Anime Dictionary


Here is a glossary of terms that every
otaku should know!

Anime (Ah-nee-may): The Japanese term for animation. We are most familiar with anime thorugh imported television programs (Pokemon, Card Captors, Yu-Gi-Oh, Trigun) and feature films (Akira, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away).

Authentic format:  Manga that reads right to left, as it appears in the original Japanese editions of manga.

Josei (Joh-say) 女性 : Manga intended for women in their 20s, focusing on more adult aspects of being a woman in contemporary Japan. Notable series in this genres: Happy Mania, Mars, and Paradise Kiss.

Manga (Mahn-gah) 漫画 : Simply the Japanese word for comics, applicable to all genres.

Otaku (Oh-tah-koo) オタク:: Self-descriptive term for fans. Originally a negative term in Japanese, it initially connoted the stereotype of the fan who has no life outside of an obsessive interest in manga/anime. The term can be derogatory or neutral depending on the situation. While increasingly the Japanese term is used rather than trying to find a rough translation common translations include, fan, fanboy, geek and nerd.

OVA:  Short for "original video animiation", or anime produced for the direct to home video market.

Seinen (Say-nen)  青年 : Intended for young men, featuring more grahic depictions of sex and violence than found in Shonen series.  (This word should not be confused with another word pronounced seinen, meaning adult, but written with different kanji 成年) . Examples include Blade of the Immortal, Lone Wolf and Cub, and Seraphic Feather.

Shonen (Shohn-en):  Japanese for "boy" and intended for  boys between the ages of six and 18. Most commonly, stories involve many forms of action/adventure. Examples include Inu-Yasha, Shamen King, and Dragonball.

Shojo (Shoh-jo)  少女 : Japanese for "girl", geared toward girls under the age of 12. Usually the protagonists are teenage girles and stories focus on relationships, although not always stressing romance. Many of these stories feature lots of action and magical adventure. There is a large market for manga and anime aimed at this group. Stories in the shōjo demographic range from innocent girl's stories to stronger material for the older readers.  Examples include Sailor Moon, Fruits Basket and Peach Girl.

Shonen (Shohn-en) 少年: "Boy love" stories, aimed at girls which concentrate on same sex relationships and romance rather than sex. Examples include Fake, Gravitation and Banana Fish.

Shonen Ai - Yaoi やおい : English speakers use this term to refer to male male romance or sexually explicit tales. However in Japan yaoi is used for a genre of Doujinshi (self-published Japanese works) rather than regular commercial products. For commercial products in this genre of male-male stories the Japanese have used several terms over the years. Originally, in the early 1970s, the term shōnen-ai was used, then the literal English translation of shōnen-ai: "Boys Love", came into being, today "BL", which is short for Boys Love, is what one usually hears used by Japanese. This genre is mainly produced by women and for female fans in both Japan and other nations.

Super Deforemed: The convention of drawing characters in a shortened, exaggeratedly cartoony style for comedic effect.

For more information go to the Glossary of Anime and Manga.