Anime Hierarchy-A primer



Anime refers to an aspect of Japanese television, often called ‘Japanese cartoons’. Anime is, as the name suggests, animated, and covers a wide range of topics. Yes, some are for kids, but anyone who’s ever seen Higurashi no Naku Koro ni knows perfectly well that anime covers all genres and age groups.

Chances are, you’ve heard someone discuss anime and wanted to know what they are. Simply put, they are animated cartoons, usually in Japanese with English subtitles, though some people watch the English dubbed version, which are widely known to be horrible, with the exception of a rare few.

I’m going to break down various anime into a simple system that even the uninitiated can follow.

The Anime Everyone Knows (But Thinks Are Cartoons)

These are the much-beloved ‘cartoons’ we saw as kids, not realizing that they were made and produced in a different language. These are widely known all over the world in their English dubbed version.

– Pokémon
– Dragonball Z
– Beyblade
– Bakugan
– Digimon
– Yu-Gi-Oh

You can gasp and exclaim all you want – these all were originally produced in Japanese.

The Holy Trinity

Or the three most famous anime in the world. Of course, popularity is subjective, but these three are widely regarded as the most popular in this generation. If you watch anime, chances are that you’ve seen at least one of the three.

– Naruto
– One Piece
– Bleach

Sound familiar? These have the biggest fandoms, though with each clocking more than three hundred episodes, it’s difficult to find someone who’s watched all three.

The Other Famous Ones

I wanted to come up with a cool name, but identifiers like ‘Top Five’ or ‘Top Ten’ don’t do this list much justice. These are other various popular anime, right up there with the Holy Trinity, but never quite reaching that level of notoriety. These are mostly long, hundred-plus anime that people start out watching.

– Fullmetal Alchemist
– Inuyasha
– Hetalia: Axis Powers
– Fairy Tail
– Death Note
– Prince of Tennis

There are, of course, several more that I can add to the list, but you all get the point. These all have large, dedicated fandoms and most anime fans can point out that their first anime is on this list.

Shounen Anime

Shounen means, quite literally, ‘young boy’, and these are all animes aimed at 10-16 year old boys. Mostly full of action and drama, with very little romance and horror, these are the staple of the anime industry.

– Sword Art Online
– Hunter x Hunter
– Shingeki no Kyojin
– Code Geass
– Gintama

Shounen anime are more popular than our next category, which is…

Shoujo Anime

Shoujo’s literal meaning is ‘young girl’, and these are anime primarily aimed at the 10-16 year old girls. These usually consist of romance and comedy, and feature girls as protagonists. These very rarely have action and do not have blood or violence.

– Kaichou wa Maid-sama
– Ouran High School Host Club
– Sailor Moon
– Shugo Chara!
– Kamisama Hajimemashita
– Vampire Knight

Shoujo anime are not always aimed at young girls, and some are aimed at the teenage age group.

Horror Anime

These are the ones that are emphatically not advertised for little kids. These are the anime that have blood, violence, gruesome deaths and terrifying stories. They will haunt you every time you close your eyes.

– Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
– Mirai Nikki
– Tokyo Ghoul
– High School of the Dead
– Ghost Hunt
– Hellsing

If you’re planning on watching any of these, make sure it’s broad daylight and that there are people around. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

All in all, these are the most basic categories of anime. It’s a handy guide if you want to delve into the world of giant robots, oversized eyes and technicolor action.

[But actually, there aren’t that many giant robots.]

Neha Upadhya (Medical Electronics)

Illustration by Mandara Girish (Electronics and Communications)

This article was written by 19a

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