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Anime: Words You Might Not Know

BGM: Stands for BackGround Music. You'll actually see the Roman characters BGM on many Japanese import discs where everything else is in Hiragana, Katagana or Kanji. BGM usually refers to any soundtrack music actually used in an anime other than actual songs sung by soloists, and can consist of anything from J-Pop to full-blown orchestral music complete with chorus.

Collateral Destruction or Collateral Damage: The customary demolition of large parts of Tokyo, Japan, the Earth or the Universe as an incidental result of disputes between anime characters with super or supernatural powers. This happens a lot.

H (Ecchi): see hentai.

Hentai: Literally "perverted." Used to refer to anime and manga not intended for minors.

Image album: A CD intended to evoke mental images of a particular manga or anime, and which may include a combination of vocal tracks, instrumental tracks, and/or voice dramas. These are not BGM albums and often do not include actual music from any anime, a situation which can be very confusing (and disappointing) at first to the beginning anime CD collector.

J-Pop: Japanese popular music. Unless you're a rock-only devotee, check out the vast variety and inventiveness of this music.

Manga: In the West, refers to a Japanese graphic novel. In Japan, can refer to any kind of "cartoon" literature, whether printed or animated. See Manga: Where it All Comes From.

Manga-ka: One who creates manga; in other words, this term can refer to an author and/or artist of Japanese graphic novels, a cartoonist, or an animator.

Mecha: Usually refers to robots piloted by one or more human beings; in effect glorified power suits. Sometimes these mecha have supernatural or near-supernatural powers, as in Magic Knight Rayearth.

Otaku: Generally used to refer to an anime enthusiast. A derogatory version of this is "fan-boy."

OAV or OVA: Stands for Original Animation Video or Original Video Animation, respectively. Both mean exactly the same thing: an episode or series made directly for videotape sales, rather than for theatrical exhibition or broadcast as a regular television series.

Seiyuu: Voice actors. Voice actors are stars in their own right in Japan, often doing solo drama and song albums, appearing on television "talking head" interview programs, etc. They are also very, very good at what they do.

Shoujo: "For girls." Both shoujo manga and anime, however, are developing a wide following among readers/viewers of both sexes. Shoujo manga and anime is characterized by much more emphasis on personality and the character's feelings towards one another. Although the shoujo genre often features great warmth and sensitivity, it is by no means innocuous and can explode unexpectedly into action and even extreme violence as well.

Shounen: "For boys." The more traditional genre of manga and anime, featuring lots of action, fighting, sports, and generally a low level of, well, sensitivity. However, over time the boundaries between shounen and shoujo (see above) genres are becoming increasingly blurred.

Super Deformed (SD): A style of character design in whicht the characters are made to look like small children, often with wildly exaggerated features. Usually used for momentary comic effect.

Tankoubon: A collection of weekly- or monthly-published chapters of manga, usually comprised of around 10 chapters, typically totalling about 180-200 pages per volume.

Widebon: A re-compilation of manga, usually totalling about 400 pages per volume.

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This page last updated 2/5/2010.