Just What Is An "Otaku" Anyway? A
Guide To Useful Japanese Terms Found In Anime.
- ADR(Automated Dialogue Recording) - The process of making
an English language soundtrack which, as much as
possible, fits to mouth movements on screen.
- Anime - The word used in Japan for animation. Now used in
the Western word to distinguish Japanese animation from
all other forms.
- Arigato - Thank you
- Bakka - Japanese word used for "idiot" or
- BGM - Back Ground Music from an
- Bishojo - Beautiful young girl
- Bishonen - Beautiful young boy
- Bosozoku - A term found mainly in 80's anime. Used for
motorcycle gangs("speed tribes")
- -Chan - Suffix meaning darling or little one. Usually
used by romantic partners or female friends. Often
applied to animals or children. EX: Yui-chan of Fushigi
- Chibi - The Japanese word for small. Often used as a
prefix for name sin Anime. EX: Chibiusa in Sailor
- City Gothic - An Anime genre set in a cyber punk future
with elements of traditional Gothic Horror EX: AD Police
- Dare - who (pronounced "dar-a")
- Demo - but(as in "I would go to the store, but I
have to watch anime!")
- Dojinshi - Japanese for Fan Zine. Many dojinshi are
- Doko ni - Where?
- Doshite - Why?
- Etchi - Milder than hentai. Often used to describe
anime which deal with sex and nudity, which do not
contain any pornographic material, but are still
"perverted" EX: Ranma 1/2
- Esper - Popular in the 70's and early 80's. Another word
for psychic. EX: KOR
- Fansubs - Subtitled anime created by fans for fans.
- Furigana - Another word for Hiragana
- Gachapon Toy - Cheap, attractive toys found in vending
- Gaijin - Means "strange person." Normally used
- Gaikokujin - Means "person from another
- Garage Kit - Model Kits
- Gekiga - Japanese word for graphic novel
- Giri - A feudal concept of duty or obligation. Most often
found in Samurai Anime. EX: Dagger of Kamui and, to an
- Hai - the most common word for "yes" you'll
come across in anime
- Hakama - Floor length wide pants worn by men and mikos.
- Hara-kiri - Like seppuku it is ritual
disembowelment. However, seppuku is honorable while
hara-kiri implies disapproval.
- Hentai - Like Etchi it means perverted. However, hentai
is often used in the anime world(at least Western) to
describe either pornographic anime or anime with sex
scenes. EX: Magical Twilight
- Hiragana - One of three Japanese scripts consisting of 46
basic syllables and variations on them. Any Japanese word
which is written in Kanji can be written in hiragana. It
is the first script taught to children.
- Idol - Japanese term for a popular, rather cardboard
starlet in any field. They usually have short lived,
hectic, intense careers.
- Iie - the most common form of "no" you'll come
across in anime
- Jampai - Pain in the but(Alright, so I've only come
across this in one anime ever.....but it's cool anyways,
- Kabuki - All male theatrical tradition in which female
impersonators play women's roles.
- Kaiju - Japanese word for monster.
- Kami - Often translated as "God" it tends to
mean "soul" or "spirit." Look at the
context in which it's used. Also used to imply great
respect. EX: Osamu Tezuka wa manga no kami desu =)
- Kanji - The Chinese characters which make up the bulk of
the Japanese language.
- Katakana - Devised to write foreign words such as names.
Also used to write mechanical and biological terms. EX:
The word "Gundam" is written in katakana
- Kawaii - Japanese for cute. Often applied to super
deformed(SD) characters. Anime fanatics often use it to
describe anything and everything. EX: Kawaii inu ga imasu
- Kohai - An underclassmen.
- -Kun - Suffix most often used between friends. EX:
Tamahome-kun, who beats up the great "kami"
Tasuki in Fushigi Yuugi
- Magical Girl - The genre of anime which deals with a band
of heroines with "magic" powers. EX: Sailor
Moon; Wedding Peach; Magic Knight Rayearth
- Manga - Japanese for comic
- Mecha - comes from the English word
"mechanical." Though it means any kind of
mechanism, it is often used to describe the genre of
anime dominated by giant robots. EX: Gundam
- Miko - Technically a Shinto priestess. In anime it's any
sort of priestess. EX: Suzaku no Miko(Priestess of
- Mobile Suit(Armor) - A humanoid fighting machine that
requires one or more human operators to function EX: Neon
- Ninja - A mercenary spy or assassin feudal Japan. They
were thought to have special powers and are often
portrayed that way in anime. Some Anime With Ninjas:
Ninja Scroll; Yotoden
- No Daa - Cute, meaningless thingy said by Chichiri in
Fushigi Yuugi(and other people in old anime whose names I
can't remember =P
- OAV/OVA - Original Animation
Video or Original Video
Animation. Stories made specially for
release on video rather than TV or in theaters. Almost
all popular anime shows have OAV's. Some shows(Mahou
Tsukai Tai, for example) are released as OAV's only.
- OST - Original Sound Track
- Otaku - Japanese word meaning obsessive fan of
anything.Somewhat derogatory meaning that you put your
interest above all else. Westerners tend to use it
without the derogatory connotations. Rather, an otaku is
someone who is a dedicated fan of anime and/or manga.
- R.A.A. - Formerly the abbreviation for rec.arts.anime.
It is now broken down into nine categories due to
increase in popularity.
- Redisu - Ladies Manga. Often grouped with shojo by
- RPG - Role Playing Game
- -Sama - More respectful than -san. Often used in
anime when adressing royalty. EX: Hotohori-sama, yet
another of Fushigi Yuugi fame (It's my favorite anime, in
case you haven't guessed =)
- -San - Respectful suffix added to names. EX: While
brainwashed Tamahome orders his true love, Miaka, to
refer to him as "Tamahome-san"
- Samurai - Japan's warrior caste.
- Seiyu - Japanese term for voice actor or actress
- Sempai - The best translation is
"upperclassmen." Is used either by it's self of
as a suffix used with the last name. EX: Hino-sempai, as
in Rei Hino of Sailor Moon fame
- Sensei - A Japanese term of respect often used to mean
"master" or "teacher." Can be used
alone or as a suffix. EX: Haruka-sensei, Usagi's
teacher(from Sailor Moon, duh ;-)
- Sentai - Japanese for team. Often used in Super-hero
anime. EX: The Sailor Scouts or Angels of Love are both
- Seppuku - Ritual suicide involving disembowelment. Is
considered honorable while hara-kiri is a suicide
which is disapproved of in some way.
- Shinto - Major Japanese religion. Literally it means
"the way of the gods." Shinto contains over 8
million kami. Many anime(such as Lum Urusei
Yatsura and Tenchi Muyo) are based on Shinto myths.
- Shogun - High Japanese army official. Often has control
of the entire army(or most of it) EX: Nakago in Fushigi
- Shojo - Girl's Manga. Tends to focus on relationships,
especially romantic ones. EX: Rose of Versailles
- Shonen - Japanese for boy. Shonen manga are often more
action oriented. EX: Akira
- Shonen Ai - "Boys Love" stories. These homo
erotic stories are made for the female audience. Usually
they don't involve any graphic sex.
- Super Deformed(SD) - Characters drawn way out of
proportion. EX: CLAMP uses an SD style. Pick up any CLAMP
comic(even the tragic "X") and you will find SD
- Ultra Kawaii - More than just cute(or super deformed)
this is something that is exceptionally cute!
- Yaoi - Intense, emotional stories which often feature
doomed relationships between and men and men.....more
adult than shonen ai EX: Kizuna, Zetsuai/Bronze
- Yakuza - The literal translation is something along the
lines of "worthless, good for nothing, etc...."
and is applied to gangsters and members of organized
crime. The Yakuza are Japanese Mafia men. EX: Hojo(and
everyone else who isn't a politician or cop) in Sanctuary
- Yoma - Term used for demons or entities of evil intent.
EX: Curse of the Undead Yoma
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