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  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:

[term] [pronuniciation]:
[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

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Manga (MAHN-gah or MAN-gah)
n. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "random pictures". Manga has its roots in early drawings done in the 1100's, and it has since then evolved into an art form that has encompassed a significant portion of the Japanese culture. The equivalent of "comic books" in Western culture, manga is intertwined with anime due to the fact that many popular manga series are transferred onto video or the TV screens as animated shows. Japanese comics are usually released in black and white, small volumes containing several stories.

ex. - I bought some really good Tenchi Muyo manga today.

see also: anime

Mecha (MEH-kah)
n., adj. - Short for "mechanical", and a slang term used to refer to the giant robots and machines that characterize some anime. Can also refer to the genre of anime which employs giant machines or robots as part of the story, action, or characterization.

ex. - Did you see that new Gundam mecha?

other forms - mech (n.)




n. - Acronym standing for "Original Animated Video". Refers to anime that is released only on video, and which never originally sees TV time in Japan. Releasing anime series as OAVs is a common practice in Japan, and much larger and more prominent than the same practice in Western culture. Some anime series released OAV spawn TV versions of themselves which may or may not keep consistency with the original story.

ex. - The Kenshin OAV is a lot darker than the TV series.

other forms - OVA (n., "original video animation")

Ohayo (oh-HI-yoh)
exp. - From the Japanese, meaning "morning" or "good morning". Most commonly used to greet someone at the start of a day. Is sometimes used with "gozaimasu" to emphasize the meaning of the word or to show respect.

ex. - Ohayo - what a long night.

other forms - ohayou

n. - Acronym short for "opening", used to refer to the opening song in a Japanese anime. Like its counterpart ED (ending song) it is not unusual for OP songs to be compiled onto CD's for listening enjoyment. Usually the opening theme conveys the mood of the series and introduces what kind of action will be portrayed in the anime.

ex. - We love to listen to the OP for Maison Ikkoku.

see also: ED

OST (OH-ess-TEE)
n. - Acronym short for "Original Soundtrack", referring to compilations of the background music, opening and ending themes, and other music from a particular series. Many anime CDs that are referred to as OSTs are instrumental only, but there are a few voice ones out as well.

ex. - The OST for Sailor Moon is really horrible.

Otaku (oh-TAH-kuu)
n. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "house". In Japan, the term refers to someone with a heavy, and sometimes near-religious interest in something. In the Japanese culture it also carries a derogatory meaning, in the context of being someone with no real social or personal life outside of the object of their obsession (much like the term "fanboy" or "nerd" in Western culture). However, outside of Japan, the term may or may not carry a derogatory meaning depending on the person being referred to. Many anime fans in Western cultures proudly call themselves otaku, preferring to use the term to describe themselves as a "hard core", or knowledgeable, anime fan.

ex. - That anime fan is definitely an otaku.

Oyasumi (oh-YAH-suu-mee)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "good night" or in some cases "good bye". Used most commonly to end a conversation with someone at nighttime or near nighttime.

ex. - I'm heading out, oyasumi.






Raw (RAW)
adj. - Refers to an anime that is in original Japanese form, without any dubbing or subbing. Many anime fans who can understand Japanese order these from contacts or stores in Japan in order to have a "pure" viewing experience.

ex. - The later Fushigi Yugi episodes aren't release here yet, but I watched them raw.

Romaji (roh-MAH-jee)
n. - Term to describe the practice of placing Japanese words into English ("roman") letters. Rarely seen in use in Japan, the use of romaji is most commonly use as an aid to learning and spelling out Japanese words without having to deal with the symbolic nature of the Japanese alphabet. The sounds of the Japanese words are transposed into english letters, and then pronounced as if saying the word in Japanese. Due to the nature of some Japanese sounds (for example, instances where the long "o" sound in Japanese is two syllables ["ou"] and not one), some Japanese words and names may end up with different spellings in this dialect. For instance, the name "Kuno" could also be spelled "Kunou" to simulate the dual syllable sound of the long "o" vowel in Japanese. In this dictionary, all the Japanese words are written in romaji rather than in hiragana or katakana.

ex. - That name is different when spelled in romaji.

other forms - romanized (v.), romajized (v.)

see also: hiragana, katakana


Sama (SAH-mah)
suf. - A Japanese honorific and suffix added to names, -sama is most often used to address persons of much higher rank or nobility (like royalty). It can also be used by someone in the case of addressing someone for whom you have great respect or even romantic interest. Holds more respect than the related honorific "-san". Some translations give it a meaning of "dear" or "darling", though this meaning is not always the case.

ex. - Hotohori-sama, I've been looking for you for a while now.

see also: chan, san

San (SAHN)
suf. - Japanese honorific and suffix added to names, to show respect for the person you are addressing. -San is the most commonly used suffix heard in anime and it is usually employed when addressing an acquaintance or one of equal status.

ex. - We should be going now, Katsuragi-san.

see also: chan, sama

Seiyuu (SAY-yuu)
n. - Japanese name for voice actor or actress. Like the anime that they voice, seiyuu have forged as prominent a name for themselves as their counterparts in the live action part of the film and TV industry. Many of these actors and actresses are also equally talented at singing as well as voice acting, and several have even made albums as part of pop groups.

ex. - We should get more seiyuu to come to conventions. Sempai (SEHM-pai)
n., suf. - Used by itself or as a Japanese honorific to add to names, sempai means "upperclassman". In conjunction with the word "kohai" (underclassman), this word is used to describe a teacher/student, master/apprentice type of relationship, commonly fraternal in nature. The word can also be attributed to someone who the addresser feels has a great deal of knowledge and/or talent for giving advice on particular matters of importance.

ex. - Sempai, you are needed in the dojo.

ex. 2 - Ritsuko-sempai is one of the fastest programmers I have ever seen.

see also: san, sama, chan

Sensei (SEHN-say)
n., suf. - Used on its own or as an honorific to add to names, this word means "master" and is used to address someone who has great talent or mastered a skill in a particular area. Apprentices learning under this person will usually call him or her their "sensei". As a suffix, these "master" attributes are merely attached to the name of the person being addressed. A close American equivalent to a sensei would be Yoda, from the Star Wars trilogy movies.

ex. - I would like to learn karate under you, sensei.

ex. 2 - Takahashi-sensei is possibly the best manga artist to ever live in Japan.

Shoujo (SHOH-joh)
n., adj. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "young girl". In anime terms, this word is used as an adjective to refer to the genre of anime or manga which is aimed at young teenage girls, usually stories of drama and romance. Many males, however, are as attracted to shoujo style anime as girls are, and enjoy it just as much.

ex. - Fushigi Yugi is obviously shoujo anime.

see also: shounen

Shounen (SHOH-nehn)
n., adj. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "young boy". In anime terms, this word is an adjective used to refer to the genre of anime aimed at young teenage boys, usually stories involving action and adventure. Like its counterpart, shoujo, many females are as attracted to this genre of anime as the boys are and enjoy it as much.

ex. - Is that new shounen anime Gundam Wing any good?

see also: shoujo

Sub (SUHB) n. - Short for "subtitled", and is used to refer to anime that has been subtitled in another language native to the fans watching it, in order that they might be able to understand the dialogue while at the same time preserving the original voices and script of the Japanese. Many anime fans claim that subtitled anime is the only real way to watch anime, and scorn its counterpart, dubs, for this reason. Liberties taken in dub translation may account for this bias towards subtitled anime. This form of translation can be done by professional companies (Pioneer, Viz, etc.) or by fans possessing the proper equipment (fansubbers).

ex. - You should have seen that sub of Card Captor Sakura.

other forms - subbed (v.), subs (pl.)

see also: dub, fansub, fandub

Super-Deformed (SOO-pehr dee-FORMED)
adj. - Refers to anime characters drawn in squished, miniturized versions of themselves, for the purpose of increasing comedic or cuteness value. Animated characters drawn in this manner tend to behave exactly as their "life size" counterparts, and exaggerate actions on-screen.

ex. - That super-deformed version of Ranma is so cute! other forms - SD (acronym)


Tankoubon (TAN-koh-bon)
n. - Japanese version of the "graphic novel", these are compilations of a particular manga artist's series or work. Unlike individual issues, tankoubon contain more than one partof a story and usually have 3 or 4 story arcs in one volume. These compilations are usually printed on inexpensive material and are the size of a small diary or notebook.

ex. - We have to buy more of that Futaba tankoubon before it sells out.






Yakuza (YAH-kuu-zah)
n. - Japanese word which refers to gangsters, mobsters, or organized crime in general. Yakuza are usually involved in criminal actions, but these actions are never usually random in nature - rather, they are coldy calculated and planned out. Yakuza sometimes even possess a sense of "thieves' honor" and ritual in many situations involving their actions. Yakuza in anime and manga are normally portrayed as cruel and cold, but sometimes honorable.

ex. - Vash is not a very good yakuza.

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