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Japan Life!
Everything About Manga and Anime Genres
Everything About Manga and Anime Genres
Getting Started with Manga and Anime Genres

In both anime and manga covers a broad range of genres from romance, to mystery, to sci-fi. Many believe that there is always at least one manga that would appeal to each person since the themes presented and the general outlines of the stories vary so greatly.

Firstly, it is important to note the first major classification among anime and manga, which is the division that deals with the target audience. These divisions can sometimes be considered genres in and of themselves, and although the target audience does not necessarily give a general outline of the genres that are present in a manga, it can often times be a good indicator of what themes that can be expected.
Genre Groups
The first target audience is known as kodomo (children's) manga or anime. As the name suggests, this genre is targeted towards young children, generally those who are between ages six and eleven. These anime and manga have child-friendly themes and often stress family values. An example of a well-known kodomo manga is Doraemon, written by Fujiko Fujio. To learn more, read our Kodomo Genre article.

The next two target audiences are known as shoujo 少女 (or shojo) and shounen 少年 (or shonen), girl's and boy's manga respectively. Each of these genre are targeted to the younger ages within the given gender. Shojo is aimed towards girls around ages eight to eighteen, while shonen is aimed towards boys in the same age range. Shojo often include a romance involving the main character, who is usually a teenage girl.

Shonen most often contain the genres of action, adventure, and comedy. A popular shojo manga/anime is Natsuki Takaya's Fruits Basket and a popular shonen title is Dragonball by Akira Toriyama. To learn more about Shoujo click here.

To learn more about Shounen, click here.

The final two groups are the more adult versions of the aforementioned groupings:
Josei, appealing to women aged eighteen to thirty and seinen, appealing to men of the same age range. Josei manga and anime tend to contain themes of romance or of entering the work force or the position of a housewife. Click here to learn more about Josei.

Seinen, similar shonen, often contains action and adventure stories, though comedy is not common, since this genre is more serious in nature. Seinen may also contain more explicit sexual content than shonen manga. Kimi wa Petto - usually translated as Tramps like Us by Yayoi Ogawa, is an example of a josei manga and Berserk by Kentaro Miura is a well-known seinen manga. Click here to learn more about Seinen.

The following is a list of various anime within their own genre. We have listed 34 genres, and 137+ anime and manga in all.

ImageTitle / Examples
Click to expand
Absurdist
Focuses on characters where they find no purpose in life while entangled in meaningless events, usually containing black comedy / satire.

  • Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei – Kouji Kumeta
  • Furi Kuri (FLCL) – Youji Enokido, and Kazuya Tsurumaki
  • Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro Chan – Masaki Okayu
  • Humanity has Declined – Romeo Tanaka
Click to expand
Action
  • Attack on Titan – Hajime Isayama
  • Fullmetal Alchemist – Arakawa Hiromu
  • Inuyasha – Rumiko Takahashi
  • Naruto – Kishimoto Masashi
Click to expand
Adventure
  • Gensomaden Saiyuki – Kazuya Minekura
  • Dragonball – Akira Toriyama
  • One Piece – Eiichiro Oda
  • Yu Yu Hakusho – Togashi Yoshihiro
Click to expand
Chanbara
Also known as Sword Wielding or the Samurai genre

  • Ninja Scroll – Yoshiaki Kawajiri
  • Samurai Champloo – Manglobe
  • Rurouni Kenshin – Watsuki Nobuhiro
  • Basilisk – Masaki Segawa
Click to expand
Comedy
  • Beelzebub – Ryūhei Tamura
  • SKET Dance – Kenta Shinohara
  • Shinyiaku Ika Musume – Masahiro Anbe
  • Fairy Tail – Hiro Mashima
Click to expand
Drama
  • Clannad – Key
  • Aishiteruze Baby – Maki Youko
  • Doubt!! – Izumi Kaneyoshi
  • Eden no Hana – Suetsugu Yoshi
Click to expand
Ecchi
Mature subject matter, usually involving female anatomy and should only be viewed when old enough

  • FREEZING – Lim Dall-young
  • Elfen Lied – Okamoto Lynn
  • Futari Ecchi – Katsu Aki
  • Sora no Otoshimono – Suu Minazuki
Click to expand
Fantasy
  • Sword Art Online – Reki Kawahara
  • Ah! My Goddess – Fujishima Kosuke
  • Merupuri – Hino Matsuri
  • Please Save my Earth – Hiwatari Saki
Click to expand
Gender Bender
When characters reverse their gender role such as a tomboy

  • Girl Got Game (Power!) – Seino Shizuru
  • Uwasa no Midori-Kun – Gou Ikeyamada
  • Hanazakari no Kimitachi E – Nakajo Hisaya
  • Never Give Up – Mutou Hiromu
Click to expand
Hentai
Very explicit and only meant for adults

  • Yosuga no Sora – Takashi Mikaze
  • Daijoubu – Shiwasu no Okina
  • Insai Zukan – Fukada Takushi
  • Patriot – Juubaori Mashumaro
Click to expand
Historical
  • Emma – Mori Kaoru
  • Black Butler – Yana Toboso
  • Condor Hero – Louis Cha
  • Folktales from Japan – TV Tokyo
Click to expand
Horror
  • Hellsing – Kouta Hirano
  • Battle Royale – Takami Koushun
  • Goth – Ooiwa Kenji
  • Pet Shop of Horrors – Akino Matsuri
Click to expand
Harem / Reverse Harem
Reverse harems are popularly thought as many males attracted to the female,while harems are the opposite.

  • Nisekoi - Naoshi Komi
  • High School DxD – Ichiei Ishibumi
  • Infinite Stratos - Izuru Yumizuru
  • Brothers Conflict – Takeshi Mizuno
Click to expand
Incest
Family relations usually involving siblings, yes this is a fairly common anime genre these days and is why we mentioned it.
  • Kiss X Sis - Bow Ditama
  • Yosuga no Sora - Takashi Mikaze
  • Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!! - Kouichi Kusano
  • Angel Sanctuary - Kaori Yuki
Click to expand
Isekai
Also known as Another world or Alternate world which involves characters going into an alternate reality and vice-versa. Typically this involves huge technological differences such as modern vs medieval fantasy.

  • Sword Art Online - Reki Kawahara
  • Konosuba - Natsume Akatsuki
  • No Game No Life - Yū Kamiya
  • Re:Zero - Tappei Nagatsuki

Click to expand
Lolicon / Rorikon
Usually involves sexual relations with young, under-aged girls

  • Lotte no Omocha! – Yui Haga
  • Kodomo no Jikan – Watashiya Kaworu
  • Tokyo Akazukin – Tamaoki Benkyo
  • Yurihime – Mikuni Hazime
Click to expand
Mahou Shoujo
Female characters whom have magical powers
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Gen Urobuchi
  • Cardcaptor Sakura – CLAMP
  • Magic Knight Rayearth – CLAMP
  • Sailor Moon – Naoko Takeuchi
Click to expand
Martial Arts
This category can bleed into the chanbara genre

  • Ranma ½ – Rumiko Takahashi
  • Saint Seiya – Kuramada Masami
  • Souten no Ken – Tetsuo Hara
  • Jyuushin Enbu: Hero Tales – Huang Jin Zhou
Click to expand
Mecha
Involving and often centralized around large machines such as Gundams

  • Macross Frontier – Ukyou Kodachi
  • Astro Boy – Tezuka Osamu
  • Gundam Wing – Koichi Tokita
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion – Sadamoto Yoshiyuki
Click to expand
Mystery
  • Detective Academy Q – Seimaru Amagi
  • Banana Fish – Yoshida Akimi
  • Eden of the East – Kenji Kamiyama
  • Detective Conan – Aoyama Gosho
Click to expand
Psychological
  • Anne Freaks – Kotegawa Yua
  • Battle Royale – Takami Koushun
  • Death Note – Obata Takeshi, Ohba Tsugumi, and Asami Yuuko
  • MONSTER – Naoki Urasawa
Click to expand
Romance
  • Kare Kano – Masami Tsuda
  • Absolute Boyfriend - Yuu Watase
  • Hot Gimmick – Miki Aihara
  • Fruits Basket – Natsuki Takaya
Click to expand
School Life
The premise of the story revolves around the school life of the characters

  • Baka to Test – Kenji Inoue
  • Aishiteruze Baby – Maki Youko
  • Alice 19th – Yuu Watase
  • Ouran Koukou Host Club – Hatori Bisco
Click to expand
Slice of Life
Generally there is no real story, rather each episode is often divided into satire / commentary segments about school life. Most Slice of Life contain comedy.

  • Toradora – Yuyuko Takemiya
  • Nichijou – Keiichi Arawi
  • K-On! – Kakifly
  • Azumanga Daioh – Kiyohiko Azuma
Click to expand
SCI-FI / Cyberpunk
Stories in Cyberpunk generally revolve in a dystopian society, typically set in the near-distant future with a grim view on what society and the government has become.

  • Appleseed – Shirow Masamune
  • Battle Angel Alita – Kishiro Yukito
  • Ghost in the Shell – Shirow Masamune
  • Akira – Katsuhiro Otomo
Click to expand
Shotacon / Shotakon
Involves sexual relations with young, under-aged males

  • Boku no Pico – Katsuyoshi Yatabe
  • Kawaii Gatte – Hoshino Lily
  • Loveless – Yun Kouga
  • Shounen Maid Kuro-kun – Takayama Katsuhiko and Yatabe Katsuyoshi
Click to expand
Shoujo-Ai
Shoujo “Love” which involves two females in love within the scope of shoujo

  • Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~ – Akahori Satoru
  • Pieta - Haruno Nanae
  • Strawberry Panic! – Takumi Namuchi
  • Hoshikawa Ginza Yonchoume – Kurogane Ken
Click to expand
Shounen-Ai
Shounen “Love” which involves two males in love within the scope of shounen

  • Ai no Kusabi – Chitose Piyoko
  • Gravitation – Murakami Maki
  • FAKE – Matoh Sanami
  • Thief and Detective – Itsuki Kaname
Click to expand
Smut
Sexually graphic and romantic, less graphic than hentai

  • Tramps like us – Ogawa Yayoi
  • Akuma na Eros – Shinjo Mayu
  • Haou Airen – Shinjo Mayu
  • Sensual Phrase – Shinjo Mayu
Click to expand
Sports
  • Hajime no Ippo – Morikawa Jyoji
  • Prince of Tennis – Konomi Takeshi
  • Rough – Adachi Mitsuru
  • Slam Dunk – Inoue Takehiko
  • Kuroko no Basuke - Tadatoshi Fujimaki
Click to expand
Supernatural
  • Ayashi no Ceres- Yuu Watase
  • Psychometrer Eiji – Ando Yuma
  • Natsume’s Book of Friends – Yuki Midorikawa
  • xxxHolic – Nanase Ohkawa and Michiko Yokote

Note: xxx in Japanese means blank, so xxxHolic would be ____Holic or blankHolic
Click to expand
Yaoi
Involves homosexual male relationships, can often times portray graphic sexual scenes

  • 17 Guyz – Nitta Youka
  • Gakuen Heaven – Higuri You
  • Yes Master – Riko Nekota
  • Okane Ga Nai – Hitoyo Shinozaki
Click to expand
Yuri
Involves homosexual female relationships, can often times portray graphic sexual scenes

  • Hands Off My Girl! – Minami Q-ta
  • Moonlight Flowers – Tsukumo Mutsumi
  • Yurihime – Mikuni Hazime
  • Citrus - Saburouta
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