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26 December 2010 @ 11:09 pm
More Common Anime Terms and Character Types  

Although, I've already included several words in the "Introduction" entry, I thought I'd add just a few more before I start posting my reviews.  Here are a list of words that I've already defined in bolded text in the Introduction.

Anime (and Manga)
Chibi (or Chibi-sized)
Anime Genres - Slice of Life, Magical Girl (Mahou Shoujo), Mecha, and Fighting Series

By the way, some of the terms and definitions that I'm listing come from various websites.  I'm not just pulling everything out of a hat or fully from personal experience because I'm definitely not an anime expert.  However, the examples that I use and my opinions are worked in there too.  I probably won't use most of these names listed below, but I might throw in those suffixes from time to time in my reviews.  I'll definitely be using those 'Character Types' listed.  When I start writing the reviews, I'll link back to this page in case a word or phrase confuses someone if I call a certain character a 'Moe' or 'Tsundere,' for example.  Now then, here are some general names and/or suffixes.

Names and Suffixes

Aniki - is a word for "big brother"
Baka - Not technically a name... but it's a common word in anime that means "Idiot".
Imouto - is a word for "young sister"
Itouko - is a word to address your cousin
Kami-sama - is a term for God
Kouhai - means underclassman or younger co-worker.  It's the counterpart to senpai, which means upperclassman.
Obaasan - a term that addresses your grandmother.
Ojiisan - a term that addresses your grandfather.
Okaasan - a term that addresses your mother
Onee-chan - term used to address your sister or older sister.  A short version with the same meaning can be "Nee-chan".
Onii-chan - term used to address your brother.  (also can be Nii-chan)
Otousan - term used to address your father.

* You can determine the relationship the characters have with each other by the way they add name suffixes to the other's names. (Example: Maria-sama, Maria-chan, etc.)
-sama : Very polite way of addressing.
-kun: Similar to "sama" except used with boy's names.
-chan: Similar to "sama" except used with girl's names. / A more cutesy term.
-sensei: Teacher, doctor, master.  Often used without adding the name.  (IE: "Whatever you say, Sensei!)
-senpai: Used when addressing upperclassmen or older co-workers.

Japanese people usually call each other by their last names and add the suffixes to their last names rather than their firsts.  Also, calling someone by his/her first name without adding any suffix implies a very close relationship like with best friends or a girlfriend/boyfriend.  Inappropriately using no or wrong suffixes can cause confusion and is sometimes done to annoy or make fun of someone.


And those are some terms that might be helpful to know when watching anime.  Often times, different animes share similar characters.  These characters or character traits have been given a specific word or phrase that defines that type of character.  Here are some of the more common types of characters in anime.  Also, keep in mind, that these definitions aren't set in stone.  It's often difficult to fully define these character types; I've read many definitions and none of them say exactly the same thing.  I'm just going to list some that I've run across in the animes that I've seen.

Character Types
(Not in any particular order.)

- is a Japanese slang word that is best translated as "cute", but the word has derived more meanings than that.  There is currently a BIG Moe fandom/fanbase going on.  Characters that are described as "Moe" are often young, naive, cute, innocent, and female.  Recently, I've noticed several Moe characters wear glasses (not all) as well.  To be Moe, a character can be eager or perky, and not overly independent.  There is also something about the character that makes other characters want to protect or take care of them.  This term is also used to describe any preciously cute item.  Because characters considered to be "Moe" may or may not have every moe-like characteristic all of the time, it's hard to pinpoint specific characters from shows that you can fully define as a Moe.  It's more of a matter of opinion on what you'd consider naive, cute, and etc.   For example, it's been pointed out to me that Ami (Sailor Mercury) is a more defineable Moe character than Usagi (Sailor Moon).  Why is this?  If I had to draw my conclusions, I'd say it is because a Moe character is often portrayed as not having any obvious faults, in a way, pretty much perfect.*  I'd also consider Ui (Yui's sister) from "K-On!" a Moe character.  In "Lucky Star", when Miyuki talks about how clumsy and absentminded she is, Konata tells her, "these are not faults, but elements of moe".  I once heard someone say, "You know it's a Moe character if you feel like you're becoming diabetic after witnessing their over-the-top sweetness."  Although, that's more of a cynical view of Moes.  Personally, I find the majority of Moe characters (aside from Ami) to be on the boring/annoying side since they tend to have voices and personalities similar to Minnie Mouse.  This is not always the case though.  Haruka from "Minami-ke" is a defineable Moe, but her character gives added stability to their wacky family.  If you've heard someone describe an entire anime show as very Moe, then what they are probably talking about is a show chalk full of overly-sweet, innocent, and often lovely girls.  "K-On!" has been described as Moe.  

Tsundere - is a Japanese term used to describe those girls who are cold and strict at first or in public, but become all cute, shy, and possibly lovey-dovey when they are alone or in various instances later on.  It's basically a character who is kind and loving on the inside, but they take some time to warm up to others.  Sometimes, even after a Tsundere warms up, they can snap back into their previous attitude.  They can also display a very "Hot and Cold" personality including jumping from one extreme emotion to another at times.  The word originated because of the combination of the two moods tsuntsun (aloof or irritable) and deredere (love-struck).   I'd consider a character like this as someone who's not comfortable with opening up or being emotional in front of others, so they hide behind a confrontational exterior most of the time.  (I suppose my Psychology major in college is seeping into my writing!)  As there is a big Moe-craze, there is a big Tsundere-craze too, and this type of a character is a lot easier to pinpoint than Moe.  Lets see... I'd consider Toko Matsudaira from "Maria-sama ga Miteru" as a Tsundere.  I've heard a lot of people say that Kagami Hiiragi from "Lucky Star" is a Tsundere character.  She was even called that by another character on the show, if I recall.  She does hold Tsundere qualities, but I don't recall her every really "warming up".  However, I'd probably place her into this character anyway.  Saki from "Kanamemo" is currently my favorite Tsundere.  I think Becky from "Pani Poni Dash" could be considered a Tsundere as well.  I tend to like Tsundere characters.  In fact, I've almost come to expect every anime to have SOME Tsundere-like character.  They contrast really well (and often humorously) with a Genki Girl character, which is explained further down.
Sub-tropes of Tsundere: These aren't technically SUB-tropes, but they can be similar to Tsundere. 
Yandere - The word refers to a character who is crazy about someone else.  An extreme love-struck, if you will.  The character almost always appears perfectly cute and harmless on the surface, but underneath they may be a teensy bit obsessive, controlling, and sometimes just plain insane.  You don't want to get into the character's way either.  A lot of Yandere characters have been described as a stalker with a crush although it doesn't have to be a stalker.  In "Princess Princess" has Sayaka, the cousin of Tooru Kouno.  Sakuya from "Candy☆Boy" is another example. 
Kuudere - I've heard that a Kuudere is like snow: it may be cold and harsh at first glance, but it also what keeps autumn's seeds warm and safe until spring.  She may appear unemotional and practical, but it is a mask that protects her delicate feelings, either done intentionally or simply as a result of her personality.  So what's the difference between a Kuudere and a Tsundere?  The Kuudere avoids combative and blatant demeanor.  She employs more subtle tactics.  I guess you could almost say that a Kuudere is just a more mature version of a Tsundere character.  Sakaki from "Azumanga Daioh" because she's so compassionate and cute on the inside, but outside, looks like a cold tough high school girl.  Minami from "Lucky Star" is Kuudere.  Sailor Pluto (Setsuna) is a Kuudere to most of the senshi most of the time, but she's obviously more openly affectionate towards Chibiusa. 

Genki Girl - "Your presence itself is like shouting." - Yomi to Tomo in "Azumanga Daioh".  The Genki Girl is a very energetic one.  Or should I say VERY ENERGETIC ONE!!!!!  In fact, "Genki" is Japanese for energetic or enthusiastic.  This type of character receives a very strong fan voice of either, really love them or utterly hate them.  This happens to be one of my favorite types of character.  All I can say is, "Hang in there, Tomo!  I'm rooting for ya!"  The Genki Girl is a usually a  school girl who acts as though she's drank a case of Red Bull Energy drinks with side of double expresso to put it bluntly.  She is almost the embodiment of energy itself, such that she runs everywhere often waving her arms wildly.  She tends to speak quickly, use loud outbursts, and does everything fast, fast, and FAST.  She's filled with confidence and determination, regardless if she has those qualities.  Although, she's usually placed for comedic purposes, sometimes she slows down for a serious or introspective moment.  A good rule of thumb whether deciding a character is Genki or not, check out the state of her family or peers.  Are they exhausted, astonished, or possibly creeped out by her chronic outbursts and actions?  If you're looking for a male character that distributes these traits, then a slight character equivalent would be the Hot Blooded males, in which a character oozes passion and everything they do seems to be larger than life.  I have no idea why, but I tend to LOVE Genki Girls.  They just seem to breathe energy and life into a show, regardless of their sometimes absurd behavior.  My favorite Genki Girls are Tomo from "Azumanga Daioh", Kana from "Minami-ke", Himeko from "Pani Poni Dash!",  Ritsu from "K-On!", Usagi from "Sailor Moon", and Yuuki from "Saki" who runs on TACO ENERGY POWER!

Lolicon - also known as the "Lolita Complex".  The term refers to the book Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which describes an older man's illicit sexual affair with a twelve-year-old girl.  It's basically a term used to describe a character with a fetish for the underaged, particularly sailor-suited school girls.  Oddly enough, many Lolicon characters are found in shoujo series intended for girls.  Some examples of a Loli are Nobue from "Strawberry Marshmallow", Haruka from "Kanamemo", and Mr. Kimura from "Azumanga Daioh".  I vaguely recall Rei (Sailor Mars) had a small grandfather that worked in the temple who seemed to be Loli, as well.  The characters in this type that I've seen are mainly played off for laughs.  Usually, the Loli uses extreme, outrageous, and often comedic antics to hit on, flirt with, or spy on younger girls.  They also usually get smacked in the face or discouraged by the characters around them. Personally, I have mixed feelings about Lolis.  I found Haruka from "Kanamemo" to be amusing but was kind of disturbed by Kimura-sensei in "Azumanga".  I suppose it boils down to how they portray the character.

Lolita - Where there is a "Lolita Complex", there has to be Lolitas!  One of the more common types of Lolita that I've heard about is the "Elegent Gothic Lolita".  The Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL) wears an outfit that makes her look like a Victorian doll.  Aka: It's frilly, has huge ribbons, mostly black, etc.  The EGL is also a term used to describe that particular type of fashion.  After Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland" released, a lot of EGL fashion has been brought back into the lime-light.  These characters are often young, have supernatural powers, and display an icy personality (often villians are EGL).  An example of this would be Hotaru Tomoe (Sailor Saturn) in the second half of the third season of "Sailor Moon".  EGL is just one type of Lolita.  If we do a 180 degree turn to a different type of Lolita, then we've got the typical Lolitas or what I call Innocent Lolita.  Any cute young character can fall under this catagory if they have a Lolicon chasing after them.  Although Lolitas are typically younger girls, in "Ouran High School Host Club", Mitsukuni Haninozuka (also known as "Hunny") is a proclaimed Lolita.  The characters even refer to him as the "Loli-shota Type".  Although he is 17, he looks like an elementary school child which makes any of his same-age pursuers seem like a Lolicon.  

Aloof Ally - Since I don't watch many action-based animes, I don't run into too many aloof ally characters.  I'm not sure how popular this type of character really is, but I'll briefly describe them anyway.  So the main characters in the show are in trouble!  It doesn't look good for them when suddenly, out of no where, pops up someone who assists you in your time of need, either intentionally or accidentally.  But don't confuse that with them necessarily being on your side.  They might be, but they may also have their own agenda and helping you will in turn help them.  An example scenerio: Sailor Moon: "Why won't you help us?  We're on the same team!"  To which, Sailor Uranus snaps at her and brushes her off as being too naive, trusting, and comparatively useless.  If I were to use this phrase to describe a character in a non-action anime, I'd use it to describe Mika in "Kanamemo".  Mika works at a different newspaper delivery service but always seems to show up to help Kana at her service.  However, the reasons of why she often helps are not fully disclosed.  (There's an insinuation that she helps the other service because she has feelings for Kana).  Mika could also be a Tsundere character.  Some stock phrases of an Aloof Ally, "I was just passing through." and "I just did what I had to do."  (Aloof Allies ftw!)

Fanboy / Fangirl - That's right.  Characters in anime can be obsessive over a type of anime character.  (Was that confusing?)  There are many... many different varieties of fanboys/girls out there, and the actual terms 'Fanboy' and 'Fangirl' don't really insinuate the same thing.  Fanboys - is usually reserved for antisocial people with a self-inflated ego over their knowledge or mastery of a specific topic or interest  They are often displayed as incredibly "geeky" characters with large glasses and possibly acne.  Fangirls - usually refers to women obsessed with characters and their relationships with either other characters or themselves to the exclusion of the rest of the elements of the show.  So a major difference between the two is how they approach the show.  Fangirls are usually more attracted by the characters (looks and personality) more than any other aspect of the show.  Fanboys usually become obsessively attached to the show's creators.  A typical Fanboy might rant about how Paramount has supposedly ruined "Gene's vision," not taking into consideration that Gene's real vision was probably to earn money to support his family. 

A funny example that I've read that uses these terms is this: "Fans buy the Spider Man comic book; fangirls write love stories about Spiderman and Mary Jane; fanboys spend $129.99 on a tacky statue of Mary Jane doing Spider Man's laundry that should really only cost about eight bucks."  I suppose a fan, who is a boy, who is interested in the same things that a typical Fangirl is, would be considered a Fangirl too.  The term Fanboy could be used but there seems to be more connotation that Fanboy is synonymous with sexual interests of a particular character rather than a personality attraction.  I can't really think of anime character that is a Fanboy right now.  Some examples from other animated shows that come to mind is Neil Goldman from "Family Guy".  In one episode he even discusses why he believes Captain Kirk is superior to Captain Picard.  As for Fangirls, pretty much every girl character (other than the main one) in "Ouran High School Host Club" is a Fangirl.  Hiyori from "Lucky Star" is a Yuri-Fangirl.  She's often caught imagining Yutaka and Minami in romantic moments.

Adult Child (AC) / Wise Beyond Their Years (WBTY) - You have two contrasting types of characters based on their intellegence and/or maturity level.  We'll start with Adult Child.  A character who regularly interacts with characters who are noticeably younger.  This can result in the character's maturity level regressing to the same level of their younger counterparts (or the character may have had a lower maturity level to begin with).  An Adult Child or AC is rarely treated as any kind of authority because of their casualness.  An example would be Yukari in "Azumanga Daioh".  However, Yukari is still treated with more respect by the other characters than a typical AC would receive due to her being a teacher.  Nobue from "Strawberry Marshmallow" can be an AC.  Wise Beyond Their Years or WBTY is the opposite character type.  They are children who are more mature than their age implies.  Chiyo-chan from "Azumanga Daioh" can handle high school work, manages to be class rep, and can hold down a part-time job despite her young age.  Saki from "Kanamemo" is the youngest character (in elementary school) on the show, but she is the Chief of the entire staff of mostly high schoolers.  She is the most serious character in the anime and frequently reprimands the other girls when they neglect their duties.  Personally, I like both types of character.  Although AC's who lack so much maturity that distribute jerk-like behavior are annoying to me.  WBTY are pretty much cute no matter how they act.  They're just so small and kawaii!

The Straight Man and/or Wise Guy - Of course, this isn't a matter of orientation... or necessarily a man.  This is a classic comedy duo that is known in all movies, shows, etc. and not just anime.  The Straight Man and the Wise Guy characters play off of each other for jokes and a punchline.  The anime shows that I've seen usually display these two characters as age-old best friends who like to take light-hearted jabs at each other.  Also, sometimes you have a group of friends where a couple of people are the Wise Guy and the rest are the Straight Man.  However, I'm mainly defining this trope as a duo in which it's mostly known.  The Straight Man usually approaches everything seriously and presents a straight-forward, sane, and conventional point-of-view.  The Wise Guy is a jokester who answers the Straight Man's actions/remarks with puns, wisecracks, and sometimes plain wackiness.  Sometimes this will involve one bringing up a topic of discussion, only to have the other one interupt, correct, and otherwise play foil to him. 

The main characters that come to mind who fit this particular type are Ritsu (The Wise Guy) and Mio (The Straight Man) in "K-On!".  Mio is often shown as more emotionally mature than the other characters.  However, she has a strong fear of macabre and horror.  Therefore, she's terrified and frozen with fear anytime she hears/sees things such as ghosts, blood, haunted houses, and barnacles.  Of course, Ritsu teases Mio about these at random moments using her catch phrase, "Skull... Lycopene," usually in the dark in an attempt to scare Mio.  Another example, is one scene in which Ritsu is sitting in her room and bored.  She looks down at her cellphone and sends a text to Mio saying, "Mio, there's a family of white dolphins behind you."  Mio simply texts back the response, "Idiot."  What makes their characters more enjoyable is the fact that despite playing off of each other, they also try to make each other laugh in the process.  The Straight Man and the Wise Guy should not be confused with two protagonists in a story who don't get along at first but then come to realize that they were meant for each other. (aka: Usagi and Mamoru from "Sailor Moon")  Rather they are characters who have already been made comfortable with one another and their conflicting personalities are used mainly for comedic purposes (Rei and Usagi from "Sailor Moon").  Tomo and Yomi from "Azumanga Daioh" are another example.  Also, the teachers of "Azumanga Daioh", Miss Yukari (Wise Guy) and Miss Kurosawa (Straight Man) are as well.  It should also be kept in mind that just because a character is a Straight Man, it doesn't mean that they won't exhibit jokestar habits and recipricate the relationship once in a while.   

Otaku - The last common character type that I'm going to discuss is called "Otaku".  Otaku is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests in anime, manga, or video games.  In Japan, "Otaku" has a more negative connotation that insinuates mania as in "maniac".  In America, the word is closer associated to that of an " anime nerd" or fanboy/fangirl by most.  In Japan the term may confuse or offend native speakers if used towards them because an Otaku insinuates strangeness or extreme abnormal behavior.  In "Lucky Star", Konata is a very avid fan of anime, manga, gaming, and cosplaying.  Therefore, through out the show there would be puns or jokes about other anime and other otaku hobbies.  Konata, herself, could be referred to as an Otaku using the American connotation of the word.  In my reviews, I'll use Otaku in that way. 

Covert Pervert - (Update Addition on 01/24/11)  What a mature and well-mannered young lady.  She's always smiling politely and simply radiates innocence.  Too bad you're unaware that the reason she's smiling is that she's imaging how hot the neighbor would look half naked and dipped in a vat of olive oil.  Haha, that's a slight exaggeration, of course.  Basically a CP is a character who has questionable or suggestive thoughts that you wouldn't expect them to have.  Sometimes they may, unintentionally, speak their thoughts or display small actions that insinuates they're a CP.  There seems to be two main types.   One is the straight-forward approach.  There's a sweet and seemingly innocent character who, for example, starts fantasing right there in class about two of her classmates in suggestive scenes.  The other type of CP is a character who's just simply more mature and smart enough to notice subtle themes among the other characters enough to draw suggestive conclusions themselves. 

Which ever the case, Covert Perverts are pretty much ALWAYS played off for comedic purposes.  If another character notices that the CP is acting in a slightly strange manner (insinuating perverted thoughts), then the first character is likely to A.) Be horrified or too stunned to call the Covert Perv out due to the shocking discovery. OR  B.) Completely call them out on their pervy thoughts, which usually embarasses the CP or sends them in a state of denial.  "I wasn't thinking that!  I was just... drooling because I was asleep... with my eyes open."  CPs will deny... deny like the wind which puts the "covert" in their name.  If a character ever admits to being a perv then they are no longer CPs.  The perverted range differentiates among CP characters.  In fact, you might not even consider the overly mature CP AS a pervert.  You might think of them just as someone wordly enough to know how the world works.  However, they still fall under this catagory because the point is that the character is normally displayed with such innocence or purity that the fact that they get sexual innuendos makes them a little pervy in nature.  I'd also like to add that a CP doesn't necessarily have to be a young girl.  It could very well be someone as opposite as an older or distinguished looking man.  Once again, it's simply someone who wouldn't appear to be having such questionable thoughts. 

Some examples I'm going to use some from the Tv, Tropes, and Idioms website: Ami (Sailor Mercury) from "Sailor Moon".  She falls into the mature CP catagory.  She understands that Fiore was actually attracted to Usagi's boyfriend in the rose movie.  Ami is also the only character who was completely nonplussed by Haruka and Michiru's relationship.  While the other characters were in a state of confusion about what exactly was going on between those two.  In a later scene, a young man in a short towel has all of the girls shocked and turning away, but there's Ami... peeking through her fingers at him.  Lol... Oh Ami.  Yoshika from "Strike Witches" is a CP.  (Click here to go to the "Strike Witches" review for more info.)  She develops a fetish for big breasts, which wouldn't be a problem except she sometimes acts out her fantasies by accident.  She's the straight-forward CP.  I'd consider the older male character from "Minami-ke" that lusts after Haruka a bit of a Covert Pervert.  Simply because the majority of the cast never notices his strange behavior or the fact that he's in a constant state of questionable illusions.

Pervert Subtropes - If I'm going to talk about the Covert Pervert, it's important to note that this is not the ONLY kind in anime.  I'm not going to fully discuss the other ones, but I'll give a brief description of the other types.
Accidental Pervert - A character perpetually CAUGHT in acts of seemingly questionable nature without trying to be.  A chronic case of, "It's not what it looks like!"  Sometimes these characters ARE really perverted and their thoughts turn into accidents of indecency.  There are some pure accidental perverts who just always happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time too though.  They're rarely given time to justify their actions before other characters chatisize them.  Ryota in "Kyou No Go No Ni" always ends up in these situations but is completely innocent.  Too bad the girls don't see it that way.
Chivalrous Pervert - A pervert, usually male, who loves ogling the ladies, but he actually cares about them as human beings as well.  He's always a good guy and typically a main character in shows.  Shigure from "Fruits Basket", for example.  They seem to be in more shounen animes than shoujo.
I'm sure they're are more different character types, but those are the only ones that I'm really familar with so far.  There are other types such as Magical Girl or Ninja, but I think those are more self-explanatory in terms of what they are.  I had more stuff that I was going to add, but I'm late for a previous engagement.  Maybe I'll come back and finish this entry later. *Update: Added Several More Character Types.*
Have a great night everyone!

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