16 Popular Anime Genres Discussed and Explained

Anime genres cover a wide range of topics and themes, from shonen, josei, kodomomuke, shojo, seinen, and paranormal romances.

The genres of anime may fall under multiple classifications, such as a shounen sports anime (like “Haikyuu!!”) or a shoujo romance mecha (like “Fruits Basket”). It may also be helpful to familiarize yourself with tropes and archetypes in specific genres, such as the tsundere archetype in romantic comedies.

Consider that anime genres can often overlap or blur the lines between each other as you explore different anime genres. Ultimately, it’s all about finding what appeals to you and what you prefer.

The most popular genres include:

  • Shounen (popular among young male audiences).
  • Shoujo (popular among young female audiences).
  • Mecha (stories featuring robots or machinery).
  • A slice of life (slice-of-life stories about everyday experiences).

Anime Genre Guide

In the list below, you will find a detailed explanation of the different types of anime genres and subgenres and examples of each type.

If you’re new to anime, navigating through all genres and sub-genres can be overwhelming. Don’t worry; we’ve covered you with this comprehensive Anime Genre Guide!

Seinen Anime – (Young Adult Men )

Seinen anime is a subgenre aimed at older male audiences, typically in their late teens to mid-20s. Titles in the Seinen series often deal with challenging and mature topics such as violence, war, and sexuality.

Examples of popular seinen series include:

  • Attack on Titan
  • Berserk
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Hellsing Ultimate
  • Tokyo Ghoul

While some may dismiss seinen as just “adult” anime, this subgenre offers a wealth of complex and thought-provoking storytelling.

Seinen titles aren’t afraid to tackle complex and uncomfortable issues, presenting them in a raw and realistic manner.

And while not all seinen anime is for the faint of heart, they offer a refreshing change from the often light-hearted and simplistic stories found in other subgenres.

So, if you’re looking for a more mature and nuanced viewing experience, look no further than seinen anime.

Just make sure you’re ready for the challenges that come with it.

Shōnen ( Young Teen Boys )

Shōnen Anime genre

Shōnen Anime, often translated as “boy’s anime,” is a genre that targets young male audiences and typically features protagonists on their journey to becoming stronger.

This can manifest in physical strength, magical powers, or even growing up and coming into their own.

Shōnen Anime often includes themes of camaraderie, teamwork, and overcoming adversity.

Examples Of Shonen include:

  • Dragon Ball Z
  • Naruto
  • One Piece
  • My Hero Academia

It may have a bad reputation for being too testosterone-fueled sometimes, but shonen anime also offers some heartwarming moments and endearing characters.

So grab your snacks and prepare for an emotional rollercoaster; Shōnen Anime offers some serious brawn (and heart).

Shōjo (Young Teen Girls)

Shōjo Anime Genre

Shōjo Anime, or anime aimed at young girls, is often considered frivolous and insignificant.

But shōjo has a rich history of tackling important social issues and showcasing strong female characters.

From “Sailor Moon” fighting for love and justice to the LGBTQ+ representation in “Revolutionary Girl Utena,” shōjo offers poignant discussions on gender roles, sexuality, and societal norms.

Example of Shojo:

  • Sailor Moon
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
  • Fruits Basket
  • Ouran High School Host Club
  • My Little Monster

Shōjo may be targeted toward women, but its themes are universal and relevant to viewers of all genders. Don’t sleep on shōjo – it’s far more than sparkles and love triangles.

Josei (Young adult Woman)

Josei Anime Genre

Josei Anime, also known as “women’s anime,” typically targets an older female audience. These shows often deal with more mature themes such as love, career, and relationships.

So if you’re looking for a break from the high school romances and magical girl adventures of other genres, give Josei Anime a try! And don’t let the target demographic fool you – these stories are relatable and enjoyable for all genders.

Example of Josei Anime:

  • Usagi Drop
  • Honey and Clover
  • Chihayafuru
  • Nodame Cantabile
  • Amnesia

It’s time to broaden your horizons and expand your anime repertoire with Josei Anime. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed.

Harem (Boys surrounded by girls)

Harem anime genre

Have you ever heard of Harem Anime? It’s a subgenre where several romantic interests surround the protagonist.

But let’s be honest; it’s often just an excuse for shows to cram in as many hot anime girls as possible.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying there’s anything inherently wrong with enjoying the abundance of fan service Harem Anime tends to offer.

But at the same time, seeing the same tired tropes play out repeatedly can get tiresome.

Examples of Harem Anime: 

  • High School DxD
  • World’s End Harem
  • Ouran High School Host Club
  • Date A Live
  • School Days

Why does the main character have to be a tedious, bland dude who can barely function without all these women fawning over him?

Reverse Harem (Girls surrounded by boys)

Reverse Harem Anime genre

Reverse harem anime flips the traditional harem dynamic by placing a single female protagonist at the center of attention from multiple male characters.

These series often feature complex love triangles and romantic entanglements, as the heroine must choose between her suitors. Some famous examples include “Ouran High School Host Club,” “Fruits Basket,” and “The World is Still Beautiful.”

Reverse harem anime might be a fun, guilty pleasure, but it’s time for something fresh and new in romance anime.

Example of reverse harem anime:

  • Ouran High School Host Club
  • Kamigami no Asobi
  • My Next Life as a Villainess
  • Hakuouki
  • Brothers Conflict

Kodomo (Aimed at children)

Kodomo anime kids genre

Kodomo Anime, also known as “children’s anime,” is a subgenre of Japanese animation geared toward younger audiences.

These shows often have simplistic plots and cute characters, making them a hit with young viewers.

However, don’t let their innocent appearance fool you – Kodomo Anime can tackle serious themes such as family relationships and personal growth.

Kodomo Anime is not just for kids – it’s for the kid in all of us. So go ahead and indulge in some wholesome entertainment – Kodomo Anime has something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, who can resist the adorable chibis and animal sidekicks?

Example of kodomo anime:

  • Astro Boy
  • Doraemon
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
  • Pokémon
  • Digimon

Romance Anime ( falling in love)

Romance Anime

Romance anime typically follows a love story between the main characters, often with obstacles to their relationship. Common themes include the challenges of being in a long-distance relationship, overcoming communication barriers, and facing societal pressure or disapproval.

Romance anime can appeal to a broad audience due to its relatable themes and heartfelt storytelling.

Popular romance anime titles include:

  • Clannad
  • Your Lie in April
  • Toradora
  • Darling In The Franxx
  • Scum’s Wish

Many fans enjoy shipping (supporting a fictional romantic relationship) their favorite characters and discussing the development of their relationships with other fans.

Horror Anime

Horror Anime

Horror Anime is a subgenre of Japanese animation that focuses on fear, terror, and horror.

This genre often includes elements of supernatural beings or creatures, gore and violence, psychological torment, and unsettling themes.

Some popular horror anime:

  • Blood-C
  • Elfen Lied
  • Parasyte
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Death Note

Horror Anime can be highly disturbing to watch at times, but it also offers unique storytelling techniques and a chilling atmosphere for viewers who enjoy the thrill of fear.

Whether it’s demons lurking in the shadows or gruesome murders being committed, Horror Anime brings terror straight to the screen.

So for those looking for a good scare, horror anime is worth checking out. Just make sure you’re ready for some nightmares afterward.

Comedy Anime

Comedy Anime

Comedy anime typically use outlandish and exaggerated situations to elicit laughter from the audience. There are many clichés and tropes in comedy anime, such as the dumb, but lovable male protagonist or the fiery, tsundere female lead.

Comedy anime can also incorporate elements of parody, referencing popular media and making comedic jabs at societal norms.

Notable comedy anime include:

  • Zombie Land Saga
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
  • Nichijou
  • Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun
  • Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

While some may argue that comedy anime lack depth or substance compared to other genres, they provide a much-needed respite from the seriousness of life and can be enjoyable to watch in their own right.

Comedy anime offers lighthearted entertainment and a chance for viewers to laugh and relax.

It should be noted that comedy is a subjective genre, and what one person may find funny may not necessarily be humorous to someone else.

Fantasy Anime

Genre of Anime Fantasy

Fantasy Anime is a subgenre within the larger category of anime that features mythical creatures, supernatural powers, and imagined worlds.

These stories often incorporate adventure and drama as characters navigate their fantastical surroundings and face challenges related to their powers or the magical universe they live in.

Fantasy Anime can provide escapism for viewers as they immerse themselves in imaginative worlds filled with possibilities.

However, Fantasy Anime also addresses deeper themes such as the search for identity, good vs. evil, and the power of love and friendship. Fantasy Anime allows viewers to explore these themes while entertained by spectacular visuals and enthralling storylines.

Some popular Fantasy Anime series include:

  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Sword Art Online
  • My Hero Academia
  • Overlord
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Ecchi Anime

best genres in anime

Ecchi anime is a genre that focuses on sexual themes and innuendos. There are various ecchi titles, from mild to explicit, some of which feature graphic acts of nudity and sexuality.

These shows often include fan service moments, such as characters accidentally stumbling into compromising positions or wearing revealing outfits.

Despite its controversial nature, ecchi remains popular among viewers looking for naughty fun in their animation. However, it should be noted that ecchi anime is not the same as hentai, which explicitly depicts sexual intercourse and is intended solely for adult audiences.

Example of ecchi anime:

  • High School DxD
  • Kill la Kill
  • Mahoromatic
  • Heaven’s Lost Property
  • Highschool of the Dead
  • My Dress-Up Darling

Mecha Anime

Mecha Anime Genre

Mecha anime, also known as robot anime, typically features large mechanized machines controlled by a pilot or team of pilots.

These mecha are often used for combat but can also have other functions, such as transportation or labor. Mecha usually have a high-tech and futuristic feel, drawing inspiration from real-life advancements in technology and science.

Some popular mecha anime series include:

  • Gundam
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Eureka Seven
  • Code Geass
  • Darling in the FranXX

Mecha designs vary greatly and can range from humanoid robots to transforming vehicles or biological creatures with mechanical parts.

Fans enjoy the spectacle of mecha battles, characterization, and relationships between characters and their mecha units. The genre also explores deeper themes such as war, humanity, and the moral responsibility that comes with having immense power.

Isekai Anime

Isekai Anime

Isekai Anime, also known as “Other World Anime,” typically features a protagonist who is transported to, reborn in, or trapped in another world. This other world often has fantasy elements, such as magic and mythical creatures.

Some famous examples of Isekai Anime include:

  • Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World
  • The Rising Of The Shield Hero
  • The Vision of Escaflowne
  • Magi: Adventure of Sinbad

Isekai subgenres exist, including Isekai with a gaming element (such as Sword Art Online) and Isekai with an alternate history setting (such as RErideD: Derrida, who leaps between past and future).

While Isekai can be criticized for relying on repetitive plot points and harem tropes, these series continue to be popular among fans. Isekai Anime often explores themes of identity, purpose, and adapting to unfamiliar circumstances.

Yaoi or Shounen-ai

Yaoi or Shounen-ai

(Anime about boys in love with other boys)

Yaoi, also known as Boys’ Love, is a genre of anime and manga focused on male same-sex relationships.

Several Yaoi stories depict explicit sexual content between male characters, including romance and intimacy.

Despite its widespread popularity, yaoi faces criticism for perpetuating problematic tropes and stereotypes about gay men.

Yaoi manga can be found in specialized publications and mainstream magazine anthologies such as “Monthly Comic Zero Sum” and “Grape.”

Some famous examples of yaoi anime include:

  • Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
  • Junjou Romantica
  • Kirepapa
  • Banana Fish
  • Mo Dao Zu Shi
  • Hitorijime My Hero

While yaoi is primarily created by and for women, there is a subgenre known as bara that centers on gay male relationships and is mainly produced by and for gay men.

Yuri or shojo-ai

Yuri or shojo-ai Popular anime genres

(Anime about girls in love with other girls)

Yuri, also known as “Girls’ Love,” is a genre of anime and manga that focuses on romantic relationships between women.

This genre has gained popularity in recent years with titles such as Yuri!!! on Ice and Citrus gaining mainstream attention.

While Yuri stories have been around since the early days of anime, it was often seen as more of a niche interest and faced heavy censorship.

However, with the rise of social media and online platforms, Yuri has become more accepted and celebrated within the community.

Some fans enjoy Yuri for its representation of queer women and fluid sexuality, while others appreciate the dynamic relationships and character development in many Yuri stories.

Example of yuri anime:

  • Simoun
  • Sweet Blue Flowers
  • YuruYuri
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica
  • Yuri on Ice
  • Kanamemo


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