It must be stressed again that Anime is based on Manga, since the latter are specifically divided by age and gender groups, and this influences the genres they cover. There’s Kodoma
(children’s comics)- these tend to be about things that interest that audience, like pets or toys; Shonen
(boy’s comics) aimed at male teenagers; these focus on action, pretty girls, science fiction and fantasy; Shojo
manga is aimed at girls and is usually about romance; Seinen
manga is for adult men, and thus covers topics like workplace dramas, crime or erotica, while Josei
manga is aimed at women and is about serious relationships (as opposed to the more idealistic ones in Shojo comics).
Let’s now take a closer look at some of the unique Anime genres and how they might be played in a BASH format. Note these can be the basis of their own series but frequently are combined, too:
Short for Date Simulation, these are video games that allow the player to attempt to have the best dates possible with several female characters (the difference between this and a Harem -see below- is that the main character is the one doing the pursuing.) Contrary to what it might sound like, these games often include well-written character interaction. In BASH Dates are best used as Personal Subplots.
This is about a character -usually male, but there are ‘Reverse Harems’ as well- who, for some reason, finds himself the center of attention of several persons of the opposite gender who compete for his attention. The typical example is the first male student in a formerly all-female institution. Usually a comedy genre, but it can have its dramatic moments as well. The goal is to find the character’s “true love”. Again, best used as a Personal Subplot.
: Japan is obsessed with female pop idols. They in turn are obsessed with being “number one” (thus making this a type of Tournament series as well) and really
worried they may soon be “too old” for their careers. Personal Subplot. Idols often appear in other genres, for example as Magical Girls.
"Giant Monsters". Although mainly a Tokusatsu (live action) genre, you see them in Anime often as well. This is about creatures who rampage (with or without provocation) with only other Kaiju (or in a few cases, Giant Super Heroes) being able to stop them. Brawl Focus.
: There are actually two types of Magical Girls. The most common is a teenage girl superhero- a normal girl who has been magically granted powers to combat some evil. These are similar to Super Sentai (see below). Focuses on Brawls, but sometimes there's a Mystery behind their mission, and occasionally a Romantic Subplot as well.
The other type is an actual magical being -a witch, a fairy etc.- who is sent to the human world to fulfill a quest. These can become Magical Girlfriends (see below.) These are Personal Subplots although the object of the quest might be a Mystery.
This is about a magical (or alien, android etc.) female who falls in love with a normal human, and the hijinks that follow. The goal is usually to have a higher authority (like a god, family, or just society itself) accept their union. Always a focus on Romance, but might also contain Brawls or mysteries (usually "how/why did she get involved in his life?")
most classic Anime Genre, Mecha is short for “mechanism”. This is is better known as “Giant Robots” though what they truly are is humanoid vehicles (most Mecha need pilots to function.) There are two types: “Real” Robots (which features machines that obey the laws of physics, and have practical uses eg. as war machines or construction devices) and “Super” Robots (who ignore physical laws and exist to fight other mecha or giant monsters). The goal (of either type) is usually to fight in a war, or defeat a villainous organization. Brawl focus.
A superhero, often of the Anti-Hero type, who either wears a suit of power armor, or has been turned into a cyborg. He must defeat an evil organization (which, in the case of the cyborg, might have created him in the first place.) Brawl focus.
(“budding”) These are about cute girls, usually innocent ones. A popular subgenre is basing the series on things popular among fans- Animals (especially cats), robots, monsters, video games, military vehicles, even countries! In most cases, they are characters who just so happen to be named after the series’ theme, have * appearances, etc. though in some cases there might be an actual explanation (eg. they might be sentient robots or virtual avatars.) The goal depends on something else- their being Moe is just for the audience’s benefit. Can be any focus. Note: Anime is full
of pretty girls. To deserve the Appeal Advantage, a character must be stated by others to have beauty surpassing theirs.
Short for Monster, this usually kid-oriented series has a child befriending a monster of some type, who then protects him from other monsters. The goal is to collect (or defeat) more monsters, often as part of a Tournament. Almost always based on a toy line. Brawls, with a Personal subplot regarding friendship with your pets.
The main character (often an everyman, or a nerd) dies, and is reborn in a Fantasy World, either because he’s needed, or as a punishment (depends on whether the series is an adventure or a comedy.) He retains some skill that might be prosaic on modern Earth, but is unusually useful here, chemistry for instance. The goal is to fulfill whatever quest the powers that brought him here gave him- defeat the Demon King, usually. Brawls, with a possible Mystery of why the character was brought to his new world.
These are set, obviously, in ancient Japan. They can be historical -focusing on events and characters that actually existed- or Fantasy, in which creatures of Japanese Legend exist. Historical pieces have the limit that you must follow events as they happened (unless you’re playing in an ‘alternate history’ setting). Japanese Fantasy is pretty much the same as Western, with different but equivalent creatures. Note that Anime tends to exaggerate both the honor and abilities of Samurai and Ninja. (Give both Powers and the Duty disadvantage.) Brawls, with feudal-court Mysteries possible, and Personal-honor subplots.
Given that so many Manga are aimed at teenagers, its natural that High Schools are often featured in them. In this genre, the focus is a student fan club. The subject can be anything -even Anime or Manga! The club is always threatened by something- lack of members, bullies, low budget, threats of being forbidden etc. Almost always climaxes in an end-of-semester show. Personal Subplot.
Special Card Games:
These series feature collectible card games, except the cards turn out to have special powers, for some reason (usually magic.) Usually they allow the Summoning of monsters for combat, but can also create other effects such as “spells”. Being merchandise-driven, the cards in the show must follow the real ones’ rules, so you can use them as props. Brawls.
Super Martial Arts:
This is like your typical martial arts adventure, except that the characters have absurd levels of power. This is the most common type of Tournament (see below) Super Martial Arts are a staple of many other anime series as well- superhero, ninja, etc. A common trope is for the characters to name their “moves” (powers) and shout those names when using them (for no apparent reason). Brawls.
“Super Soldiers”, this is a type of superhero team, more common in Tokusatsu shows, but sometimes seen in anime as well. Some entity grants powers to a group of people so they can defeat an evil organization. They always wear color-coded uniforms and often use Mecha as well. The goal is of course to defeat said organization, though sometimes a new one comes along. Brawls.
This is a contest to find the best person at something- usually, the best warrior, but also sports or even games! There might be a special reward, or just a title, to be won. Martial Arts tournaments are the best example, but two unique variants are Monster Collecting and Special Card Game tournaments. Tournament story arcs sometimes happen in other series. Brawls with Personal Subplots.
Video Game World:
A character travels -willingly or unwillingly- into a world based on a video game. This is either a virtual reality (ala The Matrix) or a real universe that just happens to work on "game rules" (characters may have extra lives, for example). Western Fantasy games are the most typical. Mostly for Brawls, though the real nature of the world might be a Mystery.
Next Time, we'll look at various BASH Anime Character Templates!