30 Essential Anime Terms For Newbies

With every fandom come responsibilities. And anime is no exception.

Anime fans all around the world have more in common than just being interested in anime.

They use all sorts of anime-related terms that might be very overwhelming for newbies. They are necessary to know though if you want to engage in exciting anime conversation!

These are 30 essential anime terms for newbies. 🙂

Common popular anime words
1. Waifu/ Husbando
  • a term for a fictional character, usually in anime, that someone has great (and usually romantic) affection for.

2. Kawaii
  • a Japanese word for cute.

3. Onii-chan/ Onee-chan
  • Onii-chan is a Japanese word meaning big brother; Onee-chan is a female equivalent (big sister).

4. Senpai
  • a Japanese honorific used when someone is older than you in age or they have more experience in a field than you.

5. Tsundere
  • a Japanese term for a character development process that portrays a person who is initially cold (and sometimes even hostile) before gradually showing a warmer, friendlier side over time.

6. Yandere
  • a Japanese term for a person who seems sweet and nice at first glance but acts obsessive and violent when it comes to their love interest.

7. Himedere
  • a Japanese term for a person who demands to be treated like royalty by their loved ones (princess complex).

8. Deredere
  • a Japanese term for a very sweet, energetic, and carefree person.

9. Loli
  • refers to prepubescent looking girls.

10. Mangaka
  • a Japanese word for the author of the manga.

11. Fan service
  • intentionally incorporating material in anime/manga to please the audience (a character wearing a sexy bathing suit for example).

12. AMV
  • literally means Anime Music Video – usually edited and created by anime fans, contains various scenes from anime and a fatting soundtrack.

Read also: 10+ Most-Viewed Anime Music Videos

13. Otome game
  • a story-based video game that is targeting the female audience.

14. Baka
  • a Japanese word for idiot.

15. Ahegao
  • a popular Japanese term depicting typical characteristics for ahegao face (rolled or crossed eyes, a hanging tongue, and flushed cheeks to show enjoyment); this term is heavily used in the erotic manga, anime (hentai), video games.

16. Ai
  • a Japenese word for love.

17. Bishounen/ Bishoujo
  • a Japanese term literally meaning a beautiful youth (boy) and its equivalent for a beautiful young girl (Bishoujo)

18. Dattebayo
  • a popular term from a well-known anime, Naruto; has no literal meaning and cannot be translated, but carries the connotations of the speaker being uncultured, brusque, and childish.

19. Otaku
  • nowadays used in the anime community as a term to depict a hardcore anime fan.

20.  Weeb/weaboo
  • a derisive term for a non-Japanese person who is extremely obsessed with Japanese culture and wishes they were actually Japanese.

21. Hentai
  • a Japanese word depicting a perverse sexual desire; outside Japan, it is used as a term describing anime and manga pornography.

Popular anime genres
1. Shounen
  • target-demographic of this genre are young teen males,
  • usually contains a lot of action,
  • the main protagonist is a male (in a similar age as the target-demographic, so 12-18),
  • includes comedy elements.

2. Shoujo
  • the equivalent of shounen anime for young teen females,
  • typically revolves around emotions and relationships,
  • the main character is female.

3. Isekai
  • an accidental travel genre (a normal person from Earth being transported to, reborn, or otherwise trapped in a parallel universe or fantasy world).

4. Yuri
  • involves a lesbian relationship.

5. Yaoi
  • involves a gay relationship.

6. Seinen
  • marketed toward young adult men (late teens to their 30s).

7. Josei
  • a rare genre that targets late teen or adult female audience.

8. Ecchi
  • a genre that works with sexual overtones (shows some lewd content).

9. Harem/ Reverse Harem
  • a male anime character is adored and surrounded by multiple females,
  • usually involves polygynous/polyandrous relationships, so there is either love or sexual interest included between 3 or more people,
  • reverse harem is the equivalent of a harem for females (the main female protagonist is surrounded by multiple males).


Hi, my name is Mia and I'm the founder of 9 Tailed Kitsune. I love anime, games, and esports (I am also a bit weird). My passion for anime sparked when I was about 7 (Phantom Thief Jeanne, hello!) and has never stopped.

3 thoughts on “30 Essential Anime Terms For Newbies

  • July 24, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks, really appreciate this list. I’m not a newbie but i still haven’t learned most terms. This was really helpful!

  • August 17, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    I so like your name.. Misaka,,. reminds me of Attack on titans


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