According to MyAnimeList, there are 43 anime genres in total.
But we all know in reality, only a handful of those genres are popular.
Can you find a good anime within all 43 genres? Of course. But “good” has nothing to do with popularity.
From my deep understanding of the anime community, there are 6 popular genres in particular. Especially if you look at this from an objective point of view. Instead of basing it off opinions…
Most Popular Anime Genres:
Food Wars is one of the more “unique” examples of Shounen.
Think of Dragon Ball Z and then add food to the picture. And you have Food Wars (hence the self-explanatory name).
Shounen’s have become famous because of shows like:
- Dragon Ball Z.
- One Piece.
- Hunter x Hunter.
- Fullmetal Alchemist.
- Soul Eater.
And in recent years, because of shows like:
- Fairy Tail.
- Attack On Titan.
- My Hero Academia.
Whenever a new year comes around or comes to an end, you’ll always find someone talking about a popular series. And 8/10 the anime is a Shounen without question.
Supernatural is usually associated with magic, and even Shounen from time to time.
Either way this is a very popular anime genre you can’t escape. And that’s not a bad thing. Because a lot of the time there’s something new and fresh that comes out of the supernatural genre.
The Ancient Magus Bride is an obvious recent example of this. Along with Rokudenashi and Re:Creators.
3. Slice Of Life
Slice of life never used to be as popular as it is today. You could say shows like Clannad, Kanon, K-On, Tamako Market (anime shows from Kyoani) are the reason it’s so popular today.
Kokoro Connect, Lucky Star, Nodame Cantabile and more shows played an important role, too.
Slice of life is one of the most realistic. That’s partly why it’s so loved, hence “slice of life”. And because it usually strays from the typical “supernatural” elements, it tends to be more relatable for all ages.
Romance is sometimes mixed with slice of life, so the two genre’s have helped each other grow over the years. But sometimes romance is also mixed with Mecha, Shounen, Shoujo, Magic, Adventure and Military.
An example of these genres are:
- Eureka Seven.
- Monthly Girls Nozaki Kun.
- My Bride Is A Mermaid.
- Full Metal Panic.
- Snow White With The Red Hair.
Romance can be blended with any genre, so it’ll never go away. And will continue to grow in popularity.
Besides, it’s a BIG genre for the teenage and younger generation of anime fans.
Magic is connected to historical elements, which the Japanese seem to love a lot. That’s why you see so many European references in anime. Like from the anime Noir or Gunslinger Girl.
While other times magic is connected to Japanese history (The Ambition Of Oda Nobuna, etc).
I’m not sure if this is why magic is a popular genre, but it’s adaptable. So you can blend it with almost any genre and make it worthwhile (with the exception of police, sci-fi, mecha).
Action, like Romance, can be mixed with any genre. And that’s why it’ll always be popular. But unlike Romance, Action is a genre that needs other genre’s to stay relevant.
It’s rare to see a pure action anime that’s interesting by itself.
- Akame Ga Kill has supernatural elements.
- Dragon Ball Z has comedy and fantasy.
- Taboo Tattoo has martial arts and fantasy too.
Action needs other genres, but because of other genres, it’s one of the most popular anime genres by far.
Less popular (but still relevant) anime genre’s:
Share your thoughts in the comments.
I’m the Founder of Anime Motivation. The #1 website dedicated to making a difference in the anime community.
The 1st anime I watched was Dragon Ball Z. Followed by Claymore, Inuyasha, Attack On Titan, and the rest as they say is “history”.