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The Basic Types of Anime

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/18 Pop Culture & OTAKU , , , ,

When you check the internet on some information about an anime, you may notice that they are classified as to what type they are. These types are a common knowledge for long-time anime fans but for beginners and just-for-fun watchers, they may not be able to know what that type is. In this post, we will talk about the basic types of anime. A little note though, we will not talk about anime genres (action, adventure, romance, etc.) here.

Anime Classification According to Audience

Basically, anime is classified according to what type of audience it is to be shown. There are five specific target demographics, thus there are five basic types. These are: shōnen, shōjo, seinen, josei, and kodomomuke.

Shōnen

Shōnen (少年) technically refers to a young boy, maybe those who are less than fifteen. Anime of this type have usually a young boy as the protagonist, and is full of action and fighting. The usual plot includes, but not limited to, the protagonist going on an adventure, making allies and saving the world from the bad guys. The recipe is not complete though without comedy, a little romance and a fair share of fan service. Popular titles of shōnen anime and manga are One Piece, Dragon Ball, Naruto, and Bleach.

Mugiwara no Ichimi

One Piece is currently the most popular shōnen manga/anime. It is written by Eiichiro Oda and is now on its 16th year.

Shōjo

Shōjo (少女) is the female counterpart of shōnen. This type of anime tends to focus on romance and relationships but it does not mean adventure and action are not needed. Shōjo titles have a female protagonist and usually the story is told from their point of view. Romantic comedies, high school slice-of-life are usually the theme of shōjo anime. Popular titles of shōjo anime and manga include Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Fushigi Yuugi, and Ao Haru Ride.

cardcaptor sakura

Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the popular shojo titles. It is written and illustrated by the manga group Clamp. (Image by jawavs on Flickr)

Seinen

If shōnen is for young boys, seinen (青年) is for young men, usually between ages 15 – 24. Seinen anime is more violent and psychological in nature. Though there are comedy seinen, topics like politics, psychological behavior, and other serious issues are the concurring theme of this type. Some of seinen titles are Ghost in the Shell, Psycho-Pass, Death Note, and Gantz.

death note

Death Note figures. Death Note (written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata) is about Light Yagami who found a supernatural notebook. Anyone whose name is written on the note will die. (Photo by Stéfan on Flickr)

Josei

Again, if there are for young male audience, there are also for adult women. This is the Josei (女性) type. Josei series are often slice-of-life or romantic tales of a young woman. Compared to shojo’s idealized relationships, interpersonal relationships in this anime are more realistic and sometimes cover darker subjects like infidelity. Some josei titles are Paradise Kiss, 07-Ghost, and Loveless.

Kodomomuke

Kodomomuke (子供向け) literally means “directed at children” and it goes exactly as that, it is for kids. Anime of this type tend to be simple to understand but imaginative. They teach morals and other core values to watchers/readers. Popular children’s series include Chibi Maruko-chan, Doraemon, Heidi, Girl of the Alps, and Anpanman.

doraemon

The Robot Cat from the future, Doraemon, is one of the most popular anime for kids. (Photo by MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr)

anpanman

Anpanman is a superhero with anpan as its head. (Photo by Eric on Flickr)

It is good to know which type the anime is so that you can find similar titles that you might like. What titles do you know in these types? Share it with us in the comments!

Reference:

1. How to Identify the Basic Types of Anime and Manga. Kotaku.

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