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Otaku Dictionary L-Z

Used with permission of AnimeInfo.org. Originally by Frank Sanchez.

Guide to Definition Legend:

Here is the standard form for the definitions in this dictionary:

[term] [pronuniciation]:
[grammatical context]. - [definition]
[other forms]
see also: [related]

-"term" is the actual term used.
-"pronunciation" is the phonetic pronunciation of the word. For example, (oh-TAH-koo).
-"grammatical context" is the type of word it is, i.e. n. for noun, v. for verb, etc.
-"definition" is the actual explanation of the term.
-"example" is the use of the word as if it was part of an English sentence (closest possible).
-"other forms" is any plural, adjectival, etc. form of the word
-"related" is a similar or associated word, in meaning, to the term given


n., adj. - Term used in the anime community to refer to fanfiction containing some amount of sexual acts and/or situations. These types of fanfiction can range from the plausible to the impossible and are usually the most notorious for taking liberties on the target anime's plot and characters.
ex. - Did you read that Tenchi Muyo lemon fic yet?
other forms - lemons (pl.), lemonfic (n.)
see also: lime

Lime (LIME)
n., adj. - Term used in the anime community to refer to fanfiction implying or hinting at sexual acts or situations. A simple comparison would be to a movie in which the action is faded out at the beginning of a sex scene, and fades back in afterwards. Sexual situations are not explicitly described, but are instead mentioned, or cut around. Lime fanfiction tends to be more realistic than its more explicit cousin, the lemon.
ex. - That Ranma 1/2 fic is a lime for sure.
other forms - limes (pl.), limefic (n.)
see also: lemon


n. - From the Japanese, meaning "illusion" or "fabrication", comparable to English expressions of "seeing things" or "seeing a mirage". In the context of imagination/dreams, "maboroshi" is attributed to past occurrences and can take on a meaning like "phantoms".
ex. - There's an oasis ahead. It has to be maboroshi.

Mahou (MAH-hoh)
adj., n. - From the Japanese, meaning "magic". As the meaning states, this word conjures up the appropriate images of fantastical acts and trickery that accompanies any mention of magic or magicians. In anime, a sub-genre of the "shoujo" anime/manga type story is "mahou shoujo" (magical girl), which has female protagonists using magical powers to accomplish their goals or mission.
ex. - She changed in less than 2 seconds. She has to be some kind of mahou shoujo.

Manga (MAHN-gah or MANG-ah)
n. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "whimsical pictures". Manga has its roots in early drawings done in the 1100's, and it has since then evolved into an art form that has encompassed a significant portion of the Japanese culture. The equivalent of "comic books" in Western culture, manga is intertwined with anime due to the fact that many popular manga series are transferred onto video or the TV screens as animated shows. Japanese comics are usually released in black and white, small volumes containing several stories. Artists who draw manga are often called "manga-ka" (literally, "comic artist").
ex. - I bought some really good Tenchi Muyo manga today.
see also: anime

Mecha (MEH-kah)
n., adj. - Short for "mechanical", and a slang term used to refer to the giant robots and machines that characterize some anime. Can also refer to the genre of anime which employs giant machines or robots as part of the story, action, or characterization.
ex. - Did you see that new Gundam mecha?
other forms - mech (n.)

Miko (MEE-koh)
n. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "voice of the gods", with a conventional meaning of "priestess". These holy women are generally a part of the temple and perform rituals of purification or summoning prayer.
ex. - Miaka is not fit to be Suzaku no Miko ("priestess of Suzaku").

Minna (mee-NAH)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "all" or "everyone". The term is most commonly used to refer to a group of people or individuals, and can be translated as referring to everyone present. A Japanese honorific (-san, -sama, etc.) can sometimes be added to the end of the word.
ex. - Minna, thank you very much for the surprise party!
other forms: minna-san, minna-sama

Moshi Moshi (MOH-shee moh-SHEE) (thanks to KasumiTen for the myth reference)
exp. - Commonly used to answer the telephone in Japan, this expression has no real meaning, with the cloests translation of the term being "hello?" when receiving a phone call. The term itself stems from a Japanese myth of the shape-shifting fox. The fox is a creature of supernatural power and mystery in Japanese tradition. They are said to change their form to that of a woman many times in order to seduce men for benevolent or malicious intent. The term "Moshi, moshi!" has no intrinsic meaning. It is a phrase supposedly foxes cannot pronounce. Therefore, if you say this over the phone and receive a reply the person you are talking with is not a fox in disguise.
ex. - *picking up phone* Hai, moshi moshi?


Nani (NAH-nee or nah-NEE)
part., exp. - From the Japanese, meaning "what"? In certain grammatical situations and/or with certain verbs, a shortened version ("nan") may be used (i.e. "nan desu ka", meaning "what is it?").
ex. - Nani? You're not going to the movie tonight?
other forms - nan

Ne (NEH)
part., exp. - From the Japanese, usually added to the end of an expression, with the intent of verifying the truth of the expression from the person it is being spoken to. In other words, it carries a meaning of "isn't it?", "right?", "don't you think so?", etc., i.e. "You think I'm cute, right?". It is sometimes (though not often) used at the beginning of sentences or as a separate expression on its own.
ex. - You're not going to miss the next episode, ne?

Ni (NEE)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "two" - as in the number twoe.
ex. - You have 3 seconds....3, ni, 1...


n. - Acronym standing for "Original Animated Video". Refers to anime that is released only on video, and which never originally sees TV time in Japan. Releasing anime series as OAVs is a common practice in Japan, and much larger and more prominent than the same practice in Western culture. Some anime series released OAV spawn TV versions of themselves which may or may not keep consistency with the original story.
ex. - The Kenshin OAV is a lot darker than the TV series.
other forms - OVA (n., "original video animation")

Ohayo (oh-HI-yoh)
exp. - From the Japanese, meaning "morning" or "good morning". Most commonly used to greet someone at the start of a day. Is sometimes used with "gozaimasu" to emphasize the meaning of the word or to show respect.
ex. - Ohayo - what a long night.
other forms - ohayou

Okyaku (oh-KYAH-koo)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "guest" or "customer". This is used by shop owners or employees or service places to refer to those who patronize them and is considered a polite form of address, similar to customer service representatives or vendors addressing customers as "sir" or "madam". Honorific suffixes -san and -sama can are commonly added to this word when it is used.
ex. - Welcome to our inn, okyaku-san.

Omake (oh-MAH-keh)
n., adj. - From the Japanese, meaning "extra" or "bonus", omake are exactly what they mean - extras or bonus that can most commonly be found in manga, but which can also occur in anime. Omake can take many different forms, whether it be commentary and exclusive character designs from the manga artist or animator, footnotes, or unrelated comedic side stories involving the characters (even normally serious and evil villains).
ex. - That Fushigi Yuugi omake episode is very funny.

Omedetou (oh-MEH-deh-TOH)
exp. - From the Japanese, meaning "congratulations". This particular expression is used mostly like its translative meaning in English, as it is used when complimenting or recognizing someone else's achievement or important event in their life. Japanese connotations of this word tend to lean more towards the "important/significant and successful event in someone's life" when using this word, rather than recognizing personal achievement or minor good deeds.
ex. - You graduated from college. Omedetou!

Omoshiroi (oh-MOH-shee-roy)
adj. - From the Japanese, meaning "interesting", "intriguing", or "amusing".
ex. - So that's how a magical engine works...omoshiroi.

Oni (OH-nee)
n. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "ogre". In Japanese mythology, the oni is usually depicted as a fearsome creature that is gigantic in size, has a tendancy to get angry easily, has horns on its head, and may or may not possess other "monster" like features such as multiple eyes or fangs. They are, however, human or humanoid in appearance, despite these physical traits. Oni usually have an aversion towards normal people and hurt them at every opportunity.
ex. - I've never been able to see an oni before.
see also: youma

n. - Acronym short for "opening", used to refer to the opening song in a Japanese anime. Like its counterpart ED (ending song) it is not unusual for OP songs to be compiled onto CD's for listening enjoyment. Usually the opening theme conveys the mood of the series and introduces what kind of action will be portrayed in the anime.
ex. - We love to listen to the OP for Maison Ikkoku.
see also: ED

OST (OH-ess-TEE)
n. - Acronym short for "Original Soundtrack", referring to compilations of the background music, opening and ending themes, and other music from a particular series. Many anime CDs that are referred to as OSTs are instrumental only, but there are a few voice ones out as well.
ex. - The OST for Sailor Moon is really horrible.

Otaku (oh-TAH-kuu)
n. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "house". In Japan, the term refers to someone with a heavy, and sometimes near-religious interest in something. In the Japanese culture it also carries a derogatory meaning, in the context of being someone with no real social or personal life outside of the object of their obsession (much like the term "fanboy" or "nerd" in Western culture). However, outside of Japan, the term may or may not carry a derogatory meaning depending on the person being referred to. Many anime fans in Western cultures proudly (and sometimes mistakenly) call themselves otaku, preferring to use the term to describe themselves as a "hard core", or knowledgeable, anime fan.
ex. - That Mama Ass is definitely an otaku.

Oyasumi (oh-YAH-suu-mee)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "good night" or in some cases "good bye". Used most commonly to end a conversation with someone at nighttime or near nighttime.
ex. - I'm heading out, oyasumi.


Pocky (PAH-kee)
n. - A very popular Japanese snack food, Pocky is long skinny wheat crackers dipped in various flavored mixes, the most common being chocolate. There are other Pocky with strawberry (Strawberry Pocky), almonds and chocolate (Almond Crush), dark chocolate ("Men's" Pocky), and Milk (White Pocky), among others. The packages are all usually the same size, though some "giant" Pocky packages with larger versions of this snack are not uncommon.
ex. - Ooh! You've got to hand me some of that Pocky!



adj. - Refers to an anime that is in original Japanese form, without any dubbing or subbing. Many anime fans who can understand Japanese order these from contacts or stores in Japan in order to have a "pure" viewing experience.
ex. - The later Fushigi Yugi episodes aren't release here yet, but I watched them raw.

Romaji (roh-MAH-jee)
n. - Term to describe the practice of placing Japanese words into English ("roman") letters. Rarely seen in use in Japan, the use of romaji is most commonly use as an aid to learning and spelling out Japanese words without having to deal with the symbolic nature of the Japanese alphabet. The sounds of the Japanese words are transposed into english letters, and then pronounced as if saying the word in Japanese. Due to the nature of some Japanese sounds (for example, instances where the long "o" sound in Japanese is two syllables ["ou"] and not one), some Japanese words and names may end up with different spellings in this dialect. For instance, the name "Kuno" could also be spelled "Kunou" to simulate the dual syllable sound of the long "o" vowel in Japanese. In this dictionary, all the Japanese words are written in romaji rather than in hiragana or katakana.
ex. - That name is different when spelled in romaji.
other forms - romanized (v.), romajized (v.)
see also: hiragana, katakana


suf. - A Japanese honorific and suffix added to names, -sama is most often used to address persons of much higher rank or nobility (like royalty). It can also be used by someone in the case of addressing someone for whom you have great respect or even romantic interest. Holds more respect than the related honorific "-san". Some translations give it a meaning of "dear" or "darling", though this meaning is not always the case.
ex. - Hotohori-sama, I've been looking for you for a while now.
see also: chan, san

San (SAHN)
suf., n. - Japanese honorific and suffix added to names, to show respect for the person you are addressing. -San is the most commonly used suffix heard in anime and it is usually employed when addressing an acquaintance or one of equal status. Alternatively, the same spelling of this word can also mean "three" - as in the number three.
ex. - We should be going now, Katsuragi-san.
ex. - I am going to count to three....1, 2, san...
see also: chan, sama

Sashimi (sah-SHEE-mee)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "raw fish". Sashimi is literally what it is, and is thin slices of raw fish most commonly served with rice, soy sauce and the green-colored "wasabi" (Japanese horseradish). The fresher the fish, the better the sashimi is supposed to be. Kinds of sashimi include: tuna, salmon, mackerel, and yellowtail, among many others.
ex. - I would like to order some sashimi with rice, please.
see also: sushi

Scanlation (skan-LAY-shun)
n. - A combination of the words "scan" and "translation", referring to any manga which has been translated from the original Japanese and posted online in electronic form. Scanlations are considered illegal by both American and Japanese companies due to the fact that they are reproductions of the original, distributed for free rather than bought in the store.
ex. - Did you see that scanlation online?
other forms: scanlated, scanlate

Seiyuu (SAY-yuu)
n. - Japanese name for voice actor or actress. Like the anime that they voice, seiyuu have forged as prominent a name for themselves as their counterparts in the live action part of the film and TV industry. Many of these actors and actresses are also equally talented at singing as well as voice acting, and several have even made albums as part of pop groups.
ex. - We should get more seiyuu to come to conventions.

Sempai (SEHM-pai)
n., suf. - Used by itself or as a Japanese honorific to add to names, sempai means "upperclassman". In conjunction with the word "kohai" (underclassman), this word is used to describe a teacher/student, master/apprentice type of relationship, commonly fraternal in nature. The word can also be attributed to someone who the addresser feels has a great deal of knowledge and/or talent for giving advice on particular matters of importance.
ex. - Sempai, you are needed in the dojo.
ex. 2 - Ritsuko-sempai is one of the fastest programmers I have ever seen.
see also: san, sama, chan
other forms: senpai

Sensei (SEHN-say or SEHN-seh)
n., suf. - Used on its own or as an honorific to add to names, this word means "master" and is used to address someone who has great talent or mastered a skill in a particular area. Apprentices learning under this person will usually call him or her their "sensei". As a suffix, these "master" attributes are merely attached to the name of the person being addressed. A close American equivalent to a sensei would be Yoda, from the Star Wars trilogy movies.
ex. - I would like to learn karate under you, sensei.
ex. 2 - Takahashi-sensei is possibly the best manga artist to ever live in Japan.

Senshi (SEHN-shee)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "soldier", "warrior", or "combatant". The word appears to have less of an emphasis on honor as the "samurai" term, but can still be attributed to a fighter of honorly status.
ex. - Which sailor senshi is the best?

Sentai (SEHN-taye)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "corps", "squadron", or "fleet", the term is mainly used in a military context to refer to a battle team or group of soldiers. It can, of course, also be used to describe a team or people working with a common purpose.
ex. - Tell the tank sentai to move in and engage the enemy.

Shiawase (shee-AH-wah-SEH)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "happiness" or "to be happy".
ex. - You got me a gift! Shiawase.

Shoujo (SHOH-joh)
n., adj. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "young girl". In anime terms, this word is used as an adjective to refer to the genre of anime or manga which is aimed at young teenage girls, usually stories of drama and romance. Many males, however, are as attracted to shoujo style anime as girls are, and enjoy it just as much. A sub genre of this is "mahou shoujo", which means "magical girl" and refers to those shows that revolve around one or more females with magical or mystical powers (such as Sailor Moon, where ordinary female high school students turn into uniform-wearing magical fighters).
ex. - Fushigi Yugi is obviously shoujo anime.
see also: shounen

Shounen (SHOH-nehn)
n., adj. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "young boy". In anime terms, this word is an adjective used to refer to the genre of anime aimed at young teenage boys, usually stories involving action and adventure. Like its counterpart, shoujo, many females are as attracted to this genre of anime as the boys are and enjoy it as much.
ex. - Is that new shounen anime Gundam Wing any good?
see also: shoujo

Sub (SUHB)
n. - Short for "subtitled", and is used to refer to anime that has been subtitled in another language native to the fans watching it, in order that they might be able to understand the dialogue while at the same time preserving the original voices and script of the Japanese. Many anime fans claim that subtitled anime is the only real way to watch anime, and scorn its counterpart, dubs, for this reason. Liberties taken in dub translation may account for this bias towards subtitled anime. This form of translation can be done by professional companies (Pioneer, Viz, etc.) or by fans possessing the proper equipment (fansubbers).
ex. - You should have seen that sub of Card Captor Sakura.
other forms - subbed (v.), subs (pl.)
see also: dub, fansub, fandub

Sugoi (soo-GOY)
adj. - From the Japanese, meaning "amazing", "incredible", or, as we Americans like to call it, "cool". It can be used in a surprising situation or to express satisfaction and/or excitement.
ex. - Sugoi! You can see the whole Geo-Front from all the way up here.

Sukebe (SOO-keh-beh)
n., adj. - From the Japanese, meaning "lewd" or "lecher". Has similar connotations to "hentai" and "ecchi", though the degree of emphasis is not known.
ex. - I can't believe you peeked in the girls' side of the cursed spring...sukebe.

Super-Deformed (SOO-pehr dee-FORMED)
adj. - Refers to anime characters drawn in squished, miniturized versions of themselves, for the purpose of increasing comedic or cuteness value. Animated characters drawn in this manner tend to behave exactly as their "life size" counterparts, and exaggerate actions on-screen.
ex. - That super-deformed version of Ranma is so cute!
other forms - SD (acronym)

Sushi (SOO-shee)
n. - Refers to one of the more well-known of Japanese foods, sushi is prepared in a variety of ways, most commonly with vinegar rice and a multitude of ingredients. Many people make the mistake of associating sushi with raw fish, when in fact ingredients such as cooked shrimp, eel, and egg are all a part of different kinds of sushi. Sushi is made in many different styles as well, from large hand rolls to small rolls wrapped in seaweed.
ex. - This sushi is really good.


n. - Referred to in the West as a "graphic novel", these are compilations of a particular manga artist's series or work. Unlike individual issues, tankoubon contain more than one part of a story and usually have 3 or 4 story arcs in one volume. These compilations are usually printed on inexpensive material and are the size of a small diary or notebook. They are read right to left.
ex. - We have to buy more of that Futaba tankoubon before it sells out.
see also: Graphic Novel

Tenchou (TEHN-choh)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "manager" - in this case, a manager of shop such as a gas station, gift shop, etc. Customers and employees alike may use this term.
ex. - Perhaps tenchou can answer that question.

Tenshi (TEHN-shee)
n. - From the Japanese, with its most commonly seen meaning in anime being "angel", although it can also mean "emperor", "nature/natural elements" or a "heavenly gift". Some classical Japanese and Asian literature and mythology used this term to refer to the emperor as the "son of heaven".
ex. - That woman looked so beautiful she could have been a tenshi.

Tomare (toh-MAH-reh)
exp. - From the Japanese, meaning "stop". It has common usage, but can be seen on items such as traffic signs and regulations. Police officers may also use the expression, corresponding to the equivalent of "Freeze" as used by English-speaking police officers.
ex. - You can't park there. It's a violation. Tomare!
see also: yameru



n. - Not so much a word (though it can be said as such) as it is a gesture, the "V" is symbolic of "victory" or as a way of saying "I did it!" or "Here I am!". It looks very similar to the "peace" sign that hippies in American culture did in the 1970's, and can carry that context in some situations, but it mostly has the "victory" meaning. Its origins may be steeped in the Japanese observation of American soldiers after World War II using the "V for victory" sign as they came home in the aftermath of the war. It has since been integrated into the Japanese culture. The V can be employed as a sign of victory, but it is also commonly used by the Japanese (and anime characters) when posing for photographs.
ex. - V for Victory!
other forms: victory


Wasabi (wah-SAH-bee)
n. - The Japanese version of horseradish, wasabi's most common form is a sort of green-colored paste that can be found in most Japanese supermarkets. It can also come in a powdered form. Wasabi is, like it's Western counterpart, used as a condiment, and is an optional part of foods such as sashimi and sushi. The taste of wasabi is one that consists of a burning, hot sensation that is even able to clear the sinuses at times, due to its effects. There is, however, no aftertaste and wasabi is sometimes also used in conjunction with soy sauce in order to enhance the flavor of some Japanese foods.
ex. - This wasabi is a must when you are eating sushi.
see also: sushi, sashimi



Yakuza (YAH-kuu-zah)
n. - Japanese word which refers to gangsters, mobsters, or organized crime in general. Yakuza are usually involved in criminal actions, but these actions are never usually random in nature - rather, they are coldy calculated and planned out. Yakuza sometimes even possess a sense of "thieves' honor" and ritual in many situations involving their actions. Yakuza in anime and manga are normally portrayed as cruel and cold, but sometimes honorable.
ex. - Vash is not a very good yakuza.

Yameru (yah-meh-RUU)
v. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "stop". Anime characters have been known to use this verb forcefully in situations where it demands it, though the word, as a general verb, can obviously be used normally in conversation as well.
ex. - You're hurting me! Yameru!
other forms: yamete

Yaoi (YAH-oy)
n., adj. - Japanese word used to refer to the genre of anime which deals with male-male relationships of a romantic nature. Usually heavy on emotion and tragic in nature, this genre of anime and manga is uncommon and is more adult in nature than other anime. Can also refer to hentai (perverted) type
relationships of this nature.
ex. - Kizuna is one of the most tragic yaoi anime.
see also: Yuri

Yatta (yah-TAH)
exp. - From the Japanese, meaning literally "did it" or "I did it". Yatta is actually a shorter form of the word "yarimashita", of the same meaning, and is most commonly used as an exclamation of joy or accomplishment.
ex. - Yatta! I passed the test!

Yobiko (YOH-bih-koh)
n. - From the Japanese. Yobiko are intensive private "cram schools" that many prospective Japanese college students attend in order to prepare for exams. Because of the highly competitive nature of Japanese college entrance exams, it is not uncommon for a typical student to attend Yobiko at least 3 times a week, if not more, to prepare for the rigors of exams.
ex. - If I do not go to yobiko, I will probably fail.

Yoroshiku (yoh-ROHS-hi-KUU)
exp., adv. - From the Japanese, literally meaning "properly", "suitably", or "best regards". Its most commonly used in conversation, when introducing oneself (with the word "dozo", to mean "pleased to meet you"), though it can be used in other ways as well.
ex. - My name is Lisa. Dozo Yoroshiku.
see also: dozo

Youma (YOH-mah)
n. - From the Japanese, meaning "demon" or "devil". Most commonly used to refer to monsters with supernatural powers that live to terrorize people with their evil intentions.
ex. - That youma is going to destroy all of Tokyo unless we stop it!
see also: oni

Yuri (YUR-ee)
n., adj. - Japanese word used to refer to the genre of anime which deals with female-female relationships of a romantic nature. Usually heavy on emotion and tragic in nature, this genre of anime and manga is uncommon and is more adult in nature than other anime. Can also refer to hentai (perverted) type relationships of this nature.
ex. - Utena is a dramatic anime with some yuri elements in it.
see also: Yaoi


Zutto (ZOO-toh)
exp. - From the Japanese, meaning "always", "forever", or "all the time". Is an expression which obviously can be used in exaggerating or in an emphasizing way.
ex. - I will love you...zutto.