Just thought I’d share some of my waaaay too deep knowledge of Japanese and the anime and manga scene to define some common genre terms.

Seinen. [Sei = Blue or “green” (as in inexperienced) + nen = years]
Seinen is a Japanese term for young men. Refers to manga and anime targeted to 18-30 year old men. Tends to cover more mature themes but without being explicit. Think of it as the “PG” to “R” range. Most famous examples are Ai Yori Aoshi, Chobits and Cowboy Bebop.

Shojo. [Shō = Young (lit. ‘few’ ) + Jo = Female, woman]
More commonly called “Young Girls’ comics”. More emphasis on relationships and romance with a specific kind of heroine in the lead role. It’s a large genre and has many sub-genres like magical girl.
Examples: Sailor Moon, Kodocha, Cardcaptor Sakura.

Shonen. [Shō = Young (lit. ‘few’ ) + Nen = Years. Japanese term for a ‘boy’]
Shonen manga & anime is the world’s most popular genre. Targeted at boys up to age 18, this has the most famous titles like Dragonball, Naruto and Inuyasha.

More Mature Terms

Yaoi. [A backronym of the Japanese phrase “yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi”, often translated into English as, “no climax, no punch line, no meaning.” (Wikipedia)]
This is a specific genre with guy on guy love stories. Tends to be really popular with girls.

Yuri. [From the Japanese word for “lily”. See this wikipedia article for history]
Anime & manga with female-female love stories. Famous example: Revolutionary Girl Utena

Ecchi. [Possibly from the Japanese pronunciation of “H” for the word hentai. Means “lewd” or “naughty” ]
Think of this as soft-core porn.

Hentai. [Japanese for “pervert”]
This is the most notorious category of anime & manga, and tends to give anime it’s bad name as “Japanese Animated Porn”. Most (in)famous examples: Legend of the Overfiend, Bible Black.

There are lots of other terms, but these are the most common ones.

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