Themes describe the very central elements important to the anime stories. They set the backdrop against which the protagonists must face their challenges. Be it School Life, present Daily Life, Military action, Cyberpunk, Law and Order detective work, Sports, or the Underworld. These are only but a few of the more typical backgrounds for anime plots. Add to that a Conspiracy setting with a possible tragic outcome, the Themes span most of the imaginable subject matter relevant to anime.
Themes — Subcategories
|Details||The 4 subcategories are explained here: Categories:Themes:Art|
Art plays an important part in the story and has central meaning to the characters (e.g. valuable paintings, or sculptures). Alternately the protagonists show a degree of artistic skill, e.g. as painters, sculptors, dress-makers, potters, musicians, composers, designers, etc. The anime will then centre on the development of those skills, from the unrecognized dilettante stages, right up to the moment of (commercial) breakthrough.
Coming of Age
In the strict sense the Coming of age describes a young person's transition from adolescence to adulthood. In anime the term is used in a more general sense where the protagonists have to face a challenge, make an important decision in their life, take on responsibility, or learn a lesson, and by overcoming these obstacles they reach a higher level of maturity.
The conspiracy thriller (or paranoid thriller) is a sub-genre of the thriller which flourished in the 1970s in the US (and was echoed in other parts of the world) in the wake of a number of high-profile scandals and controversies (most notably Vietnam, the assassination of President Kennedy, Chappaquiddick and Watergate), and which exposed what many people regarded as the clandestine machinations and conspiracies beneath the orderly fabric of political life.
The protagonists of conspiracy thrillers are often journalists or amateur investigators who find themselves (often inadvertently) pulling on a small thread which unravels a vast conspiracy that ultimately goes "all the way to the top".
Anime in the cooking genre will centre on the production of different kinds of food, including baking, but also gourmet meals and anything in between.
Cyberpunk focuses on computers or information technology, usually coupled with some degree of breakdown in social order. The plot often centres on a conflict among hackers, artificial intelligences, and mega corporations, tending to be set within a near-future dystopian Earth. (Paraphrased from Wikipedia)
The antics of the protagonists do not take place in some exotic setting or time, but in everyday life. When not "at the job" this means getting up in the morning, making meals, house cleaning, going shopping or out to eat, visiting the bath house or spa, leisure activities in the spare time, etc. The time "on the job" for students is School Life, for others working in their profession. Daily Life is basically a synonym for everything normal, repetitive, and trivial happening to your average person.
Note As soon as the protagonists are doing "professional" jobs - e.g. as Bounty Hunters or Detectives, etc. - in non-normal settings they are not performing trivial everyday work, thus this tag does not apply!
Law and Order
Where there is "wealth", there are criminals. It is up to the civil law enforcement, i.e. detectives, Police or Special Squads, to keep the lawless activities in the real world or in cyberspace under control.
|Note||Do not confuse this with Military presence.|
The police (civil servants) are the good guys in the battle against crime. Though they try hard, they are usually outclassed by super-criminals or criminal organizations in anime, requiring the help of special units or some lone hero.
The Special Squads are called in when the police is completely outclassed, e.g. fighting criminal syndicates. These special forces are trained to combat specific forms of crime, e.g. the anti-cyber-crime division.
There are several such squads: Whereas Section 9 of Ghost in the Shell is an official government organisation, there are also "benevolent" vigilante groups like the Knight Sabers (Bubblegum Crisis).
Criminal syndicates also have their special forces e.g. "death squads".
|Details||The 3 subcategories are explained here: Categories:Themes:Military|
The anime concerns an organised armed force, and its members. Said body should have both the equipment and hierarchy found in military groups, and should ideally be actively utilising their power against an opponent. Characters are either employed as professional soldiers or enlisted on a volunteer basis, for ideological reasons.
|Note||Just because the anime contains a bunch of soldiers or a tank, unless that is actually what the anime is about, you might not want to add this genre.|
In our terms, a proxy battle is a battle where humans use creatures/robots to do the fighting for them, either by commanding those creatures/robots or by simply evolving them/changing them into battle mode. Often the training aspect is also involved, or in some cases the proxies are nothing more than holographic representatives of some other variation of competition (like for example a card game). While many popular shounen anime fit under this category, it's not limited to shounen anime.
- Example: Bakuten Shoot Beyblade, Pocket Monsters, Digimon Adventure, Yuu Gi Ou: Duel Monsters, Dragon Drive
School Life... (6)
|Details||The 6 subcategories are explained here: Categories:Themes:School Life|
Since a large part of the anime audience still takes part in school life or is visiting college, it is only natural to choose a setting the audience can identify with, be it elementary, middle, or high school. For the older viewers a college setting with more mature real-life problems is appropriate. And since clubs take up so much time in the lives of students, these are obviously also important.
|Details||The 11 subcategories are explained here: Categories:Themes:Sports|
Sports anime revolves around a recreational physical activity or skill. In addition they often adhere to certain genre conventions, the emphasis on training and practice in preparation for competition, characters desire for self improvement, and pursuit of a specific goal.
Tragedy is a form of drama characterized by seriousness and dignity, usually involving a conflict between a character and some higher power, such as the law, the gods, fate, or society.
|Details||The 3 subcategories are explained here: Categories:Themes:Underworld|
The underworld we talk about here is not to be confused with the place where people are believed to go after they die, but the general term for organized crime. It is a shady world, unknown to most people, where illegal things like murder, smuggling, drug dealing and similar are happening daily. Groups known to be acting in this world are for example the Mafia or the yakuza.