Manga-tize Your Library: Resource Guide for Librarians

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Anime Lexicon

  • Anime: Japanese term for animation. In Japan, ‘anime’ refers all animation, while outside of Japan anime refers to animation from Japan.   
  • Anime Music Videos (AMV): Fan made music videos, using clips from anime series.
  • Cosplay: Shortened form of ‘costume play. Refers to the dressing up of characters from a series. Can be used as a verb (ie: “I am cosplaying as Sakura for Tosho-con) or a noun (ie: My Sakura cosplay is coming along nicely).
  • Fan fiction: Fan made stories using licensed characters. While fanfiction was popular before the Internet, fanfics are now   primarily posted and reviewed online. 
  • J-Pop: Japanese pop music. J-pop artists often do the openings or endings to anime, increasing their popularity. 
  • Manga: Refers to Japanese comics. Literally means “whimsical pictures.” The term was first coined in 1814 by Japanese woodblock artist Katsushika Hokusai. 
  • Mangaka: Creator of manga, including the author and/or artist. 
  • Otaku: Literally translates to ‘you’ in a formal manner of speaking. The term now refers to an avid anime fan. In Japan, it has a negative connotation, similar to “geek” or “nerd.” In the U.S, it is said with pride.
  • Seiyuu: Refers to Japanese voice actor or actress.
  • Shounen ai: Literally means “boys’ love,” and is sometimes used interchangeably with the term “yaoi.” Refers to manga and/or anime series that focus on male/male homosexual relationships. It originally started as a form of underground comics and is now considered mainstream in both Japan and the U.S.
  • Shojo ai: “Girls’ love.” Sometimes used interchangeably with “yuri.” 
  • Visual Kei: Emerging in the 1980s, this movement, now considered a sub-culture in its own right, is characterized by musicians, mostly male, wearing make-up (ie: heavy eye liner), and elaborate costumes and hairstyles that are sometimes bordering on androgynous. 

*Definitions adapted from those at Anime News Network (, which  is a great resource to find more terms and defintions, as well as release updates, summaries of series, popularity of ratings, etc.