Sunday, June 12, 2016

Anime Terms You Should Know

 EDIT: I tried fixing the weirdness with the color, but at least when I view my blog, nothing has changed, so I apologize if it visible to you guys. Please try your best to ignore it and if it become difficult to read, contact me (preferably via a comment) and I will try a few other ideas I have to maybe fix it.
EDIT II Return of the Edit: So, I am very glad I know how to alter HTML otherwise I would have been out of luck. As it is, I managed to (manually) alter all of the coding for background color and text color so it should be good now. I did each number individually just so that I knew I wasn't going to screw something up.
     I'm labeling this as a "part one", because I have a feeling I will be doing more of these. This is actually based on an idea I had a while back to create an "Anime Dictionary", that I just never finished, but instead of publishing something that you guys would have to pay for and probably only read once, I'll just utilize the internet as a teaching tool and give this guide to you for free. How does that sound? In this post I will be mostly talking about different genres of anime, and basic things like that, but if you guys like this, I will make this into a series.
     Anime (Ah-n-ih-m-eh): I feel like most people on this post will know this one, but this is the term Japanese cartoons, or Japanese animation, often but not always adapted from manga (comics) and having a variety of genres for a variety of age groups, including children, teenagers, and adults.
     Manga (M-ah-n-g-ah): Comics. That's literally all manga is. However, Japanese comics are generally similar to what Americans would think of as "graphic novels" in it's length.
     Shoujo (Sh-oh-j-oh): Shoujo is literally the Japanese word for girl, generally referring to a "young woman" between the ages of 7-18, approximately. It is made up of the characters: , which mean "little" or "young", and "woman", respectively. Little woman is not just one letter removed from a classic book, but can best be translated in English to the word "girl". In anime, it is an anime or manga intended for that audience (young women about the ages of 7-18) usually being series that involve romance or a female protagonist that is not overly sexualized, and slice of life animes. Some good examples are Ouran High School Host Club (although, despite the fact it was intended for girls, a lot of guys really like it too), Fruits Basket, Candy Candy, Say I Love You, and My Little Monster. This one is harder for me to come up with examples because it is not a genre I like that much, personally. I've actually never seen "Say I Love You" or "Fruits Basket" and did not finish "Candy Candy", but I would highly suggest "My Little Monster" and "Ouran High School Host Club" for the sake of actually getting me to love a romance anime using comedy and interesting characters/situations. Hell Girl (Jigoku Shoujo) actually also technically counts, which is a psychological horror/thriller anime dealing in themes of vengeance and justice, so not all shoujo anime is romance or slice of life, it's just a trend in this category. It should be noted that, while the intended audience is females, many boys (straight and homosexual alike) watch shoujo anime, OHSHC being a prime example, just as many girls, such as myself, watch Shounen. 
     Magical Girl: Magical Girl anime, such as Sailor Moon, Dokidoki!, and Uta Kata, are a sub-genre of shoujo. As the name would imply, they usually entail a female protagonist or protagonists who are in possession of magical powers of some sort. I'll use Sailor Moon as an example because I know it the best. The girls end up being given magic powers and essentially become super heroes, usually with no or little help from boys and usually drawn in a cute, more cartoonish art style. Sailor Moon is actually an exception to one of the things I usually say about female characters in anime in the fact that my rule is, "If they're sexualized, it's probably shounen," but Sailor Moon is, indeed, intended for young girls, despite the shortness of their skirts in the infamous (or maybe famous) panty shot in the opening theme if you slow it down enough. But the creator of Sailor Moon was a female: Naoko Takeuchi. She worked on a good amount of shoujo manga. Some of which are actually kind of good like the female Mecha anime, Toki☆Meka!.
     Josei (J-oh-s-aye): Josei is like the grown up version of Shoujo, or the female counterpart to Seinen. It is intended for women between the ages of 18-40 and is generally more realistic with less idealism, especially when it comes to romance. I don't watch a whole lot of Josei, but a few examples I can think of are Usagi Drop, Petshop of Horrors, and Super Seisyun Brothers. Honestly, when it comes to anime/manga intended for females, I prefer Josei more often than not, but most of the anime I watch would more likely fit in the male category, or none at all. 
     Shounen (Sh-oh-n-eh-n): Oh boy could I talk about this for hours. Shounen is the male counterpart to Shoujo in the fact that it is anime intended for boys of the age range 7-18. The characters used are 少年漫画 which basically would mean "youth's comics", but is used as "boy's comics" (or cartoons). In certain context, Shounen can mean boy, but it can also just mean youth, regardless of gender, to my understanding. One thing you will come to understand is context matters in Japanese. There are so many shounen anime that I adore, so I'm just going to list some of my favorites. Good examples would be Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Mirai Nikki, Blue Exorcist (Au No Exorcist), Soul Eater, Noragami, Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji), Death Note, The Devil is a Part Timer (Hataraku Maou-Sama), Samurai Champloo, Dragon Ball Z, D.Gray-Man, Rosario + Vampire, Great Teacher Onizuka, InuYasha...I should probably stop. Anyway, some that I personally do not enjoy that much but are popular and fit this category would be Fairy Tail, Attack on Titan, One Piece, and Naruto.
     Seinen (S-aye-n-eh-n): The word literally means "youth". This is basically the male counterpart to Josei in the fact that it is intended for males of an older demographic, 18-40. They generally focus more on psychological or political themes, but this is not always the case. These anime/manga may contain sexual themes, but are not hentai/seijin. It is actually, at least for me, harder to tell what is Shounen and what is Seinen, but a tip I learned from one of my internet friend (who lives in Japan) is looking for Furigana near the Kanji text. Furigana is a reading aid used in children's or beginner's works, and in the case of rarely used kanji words. Either way, it doesn't matter a whole lot because the differences are pretty minor as far as I can tell, but some Seinen anime/manga I personally love are Tokyo Ghoul, Elfen Lied, Mushishi, Berserk, Ghost in a Shell, Hellsing, Black Bullet, Black Lagoon, I can't Understand What My Husband is Saying, and One Punch Man. There are way more, but I could write an entirely different post just about the shounen and seinen anime/manga I love, so we'll stop here. 
     Hentai (Hen-tie): going to be awkward for me. It is debated within the anime community whether or not this is actually a genre, as it means "pervert" and I have been told that it is only used to refer to a person, not an anime or manga. However, most people refer to it as hentai, not Seijin, so you'll probably get more luck with this word. Basically, it's anime pornography, including full out sex scenes that are not censored, so, I don't watch it. Therefore, I cannot personally suggest anything, but thankfully I have a perverted surrogate older brother and boyfriend, so some that they mentioned are Itadaki sekai, Gauken de jikan yo tomare, and one I found online is Bible Black, but don't ask me what they're about because, like I said, I don't watch this kind of thing, so i haven't the foggiest. 
     Seijin (S-aye-j-ee-n): So, seijin means "adult" and therefore, in reference to manga or anime would basically be the Japanese equivalent of our 18+ in the fact that it is specifically intended for adults exclusively. As I mentioned, it's kind of debated about whether or not this can be inter-changeably with Hentai, or if this is the word that should be used. Also, I should make it known that even though hentai or seijin have sex scenes, that is not always the point of the anime. Although I make fun of my boyfriend when he says he watches hentai for the story, there are people who will actually skip the sex scenes but watch the anime, so...I'm too squeamish about sex for me to even do that, but, I figured I should include these in here since they're technically anime genres.
     Ecchi (Eh-ch-ee): Ecchi is like a step behind hentai. It is not really a genre of anime, but rather an element involved. Ecchi can range from sexual inuendos and maybe a panty shot to full on groping and toplessness, so if you are like me and can be a bit prudish, just because something is ecchi doesn't mean it is really lude, but it also doesn't mean it is not really lude, so just be warned. Some anime that I like that happen to have ecchi elements are No Game No Life, (Does this count?) Great Teacher Onizuka (I try not to repeat the same anime because I think I mentioned this in another genre above, but I really do love this one), Highschool of the Dead, Heaven's Lost Property, Highschool DxD, and To-LOVE Ru.
     Harem: Harem anime is basically what it sounds like. It involves a male protagonist surounded by a bunch of girls with varying personality types that are inexplicably in love with him. There's usually a tsundere character, childhood friend, etc. They are usually pretty funny, hence why I like them, and are often ecchi but not always. Some that I like are I Don't Have Many Friends (that's the name of the anime, I'm not making a confession or anything...although the statement would be true ^^"), To-Love-Ru, Tenshi Muyo, The World God Only Knows, Highschool DxD, Sword Art Online (because yes, that is a harem), and Rosario + Vampire. 
     Reverse Harem: Technically speaking, harem can refer to either gender, but it is most often applied to a male surrounded by female characters. Reverse Harem is the other way around. One of the most notable examples is Ouran High School Host Club, which I mentioned previously. Some others I like are Brothers Conflict (don't judge me -_-) and Amnesia. 
     Lolita (L-oh-l-ee-t-ah): Okay, so, a lot of people don't entirely seem to know what Lolita and Shota mean. Lolita is the same thing as Loli, Loli is just shortened. A Loli is a female who is or appears to be under the age of consent, which would be the age of 13, and yes I will talk about that particular issue in a separate post. There is no direct translation in English, but the closest would be pedophilia (I kind of kid). A Lolicon(L-oh-l-ee-c-oh-n) is a person who enjoys, specifically is attracted to, these characters. I cannot think of any examples, so I guess maybe Aihara Enju from Black Bullet, Elizabeth from Black Butler, Takanashi Rikka from Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! (she is freaking adorable by the way!)...the main issue is, it's kind of hard to define a Loli. Personally, I think of a Lolita character as being sexualized, as in, you're supposed to find them attractive in a way, like Honey-Senpai from Ouran High School Host Club (referred to as a "male lolita" but he's shota because that's what a male lolita is) where he, like the other boys in the Host Club, is supposed to have appeal with women in his own way. So, someone could argue about whether Elizabeth from Kuroshitsuji is a lolita, or just a twelve year old girl, and I honestly can't think of any character that I can say, "Yes, this is definitely a lolita" so I'm just leaving it at this and letting you decide.
     Shota (Sh-oh-t-ah): Shota is the male counterpart to Lolita, because everything needs to have a counterpart of the reverse gender in anime. Shota is a boy who is younger or appears younger than thirteen, such as Honey from OHSHC. Some people will refer to Len from Vocaloid or Ciel from Black Butler as Shota, but again, as I mentioned above, I don't feel like they are sexualized and I have always thought of Loli and Shota as being sexualized, so make of that what you will. Similar to Lolicon, Shotacon(Sh-oh-t-ah-c-oh-n), or as some will refer to it as, a "Shotacomplex" is the attraction to these characters.
     Moe (M-oh-eh): Moe is a complicated concept. It technically is a slang word used to mean strong affection, not necessarily sexual, mostly to a character. A moe character is also a complicated concept. To simplify it, I personally will split moe into two categories, but before I get into that, I need to explain what it kind of means. SourceFedNerd describes it as a "little sister" effect, and I agree. I have been described as moe by my friends (for some reason) in both of my categories, but a lot of those same friends think of me as a little sister, not a crush or potential lover. Generally they are adorable characters that invoke a sense of desire to protect or save them. Now to my categories. I split it up as an Innocent Moe, and Tragic Moe. To me, Innocent Moe is a character that is usually naive and innocent (obviously) especially when it comes to sexual themes, and may be a bit too trusting or otherwise inadvertently putting themselves in danger or potentially could put herself in danger, hence wanting to protect her. Tragic Moe, to me, is someone who has been through a lot, but is still adorable, and usually invokes feelings of wanting to save her from her haunted past. Not everyone considers this moe, but I do. The thing is, like many Japanese words used in the anime community, there is a lot of debate about what it actually means, and therefore it sort of means all of those things, and a lot of Japanese words are multi-function anyway. Moe can also be a style, such as the chibi sort of art of Lucky Star, that makes the characters look as cute as possible and is common as a style on shoujo anime, but as a character trope can be found in most types of anime.
     Bishounen: Meaning "beautiful boy". Technically, it can be a matter of opinion, like I could say "Kare wa bishounen" referring to...say, Rin Okumura from Au No Exorcist (he totally is) and my friend could disagree. However, there is a stereotype of what a Bishounen is, which usually is what most people would think of as a "pretty boy" so, that seems logical. Spock would approve. Some examples of characters I think are "bishounen" would be Finnian, Grell, and Sebastian from Black Butler, the twins from Ouran high School Host Club (although, let's be real, they're all hot..except Honey because he's adorable in a kiddish sort of way), basically every male character from Hetalia, basically every male main character from Amnesia (the anime and visual novel, not the horror game), L from Death Note (don't judge me)...honestly, if we went through ever character I have a crush on, we'd be here all year. Anyway, this is a trope most common in Shoujo.
     Bishoujo: Bishoujo is, of course, the female version of bishounen. It is a trope used in shounen anime more, but because it can be so opinionated, and I am a straight female, it's hard for me to choose examples, but some that I think fit the "stereotypical" category are Yuuki Asuna from SAO,Inoue from Bleach, and...I'll say Misa Amane (as irritating as she is) from Death Note. Usually the girls are obviously physically appealing and although their personality types may be different, I have observed a trend of characters referred to as "bishoujo" as being sweet, loving, and doting. But again, this is a more opinionated thing. My boyfriend, for example, would probably say Tomoko from WataMote is Bishoujo (no wonder he likes me so much XD). 
     Otaku (Oh-t-ah-k-oo): Oh boy, another complicated word! At least this one is easy to explain, but the meaning makes things a bit...weird. So, "otaku" is a Japanese word that has been adopted by Western cultures, and mean very different things. The Japanese version is an insult, for one thing, so most people would not refer to themselves as such. The closest English translation would be "geek" but usually has a more offensive conontation. Basically, it is someone who is "obsessive" in their interests (as, honestly, a lot of Otakus are) often insinuating that their obsession gets in the way of that person being a functioning member of society. It also can apply to more than just anime. Otakus can be interested in video games, science fiction, fantasy, general cosplay, computers, you name it. In the Western anime community, however, it just means a person who is REALLY into anime, and that does not mean you grew up with Pokemon, watched One Piece, and five episodes of Naruto, but I'll talk about that in a later post.
     Weeaboo (W-ee-ah-b-oo): This is such an annoying word for me that it will also get it's own post, because so many people misuse this word. It does not mean a fake Otaku, it does mean an Otaku in general. This word means someone who has basically denounced their own nationality and pretend to be or wish they were Japanese. A good example would be this chick: who I am convinced (and praying) is trolling. But whether she actually believes this or not, her persona is that of a weeaboo, just maybe on the extreme end. Some common characteristics are speaking random Japanese words in a generally English sentence (such as referring to people with the suffixes -kun or -chan but the rest of the sentence is English, or saying an English sentence and ending with -desu) especially if this is grammatically or logically incorrect and liking things specifically because they are Japanese. Personally, to me, a Weeaboo is a person who has essentially lost their sense of self because of their obsession. They are usually ignorant to the majority of the culture and language, but are obsessed with everything from the country simply because it is Japanese (as opposed to someone who likes a lot of things from Japan because they like it, not because it's Japanese). This insult has spread to be used against actual otakus or fake otakus, and both uses are incorrect. It can be difficult to figure out if someone is a weeaboo or otaku, because it is more about reasoning rather than actions (does she like Pocky because the flavor is good or because it is Japanese, did he wear a kimono because he likes it or because he wants to seem Japanese), but it really doesn't matter because I personally feel like we shouldn't judge people anyone (out loud) and even though they can become annoying, more often than not, the people who are deemed "weeaboos" are not, because of the butchering of the word. 
     -San: Ah, suffixes. I usually describe "-san" as being kind of like Miss or Mister. It is respectful and can be attached to given or family names and even job titles. Children may refer to their teachers as surname-San (but with their teacher's actual surname, of course), similar to how Americans will call their teacher Mr. or Ms. and you would refer to someone you have just met as -San. The word doctor, for example, is Oisha-san.
     -Sama: Don't be fooled by anime, this isn't used nearly as often as some animes may have you believe. Sama is basically a more respectful form of -San, used to address customers or people of a much higher rank than you in most cases. You probably wouldn't refer to yourself as -sama unless you are being humorous and ironic, because it displays a great arrogance that might get you thrown out of Japan (I kid, I kid).
     -Chama: Chama is a "baby talk" version, if you will, of -Sama, often used to be polite to a person who is your age and equal. It also has been described to me as sounding "cuter" and can sometimes be used similar to "chan" apparently, though less commonly.
     -Tama: Similar to Chama, Tama is a childlike version of Sama, and really is not used by non-children in real life, it seems. I personally, haven't even heard it used in anime (or at least that I can recall) but I will talk about how it might be used later.
     -Chan: This is generally thought of as a "female" term although that's not entirely true. -Chan is a form of San, for one thing, even though it is often thought to be the girl version of kun (which is not entirely untrue either).  It's more used for children, and in childish language. A child, for example, may refer to their grandmother as obaa-chan, and a child may be referred to as their name and chan, such as a little girl named Yuki may be Yuki-chan. However, teenage girls and young women can also be referred to as chan, especially between close friends or lovers. It could be considered a sort of "baby talk" and is basically just supposed to be cute, hence why it is mostly used for cute girls, children, and animals. Female students are often addressed this way by teachers.
     -Tan: -Tan is the childlike version of -chan, which is interesting because -chan started out being the childlike version of -san (hence why -kun is not the male counterpart, because -kun has nothing to do with -san) before -chan basically became its own honorific. Funny how language works, huh? Tan is essentially a mispronunciation of -san (or -chan) and therefore is associated with children, specifically very young children. -Tan or -Tama can be used in anime for children (for realism), or non children (probably teenager) for cuteness because it is considered adorable, but similar to "baby talk" in the Western world would probably stop being cute very fast if you went to Japan and started speaking in it.
     -Kun: It is not entirely true that Kun is the male equivalent of -chan, but they are similar. -Kun is informal and used between males of the same age and status, or a superior to an inferior male. Similar to chan, it is used for male children, but male children can also be referred to as -chan. It depends partly on the name of the child. Also similar to chan, teachers often address male students as -kun, and it can be attached to a given or family names. Elders may refer to teenage boys or young men as -kun, as well. 
     Senpai: The misuse of this word is so common and it bothers me so much. Honestly, this word and the next one are half the reason I made this in the first place. I actually had to correct my (also Otaku) boyfriend when he called me "Senpai" once. Senpai is often used in school or clubs to refer to senior students (such as a freshman referring to a Junior as -Senpai). But this "Notice me Senpai" thing has gotten so many people to think it means something along the lines of "crush", and I've even heard people use it as an adjective. I kid you not, I have heard girls say "he is so senpai". Like what the heck??! I am so sorry for ranting, and I honestly don't know why it bothers me so much, but that is a prime example of how to spot a weeaboo, in case you needed another example. Senpai also doesn't have to be male, but some people think it does. If the person you are talking about it in a lower grade than you, then he or she is not your Senpai but rather your...
     -Kohai: So, some people think Kohai is the feminine version of Senpai. Considering most people in the western world don't even seem to know it's a word, I guess I can't fault them for coming to the conclusion, at least they're trying, but please, do you're research. Kohai and Senpai can both apply to either gender, and kohai is quite the opposite. It is what a Senpai would refer to their Junior classmate, so like a Senior maybe addressing a Sophomore or something, although, what we would consider a Sophomore would be a freshman in Japan...but that's for another post.
     -Sensei: So, this one most commonly will refer to a teacher in anime, but that is not necessarily the meaning. Sensei means "former born" and can refer to many things such as doctors, lawyers, and even musicians or manga artists. It is respectful and similar to Senpai can be used as a title, as well as an honorific.
     Hakase: This is sort of like a higher version of Sensei. It is kind of like the difference between a teacher (sensei) and a professor (hakase). There are some other honorifics, specifically pretty formal ones, but you don't really need to know about them for anime, so I'll stop with the honorifics here.
     Kawaii (K-ah-w-ah-ee): Now let's get onto some common words in anime, presuming you watch subbed. This word, often mispronounced by Americans, literally just means "cute". Weeaboos love this word.
     Kowaii: Scary. It can sound very similar to kawaii, so think about context.
     Baka: The meaning sort of changes depending on context, but it basically is insulting someone's intelligence and is most often translated as "idiot" or "stupid". It can be silly and friendly when used jokingly between friends, but in the right setting can also be insulting.
     Pantsu: Used most often in ecchi (and I presume hentai) meaning panties.
     Oppai: Also used in ecchi, meaning breasts in the sense of a human female's breasts...not like a chicken breast or anything, that would be "torimuneniku".
     Danmari: To be silent. The word dan-dere is derived from this. Similar to damaru (to stop talking), but danmari seems to be more of a demeanor and damaru is a behavior.
     Itai: This means hurt or painful.
     Kami: God.
     Jigoku: Hell, hence Jigoku shoujo (Hell Girl).
     Yami: Dark. Think Yami Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh (Dark Yugi).
     Hikari: Light. I have heard people refer to the word light as being "Raito" because of Death Note, but that is incorrect. That was a character's name derived from an English word, so unless you are talking about Light Yagami (Yagami Raito), say hikari.
     Kokoro: Heart in the context of spirit. Think of it like the heart in Kingdom Hearts as opposed to the beating organ inside of you right now. That would be shinzou. The last "oh" in the word is pronounced quickly and softly, almost a "ruh" sound. 
     Nani: What. And whenever I read this word, for some reason I always think of Iceland from Hetalia.

     Obviously, there are so many more words in Japanese, and I will teach more of them to you in future posts, this was more of to clear up some confusion about anime terms. I hope you learned something, and maybe can stop using some of these words (Senpai) incorrectly.

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