-liked in both manga and anime formats. Within the shonen anime fanbase, debates about the show and its storylines have taken center stage. This is particularly because of the series’ outstanding action sequences, which have dazzled viewers in a market that is getting more and more competitive within the demographic “genre.” It follows that it is understandable why it is practically the “main” entry in the Dark Trio.

Chainsaw Man

Chainsaw Man

After a betrayal, a young man who was thought to be dead comes back to life as a strong devil-human hybrid by fusing with his pet demon. He is then quickly recruited into a group that hunts devils. Denji was left with a big debt and no way to repay it after his father passed away.

Cast:Kikunosuke Toya , Ryan Colt Levy , Tomori Kusunoki , Suzie Yeung
Release Date:October 11, 2022
Main Genre:Anime


Chainsaw Man
Creator(s) Release Date (Manga) Release Date (Anime) Volumes (Manga) Episodes (Anime)
Tatsuki Fujimoto December 3, 2018 – Present October 12, 2022 – December 28, 2022 16 12

The last film is Chainsaw Man, which takes place in a different period when devils are rife. The main character, Denji, is a young guy who is slain by the Yakuza, for which he has been working to settle his father’s debts. Denji becomes the body-horror hero Chainsaw Man because to the friendship he has with Pochita the Chainsaw Devil, his constant companion. After joining the Public Safety Demon Hunters, Denji uses his newfound powers to battle the terrifying demons that threaten mankind, but a betrayal of epic proportions is being plotted by someone he believes to be trustworthy.

In addition to having launched at about the same time, Hell’s Paradise, JJK, and CSM are also getting, or have already gotten, an anime adaption from the once renowned studio MAPPA. This animation company has produced a number of successful shows, most notably Attack on Titan’s last season, Kakegurui, and its prequel series Kakegurui Twin. Ironically, some people believe that the later series is a candidate to be one of the shonen Dark Trio. Attack on Titan is not included in this number because it was finished in both the manga and the anime. But Chainsaw Man is there, and it makes sense that it’s grouped in with the other Dark Trio members.

The Anti-Shonen Are Jujutsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man, and Hell’s Paradise

Considering the abundance of gore, demonic forces, and devils, one might easily claim that the Dark Trio is worthy of their moniker. These three comics are packed with gritty content in contrast to the bright and carefree shonen novels. This includes the brutality as well, which is a major difference between these shows and their forerunners. There have always been demons and heinous violence in shonen manga, but not nearly to the same extent as Chainsaw Man.

The mangaka has taken full advantage of the laxer norms for violence in these novels. This gives them the ability to achieve things that comics and anime with a lighter tone, like One Piece, could never do. The grim stories can seem nearly exactly like a seinen manga or anime because the stakes are bigger and more realistic. There is very little reliance on the strength of friendship, and many of the characters lead more difficult lives. These developments are reminiscent of the harsh fantasy series Berserk and other comics from the 1980s and 1990s in many aspects. So the emergence of the gloomy Trio is just another instance of shonen novels going back to their gritty, gloomy beginnings.

The Unique Qualities of the Dark Trio

more abrasive
More aggressive
The characters’ lives are grim.
greater stakes
No organized matches or fights
Not having much of an immediate end aim is another way that the Dark Trio subverts shonen clichés. For example, the main characters in Naruto and One Piece want to become the Hokage and the King of the Pirates, respectively. While the stories of Jujutsu Kaisen and Hell’s Paradise develop toward certain ends, the trip is far less thrilling than in more conventional shonen. In a manner, The Dark Trio is ready to take their time in choosing a suitable conclusion, which would eliminate all of those annoying filler episodes that anime fans have been grumbling about for decades.

Additionally, organized combat and tournaments are given far less attention, which is nearly unheard of in the demographic genre that the Dragon Ball franchise popularized. With the Dark Trio’s popularity, maybe shonen manga and anime will start experimenting more with their themes and tones, which will lead to more insane success stories.

Jujutsu Kaisen’s Hiatus’ Repercussions Illustrate the Dark Trio’s Influence

Many fans of the Dark Trio manga series Jujutsu Kaisen were taken aback by the most recent chapter, which revealed a narrative point that led to the book's pause. In this chapter, Satoru Gojo and Ryomen Sukuna engaged in their final combat, in which Gojo

Many fans of the Dark Trio manga series Jujutsu Kaisen were taken aback by the most recent chapter, which revealed a narrative point that led to the book’s pause. In this chapter, Satoru Gojo and Ryomen Sukuna engaged in their final combat, in which Gojo, in spite of his great might, was unable to survive. This was further exacerbated by the debatably insufficient build-up to the status quo shift. It’s verified that this concludes the fight and the present plot, but it’s unclear where the tale will go from there when it returns from break.

The turn of events completely astonished many supporters, especially in light of the seemingly final nature of Jujutsu Kaisen’s present advancements. The fan base of the series was so shocked by the circumstance that it had an impact on another property. Manga creator Kenjiro Hata responded by announcing the suspension of Fly Me to the Moon as a kind of “recovery.” The comment demonstrates how well-known and significant the Dark Trio manga has become for the whole business, even though it is probably humorous.

    Their gritty style, cynicism, and parody of shonen cliches have made the “Shonen Dark Trio”—Jujutsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man, and Hell’s Paradise—extremely famous.
    Jujutsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man, and Hell’s Paradise—stories that deviate from standard shonen narratives with their darker themes, brutality, and realistic stakes—have had a tremendous impact on the genre’s success and general tone.
    The other members of the Shonen Dark Trio have garnered more attention as a result of Jujutsu Kaisen’s sabbatical, enhancing their already renowned and significant standing in the anime and manga industries.


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