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Anime Genres Explained: From Action to Vampire May 23, 2016

Anime has become very popular over recent years and many mainstream services like Netflix and Hulu started offering more and more anime for viewers to enjoy. If you are new to anime, it might be a bit complicated to wrap your head around the idea. What’s most important to know is that there are various animation styles and a plethora of genres you can choose from. If you like watching fantasy and sci-fi shows, you will most definitely enjoy the same genre of anime. If you prefer mystery, thrillers or drama, there’s a lot anime can offer as well.

Here’s a short rundown of the anime genres, coupled with the most popular series for each genre:

Action – one of the most common genres, packed with action scenes but lacking character development or an in-depth story. The genre is most commonly mixed with other genres, like adventure, fantasy of comedy. The most popular examples include: Bleach, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z and Naruto.

Adventure – another very popular genre; the main protagonists explore new places. The anime series are typically slower in development, but feature characters with great background stories. The story line is always present and well formed, but some viewers might find this genre boring because of the slow progression. The genre is most often coupled with the following genres: action, historical, slice of life. The most popular examples include: Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbour Totoro and Slayers.

Comedy – the genre is loved among many anime enthusiasts. What’s important to know is that it’s almost never a standalone genre; it’s most commonly mixed with action or romance, and some of the most popular series feature Full Metal Panic, Lucky Star and Once Punch Man.

Demons – this is a surprisingly popular genre, although many would call it niche. It often portrays demons, witches, evil spirits and is commonly combined with action and adventure. Examples include Princess Mononoke, Inuyasha and Shingeki no Bahamut.

Drama – suspense, shock and a lot of emotion is what defines this genre. It’s one of the most popular genres to date, and characters and story are so well defined that viewers often side with a character or a group of them. The most common mixes include romance and adventure, with the most popular examples including: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Shingeki no Kyojin and Spirited Away.

Fantasy –magical powers, worlds and monsters are key to this genre. It’s most commonly combined with adventure, history and action. Folklore and myths are usually the base. The genre features breath-taking art and scenery, but characters might lack development and depth. Notable examples include Mushishi, The Vision of Escaflowne, and Spice and Wolf.

Game – the protagonists of such an anime usually play a competitive game, most commonly a card game. It’s not a genre of its own, but a recurrent theme, usually paired with Adventure or Psychological genres. Some examples include Yu-Gi-Oh and Bakugan.

Historical – animes from this genre are most commonly based in a certain time period (Edo and Tokugawa are most prominent). The protagonists are often well-known individuals from the Japanese past, like commanders or shoguns. Some good examples include Baccano, Ruroni Kenshin and Katanagatari. You should know that Katanagatari is rated R – 17+ though.

Horror – sometimes scary, but the genre’s selling point is violence, bloodshed, and mutilation. It’s most often paired with drama, psychological or demon. Notable examples include Mnemosyne, Berserk and Hellsing Ultimate (all the mentioned examples are rated R+ or R-17 and are indented for mature audiences only.

Kids – intended for younger audiences. The protagonists are often small, likeable and cute and the themes are kid friendly. Notable examples include: Pokemon, Chi’s Sweet Home and Digimon.

Martial Arts/Sports – full of scenes typically including martial arts (mixed, boxing, kenpo) or sports. Most commonly paired with School Life or Action genre. Most notable examples include: Hajime no Ippo and Diamond no Ace.

Mecha – most commonly paired with action, fantasy and Sci-Fi genres, but also drama and thriller. It employs giant robots or Mechas to tell action packed or thrilling stories, often with a military background. Notable examples include Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Mystery – this genres keeps the viewers glued to the screen, with episodes often ending with a “cliff hanger”. It often portrays a chain of events that have to be explained. The protagonists usually have above average intelligence and often become obsessed with cases they are trying to solve. The story unfolds slowly, showing only bits and pieces, to finally reveal everything at the end of the series. Notable examples include Death Note, Darker than Black and Monster.

Psychological – similar to mystery, keeps viewers on edge through the whole series, with many additional twists and turns that completely change the way the story is perceived. As far as storyline goes, this is one of the best genres out there. Notable examples include Death Note, Psycho Pass and The Tatami Galaxy.

Romance – portrays the progression of a romantic relation between two characters. It’s often paired with comedy genre. Notable examples include: Clannad, Toradora! and Love Hina.

Samurai – very often coupled with Historical anime, the time frame often
being the Edo Period of Japan’s history. The action elements are also prevalent, and so are elements of drama. Samurai genre coupled with comedy has received very good responses as well. Notable examples include: Samurai Champloo, Ginatama for comedy, and Blade of the Immortal for a more serious approach.

School Life – Usually centred around a group of middle-school students and their everyday interactions. It’s often focused on lighter themes, romance and comedy, but has some elements of drama as well. The progress if often chronological and the atmosphere varies on the level of the institution (college would have a more mature setting than middle school). Notable examples include The Melanchony of Haruhi Suzumiya, Great Teacher Onizuka and Beelzebub.

Sci-Fi – often coupled with Fantasy and Mecha, the genre typically revolves around future technology (teleportation, intergalactic travel, advanced civilization) and often include creatures of alien origin. Notable examples include: Level E and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
Slice of Life – The focus is often mundane everyday realism, often mixed with romance and school. Notable examples include School Rumble and Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day.

Super Power – the genre is based on adventure and action and involves protagonists with super powers. Notable examples include: A Certain Scientific Railgun, Kill la Kill and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

Supernatural – often portrays supernatural entities (spirits, demons) but also aliens, time travel and protagonists with psychic powers. Notable examples include ERASED, Another and Kokoro Connect.

Vampire – this theme has become so popular in anime that it became a genre of its own, completely splitting from the supernatural genre. Notable examples include: Hellsing Ultimate, Blood+ and Blood Lad.

What’s your favourite anime genre? Did you find any new anime after reading our list?

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Categories: Anime

A Noob Guide To Anime May 13, 2016

Anime, a style of animation that originated from Japan, has taken the world in a storm. What is most important, anime is not a genre – it’s an animation style. There are as many genres of animes as there are of movies and TV shows, so everyone can find something they like. The animation style itself isn’t unique either, but shares enough similarities that make it fall under the “anime” category.

DID YOU KNOW: The word “anime” is actually a translation of the Japanese term for “animation, cartoon”. Here’s a more in-depth explanation. It was widely adopted by western anime lovers in the 90’s in order to refer to an animated series or movies from Japan. Today, more and more individuals find that the term is outdated, and that it would be much better to simply use the term “animation”.
So what are the similarities that group various animated shows and movies into anime?

anime genres

The Origin

The first similarity, and the most obvious one, is that they originate from Japan, although some might disagree with this point, and argue that the style is what defines it, no matter where it originates from.

The Characters

The second one, which is much more broad, is that anime features characters that often have features that are closer to reality than those of cartoon characters: they have very distinct facial expressions, a wide variation of physical characteristics. The characters are often quite complex and have distinct personalities. Large eyes and smaller mouths make anime characters cuter. Still, this isn’t as evident in some anime series or movies, which are most often intended for more mature audiences.

The Animation

Animation techniques are another important factor that ties anime together. Before the digital era came to be, traditional animation techniques were used, most commonly, a pose-to-pose approach. Today, expressive key frames (a drawing that defines the start and end of a smooth transition between frames) aren’t used as much and more is done in the department of in-between animation (intermediate frames give the appearance of a smooth transition between two images).

DID YOU KNOW: Anime emphasizes art quality, as opposing to Disney where movement is the most important aspect. This often means that animation techniques might be subpar in order to meet deadlines.


Detailed backgrounds and 3D views of the environment are instrumental for an anime to work out the right atmosphere for the viewers to enjoy. Many backgrounds are based on real-life locations (see here: ) and are often shockingly similar to them as well. This can be seen in animes like Howl’s Moving Castle and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

The Music

Another important aspect of anime series and movies is the music. The opening and ending are often works of reputable j-pop and j-rock bands. Some are written for the series, but are often aimed at the music market as well. Background music also plays an important role, as it drives the story or decorates key scenes in the series.

Do you watch anime? What genres do you prefer? What’s your favourite anime?

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Categories: Anime

Anima Vs Manga May 3, 2016

Which is better? Anime or manga? To clarify, anime refers to animated stories while manga refers to drawn and written stories and Japan is the origin of both – there are several differences between them.

anime vs manga

There is usually only one author behind a manga, while a whole team is needed to make a single anime series: directors, writers, producers, studio heads, artists, voice actors and others. The manga author (called mangaka) has much more control over his/her work, while anime series creators have to deal with more interested parties. This isn’t always a bad thing, as anime series storylines tend to be more polished and conservative as opposed to manga storylines that may completely lose its focus because of the mangakas creative freedom. This also means that anime series usually have safer storylines, while the mangaka enjoys more freedom – he can kill off main characters and let the bad guys win. This isn’t that easily achieved in anime because there are many interested parties that will call veto on such plot twists.

The vast majority of manga stories are original works (there are also exceptions, like the X-men or Star Wars manga) while anime series tend to be adaptations of existing stories. The reason behind this is that adaptations are a safer investment. Even original anime series tend to stick to safer storylines. Late night shows are the exception here – they can safely push the usual boundaries of what’s acceptable.

The majority of stories are short, so only a few manga issues are enough to finish them, while the anime adaptations tend to finish such stories in 13 to 26 episodes. There are also stories that may last for years, the most prominent being One Piece, Bleach and Naruto, where both anime episodes and manga chapters have gotten well into three-digit numbers.

Which one is better? Well, this depends on your preferences – anime series are usually more polished, while manga series are more diverse.

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Categories: Manga

Anime for Beginners: Where to Start if You’re New to Anime? April 15, 2016

If you’re unfamiliar with anime, it might seem quite hard to start watching – there are so many anime series and movies that it’s hard to wrap your mind around it. Of course, there are some classics that every aspiring anime enthusiast has to watch, but they might not be the best place to start. So what is the best anime to start your endeavour? We have prepared a list of our top 3 recommendations of anime titles for (adult) beginners, with short synopsis for each, and several alternatives for each of them.

1. “Dragon Ball Z” (and Kai)

Because it’s a Classic and Shame on You if You Skip It. Even though the animation style might be considered outdated by some, Dragon Ball Z remains very popular and on the list of some of the most influential anime of all time. Almost every anime enthusiast out there will tell you that this was the anime that got them “hooked”.

dragonball zThe story follows Goku on his adventures, and he, together with his companions, defends the Earth against all sorts of villains that wish to destroy it (and these are quite colourful – you have everything from space conquerors and androids to magical creatures). Dragon Ball Z is the continuation of Dragon Ball, which followed Goku through his childhood. What’s worth mentioning is that some fight scenes last over several episodes, but this was trimmed down in the revised version called Dragon Ball Z Kai, resulting in a more fluid story, so it’s best you start there.

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Super Power
    Episodes: 291 (Trimmed to 61 in Dragon Ball Z Kai)
    Duration: 24 minutes per episode
    Rating: PG-13

Want an Alternative?
Both Naruto: Shippuden and Bleach are often referred to as the Dragon Ball of our age, and you might also like Fairy Tail and One Piece.

2. Cowboy Bebop: See you, Space Cowboy!

cowboy bebopA true masterpiece, Cowboy Bebop follows Spike Spiegel, a former hitman and his partner Jet Black, former ISSP officer, on their bounty hunting missions. They are later joined by a femme fatale Faye Valentine, Edward Wong, a girl who lost her memories but is a PC genius and a devious trickster, as well as, Ein – a genetically engineered Welsh Corgi with human intelligence. Together they risk life and limb on their adventures, which also reveal their mysterious and somewhat dark pasts.

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Space
    Episodes: 26
    Duration: 24 minutes per episode
    Rating: R-17

Want an alternative?
Samurai Champloo, Black Lagoon and Baccano! are your best alternatives.

3. Death Note: A Masterpiece

Probably one of the best thriller anime series out there, Death Note has received great reviews and its popularity didn’t waver up to this day, although it was released in 2006. Since the release, Death Note has been adapted to live action movies, video games, TV dramas and light novels.

death noteThe story follows a high school student Light Yagami, as he stumbles upon a curious notebook with the words “Death Note” written on it. After reading inside that it supposedly kills anyone who’s name is written in it, he decides to test it out by writing a criminal’s name. When the criminal dies instantly, Light realizes how powerful the notebook is. He is closely follow by Ryuk, a god of death who’s responsible for Light finding the Death Note. Light decides to eradicate the world from criminals by using the Death Note. The police quickly realize that they have a killer who’s targeting criminals but can’t figure out how he does it. They do their best to catch the killer, and employ the detective only known as “L”.

    Genres: Mystery, Police, Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller
    Episodes: 37
    Duration: 23 minutes per episode
    Rating: R-17

Want an Alternative?
Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch, Monster and Zankyou no Terror are your best alternatives.

Do you have any recommendations for anime titles that are a good introduction to the world of anime? What was your gateway anime? Let us know!

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Categories: Anime