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4 Subgenres of Romantic Anime Posted Dec 24, 2019

Derived from the Japanese word meaning "animation," anime consists of hand drawn or computer-generated cartoons, although not all are suitable for Saturday morning children's television. Originally a cartoon medium, anime has spread to companion media such as graphic novels, games and apps. In fact, fans who play online slots will be pleased to know that Japanese online casinos have joined the anime party and now offer more and more anime-themed slots.

Many genres contain adult content you might not want your kid to watch. Some storytellers are attracted to anime as a medium because it allows them to express more graphic content than is conventionally acceptable, or even legal, in other media. In other words, they can get away with more.

To make it convenient for enthusiasts to locate specimens of interest, anime is categorized into genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, Historical, and around half a dozen more.

In Romance anime, stories revolve around love and the pursuit of it by one or more of the featured characters. Gender, and sometimes species, lines are sometimes blurred, and you may find stories of love involving protagonists of the same gender, or maybe even non-humans. This article will describe four subgenres of romantic anime: Harem, Reverse Harem, Yuri, and Ecchi.

Harem Anime

4 Subgenres of Romantic Anime

Tales of harem anime center around a male character around whom swarms of females lavish him with attention. Relationships tend to be polygynous or polyandrous.

The identity of the earliest specimen to compete for this distinction is contentious. Some fans designate Tenchi Muyo (1992) as the first anime to have a harem-style ending. Others opine the genre dates back to Ranma 1/2 (1989). Apparently, though, City Hunter from 1987 had a sort of "girl of the week" theme that some fans think qualifies for the title.

The anime with the oldest date considered to be harem is Urusei Yatsura (1978). The argument would end there, except for the fact that naysayers claim his "harem" consisted of only two members, and that most of the girls hated him. Still, they say there's a fine line between love and hate....

Reverse Harem

4 Subgenres of Romantic Anime

Here, the stories focus on a central female character who is surrounded by adoring males. Less well-known than their Male-oriented counterparts, they are no less charming and fascinating.

In the Ouran High School Host Club, a group of teenage boys entertain girls for money. The venture was necessitated by one of the members breaking a valuable vase. The club meet a character whom they assume from her appearance to be male, but who turns out to be a female with a talent for entertaining girls, so they recruit her as a full-fledged member.

This series gives us a chance to talk about Manga, which is similar to American comic books but is by no means synonymous. The term means 'flowing words' or 'undisciplined words'. The title, "Ouran High School Host Club," is an example of a Manga that migrated to the animated form.


4 Subgenres of Romantic Anime

This and the following romantic anime subgenre, Ecchi, wander into more adult territory. Yuri stories are about love between females, though not necessarily overtly sexual.

A fairly common Japanese name, the word Yuri means 'Lily'. In the West, you could comfortably use the word Yuri in connection with shoujo-ai ('girls love'), it's best to avoid it in the Japanese context or for a Japanese audience. Here, it has developed somewhat sinister overtones. Stick with 'Yuri' and you'll be fine.

While Yuri often cross-pollinates with other genres of anime, the subgenre itself may be subdivided into one of three types:

  • Yuri-centric slice-of-life (very common)
  • Non-explicit yuri (uncommon)
  • Explicit yuri (very rare)

Yuru Yuri is a good, light-hearted title to cut your teeth on. There isn't much plot, but the action is cute, fun and fluffy, albeit slightly violent at times, if the episode, "Tomato" is anything to go by.


4 Subgenres of Romantic Anime

Explanations of the Ecchi genre of romance anime will give you the illusion that it's the softest of cartoon porn, but it leaves very little to the imagination. If this is soft, it's frightening to imagine what would be considered explicit Yuri. Put these on child lock and clear your browsing history if you indulge.

So there's your introduction to Romance Anime. Care Bears and My Little Pony, it is not. If you enjoy creative Japanese artwork, you'll find something here that is sure to meet with your approval!

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