Top 10 Genre Deconstruction in Anime

Script written by Brandon Stuhr

These series bring all our favourite tropes and clichés to the foreground and twist them into something new and exciting. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we are counting down our picks for Top 10 Genre Deconstruction in Anime.

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For this list, we are only considering series that take a common anime setting or genre and dismantle them piece by piece. They take established tropes, break them down and put them back together into a truly unique series. We’re ranking these anime based not only on how good they are, but on how well they deconstruct the genres they have chosen to tackle.

Special thanks to our user Ashjbow for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Genre+Deconstruction+Anime

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Script written by Brandon Stuhr

Top 10 Genre Deconstruction in Anime

These series bring all our favourite tropes and clichés to the foreground and twist them into something new and exciting. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we are counting down our picks for Top 10 Genre Deconstruction in Anime.

For this list, we are only considering series that take a common anime setting or genre and dismantle them piece by piece. They take established tropes, break them down and put them back together into a truly unique series. We’re ranking these anime based not only on how good they are, but on how well they deconstruct the genres they have chosen to tackle.

#10: “Samurai Flamenco” (2013-14)

Deconstruction of the Superhero Genre
While there are many comic book superhero’s who serve as parodies or deconstructions of their own medium, Samurai Flamenco attempts to do the same on the small screen. This series follows Hazama, a male model who has no powers but becomes the superhero known as Samurai Flamenco anyway. Teaming up with a police officer named Hidenori Goto, a-la Batman and Commissioner Gordon, the two find themselves up against vilains who have actual super human powers. The series is all about discovering what it means to be a true hero, and exposes everything we’ve come to take for granted in superhero stories.


#9: “School Days” (2007)

Deconstruction of High School Drama
Like many deconstructions, this series starts off as a rather bland and stereotypical series before completely blowing expectations and assumptions out of the water. Being a teenage is a funny age, where even the smallest and most inconsequential problems feel like live-changing disasters. In a typical high school drama characters always come out on top and in the end, deal with their problems like level headed adults rather than most angsty teenagers would. School Days on the other hand, had it’s characters give into temptation or completely fall apart in the face of adversity and, without wanting to spoil too much, have a bad time.

#8: “Daily Lives of High School Boys” (2012)

Deconstruction of Slice of Life
Mecha, explosions, fantasy adventures, you know, just standard anime high school stuff. This is one of those anime series where anime exists within its world, thus the boys in this story let their imaginations run a little wild. Breaking down the tried but true slice of life genre, nothing crazy or our of this world happens to these kids, and the real adventure here is simply their coming of age. Highly relatable, especially to anime fans, you’ll find all the clichés and stereotypes laid bare, but with a very realistic and humble approach that makes you realize that fiction characters can be just as normal as the rest of us.

#7: “School Rumble” (2004-05)

Deconstruction of Silly School Comedy
Going from the realistic to the absurd, School Rumble is a must watch for anyone who loves high school comedy. Swapping out the ditzy but lovable female protagonist for the bad-ass, dumb-ass, Kenji Harima, we got a completely new perspective on an all too familiar genre. All the cliché scenes are present here, only gender swapped, which surprisingly changes the way things tend to play out. Guy accidently walks in on a naked girl? He’s a pervert. GIRL walks in on a guy? Well, HES still the pervert. Exposing societies double standards and anime’s typical treatment of genders, School Rumble will make you think as much as it makes you laugh.

#6: “Monogatari” franchise (2007-16)

Deconstruction of Harem Genre and Fan Service
Harem and fan service series tend to go hand in hand, and have become so popular that they are actually respected genres in their own right. Although try explaining to your parents that you’re watching High School DxD or Queen’s Blade for the plot. The Monogatari franchise however, stands out as a lot more than a fan service series by being not only self aware, but genuinely engaging. The unique plot, art style and characters only emphasises how absurd fan service situations actually are by making familiar situation feel really out of place in a series that honestly does let it’s story drive the plot forward.

#5: “My Love Story!!” (2015)

Deconstruction of High School Shoujo
This tale as old as time plays with the Shoujo genre by taking the character who you usually be the protagonist’s best friend in another series, in this case Takeo Goda, and making him the centre of attention. Tall and muscular but not exactly attractive, Takeo has a tough time finding a girlfriend when every girl he likes ends up falling in love with his best friend, a stereotypical pretty boy who WOULD be the protagonist in any other series. As we follow Takeo’s attempts at finding love, cliché romance tropes gets peeled apart layer by layer and were left with a unique and relatable take on a classic love story.

#4: “Mobile Suit Gundam” (1981-82)

Deconstruction of Mecha
Alright “Gundam”, let’s see what you can bring to the table besides mecha action. “Mobile Suit Gundam” flips the traditional in-experienced character falls into the cockpit and kicks ass trope and shows us a much grittier outcome. When series protagonist Amuro Ray gets in the cockpit for the first time and has only the instruction manual as a teacher, his in-experience shows and he accidentally kills numerous civilians and seemingly his own father as well. As the series goes on, “Mobile Suit Gundam” shows that war is brutal, traumatic and never one sided, a theme that all the best mecha anime have to tackle at some point or another.

#3: “One-Punch Man” (2015)

Deconstruction of Shonen Battle Anime
At first glance, you might think this series’ main target was the superhero genre, but just watch a few episodes and you’ll start seeing all the shonen action clichés get picked apart one punch at a time. Through the eyes of series’ protagonist Saitama, OPM jumps from cliché to cliché, making light of the absurdities of situations that we as anime fans have became much too comfortable with. Saitama himself is straight-up bored with the whole ordeal, and makes observations and comes to conclusions we should have all reached decades ago. Poking fun at without belittling the shows we all grew up with and love is probably One-Punch Man’s biggest strength, yet we’ll never look at shonen anime the same again.

#2: “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” (2011)

Deconstruction of Magical Girl Anime
As cliché as the shonen anime is the magical girl genre. Captivating fans of all ages for generations, magical girl series are important to anime’s position in pop culture, with theme and imagery that has remained commonplace for over fifty years. Puella Magi Madoka Magica takes this beloved genre and ruthlessly tears it open, exposing it’s heart in painful and jaw dropping ways. For the first time audiences have to question that maybe it’s not the best idea to accept the promises of a mysterious at face value, and that being a magical girl is more of a curse than a blessing. If you’re a fan of this fantastic show, be sure to check out the OG magical girl deconstruction, Revolutionary Girl Utena for even more insight and tears.

#1: “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (1995-96)

Deconstruction of Mecha and Super Robot Genre
And here we have it, not only the best deconstruction of an anime genre, but one of the best anime series of all time. Savagely ripping into the super robot genre piece by piece, NGE shatters any delusions that views might have about the glory of teenagers piloting mecha into battle. Beginning with a very text book approach to the genre, protagonist Shinji Ikari is thrust into the cockpit of the most powerful weapon on Earth. It’s all down hill from there however, as the series makes light of the fact that these kids are child solders, and that a select few people taking responsibility for the entire human race is a terrible idea.

Do you agree with our list? Anime series do you think breaks apart genre’s the best? For more constructive top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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