How many anime genres do you know? The different types of anime are in the dozens. If you’re an avid watcher of the Big 3 Anime, then you may have come to learn that every show is based on a specific anime genre.
Today, anime is available in a wide range of genres such as drama, action, supernatural, and horror, to mention a few. They are made for a young girl or young boy as well as adults. They feature tough female characters and handsome male characters.
How many types of anime genres can you think of? Many popular anime genres established roots and have been around for several years.
For that very reason, I’ve assembled a detailed list of anime genres with explanations and examples of each of them.
Below are the various types of anime genres and subgenres, including a detailed explanation and examples of each. It doesn’t matter if you’re an enthusiastic anime fan or merely an interested onlooker.
This detailed list of common genres and subgenres will give you a chance to learn some basic knowledge about anime so that you can enjoy the anime world.
Popular Anime Genres
- Slice of Life
Popular Anime Subgenres
- Martial Arts
- Super Power
- Josei Anime
- Seinen Genre
- Shonen Anime
A high level of rigorous action mainly characterizes the action anime genres. Action is one of the most popular genres of anime. A good portion of action anime shows comprises action fight scenes and thrilling battles.
It is not a wonder if you find yourself jumping off your seat while trying to imitate the stimulating fights in this genre. A considerable part of the action genre comprises fluid animation, battle scenes, and super-engaging elements that activate your adrenaline system.
Here are some famous examples of action anime.
- Gurren Lagann
- Kill la Kill
- Darker than Black
- Fullmetal Alchemist
Typically, the adventure genre mainly focuses on undertaking epic quests and traveling around the world. Some adventure anime characters even escalate the experience by traveling to the entire universe or other unpopular dimensions.
Ideally, characters in adventure anime keep on moving from one place to another. Characters venture into various destinations with a specific goal to accomplish.
For example, they are searching for hidden treasure worldwide, exploring new places, escaping from a heinous villain, defeating a deadly villain that would otherwise become a global threat, among other goals in their mind.
Adventure anime covers a wide range of shows and is also flexible enough to cover multiple episodes. They can also overlap with other popular genres, especially those involving action or love.
Popular adventure anime shows.
- Fairy Tail
- Kino’s Journey
- Hunter X Hunter
- One Piece
- Hunter X Hunter
- Spice and Wolf
The central theme of a typical comedy genre is to make the viewer laugh. However, humor is relative since what makes one person laugh doesn’t necessarily make some else laugh.
Although some comedy animations may not be as humorous as the popular TV shows, especially those in drama and action categories, at least a comedy anime should have no excuse for not making you laugh.
A comedy anime that doesn’t make its watchers at least giggle, let alone laugh, has failed in its purpose. Expect to find numerous funny moments, wacky dialogue, hilarious scenes, and comical happenings in a comedy-themed anime genre.
Here are popular comedy anime shows.
- Daily Lives of High School Boys
- The Haruhi Suzumiya Melancholy
Have you ever watched an episode that left you in tears and a massive wave of emotions? Then you probably had been watching a drama-themed genre. A drama anime will try to connect you with the character’s experiences.
This connection is what makes the viewer feel in tune with what the character is experiencing. It could be an emotional experience or a barrage of feelings. The main goal of a drama anime is to influence the viewers’ hearts in a certain way.
Some drama anime are too arousing such that they can almost make you cry. A drama anime that succeeds in making you feel emotional can be said to have worked effectively in accomplishing its mission.
Some popular drama anime examples include;
- Little Busters
- Your Lies in April
- Anohana: The flower we come across that day
Slice of Life Anime
Whenever you hear someone talking about a slice of life, they talk about the ordinary good life.
Stories featuring in a Slice of Life genre are based on the actual life setting domain. Everything is all about what happens in the blues; yes, that is the fundamental point of the Slice of Life genre.
Ordinary life is covered in a realistic dimension, with nothing supernatural taking a role in the show.
Here are famous examples of Slice of Life anime.
- Non Non Biyori
- Koufuku Graffiti
- Lucky Star
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Angel Beats and
- Little Busters
The fantasy genre animes mainly cover themes of fantasy worlds, dreamlike locations, and magical events.
The setting is often based on fantastical sites where the key characters start their adventures. In some shows, the characters begin their journey from a natural world setting and then transition to something out of this world.
Magic is an excellent part of the fantasy genre. Fantasy animes feature phenomena that are beyond scientific explanations. Several mystical elements serve as fundamental building blocks of a fantasy show.
Here are some famous examples of fantasy anime.
- Nanatsu no Taizai
- Fate night
- Strike Witches
- No Game, No Life
Magic-themed anime involve and revolve around magical kinds of stuff such as incantations and spells. Some stories also cover places where characters can source magical powers and characters that can grant wishes.
Magical girls are the most common characters in these magic animes. These magical girls can end up becoming a whole new genre in the subsequent episodes.
Famous examples of Magic themed anime.
- Puella Magica Magi Madoka
- Magi: Labyrinth of Magic
- Magical Doremi
- The Virgin Maria Witch
- Little Witch Academia
- Sailor Moon
- Cardcaptor Sakura
Whenever you come across a supernatural anime, it involves events or stuff beyond ordinary scientific explanations.
Magical-based animes may cover things that are mythical, bizarre, and mystical or something that is beyond the accepted reality. There are shadows of myths and mysteries found in this genre.
Here are some examples of popular supernatural-themed anime.
- Blue Exorcist
It is easy to identify a horror genre in any anime. Typically, the main characters in horror anime are monsters, ghosts, creeps, and some gore.
It’s obvious to come across several incidences of bloody violence and heavy gore traits in these animes. The key distinguishing factor in horror animes is the ability to creep and scare you out. If you are watching horror animes alone, it can be frightening, especially if it’s your first time.
Here are famous examples of horror anime.
- Parasyte -the maxim
- Hell Girl
- Corpse Party
- Junji Ito Collection
Mystery animes are a psychological-based genre that mainly focuses on mysterious places, items, or events. One common thing about mystery anime stories is the red herrings that keep fans guessing.
It could be a place, an event, or a specific item, that has some mysteries surrounding its existence and narrative. Many puzzle-based animes feature criminals and detectives.
Examples of Mystery anime shows.
- Eden of the East
- Detective Conan
- Tantei Opera Milky Holmes
These animes mainly revolve around how the psyche and mind work. This genre mainly covers scenes touching psychological themes and rarely on philosophical levels.
Mind games and battles are standard here where the characters have to gauge their wits against the competitor. Psychological animes are designed to involve your mind by sharpening your critical thinking skills.
Examples of popular psychological anime.
- Paranoia Agent
- Future Diary
- Zetsuen no Tempest
- Death Note
- Mirai Nikki
Based on the name, you can tell that the romance genre mainly involves sweet moments of falling in love and passion.
There are several romance animes with romantic relationships such as lovers who never settle until the end of the show, love triangles in which two characters fight over another character or a love square in which four or more characters are involved.
Ideally, romance is the key theme; the story will mainly focus on a realistic yet fictional setting. When comparing a romance genre with other genres, the action involved is choppy, comedy is casual, drama is overemphasized, and psychological themes are complex.
A love story can tug your heartstrings with tender moments and romantic scenes. You’ll often find romance anime featuring other anime genres such as drama, comedy, harem, and shoujo subgenres.
The main focus in these animes is the love relationships between or among characters and sometimes complex romance incidences.
Famous romance anime.
- Itazura na Kiss
- Suki-little Li Nayo
- Kare Kano
- Isshukan Friends
- Valkyria Chronicles
- Golden Time
- Honey and Clover
- Special A
- Lovely Complex
The military genre mainly features uniformed military as the main characters. One common feature of military anime is that Mecha animes accompany it. In comparison, Mecha anime is characterized primarily by science fiction robots.
The Mecha and Military genres often feature together, as seen in shows like the Macross and Gundam. As the name suggests, military animes may involve war as the central theme.
Examples of popular military anime.
- Saga of Tanya the Evil
- Kantai Collection
- Fullmetal Panic
- Code Geass
Mecha is an abbreviation for mechanical and robots units. Mecha animes must include an automated or robotic unit as a character. Indeed, this is the most distinguishing feature in the Mecha animes.
As mentioned above, Mecha animes go hand in hand with the military, action genre, and sci-fi anime genre. Mecha animes are among the most famous Japanese exports.
Examples of popular Mecha anime.
- Code Geass
- Mobile Suit Gundam
- Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
History anime genre focuses on past time settings. They are usually ideal for helping viewers study history in a much more exciting way. Also, viewers can use these animes to pick up a new skill, like learning a new language.
Popular history anime genre setting includes those covering Japanese histories like the Edo Period and Warring States Period. Others cover foreign nations’ history, such as the Chinese History book, the Journey to the West.
France based history animes include Le Chevalier D’Eon and The Rose of Versailles. Most history-based animes genres tend to emphasize superpower or action, or both.
Live-action dramas are good examples of the history anime genre focusing on activities and superpowers. Dramas come in a more realistic image of history.
Examples of popular history anime.
- Dog of Flanders
- Junketsu no MariaSamurai Champloo
- The Rose of Versailles
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Fushigi Yugi
Although some people claim that anime is just meant for kids, that is not true. Several animes are created for kids. These anime fall under the subgenre of kids anime.
They are typically light, mild, and insightful, thus making them ideal for kids under 12 years. Kid’s anime face challenges from Japanese culture, mainly because western cultures differ from Japanese cultures in unique ways.
Examples of Kids Anime.
- Chi’s Sweet Home
- Machine Robo Rescue
Sci-Fi is an abbreviation for science fiction. These anime showcase technological and scientific elements in their shows. Machines could be the main characters, such as robots of various technological advancements.
Sci-Fi anime genres focus on advances in technology and science. Indeed, this is the reason why you’ll come across sci-fi anime featuring subgenres such as Space and Mecha.
Examples of Sci-Fi anime.
- Space Dandy
- Outlaw Star
- Cowboy Bebop
- Knights of Sidonia
These anime encompass shows that mainly focus on gaming and playing themes. For instance, anime may include characters playing board games, card games, puzzle games, and virtual online games.
Game anime concerns playable games of various types of anime, including video game-based animes.
Examples of Game anime.
- Sword Art Online
- Cardfight!! Vanguard
- Selector infected WIXOSS
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V
Martial Arts anime
Martial arts are critical features in battle and fighting anime. Martial arts may involve swordplay, hand-to-hand combat, armed combat, and gun fighting, among others. It’s equally important to note that there are types of martial arts that mainly focus on battle techniques and the martial arts itself.
The martial arts subgenre is quite popular in action-themed anime. An iconic example of this anime is the Dragon Ball Z. This show was responsible for familiarizing manga and anime in the Western world mainstream.
Here are examples of popular martial arts anime.
- Dragon Ball
- Baki the Grappler
- Hajime no Ippo
The post-Apocalyptic anime mainly involves typical shows of how the world would look like at the end of the world. For instance, how would the world look if it had been destroyed with only a few humans surviving the apocalypse?
Most post-apocalyptic settings are set based on past themes. However, these anime are becoming more popular today, mainly due to the influence of global pandemics.
Famous examples of post-apocalyptic anime.
- Shin Sekai Yori
- Attack on Titan
- Sound of the Sky
- Sidonia no Kishi
- Iron Fortress Kabaneri
These are shows whose characters mainly participate in athletic competitions. Popular choices of sports anime include tennis, basketball, baseball, and soccer.
One of the most popular sports anime is the Slam Dunk. Indeed, most modern sports anime imitated this anime. The sport eliminated the belief that only the protagonist should become the instant expert in the sport.
The main character is seen learning basketball skills, and the audience also catches up with these techniques.
Examples of popular sports anime.
- Kuroko’s Basketball
- Yowamushi Pedal
- Ace of Diamond
As the name suggests, these anime emphasize ordinary law enforcers’ challenges and struggles in their work. Police-based characters are featured in various shows, and some are emerging as police procedurals.
The main characters in police anime are the police offers, investigators, detectives, and law enforcement of various ranks.
Examples of popular police anime.
- Lupin the Third
- Case Closed
- You’re Under Arrest
- Beautiful Bones, the Sakurako’s Investigation
Super Power anime
When you come across numerous explosives of superpowers blasting on your screen, then your show is probable a superpower-themed anime.
You won’t miss seeing bursts of death-resistance attacks, energy balls, and substantial opposing forces fighting for control among other powers in a superpower anime genre.
Ideally, the superpower subgenre falls under the category of action and fantasy anime genres.
Famous examples of superpower anime.
- Tiger & Bunny
- Dragon Ball
- My Hero Academia
Also, check out 191 Miraculous Ladybug characters.
The 5 main anime genres are shonen, shojo, seinen, josei, and kodomomuke.
There are dozens of genres and subgenres in anime. Some of the most popular are action, comedy, a slice of life, drama, tragedy, psychological, historical, mecha, military, supernatural, magic, and romance.
Some of the top anime genres are action, comedy, drama, mecha, and magic.
Shonen is the most popular anime genre and is known for its popular series such as Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and One Piece.
Brandon established Featured Animation in 2006 to celebrate animated movies. His favorite animated movies include Finding Nemo, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Find out more about me and my movie journey, About Featured Animation.