Sunday, February 13, 2011

Anime 101: The Basics

I love anime. It has even gotten so far as to me preferring it over live-action movies and TV shows. The thing is that among my family and friends, I am the only one who truly appreciates it. After a while, I realized that almost all of them have misconceived notions about anime being solely for kids, and so I decided to write this post. :)

Definition of Anime
Anime is commonly defined as "animation originating from Japan". In English-speaking countries, it is also referred to as "Japanese animation". Just like its live-action counterpart, anime is also divided into many different genres such as romance, comedy, action, suspense, horror, drama, etc. This categorization is called "genre by topic".

Anime By Demographic
Another way to categorize anime is by demographic, meaning its intended audience. This is also a helpful tool for finding which anime would suit your taste. The basic anime genres by demographic are:

Shonen Anime
The term shōnen, shonen, or shounen anime refers to anime marketed to boys roughly between 10–18 years old, and it is typically characterized by high-action, often humorous plots featuring male protagonists. A big percentage of anime belong to this category. Examples of shonen anime are: Dragon Ball, Naruto, BleachOne Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist, Flame of Recca and Katekyo Hitman Reborn!

Shojo Anime
Vampire Knight
The term shōjo, shojo, or shoujo anime refers to anime marketed to girls roughly between 10–18 years old, and it often has a strong focus on human and romantic relationships and emotions. Shojo anime has been gaining popularity in the recent years. Examples of shojo anime are: Ouran High School Host Club, Fruits Basket, Fushigi Yuugi, Vampire Knight, Kimi ni Todoke and Kaichou wa Maid-sama!

Seinen Anime
Full Metal Panic!
Seinen anime refers to anime that is generally targeted at a male audience between 18–30 years old, but the audience can be older with some anime aimed at businessmen well into their 40s. Seinen anime is distinguished from shonen, or boys' anime, by having a stronger emphasis on realism and having a more well developed storyline. Because of the emphasis on storyline and character development instead of action, some seinen series are often confused with shojo, or girls' anime. Examples of seinen anime are: Hellsing, Ghost in the Shell, Chobits, Darker Than Black, Elfen Lied and Full Metal Panic!

Josei Anime
Nodame Cantabile
Josei anime is a term that refers to anime that is generally targeted at late-teenage and adult female audiences. The stories tend to be about everyday experiences of women living in Japan. Although there are some that are about high school, most cover the lives of adult women. For some reason, there aren't that many josei anime or even manga. Examples of josei anime are: Honey and Clover, Loveless, Nodame Cantabile and Paradise Kiss.

Children's Anime
Children's anime, obviously, is directed towards children. They are noted for stories that are often very moralistic, teaching children how to behave as good and considerate people. The episodes are generally stand alone and non-episodic in order to appeal to a child. This anime demographic is what generally pops up in the minds of the people I know when I mention the word "anime". Examples of children's anime are: Pokemon, Doraemon, Digimon and Beyblade.

Now... what anime would you like to watch? :)

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