Manga, a Japanese style of literature similar to comic books, is typically divided into genres based on the intended audience, such as young males and females and older men and women. Each of these in turn can be subdivided into even more specific genres like action and comedy. The subdivisions are not exclusive to the manga genres and often overlap between intended audiences.
Shonen is the term used to describe manga aimed at the younger male audience. It is usually told from the point of view of an adolescent male character. Common topics found in this genre primarily include action and adventure, sports, horror, and romance. Shonen differs from many other manga genres in its preference for violence and robust, alluring, and curvaceous female characters as well as a reduced focus on character and plot intricacies and character interactions. This does not necessarily mean that the stories lack depth. Cowboy Bebop and Samurai X are common examples of shonen.
The manga genre intended for adolescent girls is called shoujo, which means "young girl." Rather than focus on action or situational conflict like shonen, shoujo tends to concentrate more on a character's emotional state and her relationship with others. Heroines are often depicted as passionate and pure. Compared to other manga genres, everything in shoujo is rendered and presented as visually beautiful, and emphasis is placed on the character's hairstyle, eyes, and outfits. Sailor Moon is one of the most well-known examples of the shoujo genre.
There are several manga genres devoted to adults as well. Seinen and josei are directed at adult men and women, respectively, usually college-age individuals and up. The types of stories depicted within these genres are usually similar to their younger counterparts but adopt adult themes and contain mature content not found in the genres geared to younger audiences.
Other manga genres are more sexually focused. Shoujo-ai and shonen-ai, more commonly called yuri and yaoi, respectively, are concerned with homosexual relationships. Yuri portrays female to female relationships, while yaoi depicts male to male relationships. In Japan these manga genres can also refer to pedophilia in same-sex relationships.
Hentai is the name given to manga that is sexually hardcore and pornographic in nature. In the Japanese language hentai means something akin to "perversion" or "pervert." The word hentai is rarely used to describe pornographic manga in Japan, with the term 18-kin being applied to such publications instead.