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This document is legally used with permission of Animeinfo.org. If you plan to use this on your site, then please ask them about it, and not me.
Like all areas of interest, the anime community and industry have adopted their own set of terms - words that are used to describe common things in anime or manga. Some of these terms have been around for years, since the movement's inception, and others are just more recently coming into the limelight as the fan base for Japanese Animation becomes larger. This part of the site is dedicated to compiling a comprehensive listing of terms and definitions for a lot of the commonly used lingo that we anime fans use (we even snuck in a few pictures here and there, hehe, click the photos to get a bigger picture).
Guide to Definition Legend:
Here is the standard form for the definitions in this dictionary:
[grammatical context]. - [definition] [example] [other forms] see also: [related]
-"term" is the actual term used.
-"pronunciation" is the phonetic pronunciation of the word. For example, (oh-TAH-koo).
-"grammatical context" is the type of word it is, i.e. n. for noun, v. for verb, etc.
-"definition" is the actual explanation of the term.
-"example" is the use of the word in a sentence.Z
-"other forms" is any plural, adjectival, etc. form of the word
-"related" is a similar or associated word, in meaning, to the term given
Anime (AH-nee-may or AN-nee-may)
n. - Literal origin from the French, (short for "animation"). Refers to "Japanese Animation", a genre/medium that has its roots in the 1960's when the Japanese began making television versions of their version of comics (manga). Unlike the "cartoon", America and other culture's counterpart to anime, much of the Japanese animation shown is one of deeper, sometimes more mature themes, including developed storylines, linear plots, and aspects of violence, sex, drama, and comedy (not unlike live-action films in the States). There are different kinds of anime and each kind embraces adifferent age group or group of people. In Japan, the medium is as much respected as the "live-action" genre of movies. In other cultures, anime has achieved a mostly cult following, though with the mainstream acceptance and awareness of such anime as Pokemon, Dragonball Z, Tenchi Muyo, and Perfect Blue, the anime movement continues to gain in strength and visibility.
ex. - "Did you watch that new Evangelion? It's the epitomy of what anime is.
see also: Japanimation
Ani-Mayhem (AH-nee-may-hehm or AN-nee-may-hehm)
n. - Name for the collectable card game which uses Japanese animation characters from many series, including but not limited to Ranma 1/2, Tenchi Muyo, Bubblegum Crisis, and Dragonball Z. Expansion sets add new series to the mix of cards.
ex. - I played Ani-Mayhem with my friends today.
n. - Acronym for "Automated Dialogue Recording", the actual process by which an English language version of the script is fitted to match the mouth movements of characters on a screen. Language translations may not be accurate as a result of this process. ex. - ADR for the Viz Video series are usually done in their studios in Canada.
see also: Dub
exp. - Expression from the Japanese, meaning "thank you" or "I am grateful". Used to express gratitude to others. Can also be used in conjunction with adj. "gozaimasu", which makes the meaning of the expression more polite ("thank you very much"). ex. - I got the proofread paper you did for me. Arigato gozaimasu!
other forms: arigatou
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n., adj. - From the Japanese, meaning "idiot", "stupid", "foolish", etc.
ex. - You were caught cheating on Akane? Ranma, you baka!
n. - Acronym for "Background Music", instrumental soundtracks found in many anime. In Japan, it is common practice to release BGM CD's as well as song CD's of various popular anime.
ex. - I heard the BGM for the Rurouni Kenshin series, it's pretty awesome.
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "beautiful young girl".
ex. - Did you see Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi? She is definitely bishoujo.
other forms - bishojo
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "beautiful young boy". More commonly used than its gender counterpart, bishoujo.
ex. - Ranma, Ryouga, and Tasuki are all bishounen in my book.
other forms - bishonen
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suf. - From the Japanese, meaning "darling" or "little one". A suffix attached to names, only used with a child, or for women and girls. Animals, females, and children are the most commonly associated things with this suffix. Seniors or superiors are never addressed with this suffix.
ex. - Come here, Akane-chan.
adj. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "small". Used commonly as a prefix to things to describe them as small or tiny. Some anime characters are sometimes drawn small are are referred to in this manner.
ex. - One of my favorite characters in Sailor Moon is Chibi-Usa.
see also: Super-Deformed, SD
adv. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "a little". When exclaimed it means "wait!" or "hold on!". Most commonly used when anime characters are being pulled off somewhere.
ex. - Chotto matte ne. Let me tie my shoes.
other forms - chiisai (adj.)
n. - Slang or short for "convention". There are a lot of kinds of conventions. In regards to the anime genre, a convention consists commonly of dealer's rooms full of imported CD's, posters, and other Japanese anime merchandise, video rooms which show different kinds of anime, panels of guests or fans discussing various issues, masquerade/cosplay, artist sketches and drawings, and much more. Cons are a way of gathering large groups of anime fans in one place to have fun and have a good time talking anime. Generally, staff working these cons are anime fans, and can be characterized as funny, hard-working, and a little bit on the crazy/insane side (like talking about evil things you can do with White Castle burgers, for example).
ex. - I heard that Anime Central was a great con to attend. other forms - cons (plural)
n., v. - Term short for "costume play" referring to the common practice of dressing up as favorite anime characters at conventions, for participating in the masquerade in skits or just for fun. Some people are known to make their own costumes for "creatures" - Pikachu, Godzilla, and others.
ex. - I think we're going to do a Slayers cosplay this year.
ex. 2 - We might cosplay as Miaka and Tamahome.
other forms - cosplays (pl.), cosplayers (n.)
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adv. - From the Japanese, meaning "why?" or "what do you mean?"
ex. - You killed Vegeta? Doshite?
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "Fan magazine" or "Fan Art". Anime-style art drawn by fans or other unofficial artists. Can also be used to refer to a whole volume or work comprised of this kind of art. Some doujinshi attempt to copy other anime into original unofficial stories, while others are entirely original. Some doujinshi even consist of "adult" material (for example, Evangelion characters engaging in sexual acts). Some famous anime artists, like Kenichi Sonoda and Chiho Saito, started out drawing doujinshi.
ex. - I purchased a copy of the doujinshi that group of artists did.
see also: fanart
n.,v.,adj. - Form of anime which has been translated by non-Japanese into the culture's native language, in order to understand the dialogue. Commonly such translations involve fitting the words of the native language such that when the voice actor says their lines, they match perfectly with the anime character's moving mouth (which is undoubtedly animated to speak in Japanese). As a result, translations may be lost, altered, or otherwise changed from the original Japanese dialogue. Viz Video's "WordFit" system is an example of this. Some anime fans scorn dubs for this very reason, choosing to stay with subtitled versions of the anime in order to get the actual meaning from the dialogue. Others dislike them because the native actors supposedly do not fit the characters they are attempting to voice. However, some do prefer these translations because of ease of watching and to feel more comfortable listening to their native tongue.
ex. - Goldenboy is ok, but they did a horrible dub on it.
ex. 2 - I wish they could have better dub voice actors for Ranma 1/2.
other forms - dubbed (adj., v.), dubbing (n., v.)
see also: fandub, ADR
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ED (EE-dee or EHD)
n.,adj. - Short for "Ending" or "Ending Song" in an anime. Usually played when the credits are rolling after an episode in conjunction with an animation or art sequence. It is not uncommon for an anime company to release these themes on an audio CD for purchase. Not all anime series may carry the same ending theme throughout its run, and may change songs to reflect changes in mood, season, and series.
ex. - I really have that Ah! My Goddess! ED theme in my head.
n. - Refers to a 5-10 second sequence played at the "halfway" point of a particular anime episode. Since Japanese television typically has only one commercial break in a 30-minute time block, eyecatches are usually played at 15 minutes into the episode. Sometimes there are two eyecatches (one for going to commercial and one for coming from commercial), and they can consist of comedic, cute, or serious sequences, not all of them animated.
ex. - That Ranma eyecatch they played of Akane hitting Ranma was pretty funny.
other forms - eyecatches (pl.)
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n. - Fan-drawn anime-style characters and scenes. Most fanart tends to be of existing anime characters, but some of it is original as well. An example of fanart could be seen in the "Envelope Art" submitted to anime magazines each month, in which fans draw favorite anime characters or scenes onto an envelope and send them in.
ex. - Did you see the Sailor Moon fanart she drew?
other forms - fanartists (n.)
see also: doujinshi
n. - Term used to describe a male anime fan of near-religious and rabid love for anime, anime characters, and the anime lifestyle. Much of the time in non-Japanese cultures, this term has a derogatory meaning to it, not unlike the context of "otaku" in Japan. In its derogatory meaning, the term can be used to describe someone with no social or personal life outside of anime. A stereotypical fanboy defends and loves anime, or the characters they happen to like in anime, with the fervor of a holy crusader, at the cost of his image as seen by others, his personal appearance and hygiene, and his sociability. Milder definitions of the term can be attributed to someone with an intense love for anime, but one who does so not at the cost of smelling like they've bathed.
ex. - That guy is such an Ukyou fanboy. (That's Me! -Ukyou)
other forms - fanboys (pl.)
see also - fangirl
n. - Anime in the original Japanese that is dubbed (voiced in native language of translators) by fans for distribution in the anime community. Fandubs are much rarer to find than their more notorious counterpart, the fansub, for many reasons - some of which being: equipment costs, accuracy, and quality/competancy of the voice acting. Some fandubs are parodies, and attempt to make fun of the anime they are attempting to translate.
ex. - The Ranma 1/3 fandub is one of the funniest I ever saw.
other forms - fandubs (pl.), fandubbing (adv.), fandubbed (adj., v.)
see also: fansub
n. - Short for "fanfiction", a term used to describe original works of fiction based off of an existing source or series. These works are unofficial and do not claim ownership of the characters or series from which they are basing their work on. There are many kinds of fanfiction, and many situations that fan authors place anime characters in, some as short as a couple pages, others as long as epics. In general, the anime community has been commended for its creativity in these works.
ex. - There is only one Ryouga fanfic out there, but I heard it was really good.
other forms - fanfics (pl.)
n. - Term used to describe a female anime fan of near-religious and rabid love for anime, anime characters, and the anime lifestyle. These people are less common than "fanboys", and as a result the term carries less of the derogatory stereotypes that are associated with its more prominent gender counterpart. However, these associations can still carry over into the term if the person meets the "requirements".
ex. - That fangirl keeps following Steve Bennett around.
other forms - fangirls (pl.)
see also: fanboy
n. - Unnecessary scenes, shots, and pictures of anime characters which have nothing to do with the story or anime and exist merely to please the fans and give them what they, on an implicated level, want to see. Most commonly this is seen in the form of female characters in revealing shots and poses which have nothing to do with the story but which serve to show their bodies off, much to the delight of the male fans. Cute creatures and shots of creatures can also be used as a service to fans who have a liking for such things.
ex. - That was most definitely fanservice.
other forms - fan service, fan servicing
n. - Anime in the original Japanese, subtitled into the native language of the translators for distribution in the anime community outside of Japan. Much more common than it's lesser known cousin, the fandub, these fan-translated works are usually done at a medium amount of equipment, expense, and effort. Usually such fans work in groups to increase efficiency and reduce individual cost. As a result, many anime series or episodes of a series which have not been picked up for release by a domestic company outside of Japan can be seen before they are "officially" released (if they are ever released) in non-Japanese countries. Cost is usually minimal to purchase anime done in this manner, and it is not usual for the fan translators to ask that fans not resell their tapes so that they can continue with their work.
ex. - I just ordered the End of Evangelion fansub today.
other forms - fansubs (pl.), fansubbers (n.), fansubbing (adv.), fansubbed (adj., v.)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "suit" or "uniform". Fukus are most commonly seen as part of a consistent dress code followed by Japanese schoolchildren and students. Fukus can also be seen in military functions. With regards to anime, the sailor fuku ( of Sailor Moon fame) is the most recognized and famous of fukus.
ex. - Sailor Mars has the best looking sailor fuku of all the senshi.
other forms - fukus (pl.)
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n. - From the Chinese kanji, literally meaning "foreign person" or "stranger". Most commonly used to describe a foreigner (non-Japanese) or someone from another country or culture. Has derogatory context in some situations.
ex. - Mr. Smith is not from around here, he is definitely gaijin.
n., v. - Describes a very strong hug in an anime scene. Usually the one doing this action is usually one who has a strong romantic interest for the person he or she is hugging. Such a hug is done in an attaching, cloying way, such that the person being hugged could drag the hugger around a room and still not loosen their grip.
ex. - Did she have to glomp him so hard?
ex. 2 - She certainly hit him hard after he glomped her.
other forms - glomped (v.) glomping (adv.)
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exp. - From the Japanese, meaning "yes". While there are other Japanese words which will convey an affirmative acknowledgement, this is one of the most common and polite, if not the most common, forms of it.
ex. - Hai, master, I will clean the entry plugs for you.
Hara-kiri (HAH-rah kih-RIH)
exp. - From the Japanese. A term used to describe ritual suicide by disembowelment and decapitation. Unlike its more honorable counterpart, seppuku, hara-kiri is considered dishonorable in the way of ending one's life.
ex. - This warrior will commit hara-kiri as atonement for his crimes.
n. - One of the three Japanese alphabets, and the most basic one taught to Japanese schoolchildren and to novice Japanese language students. The alphabet is made up of 46 basic syllables and sounds which make up the basis for putting together words. This is the easiest of the three alphabets to learn due to the similar sounds, both in writing and speaking.
ex. - I just started learning hiragana today.
see also: katakana, kanji
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n. - Used to refer to hugely popular Japanese entertainers, usually singers, that attain a fanbase so dedicated it could almost be called fanaticism. Typically, these very famous people rise to fame and fortune at an intense, fast pace, and fall from it just as quickly. Most idols are female, few are male, and in the digital age, some are even computer-created facsimiles (virtual idols). Idols are thought of to be both blessed and cursed by their fortune. An equivalent, more tame term in American culture would be "pop icon"
ex. - Mima is all over the place these days - what an idol.
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n. - Combination of the words "Japanese" and "Animation", used to refer to animation from Japan and the industry as a whole. Some fans consider this term outdated (preferring instead to use the word "anime") since this term was more widely used in the 80's and early 90's, when anime was first trickling its way out of Japan to other countries.
ex. - Watching Japanimation is one of my favorite pastimes.
see also: anime
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n. - One of the three Japanese scripts, and also one of the most difficult to master. This script is Chinese, with characters representing pictoral meanings rather than literary ones, and kanji is usually taught at a higher level to students. There are over 2000 kanji in the script, with more being made, and it is near impossible to know all of them. Kanji is used mostly in writing.
ex. - I know about 500 kanji.
see also: hiragana, katakana
n. - One of the three Japanese alphabets, taught usually in conjunction with hiragana. Like hiragana, katakana is comprised of sounds and syllables that make up words, using different writing and slightly different speaking. Katakana, however, is usually written or spoken with regards to foreign (non-Japanese) terms. Alternatively, it can be used to learn pronounication and to emphasize the meanings of words.
ex. - We can all write our names in katakana
. see also: hiragana, kanji
n., adj. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "child" or "children". Used to refer to anime which aims at little children, similar in content and theme to some American cartoons. Two examples of this type of anime are the more recently popular "Pokemon" series, and Sanrio's "Hello Kitty". Needless to say, some of this anime has found its way to non-Japanese shores easier than anime with more violent and adult-oriented content.
ex. - Digimon is just another kodomo anime.
Kohai (KOH-hi) n. - From the Japanese, meaning "apprentice" or "underclassman". Used in schools or in more fraternal, work-based environments, the term is used in conjunction with "sempai" to illustrate senior/junior member distinctions. The kohai is the one in the background, quietly learning from the sempai, occasionally taking the initiative to do things, but is usually the student or learner of the group.
ex. - This is Ranma. He is my kohai.
see also: sempai
suf. - From the Japanese, meaning "friend" or "associate". Is used most commonly between those who are of a close, non-romantic relationship or those of equal status. Is only used for men and boys, and never for a senior or superior.
ex. - Ranma-kun! There's someone here to see you.
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