We all know anime comes in many flavors. This can be anywhere from cutesy kawaii stuff to hardcore gory action. They can also be comical or serious. Some seek to answer a profound question or delve into mythology of greater human understanding, while others display a casual take on everyday life or a comedic series of events for a hapless individual. Whatever your poison, there’s something for everyone. I’m going to delve into a couple of my favorite archetypes (if they can even be called that), and give a few examples of anime I think fits their parameters.
This is a category I’m going to dub: “Realistic Fantasy.” I know the name is ironic, but let me explain. This type of anime takes place in a mostly realistic setting with a fantasy twist, however unlike many fantasy shows the characters are limited by much more realistic injuries/obstacles/etc. I chose Berserk (see picture above) as the poster boy (man?) for this section because I have a hard time finding something that really scratches that proverbial itch. The characters in Berserk are in a medieval setting, which doesn’t really enter the realm of fantasy until the last few episodes with the demons (or first if you are paying attention). However, they suffer wounds in a very realistic manner, and even simple swordplay can be enough to end someone’s life. Heck it was good enough to warrant an entire armor set of both main characters’ in Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma (which is a great cross between Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus). Anime in the “Realistic Fantasy” archetype features characters who can (and will) face very real deaths at the hands of humans, demons, or anything in between. Calling cards for this type of anime are usually exaggerated gore (limb comes off, blood flows out), serious plot, little fan service and/or romance, realistic character design/older characters (not everyone is 12), and deaths of popular/main characters; you really don’t know if the good guys will win or not. Essentially the Game of Thrones of anime, this category is one of my favorites, although not everyone is in the mood for unadulterated, blood-soaked action that may or may not determine the fate of the world.
Anime I nominate for this category include, but are not limited to: Berserk, Legend of Legendary Heroes, Claymore, Code Geass, Future Diary, Full Metal Alchemist (both series), High School of the Dead, Arslan Senki, Fate/Zero, Steins;Gate, and Rokka no Yuusha.
The next archetype I’ll give you the displeasure of wading through is one I’ve aptly titled: “Pervy Comedy.” As the name might suggest, these anime shows are equal parts funny as they are, well, perverted. Rosario Vampire (pictured above) is the perfect example of how to do pervy comedy well. This category will feature a dopey, very plain main character (usually a guy in his teens) surrounded by hot chicks. This guy is usually not very competent and doesn’t really have any unique traits, save for his overwhelming amount of compassion and kindness (that way anyone can easily interpret themselves in his shoes, like a shounen). The premise can be anywhere from everyday school life, to battling for the fate of the world (see: Sekirei). Anyone who is a fan of bodacious bodies, or loves laughing at awkward sexual situations will love the pervy comedy. There is also usually some sort of significant romantic relationship between the main character and the front-running femme fatal (as is oft the case), so if you like romance it melds together well. The trick to doing a pervy comedy well is having just enough pervy stuff to fill the context of the jokes, but not so much that it detracts from the story. Personally I find the wimpy, goodie-two-shoes main character as kind of a stale cliche, but if the show is done well enough–or, if the main character is 120% badass like Akatsuki from Aesthetics of a Rogue Hero–it doesn’t matter. I really enjoy this category because, not only does it more or less describe how my high school days went (surrounded by chicks but clueless as to what to do), but it also makes me laugh pretty damn hard. And I mean, I am a guy. Seriously though, these are best watched in a room with a few of your good (and understanding) friends. Otherwise you just kinda feel like a pervert.
Anime I nominate: Rosario Vampire, Aesthetics of a Rogue Hero, Good Luck Girl, B Gata H Kei, Sekirei, Desert Punk (partly), Golden Boy, Familiar of Zero, and Haganai.
So there you have it, both drastically different and each entertaining in their own way. What are some of your guys favorite anime types? It’s interesting to think that based on the type of person we are, we have different like and dislikes in anime. I know most, if not all, anime falls into multiple types. But, sometimes its fun to try and put the puzzle pieces together and see what we get, ja? And if you haven’t seen the anime I listed, I recommend you do. They are some of my favorite, and I think between the two types there is something for everyone to love. Also of note is that many of these are, or were, on Netflix. So someone somewhere thought they were good. Probably the same someone who put Sekirei on it as well. One that is of note would be Familiar of Zero, I know I listed it as pervy comedy (because there is A LOT of that in it), but it spans 4 seasons and straddles the line between both types I listed here. And hell, any anime that involves a Zero fighter plane shooting down dragon knights or mages using a German Flak 88 from WW2 to take down an earth golem is worth a peek. I won’t spoil too much, but lets just say the anime has as much surprises as it does comedy, with a few pop-culture anime references for fun; and a satisfying ending that wraps everything up in a happily-ever-after way that is seldom seen in anime… or does it? Maybe it’s a tragic ending like the “Realistic Fantasy” category. I don’t know, go watch it yo’self!
If you enjoyed this, keep on reading! My buddy Kausus writes a lot of interesting articles you best check out. Featured image is Kiritsugu from Fate/Zero btw, which is a great Realistic Fantasy title, compared to its comedy harem sequel Fate/Stay Night and slightly more serious Fate/Stay Unlimited Blade Works.