The phenomenon that is anime is second only to manga in terms of its influence on Japanese culture. Both have had a significant impact on Western culture as well. With that in mind, anime and manga have a vocabulary all their own. It is tough for even the most avid fans to keep up with it all.
Making it all more difficult is that many of the vocabulary words are either real Japanese words or Western versions. To learn the vocabulary is almost like learning a second language – without the grammar, of course.
Below are five anime and manga terms you might not have heard before. And if you are familiar with them, you are probably more passionate about anime and manga than the average casual fan. By the way, these terms are complements of Umai, a boutique clothing brand geared toward the anime community. Their anime T-shirts, sweatshirts, and phone cases are hot commodities among the faithful.
1. Anime Music Video
Traditional music videos have been around since the MTV of the 1980s. But did you know that the anime community has its own version? They are called anime music videos. Also known as AMVs, they combine clips from anime series and films with popular music. Sometimes the clips are from a single anime feature. Other times, creators use clips from multiple features.
2. Fan Service
There are times when a creator wants to extend an anime or manga series but doesn’t have enough plot material to keep it going. What is the solution? Insert what is known as ‘fan service’. Technically speaking, fan service can be any form of filler content intended to keep consumers occupied until the actual story resumes. But more often than not, fan service is adult in nature.
A typical fan service ploy is to insert sequences featuring scantily clad characters cavorting in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot. Fan service can be inserted between episodes or between scenes in the same episode. It can also be several episodes long by itself.
3. Original Net Animation
When an anime series is created purposely for distribution online, it is called original net animation (ONA). That does not mean it will never be distributed via television, film, or print media. It simply means that the original intent was for internet-only distribution.
4. Original Video Animation
Original video animation (OVA) is similar to ONA except that the target medium is either VHS tapes or DVD/Blu-ray. These days, very few OVA titles go to VHS. Even DVD is gradually being phased out due to the popularity of modern streaming services.
The advantage of producing for the OVA format is being able to distribute material even if a streaming service doesn’t want to carry it. In that sense, the content can live on forever. But if people stop buying DVD players, then creators are back to square one.
This final term is actually two terms in one. Their similarities to the English terms ‘wife’ and ‘husband’ should clue you in on their meaning. A waifu or husbando is an anime or manga character to whom another character is attracted or, in some cases, one that another character considers the ideal significant other. The waifu or husbando doesn’t have share the attraction to qualify.
No doubt there are plenty more vocabulary terms where these came from. But as they say, baby steps. If you are new to anime and manga, you have a lot of terms to learn. Be patient and do plenty of research. You will catch on in time.