Shoujo VS. Shonen: The Key Differences (Discover)

Anime comes in different genres with different primary audience types. Anime is a Japanese style of animation. It’s also a form of art, entertainment, and storytelling that can be enjoyed by virtually anyone regardless of age or gender.

Anime is a great way to escape into the world of your imagination and explore different characters, settings, and situations. 

Ouran high school is an anime loved by teen girls
Ouran high school is an Anime loved by teen girls.

Shoujo and shonen are both Japanese words for the Anime categories. Shoujo refers to young girls, for shows like Sailor Moon, and Sshonen refers to young boys aged 12 to 18.

Many of the biggest and most popular Anime fit into one of these two groups. Although they are both aimed at young boys and girls, they have significant differences.

This blog post will go over what each genre entails so that you can decide whether or not it’s right for you.

What are the genres of Anime?

Today, Anime is available in a variety of genres, including drama, action, supernatural, and horror, to name a few.

They are designed for both young girls and boys, as well as adults. They have strong female characters as well as beautiful male characters.

While there are many types of Anime, most fall into one of these categories: 

GenreTarget Audience
ShonenYoung boys
ShoujoYoung girls
SeinenOlder men
JoseiOlder women
The four main genres of Anime and their Target Audience

What is Shonen g0enre?

Hunter x Hunter is a Shounen Anime
Hunter x Hunter is a shonen Anime.

Shonen Anime is targeted toward young boys, up to about the age of 18. Shounen is essentially Anime or Manga aimed at boys. Typically, shounen features mecha, horror, violence, and so on. Death Note, Kakegurui, One Piece, and Naruto are examples of shonen Anime. 

In shonen, the protagonist is usually a young kid, around middle or high school age, with a lot of guts and a golden heart, such as Naruto or Gon in HxH.

These are the most famous shonen Anime of all time:

These shows feature action, adventure, sports, and more.

Shounen Manga, or boys’ action Manga, is the “hero” genre of Japanese comics. These shows feature action, adventure, sports, and more.

There are many different subgenres within shonen such as “comedy,” “friendship,” and even science fiction. The main difference between shoujo Manga and shonen is that in shoujo Manga there is a focus on romance while in shonen there is no focus on romance at all.

What is Shoujo genre?

Shojo Anime is targeted at young girls between the ages of about 6 and 18.

The term shoujo refers to the fact that Anime and Manga in this genre are typically directed at young females. These shows are more appealing to girls than to boys. Because young girls enjoy reading about romance.

Sailor moon is a Shoujo Anime
Sailor moon is a Shoujo Anime.

This genre is swamped with romance Manga/Anime but a shoujo genre is not a romance category. There is also romance-themed Shounen (for young males) Manga. However, shoujo stories tend to be more fanciful or mystical, whereas romance stories tend to be more realistic.

Shoujo Anime is often romance-oriented with characters that are expressive, cute, and vulnerable. Some examples include Ouran High School Host Club, Sailor Moon, and Fruits Basket. Often this kind of Anime is romance-oriented with characters that are expressive, emotional, and naive.

Shoujo Anime recommendations

Similarities between the Shonen and Shoujo genres

In terms of content, there are no similarities but there is something that you would find in the shows of both genres. That is traveling or a vacation adventure

We’ve all seen it. You’re watching an Anime, and the characters are talking about how they’re going to spend their summer vacation. Then one of them says “I’m going on a trip.”

You might think that this is just another way for someone to say “I’m going on vacation,” but in reality, it means something much more important they’ll be doing something they love!

And if you’re a fan of shoujo Manga or Anime, then chances are good that there’s at least one series where everyone goes away somewhere every single year, whether it’s camping or studying abroad or whatever else your favorite character does when he or she isn’t working hard at school. 

Sometimes these trips can even become part of the plot itself, recall Demon Slayer where the protagonist travels with his sister tucked in a backpack, or Spice and Wolf where the main couple falls for each other while traveling to the countryside. 

Either way, there’s no doubt that these types of stories are some of the fans’ favorites because they wish to see themselves reflected in that story. This makes the audience imagine what could happen if they did go away somewhere for an adventure!

What is the difference between Shoujo and Shonen?

The major difference that is already discussed above is the target audience.

Shonen is targeted toward young boys and shoujo is targeted toward young girls but there is more to it.

Shonen vs. Shoujo: Art style

Shoujo Manga is far more detailed than shonen Manga or Anime. Each panel is completely fleshed out, the figures are drawn in great detail, and some softer backdrop designs are usually included. 

Manga art in shonen is often direct and to the point. The shading will be much more dramatic to convey various moods and feelings, but the overall aesthetic will center on the people or main subject rather than the background.

Shonen vs Shoujo: Action sequences

Shonen is filled with action scenes since it is targeted toward boys. However, in the shoujo genre, action mostly means a showdown with magical powers like in Sailor moon or none of it at all.

In usual shonen series, such as Hunter x Hunter or Dragon Ball, action could be a fight between two characters, however, in sports Anime, such as Haikyuu, action could mean a competition. It could be a match between two opposing teams.

Shounen vs Shoujo: The Main Character

Shoujo Anime, of course, has a large number of female protagonists. While shonen frequently features a big number of male protagonists.

The female lead in shoujo Anime is usually a young girl in high school who has a reputation for being either quiet or too bossy. The male hero in Shonen Anime is however a young lad with a reputation for being weak or a problematic delinquent.

Seinen and Josei Genre

Attack on Titan is a Seinen Anime
Did you know? Attack on Titan is a Seinen Anime.

There are also a number of series marketed toward older audiences known as seinen and josei depending on the age group. 

Seinen is like a subtype to Shounen since it also has action, drama, and friendship elements but may be more mature in theme than their Shounen counterparts.

For example, Gungrave is a Seinen Anime that follows two gangster friends and one of them comes back from the dead after Necrolyzation. While Black Lagoon is a seinen anime about a man who is climbing the ladder of the corporate world without a definite result. 

Josei Manga or Anime are Japanese comics or Anime geared specifically toward women’s interests and targeted at older adolescent girls and adult female demographics.

Ladies’ comics” are a subgenre of josei Manga. Readers range in age from 18 to 45.

While josei is structured and studied as a genre, it is also a style. For example, Petshop of Horrors is horror.

This Anime is about a mysterious pet shop that contains serious tales about mankind and the evil within, and josei lovers should not ignore it due to its macabre trappings. To be clear, the series is gloomy, and people who dislike horror in any form should avoid it.

It’s important to note that Anime has no specific genre name in English it’s just called “Anime.” So there are many different types of shows with varying levels of violence or sexual content, but all fall under one umbrellaAnime!


  • There are many different types of Anime. It’s up to you whether you prefer shonen or shoujo. 
  • Shonen Anime is mostly aimed at young boys. Many are of the action or supernatural category, featuring a male protagonist.
  • In contrast to Shounen, practically all shoujo is about romance, school, and drama. Female characters are usually always the protagonists.
  • Either way, I hope our blog has helped you find the kind of Anime that appeals most to your tastes.

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