There are a lot of terms thrown around on this blog that makes absolutely no sense to some, but make perfect sense to others, so here’s an explanation to them.
Anime originally comes from the word animated in animated film or show, and can cover anything animated. I use this to refer to both Japanese and Japanese-inspired/looking animated shows and films, both 2D and computer graphic ones.
Aphantasia is a condition that results in the person being unable to voluntary create mental images. One could say they can’t “imagine”. Some can see some hazy things like shapes, but others can’t create any images (I can’t).
This means I don’t make mental images of what I read and have no mental visuals of what happens. If I get immersed in something the “imagining” I do is more in physical sensations. Like sitting by a fire or listening to birds. Watching the stars with someone (though I can’t see the stars) or running for one’s life. I feel those things, rather than see them, and am essentially blind of anything that happens.
That includes my own fictions.
BL is an abbreviation of Boys Love (or Boys’ Love) and is a gay romance genre targeted to girls and women. It’s not the only kind of gay romance, though. It usually has good-looking, slender and/or men with “hidden” muscles (ie, they don’t look muscular when dressed), and it’s not uncommon one is more feminine than the other.
There are a lot of common tropes, such as “surprise butt sex”, which can be found in older works and can be jarring, but newer works may not have such tropes and BL is not always exclusive of other LGBTQ folks these days.
The term BL doesn’t distinguish between sexual content or not, just that it’s mainly targeted to women and includes gay romance.
There are games targeted towards women with gay romance, which are called BL-ge (BL game, Boys Love game, etc).
Donghua comes from Zhongguo donghua which means Chinese animation, so I use this to refer to Chinese animated shows and films.
Fujoshi, written “rotten girl” and a play of a homonym meaning a respectable wife/woman, used to be a derogatory term towards women who read BL, but is now a badge of pride for some and is commonly used by girls and women who read the genre.
Men who read BL, are called fudanshi, “danshi” meaning boy.
Galge (also called gal game, or bishoujo game) is a genre of visual novels that includes an important, but not always dominant romance in which the male main character tries romance one or more girl characters. These are commonly called “dating sims”, though dating might not be the dominant factor.
Bishoujo game, at least I, connect to 18+ games specifically, and when I speak of galge, I mean non-sexual games.
This is an abbreviation of Girls Love (Girls’ Love) and is a genre of Japanese lesbian romance. GL can be subtle in its interaction, and often has a theme of might-be-might-not-be friends, and can often leave the reader to decide for themselves. Not all GL is like this, but unlike BL which tends to be very much in your face, this is more hand-holding than surprise sexy times, I suppose. At least what I’ve read and watched.
These are games targeted to women. In other words, it’s a demographic. I don’t use this term much, but it covers rhythm games and gacha games targeted to women, for instance, but technically also includes otoge.
Light novels aren’t referring to the weight of the books. A lot of light novel series are very long, and it’s not uncommon for them to have really long titles to go with the length of the series. Light novels are more in the light of young adult and new adult fiction.
Manga means comics in Japanese, but because of the widely accepted term, I use this to cover Japanese and Japanese-inspired/looking comics. This doesn’t necessarily include all you think of, because just like anything else all comics have a wide variety of styles, and manga along can range from very realistic in style to very stylised.
Manhua is the Chinese counterpart to manga, and is as such Chinese comics.
This is a Japanese abbreviation for mobile games. I use it because it’s short then “mobile games”, “cellphone games”, “phone game”, etc. So when this is used, I’m talking about games I play on my phone and nothing else.
Not Safe For Anny. This abbreviation started as a joke that some more mature content is fine to consume, while other content makes me extremely uncomfortable. Content that is considered NSFA is sexual content (even hinting that it could happen), and abuse. The scale is technically 0 to 10, but after trying to read 50 Shades of Grey, it was off the scale, making anything off the scale 50 Shades of NSFA. Murder or murder attempts don’t count as NSFA by default, but may.
Explanation (though this is very fluid):
0 – No sexual content or abuse at all. May involve violence though.
1- A little sexual content. Most likely a lead-up but fade to black or barely mentioned action.
2 – A bit more graphic with some touching though nothing with actual sexy stuff, but usually no mention. Can be more graphic or include some action if important to the story or characters.
3 – We’re getting into actual sex here. Not very graphic. Images of something that could lead up to something begins here. Non-graphic abuse fall here as well.
4-7 – Just add more graphic as you go, lol. I usually drop or consider dropping when discomfort level is somewhere in this section. May involve lots of innuendoes. Can get gory, may include some torture around 7.
8-10 Probably porn. Likely disturbing amount of graphic physical, emotional and/or mental abuse. (eg: Toma from Amnesia is a 9-10 on this scale.) May include torture.
50 Shades of NSFA – 50 Shades of Grey. It includes too much sex, manipulation and essentially abuse that I just… no.
Anything from 0-10 is possible that I read, but I’m less likely to handle high levels of discomfort if there is imagery as well. I have aphantasia so if it’s just text I don’t have any visual for it.
Otaku has both bad and neutral connotations. The meaning is a bit like “nerd” but has a special cultural connotation, that is difficult to translate. Otakus are often depicted as socially awkward or introverted, and sometimes even as people who have withdrawn from society for some reason or other, and often interested in anime, manga and games.
The truth is that otakus can be interested in anything and are very enthusiastic about their interest.
The word “nerd” would likely suit the socially awkward and introverted otaku, but not the socially adept cosplaying otaku, to make some examples. It’s also not unusual for otaku to share their fandoms/interests with others with self-made content, models, long discussion on whether a character is in love with one or the other character, etc.
In very simple terms, otaku means someone who is very enthusiastic about something — manga, anime, trains, games, cars, history, etc.
Otome game (otoge or otomege for short) is a genre of visual novels that are targeted to women, but specifically have a romance (man-woman relationships, in general) aspect to them. It’s not always dominant, but the romance should still be relatively important. Sometimes called datings sims for women/girls or reverse harem.
Look in the otome game section of the Master List to see examples of these.