When we are reading manga or watching anime, we see people from various forums or chats recommending different types of manga. Manga types should not be confused with genres, which are action, slice of life, fantasy, comedy, adventure, and many more, as manga types are based on demographics, and who are most likely to read them.
In fact, most mangas combine two or three of these genres to create a world that is dynamic, characters that have different personalities, and a story that is engaging to follow. They can give you a really immersive experience every chapter as you root for the protagonist as the story progresses.
Let us now go in-depth on what these different types of mangas are, and who they are catered to.
Shonen is a type of manga that is catered to young males, mostly teenagers from ages 12 to 18. It is one of the most popular types of mangas due to its wide range of established titles such as Dragon Ball, My Hero Academia, One Piece, Shingeki no Kyojin, and a lot more.
This type of manga is known for its fast-paced action sequence, comedy, and the growing friendship between men or boys. A good example of this is Dragon Ball; Goku loves fighting his opponents fair and square. Some of his enemies like Vegeta, Picollo, and Tien become his closest friends.
Becoming the best is also a recurring theme in shonen, the hero always wanting to become stronger and improve his skills to overcome bigger challenging. Goku is a good example of this as he always manages to win somehow, often left on the brink of death, before training again to face even more powerful enemies.
On the other hand, Naruto or My Hero Academia has both amazing and well-portrayed male and female characters, so you can say that Shonen nowadays caters to a number of female audiences as well.
Seinen is another type of manga that caters to the male audience, but their demographics range from young adults to middle-aged men.
This type of manga almost has the same characteristics as Shonen. The only difference is, it emphasizes mature and darker tones, focusing more on character development within boundaries of realism. Most of the time, the protagonists in this type of manga is much older compared to that of Shonen’s characters. Some of the popular Seinen mangas are Berserk, Tokyo Ghoul, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Battle Angel Alita, and Vinland Saga.
Berserk is a great example of a Seinen manga. It is a dark fantasy revolving around the story of a man named Guts, who was betrayed by the person he thought he could trust. His journey is focused on the rage, difficulties, and revenge towards the person who betrayed him.
It can be said that Shojo is the counterpart of Shonen as its focus group is young women, aged 10 to 18. Most Shojo mangas emphasize romance, and slice of life genres among others.
Some of the popular Shojo mangas are Kiss Him, Not Me!, Ao Haru Ride, Orange, and Ouran Koukou Host Club. Most of the time, the main protagonists of these stories are girls in a school setting. There are also numerous Shojo mangas that have protagonists with complex relationships such as a love triangle or harem (numerous love interests).
Orange is a highly-recommended read as it is truly one of the best Shojo mangas out there that perfectly blends drama, romance, and slice of life. There is a high chance you will cry at least once as you read the story.
Magical girl is another popular genre for Shojo manga. It focuses on girls in a fantasy setting as they indulge in magic. An example of this is Sailor Moon — a classic title that is considered to be the most popular manga in its genre.
Josei, just like Seinen, caters to a more mature demographic, but it caters to women ages 18 to 45 years old. It usually portrays realistic romance and, thus, it can be quite sexually explicit to its audience. This is not the case all the time though as there are plenty of Josei mangas that are set in a fantasy or sci-fi world.
Some of the popular Josei mangas are Loveless, Chihayafuru, and Nodame Cantabile. Chihayafuru, for example, is a story about Chihaya who has been overshadowed by her sister throughout her life. She then met Arata Wataya who reignited her passion in playing the card game called Hyakunin Isshu.
Josei manga also portrays several boys’ love (BL) genre, but its homosexual relationship is fully developed and expanded in contrast to Yaoi, which focuses more on the sexual endeavors of the characters. A good example of this Josei manga is 07-Ghost.
Kodomomuke translated from Japanese to English literally means “meant for children.” Although this type of manga is targeted towards children under 13 years old, people of all ages still find it enjoyable to read. Most Kodomomuke mangas are simplistic, cute, and overall make you feel good.
Hello Kitty, Doraemon, and Pokemon are some of the most prominent Kodomomuke mangas. These three mangas have a simple story to follow, and they always end on a good note. Although, Pokemon has evolved throughout the years, and it can be considered borderline Shonen, but it is still considered to fall under the Kodomomuke type.
These are the five types of mangas, so if you are trying to search for a specific manga to read next time or want to watch an anime, you can now easily distinguish whether you prefer a Shonen, Seinen, Shojo, Josei, or Kodomomuke. It makes filtering the thousands of available manga slightly easier.
Want to read something light and not really indulge in mature themes? Then Shonen and Shojo mangas are the way to go. How about mature and a little bit more realistic in terms of intrapersonal and interpersonal communications? Well, Seinen and Josei are the types of manga to read. If you want a feel-good manga that is catered for kids, then read a Kodomomuke manga.
Take note that these types of mangas are based on demographics. People regardless of their gender and age group (except ages under 13 years old) can be expected to enjoy all of these types of mangas.