Slang is used as part of anime culture so often that it has become second nature. But if you’re new to watching anime, it can be easy to get lost. Therefore I’ve compiled a list of anime slang terms I’ve learned from seven years of watching anime. Get ready for the good, the bad and the weird!
Let’s start with the basics: Anime is animation from Japan. The term “anime” is an abbreviation of the English word “animation” because early Japanese animation was cheap and used fewer frames of animation. Now with anime’s relatively mainstream popularity, anime production companies can afford more fluid and expensive animation. So, the term “anime” has become less about doing cheap animation, and more about adhering to specific visual and cultural tropes.
Japanese comics. They are black and white to save on printing costs and are read from right to left.
“Shounen” means young boys. The shounen genre typically caters to a young male audience.
“Shoujo” means young girls and caters to a young female audience.
If you’ve outgrown Shounen and Shoujo anime, then turn your attention to “Sienen” which is geared to people in their 20’s-50’s. There can be action and fantasy but there’s more sex, drugs, and politics. This is where the serious storytelling happens.
Original Video Animation or OVA refers to special episodes of anime shows. OVA are often bonus episodes bundled with collected seasons of a show.
Animated Music Video or AMV is a compilation of clips from anime edited by a fan over a popular song.
Moe (Pronounced Mow-way) is a character (usually female) who elicits feelings of affection or lust from the audience. Moe characters often play to a particular fetish but focus on being cute rather than overtly sexual. The following character types are examples of Moe.
Girls with cat ears and a tail. The term comes from the Japanese word for cat (neko) with the word for ears (mimi). It’s like the Anime equivalent of a Playboy Bunny.
A fashion fusion between goth and Victorian-inspired dress that makes characters appear doll-like. The origin of the term Lolita is taken from the controversial book by Vladimir Nabokov. Lolitas usually appear in shows to look Kawaii (cute).
A character who acts aggressively towards the protagonist to disguise the fact that she really likes him.
People who appear normal at first blush but are actually violent possessive stalkers. But in anime their cute girls, so it’s ok.
Characters who appear cold and emotionless and speak in monotone. These characters do have the ability to care for others and fall in love, they just aren’t as expressive. Keeping with the cool theme Kuudere’s tend to be formidable and calculated fighters.
Characters with a God-Complex. Their powers are only matched by their arrogance.
Yaoi (gay guys) and yuri (lesbians) are terms for anime featuring homosexual love. Love is love, people.
Waifu (female) or Husbando (male) refers to having a crush on an anime a character to the point of wanting to marry them.
Anime that contains sexual content that is not relevant to the plot and is used to cater to the “fans.”
Porn. It’s anime porn. What the Internet was invented for.
Otaku is Japanese for a super-nerd, and Weeaboo is a term used for non-Japanese who are obsessed with Japanese pop-culture. Both terms are intended to be derogatory and imply that the person has poor social skills or a lack of understanding of authentic Japanese culture. However, in America these terms just mean that you really are enthusiastic about Anime.
If you already knew every term on this list then you are a Weeaboo and I love you!