Words Every Anime Fan Needs to Know…or at least should

If you’re watching anime or reading manga, you might come across some words and terms that you’re unfamiliar with. If you’re new to the anime fandom, this list might help you understand it a little bit more.

Words Every Anime Fan Needs to Know


OTP Stands for One True Pairing or OH THE PAIN. Really, it’s the first one but there’s not much difference in them. Generally, you pick two characters that you like and want them to be together or “ship” them together. They become your OTP.


Canon is what the author and creator of the show has actually shown or written. Us fans like to come up with head-canon’s all day but they haven’t been confirmed by the creator. Usually, a canon will be if someone stays alive or not in a series or if a couple ends up together.


Weeaboos, known back in the day as Wapanese or “wannabe Japanese,” are anime fans who aren’t just in it for the anime. They’re in it for what they’ve decided is Japanese culture. They wear kimonos incorrectly, call everything “kawaii!” or “sugoi!” and seem to think that Japanese cuisine consists exclusively of Pocky and ramen. They definitely want to move to Japan, because it’s just like real life anime, right?



senpai is an upperclassman who mentors an underclassman. This term is used most often in English in reference to anime and manga. Used more broadly to mean “teacher” or “master.”

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The term “otaku” meaning probably “venerable house,” refers to someone who has a devotion to a subject or hobby (not necessarily anime) to the point of not leaving home. For instance, an otaku fan of a particular movie star could quite possibly know all of the films s/he has been in, their birth date, time of birth, shoe size, favorite toothpaste, etc.

Generally speaking, calling someone an otaku in Japan is an insult.  

More Words Every Anime Fan Should Know


An adjective in Japanese meaning ” pretty; cute; lovely; charming; dear; darling; pet” It is commonly used by anime and manga fans.
Horrendously overused by fangirls on anything chibi. ANYTHING. Because they feel the need to repeat the three Japanese words they know OVER AND OVER.



Tsundere  is a Japanese term for a character development process that describes a person who is initially cold (and sometimes even hostile) before gradually showing a warmer, friendlier side over time


Yandere  is defined as strongly and deeply exhausted, infatuated, head-over-heels, or lovestruck.


Chibi is a Japanese slang word describing something short (a thing, an animal or a person).

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a genre of Japanese comics and animated films aimed primarily at a young male audience, typically characterized by action-filled plots.



Short for Original Video Animation. 
OVA’s often contain special extra episodes, marketed to fans who may have seen an entire series but are hungry for more. 


Japanese equivalent of either “awesome” or “awful”. Most frequently used to mean the former, at least among westerners.


Ecchi is an often used slang term in the Japanese language for playfully sexual actions. As an adjective, it is used with the meaning of “sexy”, “dirty” or “naughty”.


Loli refers to the Japanese media pertaining to the attraction of young looking cute girls that blend slightly erotic characteristics.



a subgenre of the Japanese genres of manga and anime, characterized by overtly sexualized characters and sexually explicit images and plots.


(in the context of Japanese popular culture) the quality in a fictional female character of being youthfully innocent and vulnerable in an idealized way, perceived as eliciting feelings of affection.


Yaoi, also known as Boys’ Love, is a narrative featuring a romance or relationship between two or more males.


A narrative or visual work featuring a romance or sexual relationship between two or more females


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Fan Service

is material in a work of fiction or in a fictional series which is intentionally added to please the audience. It is about “servicing” the fan – giving the fans “exactly what they want.


An anime music video (AMV), typically is a fan-made music video consisting of clips from one or more Japanese animated shows set to songs.


Dōjinshi is the Japanese term for self-published works, usually manga or novels. They are often the work of amateurs.


Short for bishounen, translated roughly meaning “pretty boy.” Used for attractive male anime characters, and sometimes real life. Generally, they are sort of girlish looking.


What did you think? Did you already know some or most of these words? Let us know your favorite words to use as an anime fan!

As always,

Keep Smiling!


Spends her time watching anime and reading anything she can get her hands on. Also passionate about Disney, Harry Potter and helping those with depression and anxiety.

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