10 most iconic transformations in shonen anime

Gon, Asta, Goku, and Eren
Gon, Asta, Goku, and Eren (Image via Sportskeeda)

Shonen anime are mostly known for their fights and power structures. With that comes several transformations that help the anime protagonists defeat their opponents in the midst of close battles.

While it is widely known that shonen anime is aimed at teenage boys, the same amasses audiences from other age groups as well, the primary factor for which are the transformations. Out of these transformations, some of them stand out a bit too much as we have listed ten of them below.

Disclaimer: This article reflects author's opinions.


Goku's Ultra Instinct and 9 other iconic transformations in shonen anime

1) Ichigo's Vasto Lorde

Ichigo's Vasto Lorde (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Ichigo's Vasto Lorde (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Speaking of shonen anime, otakus cannot forget one of the most menacing transformations was Ichigo's Vasto Lorde form. After Espada Ulquiorra blew a hole through Ichigo's chest, almost killing him, the Hollow within him took over and resurrected him in the Vasto Lorde form. This transformation allowed Ichigo to use Hollow powers that exceeded that of an Espada, helping him instantly overpower Ulquiorra.


2) Goku's Super Saiyan

Goku's Super Saiyan (Image via Toei Animation)
Goku's Super Saiyan (Image via Toei Animation)

Goku's Super Saiyan form is quite possibly the most iconic transformation in shonen anime. While his Super Saiyan 3 transformation is hailed a lot by anime fans, nothing comes close to the time when Goku first turned into a Super Saiyan, being the first one to do so in eons. Having achieved that form, Goku overpowered Frieza and defeated him. Later, the transformation became the gateway to several stronger transformations.


3) Luffy's Gear Four

Luffy's Gear Four (Image via Toei Animation)
Luffy's Gear Four (Image via Toei Animation)

While Luffy has several forms, the transformation that stands out the most is his Gear Four Bounce Man. He first unleashed this form against Doflamingo as he beat him down using his Kong Gun.

Initially, Doflamingo disregarded the form as Luffy had acquired a large body, meaning his speed would be affected. However, with his hops, the Straw Hats Pirates' captain was able to cover distances instantly.


4) Naruto's Sage Mode

Naruto's Sage Mode (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Naruto's Sage Mode (Image via Studio Pierrot)

While Naruto Uzumaki has several transformations, the one form that shook the entire franchise was his Sage Mode, using which he defeated Akatsuki's leader, Pain. It was only after then that Naruto was acknowledged by the people of the Hidden Leaf Village. The titular protagonist learned the technique in Mount Myoboku, through which he can absorb the chakra present in the nature and use it for his battles.


5) Gon's Limitation Transformation

Gon's Limitation Transformation (Image via Madhouse)
Gon's Limitation Transformation (Image via Madhouse)

After Gon learned that Meruem's Royal Guard Neferopitou had lied about having revived Kite, he lost his cool and gave every bit of his life force to acquire the strength to defeat him. Thus, he forced his body to age, after which he was filled with rage strong enough to kill the Chimera Ant. While it seems impossible for Gon to ever perform his Limitation Transformation again, fans will have to wait until Togashi reveals the same.


6) Eren's Founding Titan

Eren's Founding Titan (Image via MAPPA)
Eren's Founding Titan (Image via MAPPA)

After Attack on Titan became a global phenomenon, it was only natural for Eren Yeager's next big transformation to become one of the most iconic ones amongst Shonen anime. Moreover, when he was able to transform into the Founding Titan, what followed was the long-awaited Rumbling. After Eren initiated the Rumbling, he headed towards other civilizations to annihilate them. All so that the Eldians were not discriminated against.


7) Asta's Black Form

Asta's Black Form (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Asta's Black Form (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Black Clover's Asta was the only character in the anime to have no mana, which meant that he was probably the weakest character in the series. However, he obtained the five-leaf grimoire, within which resided the Anti-Magic Demon Liebe.

Thus, once when Asta was in need of strength, Liebe shared his powers with him, after which Asta obtained his Black Form that gave him a power boost and the ability to fly.


8) Goku's Ultra Instinct

Goku's Ultra Instinct (Image via Toei Animation)
Goku's Ultra Instinct (Image via Toei Animation)

While Goku's Super Saiyan is quite rightly the most iconic transformation in shonen anime, his Ultra Instinct form in Dragon Ball Super was too iconic to not be part of this list. Upon the form's first appearance, it broke down Crunchyroll servers due to the increased viewership count.

The Ultra Instinct was a summit that the Gods in the series themselves weren't able to master, yet there was a mortal right in front of them who had reached that state.


9) Naruto's Baryon Mode

Naruto's Baryon Mode (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Naruto's Baryon Mode (Image via Studio Pierrot)

With the end of Naruto Shippuden, no fan of the series would have thought that they would get to witness the titular protagonist level up to a new form. However, they got to witness it in the fight against Isshiki Otsutsuki.

Naruto's Baryon Mode made use of the user's life force as strength, and thus he had to move wisely. Unfortunately, Kurama passed away after the fight, leading to one of the saddest moments in shonen anime.


10) Mob's 100% Transformation

Mob's 100% Transformation (Image via BONES)
Mob's 100% Transformation (Image via BONES)

When Teruki Hanazawa first appeared in Mob Psycho 100, he tried to beat down Shigeo Kageyama as both of them were espers. However, considering Mob was quite strong, he did not want to use his esper powers. Nevertheless, when Mob's emotions get the best of him, his capacity goes over 100%, causing him to get overpowered and defeat his opponents instantly.


These were some of the picks for the most iconic shonen anime transformations. Do comment down below if any other transformation should have made the list.