Manga Terms to Know

Demographics

josei (女性, “woman”): Anime and manga intended for the adult female demographic.

kodomo (子供) or kodomomuke (子供向け): Anime and manga for children.

seinen (青年): Anime and manga intended for the adult male demographic.

shōjo (少女, “young woman”): Anime and manga intended for the adolescent female demographic.

shōnen (少年, “young man”): Anime and manga intended for the adolescent male demographic.

Genres

bara (薔薇, “rose”): A masculine gay men’s culture and, in manga circles, a genre of manga about beefcakey gay men usually by gay men. Also known as gay manga (ゲイ コミ, geikomi, “gay comics”).

boys’ love (ボーイズラブ, bōizu rabu): Abbreviated “BL”, male homosexual content generally aimed at women, currently in general use in Japan to cover yaoi and shōnen-ai’.

harem: A subgenre of anime and manga characterized by an ordinary guy surrounded by a group of women with some being potential love interests. An ordinary girl surrounded by guys is a reverse harem.

isekai (異世界, “different world”): A subgenre of manga and anime in which characters are transported or reincarnated into an alternate world, often with a high fantasy setting.

iyashikei (癒し系, “healing”): a sub-genre of slice of life, portraying characters living out peaceful lives in calming environments, which is intended to have a healing effect on the audience.

mecha: anime and manga that feature robots (mecha) in battle. 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.

shōjo-ai (少女愛, “girls love”): Manga or anime that focus on romances between women.

yaoi (やおい): Anime or manga with a focus on homosexual male relationships and/or male-on-male sexual content; usually created by women for women.

yuri (百合): Anime or manga with a focus on lesbian relationships. In Japan, the term denotes a broad spectrum of attraction between women.

Characteristics

bishōjo (美少女, “pretty girl”): Beautiful young woman.

bishōnen (美少年, “beautiful boy”, sometimes abbreviated bishie): Japanese aesthetic concept of the ideally beautiful young man: androgynous, effeminate or gender-ambiguous.

dandere (ダンデレ): A stock love interest who is quiet and asocial. They are afraid to talk, fearing that what they say will get them in trouble. Their name is a portmanteau of danmari (黙り), meaning silence, and deredere, “lovey dovey” (でれでれ).

-dere (デレ): An umbrella term for all words with the suffix; i.e. any stock character, usually female, who is distinguished by interacting with their love interest in a certain way. Several entries on this list are examples.

dojikko (ドジっ子): A cute girl who tends to be clumsy. They may make mistakes that hurt themselves or others.

goudere (豪デレ): A character who relentlessly pursues their own vision of their love interest’s desires, which they typically misunderstand in some comically over-the-top fashion.

kemonomimi (獣耳, けものミミ, ケモノミミ): Characters with animal features such as ears and a tail, but a human body. One of the most common types is the catgirl.

kuudere (クーデレ, also kūdere): A stock love interest who is calm and collected on the outside, and never panics. They show little emotion, and in extreme cases are completely emotionless, but may be hiding their true emotions. They tend to be leaders who are always in charge of a situation. Their name is a portmanteau of the Japanese pronunciation of cool (クール), and deredere (でれでれ).

otokonoko (男の娘, “male daughter” or “male girl”): a man who has a culturally feminine gender expression, which includes amongst others a feminine appearance, or cross-dressing.

tsundere (ツンデレ): A stock love interest who is usually stern, cold or hostile to the person they like, while occasionally letting slip the warm and loving feelings hidden inside due to being shy, nervous, insecure or simply unable to help acting badly in front of the person they like. It is a portmanteau of the Japanese terms tsuntsun (ツンツン), meaning to be stern or hostile, and deredere (でれでれ), meaning to be “lovey dovey”.

yandere (ヤンデレ): A 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 combined. The term is a portmanteau of the words yanderu (病んでる), meaning (mentally or emotionally) ill, and deredere (でれでれ, “lovey dovey”), meaning to show genuinely strong romantic affection. Yandere characters are mentally unstable, deranged, and use violence or emotional abuse as an outlet for their emotions. Yandere are usually, but not always, female characters.

Fandom Terms

anime music video (AMV): Video clips from at least one anime series arranged to fit a musical piece playing in the background.

dōjinshi (同人誌): A fan-made or amateur produced work such as a parody, fan fiction, or manga.

fandub: Short for fan-made dub, describing a film or video in which fans have voiced over the dialogue.

fansub: Short for fan-made subtitles, describing a film or video in which fans have translated and subtitled the dialogue into another language.

fudanshi (腐男子, “rotten boy”): A male fan of yaoi.

fujoshi (腐女子, “rotten girl”): A female fan of yaoi.

otaku (おたく, オタク, ヲタク): The literal translation of the word is another person’s house or family (お宅, otaku). 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 and 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.

waifu / husbando: A fictional character from non-live-action visual media (typically an anime, manga or video game) to whom one is attracted or whom one considers their ideal significant other.

weeaboo (also weeb): A derogatory slang term for an obnoxious fan of Japanese culture, originally a replacement word for “wapanese” (a contraction of “wannabe” Japanese or “white” Japanese).

Industry Terms

dub: When the voices in an anime are translated into another language.

eyecatch (アイキャッチ, aikyatchi): A scene or illustration used to begin and end a commercial break in a Japanese TV program, similar to commercial bumpers in the United States.

fan service (ファンサービス, fan sābisu): Elements specifically included to sexually amuse (such as scantily-clad or naked males or females, or ecchi content) or titillate the audience, which may or may not be necessary to plot development.

gekiga (劇画, “dramatic pictures”): A term adopted by more serious Japanese cartoonists, who did not want their work to be associated with manga. It is akin to English speakers who prefer the term “graphic novel”, as opposed to “comic book”.

gensakusha (原作者, “original author”): A term used by derivative works to credit the original creator of a series. It is also used to refer to the writer of a manga, as opposed to its illustrator.

henshin (変身, “transformation”): The action of a character transforming into a superhero form. Mostly used by the Kamen Riders in the Kamen Rider Series, this term ended being used for anything related to metamorphosis in manga, anime and tokusatsu, since Kamen Rider ended being mainly a tokusatsu series, despite its roots being the works of the manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori.

hentai (変態, “pervert”): A term used outside of Japan to describe erotic or pornographic manga and anime. In Japan, terms such as “ero manga” and “ero anime” are used to describe the genre.

kabedon (壁ドン): When a person slaps or leans against the wall and the other person has nowhere to go. This has become popular as a “clever move of confession”.

mangaka (漫画家, マンガ家): Manga artist. A creator of manga; this can refer to both the writer and illustrator of the work.

mihiraki (見開き): A manga scene, usually one single image, spread to cover two opposing pages.

omake (おまけ, オマケ, “extra”): An add-on bonus to anime and manga, like a regular “extra” on western DVDs; or a bonus strip at the end of a manga chapter or volume.

otome game (乙女ゲーム, otome gēmu, lit. “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.

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).

raw: 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.

seiyū (声優): A Japanese voice actor. As well as voicing characters in anime, seiyū do voicing for video games, radio shows, drama CDs, and other media.

tobirae (扉絵, “door page”): Refers to the full-page illustration that marks the beginning of most manga chapters.

yonkoma/4-koma (4コマ漫画, “four cell manga”): Refers to manga drawn in a four-panel comic strip format.

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