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Shojo is a genre of manga that focuses on the stories of young women. It has certain visual and narrative conventions that set it apart from shonen (bolder outlines, smaller eyes), but there is considerable variation within the category.

As a genre, it tends to have more romantic or emotional arcs than shonen. Its protagonists are often young women who have some kind of goal, whether it's to become a professional or to find love.

Unlike shonen, shojo usually doesn't shy away from more serious topics, such as depression or suicide. However, it still prefers to rely on its characters' charm and sense of fun to get through harrowing situations.

Characters in shojo anime often have animal friends or mascots that aid them during their journey, like Luna from Sailor Moon and Pekorin from Tropical-Rouge! Precure. They're also more likely to have close friendships that last for the rest of their lives, such as the gang from Skip Beat or the girls in Fruits Basket.


Shonen is a genre that is often associated with action and adventure. Its typical narrative is that of a young boy being called to battle by a threat to his world (Naruto, Dragon Ball) or by his own desire for power (Hunter X Hunter).

In many shonen manga, characters become more and more powerful, and it can be difficult to keep the stakes high. Some writers are successful, however, such as Masashi Kishimoto with Naruto and Akira Toriyama with Dragonball. Other authors, such as Hiromu Arakawa with Fullmetal Alchemist, have been able to balance the desire for power with keeping the stakes high by maintaining a system of powers that prevent characters from becoming infinitely powerful.

My hero academy is a great example of a modern shonen anime that explores new themes while still retaining classic elements. The protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, is passionate about his interests and almost frighteningly determined to become stronger, both physically and mentally. He also has a traditional tragic backstory.


Seinen is a manga demographic that focuses on males of late teens to adulthood who understand kanji. It is usually read in full, without furigana, and has a wide variety of topics and themes. It also tends to be grittier, more serious and realistic than shonen.

Some people confuse seinen anime with the dark and edgy genre because it does have its fair share of violence, blood and gore. But it’s important to remember that dark anime can fall within any genre and isn’t limited to gruesome fighting or blood.

It can be found in edgy sci-fi like Black Lagoon, hard dramas such as GTO: Paradise Lost or Gunslinger Girl and even in Slice of Life and High School anime. Unlike Shounen, which often panders to their audience with Moe and Fanservice, most seinen works avoid it for the sake of a more mature narrative and character development. It also tends to have a greater focus on plot and less on the mc’s age or gender.


When you’re looking for heartwarming romances and gripping dramas that don’t fall into typical anime tropes, josei is the genre for you. These anime series are usually aimed at older women and can feature more complex relationships and deeper themes than shoujo.

This josei anime is a charming romance that follows the story of two girls with the same name who meet and connect over their shared fate. The characterization is superb and the story explores the way our lives are shaped by the people we encounter, how our priorities change over time, and how our decisions can have unexpected consequences.

Also known as redikomi, josei manga is a mature evolution of shoujo for the older female demographic. It aims to address more adult topics, such as alcoholism and violence, and can feature more mature eroticism than its shoujo counterparts. These manga are for anyone seeking three-dimensional characters tackling issues just as deep as the ones you’ve experienced in your own life.