The Japanese word for what.
American slang for a person who has just discovered something.
In the context of anime and manga, a newbie is an
enthusiastic new fan that has viewed primarily American
produced dubs of anime and seen only English translated
manga. A newbie's exposure to original Japanese works has
been minimal at best, with overall knowledge of manga and
anime quite low.
Morning. The polite form would be "ohayou gozaimasu."
A fierce horned demon somewhat akin to the ogre
found in Western mythology. Oni have the power to
transform into the human female form in order to mask their
The opening theme music to an anime that plays as the show
This word can have a very negative meaning
depending on the context in which it is used. In Japanese
society its usage is widely understood to mean someone who
is an anti-social maniac. But in the International
anime community the word has evolved into a slang reference
meaning obsessed fan. Serious devotees of anime and
manga call themselves otaku.
Anime that is released directly to video tape without having
been broadcast on television is referred to in Japan as
an Original Video Animation or OVA. Westerners
will often transpose the letters to "OAV" but the meaning
remains the same.
An Alien life-form that invaded and conquered the Earth
in the late 20th Century. All seriousness aside, the word
Pokemon is a Japanese contraction of the English
words pocket and monster... and no, it is
not pronounced "Pokey Man."
Samurai were a class of military retainers to the
rich and powerful (samurai means "one who serves"), but
when samurai lost their benefactors they became ronin,
or "masterless samurai." The manga and anime series Rurouni
Kenshin is based upon one such Lordless samurai.
Means cherry blossom,
or cherry blossom tree, and sakura hold a very special place
in the Japanese heart. As far back as the 10th century the
blossom has been considered the national flower, and it
has been the subject of poetry, prose, and paintings over
the ages. From the 10th century to the present day, hanami
or "flower viewing" parties have been held in March and
April to celebrate the ephemeral beauty of the delicate
pink flower. During hanami season, trees all over Japan
go into full bloom and clouds of cherry blossoms can be
seen carried on the gentle winds. One of the most reoccurring
visuals in all of anime is the sight of cherry blossoms
gently floating to the ground, with flurries of the petals
surrounding on screen characters. Keep in mind, that to
the Japanese, the cherry blossom is so special, that a cherry
blossom tree (sakura) and cherry fruit tree (sakurambo)
are two totally different things.
The very formal honorific
used when talking to or about someone who is much older
and wiser, or someone whom you admire to the point of near
worship. The honorific is gender neutral and used when referring
to men or women. Used primarily to show great respect to
an individual, as in "Miyazaki-sama is a distinguished artist."
The formal, polite honorific one uses when talking to or
about someone of equal social status. The honorific is gender
neutral and used when referring to adult men or women, as
in "Gendo-san and Ritsuko-san both work with computers."
A professional voice actor or actress. In Japan, animation
studios employ seiyuu to provide the many voices
for characters. Some seiyuu have become big stars in their
own right due to their voice acting abilities. A talented
seiyuu can take on a wide variety of roles, for instance
Ohtani Ikue does the voice of Pikachu from
Pocket Monsters as well as doing the voice of the
cat girl named Meruru from
Vision of Escaflowne.
An honorific used by a young person when talking to or about
a benefactor or senior in a social organization. The usage
of this honorific is encountered time and again in anime,
mostly when students are talking to or about their senior
classmates, as in "Tamiya-sempai heads the campus motorcycle
club." Used as a noun, it would just mean, "our
seniors", or "our upperclassmen".
Seinen means "young Man." Manga and anime
that specifically targets young adult males around the ages
of 18 to 25 are seinen titles. The stories in seinen
works appeal to university students and those in the working
world. Typically the story lines deal with the issues of
adulthood. The tough guy secret agent Golgo 13 is
a good example of a seinen title.
The formal, polite honorific used when addressing someone
who is an accomplished professional. doctors, teachers,
professors, scientists, and other specialists are addressed
in this way. Gifted individuals in the arts are also addressed
in this manner, as in "Akemi-sensei created the great series
known as Patlabor."
The literal translation of this word is soldier.
When dubbing into English the Japanese series Bishoujo
Senshi Sailormoon (Pretty Soldier Sailormoon), American
editors changed the word to mean "scout." There's quite
a big difference between a soldier and a scout.
Japan's oldest and original intrinsic religion is Shinto.
In Shintoism everything in the natural world possesses it's
own spirit, or kami. Shinto is based upon the worship
of and coexistence with the natural world. The highest deity
in the Shinto pantheon is the sun goddess Amaterasu.
In the Tenchi Muyo series, Tenchi's Father, Masaki
Yoshi, is a Shinto Priest. A Shinto place of worship
is always called a Jinja (shrine), and a Buddhist
place of worship is always referred to as an Otera (temple),
though architecturally the two buildings may look quite
In Shinto, the natural world is sacred, and in the
ancient past some of the first places of worship were large
trees or boulders. Shimenawa,
or "sacred ropes" made of paper and rice straw are still
placed on or around areas designated as sacred (In Miyazaki's
My Friend Totoro a shimenawa can be seen around
the tree Totoro sleeps in). Shimenawa can always be seen
draped above the entrance to a Shrine (a Shinto place
of worship is referred to as a Shrine, whereas a Buddhist
place of worship is a Temple). The entranceway to
a shrine is often marked with a red archway called a torii.
Today many anime enthusiasts refer to web sites constructed
in honor of specific anime characters as "shrines."
The Japanese word for girl. Shoujo also defines
the manga and anime titles that are specifically created
for young girls. These works often have very complex stories
and character interaction. Romantic and plot driven shoujo
works like Onii-sama e, Marmalade Boy, and
Fushigi Yuugi have also attracted large numbers of
The Japanese word for boy. Shounen also defines
the manga and anime titles that are specifically created
for young boys. These works are often filled with lots of
action, fantasy adventure, and giant robots.
A literal translation of this word would be Images of
Spring. In 18th Century Japan most ukiyo-e artists produced
shunga works. These erotic artworks displayed staggering
imagination and made their presence felt in the form of
popular woodblock prints. Modern day eroticism found in
manga and anime can be traced back to shunga, not in any
overt stylistic sense, but in the celebration of the sexual
as natural and part of life. Remember, in Japanese culture
there is no concept of "original sin" as there is in the
Christian West (see UKIYO-E).
DEFORMED.. A style of drawing
extremely common in anime and manga that has absolutely
no equivalency in the West. Normally proportioned characters
are shrunk and distorted in the super deformed style. Bodies
become very small and heads become disproportionately large.
Often times characters in a particular scene will be drawn
in both normal and super deformed styles. Usually when a
character is drawn in this way it denotes an extreme mood
change, anger, sillyness, or exasperation. Characters are
also drawn in super deformed style just because it makes
them look so cute... and in Japan, cuteness is everything!
model figures, dolls, keychains, and various toys will also
present characters in the super deformed style.
DROP.. This is a signature
visual stylization used in manga and anime. Whenever a character
is feeling embarrassed, perplexed, self-conscious, or just
plain stupid... a large tear drop shape will appear near
their face or head. Sometimes this "sweat drop" is small
and barely noticeable and other times it can nearly cover
an entire face. This visual clue denotes to the viewer that
the character is feeling out of sorts.
A book format in which manga are compiled after having had
successful serialized runs in magazines. Tankoubon means
separate volume and these softcover books contain
around five to eleven story installments. Tankoubon are
usually printed on high quality paper and black ink, whereas
the larger monthly serial magazines are produced less expensively
with colored ink on newsprint paper.
OSAMU.. Tezuka is
one of those giants in the world of art that everyone should
know about. He is considered the modern Father of manga
and anime and is so revered in Japan that a museum has
even been built to house all of his creations. In 1963 Tezuka
created his Tetsuwan Atomu (literally, "Atom with
iron arms"), which later that same year premiered on U.S.
television as Astro Boy. Tezuka created the very
first full color animation, a television series called
Jungle Taitei (Jungle Emperor). Years later, when
Disney Studios released it's "Lion King" animated movie,
the people of Japan were absolutely stunned and furious
that it was nothing more than a replica of Tezuka's Jungle
Emperor story. Disney's Lion King story was almost an exact
copy of Tezuka's. The animated feature film, METROPOLIS
is based upon a famous manga
series by Tezuka.
This school of art developed in the late 1670's and went
on to become one of Japan's most well known artistic styles.
Ukiyo-e means "floating world pictures" and its aesthetics
are concerned with the transient, fleeting aspects of life.
Ukiyo-e woodblock prints became very fashionable in the
Europe of the late 1800's, and eventually directly influenced
the Impressionist painters. If you study ukiyo-e you'll
see its sensibilities resonating in today's anime.
CATCHER.. A coin operated
mechanical game machine found in arcades. The machine's
"joy stick" control is used to skillfully direct a mechanical
hook in capturing the small plush dolls held in the machine's
large see through bin. The plush dolls (called "UFO Catcher
Dolls"), are super deformed versions of anime characters.
These dolls have become very popular collectables in the
West because of their rarity
and hyper cuteness.
Also known as shounenai or boy's love. Yaoi
manga features romantic love between male characters. These
homo-erotic titles which can sometimes be quite explicit
are enjoyed by a great number of women in Japan, in fact,
there are many more female readers of yaoi manga than there
are male readers. There is no equivalent to shounenai in
the world of Western comic books.
The Japanese word for dream.
A very common expression heard in anime which means "I won't
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