One too many "tsundere" or "tankoban" or "MMORPG" got you a bit confused? We understand that sometimes the terminology we use around here can be a little unfamiliar to newcomers and passers-by, so we've created a glossary of words and phrases, in case you're ever lost. In many of our posts you will find links back to this glossary, but if you're ever confused and you don't see the answer here, drop us an email and we'll get right on it!
AnimeJapanese animation. Anime has a much greater range of genres than animation in the West, which typically restricts itself to comedy and children's stories. That said, anime is largely aimed at children, teenagers, and otaku, though some creators, such as the renowned Studio Ghibli, have become household names in Japan.
Dating SimJapanese visual novels that allow the player to select a girl (or guy) and romantically pursue them throughout the game. Most dating sims are about male characters romancing women, but there is a growing genre of dating sims for straight women, called otome games, as well as games for gays and lesbians.
ErogeShort for "erotic game," these are Japanese games featuring anime-style sex scenes and other erotic content. They often take the form of visual novels and dating sims.
JoseiManga for adult women (this doesn't mean it's necessarily explicit, but some josei is). Like all manga, the demographic of a title is designated by the demographic of the magazine it was published in.
Light Novel (LN)Short young adult Japanese novels. Light novels rarely exceed 200 pages, and often feature anime-style illustrations. Many recent anime adaptations have come from light novels.
MangaQuite simply, Japanese comics. Manga is popular (to some degree) among nearly every demographic in Japanese society, and in addition to the more commonly associated young adult genres of action, adventure, science fiction, and romance, there are manga about topics like golf, business, cooking, and more. Manga are typically serialized in weekly or monthly anthology magazines, then compiled into tankoban. Many manga series are subsequently adapted into anime.
OtakuA Japanese pejorative for "obsessive geek." Otaku can apply to anyone with an obsessive interest in something ("military otaku," "train otaku"), but in the West it has been repurposed into a badge of honor for fans of Japanese pop culture. In Japan it has also begun to gain traction as a positive term, but progress is much slower.
SeinenManga for adult men (this doesn't mean it's necessarily explicit, but a lot of seinen is). Like all manga, the demographic of a title is designated by the demographic of the magazine it was published in.
Shojo (or Shōjo/Shoujo)Manga for girls. Like all manga, the demographic of a title is designated by the demographic of the magazine it was published in.
Shonen (or Shōnen/Shounen)Manga for boys. Like all manga, the demographic of a title is designated by the demographic of the magazine it was published in.
Video GameA game played by manipulating images displayed on a screen through a computer program. This definition is naturally very loose, since video games form such a large and heterogeneous medium. While they started off as simple geometric shapes moving across a screen, video games can now range from guitar simulators to anime-style choose-your-own adventures, from Facebook games to violent shooters.
Visual Novel (VN)"Choose your own adventure" video games featuring static pictures with text overlaid. Players occasionally make choices that affect the outcome of the game, but the progression of events is largely linear. Many VNs are dating sims and/or eroge, though there are plenty of non-erotic VNs out there.