Genre Talk: Bishounen

The Bishounen Anime Genre

Popularity: 5/10 (USA), 8/10 (Japan)

Commonly mixed with Slice of Life.

“I’m used to being mistaken as a girl.”

– Haruka Nanase


When it comes to the US, this is a pretty unpopular genre. In Japan, though, it is very well loved. The lead role is usually an extremely beautiful man (almost feminine beauty). This is because the targeted audience are teen girls and middle aged women. Since the male lead is very feminine, there is usually a touch of homosexuality. Usually the main character will be very tall and slender. They have clear skin and great hair styles. They are very androgynous, until they take their shirts off. They may appear female at first glance, but they are most certainly males to the core.

The Bishounen genre often breaks the stereotype for beautiful male characters. In most cases, these characters will do something very masculine as a hobby. Most often the hobby is a sport (kendo, swimming, basketball, martial arts, etc.). In other cases, the character will be very funny or intelligent taking the role of the lead character.

Examples of Bishounen


This series follows Haruka on his journey to become the greatest swimmer. He lives and breathes water.

No. 6

In a perfect town called No. 6, Shion meets another boy named Rat. His life drastically changed after this meeting.

Vampire Knight

Yuki Cross has a weird connection to a fellow student Kuran Kaname. She protects his secret, that he is a vampire.