What is Fantasy? — All about the genre and sub-genres.

What is Fantasy?

Fantasy stories are not reality. They have imaginary characters and places. In the past and in the future, we will probably never see such things. Fantasy stories often include magic, creatures, super powers, and strange worlds.

You will see: Dragons. Magic. Elves. Talking animals.

Popular fantasy novels and movies are:


The Popular Sub-genres of Fantasy


High Fantasy (also called: Epic Fantasy)

High fantasy is not on Earth. The story is on a completely different world. The countries are different. The weather is different. The cultures are different. The creatures are different.

Everything is different. (For this reason, these stories are often very long and difficult to read. If you are new to tadoku, I recommend starting with other sub-genres before reading high fantasy.)

You will see: New worlds. Magical creatures. War. Kings and queens.

Popular high fantasy novels and movies:

Hobbits, elves and wizards fight to get the magical ring.
A boy and a toothless dragon become friends.
Alice falls into a rabbit hole and she discovers a fantastical world.

Urban Fantasy (also called: Low Fantasy)

Urban Fantasy is on our Earth (often in large cities, like New York, or Tokyo). The “fantasy” is often hidden from regular humans. Magical people or creatures live secretly.

Because this genre takes place on our Earth, it is a good genre for beginners. Often, the main character is also learning about magic, so us readers can learn, too.

You will see: Vampires. Werewolves. Magic schools. Angels.

Popular urban fantasy novels and movies are:

Harry learns that he is a wizard. He attends a magic school near London.
A human and an orc are partners on the Los Angeles Police Department.
Two girls move to the countryside and meet magical creatures.

Dark Fantasy (also called: Grimdark)

Dark fantasy is a mix between fantasy and horror. Often, the main character is human and the enemies are evil creatures.

This genre is often fast-paced! If you get bored easily, you might want to try this genre.

You will see: Evil vampires. Scary demons. Death. More death.

Popular dark fantasy novels and movies are:

A man is trapped in vampire’s castle.
A long story of a civil war. Royal families fight to control the land.
A skeleton wants to become Santa Claus, so he kidnaps the real one.

Paranormal Romance

Paranormal romance is a mix between fantasy and romance. Often, it is a love between a human and a fantasy creature. Sometimes, it is a love between two different fantasy creatures.

This is a great genre for tadoku beginners, especially if you love romance. Usually, the storyline and setting are not too difficult.

You will see: Sexy vampires. Beautiful angels. Handsome werewolves. Jealous fairies.

Popular paranormal romance novels and movies are:

A human girl moves to a small town near Seattle. She falls into a love triangle with a vampire and a werewolf.
A young woman discovers that she is a Shadowhunter. Another handsome Shadowhunter trains her how to kill demons.
The devil leaves hell and comes to Earth for fun. He falls in love with a detective, but he can’t tell her the truth.

Fantasy is my favorite genre because I can escape the real world. I love to imagine different creatures and magic. I hope that you can enjoy reading fantasy, too!

Published by Judy Shinohara

Hello! I’m Judy, living in Japan. I write fun stories for people who are studying English. I also teach English and study Japanese.

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