An Easy Guide to Navigating Anime and Manga Terms

Struggling to remember what all the manga terminology means? Save yourself the time by reading this manga terminology guide.

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As an avid reader of manga, even I find myself having trouble navigating all the terminology. After so many internet searches over and over, you can’t help but just want a quick and easy guide. This guide is the perfect navigation tool for new and current readers.


Doujinshi – Fan-made comics

Geika – Manga aimed at adults with complex illustrations and narratives

Harem – A genre where three or more people are all romantically interested in the main character

Isekai – Speculative fiction where characters are transported to alternate worlds

Woman in pink ball gown holding hands with man in black suit manga cover image

How Raeliana Ended Up in the Duke’s Mainson is a popular Isekai Manga that follows a young woman being transmigrated into a novel where she is forced to fight against the plot for survival.

Josei – Anime directed at adult women 18+

Kodomo – Manga specifically made for children

Mecha – A manga whose worldbuilding heavily involves robots and/or mechanical evolution

Brunette boy flying machine with machinery in the back and lightning covering the manga cover

Neon Genesis Evangelion is a mecha manga based around a post-apocalyptic future that depends on machinery to combat humanity’s threats.

Seinen – Manga created for young men 18+

Shojo – Anime geared toward adolescent girls

Shounen – Manga directed towards adolescent boys

Yaoi – A romantic genre that follows relationships between men

Yuri – Romance manga that depicts relationships between women

Character Archetypes

Bakadere – A character that is very clumsy and lacks common sense

Bishonen – A beautiful male character that possesses some feminine traits

Dandere – A person who starts out quiet but begins to talk more as they gain confidence

Himedere – A character who wishes to be treated like royalty by their love interest

Kamidere – A character who possesses a god complex

Kuudere – A stoic person who may be hiding their true feelings

Woman with blue hair and eyes wearing snow coat and hat smiling image

Fairy Tail‘s Juvia is the maydere of the manga as she begins the series as a villain before her battle with Gray turns her over to the good side. Juvia was originally portrayed as a gloomy character and now presents as a love-struck fan girl.

Mayadere – A villainous character who softens after they take a liking to someone

Otaku – Someone who is obsessed with computers or pop culture

Sadodere – A person who only wants their love interest to suffer at their hands

Shundere – Someone who is sad all the time

Tsundere – A character who hides their true feelings behind a harsh personality

Brunette girl frowning and blushing next to blue-haired boy looking nervously at her manga cover image

Taiga from Toradora is a known tsundere because she is constantly hiding her feelings for her crush with violent actions and an attitude to match.

Yandere – A character who expresses their love through obsessive and sometimes violent means

Character Attributes

Ahoge – A single long strand of hair that sticks out from the top of a character’s head

Man with golden hair and eyes looking serious with a metal arm and a metal figure behind him cover image

Edward from Fullmetal Alchemist has always been known for his iconic look, and that includes his long blonde piece of hair that stands for constant attention.

Chibi – A style of caricature where characters are drawn with exaggerated features

Kemono – A character design that features animal characteristics


Cultural Festival – The celebration of traditions maintained by a group of people or place

Moe – A slang word meant to express affection for something

Otome – A story-based romantic video game targeted toward women

Woman surrounded by 5 handsome men dressed in various kimonos video game cover image

Hakuoki is an otome video game where the female lead can choose a Shinsengumi member and pursue a romantic journey with them. The video game is also an anime that depicts only one route.

Waifu – A female 2-dimensional character that someone considers to be their “wife”

I’ve given you the tools, so now it’s time to use them! Don’t be afraid to keep this guide close when reading or watching.

If you enjoyed learning about bookish terminology, click here for Bookish Acronyms and Phrases and here for NSFW Romance terms to learn more.