Anime Genres for Beginners
A beginner to the world of anime may feel overwhelmed with the huge range of topics, titles and foci anime that can be characterized by. Poitras states that anime can be seen as an art form that encompasses all genres including, but not limited to romance, comedy, historical, science fiction and fantasy. It is because of that purpose that it is important to have a clear understanding of anime genres and what characterizes them from their western counterparts in order to easily navigate the world of anime.
A key difference between anime and cartoons would be the way that the ranges of anime genres are separated through their target audiences. An example is that for Western Cartoons all genres and sub genres created for those under the age of twelve can be classified as being “Children’s cartoons”. When discussing anime however, the range of topics covered for each target age group is too wide to place them under the same umbrella.
Children’s Anime Genres
Children’s anime, similarly to western cartoons appeal to the imagination and adventuring spirit of school aged children.
Anime Genres for Teens
Anime for teen girls focus more on the relationships between characters, character development and emotion. These series often portray the characters in familiar settings and focus on their school or home lives, although, as is characteristic for anime, no strict limits exist which have resulted in settings being set from the fantasy of the Historical era all the way out to science fiction in outer space. Examples of anime aimed at teen girls include Fruits Basket, Ouran High School Host Club and Gakuen Alice, Strike Witches and Special A.
Anime for teen boys also explore the close love and friendship relationships especially while retaining action oriented story lines and focusing on comic or sporting plots. The anime news network states that plots of shounen anime for teens are largely based on conflict being resolved through combat and that focus is placed on a building and maintaining a fast-paced, adrenaline based story line.
Anime Genres for Adults
The female subgenre for anime aimed at adults is called Josei and it is targeted at women who are in their late teens and adulthood. According to the Anime News Network Josei is one of the rarest anime genres produced. Examples include Honey and Clover, Nana and Nodame Cantabile.
Seinen, Josei’s male counterpart is an evolution of shounen anime in the sense that it’s more sophisticated, building on the characteristics of shounen anime except with increased violence, sexuality and psychological plot twists.
The key difference between adult anime and those targeted at the younger generation is that the focus moves from the imagination and action based themes to more realistic themes and relationships and deeper, further developed plotlines.
Specialized Anime Genres
There two particular specialized anime genres that are rarely exemplified by western cartoons. These two genres are shounen-ai meaning “boys love” which is the genre for works portraying relationships between two males and shoujo-ai meaning “girls love” which portray close relationships between two females. The ‘stronger’ terms for these are Yaoi and Yuri which portray close physical love relationships between two males and two females.
Examples of Shounen-ai include Loveless, Gravitation and Gakuen Heaven. Examples of shoujo-ai include Maria-sama ga Miteru, Strawberry Panic, Kashimashi: Girl meets Girl and Kannazuki no Miko.
To conclude, it can be seen that the genre classifications of anime bears a strong relationship to which particular group of people it is targeted towards be that the male population or the female population. Even though the genres here have been classified in terms of age groups it is also important to note that anime is transferable enough for all ages to enjoy all types of anime depending on the many variables viewers base their enjoyment upon.
Shounen anime for children include the likes of Naruto and One Piece which focus on training to become a strong person, being comfortable with yourself and striving to achieve your dreams.
A subgenre in children’s anime that is worth a special mention is the “magical girl” subgenre which feature school aged young ladies tasked with protecting the universe with whatever super powers they have been gifted with.
Popular examples of the magical girl subgenre include the likes of Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura which have also garnered popularity outside of Japan. Other popular titles include Shugo Chara, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi.
Children’s anime can also be characterized by the morals portrayed in the plots and story lines. Focus is usually placed on friendship, family and working to protect the things you care about.