Otaku Dictionary

New to the anime community? Here’s a few terms you’ll need to know!

Character traits

Bishōjo (“pretty girl”)
Refers to any young, attractive woman, but also used to imply sexual availability
Bishōnen (“beautiful boy”, sometimes abbreviated “Bishie”)
Japanese aesthetic concept of the ideally beautiful young man. In Japan it refers to youth with such characteristics, but in the west has become a generic term for attractively androgynous males of all ages
Catgirl (nekomusume)
A female character with cat ears and a cat tail, but an otherwise human body. These characters have feline habits, claw-like nails, and occasionally show fangs. Emotional expressions are also feline in nature, such as an exaggerated fur-standing-on-end when startled. These characteristics are also sometimes used on male characters as well.
Chūnibyō (“second year middle school student disease” or “eighth grader syndrome”)
A character who pretends to be a made-up character from fantasy such as a vampire or warrior, often imagining themselves to possess magical powers or cursed items. Characters with chūnibyō tend to have a unique manner of speech, dress in gothic clothing, and sometimes wear objects such as bandages or eyepatches to represent their persona. The term refers to 14-15 year-old children, but can also be used to describe characters who exhibit these traits regardless of their actual age.
A cute girl that tends to be clumsy. They may make mistakes that hurt themselves or others. Dojikko character traits are often used for stock characters in anime, and manga series.
Characters with animal features such as ears and a tail, but a human body. Catgirl also falls under this concept.
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Guy who wears glasses.
Girl who wears glasses.
Generally used for female characters, though it can refer to effeminate males in some instances. Something or someone that is considered moe is generally considered to be endearing, innocent, and naive, while taking on some of the emotional qualities of adolescence generally meant to invoke a paternal feeling of protectiveness and sympathy within the viewer. The most literal translation of the word into languages other than Japanese is “fetish”, though the concept of moe does not necessarily have a direct correlation to sexual preferences and often refers to works of a non-sexual nature. It can also be used to modify other words or concepts, such as meganekko-moe ( “glasses-girl” moe), referring to a character who both wears glasses and has the qualities of moe.
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A character personality who’s usually stern, cold and/or hostile to the person they like, while occasionally letting slip their warm and loving feelings they’re hiding inside due to being shy, nervous, insecure or just can’t help acting badly in front of the person they like. It is an portmanteau of the Japanese terms “Tsuntsun”, meaning to be stern or hostile, and “Deredere” meaning to be “lovey dovey”.
A Japanese term for a person who is initially loving and caring to someone they like a lot until their romantic love, admiration, and devotion becomes feisty and mentally destructive in nature through either overprotectiveness, violence, brutality or all three. The term is a portmanteau of the words yanderu , meaning a mental or emotional illness, and deredere , meaning to show genuinely strong romantic affection. Yandere characters are mentally unstable, incredibly deranged, and use extreme violence and/or brutality as an outlet for their emotions. Yandere are usually, but not always, female characters.


Literally means “woman”; Anime and manga intended for the adult female demographic.
Kodomo or Kodomomuke
Anime and manga for children of both genders.
Anime and manga intended for the adult male demographic.
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 Means “young woman”. Anime and manga intended for the adolescent to teenage female demographic.
Means “young man”. Anime and manga intended for the adolescent to teenage male demographic.


Literally means, “anime parody” . Anime characters being used by fans in a parodic way.
A fanmade or amateurly produced work such as a parody, fan fiction or manga.
Short for fan-dubbed – a film or video in which fans have translated and voiced over
the dialogue into another language.
Short for fan-subtitled – a film or video in which fans have translated and subtitled the dialogue into another language.
A female yaoi fan.
MAD Movie 
A Japanese fan-made video, much like an anime music video (AMV), that generally originates from the Japanese website NicoNico. MAD can also refer to the Japanese AMV community, although they can be anything from audio clips, edited pictures, to wholly original creations. MADs do not necessarily even need to be related to anime, though the more popular ones typically are.
The literal translation of the word is another person’s house or family. In Japanese slang, otaku is mostly equivalent to “geek” or “nerd”, but in a more derogatory manner than used in the West. In 1989, the word “otaku” was shunned in relation to anime & manga after Tsutomu Miyazaki (dubbed “The Otaku Murderer”) brutally killed underage girls. Since then, the word has become less negative in Japan with more people identifying themselves as some type of an otaku.


A genre of pornographic media focusing on the depiction of women with large breasts. The word can be literally translated to “exploding breasts”. Bakunyū is a subgenre within the genre of hentai anime.
Literally, “rose”. “Bara” refers to a masculine gay men’s culture and in manga circles, a genre of manga about beefcakey gay men usually written by gay men. Compared with the female-created Boys’ Love.
Boys’ Love 
Male homosexual content aimed at women, current, generally used in Japan to cover yaoi and shōnen-ai.
A subgenre of anime and manga characterized by a protagonist surrounded, usually amorously, by three or more members of the opposing sex and/or love interests. Male-oriented harems are the most common.
Portmanteau for “lolita complex”. A genre of manga and anime wherein childlike female characters are depicted in an erotic manner.
Abbreviation for “mechanical”. In Japan, the word is used for all kinds of machines while in Western countries, the word applies to piloted combat robots in anime and manga. Series that feature mecha are divided into two subgenres: “Super robots”, where the mecha have unrealistic powers and the focus is more on the fighting and robots themselves, and “Real robots”, where the mecha have more realistic powers and there is more drama and focus on the mecha’s pilots.
coined following the form of shōnen-ai, denoting lesbian content, typically for material without explicit sex.
A term denoting male homosexual content in women’s media, although this usage is obsolete in Japan. English-speakers frequently use it for material without explicit sex, in anime, manga, and related fan fiction. 
A genre of manga and anime wherein childlike male characters are depicted in an erotic manner.
Japanese acronym for “yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi” (no climax, no point, no meaning). Also known as boys love. Sometimes male-on-male sexual content; usually created by women for women.
 Term for lesbian content or girl love. In Japan, the term denotes a broad spectrum of attraction between women. It is also used for sexually explicit content outside Japan. It is used like the term “yaoi” for men.
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Anime music video (AMV)
Video clips from at least one anime series arranged to fit a musical piece playing in the background.
a Japanese slang word meaning “short person” or “small child”. 
When the voices in an anime are translated into another language.
An eroge, a portmanteau of erotic game , is a Japanese video or computer game that features erotic content, usually in the form of anime-style artwork.
Fan service 
Elements specifically included to sexually amuse (such as scantily-clad and/or naked males or females, or ecchi content) or titillate the audience that are either necessary or unnecessary to plot development.
This is a type of Japanese video game centered around interactions with attractive anime-style girls. These games are a subgenre of dating sims targeted towards a male audience.
A type of anime, manga, or game which includes violence, torture, and sometimes death of the character. The purpose of the violence is to increase pleasure of the audience, reader, or player who like that kind of genre. Sometimes it’s also synonymous with the hentai phrase, Ero guro.
A term used outside of Japan to describe erotic or pornographic manga and anime, derived from the word for “pervert”. In Japan, terms such as “eromanga” and “eroanime” are used instead.
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Juné, also written as June
a manga or text story with male homosexual themes for women written in an aesthetic style, named for the Juné magazine.
Literally, “Giant Breasts”. A classification of breast size in casual Japanese. 
derived from the hentai anthology series Cream Lemon the term is used to refer to material with explicit sexual content.
Japanese comics. 
Creator of a manga. Mangakas are often the writers and illustrators of the work.
An add-on bonus on an anime DVD, like a regular “extra” on western DVDs. May also be a bonus strip at the end of a manga chapter or volume.
Original net animation (ONA)
An anime production intended to be distributed in the internet via streaming or direct download.
Otome game (“maiden game”)
A video game that is targeted towards a female market, where one of the main goals, besides the plot goal, is to develop a romantic relationship between the player character (a female) and one of several male characters.
Love Academy
Original video animation (OVA)
A type of anime which is intended to be distributed on VHS tapes or DVDs and not shown in movies or on television. It is also less frequently referred to as Original Animated Video (OAV).
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The English translation for the Chinese term , referring to the cartoonification or infantilization in the artistic renderings of real life or serious human, animal figures or other characters or objects, especially in the styles of Anime. “Q” is a Chinese approximation of the English word “cute”.
Anime episode or manga scans in its original language without editing or subtitles.
Scanlation (also “scanslation”)
the scanning, translation and editing of comics from one language into another.
Japanese voice actor. As well as voicing characters in anime, seiyū do voicing for video games, radio shows, drama CDs, etc.
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Abbreviation for “wakashudo”. The Way of Young Men age structured male homosexuality in samurai society.
 a piece of software used to model a human singing voice. Users can create music with the software by putting in a backing track and giving the program a set of lyrics to sing.
Zettai ryōiki 
Meaning “Absolute Territory”. The phrase refers to the area of exposed thigh when a girl is wearing a short skirt and thigh high socks. Zettai Ryōiki are often referred to by letter grades, where Grade A is the ideal.


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