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Otaku Dictionary: Translating From Nerd into English

Updated on September 1, 2011
Bubblegum Senpai profile image

Nigel, AKA Bubblegum Senpai has been a weird, anime obsessed freak of nature since he first watched "Samurai Pizza Cats" as a young lad.

A screenshot from the show "Super Sentai," from which our show "Power Rangers" was based upon.
A screenshot from the show "Super Sentai," from which our show "Power Rangers" was based upon.

Do you often have conversation with friends who are obsessed with anime, and find yourself completely wondering what they are talking about? Do you still have this problem when they aren't even talking about anime or video games? Is there jargon of slangs, acronyms, and oblique references driving you up the wall?

Say No More! Bubblegum Senpai is here to help you out!

The Otaku Slang Dictionary (In Alphabetical Order)

AFK: Away From Keyboard. Often used in online games or chat rooms to tell others you won't be there (See BRB for similar purposes). Sometimes used as well in real life to denote when one isn't paying attention. "Sorry dude, I was AFK. Could you repeat that?"

Anime: A style of animation that originated in Japan. Most anime movies/ TV shows/ Books still are originally from Japan, although the art style has become popular, so Americans are starting to use this style too in many cases.

Arigato: Literally means "Thank You"

BRB: Be Right Back. Used in chat rooms when your going away from the computer for a few minutes. In real life, used to denote it's literal meaning, although it may sometimes mean BathRoom Break.

Cosplay: Short for "Costume Play." A group of individuals who dress up in costume and role-play as the characters the dress up as. These costumes are usually characters from existing sources of fiction. Click on the definition for an excellent hub by mustang87 on the subject.

Crossplay: A form of Cosplay in which one dresses as a character that's of the opposite gender of oneself.

Dating Sims: Similar to H-Games, the object of these simulations are to get to know potential suitors better, with the hopes of making them fall in love with you. These games are surprisingly popular in Japan. These may not always be explicit in content, and some may be suitable for younger audiences. Parents are cautioned to always examine the content of the games before allowing minors to play.

Domo: A general formality. Usually used to mean "Thank You" but sometimes means "Hello."

Doujinshi: An independent comic or manga. Usually, but not always, a form of Fan-fic.

Eroge: See H-Games.

Esper: Someone who can utilize ESP (Extra-Sensory Perception). May also refer to a group of mythical creatures from the video game Final Fantasy VI.

Esper Sentai: A popular genre of anime or live-action shows in which a group of persons who specialise in martial arts dons different colored uniforms and defeats a different monster each week. The most popular esper sentai show in North America to date is Power Rangers.

Fan Service: A character or event in manga of varying degrees of sexual nature. Can range from a cute girl in a bikini (or a cute girl who regularly shows of a large amount of cleavage) to scenes of a much more explicit nature.

Fan-fic: An abbreviation of "fan fiction." A storyline made by fans using existing characters from Manga and Anime.

Fanlation: A show or comic that has been translated from it's original language into a a reader's native language by another fan of the show or comic. Often relied upon if there is no official translation available.

FF: A popular abbreviation of Final Fantasy, a popular video game series by Square-enix.

H-Games: Computer or Video Games of an erotic nature. The "H" stands for Hentai.

Hentai: Comics and Cartoons of an explicit nature, and in my personal opinion, degrading towards women.

Hikikomori: A recluse or isolate. Literally a shut-in, but a true Hikikomori takes this to a new extreme, sometimes not leaving their room at all for months or even years.

Kawaii (or Ky-aii): Pronounced "KOW-ah-EE," literally means cute in Japanese. A good example would be Hello Kitty. Simply means something is cute. "These sailor uniforms are a drag to put on each day, but they're so kawaii!"

Manga: A collection of comics in the Japanese Anime style, usually read from "Back-to-Front," and the panels are read from right to left.

Mikutard: A fanatic of anime pop idol Miku Hatsune.

Moe: Similar to Kawaii, however it is less innocent. Literally meaning "Turn-on" it is sometimes used to referencing something that is cute, but in a fetishistic manner. Something or someone that is a "Turn-on." See Moe Points.

Moe Points: Features that attract certain audiences or appeals to certain fetishes. "Glasses? Clumsy? This guy/girl is loaded with Moe Points!" The term stems from Eroge and H-Games.

Otaku: In Japan, often a derogatory word for someone who is obsessed with something. In the Western world, is used in a less derogatory manner to describe fans of anime.

Shounen or Shonen: A manga or anime in which the target audience is male. This can cross many genres, such as Sci-fi/fantasy but are usually high in action content with strong male leads. Naruto is a popular example of a shounen manga.

Shojo: A manga or anime in which the target audience is female. Like Shounen, this can cross many genres, but usually play on more romantic themes with female leads and a more subtle humor. Nina is a popular example of a shojo manga.

Yaoi: A romantic manga or anime in which the central romantic characters are both males. Literally means "boy love." See also Yuri.

Yuri: A romantic manga or anime in which the central romantic characters ar both females. Literally means "girl love." See also Yaoi.

A Helping Hand

I hope this helps. I'll be updating this as I remember more terms, or if you hear of terms relating to anime or gaming that you're unfamiliar with, mention it in the comments and I'll add it to the dictionary. Thanks!


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    • Bubblegum Senpai profile image

      Bubblegum Senpai 2 years ago from Little Tokyo

      I'd add tsundere, but I have an article that already explains many of the female -dere archetypes in depth. If I added tsundere, I'd kind of have to add all of them.

    • profile image

      beta 2 years ago

      add tsundere

    • Bubblegum Senpai profile image

      Bubblegum Senpai 6 years ago from Little Tokyo

      Anytime! I'll be adding to this as I recall/discover other terms. In fact, I'll be adding "Arigato" and "Domo" right shortly.

    • cheerfulnuts profile image

      cheerfulnuts 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      How can I consider myself an otaku when I don't know the otaku slang? Thanks Bubblegum Senpai for the free lesson!

    • Bubblegum Senpai profile image

      Bubblegum Senpai 6 years ago from Little Tokyo

      Thanks! I added all your suggestions, plus "Doujinshi," since that's similar to fan-fiction.

    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 6 years ago from Illinois

      I think Yaoi and Yuri should be here too, as well as Shounen and Shoujo. And fan-fiction. Even though one can make fan-fiction about anything, not necessarily anime.