What is Josei and Seinen?

In previous blogs, I mentioned Josei. I mentioned in my first What Is blog, that I would talk about Josei at some point. The problem though, was I don’t really have enough experience with the genre to make a blog on it. Still, I really want to talk about it so I’m gonna do it. This week, I going to cover Josei and its counterpart Seinen.

So, what is Josei and Seinen. Well to put it simply, they are more mature versions of Shojo and Shonen. If these genres were people, Shojo and Shonen would be high schoolers, while Josei and Seinen would be adults. This also makes sense in a way, as young adults are the targeted audience of these manga. I say manga specifically, because these two genres aren’t actually that main stream. Yeah, there might be that one really popular Seinen manga that gets adapted, but for the most part Shojo and Shonen take the spotlight. That doesn’t mean Josei and Seinen aren’t good, it’s just most of their readers are probably in their 20-30s… Now, your probably wondering why I would make such a big deal about the difference in audience? Well, I make a big deal about it because the content of the material can be quite different and clash with established trends in their teenage counterparts. 

What do I mean by clashing with established trends? Well, let me explain as I talk about Josei and Seinen individually. First up, Josei. Out of the two, this is probably the one I’m most well aquatinted with. However, even I tend to avoid this genre because the endings and drama aren’t really for me. Like I said above Shojo is Josei’s teenage counterpart, and that genre is practically all sunshine and rainbows compared to Josei. Both, genre still cover relationships as its main focus, but endings and levels of drama can be quite different. In Shojo, the main pair almost always gets together. Josei though, it follows a more realistic approach to romance. A classic example of this is a rag to riches story, the poor girl and rich guy kind. In Shojo, it’s pretty straight forward with some family drama. In Josei though? Oh boy, I don’t know why but authors in this genre like twisting the knife. In Josei, the classic girl ends up with guy, is much more complicated. Authors, like to keep you on your toes a lot more then Shojo and the main pair can switch on how the plot moves. Nothing is set in stone and plot twist are much more prominent. For example possibly other endings for the rags to riches story, is that their relationship never works out, they still see each other in secret but never get together, or some other guy comes along and sweeps away the girl. These are just examples but all very possible in Josei. 

Next, up is Seinen… Right off the bat, I’d like to mention I’m not as well verse on the topic. Yeah, I have watched the popular Seinen anime like Tokyo Ghoul, but my brother could probably explain this genre better. Any how, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Seinen is blood, and a lot of it. All of the Seinen manga I’ve read that I know off the top of my head have a lot of gore. Exploding bodies, decapitation, severe burns, that kind of stuff. Personally, I think that all the blood and guts are a bit much so I tend to avoid the genre. However, after a bit of research, I have recently learned that some of my favourite anime/manga/light novels are in fact Seinen. The one I was probably most surprised to see would likely be Spice and Wolf, an anime about a travelling merchant and his companion. So… I guess that Seinen can encompass a lot of topics, as long as it’s directed at the proper demographic. Still, for the most part I like to just view Seinen as a more mature version of Shonen with a lot of blood. 

Now, we have come to the trends part of this blog. Honestly, I don’t really know what to put here, as I’ve already talked about the more popular trends in my Shojo and Shonen blogs. I guess for starters, because of their more realist and mature takes on their teenage counterparts, they can touch upon genres Shojo and Shonen can’t. Some basic examples are Tragedy, Angst, and Psychological. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t touch upon more lighthearted genres like Slice of Life or Romance. All in all, I don’t really know how I feel about these two genre as a whole. Instead, I like to look at each piece of work individually. For example, I really like Spice and Wolf and Usagi Drop. However, something like Tokyo Ghoul is just alright at the best of times in my opinion. In the end, I would like to explore these two genres a bit more and hopefully find manga that personally appeal to me. 

What is Slice of Life?

I don’t know if this actually counts as a genre unique culture, but I see it a lot in anime in manga so I’m going to talk about it. This week, I’m covering Slice of Life. 

So, what is Slice of Life? Well, according to the internet, Slice of Life is the depiction of mundane experiences. Personally, I think this definition fits the bill pretty nicely. These mundane experiences can range from school life to working. Basically, if it’s not sport or action it might be Slice of Life. Remember back when I was talking about Shoujo and how those stories might be able to show up in real life? Well, Slice of Life takes that one step further. Just by living life you’re practically living your own Slice of Life anime/manga, that is just how mundane things can get. 

Unfortunately because of this, it’s really hard to drive a story with just Slice of Life alone. Usually, in Slice of Life stories, there is another genre to go along with it. The most common ones I have seen are mystery, sport, horror, music, romance, magic, and fantasy. However, I have seen other genres paired up with Slice of Life, like supernatural. Still, I’m don’t really want to list them out because we would be here forever. Through out my entire time reading manga, I believe Slice of Life is the most versatile genre. Even, action oriented anime will eventually have aspects of Slice of Life at one point or another. If there was just nonstop action, eventually the reader would just get tired of the series. To stop this authors usually, put in a filler (usually Slice of Life in nature) to mix things up a bit. A good example of this is Code Geass, as the have a good balance of action and more mundane activities like school. 

Now, I get to the part were I get to talk about general trends with the genre. Because, the Slice of Life genre is so vast, I’ll be excluding any supernatural or fantasy stuff and the unique cases as well. By doing this, we actually cut down the trends by a lot. 

To start off, the first trend I want to talk about is school. This trend is by the far the one I’m most familiar with. I like to split this trend further into two separate categories called clubs and non-clubs. In club manga, the protagonist or group of protagonist join or start a club. Examples of this are Yuru Camp or K-ON. While still Slice of Life in essence, the story is usually focused on what ever club activity the protagonist are doing. This is what leads most Slice of Life anime to end up with some pretty obscure sub-genre like music. Because of the club centric plot, these stories don’t to worry as much about activities to do. Most of the time, episodes or chapters will be filled with club activity unlike with non-club stories. In non-club stories, the author doesn’t have the luxury of falling back on club activities or the like. And because of this, each chapter or episode usually has its own unique plot and is heavily character based. Not to say, the characters from other genres aren’t unique, it’s just that characters from non-club Slice of Life media need to be really intriguing to keep an audience. Without any really plot or intriguing aspects about the world, the only thing left is the character to build a story around. If you’re reading a Slice of Life story, you’re reading because of the characters. 

The last trend I want to talk about, is the working trend. This trend is really similar to club Slice of Life where there is already some kind of set order of events. Like the name suggest, the protagonist is usually coming into a new job and we follow them as they learn about their new occupation. However, if that was the only thing working manga had to offer there would be much of a story. So from time to time, there will be breaks from the work place. At that point events would happen as if the anime was a non-club Slice of Life. Personally, I just find these types of stories a bit more rare and easier to find similarities between. 

In the end, I feel Slice of Life can be one of the most unique genre in anime/manga. Because of how broad the genre is, there can be so many unique stories. Unlike Shonen or Shoujo, there isn’t a need to pander to a certain audience which allows the author to be completely free with whatever activities do. Character could be doing calligraphy in one episode and baseball in another. It doesn’t feel weird either, because of how free Slice of Life is. All in all, Slice of Life can be a nice change of pace to just relax.