The Least Popular Anime Genres (And Themes) That Deserve More Attention

The Least Popular Anime Genres And Themes
Avatar of Theo J Ellis

Not all anime genres are:

  • Popular.
  • Banging.
  • Popping.
  • Exploding.

And attracting a lot of attention either from anime fans or potential fans outside of the anime community.

Some anime genres are:

  • Overlooked.
  • Less famous.
  • Unknown to some people.
  • Have less anime produced.
  • Aren’t as well received.

Or they’re underrated, plain and simple.

Let’s talk more about the underrated anime genres as well as ones that have good anime, but NEED a larger quantity of anime to be produced compared to the more popular genres like Shounen.

Here’s a list.


Anime genres and themes with the least popularity:


1. Josei

Chihayafuru josei

Josei has some solid anime shows you can’t beat when it comes to quality, depth, and storytelling.

Some anime shows in the Josei genre that comes to mind:

  • NANA.
  • Chihayafuru.

NANA is a classic series from the 2000s and is one of my favourite romance shows of all time.

Chihayafuru is a series many overlook and aren’t aware of its quality in general.

Josei is aimed towards adult women but can appeal to both genders and younger women or men. And that’s why it;s not as favoured as other anime genres.


2. Iyashikei

Non Non Biyori cute

This anime genre or theme is on the rise, but it’s not so popular. Only over 100+ anime have been produced for this.

Compare that to slice of life which has 2000 or a similar figure. Or Shounen, which has even more.

Iyashikei translates to “wholesomeness” and anime that are relaxing, and designed to destress and make you feel good.

Anime like:

  • Non Non Biyori.
  • Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible.
  • A Galaxy Next Door.
  • The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten.
  • Aharen San Is Indecipherable.

And anime along these lines are classed as Iyashikei series. They’re relaxing, chilled, and therapeutic.

More need to be made.


3. Survival

Kabaneri anime

Believe it or not, there are less than 100 survival anime series according to MyAnimeList. This is as of 12th June 2023.

Attack On Titan, Kabeneri, Heavenly Delusion, and The Promised Never Land – these are anime that should come to mind when thinking about survival anime shows.

Not only is this theme of anime a good sell, but they seem to do well and get good ratings.

It’s not a big theme though and that shows with the amount of anime that focus on it or are being produced.


4. Reverse Harem

Romantic Killer series anzu

In all honesty, I can see why this anime genre/theme isn’t as popular as the more mainstream ones.

The average rating for the harem genre isn’t great as it is. But the reverse harem genre is just as bad as far as average ratings if you value that.

Still, there is some treasure to be found and dug up.

Anime like:

  • Romantic Killer.
  • Otome Game.

And some others do give light to the genre, but more quality needs to be produced for people to warm to it more.


5. Educational

How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift

Sometimes you wanna learn. And anime is a good source for that. In fact, it’s a surprisingly good source for learning and education on many topics.

Some anime though you learn things indirectly, whereas other anime are more deliberate in trying to educate you on certain topics.

Those anime are:

  • Cells At Work.
  • Heavenly Design Team.
  • Dr. Stone.
  • How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift?

And things of that nature which focus exclusively on teaching you new things every episode. Sometimes it’s scientific.

The big thing is how realistic and true to life it is, it’s not just drivel or advice and information that sounds good. No, it’s information you can actually apply in the real world.


6. Horror

Tokyo Ghoul series

Some might disagree with this one because you have popular anime series like:

  • Tokyo Ghoul.
  • Higurashi.
  • Elfen Lied.

But the horror genre, at least as far as quantity, is a lot less than many other genres including Seinen, which in itself isn’t the most common.

Horror anime work so well and always have. But there aren’t too many in production or many that have hit it big in recent years.

Mieruko Chan is one of the most unique horrors we’ve seen, but not too much beyond that.


7. Psychological

Talentless Nana red eyes

Psychological has always been a favourite genre among anime fans because of the sheer quality, thought-provoking content, ideas, clever tactics of the characters, and more.

It makes you think at its core.

Death Note, Code Geass on some level, Talentless Nana, Psycho Pass, and other anime fit into the psychological genre.

Despite the average ratings being great, you don’t see tons and tons of these anime being produced as much as they used to. That’s how it feels anyway.

Not as popular as Shounen or others.


8. Workplace

Ice Guy And The Cool Female Colleague ep 5

Any anime series involving the workplace as its theme and vibe aren’t too familiar or popular either.

Anime that come to mind are:

  • Working!!!
  • Watakoi.
  • My Senpai Is Annoying.
  • Ice Guy And The Cool Female Colleague.

And anime shows just like it.

But the theme itself is attractive because adult anime characters are always featured, which is a break away from the usual anime series that has teenagers as its main characters (the majority of the time).

Workplace anime feel fresh.


9. Shoujo

orange anime shoujo

While this genre is more popular than Josei, the adult version of it, Shoujo still isn’t more popular than “the big boys” of the anime industry like Shounen, fantasy, and so on.

Shoujo does fit with the popular “school” genre for obvious reasons and is usually paired with it, but by itself, it’s one of the least popular anime genres and themes out there.

Plus Shoujo anime are known for their quality.


10. Vampires

yuichiro hyakuya owari no seraph e1686651541752

And lastly, I’ll add the vampire theme/genre to the list. Owari No Seraph is the only one I can think of right now that’s popular.

That anime is made by WIT studios.

This genre is tried and true long before anime even became big in the West, or the world in general. So the potential to move it from the least popular genre to one of the most popular is definitely there.

It just needs some work, some effort, some creativity, and of course, more authors interested in exploring and doing something different with the topic and theme.


11. Magical Girls

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha 2004

This genre (or theme) is also severely under-produced. You have a lot of classics like:

  • Sailor Moon.
  • Madoka Magica.
  • Yuki Yuna Is A Hero.
  • Magical Girl: Lyrical Nanoha.
  • Pretty Cure.

And so on, but the genre itself only has less than 300 shows produced as of June 12th 2023.

It has potential, but many of the newer shows copy older shows and don’t bring anything new to the table, or there are shows that are alternatives to the classics (like the alternative Madoka Magica made from a game in the pandemic).

Some great anime in this genre, but the genre itself isn’t as popular as people think.


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