Japanese Manga Story Genres

Japanese Manga Story Genres

Japanese manga have some really unique story genres. Some being famous like mecha, mahō shōjo or yaoi, and some not so much even though we see them frequently.

I also have a list of classical manga story genres.

Introduction to Japanese manga story genres

Japanese manga are very well known for their specific and unique content.

For instance mecha stories with their giant robots, or mahō shōjo with yound women having magic capabilities.

Having a knowledge of these genres can help in adding a really Japanese atmosphere to your manga stories.

Isekai

This genre plunges the hero into a parallel world. This generally happens after the character had died with regrets and he finds there an opportunity to live a better life. But some stories also have the characters move between these two worlds.

It is sub-genre in between fantasy/speculative/science fiction genres.

A lot of manga of this genre have been published in recent years. You have for instance “Re:Zero” which has a serious side to it, or “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o?” which is more in the comedy side.

Mecha

This genre focuses on heroes controlling, or being, giant robots and fighting a foreign force.

It is a sub-genre of science fiction.

A lot of manga have been published in this genre, like “Evangelion”, “Gundam” or “Grendizer”.

Gekiga

This is more a style than a genre of manga. Gekiga is focusing on plausibility of the story and realistic visuals.

It can be applied to any genre.

Famous references are “Ahita no Jo”, “Berserk” or “Golgo 13”.

Mahō Shōjo

This genre is focusing on girls having the capacity to transform into an heroin with magical powers (magical girls). This power is generally brought to them by a foreign creature, a cute animal most of the time, to help save the world from an impending danger.

It is in-between fantasy and speculative genres.

This style is pretty famous outside Japan with title like “Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Sailor Moon” or “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”.

Nekketsu

Even thought the name nekketsu might not speak to you, this is surely the most famous genre outside Japan.

This genre focuses on a young hero that will unveil great powers along a fantastic journey. The pattern of these stories is generally very close to the Hero’s Journey.

It is a sub-genre of action-adventure.

Most famous titles are “Dragon Ball”, “One Piece”, “Naruto”…

Yaoi / Boys’ Love

This genre relates romances between men.

I’m not an expert in this genre, but from what I could find “Love Stage” has good feedbacks.

Yuri / Girls’ Love

This genre relates romances between women.

Not an expert here also, but from why I could find a good reference here seems to be “Bloom into You”.

Hentai/Ecchi

Taken from their pure meaning in Japanese, hentai is more about sexual perversion, ecchi more about sex. But in reality there seems to be little difference between the different manga of the two genres, or at least none that I could see…

I’m not an expert here again, but if you look for references I saw that “Henshin” has good feedbacks and is on the soft side (from what I could see at least :P), “La Blue Girl” has also good feedbacks and starts to be more on the explicit side at times, and a quick google search for either “ecchi manga” or “hentai manga” will show you plenty of extremely explicit references…


See you,

Stef

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