Facing this million-dollar question every time you finish an anime is one of the biggest problems of being a weeb.
Well, how about you narrow down your search by selecting a genre that you want to watch?
Here’s a little explanation of all the genres so that you know what to watch.
Also know that no anime is set in just one genre. Genre is something that is overlapping and you’ll more often than not decide more than one genre to know what you want to know.
What All Anime Genres Actually Mean?
Lets explore what all these anime genres actually mean and what kind of anime genres are there that we never heard of…
The word literally means ‘child’ in Japanese. So, obviously, this is the kind of anime that is aimed at young kids to enjoy. This, however, though considered a genre, is actually more of a target audience demographic than a genre.
These anime often don’t have a lot of story and are very episodic in nature. They are funny and easy to understand and use character quirks to make entertainment.
Popular examples include Shinchan, Hamtaro, Doraemon, KiteretsuDaihyakka, Ninja Hattori and so on.
Another target audience demographic turner into a genre, the word literally means ‘a young boy’. The Shōnen (Shounen) genre is aimed for young teen boys.
It usually consists of a fictional world where the protagonist is a young boy who wants to achieve something in his life.
This genre of anime is very popular not only among its targeted audience but among a crowd of all ages as the optimistic and the coming of age journey is the main focus.
Popular examples include Demon Slayer, Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball Series, One Piece, Black Clover, and so on.
Following the trend, this word means ‘a young girl’ and is the intended target audience demographic. Shoujo anime most often like all the others is combined with another sub-genre like historical drama or sci-fi for storytelling purposes.
It usually has a grounded focus on the romantic and emotional relationships of the characters rather than any kind of action or thrill.
Popular examples include Fruits Basket, Kami-samaHajimemashita, Kaichouwa Maid-sama.
Obviously, it’s not like there are no exceptions at all. A lot of Shoujo manga and anime do have a focus on action as well, including Banana Fish, Akatsuki no Yona or Yona of the Dawn, and many more.
Target audience: Young Adult (Men)? Acquired.
Seinen anime is the gold mine of anime that hides some beautiful gems.
These anime deal with certain issues that might be a bit much for younger audiences like not only death and violence but familial relationships, war, and politics.
They often depict realities that are chosen to be idealized for the younger audiences like deaths of various characters, the morality of certain characters, and often separating from each other, not such happy endings, and often complicated relationships.
Seinen is often able to portray a lot more than the younger audience-based genre.
Popular seinen anime include Black Lagoon, Code Geass, Plastic Memories, Tiger and Bunny, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and so on.
The literal translation of the word: A young lady. Target Audience: Young Adult to Mature women.
Shoujo manga is the depiction of how you would want the world to be. Fairy tail romances and someone guiding you through your life.
Josei anime is the reality of how romance actually is, without all the sprinkles on top.
Josei anime usually come out of the comfortable romance story plot to delve further into the action, drama, and betrayal side of things.
Popular anime include Eden of the East, Usagi Drop, Wotakoi: Wotakuni Koi waMuzukashii, Princess Jellyfish, and so on.
‘A young boy’s dream come true in anime form’ is what I would say if I had to sum it up.
This is when a male protagonist of a story is being crushed by more than 3 female or male characters in the anime.
The male protagonist either has no idea about these romantic feelings or in the end, chooses not to get into an actual relationship with anyone.
These anime often depict different kinds of relationships that could be converted into romance like friendships, rivalries, and enmity.
Popular harem anime include High School of the Dead, High School DxD, Clannad, Zero no Tsukaima, and so on.
Such anime often originate as a series for some kind of an ‘otome’ game or a ‘dating simulation game where the protagonist has to, in the end, the person playing the game has to choose which one they want to be in a real relationship with.
Often accompanied by a lot, and I mean A LOT of eye candy characters that have feelings for you, this anime does sometimes also feature the best action, drama, and traumatic events that one could encounter.
Often each male character comes with a distinct personality from cold and heartless to constant teasing and loving.
The main character is kept almost always neutral on purpose so that everyone can be related to being in their place.
Examples include Ouran High School Host Club, Akatsuki no Yona, Fushigi Yuugi, Diabolik Lovers, Meiji Tokyo Renka, and so on.
Probably the most popular kind of anime or at least something that everyone has heard of at least one in any conversation about anime.
Hentai is the kind of anime that shows explicit content while having a minor plot going on in the background.
Hentai often has its own subgenres including different kinds of fetishes regarding both the male and female characters, Yuri, Yaoi, censored and uncensored, and anything else that suits the needs of its audience.
A lot of ‘doujinshi’ or ‘fan manga’ fall in this category.
Popular ones include Adventure Kid, Angel in the court, F³, Fish in the trap, and so on.
This is the kind of anime that can make you dance around with joy when the main lead characters of the anime finally confess their feelings to on another
Absolutely wreck you into a ball of sadness leaving you sobbing in a corner of your house if one of them dies or finally does not reciprocate their feelings.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good romance for themselves?
Whether you enjoy the chase that the characters run for each other as they come to peace and accept their feelings for one other or the confession and aesthetics of the quirky relationships that the characters build over the course of the anime or you like giving yourself the pain to having to watch one of your beloved characters lose their only love, the romance genre has something for everyone.
Inuyasha, Yuri on Ice, Ore Monogatari are quite well-known.
Activities going on a realm that are beyond the human existence or understanding.
Often delving into themes of ghosts, demons, yokai, curses, often leading to the killing, a lot of blood, and gore.
These anime also tend to sometimes delve into the psychological thriller or dramas where the actual ghost doesn’t exist but is only a hallucination made up by the protagonist’s mind which is often a result of manipulation or some kind of a traumatic event.
Popular anime of this genre includes Tokyo Ghoul, Monster, Danganronpa, and others.
A nice old-fashioned attempt at giving you some laughs and giggles by way of having two characters interact or putting characters in certain kinds of sticky situations.
Humour in anime comes from a variety of places and is based on various kinds of humor that people enjoy.
From a series like Gintama who’s humor is very Japan-based humor with a focus on reactions to certain situations, puns, and interactions between characters.
K-on on the other hand does provide much simpler and universal humor by way of situational comedy.
Etotama, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Is this a Zombie, Oreimo, and others are examples of how wide the range of anime humor is.
Anime that live in your imagination.
Anthromorphic animal people, fancy swordfights, creatures that you’ll find in fables, and so on.
This genre lives in your head and hits straight to your heart.
The beautiful relationships between characters, their friendships, rivalries, romances, and enemities; the world that they are set in containing never-before-seen animals, food, and buildings; the power system and how to win fights and acquiring combat skills…
Every single thing about these anime is the reason why this genre is so liked. It provides a much-needed break from reality and lets you dive into a different world for the time being.
Black Clover, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Goblin Slayer, Overlord, and many others take this genre to new heights.
This is that one friend who always tries to confess to their crush but shies away every time, and when you ask about it just promise that they will do it the next time.
Ecchi anime often show mild nudity in the context of a humourous attempt but do not contain any explicit content that might need to be censored.
Food Wars, Kakegurui, High School DxD, Punch Line, Kill La Kill, and others will give you just a tease of how great these anime can be in other aspects as well.
A lot of people refer to these as transformers but in anime form… Which not going to lie, isn’t wrong. In fact, it hits right on the bullseye.
These anime usually depict a beautiful relationship that humans will have developed with technology often depicting the protagonist as a partner with his robot suit/vehicle/whatever it is.
Robots are often used as weapons against other robots and injuries and maintenance are done like one would for a human.
Ghost in the Shell, Macross Frontier, Astro Boy, Neon Genesis Evangelion are examples of beautiful anime that not only have great mecha designs but also have great character development, story, or even just the premise.
From a plot to sub-genre to a separate genre of its own, Isekai had grown fundamentally in the recent years of anime.
There’s only one consideration in this genre, that the protagonist is transported to another world. That’s it.
How many times? Up to you.
Stay there or not? Up to you.
Remember about this world? Up to you.
Transported alone or not? Up to you.
Everything about this genre is all-encompassing but the sheer amount of anime that use this one tool for their plot is huge, making it a genre of its own.
Welcome to Japan, Elf-san, Re-Zero, Bleach, Restaurant to Another World all of these use the same premise but in different ways and are a joy to watch each individually.
Drama is one of the bigger genre that can only paint a rough picture for you. It is something that isn’t a comedy but isn’t a tragedy either. It’s a story told by using characters. So, technically any anime, movie or any story ever told or developed is a drama.
Drama usually means tension, dark, some depressing events, and something on those lines, very akin to the Angst and Fluff genre of fanfiction.
Drama is coupled with other genres to make a more specific and detailed image of what to expect from a certain anime.
Like, for example, a Political Drama anime would have clashes between two opposing ideologies of how the government should function creating tension and cause a string of events like maybe someone’s murder or assassination or a plot to deceive them.
Code Geass, Free, Ano Hana, Kokoro Connect are all different kinds of drama that will give you all the different kinds of feels.
Witches, ghosts, gods, demons, and everything else that seems impossible in real life.
These anime are perfect for portraying a fictional story in a fictional world about fictional characters that can do things that normal humans can’t.
Heavy in the magic and mythical side of things supernatural anime often have a plot happening in the front like two characters falling in love or have a war going on or some plot that is happening and the ‘supernatural’ part just exaggerating and enabling this main plot.
Kami-samaHajimemashita, Black Butler, Noragami, Jujutsu Kaisen, and so many other anime take up this genre and make it bloom like cherry blossoms.
Heavy on the action, Thrillers do exactly what their name says.
They give you a thrill, an adrenaline rush to say.
It’s unpredictability, action, cursing, often breaking of rules, and living outside the so-called ‘safe’ world, this genre makes you crave for something that might not actually be very correct to do.
Death Note, B: The Beginning, Psycho-Pass, Fate/Zero, Steins; Gate are examples of anime that will pump you up enough for you to want to go ahead and try a drift in your car.
Slice of Life
Moe is a confusing concept.
Moe is basically anything that evokes the feeling of ‘cuteness’ in a person, however, it’s not by the large-eyed, small-faced character.
Moe aims to evoke these feelings of cuteness by only using real-life situations like finally holding hands while walking in the garden or admiration of a character by their crush when they saw them playing a sport etc.
This is the equivalent of fluff in fanfiction. Imagine a feeling of falling onto a fluffy pillow after being dead tired because of some activity.
Slice of life is the anime that contains the concept of moe.
Wotakoi: Wotakuni Koi waMuzukashii, Tsurezure Children, Kami-samaKazoku, Fruits Basket are some anime that will keep you smiling even though your cheeks hurt.
The protagonist needs to do something for some reason and to do this, the protagonist needs to go on a grand adventure out into the world.
Maybe they meet some other people and take them along with them or maybe not.
Adventure is a story about how the protagonist interacts with the world to do something they set out to do.
Overcoming obstacles, making new friends, enjoying life while they achieve this goal is the basic story of this genre.
Hunter X Hunter, One Piece, Attack on Titan, Pokémon, Naruto Series, Dragon Ball Series, Fullmetal Alchemist Series, and so on would like you to accompany them on their journey. Would you?
Lolicon (Where the is often a really young girl typically flat chested and with larger eyes to invoke a cuter feel.)
Shotacon (Similar to Lolicon but just an attraction to a young boy.)
Yaoi or shounen-ai (Anime about boys who are in love with other boys.)
Yuri or shojo-ai (Anime about girls who are in love with other girls.)