Are you feeling overwhelmed by the huge variety of genres in the world of anime and manga? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people find it confusing when they first dive into this captivating world. However, understanding the different anime genres is key to discovering the ones that resonate with you the most. To help you get started, we have compiled a comprehensive guide discussing the different types of anime. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or just starting out, this guide will give you valuable insights into the world of anime and manga. So, before you decide what to binge-watch, let’s learn about all the popular types of anime along with examples.
For those who aren’t familiar with the term anime, it is basically animated movies or TV shows from Japan. These anime are often based on manga (Japanese comics). But keep in mind that not all anime are based on manga, as there are some with unique or original source material. Now coming back to the types of anime, I’m going to break the classification into three parts for your better understanding. They are as follows:
- Anime based on the demographic audience
- Main genres and sub-genres of anime
- Anime based on different themes
Each type of anime offers a distinct experience from another and follows a major trope. So you may easily become aware of the types and then select one to watch depending upon your taste. We have also mentioned the popular anime under each anime genre, which can serve as the best suggestions in case you’re new to the anime world.
Five Primary Types of Anime and Manga
Anime or manga is primarily classified into five types based on the target audience. These 5 main demographic categories further include many genres and sub-genres, which we will talk about below. First, let’s talk about the main types of anime.
- Shonen or Shounen
- Shojo or Shoujo
The first anime type on our list is Kodomomuke and all the manga & anime falling into this category are made for kids. This type of anime and manga is deliberately made for children below 12 years of age. We have already watched some of these anime in our childhood, without knowing it was an anime at that point in life.
As you can tell, these kids anime have a simple light-hearted story with colorful animation. The most common genre you will often see in these Kodomomuke anime is action, adventure, or comedy. They are crafted in a way to teach very young audiences about the values and morals of life to become a good person in life. Some of the popular Kodomomuke anime and manga are:
Kodomomuke (コドモムケ) Pokemon series Doraemon Digimon Adventures Beyblade series Yo-Kai Watch
Shonen is the most popular one among all the five types of anime. You must have heard the word ‘Shonen’ at least once in your life even if you are not into anime. The literal meaning of Shōnen is a boy. This type of anime is generally targeted toward teen boys (12-18 years old) but even teen girls like to watch them.
The Shonen anime or manga has a central male protagonist (female in rare cases), and it includes a mix of a wide variety of genres such as adventure, action, drama, sci-fi, and more. It includes an adventurous storyline revolving around the protagonist, who aims to achieve his/ her goals bundled with enthralling battles.
Also, they are often seen preaching the value of friendship and family. Like Kodomomuke anime type, Shonen also inspires young boys to achieve greater things in life. Some of the most popular Shonen anime are listed here:
Shonen (少年) Naruto Series One Piece Bleach Dragon Ball series Hunter x Hunter
The word Shōjo translates to young girls and like Shonen is made for young boys, Shojo is made for young female audiences. It is crafted for young girls, generally between the ages of 12-18. The Shoujo anime or manga explores the feminine side which basically includes genres such as romance and drama. As opposed to Shonen, Shoujo has a female as the lead and the story revolves around her life. The sub-genres of the Shoujo anime type cover Yaoi and Yuri as well, which we will discuss briefly below.
Shoujo is one of the best genres out there, not just for young females but for all kinds of anime watchers. I have watched Fruits Basket, one of the most popular Shoujo anime, and ended up witnessing a masterpiece. It is one of the best anime to be ever created and is a testament to how great Shoujo anime could be. Some of the most popular Shoujo anime and manga are listed here:
Shojo/Shoujo (少女) Fruits Basket Sailor Moon Violet Evergarden Banana Fish Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
The literal meaning of Seinen is “youth,” and the anime and manga in this category are targeted toward adult men. So, this anime type covers the audience who are 18 and above in age, predominantly males but is also liked by females. Seinen includes all the elements of a typical Shonen anime but elevates it to the next step by having no theme or story restrictions.
As there are no restrictions here, Seinen anime includes mature themes, hence, the 18 years and above age requirement. Seinen also covers a wide variety of mature genres, such as psychological, gore, violence, action, erotic, etc., which suit the adult audience better. Some of the best Seinen anime are:
Seinen (青年) Berserk Vagabond Vinland Saga Monster Kaguya-sama: Love is War – Ultra Romantic
The term Josei refers to “Woman or Female” and is the equivalent of Seinen for females. Thus, Josei is intended for adult women who are 18 and older. Josei is the improved version of Shoujo and shows the realistic lives of women, including their relationships, challenges, and more. Just like Shoujo, Josei also covers LGBTQ+ storylines such as Yaoi and Yuri sub-genres within them. Some of the most popular Josei anime are listed below:
Josei (女性) Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Usagi Drop Princess Jellyfish Chihayafuru Series Kids on the Slope
Different Genres in Anime & Manga
So, that’s everything you need to know about the five main types of anime based on who it’s made for, i.e. the demographic audience. Each type of anime and manga we talked about before has different genres within them. These genres are everything you have seen or heard already in the world of cinema or TV shows, and it’s the same here as well. It ranges from action, fantasy, comedy, horror, drama, sports, sci-fi, etc. Here are some examples to show how each type of anime has different genres:
- Kodomomuke: The kids’ anime genre usually focuses on genres like adventure drama, family, and more
- Shonen: The teen anime genre includes action, adventure, and drama themes but can accommodate sci-fi, mystery, sports, etc. too
- Shoujo: The teen girls’ anime basically revolves around romance, comedy, and drama genres, but it can cover supernatural, fantasy, and more themes
- Seinen: This adult anime category usually incorporates an action and adventure storyline with graphic content like violence, erotic, horror, etc.
- Josei: This adult females anime category revolves around romance and drama themes but is also grounded in reality.
Special Themes in Manga & Anime
Apart from the common genres listed above, there are a few other anime genres or themes that we have listed here. Check out the table below for all the details:
Special Themes Plot Example Mecha Involves mechs, which are massive robots or human-controlled robotic machines Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Slice of Life Captures the daily lives of the characters and the drama around them Yuru Camp Mahou Shoujo Female protagonists with magical powers Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica Isekai Protagonist dies in the real world and gets reincarnated into a magical world/fantasy land Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Yaoi Romance between men
(see our best Boys Love anime list)
Given Yuri Romance between women Bloom Into You Harem The protagonist is surrounded by many female characters The Quintessential Quintuplets Ecchi Involves adult comedies and explicit content High School of the Dead Idol Centered around male and female idols The Idolmaster
Frequently Asked Questions
There are various genres in anime ranging from action, drama, and comedy to special themes like Mecha, Isekai, etc.
The top 5 main anime genres are Kodomomuke, Shonen, Shoujo, Seinen, and Josei.
Dragon Ball, One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto are the 4 main anime, and all are Shonen anime.