A Beginner’s Guide to Anime

What this guide will basically provide is a way for anime initiates to get into anime easily (hopefully). As I don’t read much Manga & Light Novels, there will be a limited amount of suggestions in those areas. 

So, Let’s begin with the absolute basics.

What is an Anime?

Anime is basically Japanese animation done either by hand or through computer animations. These are the Japanese equivalent of cartoons, so to speak. Despite, common misunderstanding Anime are not just funny and idiotic in nature but instead cover a whole deal of themes ranging from crime to mystery to comedy to sexual themes. And some genres are more famous than others. Each anime is usually based on a Manga or a Light Novel (LN) or simply is an original production.

Anime is so popular in Japan, that they air on almost every major channel. There are hundreds of anime companies and a few of them are even famous worldwide like Studio Ghibli, Toei Animation are a few to name.

You mentioned Manga, Light Novel, and Original Production. Can you elaborate?

Manga is basically Japanese comics, but unlike Comics usually none of the pages are colored. The only colored pages are the cover pages. They are various types of manga that appeal to all ages and have various genres.

Light Novel or LN are Japanese novels usually targeted towards middle & high school students. They have recently gained a lot of steam and some popular LN are being converted to manga or anime.

Original Animation are those anime which are not based on any pre-existent material. They might be influenced by other works, but the plot and the characterizations are original work of the Director helming the project. Though, these are few in numbers some of them are really beautiful and amazing to watch as you simply do not have any materials to actually know what might happen in the upcoming episodes.

How many episodes does an Anime consist of?

Well, usually they vary between 12- 24 episodes, but they might be extended if they are popular enough and have enough material to actually continue the anime. One Piece and Naruto are examples of anime with a large number of episodes.

Besides releasing in episodes, some anime also have Movies and OVA’s. Some anime like Summer Wars are just a movie and do not have an episodic series.

OVA or Original Video Animation (sometimes called OAV, Original Animated Video) are episodes or movies that are released directly and do not telecast on television. ONA or Original Net Animation are those that are released on the web to a video streaming and sharing site like YouTube. They can also be shorter than the traditional anime and can last for just a few minutes too.

Tell me about the popular genres!

Well, there are a lot of genres that anime are usually based on, some of the listed here are popular genres or my favorite genres.

Romance: Well, the name says it all. I don’t think I will have to explain about this.

Yuri & Yaoi: Yuri stands for Girl’s Love and Yaoi stands for Boy’s Love. These anime are usually centered around the love between the same sex.

Ecchi: Ecchi is the genre in which you will find lots of fan-service and these are anime are meant to be sexy or naughty in nature.

Harem: This genre is one of the most famous one out there and usually they do not have that good of a story. Usually, these anime contain one Male lead (who is oblivious to the female characters who are in love with him) and multiple female characters who are in love with him. Reverse Harem is a similar genre, except here there will be one Female lead with multiple male characters in love with her.

Slice of Life: This is my favorite genre, these anime cover day to day life of the characters and also the emotions and struggle a character goes through. These anime are usually heavily centered on the characters.

Comedy: Comedy is usually a secondary genre that can be used with another genre. Slice of Life usually has comedy so does Harem where the lead is put into a comical situation.

Sports: These are based on particular sports and the journey of the lead throughout the story.

Thriller: Thrillers are usually anime which are scary and have a very dark tone to them. They are very grim in nature and usually results in the death of multiple characters.

Psychological: This genre is similar to Thriller but in Psychological anime there are lots of mind games played. Psychological anime tend to have characters with some sort of behavioral issues like obsession, multiple personalities, and paranoia.

Crime: Crime or Mystery genre are the genres usually containing detective works or homicide or a courtroom drama.

Fantasy: Fantasy is a vast genre and contains many sub-genres. Dark Fantasy, for example, is a fantasy genre with horror mixed into it. This genre contains various different type of fantasy elements like various races and non-existent lands, etc. Supernatural is another genre that contains

Science Fiction: It can be considered a part of the Fantasy genre, but it is still as huge as Fantasy genre. Science fiction consists of anime based in space. Anime containing traveling to fantasy lands with the help of computers and stuff. Also, anime which contains humans being enhanced by cybernetic components.

What about Shounen, Seinen, Shoujo, and Josei?

Well, these are demographics so they do not come under Genres section. But for those who don’t know what these are here is some details:

Shounen: Shounen anime are anime whose primary audience is young boys (under the age of 14). Some of the shounen anime are also sometimes considered as children anime (kodomomuke anime).

Shoujo: Shoujo anime are the counterparts of Shounen and are usually watched by young girls. They usually contain romance and has fan service aimed towards young females.

Seinen: These are the adult anime which usually have a greater variation in stories and art style. These types of anime are usually favored by older people.

Josei: Josei is the female equivalent of Seinen and is usually targeted towards the female crowd in their late teenage or adults.

Are there any websites where I can find some information?

Yes, there are. Though there are probably loads of such websites but these are some of them that I prefer and have a reliable source of information

MyAnimeList (MAL): MAL is an information database that also allows you to create a list and select which anime or manga or LN you have completed or currently completing or are planning to do so. This list can also be shared with your friends by simply just sharing the links.

Anime News Network (ANN): ANN is another information database similar to MAL.

Anime Calendar: This website allows you to select the anime you want to follow and see which day and time will they be airing. It also allows you to import your Anime Calendar to your Google Calendar or iOS Calendar to view them on multiple devices.

Where do I watch these anime?

There are a dozens of different sources from where you can watch the anime listed in the guide. Some of them include:






There are also other sources but those are not legal sources and so I won’t list them. You can find the whole list of legal streams on Reddit.

Well, that’s it?

No. I plan on bringing a continuation in the upcoming weeks and recommend some anime that are must watch and I will try my best to divide them into genres. Here is a shortcut to view all my posts in this series.

You can read my other entries in the Beginners Guide here:
1. Beginners Guide to Anime
2. Romance
3. Comedy
4. Slice of Life
5. Sports
6. Supernatural
7. Action / Adventure
8. Harem
9. Psychological
10. Sci-Fi
11. Mecha

Till then, Peace Out!


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