A Complete List of Anime Genres With Explanations

Updated on January 30, 2018
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Cheeky Kid has been watching anime and reading manga for as long as he can remember. Doing so takes him to different worlds.

Anime genre list.
Anime genre list.

If you’ve been an enthusiastic watcher of anime just like me, then one thing you’ve come to know is that each and every show comes with a set of specific genres. There’s a multitude out there when it comes to anime—action, drama, and horror just to name a few. But do you even know all of them? Do you think you can recite all of them in one fell swoop?

I know there are many anime genres in existence because they come and go every now and then. But the most popular ones become common enough to stay for a very long time. And so, I’ve come up with this anime genre list to serve as a complete guide with explanations and meanings for all of them.

I’ve tried my best to make this a complete list of anime genres so that it can serve as your very own one-stop compendium for when you’re looking for a genre guide. I've provided a basic list of genres for easy viewing. Below that will be the genres with more descriptive details as well as anime that fit in that category. Whether you’re a diehard anime fan, a casual watcher, an interested onlooker, or even just a non-fan who is passing by, this list of anime genres shall equip you with some basic knowledge and help you venture through the anime world with ease and delight.

List of Major Anime Genres

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Slice of Life
  • Fantasy
  • Magic
  • Supernatural
  • Horror
  • Mystery
  • Psychological
  • Romance
  • Sci-Fi

List of Anime Subgenres

  • Cyberpunk
  • Game
  • Ecchi
  • Demons
  • Harem
  • Josei
  • Martial Arts
  • Kids
  • Historical
  • Hentai
  • Isekai
  • Military
  • Mecha
  • Music
  • Parody
  • Police
  • Post-Apocalyptic
  • Reverse Harem
  • School
  • Seinen
  • Shoujo
  • Shoujo-ai
  • Shounen
  • Shounen-ai
  • Space
  • Sports
  • Super Power
  • Tragedy
  • Vampire
  • Yuri
  • Yaoi

Major Anime Genres

The following genres are the broad categories that anime can fit in. These are the typical genres that are used to categorize other mediums such as films or books. As these are the basic types of narratives, anime in these categories are a constant presence in the industry. Some anime can be a hybrid of different types of narratives but they can usually be easily labeled with one or two of the following categories.

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Action

The action genre in anime depicts extremely high levels of intense action. More often than not, you’ll be witnessing thrilling battles and action-packed fight scenes in the shows from this genre. These series will make you jump off your seat or knock your socks off. Overall, the action genre usually possesses lots of battle scenes, fluid animation, and highly-engaging elements that will make your adrenaline rush!

Some examples of action anime includes:

  • Kill la Kill
  • Gurren Lagann
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Trigun
  • Darker than Black

For a more detailed list on the genre, check out this article on the 10 best action anime.

Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online | Source

Adventure

The adventure genre is about travelling and undertaking an adventure in a certain place or around the world (which may sometimes escalate to the whole universe or even to the other dimensions). In this genre, the main characters don’t usually stay in one place. They venture into several different places, usually with a goal in mind (e.g. searching for treasure, exploring some new place, defeating a heinous villain, or saving the world). Adventure anime are so broad and flexible that these shows can usually stretch to a huge number of episodes as well as overlap with multiple genres, usually with action.

Examples of adventure anime includes:

  • One Piece
  • Fairy Tail
  • Hunter X Hunter
  • Kino's Journey
  • Spice and Wolf

Hunter X Hunter
Hunter X Hunter | Source

Comedy

The main purpose of the comedy genre is…you got it…to make you laugh! If it fails to make you laugh or at least make you giggle, then it’s a failure. But then again, humor can depend on your personal sense of humor. The animation may not be as impressive as TV shows in the action and drama category, but that can be forgiven for the laughs. Funny moments, hilarious scenes, wacky dialogue, comical happenings—all of these are covered by the comedy genre in anime!

Examples of comedy anime include:

  • Gintama
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
  • The Devil Is a Part-Timer!
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys
  • Nichijou

For a more in-depth look at the genre, check out this list of the top 10 comedy anime.

Gintama
Gintama | Source

Drama

Bringing us tears and a wave of emotions is basically what the drama genre does best! Drama anime tends to connect the viewers to the experiences of the characters. This results in viewers feeling what the characters are going through. Whether it's a tickle of emotion or a barrage of feelings, the goal of these series is to touch our hearts. In anime, one of the greatest signs that the drama effectively worked is if it was able to make you cry.

Examples of drama anime includes:

  • Clannad
  • Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
  • Your Lie in April
  • Kanon
  • Little Busters!

For a more detailed look at the genre, take a look at the list of the top 10 best drama anime.

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day | Source

Slice of Life

When one says slice of life, that means the mundane good ol’ life. Stories depicted in this genre are realistically set in the domain of real life. Nothing out-of-the-blue happens, but that’s the point! Everyday life is portrayed in a realistic light, with nothing out of the extraordinary wrecking the premise.

Examples of slice of life anime includes:

  • Barakamon
  • Non Non Biyori
  • Koufuku Graffiti
  • Lucky Star
  • Wagnaria!!

Barakamon
Barakamon | Source

Fantasy

The fantasy genre in anime primarily deals with fantasy worlds and surreal events and locations. Most of the time, the setting is in a magical world where the characters start an adventure. Sometimes they get sent there from the real world. Magic is oftentimes a component of this genre, and various mystical elements serve as the building blocks of the story. You’ll often know it’s a fantasy anime if the environment and atmosphere seems so dazzling and dreamlike that it’ll make you feel captivated and allured.

Examples of fantasy anime includes:

  • No Game No Life
  • Nanatsu no Taizai
  • Inuyasha
  • Escaflowne
  • Slayers

No Game No Life
No Game No Life | Source

Magic

Magic, in all its essence, is about magical stuff like spells and incantations. It can also include magical sources, beings that grants wishes, and good ol’ sleeve tricks. One of the most famous themes in the magic genre is magical girls. It is so popular that it might just become a whole new genre on its own in the future.

Examples of magic anime includes:

  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica
  • Magical Doremi
  • Magi: Labyrinth of Magic
  • Little Witch Academia
  • Maria the Virgin Witch

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic | Source

Supernatural

When one says supernatural, they’re referring to stuff or events that are odd and out-of-the-blue. For this category, supernatural might refer to something mythical, mystical, bizarre, or something outside the bounds of accepted reality. There’s a shadow of mystery often found in shows involved with this genre.

Examples of supernatural anime includes:

  • Mushishi
  • Blue Exorcist
  • Durarara!!
  • Bakemonogatari
  • Noragami

Durarara!!
Durarara!! | Source

Horror

It’s not difficult to spot the horror genre in anime. Usually, if there are ghosts, monsters, gore, and creeps, then you’re likely watching a horror series. Heavy gore and bloody violence is a common trait. The most important factor for a show to be considered horror is its ability to scare and creep you out.

Examples of horror anime includes:

  • Junji Ito Collection
  • Parasyte -the maxim-
  • Another
  • School-Live!
  • Hell Girl

For a more detailed look at the genre, check out this list of the top 10 horror anime.

Corpse Party
Corpse Party | Source

Mystery

If there’s one thing that’s similar in all mystery anime shows, it is the existence of a central enigma. Whether it’s an event, a place, or an item, there’s some sort of mystery surrounding the narrative. In the history of anime, the most popular shows in the genre have featured detectives and gumshoes.

Examples of mystery anime includes:

  • Detective Conan
  • Hyouka
  • Eden of the East
  • Tantei Opera Milky Holmes
  • Gosick

Detective Conan
Detective Conan | Source

Psychological

Psychological anime are shows that delve into how the mind and psyche work. This genre tackles everything on a psychological level (sometimes even philosophical). You’ll often find mind games here as well as battles where the use of the wits is the primary focus. Series in this genre will play with your mind and make you think hard.

Examples of psychological anime includes:

  • Death Note
  • Mirai Nikki
  • Zetsuen no Tempest
  • Monster
  • Paranoia Agent

Future Diary
Future Diary | Source

Romance

Romance is all about love and sweet moments. Shows involved with this genre often have the skill to tug everyone’s heartstrings with their romantic scenes and tender moments. The focus of these shows is the romantic relationships between the characters as well as their blooming love with one another. You’ll often find romance anime tightly tied with the shoujo subgenre, but it also works pretty well with comedy, harem, and drama.

Examples of romance anime includes:

  • Honey and Clover
  • Golden Time
  • Toradora
  • Lovely Complex
  • Special A

You can check out this list of the top 10 best romance anime for a more detailed look at the genre.

Maid Sama!
Maid Sama! | Source

Sci-Fi

Sci-fi (short for science fiction) is a genre that showcases scientific and technological elements in its story. Machines and various kinds of technologies are staples of this genre. Most of the time, its focus is on the advancement and development of science and technology. That is why you’ll often find sci-fi combined with subgenres such as mecha and space.

Here are some examples of sci-fi anime:

  • Evangelion
  • Space Dandy
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Knights of Sidonia
  • Outlaw Star

Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop | Source

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Best Anime for Boys

The following is a list of anime recommendations with shows that are catered to a male audience. Girls can easily enjoy these shows as well but the studios had a clear target audience when making these. Expect a fair amount of action and shounen. This list can be helpful in getting you into anime or introducing the medium to someone else.

  • Hunter X Hunter
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Naruto
  • Attack on Titan
  • Dragon Ball Z
  • Bleach
  • Noragami
  • Blue Exorcist
  • Trigun
  • Berserk

Best Anime for Girls

Just like above, these are anime recommendations with shows catered to female audiences. You can expect to see the shoujo and romance genres as well as strong female protagonists. Some may lack action-packed battles but boys can easily enjoy these shows as well.

  • Ouran High School Host Club
  • Fruits Basket
  • Sailor Moon
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
  • Princess Tutu
  • Chihayafuru
  • Princess Jellyfish
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena
  • Nana
  • Kamisama Kiss

Anime Subgenres and Settings

These are the more specific categories of anime. Some of these subgenres are unique as they can describe a type of narrative that is essentially exclusive to anime or at least more prevalent in that medium. These subgenres cover a wide variety of themes and settings that can apply to the wider spectrum of major genres. For example, there can be multiple anime with a school setting that range from comedy to horror.

Cyberpunk

This type of anime is a subgenre of sci-fi. It usually displays a future where society has become more ingrained with technology at the expense of social order. The setting is typically a dystopian future where technology may be doing more harm than good.

Examples of cyberpunk anime includes:

  • Ghost in the Shell
  • Serial Experiments Lain
  • Bubblegum Crisis
  • Ergo Proxy
  • Texhnolyze

Game

The game category encompasses shows revolving around the idea of gaming and playing. The anime can feature a card game, board game, puzzle game, or even a virtual online game. As long as it concerns any playable game of any kind, it belongs in this category. Sometimes, even videogame-based shows can count in this selection.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is arguably the progenitor of this subgenre. The series began in 1996 as a manga and continues to be a major franchise today. Its influence can still be seen today with a stream of imitators.

Examples of game anime includes:

  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
  • Sword Art Online
  • Phi Brain: Puzzle of God
  • selector infected WIXOSS
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V
Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V | Source

Ecchi

The word ecchi comes from the sound of H in the word hentai, which in turn means pervert in Japanese. This subgenre is generally accepted as being full of sexually provocative scenes (mild enough to be viewed by the general audience) and scenarios derived from innuendoes and humorous situations. It’s a fact that ecchi shows are taking an upswing nowadays as more and more titles are produced every season. More often than not, ecchi is paired up with comedy as both genres compliment each other well. This in turn serves as a buffer that prevents the shows from crossing the line and delving into something less appropriate for general audiences.

Examples of ecchi anime includes:

  • Saekano
  • Shimoneta
  • High School DxD
  • To Love-Ru
  • Keijo!!!!!!!!

Check out this list of the top 10 ecchi anime for further info about the genre.

High School DxD
High School DxD | Source

Demons

Originally just an infrequent theme, the rise of demonic characters and themes have given rise to this subgenre. The term demon does not only encompass literal demon characters. It also extends to other entities such as monsters, beasts, ghosts, and other demon-type figures. The demons present can come from biblical backgrounds or come from Japanese culture. Believe it or not, this category doesn’t just come hand-in-hand with the horror genre; it surprisingly blends well with other genres as well.

The earliest iconic entry in the subgenre is arguably Devilman, which debuted in 1972. Recent entries such as The Devil Is a Part-Timer show that demon characters can work in comedies.

Examples of demon anime includes:

  • Hataraku Maou-Sama
  • Inuyasha
  • Chrono Crusade
  • Blue Exorcist
  • Black Butler

Blue Exorcist
Blue Exorcist | Source

Harem

If you see a reluctant male character surrounded by multiple female characters who all adore him, then you’re probably watching an anime of the harem subgenre. This type of show typically features more than two female characters go head-over-heels for a single male character. Anime in this category is typically within the comedy and romance genre. It's possible that a harem anime can have no romance and feature mostly slapstick comedy.

Oh My Goddess and Tench Muyo! can be considered early examples of harem anime from the early 80s and 90s. The subgenre exploded in the 2000s from the success of Love Hina. The infamous series School Days is often considered to be a deconstruction of the harem genre as it shows how volatile it can be to court multiple girls at once.

Examples of harem anime includes:

  • Nisekoi
  • Maken-ki!
  • Sekirei
  • To Love-Ru
  • High School DxD

For a more detailed look, check out this list of the top 10 harem anime.

To Love-Ru
To Love-Ru | Source

Josei

Josei is actually a demographic but is also considered a general category in anime. It specifically targets female viewers around the age range of 18-40. These shows depict life and romance in a more mature light, usually with more grounded realism and less idealistic fantasies. The subgenre is fairly wide and doesn't necessarily have to focus on romance. It merely needs a narrative that caters to the mature woman. Josei originated from manga during the 80s. Girls who grew up reading shoujo stories from previous decades wanted stories for adults.

Examples of josei anime includes:

  • Princess Jellyfish
  • Chihayafuru
  • Paradise Kiss
  • Natsuyuki Rendevous
  • Nodame Cantabile

Nana
Nana | Source

Martial Arts

Martial arts play a big role in every anime that has fighting/battles in it. Whether it's hand-to-hand combat, swordplay, gun fighting, or armed combat, there’s some kind of martial art element that plays through them. But did you know that there are shows that are primarily focused on martial arts itself and their battle techniques? There’s a lot of them, and they mainly involve hand-to-hand combat and technician battles.

This subgenre is constantly popular and is usually in the action category. The most iconic entry in this category is Dragon Ball Z, which is responsible for introducing anime and manga to the mainstream consciousness in the Western world.

Examples of martial arts anime includes:

  • Hajime no Ippo
  • History’s Strongest Disciple
  • Dragon Ball
  • Baki the Grappler
  • Katanagatari

Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple
Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple | Source

Kids

A lot of people say that anime is just for kids, but that’s not really true. As a matter of fact, there are only a few number of anime that are precisely catered towards children. These shows are contained within the kids subgenre. These shows are mild, light, and insightful, which makes them perfect for children 12 and under.

These kinds of anime actually have a difficult time finding an audience in the West. This is due to the fact that international anime fans are typically older and have little interest in these. Doraemon is one of the biggest franchises in Japan but the series has never caught on in America.

Cultural differences in what is appropriate for children is also a problem in localization. Case Closed is one of the biggest kids series in Japan. However, the mysteries in the show are almost always murder cases and the show is not shy when it comes to showing them. When it aired in the US on Cartoon Network, it was deemed too mature for the Toonami block and it was placed on the Adult Swim block. However, viewers felt it was too childish. The show got low ratings and was eventually pulled from the network.

Examples of kids anime includes:

  • Pokémon
  • Machine Robo Rescue
  • Doraemon
  • Digimon
  • Chi's Sweet Home

Sortie! Machine Robo Rescue
Sortie! Machine Robo Rescue | Source

Historical

As the name suggests, historical anime revolves around events in history and moments of antiquity. Shows of this subgenre are typically set in Ancient Japan and the feudal period. Other settings such as the Middle Ages and medieval period of Europe exist but they’re much more rare in anime. As long as the time or setting (or even elements) are old and ancient, then the series can be considered a historical anime.

Examples of historical anime includes:

  • Rurouni Kenshin
  • Fushigi Yugi
  • Junketsu no Maria
  • Samurai Champloo
  • The Rose of Versailles

Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin | Source

Hentai

Hentai literally translates to "pervert" in Japanese. This is the R-18 (mature) domain of the anime world. This subgenre commonly depicts nudity and highly explicit content. Unlike ecchi, the focus here is on explicit sexual content rather than on storyline and narrative progression. That is why the shows in this category are usually brief and lacking in substance.

Baka and Test
Baka and Test | Source

Isekai

Isekai translates to "another world." This subgenre typically has a narrative where a protagonist somehow gets transported to a different world. The new world is more often than not in a fantasy setting, occasionally with traits pulled from JRPG games.

This category of anime exploded during the 2010s and arguably dominated the decade. A good portion of isekai anime is adapted not from manga but rather from light novels. The most popular series in this subgenre may be Sword Art Online. While the world featured there was just virtual reality, it did feature a fantasy setting that would be mimicked in other anime.

The type of anime has become so prevalent that there is actually a backlash against it now. Story contests in Japan have actually banned isekai stories from being submitted just because of how saturated the market has become with it.

Examples of isekai anime includes:

  • Gate
  • Konosuba
  • Re:Zero
  • Sword Art Online
  • Flip Flappers

Military

As the name implies, this subgenre involves the military in one way or another. War may also be a huge part of military anime. One thing to note about this category is that it is often coupled with the mecha and action genre.

Examples of military anime includes:

  • Fullmetal Panic
  • Code Geass
  • Kantai Collection
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil
  • GATE

Miritari!
Miritari! | Source

Mecha

Mecha stands for mechanical (as in mechanical units or robots). You’ll never see a mecha anime without a robot or mechanical suit in it. That’s the most important element of it. And while this subgenre is rising in fame as the days go by, it almost always uses a standard formula to carry the plot. As a general trend, mecha is often seen alongside the military, sci-fi, and action genre.

This may very well be the most iconic anime subgenre as there is a multitude of memorable shows in this category. The mecha can be considered to be one of Japan's most popular exports. Some of the earlier iconic titles from the late 70s and 80s include Mobile Suit Gundam, Mazinger Z, and Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered to be an iconic and dark deconstruction of the genre as it examined the psyche of young pilots. Gurren Lagann was a massive hit that brought the genre back to its hot-blooded and idealistic roots. With a rabid fanbase that loves mecha designs, this genre is one that has been consistently popular over the years.

Examples of mecha anime includes:

  • Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne
  • Patlabor
  • Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
  • Code Geass
  • Mobile Suit Gundam

For a more in-depth look as this subgenre, check out this list of the top 10 mecha anime.

Code Geass
Code Geass | Source

Music

Anime shows in the music subgenre aren’t that popular nowadays, but they do exist and they are very timely. These shows typically focus on singing, dancing, or playing musical instruments. These usually fit within the larger categories of comedy and drama.

Examples of music anime includes:

  • K-On!
  • Beck
  • Sound! Euphonium
  • Kids on the Slope
  • Idolm@ster

K-On!
K-On! | Source

Parody

A parody anime is one where countless numbers of other anime references are showcased throughout the plot. It might be a popular running gag, a famous symbol, a character reference, or any other attempt at bringing another show into its domain. One anime worthy to note is Gintama. They often use similar elements from other anime to showcase in their own show.

It should be noted that parodying another property in anime can be problematic. Japan does not have a parody exception in their copyright law. As such, using a parody of copyrighted material may cause an anime studio to be in legal trouble if they did not get permission from the holders of those rights.

A recent of example of this coming into play was with the anime Mr. Osomatsu. The first episode had multiple parodies of different popular anime shows. The episode was eventually pulled from streaming services and was never released on any home media.

Examples of parody anime includes:

  • Gintama
  • Blood Lad
  • Senyuu
  • School Rumble
  • Excel Saga

Gintama
Gintama | Source

Police

The police subgenre emphasizes the life and struggles of law enforcement in their line of duty. Police-based characters have shown up in numerous shows and there are now anime that could be considered as police procedurals. This genre isn't exclusive to police officers; detectives, investigators, and enforcers of any type are included as well.

Examples of police anime includes:

  • You’re Under Arrest
  • Psycho-Pass
  • Lupin the Third
  • Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation
  • Case Closed

Psycho-Pass
Psycho-Pass | Source

Post-Apocalyptic

Post-apocalyptic anime are basically shows that are set in a world that is in a dystopian state. This could mean the world is destroyed and/or humans are nearly extinct. Post-apocalyptic settings were merely a theme in the past, but an influx of titles bearing this backdrop over the years have made it become a subgenre on its own. This type of anime has become more and more popular by the day.

Examples of post-apocalyptic anime includes:

  • Sidonia no Kishi
  • Shin Sekai Yori
  • Attack on Titan
  • Sound of the Sky
  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan | Source

Reverse Harem

A reverse harem anime is typically a harem series where the gender roles are switched around. There is one female character surrounded by multiple male characters who are all potential love interests. Like the traditional harem genre, anime of this variety is usually within the comedy and romance genre.

Some examples of reverse harem anime includes:

  • Pretear
  • Ouran High School Host Club
  • Uta no Prince-sama
  • Fruits Basket
  • The Wallflower

Check out this list of the top 10 best reverse harem anime for a more detailed look at the genre.

Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran High School Host Club | Source

School

There are countless anime that use school as a setting. An anime can be considered a part of the school subgenre if a school is the primary setting and the anime deals mostly with school and student life. This type of anime is usually seen within the comedy genre, though there are some entries in drama as well.

Examples of school anime includes:

  • Ansatsu Kyoushitsu
  • Great Teacher Onizuka
  • Gokusen
  • School Rumble
  • Azumanga Daioh

Assassination Classroom
Assassination Classroom | Source

Seinen

Seinen is actually a demographic but is also considered to be a category in anime. It’s a subgenre that specifically targets male viewers around the age range of 18-40. The shows here are depicted in a more mature light and often include more explicit content such as gore, sex, and violence. More cerebral narratives are present as well.

Examples of seinen anime includes:

  • Berserk
  • Monster
  • Ergo Proxy
  • Fate/Zero
  • Drifters

Berserk
Berserk | Source

Shoujo

Shoujo refers to the demographic of young girls. This subgenre specifically targets female viewers around the age range of 10-18. Most of the time, shoujo anime works hand-in-hand with the romance and comedy genre, particularly with the former. The protagonist is traditionally female and the narrative focuses on romance as well as personal growth. The world in these shows are often very idealized.

One of the earliest examples of shoujo anime is Princess Knight from 1967. It has staples of the subgenre such as internal conflicts as well as conflicts with others. The Rose of Versailles is another iconic entry that has influenced anime and future shoujo titles like Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Examples of shoujo anime includes:

  • Sailor Moon Crystal
  • Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
  • Ao Haru Ride
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena
  • Pretty Cure

Sailor Moon Crystal
Sailor Moon Crystal | Source

Shoujo-ai

Shoujo-ai literally translates to "girls love." The typically young female characters in shojou-ai anime show love and affection for each other. The romance is usually more milder in comparison to the more explicit yuri genre. Shows in this category portray blooming feelings of love and romance rather than intimate relationships.

Examples of shoujo-ai anime includes:

  • Aoi Hana
  • Blue Drop
  • Burst Angel
  • Maria Watches Over Us
  • Survival Game Club!

Sweet Blue Flowers
Sweet Blue Flowers | Source

Shounen

Shounen refers to the demographic that this type of anime targets, which is male viewers around the age range of 10-18. These shows are usually a combination of action and adventure and are typically adapted from serial manga series. As such, these anime tend to have lengthy runs. One Piece currently has over 800 episodes and is still running. These shows are typically the most popular with mainstream audiences. They have done very well when exported to foreign markets thanks to their relatively simple plots and focus on action.

Examples of shounen anime includes:

  • Naruto
  • One Piece
  • Fairy Tail
  • Bleach
  • Dragon Ball Z

Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail | Source

Shounen-ai

Shounen-ai literally translates to "boys love." The male characters (typically younger boys) in these shows display tender affection for each other. The romance in shounen-ai is generally milder when compared to the more explicit yaoi genre. There is usually more focus on developing romance than actual relationships.

Examples of shounen-ai anime includes:

  • Hybrid Child
  • Gakuen Heaven
  • Yuri!!! on Ice
  • The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi
  • This Boy Caught a Merman

Hybrid Child
Hybrid Child | Source

Space

The setting of space has always been massively popular. With so much anime taking place there, it has become a subgenre in itself. Any anime set in the cosmos can be labeled in this category. Space anime is often within the larger mecha and sci-fi genre.

Examples of space anime includes:

  • Outlaw Star
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Space Dandy
  • Bodacious Space Pirates
  • Majestic Prince

Knights of Sidonia
Knights of Sidonia | Source

Sports

Pretty much self-explanatory, sports anime are shows that cover characters engaging in athletic competition. Popular choices in this category includes basketball, tennis, baseball, and soccer. Other sports exists as well (including those that you wouldn’t expect showing up in anime). As time goes on, more and more of these series are produced. Just like real sports, shows in this subgenre are action-packed!

Slam Dunk is arguably the first modern sports anime that other series have emulated to this day. Most notably, it did away with the notion of the protagonist becoming an instant expert in their sport. As the main character learns how to play basketball, the audience also picks up on techniques.

The subgenre struggled to gain popularity with American anime fans. Big Windup was released to poor sales and many licensors refused to pick up any sports titles afterwards. Titles like Free! and Haikyu!! have revitalized interest in the subgenre in recent years.

Examples of sports anime includes:

  • Haikyuu!!
  • Ace of Diamond
  • Yowamushi Pedal
  • Kuroko's Basketball
  • Free!

Be sure to check out this list of the top 10 sports anime for recommendations.

Yowamushi Pedal
Yowamushi Pedal | Source

Super Power

You know you’re watching a super power anime if you’re seeing an array of explosive super powers scrambling right on the screen. If you see bursts of energy balls, death-defying attacks, and opposing forces battling it out throughout the story, then that means you’re probably witnessing a show in this subgenre. These shows generally fit in the action category.

Examples of super power anime includes:

  • Dragon Ball
  • Akira
  • Toriko
  • My Hero Academia
  • Tiger & Bunny

Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z | Source

Tragedy

As the name implies, the tragedy subgenre revolves around tragic events or phenomenon where the characters are deeply involved and affected. Tragedy comes in diverse varieties such as disasters, accidents, misfortunes, and deaths. These shows are often very dramatic and can pull the heartstrings of audiences.

Examples of tragedy anime includes:

  • Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
  • Zetsuen no Tempest
  • Technolyze
  • Clannad
  • Hell Girl

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 | Source

Vampire

As vampires have become so popular throughout the world, it’s no shock that they’ve also infested the world of anime. There are lots of titles now featuring vampires and they’re not just exclusive to the horror category. They’ve also manifested themselves into other categories such as comedy, romance, and drama.

Examples of vampire anime includes:

  • Vampire Knight
  • Shiki
  • Nyanpire
  • Hellsing Ultimate
  • Vampire Princess Miyu

Vampire Knight
Vampire Knight | Source

Yaoi

Yaoi is the much more sexually explicit counterpart of shounen-ai. This subgenre covers male-to-male relationships (typically older boys) in a more mature light. There is more emphasis on serious relationships and intimacy.

Examples of yaoi anime includes:

  • Junjou Romantica
  • Gravitation
  • Super Lovers
  • This Boy is a Professional Wizard
  • Love Stage

Junjou Romantica
Junjou Romantica | Source

Yuri

Yuri is essentially the more mature and explicit version of shojou-ai. The female characters are typically older and the series examines their more mature relationships.

Examples of yuri anime includes:

  • Yuri Kuma Arashi
  • Sakura Trick
  • Strawberry Panic
  • Kannazuki no Miko
  • Simoun

Sakura Trick
Sakura Trick | Source

Did you find this guide helpful and useful?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • What anime genre does "Fairy Tail" fall into?

    It's part of the shounen, action, magic, and comedy genres.

  • What category does " The Irregular at Magic Highschool" fall under?

    It falls under the magic, school, supernatural, and action genres.

  • What category does Tokyo Ghoul fall into?

    Believe it or not, it's a member of the horror genre. It also falls under the action, supernatural, and psychological genres.

  • In what category does Citrus belong?

    Citrus belongs in the drama, romance, school, and shoujo ai genres.

  • Does One Punch Man belong in the fighting anime genre?

    It sure does belong in the "action" genre.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Hawt potato 

      2 months ago

      I saw this dude in my big sisters class and all i could think was that he belongened in a shoujo anime, but i couldnt remember if shoujo was the right name.

    • profile image

      Chicken Hippo 

      3 months ago

      Thank you for including Outlaw Star soo much! I love it when it gets deserved attention

    • profile image

      Sweer Potato 

      4 months ago

      Um, I don't believe I see Jojo's Bizarre Adventure anywhere on this page, hmmm?

    • profile image

      Alex 

      4 months ago

      As one of the few anime watchers in our school i had to do paper about anime when we were talking about Japan And this was REALY helpfull

    • profile image

      r34typeguy 

      5 months ago

      very informative!

    • profile image

      dayana 

      5 months ago

      it is super help full now i can find animes faster and understand them and find good ones ;) x)

    • profile image

      Char 

      5 months ago

      Very informative.. thanks!

    • profile image

      mamiza 

      6 months ago

      wow what a list, it really helps.

    • profile image

      is there a non-harem genre? 

      7 months ago

      is there a non-harem genre?

    • profile image

      LibraryTech 

      7 months ago

      Thanks so much for this guide. As the one who orders Anime for our patrons, it's helpful to understand what categories/ genres are available and what defines them.

    • profile image

      Uchiha 

      8 months ago

      It's a really really helpful site

    • profile image

      Statix5000 

      8 months ago

      This is a very interesting site and it helps a lot....thank you!!!

    • profile image

      Derp 

      8 months ago

      There are more, like slapstick, Post-Apocalyptic, bishousen, mahou shoujo,

    • profile image

      AkihiraBaka 

      9 months ago

      It's a close call, but my favorite genre has to be Supernatural. A lot of my favorite anime are related to it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • profile image

      someguy 

      12 months ago

      thanks to this list i now have a great school project grade and i learned some new genres

    • profile image

      Aisha 

      12 months ago

      I think Monster would fit better in the Mystery or even Psychological category, I don’t think it’s specifyilly targeted to just Seinen. Great job on the list, it’s really helpful!

    • profile image

      Vinsmoke Sanji 

      13 months ago

      Hmm..wonder why DAYS was not included in top sports anime

    • profile image

      yuukiasuna 

      15 months ago

      Good........it really helped me...!!:)

    • Cheeky Kid profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheeky Kid 

      17 months ago from Milky Way

      @rodrimontevideo Wow! Thanks for the input. I feel that the titles you mentioned are on a whole new different genre/dimension. "Classics" would be the nearest term I guess, or something even better. They're not bounded by genres. These shows are of a particular age or page in the history of anime. I don't know the name of the genre though. Thanks for this piece of invaluable trivia!

    • profile image

      rodrimontevideo 

      17 months ago

      This list is quite good and complete but lacks one of the most important generes of Anime from the 1970s to 1990s.

      Children and teenage DRAMA.

      While some of the core elements of the genere were born in the 1960s with series like ''Search Of The Ninja Legend of Kamui'' and ''Princess Knight'', it didn't become a full genere until 1969 and it didn't become a recurring trend until the 1970s and from then on it was everywhere.

      It was popularized in a 1969 Anime block by Mushi Production and later Nippon Animation called - World Masterpiece Theater - which consisted on retelling various stories from classic international authors of teenage/children novels.

      To name but a few:

      ''Heidi the Girl Of the Alps''.

      ''Dog of Flanders''.

      ''3000 Leagues in Search of Mother ''.

      ''The Story of Perrine''.

      ''Anne of the Green Gables''.

      ''The Adventures of the Little Prince''.

      ''Nobody's Boy: Remi''.

      ''Belle And Sebastian''.

      ''Hello! Sandybell''.

      ''Lady Georgie''.

      ''The Story of Pollyanna: Girl of Love''.

      ''The Tales of Little Women''.

      ''Trapp Family Story''.

      and there's even a drama series about The Little House on The Prairie called:

      ''Laura, the Prairie Girl''.

      One could also even include Anime milestone ''Galaxy Express 999'' into this genere.

      And one might also think that this trend died out or is completely irrelevant today but that couldn't be further from the truth.

      There was a very important Anime series from 1978 called ''Future Boy Conan'' by Anime master Hayao Miyazaki which mixes this trend of youngling drama with fantasy and adventure, which he later expands in ''Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind'', and this influences most if not all of his future works with Studio Ghibli.

      The importance of Studio Ghibli in western culture, particularly since the 1990's is unparalleled and unquestionable. It's basically the most widely known and important Japanese studio in the world and its feature films are usually the most cherished and finest examples of Japanese animation for countless westerners.

      I came into this page wanting to find the propper Japanese name for the genere but seeing how it wasn't even listed as DRAMA I decided to sign in and leave a little piece of trivia of my own here.

      PS: If anyone knows the Japanese name of this genere I would appreciate a response to this comment. Any questions I can adress here as well.

    • CYong74 profile image

      Kuan Leong Yong 

      18 months ago from Singapore

      Very detailed and informative. The Gintama pic also so perfectly summarises the comedy genre.

    • Cheeky Kid profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheeky Kid 

      19 months ago from Milky Way

      Game genre. Shounen also fits the description most of the time.

    • profile image

      artist of the animes 

      19 months ago

      yeah actually, this was super helpful, i've been on kissanime tryin to find anime i might like and now i know the names of the genres

    • Zeron87 profile image

      Zeron87 

      21 months ago

      Finally! Someone made an article like this! Kudos man. Horror is my favorite genre of anime, now and forever, and not because I like seeing people ripped apart: It's usually a blend of mystery and thriller that keeps me on the edge of my seat. Psychological is definitely my second fave, which leads me to something that bugs me here...

      The definition of the Psychological genre. Usually, even sites like Myanimelist, love to place any show that has the characters using strategy against one another as psychological, but from my understanding, the difference between anime with some smart characters and one requiring a deeper level of thought is what the characters are symbols, meaning some characters represent concepts and have double-meanings in the story, instead of just being people. Mira Nikki and Deathnote require SOME thought, and are awesome, but they don't go deep enough. Some real psychological anime? Perfect Blue, Ergo Proxy, Serial Experiments Lain, and Paranoia Agent. Heck, for a lighter dose, I'll throw Big O up there. Take some of THESE prescriptions, then call me back in the morning.

    • Alessa Cypher profile image

      Alessa Cypher 

      21 months ago

      Uh... What about seitenkan genre. I know is small in quantity, but have some great stories, just as Hourou Musuko.

    • Icankbelandean profile image

      Icankbelandean 

      23 months ago from Indonesia

      Vampire my favorite and the best of anime.

    • Cheeky Kid profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheeky Kid 

      2 years ago from Milky Way

      @HenryWong I guess Digimon falls in the Shounen, Adventure, and Kids genre.

    • profile image

      HenryWong122 

      2 years ago

      What I want to know is what Genre does Digimon fall into?

    • profile image

      Kyan 

      2 years ago

      Thanks for making this guide, it really helped me :)

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 

      2 years ago from Illinois

      The reason the "demon genre" does not usually depict demons as evil is that they're not demons in the Christian sense, but there are words that mean something closer to "monster" or "spirit being" or "Shinto god" often translated incorrectly in dubs as "demons", which implies evil in the West. I don't like that term being used in dubs for youkai because it makes anime look anti-Christian to Christian parents.

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