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Mini Dictionary

What follows is a very short dictionary of words and terminology that is commonly used when dealing with manga and anime. It's mostly meant as a help when reading the other pages here at Tonakai Anime, and as such it's supposed to cover the terminology used by me. In other words, if you come across a mystery word on any of the pages and it isn't listed here, please tell me.

anime Japanese loan word for animated movies and animation. Probably borrowed from French or English. In the western world, anime has come to mean "Japanese animation", which have resulted in the same definition problems as for the word manga. In English, the word is sometimes written with an accent - animé - to better show its preferred pronounciation.

bootleg unauthorised commercially sold product which violates the copyright holder's rights. Most common is illegally produced copies of DVDs and CDs. Most, but not all, anime DVD and CD soundtracks sold in places such as Ebay are bootlegs.

cinemanga a comic made by taking screenshots from a TV series or a movie and combining them into a comic book story.

digisub an unauthorised translation of an anime in the form of a subtitled digital video, usually distributed over a computer network in the form of a DivX-coded avi-file. Newer file formats in use are ogm and matroska files. Technically all forms of digisubbing are copyright infringements. See also fansub.

dôjinshi (doujinshi) manga that uses characters created by other manga artists in new, unauthorised stories. A common phenomena in Japan, dôjinshi are most often tolerated by the copyright holders and in many instances serves as a starting point for aspiring manga artists.

ecchi word usually used to describe anime and manga with high degrees of nudity, without being pornographic. See also hentai.

fanservice term for the inclusion and/or overuse of certain story elements that aren't needed for the advancement of the story. Usually referring to sexual contents like panties, glimpses of nudity and so on, but can also be used for other elements, such as violence.

fansub an unauthorised translation of an anime in the form of subtitles. Originally made by small fan groups for limited distribution, the phenomen has grown into a larger web presence. Technically all forms of fansubbing are copyright infringements. See also digisub.

hentai the word is usually translated as "perverse" and is, when used in an anime and manga context, used as a label on pornographic material.

kana Japanese signs for writing. These can be in the form of kanji, hiragana, or katakana.

macron a dash positioned over a vowel to mark that the pronounciation should be long. Macrons are used when writing Japanese in romaji. Since most Western keyboards don't easily allow typing macrons, a circumflex is often used in its place (i.e. shôjo). In American writing the macron is often replaced with two vowels combined, i.e. shoujo for shôjo.

manga in Japanese, the word manga is the common word for "comics" and as such used for every kind of comics, no matter what their origin. In the western world, the loan word manga came to mean "Japanese comics", i.e. comics from Japan. Unfortunately, that definition isn't exactly crystal clear. [My personal definition now is that manga should be used for comics made with a Japanese audience in mind and first published in Japan. That way, most of the uncertainties in the definition are avoided.]

mangaka the Japanese word for "manga artist". A cartoonist in other words.

manga style is usually used to describe a comic's art style. But since manga in Japan is everything made in the form of a comic, it's equivalent to describing a comic as done in "western style", which then would include anything from Spirit to Donald Duck.

manhua Chinese word for comics and comic books.

manhwa Korean word for comics.

pseudo-manga is a word sometimes used to describe non-Japanese comics that tries to emulate characteristics of Japanese comics. The most well-known examples of this is Disney's Witch and Fred Gallagher's Megatokyo. Unlike the label "manga style", pseudo-manga does not imply a certain art style, it's more about the overall feel of the comic's structure, storytelling and composition.

romaji Japanese text transcribed with the Latin alphabet. Several systems for transcribing Japanese exist, the most widespread is called the Hepburn system.

scanlation an unauthorised translation of a manga, made by scanning a published Japanese (or other) manga and editing the scans by replacing the text. Then distributing them as digital images. Technically, all scanlations are copyright infringements.

seiyuu Japanese word for "dub artist" - a person providing voices to animated cartoons. Japanese seiyuu can get very well known, or even famous by their work.

shôjo (shoujo) term for manga whose main target group is girls. (In West this categorisation seems to be even more blurred than in Japan.) Compare with shônen.

shôjo ai (shoujo ai) term for the genre depicting romantic relationships between females.

shônen (shounen) term for manga whose main target group is boys. (In West this categorisation seems to be even more blurred than in Japan.) Compare with shôjo.

shônen ai (shounen ai) term for the genre depicting romantic relationships between males.

yaoi term for the genre depicting sex between males. Compare with yuri.

yuri term for the genre depicting sex between females. Compare with yaoi.

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