Josei, Shoujo, Reverse Harem – What Does It Mean?

As a long term fan of anime, I can say that there are many words in the anime community which might not be very obvious to newbies. Even worse, they might not be even obvious for experienced anime fans!

The most common terms used for describing genres are usually pretty obvious, but there are some exceptions:

? Shounen
? Bishounen
? Shoujo
? Slice of Life
? Harem
? Reverse Harem
? Josei
? Shoujo-ai
? Yuri
? Yaoi

Let’s break it down one by one to provide you a good idea of what do these genres mean.

1. Shounen
  • target-demographic of this genre is a young teen male,
  • usually contains a lot of action,
  • the main protagonist is a male (in a similar age as the target-demographic, so 12-18),
  • includes comedy elements.

2. Bishounen
  • not listen as an official genre but still frequently used by the female audience,
  • it literally means “pretty boy,” as in an attractive member of the male gender,
  • the stereotypical bishounen generally has long hair, a slender, nice figure, and no facial hair.

3. Shoujo
  • the equivalent of shounen anime for young teen females,
  • typically revolves around emotions and relationships,
  • the main character is female.

4. Slice of Life
  • you get a slice of life of some anime characters,
  • in other words, you follow the lives of people including their daily activities, for example, anime focused on the daily life of high school students.

5. Harem
  • a male anime character is adored and surrounded by multiple females,
  • usually involves polygynous/polyandrous relationships, so there is either love or sexual interest included between 3 or more people.

6. Reverse Harem
  • the equivalent of a harem for females,
  • the main female protagonist is surrounded by multiple males.

Read also: Top 7 Reverse Harem Anime (2019)

7. Josei
  • this genre targets late teen or adult female audience,
  • it’s kind of rare.

8. Shoujo-ai
  • shoujo-ai depicts non-explicit lesbian relationships.

9. Shounen-ai
  • depicts non-explicit homosexual relationships between males.

9. Yuri
  • involves a lesbian relationship,
  • involves physical and lustful scenes.

10. Yaoi
  • includes a homoerotic relationship between males,
  • usually includes sexually explicit scenes.


Hi, I'm Mia, the founder of 9 Tailed Kitsune. An avid anime fan, gamer, and esports enthusiast dedicated to helping you find anime content exactly to your liking.

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