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Media Notes / Anime Fanspeak

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Terms used by anime fandom (not all of which are real Japanese words). The links on the left lead to definitions of the term. The links to the right go to the more general term, which is where the examples go.

See also: Japanese Media Tropes and Visual Novel Fanspeak

Anime Demographics

Anime Genres

For a more comprehensive list, see the page Anime Genres.

  • Hentai → Means "pervert" or "perversion", used by English fans to label porn. (The usual terms in Japanese are "ero-manga" for comics, "ero-anime" for animation, and Eroge for games.)
    • Ecchi → The moonspeak pronunciation of the English letter "H", which, in Japan is a catch-all term for naughty stuff, but in the west usually refers to Fanservice-heavy, but non-explicit anime and manga.
  • Harem Genre → Stories in which the protagonist is surrounded by a group of admirers who compete to get their affections - in essence, a Love Triangle with more than three participants. Since the genre originated in comedies involving a male lead with an Unwanted Harem (and many fans still assume that all Harem genre stories are of this type), stories where the protagonist is female are sometimes termed a 'reverse harem'.
  • Iyashikei → A work made to soothe or comfort the audience, with characters living out peaceful lives in calming environments.
  • Jidaigeki → Historical drama set in feudal Japan.
  • Yaoi → A genre involving male-on-male romantic or sexual relationships, written primarily for a heterosexual female audience. Also called Boy's Love or "shonen ai"; English-speaking fans tend to use this only for the milder, non-sexual examples, but in the Japanese fandom, boy×boy is always called BL no matter how explicit.
    • Bara Genre → male-on-male romantic and sexual relationships written for a gay male audience, and focusing primarily on Manly Gay characters. Historically, this has been very distinct from Yaoi, which generally focused on Pretty Boys and a strict masculine/feminine dynamic, but in the late 2000s and early the 2010s Yaoi began to break from its earlier formula, if only a little.
  • Yuri → The Distaff Counterpart of Yaoi, involving female-on-female romantic or sexual relationships. Also called Girl's Love or "shoujo ai" in the case of the milder, non-sexual examples, though as with yaoi this distinction is not made in Japan (where yuri magazines tend to care more about things like the W.A.F.F. of a relationship than whether it's strictly romantic or not). Unlike with Yaoi and Bara, there has always been a large overlap in the demographic for both male Yuri Fans and the female LGBT Fanbase, though the fan focus is generally different.

Character Types

  • -dere → A group of romantic archetypes characterized by the ways they express their feelings (or fail to). The terms are formed as a Portmanteau of some personality trait with the word 'deredere' ('lovey-dovey' or 'lovestruck'). The term is almost exclusively applied to female characters, though male characters may fit the types. While several such archetypes exist, the most common ones are:
  • Megane → Boys with glasses, for glasses-fetish fangirls. Available in several flavours.
  • MeganekkoBespectacled Cutie. Literally "Glasses Girl", mixed with a good dose of Moe; unlike the western stereotype, the glasses are essential to her attractiveness.
  • Moe → Qualities which make you want to hug or protect a character, usually derived from them being highly cute.
  • Token Mini-Moe → formerly termed loli, used to refer to a girl (or boy) with a very youthful appearance.
  • Mukokuseki → When a Japanese character does not look Japanese.
  • Oba-sanMa'am Shock, or when a character is offended by being called "Oba-san" due to the implication that she's old. The term is also used to describe an Apron Matron or any middle-aged, motherly character.
  • Otoko no musumeDude Looks Like a Lady
  • Seme → The dominant male partner in a yaoi story.
  • Senpai and Kohai → 'senior/superior' versus 'junior/subordinate', terms used to denote seniority, whether at work or between students. There is an expectation that the senpai (older student or more senior employee) will act as a mentor to the kohai (younger student or newer employee), and the kohai will in return give their respect to the senpai.
  • Uke → The submissive male partner in a yaoi story.

Fandom Terms

  • Ahegao → The Immodest Orgasm, more specifically, a close-up of someone's 'O face'. While the term originated among viewers of Hentai, it abruptly experienced Memetic Mutation in the mid-2010s through a large number of Image Macros based on clips or stills from Hentai and Ecchi anime and manga. These began to go mainstream as image macros from non-ecchi series started showing up in similar context depicting them as Accidental Innuendo, which fed back into itself as references to the meme started to show up in ecchi series themselves. This has led to a mixture of tittering and eye-rolling from various fans.
  • Dark History (Kuro Rekishi) → An embarrassing time in someone's past which they would rather forget, or a collection of works they created in that time. Originates from ∀ Gundam, where "The Dark History" referred to The Beforetimes and investigating it was considered taboo.
  • Densha Otaku → A major fan of trains.
  • Doujin → Amateur works created by a "doujin circle" and distributed through Fan Conventions, most famously Comiket. Are often, but not always, Fan Works based on an existing property. Doujin are a popular medium for novice creative types to gain experience, as well as for professionals to produce works that they couldn't release commercially. Many are published only once, though a number of specialist reseller shops have sprung up which cater to collectors.
  • Fujoshi → The stereotypical female yaoi fan. Literally means "rotten woman".note  Male yaoi fans are sometimes referred to as fudanshi ("rotten man"). The yuri counterparts are himejoshi ("princess girl") and himedanshi ("princess boy").
  • Fuku Fic → A fanfic of Ranma ½ that features Ranma wearing a Sailor Fuku akin to those in Sailor Moon, possibly including a Crossover between the two series.
  • Gaijin → "Foreigner", i.e. a non-Japanese person. Currently gaikokujin ("foreign national") is considered the more politically correct term within Japan, but foreign anime fans freely apply it to themselves due to N-Word Privileges.
  • Kawaisa → Japanese cuteness
  • Lolicon and Shotacon (Lolita Complex and Shotarou Complex) → An adult romantically or sexually attracted to "lolis" (young or young-looking girls) or "shotas" (the same for boys), respectively. English usage is usually restricted to people who like fictional characters (even In-Universe); in Japanese they sometimes include attraction to real children as well, but as slang terms they have less bite than "pedophile" and are more likely to be flung around as a joke. As for the terms loli and shota themselves, reactions vary on applying them to fictional characters, but applying them to real-life children is generally considered creepy just about anywhere (for simplicity, TVTropes requests tropers to avoid using them regardless of situation). Not to be confused with Lolita Fashion and derived terms such as goth-loli, or with guys actually named things like Shouta or Shotarou.
  • Siscon → A person (usually a man, but not always an adult... or male) attracted to their sister. As above, the term is usually used as a gibe directed at someone displaying a Big Brother Instinct, rather than being intended seriously. The Spear Counterpart is called "brocon".
  • Various other "-con" terms also exist, such as a "Megane-con" being someone who thinks Glasses Are Sexy.
  • Menhera → "Mental healther", i.e. a person with mental health problems. Generally implies that someone is hard to deal with but also sympathetic. Does not refer to any condition in particular, but is most strongly associated with acute stress, avoidant personality disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder.
  • Nakama → In anime speak, a group of mostly unrelated people that have bonded into something like a family. Not used that way in actual Japanese, where it typically just denotes allies or teammates.
  • Tensei → "Reincarnation"; appears frequently in the titles of isekai stories. Due to the genre's tendency towards Overly Long Names "<blank> Tensei" is also a common template for Fan Nicknames for such series.
  • Zettai Ryouiki → The area between the hem of a mini-skirt/hot pants and socks; also graded depending on socks length. Only considered "true" if it's thigh-high or overknee socks (grades A and B, respectively). Rank Inflation to Grade S happens by combining Grade A with Girlish Pigtails and Tsundere.