Being an otaku can be confusing sometimes, especially when you don’t speak Japanese or know many Japanese words. Even the words for genres of anime can be confusing, so I hope this glossary can help to clear things up a bit. Enjoy! 

Anime: The word used to categorize Japanese animated shows as a whole.

-chan: A suffix meaning “little”; used most often in informal speech to refer to girls or little kids.

Chibi: Means “small person”, chibi are known for having large heads and small bodies: they are mostly used for comedic effect within anime and manga. 

Dandere: An anime personality trope characterized by the quiet, introverted character. These characters say little for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, and are thus generally antisocial until befriended. 

Ecchi: A genre of anime that tends to use fan-service and sexual imagery for comedic effect. 

Harem: A genre of anime characterized by a lone male lead surrounded by a large cast of female characters who all fall in love with him. 

Hentai: A genre of anime catered specifically towards adults due to overly sexualized characters and sexually explicit images and plots. 

-hime: A suffix meaning “princess”.

Josei: Anime and manga targeted towards an audience of older teens and young women.

Kuudere: An anime personality trope characterized by stoic calmness used to mask their fears or emotions. In some rare cases, they express no emotion. 

Kouhai: Underclassman.

-kun: A suffix used to refer to boys. It is also used informally to refer to young men. 

Mahou Shoujo: Translates to “magical girl”, this is a subgenre of anime that features girls who weild magic, i.e. Sailor Moon or Madoka Magica.  

Mecha: A genre of anime that is characterized by the use of piloted robotic suits by the main cast of characters. See Gundam, Code Geass, and the like. 

Moe: Used to refer to extremely cute characters in anime and manga. 

Family Names:

  • Oneechan/Oniisan: Older sister or brother, respectively. 
  • Obasan: Aunt
  • Obaasan: Grandmother.
  • Ojisan: Uncle
  • Ojiisan: Grandfather
  • Otousan: Father
  • Okaasan: Mother
  • Imouto: Little sister
  • Otouto: Little brother

-san: A suffix meaning “Mr./Ms./Mrs.”

-sama: A suffix meaning “sir”, also used to mean lord or lady.

Seinen: A genre of anime and manga targeted towards teen boys and young men.

Seiyuu: A voice actor for an anime.

Senpai: Upperclassman. 

Sensei: Teacher, also used to refer to doctors. 

Shoujo: Anime and manga targeted towards teenage girls. 

Tsundere: A character personality trope known for hiding romantic feelings under a guise of anger or indifference, and struggling with their insecurity. Their struggle between their feelings of love and pride are a staple of the trope. 

Yandere: One of the most well-known character personality tropes: yandere characters turn their romantic feelings into an obsession. Known for being normal on the outside and crazy on the inside, yandere characters are often violently affectionate towards the object of their love, even to the point of attacking anyone they see as an obstacle between them and their love. 

Yaoi/Yuri: A genre of anime and manga that emphasize homosexual boy-on-boy or girl-on-girl relationships.