Manga and Anime Demographics

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For today’s Otaku Lounge, I’d like to take a step back from discussing specific anime titles and go with something more accessible to newer anime fans, by taking a (very brief, very generalised) look at the roots of modern manga and anime and its five core audience demographics – namely kodomo (children’s), shounen (boys), shoujo (girls), seinen (men’s), and josei (women’s) works.

While manga as we understand it today came about during Japan’s Occupation years, it was not until the 1950s that the solidification of these main demographics began to occur. Of course, there are plenty of girls and women who read and watch shounen and seinen manga and anime, just as there are a number of males who read and watch shoujo or josei manga and anime (albeit perhaps a little more quietly). There are also some anime and manga titles that have wide cross-demographic appeal. However, the basic distinctions between these demographics have remained strong and largely unchallenged within the industry over the years, particularly in terms of marketing.


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The kodomo demographic can be viewed as perhaps the first type of manga in terms of Japan’s pre-Occupation years. The genre has its roots in the late nineteenth century, where short cartoons were published in magazines in an attempt to encourage literacy among the Japanese youth. However, magazines focusing solely on kodomo manga were not circulated until the 1970s, when publications such as CoroCoro Comic were first released.

Since its earliest days, kodomo manga and anime has often tended to use episodic stories that incorporate fantasy or science-fiction settings, often using fictional creatures and robots to appeal to their main audience of children in elementary school and under. These stories frequently have moralistic or otherwise educational subject matter encoded within them, and can be distinguished by their comparative lack of violence and sexual themes. The artwork is usually kept clear and simple, stylistically somewhat similar to shounen manga with its thicker lines and primary colour patterns.

The Bad: It’s hard not to get cynical when anime gets made for the sole purpose of adding to a cash-cow franchise, as with shows like Duel Masters. Not to mention those anime productions that go on for decades and get progressively worse as the original fanbase grows up and moves on, i.e. Pokemon.

The Good: This is where anime as a mainstream form of art and entertainment was born, and kodomo works continue to introduce some of the most well-known characters of all time. A Japan without Doraemon would not be a Japan I recognise.


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Pre-modern shounen manga had been in mass circulation since at least the publication of the Shounen Sekai magazine, which ran from 1895 to 1914. However, in terms of contemporary work, the real game changer for shounen manga came about in 1968 with Shueisha Publishing’s Weekly Shounen Jump, which by the early 1970s it had become one of the leading shounen magazines of the day. It then grew from a publication that circulated to roughly three million in 1980, to around double that in 1990 – the best-selling magazine of any kind in Japan. Today, shounen manga continues to be the highest selling demographic of manga to date.

The typical art style of shounen manga and anime is kept simple, with clean lines and bold, solid colouring. Manga panel layouts are easy to follow and character designs often stick to a few basic stereotypes; boys with big eyes and spiky hair, girls with bigger eyes and, if old enough, fairly obvious chests. Many of Tezuka Osamu’s works, as well as those by other big-name shounen artists such as Toriyama Akira (Dragonball) and Oda Eiichiro (One Piece) are good examples of this style. Tezuka’s Mighty Atom, probably better known to Western audiences as Astro Boy, began publication in 1952 and has become typical of the shounen style, which often adheres to an action/adventure approach to storytelling and utilises science-fiction as a common theme.

The Bad: The potential for ridiculously drawn-out fight scenes and a lot of filler episodes in anime is high, especially with the longer series like Bleach and Naruto. Production values in long shounen anime are also frequentlymuch lower for this reason.

The Good: There’s a huge scope for storyline since the demographic as a whole can encompass such a wide variety of genres, from serious science-fiction and fantasy to comedic harem and moe. Occasionally we also see shounen stories that break with convention and deliver the unexpected like Evangelion did back in the day.


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Prior to the 1960s, boys and young men was the chief demographic of manga in general, and shoujo manga was created primarily by males. However, increasingly large and varied readerships began to emerge during the mid-1960s when a flood of female manga artists began transforming modern manga. A group of female manga artists, later named the Year 24 Group, made their debut in 1969, marking the first major entry of female manga creators. While earlier shoujo manga almost always featured pre-adolescent girl heroines and little or no romance, shoujo manga from the 1970s and onwards focused much more on romantic relationships, and the demographic is now written almost exclusively by women.

As the birthplace of bishounen, magical girls, and other now well-established archetypes, the artwork of shoujo manga and anime regularly portrays characters with large and expressive eyes, perfectly arranged wisps of hair, and sensual (but non-gratuitous) nudity. Because the main focus tends to be on emotional bonds of one type or another, the art style also leans more towards the whimsical and the inexact than in any other demographic – usually by extensive use of varying screening tones and soft, fanciful colour palettes. Stories created by Ikeda Riyoko (Rose of Versailles), Takeuchi Naoko (Sailor Moon), and Watase Yuu (Ayashi no Ceres) demonstrate this to good effect.

The Bad: It’s easy for things to become too dramatic and overshadow what could otherwise be strong stories. Added to this, the lean towards romance, while not bad in and of itself, can also sometimes result in several hours of characters screeching out each other’s names – I’m looking at you, Fushigi Yuugi.

The Good: Characterisation can be extremely nuanced and sophisticated, even with larger casts as in Cardcaptor Sakura. There’s also been a trend of shoujo productions openly satirising their own conventions while still managing to present extremely strong narratives, for example Ouran High School Host Club.


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As an eventual offshoot of shounen manga, the seinen demographic has a history dating back to 1960s – the time when shounen audiences of the previous decade were growing up and looking for more serious comic book fare. Weekly Manga Action and Monthly Big Comic are both seinen magazines that began publication in the late 1960s, targeted primarily towards males aged eighteen and older. The focus is more on plot and character development than exclusively action, and while not necessarily particularly sexual or violent in nature, seinen stories do sometimes tend to be more explicit in one form or another.

The overall art style of seinen stories is especially difficult to pin down. To some extent, seinen manga more closely resembles Western comic book or graphic novel artwork than other demographics – many characters have smaller eyes and more realistic proportions in general, while lining and shading can have an enormous amount of subtlety and detail. Otomo Katsuhiro’s Akira and Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell can both be considered distinctively seinen pieces for instance, both in terms of content and art style. On the other hand, Crayon Shin-chan is an example of a seinen story that sometimes gets mistaken for a kodomo production due to its very unconventional art style, which really does look as though a child might have drawn everything with a crayon.

The Bad: Stories that are obviously trying way too hard to be deep and thought-provoking, or else dark and gritty, can result in titles that are pretentious, convoluted, or just plain oversexed. Gantz and Elfen Lied are both good examples of this.

The Good: When the focus remains on the narrative the outcome can be spectacular, especially combined with a talented art team. Productions like Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Wolf’s Rain have become classics for this very reason, while Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo and Mushishi are feasts for any anime fan that enjoys outstanding visuals and atmosphere.


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As seinen manga was to shouen, so was josei manga an offshoot of shoujo manga. The previously mentioned Year 24 group also consisted of women such as Moto Hagio and Takemiya Keiko, two of the founding mothers of the boys love/yaoi genre – a significant genre of josei manga. Historically the latest of the manga demographics, josei-specific magazines did not appear until the 1980s, when Be-Love began circulation. However, by the end of the decade there were over fifty of these magazines, many of which were especially heavy on themes of sex and sexuality. Others focused more on portraying realistic romance, still highly stylised but not as idealistic as some of the relationships depicted in shoujo manga.

Since many josei stories are also simply about the everyday experiences of young adult women living in Japan, conventional josei artwork often comes across as a more restrained version of that seen in shoujo works. Extremely large and sparkly eyes are not as common, and while colours often remain soft with flowing lines and a gentle, graceful feel, the usual style is more realistic and refined. These points can be obviously seen in titles like Paradise Kissand Nodame Cantabile.

The Bad: Because the focus is often heavily skewed towards character development and the subtly emotional, pacing can be a particular issue. This is what occasionally lets down otherwise excellent shows like Honey and Clover, and why I will probably never watch Natsuyuki Rendezvous ever again despite its numerous merits.

The Good: When done right, josei works can have tremendous emotional impact. Despite its clichés for example, Sakamichi no Apollon brought both realism and nostalgia to a story that would otherwise have been just another teenage drama, and I don’t think any adult with a beating heart could ever bring themselves to dislike the Usagi Drop anime.

Question of the post: In general, are the majority of your favourite anime or manga titles from one or two particular demographics, or do you watch and enjoy a wide variety of them all? If you see a title you haven’t watched before, are you more or less likely to give it a try depending on its demographic, or does demographic have no influence at all on your viewing choices?

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41 thoughts on “Manga and Anime Demographics

  1. “I don’t think any adult with a beating heart could ever bring themselves to dislike the Usagi Drop anime.”

    Quoted for truth. The Usagi Drop anime is wonderful, although I’m reserving judgement on the manga until I have all of it (I’m roughly aware of what happens after the timeskip).

    Personally I’ve always been more interested in characters so I’ve tended to prefer Shoujo/Josei works. My increasing intolerance for fanservice is only reinforcing that as time goes by.


    1. The Usagi Drop anime is definitely somewhere in my top 10, although I haven’t read the manga and don’t intend to. Partly this is because I don’t really read manga anyway, and partly because I’m already perfectly satisfied with the anime ending, and so have no desire to go any further. To me, the anime story is lovely just the way it is.


  2. I have to admit, I learned quite a bit reading this post, because I was wondering how much art or story characteristics boiled down to demographic. I want to figure out genre, too, but that’ll be even more complicated.

    …Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble caring about Usagi Drop — to the point that I very recently rambled for 30 pages just trying to be sympathetic and figure it out — but even I readily admit that it was juggling a heck of a lot, and I really see why people would be attracted to josei. Heck, josei at its “most balanced” (for me) would totally be my thing. I think you’re right about pacing issues, which ultimately for me feed into questions of the aesthetical argument or unity of the work. Maybe it’s unfair, right? The better it looks, the harder some judge.

    Lastly, some awkward questions: I’m interested in the possibility of pursuing an English doctorate here in the States, and I’m fascinated in the topic you mentioned in your About Me. Much of this is because I’m always looking for ways to expand my understanding of how sexuality issues rear their heads in art, and because I do creative writing. I want to be sympathetic, careful, versatile, all that. Would it be rude to ask you how it was? The program? The writing process? I don’t want to be a creep and just toss my e-mail for contact info — and I won’t — but I really do look forward to your response. Thanks!


    1. I don’t mind at all answering your questions – happy to help out in any way I can. To put it in a nutshell, I very much enjoyed the program. I like independent research and since it was me who chose the topic, I got to write about what I was passionate about. This isn’t to say there weren’t any frustrations, because after spending three years doing anything, you’re bound to run into some problems along the way. However, writing my PhD was still a fantastic experience as far as I was concerned. The writing process was of course greatly helped by a lot of people, including my friends and family, online supporters via my personal blog, and my two supervisors at the university. I know it sounds cliche to say, but I honestly don’t think I could have done it without them.


      1. Thanks for responding — both to my comment and to the question I asked on JS’ blog. I find your response an interesting, encouraging one. I guess the key is to build some kind of network of advisers/academics and people who care about you, or are willing to help you out however you need. That also means, I would assume, that you have to be direct, even aggressive in addressing your needs/requests, as well as managing your time well. I guess I already knew this to some degree, but every once in a while someone phrases it in a slightly different way, and it really hits you.

        It seems like you didn’t find your program to be drawn out. One of the troubles I’m having over here is that programs tend to run 7+ years, so you sort of want to be careful or fairly certain about how you want the program to look or how much time you’re going to invest. I think the magic happens when you’ve found a subject you’re deeply passionate about, something that has enough juice in it to be more than a mere hobby, something that honestly seems to consume or define your life in even a gut way. Not only is the program more likely to run shorter, but you’ll probably be more optimistic about the challenges: you’ll see them as puzzles rather than walls. Again, it’s about your phrasing more than the usual stuff that people tend to say on the matter.

        Quick final note: I noticed on your About Me page that a few subscribers or followers had asked to read your dissertation. Are you still willing to share it? I can honestly say I’d like to read it, and if my posts and convos are any indication, share or work through my thoughts.

        I don’t mean to be so pushy, and of course it’s up to you, but if so, thank you! My e-mail address in that case is merely my username (as you see it posted) at Gmail.


        1. I’m not sure how it works in other countries, but in New Zealand, the written process for a PhD tends to last as long as you want it to. Three years is usually around the minimum for how long it takes just to get everything done (although I’ve known one or two extremely talented people to get it done in two years). In my case, I had an incentive to get it done within three in that I won a scholarship that funded me for three years. If you”re serious about doing a PhD. the first thing you should probably do (other than get down some ideas about your topic) is talk to some potential supervisors. The PhD applicant should be the one to choose who he/she works with. People might make suggestions and give advice, but at the end of the day its your thesis and your prerogative with regards to just about everything.

          No problem, I’ll email the PhD link to you shortly.


  3. Quick fact check: Riyoko Ikeda wrote Rose of Versailles, and Chiho Saito wrote Revolutionary Girl Utena. Obviously tied together though, of course. The other point I sort of disagree on is Crayon Shin-chan. I’ve only heard it deemed “not for kids” by outside observers, whereas within Japan it is aired on family time TV and in grocery stores in the same line-ups as Anpanman and Chibi Maruko-chan. All Japanese kids know it, but that doesn’t means their mothers don’t consider it garbage.

    While a manga series doesn’t have much hope of being marketed unless it can it can comfortably fit into one of these categories, I think anime has a lot more freedom, and many of the best produced titles are sometimes difficult to classify. When it comes to the actual audience for any given anime, I think there is a lot more even age and gender distribution than it’s marketed to (unlike manga, where the magazine set-up perhaps sets more of a tone than the individual series themselves–completely unlike Newtype, in which every anime series tends to find together well).

    That said, when I’m looking into a series, one of the first classifiers in my head is genre. While there’s a handful of josei-esque seinen manga (feelings and relationships, but more from a male perspective) I’ve liked, I tend to not be interested in trying seinen anime because I glaze over with too much action and don’t care for the fan service. While of course there are plenty I’ve loved, I also am not very likely to get into shounen anime because I don’t feel like staying interested hundreds of drawn-out battles.

    The flip side of this comment (rant?) is that when I say I love shoujo manga, people assume I love “how can I confess my love to sempai” stories. -___-;; The genre would be really dull if that’s all there was, and while it’s hard to find a shoujo without some amount of romantic tension, my favorites are typically the ones where romance is not the key element, or where it takes a back seat to other key friendships and character developments. Shoujo is not just romance!!!! >__< I like my shoujo with blood and fantasy action and the power of teamwork, thank you very much! And likewise, shounen is not limited to fighting! In fact, I probably prefer some of the romances told in shounen manga because they're more refreshing and move faster when aimed at boys.

    I've seen shoujo manga (Ribon manga!) with dark stories about corrupt organizations than rival any found in seinen thrillers, and there are plenty of seinen that are nothing but fluffy romantic trials. The categories bug me because people often try to separate them by content. The content is frequently quite similar, just with different approaches and balances of any given element in any given magazine. However much this misconception bugs me, it's the magazine marketing and categorization that also fascinates me. Within any over arching genre, you get more and more complicated approaches and categorization so ever serialization can be in the right home.

    …Where was I even going with this besides ranting about how people think I read Harlequin romances just because I like shoujo manga? Oh, yes. Quality anime doesn't stay quite as segregated as manga does, and I don't think it should be. A series like Last Exile or Mawaru Penguindrum can be put in the center of an anime display instead of only on the girls side or the boys side. Sure, Ouran High School Host Club wouldn't look quite right next to Bleach, but at least both of these titles don't look strange when marketed on their own instead of paraded around inside of a magazine.


    1. Ahh, thanks for pointing out that mistake! I’ll correct it asap.

      That was my first instinct about Crayon Shin-chan as well, and having talked to my elementary and junior high school kids about it, I was surprised by how many of them watched it on a regular basis. What their parents think of them watching it I have no idea though… Conversely, very few of them buy the manga. Which I guess sort of leads into the next point – it’s very true that anime doesn’t fit nearly as firmly into the same demographics as manga tends to do. I was mostly trying to make this particular article as simple as possible, so I ended up avoiding talking about the more intricate details revolving around marketing.


    2. Incidentally, I wonder if other people have similar problems to you when they talk about a certain demographic? I’ve heard your shoujo manga woes before and can certainly sympathise – shoujo is no more only about romance than shounen is only about fighting. (Now I’m picturing a guy attempting to explain to his friends that even though he likes seinen, that doesn’t mean he likes explicit fanservice and/or gory violence.)


      1. Perhaps that topic would lend itself to a whole new entry–what kinds of misconceptions do anime fans find themselves faced with from people who don’t understand it, and how have people tried clearing up those misconceptions? Personally, I could rant a little about Takashi Murakami’s reception as “high art” but giving unfamiliar people the sense that his superflat style isn’t a comment on the anime medium, but a representation thereof. *shakes fist*

        I think that poor seinen fan would be in a much more difficult predicament than me as a shoujo manga fan. XD


        1. Heck, that topic could probably lend itself to a whole thesis.

          “Personally, I could rant a little about Takashi Murakami’s reception as “high art” but giving unfamiliar people the sense that his superflat style isn’t a comment on the anime medium, but a representation thereof.”

          I would happily read such a rant.


  4. This was a nice to post to introduce newcomers to anime and manga. When watching anime I let the demographics slide a bit. I can appreciate both shounen and seinen. Of course shows such as Bleach can move on forever, making them boring over the course of their run.

    I tend to move towards manga in the seinen genre. The artwork is or very cute or more mature, whereas shounen manga has the rather same feel to it almost everytime(from what I’ve seen). I don’t prefer the shoujo/josei kind of artwork. It seems too well polished and the facial design isn’t my cup of tea. But I’m not the demographic for that kind of manga anyway:p


    1. I tend to be more careful when it comes to shounen anime myself – while there are plenty of shounen titles I really like, it still seems as though only one or two out of a larger handful that I watch are ones which appeal to me. Which makes sense I guess, given that I’m also not the target demographic there.


  5. I don’t care which anime demographics fall into (I don’t read manga) because I’m more or less open to everything. To me, there is nothing wrong with an “anime gets made for the sole purpose of adding to a cash-cow franchise” as long as the anime is well made. Sometimes, it can make an anime even better (Cardfight!! Vanguard is a good example, but later seasons proves that you got your point).


    1. I likewise don’t tend to read manga, and anime is of course a little different in that the demographics aren’t as firmly separated. Still, I tend to find that I’m less likely to enjoy shounen anime and more likely to enjoy josei (despite having plenty of anime in my top 20 scattered all over every demographic).


  6. I’m not really sure what demographics my manga/anime fall into as I don’t particularly pay attention when looking for new stuff, but I would guess mostly seinen/shounen.
    I would guess the only kodomo one I’ve seen is Pokemon back in the day (and I doubt I’d be looking for any more).
    There’s some shounen I like and some I don’t. In general I dislike shounen “fight with the power of justice and friendship etc” types like Bleach and Naruto (although I’ve kind of got a bit of a soft spot for Naruto because it was my first anime I knew was anime). However I like Fairy Tail and Gintama, but primarily because I find them consistenly funny. When they go for serious stuff it’s still usually lame though. There’s some shounen I love, like GTO, Death Note and School Rumble, but mostly the shounen works I like are fairly light. By the way would you really classify Evangelion as shounen?
    I haven’t tried too much shoujo. I’ve started a few popular ones like Nana and Ouran High School Host Club, but I couldn’t really get into them. Thinking of trying Ouran again though. I did like one called Cat Street though.
    I would say my favourites are seinen then. I like how seinen’s pretty diverse, ranging from things like Hoshi no Koe and Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan, to light and fluffy like Minami-Ke. Probably most of my favourite anime like Madoka and Shinsekai Yori would be classified as seinen too, but I’m not as sure about how anime fits into the demographics.
    Apart from reading Nodame Cantabile (loved it!), I’m not sure if I’ve read/watched any more josei. But Sakamichi no Apollon is on my to-watch list, and Usagi Drop has now been added (thanks :-)). Any other good josei anime/manga you recommend?
    Anyway thanks for the post, really interesting.


    1. I’d definitely classify Evangelion as a shounen series, yes. It involves many of the hallmarks of other typical shounen series – a teenage male protagonist, a team of children who are tasked with saving the world, lots of mecha – but one of the reasons it was so controversial back when it first came out (and therefore attracted so many viewers regardless of demographic) is because it distorted and challenged stereotypical shounen material. Even mainstream newspapers were commenting on it when it was first being aired on television (which no doubt attracted even more viewers).

      Sakamichi no Apollon and Usagi Drop are definitely my two favourite josei titles, but if you haven’t already seen them, I also really enjoyed Kuragehime/Princess Jellyfish, Nana, and Paradise Kiss. And despite a few problems, Honey and Clover is a solid series as well.


  7. Cool information, and helpful, too. I like Shonen and hate it for the reasons you already listed: great potential, seldom follow-through. I like Seinen, but it seems to get too gratuitous for no reason at all sometimes. I’d say some of my favorites are Josei because of the general simplicity. Here’s the story, here are the characters, behold, a show! Rather than relying on BOOM BOOM, boobies, SLASH CLANG bloodbath BOOM MAGIC BOOM. And that’s a direct quote.


    1. I often like josei shows for the same reasons – much of the time, I enjoy titles that are character-driven rather than plot-driven. But of course, every demographic has its strengths and weaknesses, and then sometimes you have anime come along that don’t really behave according to the ‘rules’ of their demographic or even fit into any one demographic at all.


  8. Hmm, for some reason, I can’t see Evangelion as a shounen series. Yeah, having a hard time with that one 😀

    Otherwise, a thoughtful, and solid, post on manga and anime demographics. And another thumbs up for the Usagi Drop anime!


    1. Evangelion actually started out as a manga before it began airing on TV, and debuted in Shounen Ace magazine. More to the point though, I’d classify Evangelion as a shounen series mostly because it involves so many of the classic hallmarks of the demographic, e.g. the teenage male protagonist, the team of children tasked with saving the world from destructive monsters, lots of mecha, etc. That’s one of the big reasons why it was so controversial back when it first came out on TV – it distorted and challenged a lot of stereotypical shounen material to the point where even mainstream newspapers like the Mainichi Shimbun were commenting on how it was unsuitable for the age group it was targeted towards.

      Usagi Drop is definitely one of my all-time favourite anime shows. 🙂


  9. This reminds me of when I decided to read Kimi ni Todoke, even though I don’t read shoujo manga. Boy, was I really surprised with how good the story was.

    I’ve been getting into more seinen material as I have gotten older, though I still love shonen material like Gintama, Attack on Titan and Blue Exorcist.

    Though what’s funny is how titles like Gintama have material that could be for another demographic. Some of the humor in it can be classified as seinen. Plus, you have female authors doing shonen manga that focus a great deal of characterization first, battles second.

    It’s interesting to see how manga and anime straddle the lines between demographics.


    1. That’s one of the things I love about anime – there’s just to much variety that sometimes, things really surprise you. I feel like no matter how much anime I watch, there will always be some that sneak up on me because of how good the story is or how well it’s told. Just as you point out, sometimes anime really does straddle the line between demographics and appeal to a very wide audience.


  10. Great post!

    Since I like to strive for variety and moderation in all things, I tend to try anime in different categories. Though I will say that if I had to list my top 10 anime ever. Shounen, Shoujo, and Seinen would all be represented. Josei may even make my top 20. But because I got my start in anime with shounen, and I’m a huge mecha fan, shounen is my key genre.

    If I ever find a tolerable yaoi anime, or I can get around to trying Nodame Cantabile, Bunny Drop or Paradise Kiss then maybe another josei may have a chance.


    1. I’d happily put Bunny Drop in my top 10 anime list – maybe even my top 5. That said, it’s a bit different from a lot of other josei titles, since neither of the main characters are teenage/adult women and there’s more or less zero focus on sex or romance.

      Yaoi has and most likely always will be a very niche genre – it may have a lot of fans, but that fanbase is still extremely narrow compared to other genres. Still, at some point I may write up an article detailing a few of what I’d consider to be good yaoi titles.


  11. Thanks for an informative article! The way you broke down each demographic and went through their pros and cons is brilliant. About your second question, I usually follow specific writers in my choices. After reading your article I noticed that I like titles from probably every demographic, but the majority are shounen and seinen. That being said, I wouldn’t say my favorites necessarily all fall into that category. One point you mentioned I feel is what made me drop some shounen titles, the endless battles that go on episode after episode, until you get the feeling they authors are doing it deliberately to pay the bills. I appreciate titles that know when enough is enough and can end on a memorable note. 🙂


    1. You’re welcome, I’m really glad you found the article useful. 🙂

      Yeah, I tend to appreciate an anime so much more – be it shounen or another demographic – when people know when to quit. Stories that drag on don’t just suffer from pacing issues (although that’s often a big problem too) but from the feeling that the creators are whipping a dead horse just because the numbers are there. Of course, anime is a business before anything else, and for that reason I understand that the creators will want to do whatever they can in order for something to sell. However, the line between taking advantage of what’s popular and losing all artistic integrity is one that I think is often crossed all too often – and in no demographic more so than shounen.


  12. nice information you’ve put.
    even i get bored of the long lasting shounen series but i personally think detective conan is an exception to this case .with 700 ongoing episodes and 17 movies it still catches my eye .what do you think about it? i’ll like to hear your opinion and refering to the question you posted i definetely enjoy a wide variety of it . upon seeing a title i usually consult wikipedia and also read some of its reviews . after all it is all about the storyline and not the genre. i have saw plenty of shounen and shoujo and i have started to watch yaoi recently [ personally i loved junjou romantica !!!] . i have also watched a few of the non anime derived movies . have you watched grave of the fireflies? its my personal favourite . its nice to write to an otaku as i have hardly anyone to talk about it in my area. waiting for your reply 🙂


    1. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the Conan series either. It’s just way too long for me to get into – I can probably count on one hand the number of anime titles I like that are over about 50 episodes in total. However, I did really enjoy Grave of the Fireflies… or perhaps ‘enjoy’ isn’t quite the right word for it, since that movie tends to rip my heart out, but a great title nonetheless. 🙂


  13. maybe you are right conan series are getting a tad bit long 😀 i guess its close to my heart as it was my 1st anime .and artemis if dont mind could you please suggest me some good psychological thriller anime ,i saw death note and would really like to explore that genre a bit more . ive heard the movie perfect blue is fit for this type .should i go for it?


    1. Perfect Blue is certainly one of the most classic examples of a psychological thriller anime, although personally, I liked it but didn’t love it. One anime series that immediately springs to mind is Psycho-Pass, which I thoroughly recommend. And while I’ve seen very little of it myself, you may want to also check out Monster, which has been extremely popular among anime thriller fans and may have quite a few similarities to Death Note. Other titles that might also appeal to you are Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, Code Geass, and Mirai Nikki.


  14. Thanks a lot for describing all of these types of anime/manga demographics, I now have a better understanding of Japanese’s culture and manga history~


  15. I’ve been an anime/manga fan for many, MANY years and for me when I chose something to look at or read I look for a few things: the art (first and foremost). If it has crappy art work or the characters are drawn poorly I won’t bother. Demographic doesn’t really work for me because I’m interested in many different genres of anime and I’ve seen much of what was available back in the 80’s and 90’s. Aside for the art, being a writer, I’ll go for the good storyline. If the anime or manga in question has an interesting storyline I have a tendency to watch, and in the case of Akira (to me that is far and away the best anime film of all time) if the anime was based on a manga or novel, I’m way more apt to search out the manga the anime was based on and read it. There was a whole lot more going on with Akira than what was covered in the anime.
    Looking back over some of the other comments: Grave of the Fireflies was the one film way back in the day that interested me to anime to start with. A revisitation is in order for it since it has been rereleased on BL DVD but it should be on film lover’s lists as one of the greatest films of all time, let alone anime. If a film leaves a lasting impression on you in some way, than that is the mark of a great film and great art in my book.
    Interesting post!


    1. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

      For me, I think it’s a combination of a lot of factors that decide whether or not I’ll give an anime a shot, and then after that whether or not it’s worth watching the entire thing. The demographic of said anime is really low down on the list because, like you, art and story matter a lot more to me. That said, the demographic will often tip me off about what I might be able to expect from a story other than the plot – I would never go in to a shounen action series and not expect to see either a few panty shots or a character with enormous breasts, for example.


  16. i have always been interested in shounen even when i wasn’t crazy about anime/manga and have never really gotten out of the box until recently.
    i’ve heard some stuff about Berserk, and how crazy messed up it was story and violence wise, so i stayed away from it like the plague (i have an extremely weak stomach, sometimes even shounen violence makes me shut my eyes). i found the anime Psycho Pass (i really don’t know how i came to it) and loved it dearly (haven’t seen S2 yet tho). months after i watched it, my mom was browsing anime in Netflix when i saw it and the rating was M (therefore translated at sienen in anime/manga language). at first i was shocked to find that out because it was by no means at extreme as the sienen stories had told me. some of the content was a bit disturbing to a degree but i found it passable since the whole story was practically wrapped around a psychopath. after some research i found that it was seinen-ai, which basically means that it was seinen but censored to a degree. still, i found it amazing that i could get through it all and it was that genre.

    now i am almost done with the fantastic series Stiens;Gate and still haven’t found that Berserk style it falls under. i guess with proper browsing, you’ll find a good seinen.

    i have also recently liked shoujo, but only rom-com i can tolerate so far (i really like tonari no kaibutsu kun and REALLY like kamisama kiss).

    i’m newly 18 but still shouen has dominated my anime/manga life ever since i was probably around 12-13yrs old (when i wasn’t that crazy about it, but had a passable interest) and maybe even younger since i liked the speed racers my mother showed me. i believe no-one really outgrows this stuff (of any anime/manga genre), because anime is about content and how good it is. as long as it’s good, what’s to outgrow?


    1. I agree that there’s really no need to ‘outgrow’ something unless you want to. While I’ve never personally been a huge shounen fan, there are still some titles I definitely appreciate, and I think that whatever genre and demographic people are into is totally fine, regardless of their age. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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