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Fantasy is a form of speculative fiction in which physical laws differ from our own through a reason for which no scientific explanation is offered, or which take place a world wholly different from our own.

A critical characteristic is that the world feature some difference from Earth that is not a result of science or technology, but rather the result of magic or other anomalous phenomena.

Fantasy — Subcategories


Angels are supernatural beings. They are usually messengers of God depicted as human beings but with a pair of white wings and a halo, the latter being not as frequently used. Significantly a fallen angel who has turned evil, will be depicted with black wings.

Examples: Pita Ten, Aa! Megami-sama!

Contemporary Fantasy

Contemporary fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy, also known as contemporary urban fantasy, modern-day fantasy, or indigenous fantasy. These terms are used to describe stories set in the putative real world (often referred to as consensus reality) in contemporary times, in which, it is revealed, magic and magical creatures exist, either living in the interstices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds. It thus has much in common with, and sometimes overlaps with, secret histories.

Examples: Tactics, Chiccha na Yukitsukai Sugar

Dark Fantasy

Dark fantasy in this context refers to stories that focus on elements usually found in the horror genre but which take place in a setting more alike sword and sorcery or high fantasy. Dark fantasy includes "grittier" fantasy, conducted in settings which represent the brutality of the medieval period more truly than the traditionally idealised representations of conventional fantasy, generally with a dash of supernatural horror. It may or may not take place in its own fantasy world.

Examples: Berserk, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust


In religion and mythology, occultism and folklore, a demon (or daemon, daimon; from Greek δαίμων daimōn) is a supernatural being that is generally described as a malevolent spirit. However, the original meaning of the word daemon does not carry any negative connotations, which were later projected onto it as Christianity spread. (Source: Wikipedia:Demons)

Often described as minions from Hell. Generally known to attack humans and feast on their flesh or possess the bodies of those with weak souls.

Examples: Asura Cryin', Devilman: Tanjou hen, Karas


Very intelligent mythical beings — a cross between a very large lizard and a dinosaur — that breath fire, and have a knack for kidnapping damsels, thus distressing them. In Fantasy anime this perceptive species often lives secluded from human civilisation, protectors of long lost knowledge. Dragons seem to be on the verge of extinction.

Examples: Slayers Try, Scrapped Princess


An elf (plural elves) is a being of Germanic mythology. The elves were originally thought of as a race of divine or semi-divine beings (wights, vættir) endowed with magical powers, which they use both for the benefit and the injury of mankind. In pre-Christian mythology, they appear to have been divided into light elves and dark elves, difficult to delineate from the Æsir (gods) on one hand and the dvergar (dwarves) on the other. (Source: Wikipedia:Elves)

Examples: Macademi Wasshoi!, Sora o Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai


A goddess is a female deity. Often deities are part of a polytheistic system that includes several deities in a pantheon. Common associations of goddesses are the Earth, the Mother, Love, and the household, reflecting historical gender roles. (Source: Wikipedia:Goddess)

Examples: Aa! Megami-sama!, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu

High Fantasy

According to The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, high fantasy is 'Fantasies set in otherworlds, specifically secondary worlds, and which deal with matters affecting the destiny of these worlds.' Basically a catch-all for anime that feature fantastical races (such as elves and dwarves), wizards, and such.

Examples: Lodoss-tou Senki, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Words Worth


In a traditional Fantasy anime with medieval setting, the lack of technology is "compensated" by the introduction of the supernatural, i.e. spell-casting, magic wands, and magic circles. In another setting long-lost technology may be so advanced that it is mistaken for magic (Arthur C. Clarke: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic") as seen in Scrapped Princess (see: science and magic coexist).

Examples: Scrapped Princess, Howl no Ugoku Shiro, Negima!?, Slayers Next


A super-human species, with long fangs used to penetrate the tender neck of young females, to drink blood. In early fantasy stories Vampires cannot tolerate the light of day, avoid garlic, do not show a reflection in mirrors, and shun Christian crosses. In modern anime these limitations usually have been dropped. Vampires are not only much stronger than humans, live for several hundred years, but often actually have super-powers. A favourite in the horror anime genre as fearsome opponents.

Examples: Vampire Hunter D, Hellsing, Kyuuketsuki Miyu, Rosario to Vampire