Eastern Culture: Common Terms

If you’ve just picked up this edition of Amish Otaku because you have no idea what an “Amish otaku” is (or how to get one), have no fear. Read this article and you’ll be in the know in no time.

First and foremost, “otaku” and “anime” should be defined so that we’re all on the same page.
Otaku (noun, pronounced “oh-TAH-koo”) is a Japanese word used by English-speaking fans to refer to an avid anime fan and is frequently used with pride. However, in Japan, the term has a somewhat more negative connotation and can be applied to a “die-hard” fan of anything, including computers, skateboarding, gardening and so on. For the purposes of this publication, otaku can safely be defined as “a fan of anime, computer and video games, and/or comics.”

Anime (noun, pronounced “AH-nee-may”) is animation in the style developed and commonly used in Japan since the 1950s. In the United States, anime refers specifically to animation imported from Japan, but in Japan the same term connotes all types of animation, from Sailor Moon to Popeye, the Sailor Man, including that of an adult nature (X-rated).

Other important anime terms you may come across within these pages and the pages of future issues of Amish Otaku include:

Catgirl: an anthropomorphic female cat-human hybrid character; basically, a girl with cat ears and often a tail or other feline features like fur, claws, etc.

Con: abbreviation of “convention.”

Cosplay: combination of the words “costume” and “play”; the act of dressing up as a favorite anime character, usually seen in a convention-type setting.

Fanservice: material in a storyline included for no other reason than to please a specific group of fans; usually, panty flashes, etc., meant to titillate adolescent male fans.

Kawaii: adjective meaning “cute,” often used as an exclamation or interjection. Rhymes with “Hawaii.”

Manga: Japanese comics. Pronounced “MAHN-gah.”

Mecha: giant robots, like those in Mobile Suit Gundam, Robotech, Jinki: Extended and others. Pronounced “meh-ka.”

OVA or OAV: “original video animation” or “original animated video”; in either case, referring to the same thing. The American equivalent is “TV mini-series.”

OST: “original soundtrack,” refers to an album released with the songs from a video game, anime television show or movie.

Shoujo or Shojo: manga or anime created for girls, such as Sailor Moon. These stories usually feature more emotional story lines and focus more heavily on the characters.

Shounen or Shonen: manga or anime created for guys, such as Dragon Ball Z. Shounen is typically more action oriented and moves at a faster pace.

So now that you’re fluent in our language here at Amish Otaku, you can decode and understand many of the rest of the articles. Congratulations!