While school girls, super-powered fights, and cute “moe” characters are aplenty in anime, Japanese animation is more than just those things. Like any other form of media, Japanese animation has variety and genres.
For today’s anime article, let’s explore the different genres in anime. From shounen favorites to iyashikei shows that promote healing, we’ll rank them and even give recommendations for you.
Ready the popcorn and Pocky – let’s binge some anime.
Best Anime Genres Ranked
If you want to introduce anime to your little ones or younger siblings but worry that the content is not suitable for them, fear not! The anime genre kodomomuke will be able to help you.
Kodomomuke is the genre for shows targeted to young kids. These can be educational, funny, or just entertaining enough for children. Some notable examples are Doraemon and Pokemon.
While Pokemon is already a popular and established video game and anime series in a lot of countries outside Japan, Doraemon might be something new for some of you.
But it’s actually a beloved series in Japan and is part of a lot of people’s childhood.
22. Horror / Thriller
In the mood for something spooky? Anime can definitely give you a hair-raising experience too!
Although you won’t find a lot of horror-focused shows, there are a few that stand out for dishing out the creepy vibes. If you’re sensitive to jumpscares and gore, it’s best to ask around for reviews first.
But if you’re good with that, take a peek at Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Shiki, The Promised Neverland, and an animated compilation of Junji Ito’s work.
Ready your heart, okay?
21. Iyashikei / Healing
How about a calm and relaxing anime instead? People love the concept of an anime that relaxes and “heals” you so much, there’s even a term for it now!
Iyashikei is all about “healing” vibes that give that tranquil and contented feeling.
When you’re too stressed from your day-to-day responsibilities, you can just unwind and sink in a cloud of warm coziness with these shows.
Aria the Animation and Yuru Camp are some examples of iyashikei anime. Just breathe, cuddle your plushies, and press play on these shows to get to cloud nine.
Need anime shows that tease your brain and thinking capabilities? The anime mystery genre might be up your alley.
With mystery anime, you slowly uncover and unravel the secrets, puzzles, and enigmas in the story. Whether it’s a crime to be solved or exposing an event in the past, mystery anime will keep your noggin engaged.
For recommendations, you can try out detective anime shows like Case Closed. Meanwhile, Erased is about uncovering the protagonist’s past, but it gets dark real quick.
And then there’s Baccano, a wonderful gathering of compelling characters with mysterious pasts.
If you’re fond of folktales, old wives’ tales, and myths, you’ll enjoy supernatural anime. Not only do you get a mystical story, but you also learn of other cultures’ legends, beliefs, and superstitions.
Often, supernatural anime will have stories about Japanese folktales. Some notable examples are Mushishi and Natsume’s Book of Friends.
Mushishi is about a wanderer named Ginko who helps people deal with supernatural creatures called Mushi.
Natsume’s Book of Friends is also about someone who lends out a helping hand, although in this case, he’s helping spirits!
This anime genre can be summarized as such: cool giant robots.
Yep, mecha is about big robots with cool designs, weapons, and powers. Japan is definitely known for its love for huge droids, but this anime genre is still considered a bit niche.
But if you love seeing robots do epic fights, you’ll enjoy this genre. You’ve got more than 40 years of Gundam media to enjoy.
And if you want a mecha series that can get bonkers and deep in terms of plot, Neon Genesis Evangelion is your robot show.
Continuing from the previous genre, if you want more science elements in your animated series, consider sci-fi anime.
Sci-fi anime can go really hard on futuristic technology and worldbuilding. There are ones that involve time travel, shows that go into space, and anime that set the stage in a post-apocalyptic but highly advanced world.
Some of our recommendations are Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Ghost in the Shell, and Steins;Gate.
Magic is a beloved genre that’s always done in anime. From mahou shoujo stories to magic power systems, magic is quite present and prevalent in anime.
In terms of mahou shoujo, it’s a whole subgenre of its own. Classics like Sailormoon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Shugo Chara, and Pretty Cure are popular among fans.
Then there are ones that subvert or deconstruct the genre, like Magica Madoka. And if you want a boy in a magical show instead, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is a must-try.
Let’s continue the magic with our next entry – fantasy anime!
Sometimes, we want to watch something that’s different and magical from our reality.
Thanks to fantasy anime, we can live out that fantasy (heh) through shows that are set in fantastical and magical worlds.
Worldbuilding is important to fantasy anime, so you’ll often see strange worlds, big maps, and elaborate kingdoms in such shows.
But it’s not always rainbows and butterflies in this genre. Dark fantasy is a subgenre for fantasy fans that want a little macabre in their shows.
The daily monotonous grind of real life can get disheartening. For those who are dreaming of escaping their reality, isekai anime is a good genre for escapism.
In this genre, stories are about someone leaving the real world and going to a world with magic and fantasy.
Sometimes, it’s an actual world, but other shows have it as a virtual world in a game.
A popular isekai show is Re: Zero, which is about a shut-in who gets teleported to another world. Meanwhile, Ascendance of a Bookworm is about a bookworm who ends up in a world where books are scarce.
But if you want something funny and subverts the genre, KonoSuba is a fun show to try!
Our next genre is another form of escapism, but this time it’s about being surrounded by pretty girls or boys, and they’re all in love with you!
Harem anime usually mixes other genres in its story, like romance, comedy, and ecchi. You often see the protagonist being reluctant, confused, or oblivious to the situation.
It’s usually a guy surrounded by girls who fight for his affection and attention, like The World God Only Knows and The Quintessential Quintuplets.
But there are also “reverse harems” where it’s a girl surrounded by pretty boys, like in Ouran Highschool Host Club.
Then there’s Ranma ½, which hits both descriptions!
For the alluring and lascivious side of Japanese animation, we have ecchi anime as our next featured genre.
Ecchi anime can be a controversial topic for some, but it remains a popular guilty pleasure for a lot of anime fans. It titillates its watchers without showing anything overly explicit. And hey, we won’t rain on your parade if it floats your boat!
If you want to try this genre, To Love Ru and High School DxD are popular choices.
If you want to keep the blood pumping, this next anime genre will surely make you jump for joy.
Sports anime has become really popular due to the teamwork and camaraderie it presents among its characters.
Rooting for the underdog can really pull your heartstrings, which will be replaced with an exhilarating feeling when the team finally triumphs.
For your options, you’ve got the classics like Slam Dunk and Hajime no Ippo. For something recent, there’s Haikyuu and Ping Pong the Animation.
Yes, I know how it sounds. “Volleyball and ping pong?” Mate, trust me, just give it a try. You’ll be chanting “mou ikkai” before you know it.
10. Slice of Life
Let’s take a slower pace this time and enjoy life one slice at a time. For this next entry, slice of life anime gets the spotlight.
If you don’t like larger-than-life and fantastical stories, good ol’ slice of life is definitely up to your speed. It focuses on the characters’ everyday life and their personal stories. It can also be a comedy or a drama.
Some examples we have are Working!! And Kotaro Lives Alone.
The next few entries can be a bit controversial for others. Is it just a demographic or a genre too? Well, we say it’s both! First, let’s tackle shoujo anime.
Shoujo anime targets young girls as its demographic, with a usually female protagonist and a story that can be lighthearted.
But that doesn’t mean it’s entirely smiles and rainbows. Shoujo knows how to handle heart-wrenching and thought-provoking topics too, but in a level that is easily digestible to its demographic.
Some notable examples are Revolutionary Girl Utena, Fruits Basket, and Full Moon wo Sagashite.
Meanwhile, josei anime targets older female viewers. It usually has anime that has deeper, darker, or more mature topics in its stories.
It’s a great genre for fans who grew up watching shoujo anime but now want shows that are grown up like them.
Nana and Nodame Cantabile are two josei anime series that we recommend!
Up next is the ever-popular shounen genre!
This is arguably the most popular anime genre ever. It’s usually the first anime genre people watch when they get recommended with anime.
Like the two previous entries, it’s a demographic targeted at young boys but has grown to be a genre on its own. You usually see a young male character as its protagonist.
Dragon Ball Z, Hunter x Hunter, My Hero Academia, and Dr. Stone are just some of the plethora of shounen anime available to watch.
Just like how josei is for older girls, seinen is for shounen fans who are grown up and want a more mature genre.
The narratives in this genre are definitely in an adult light that depict serious topics. There are still comedy seinen shows, but the jokes are definitely something an older person will enjoy.
Monster, Vinland Saga, and Saint Young Men are our recommendations.
Laughter is the best medicine, and you bet the comedy anime genre can dish out a hefty dose of the guffaws.
Puns, slapstick, satire, and surreal comedy can be found in this genre. You’ll be busting your guts and crying from intense laughter from shows like Gintama and Nichijou.
But fair warning, some of these comedy anime shows also know how to pull your heartstrings. This leads us to our next entry…
If your idea of a good time is crying your heart out, we’ve got the anime genre for you and your tears right here.
Drama anime lets you relate, connect, empathize, and feel for the characters. It shows their plight, struggles, and life stories that can touch your heart.
Some people might wonder why watching a sad story is an enjoyable time for others. But that cathartic feeling after a good cry and going on an emotional journey with a story is indescribable.
Our drama anime recommendations? Clannad, Violet Evergarden, AnoHana, Your Lie in April, and A Silent Voice.
We definitely recommend you ready a pack of tissues and to stay hydrated when watching any of these.
Want to fill your heart with something sweet? The romance anime genre is the way!
This genre focuses on a couple’s romantic journey and how they express their blossoming love. It usually covers other genres as well, such as comedy and drama.
My Love Story and Kimi ni Todoke are good shows to start if you want to explore this genre.
If you have a desire to explore new lands and go on a journey with a team, the adventure anime genre captures the wanderlust feeling very well.
You’ll see traveling, exploring, searching for something, training, and going somewhere to defeat the Big Bad and ultimately save the world in this genre.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a great example since the adventure spans generations. Plus, it literally has adventure in its title. And for the ultimate pirate adventure? There is no greater journey than One Piece.
For the anime genre that hypes up the adrenaline like no other, we gotta crown action anime as the king of anime genres in our ranking.
Sword fights? Ninja techniques? Powered up punches? Exorcizing demons? Thanks to this genre, it’s all shown in an elaborate and cool way. When done right, the animation is mind-blowing too.
Some notable examples are Naruto and Sasuke’s last battle, mid-air fights fighting giants in Attack on Titan, and Capoeira fighting in Samurai Champloo.
Oh, and Dragon Ball Z’s planet-ending fights? It may have spanned a few episodes, but seeing Goku charge a Spirit Bomb is, well, the bomb!