List of Anime Genres

Bernice

Bernice

Published: 12 Nov 2021

anime background gaming

Numerous anime genres have been added to the world of Japanese animation ever since its creation. If you’re unaware, anime has become a culture that surpasses exclusivity beyond the Japanese people. Many people all over the world are invested and find anime enjoyable. As a result, novice anime watchers tend to search for the top 10 or longest-running anime of all time instead of binging the thousands of anime series available.

Japan has built an entire culture around anime. The word “otakuwas even created to generalize those that are heavily invested in anime and manga. Otakus even have their own spot in Tokyo that’s known internationally: Akihabara. Anyone who considers themselves a casual anime fan would know about Akihabara as the center of anime all around the world. You can find rare figurines, anime goods, maid cafes, and cheap electronic devices in Akihabara. However, it’s mainly known for the famous SEGA building, and as a hub spot for anime memorabilia.

You’ll find articles about “the best animes of all time” or the “most popular anime” everywhere. However, only a few have ever talked about the genres. To cater to an even bigger audience, Japanese artists continuously develop anime genres and subgenres, from silly to substantial. While the list of anime genres grows with every development, it’s still good to know the anime tropes titles available out there. Popular anime shows are great, but there are also plenty of unearthed gems that are worth your time. Keep on reading this comprehensive list of anime genres to learn your preference!

Anime Genres
Image Source: Flickr

All Anime Genres

You might be familiar with the most famous animes globally such as Naruto and Attack on Titan, as they are a constant trending topic on social media sites. However, there are many anime genres that cover different storylines and settings compared to other popular anime. Most anime genres have similar plot lines or are mixed with other genres. An example of the latter would be Gundam Seed Destiny, an anime that’s both mecha and space.

Here we have a list of anime genres where you can find similar storylines, plot devices, and settings that you may enjoy. We’ve even included five recommendations on each of the anime genres for you to check out!

Table of Contents

Arts

Shokugeki no Soma
Image from Trinikid

The arts anime genre prioritizes the creative process. Many arts animes have topics about cooking, music, painting, sketching, dancing, and photography. It’s also mixed with other anime genres to set the mood and keep the conflict going. An arts anime focuses on characters who are aspiring artists or are already full-fledged ones. One example of an arts anime is Bakuman, where the main characters are vying to be mangakas. Cooking is also a popular topic for this genre, evident in the hit anime series, Yakitate Japan.

While there are many arts anime, there is only a handful that is mainly about the production of the work of art itself. The genre mostly follows the development of the characters in their chosen field and their eventual success. Below are some of the best animes about art to catch up on.

  • Bakuman
  • Hachimitsu to Clover
  • Welcome to the Ballroom
  • Shokugeki no Soma
  • Shirobako

Cyberpunk

Gunslinger Girl
Image from teahub

Animes that fall into the cyberpunk genre are futuristic and filled with action. While cyberpunk doesn’t necessarily have to be involved with the military, there’s always some action involved. Cyberpunk has a lot of defining traits and usually has a setting similar to modern-day real life that’s transitioning into technological advancement far from reality.

Another interesting pattern with the cyberpunk anime genre is that they tend to discuss social injustices of the modern world. Things like corruption, enslavement, or even poverty are the usual topics raised.

  • Serial Experiments Lain
  • Battle Angel: Alita
  • Angelic Layer
  • Gunslinger Girl
  • Ergo Proxy

Demons

Bleach anime
Image from Ranker

The supernatural and frightening existence of demons has been a popular topic for all anime genres. When it comes to demons, the demon genre will aid you in finding your perfect poison. Many demon animes are about killing demons, but there are ones where the main characters themselves are either associated with demons or the actual demons.

An example of a perfect demon anime is Maoyu, where the Demon Lord and the Hero band together to unite demons and humans. However, if you want a darker side of the this anime genre, a good example is Black Butler, that tells the story of a boy hiring a demon to become his butler in exchange for his soul.

  • Blue Exorcist
  • Bleach
  • Black Butler
  • Beelzebub
  • The Devil is a Part-Timer

Ecchi

Highschool DXD
Image from OtakuKart

If hentai is blatant pornography, ecchi leans on the sexier side. Ecchi has sexual innuendos, revealing clothing, and overtly sexual characters. It’s actually common for anime fans to ignore the ecchi scenes unless they are heavily implied.

Ecchi can be considered the softer version of hentai, where they don’t show the sexual act but heavily imply it. Many terrific animes mix in ecchi in their story. Some are the following.

  • Highschool DXD
  • Highschool of the Dead
  • Prison School
  • Kill La Kill
  • Kiss x Sis

Game

Sword Art Online
Image from Netflix

The game anime genre centers on anything related to video games, card games, and even board games. The characters are usually in a virtual reality setting and are fighting for their lives.

Game animes feature colorful characters and flamboyant but otherwise dark storylines. They can be based on actual video games that were then turned into an anime series such as Tales of the Abyss. There are some in the genre that features characters developing games or finding meaningful relationships inside online games. Catch the following animes with the game genre for a break from reality:

  • No Game No Life
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
  • Sword Art Online
  • Kakegurui
  • Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense

Reverse Harem

Ouran Highschool Host Club
Image from Netflix

Reverse harem is a popular shoujo subgenre. Over time it became a major genre because of the influx of releases under it. The genre depicts the story of one girl and two or more men falling in love with her. The conflicts that arise regarding the men’s affections and the confusion in the female lead tend to lead to heart-racing scenarios.

Reverse harem tends to create female leads that are dubbed as “Mary Sue” or a female character who lacks personality but is still favored by the other characters and the story. These types of anime have been noted for treating the toxic actions of men as romantic gestures. Still, there remain good reverse harem animes that prioritize the deep relationships of the female lead and the men surrounding her.

  • Ouran Highschool Host Club
  • Fruits Basket
  • Yona of the Dawn
  • The Wallflower
  • Kiss Him Not Me!

Harem

The World Only God Knows

A harem anime focuses on one person who has the affections of the opposite sex. It’s very similar to the reverse harem anime that we mentioned above. Harems, however, have males as their main characters and who are usually clueless about what’s going on around them.

The harem anime genre receives a lot of criticism because of the bland nature of the male character. But that’s the point, animes fulfill the fantasies of many, including boring men, by being sought-after by females. Over the years, the genre has been reworked and there are more progressive storylines in the genre. Some of the best harems to watch are:

  • Quintessential Quintuplets
  • The World Only God Knows
  • Clannad
  • Date A Live!
  • Masamune-kun no Revenge

Hentai

Dirty Laundry
Image from Shazam

People usually discuss hentai behind closed doors. Why? Hentai viewers are aware that this genre talks about sexual intercourse. Compared to the ecchi anime genre, hentai prefers to visualize the sexual experience and aims to arouse the viewers.

This genre has also gained notoriety because of its outlandish elements. Some hentai has women with penises instead of vaginas. Others have tentacles having intercourse with females. The hentai genre is vast, with subgenres that cater to the extraordinary imagination of the human mind when it comes to sexuality. While most have no intense conflicts, many hentai animes have elements of comedy, horror, and romance.

  • Dirty Laundry
  • Oni Chichi
  • Mankitsu Happening
  • Baku Ane Otouto Shibocchau Zo!
  • Euphoria

Historical

Emma: A Victorian Romance
Image from Nefarious Reviews

Historical animes are rare to find. This anime genre follows stories set in a particular period in the past and is often atmospheric and gritty. Most of the anime series involved in this genre change the actual events. However, they do keep the historical figures involved. At the same time, they experiment on the personalities that the figures have.

This genre also takes from historical fiction. There are animes based on classic novels like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which can still be historical. Many fans enjoy periods as they bring nostalgia and the chance to see what life was like before the modern world.

  • Le Chevalier D’Eon
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers
  • Arte
  • Emma: A Victorian Romance
  • Vinland Saga

Isekai

Konosuba!
Image from DualShockers

The isekai anime genre is a rising star. Many people theorize it’s because of the evolving stress of the corporate world. Some folks would say it’s because of the effects of the pandemic’s lockdowns. The word “isekai” literally means “other world” and this anime genre capitalizes on that element. In isekai animes, the protagonists always venture out into a fantasy world with magical abilities, beautiful creatures, and discover more about the world they now live in.

What’s even more interesting in this anime genre is that it tackles life after death, usually through reincarnation. Sometimes, the series would kill a character to transport them into a different world or just use a special procedure or object to do so. The plot device of being killed by a truck has been so overused that there are even jokes about “truck-san” who always appear in isekai genres. In the other world, a character is usually faced with diplomatic issues, becomes massively overpowered, or experiences relationships they never had in their previous life.

  • Konosuba!
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
  • Fushigi Yuugi
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

Iyashikei

YuruYuri
Image from Yuri Reviews

Animes in the iyashikei genre are healing animes. They usually entail a slice of life element and have characters face real-world problems and grow in the process. If you watch an iyashikei, you will get a certain sense of tranquility.

Most iyashikei animes are focused on relationships between the characters rather than heavy plot points. Some might find this tedious, but this genre has a specific audience. And this audience is filled with people who find calm and entertainment in the mundane. Some iyashikei animes to stream now are:

  • YuruYuri
  • Saint Young Men
  • Bunny Drop
  • Working!
  • Natsume’s Book of Friends

Josei

Josei (Aggretsuko)
Image source: Flickr

If Seinen is an anime genre that is targeted at young adult males, Josei is its female counterpart. A josei anime usually features young adult women working, planting, or even developing relationships with new people.

Josei (just like seinen) can be easily confused with shoujo anime. The main difference between shoujo and josei is that josei animes feature more adult topics and provide reflections on self-growth.

  • Princess Jellyfish
  • Paradise Kiss
  • Aggressive Retsuko
  • The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent
  • Koikimo

Kodomomuke

Anpanman
Image from CBR

The word “kodomomuke” means “intended for children” and this is what this anime genre is all about. Kodomomuke animes are usually lighthearted and often have little conflict involved.

Kodomomuke also has some of the most famous characters out of all the anime genres listed. Pikachu, the yellow mouse-like creature from the Pokemon franchise, is incredibly well known even by those who haven’t played the game or seen the anime. The same goes for Hello Kitty, whose own anime series is a hit as it’s a slice of life with charming elements. Kodomomuke animes teach children lifelong lessons about friendship, responsibility, and dreams.

  • Pokemon
  • Doraemon
  • Hamtaro
  • Bubu Chacha
  • Anpanman

Mahou Shoujo

Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Image from CBR

Mahou Shoujo was once part of one of the most popular anime genres: shoujo. However, because of the growing popularity of magical girl anime, it became its own classification. Mahou Shoujo is basically about female characters that can turn into powerful witches, warriors, or something of that nature.

Now, before you have kids watching this genre, you should know that Mahou Shoujo isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. Under the colors, this genre is about tragedy and it shows through sudden brutal deaths and dark storylines unfolding later on. A prime example would be Madoka Magica, which was initially a cute anime that became twisted without warning.

  • Sailor Moon
  • Ojamajo Doremi
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica
  • Magic Knight Rayearth
  • Cardcaptor Sakura

Martial Arts

Hinomaruzumou
Image from Anime Amanky

The martial arts anime genre usually entails stories about traditional Japanese fighting skills and how the main characters wield them. An example is Rurouni Kenshin, which follows a docile character with a powerful technique in his hands. However, martial arts can also include boxing or any other form of close combat.

The characters in martial arts anime deal heavily with their struggles to become powerful fighters. Tragic backstories and triumphs are some of the common elements you will see in this genre.

  • Baki
  • Knockout
  • Samurai X
  • Hinomaruzumou
  • Ranma ½

Mecha

Gundam Series
Image from CBR

Mecha animes have been around longer than most anime genres. This anime genre is basically a category for anything that has to do with heavy machinery, robots, or battle suits and gear. Mecha anime is all about the technological innovation of the world the characters live in. While this can include other types of technology, the genre is mostly composed of robots.

Military, space, and mecha are the anime genres that usually mesh, just as much as shoujo and romance. However, mecha can also exclude themselves from both. Medabots is a kodomomuke anime featuring robots that battle against one another and form bonds with their owners. Another mecha type is Zoids: Chaotic Century, which tells the story of the main character on a quest that leads to regaining the memories of the female lead surrounded by large robotic animals.

  • Gundam Series
  • Full Metal Panic
  • Eureka Seven
  • Darling in the Franxx
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion

Military

Jormungand
Image from Blerds Online

The military anime genre doesn’t simply direct its priority on the hierarchy that the real-world uses. Some militaristic attributes may be included, but there’s also a tiny mix of young teenagers completing critical missions. The military genre can be paired with other anime genres as well, such as the space anime genre. Usually discussing the tragedies of war and morally grey characters, military animes are designed for a more mature audience.

Some military animes also prefer to present the strategic play used to outsmart their opponent, while others use the welfare of the victims of war as their main topic, like Grave of the Fireflies.

  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Pumpkin Scissors
  • Code Geass
  • Gate
  • Jormungand

Music

Nodame Cantabile (Music Genre)
Image from Flickr

The arts anime genre initially had music as its subgenre. Anime genres like music, painting, and dancing, were at the same length. However, after an increased interest in music-centered animes, a genre of itself was born.

Music animes have stories about musical abilities, performances, and relationships. Most of the conflict usually comes with the main character’s lack of faith in their own talent, a traumatic event, or simply being a beginner in the field. The consistent theme of music animes is the fulfillment of performing music for yourself and others.

  • La Corda D’oro: Primo Passo
  • Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
  • Carole & Tuesday
  • Nana!
  • Nodame Cantabile

Mystery

Monster anime
Image from Kotaku

The mystery genre is highly underrated and is usually overshadowed by the other genres that are mixed up with it. These types of anime usually feature detectives or highly intelligent characters, whose genius observations and conclusions are the centerpieces of the story.

An interesting pattern with mystery anime is that most of the mysteries are connected to one greater mystery that they truly wish to solve. Sometimes, a mystery anime may include the supernatural.

  • Monster
  • Erased
  • Subete ga F ni Naru
  • Gosick
  • Hyouka

Parody

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
Image from Anime Blog Tracker

Parody animes are a lot like parody movies from Hollywood. They take the usual anime tropes and spin them around in a more comedic fashion. Parody animes rarely have any linear plot points and are more about the gags or making fun of anything under the sun.

Fans who prefer light-hearted animated spoofs will like The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. and Gintama. What’s crazy is that these parody animes become even more popular than the animes they are parodying. Take note that it’s not just anime series that they’re making fun of, but even typical scenes you would find in mainstream media.

  • Gintama
  • Poputepipikku
  • Osomatsu-san
  • Keroro Gunsou
  • Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

Police

Psycho-Pass
Image from CBR

This anime genre focuses on police-related topics such as detective agencies, police task forces, and bounty hunters. Police anime series are generally action-oriented as there are scenes where characters chase down criminals. At the same time, police animes also deal with corruption in the police force and crime as a whole.

Animes of this genre were incredibly popular in the ’80s. It’s not much so today, but there are newer animes following the genre but set in detective agencies or people dealing with the police to solve crimes.

  • Psycho-Pass
  • Detective Conan
  • B: The Beginning
  • Paranoia Agent
  • Ghost in the Shell

Post-Apocalyptic

Attack on Titan
Image from Bleeding Cool

Post-apocalyptic animes are about people trying to survive harsh situations and usually raise moral questions. They are often tragic as portrayed by the many deaths of characters and the illustration of grim reality.

Despite the decay and destruction around them, characters of this genre still manage to develop relationships. Some become unruly, while others become a beacon of hope. Post-apocalyptic animes are about the prevailing hope of humanity in the middle of harrowing crises.

  • Girls’ Last Tour
  • Attack on Titan
  • Gantz
  • God Eater
  • The Promised Neverland

School

Azumanga Daioh
Image from The Cinemaholic

School anime is almost always balanced with other anime genres. Most school animes depict a traditional Japanese high school. They give rise to youthful romance and usually have themes similar to coming-of-age shows and films in the West.

Basically, in school animes, they tackle friendships, romance, and realizations. School animes also show activities in traditional high schools such as sports festivals, fairs, and even the obligatory beach episode that many parody animes make fun of. School animes can become nostalgic for older viewers, reminding them of the life they had before getting into the real world.

  • Danshi Koukousei No Nichijou
  • Nichijou
  • Azumanga Daioh
  • ReLife
  • Toradora
  • Great Teacher Onizuka

Seinen

Berserk
Image from ComicBook

Compared to Shonen anime, Seinen’s target audience is older males ranging from their late teens to late twenties. Seinen anime, compared to shonen, feature young adult male characters and have grown-up themes.

  • Berserk
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Parasyte
  • Steins Gate
  • Hellsing Ultimate

Shonen

One Piece
Image from The Hundreds

Most of the popular animes that are produced under the shonen genre have skyrocketed profits from their merchandise, manga releases, anime series, and movie franchises. This genre is so big that the most popular anime of all time would most likely be shonen. However, the question is, which anime is actually shonen? The shonen genre is intended for young male viewers.

Shonen anime series typically have male lead characters with an almost impossible goal. There are usually a large number of action scenes that portray the physical obstacles that come with trying to attain the main character’s goal. You’re not a true anime fan if you don’t know these animes:

  • Naruto
  • One Piece
  • Hunter x Hunter
  • Fairy Tail
  • Noragami

Shonen-ai

Bananafish
Image from Waiyeed

Just like shoujo-ai, shonen-ai is a type of anime that deals with boys’ love. A fan favorite is Yuri on Ice which features both sports and yaoi. The stories can vary just like yuri anime, but it often shows the same confusion and excitement that yuri characters experience. Tragic elements are also well-known in this genre. One prime example of a shonen-ai is Bananafish.

  • Junjou Romantica
  • Yuri on Ice
  • Banana Fish
  • The Titan’s Bride
  • Orenchi no Furo Jijou

Shoujo

Special A
Image from Amazon

Shoujo anime tackles things in life that young girls get excited about. This is why the genre is often about romance, fashion, and makeovers. Compared to shonen animes, shoujo animes are more laid back and are about interpersonal relationships.

The shoujo anime genre is also usually found in other genres such as mystery, reverse harem, and even the superpower genre. There has even been an influx of a shoujo isekai subgenre that gave way to countless productions in recent years.

  • Special A
  • Ore Monogatari
  • Ao Haru Ride
  • Lovely Complex
  • Kimi no Todoke

Shoujo-ai

Maria Watches Over Us
Image from Yuri Reviews

People know shoujo-ai more as “yuri.” The word yuri translates to girl’s love. These types of anime center on lesbian relationships from innocent feelings to sexual aspects. Shoujo-ai talks about restrictions on the girls and their confusion regarding their own feelings. Many shoujo-ai tropes feature a strong and confident counterpart to a more innocent character.

While there are tons of sexual shoujo-ai, it’s praiseworthy to note that many shoujo-ai are mostly about relationships and the peaceful feeling when the characters are in the arms of one another.

  • Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
  • Sakura Trick
  • Maria Watches Over Us
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena
  • Bloom Into You

Space

Darling in the Franxx
Image from Anime News Network

As its name, this anime genre deals with characters inhabiting or exploring outer space. However, the tones of the story always vary. A great example of two space animes with different tones is Galaxy Angel and Terra Formars. While Galaxy Angel is a mixture of comedy and space, Terra Formars deals with invasions and horrors.

Every anime aficionado should know the Gundam series, which also has mecha and military undertones. Another famous space anime is Darling in the Franxx, where the popular Zero Two character deals with romance.

  • Galaxy Angels
  • Aldnoah Zero
  • Terra Formars
  • Knights of Sidonia,
  • Space Dandy

Sports

Prince of Tennis: Anime Genres (Sports)
Image from Flickr

The sports anime genre is the type of anime genre that gets your blood pumping. Many of the anime series that belong in this genre usually tells the story of an aspiring athlete. Some sports animes are also an ensemble, discussing the life and relationships of each team member.

Sports anime also have other genres in the mix. Usually, the anime genre mixed with sports anime is the school genre, making the competitions range from international competitions to inter-school competitions. Sports anime takes pride in fair play between opposing teams and fellow team members. This is why most sports anime series are about trust and friendship.

  • Prince of Tennis
  • Slam Dunk
  • Haikyuu
  • Major
  • Re-Main (Remain anime)

Superpower

Dragon Ball
Image from IGN SEA

Do you enjoy anime genres with nonstop action and overpowered main characters? Animes that are about superheroes and superpowers might be your cup of tea. These types of animes have characters that are overpowered or given a unique skill unlike any other. They can be comedic, serious, or romantic, but one thing’s for sure, they are action-packed and filled with beaming lights.

Animes of the superpower genre also highlight the trials and tragic backstories of main characters. Dealing with family and trying to live an ordinary life are also common themes. A nice example of a super-powered character is Ainz Ooal Gown: the main character of Overlord.

  • Dragon Ball
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K
  • My Hero Academy
  • Mob Psycho
  • One Punch Man

Tragedy

Your Lie in April
Image from Reddit

Tragic animes tug at the fragile veins of your heart whenever you watch them. As its name, animes of this genre tell the story of the doomed characters and their altered fates. Most tragic animes are about death or consecutive disasters after another. Some tragedy animes could become frustratingly solvable, such as Scum’s Wish.

  • Your Lie in April
  • Scum’s Wish
  • Violet Evergarden
  • Plastic Memories
  • Angel Beats

Vampire

Vampire Knight
Image from CBR

Supernatural monsters that look vaguely like humans are what the vampire anime genre is about. Animes of this genre are usually gothic and filled with gore and horror. They also highlight the sophisticated beauty of these once-human creatures.

A good example of this would be Diabolik Lovers, which describes the men to be beautiful but viciously craving for the main lead. Meanwhile, other vampire animes are purely about the psychology and destruction of vampires. An example is Blood+, which is a story that deals with power, mental destruction, and justice.

  • Vampire Knight
  • Owari no Seraph
  • Shiki
  • Blood+
  • Blood Lad

Zombie

Tokyo Ghoul
Image from Netflix

Hollywood has made pretty big bucks with the zombie trope, but so have animation companies with animes such as Highschool of the Dead.

Like in their original depiction, zombies in animes are frightening, undead, and highly infectious. Sometimes, the zombies don’t necessarily need to be human. Zombie animes are set during, before, or after an apocalyptic world. While the tone would usually be tragic, action-packed, or terrifying, there are some slice-of-life and even comedic ones that you could easily discover.

  • Gakkou Gurashi
  • Is This a Zombie?
  • Tokyo Ghoul
  • Gyo
  • Zombie-Loan