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Learn Anime Terminology With Senpai – Misused Terms

Senpai has noticed that you, my kouhai, struggle to understand some of the complicated anime terminologies that Anime-sensei was trying to teach you. Well, it’s time to learn these words as early as we can so you can be ready for the exam. Time flies, so let’s start.

In this post, we will focus on terms that are often misunderstood, or misused. There are terms that may be confusing, as newcomers to anime may hear others using them without learning the correct meaning. This leads to multiple different meanings for terms that aren’t really that complicated. This is why we’re going to clear up the confusion and learn the actual meanings behind these words.



Let’s start off with a term I very often hear misused. Some people think this is a genre, some people think it’s an art style, others think it means that there are cute girls. Usually, I hear people use the term to call something bad without even watching it, which is why I feel like it needs to be cleared up.

Moe is a feeling. Moe is the feeling of wanting a character to succeed. Or, that’s probably the easiest way to describe it. You could also say that it’s a crush for a character. The kanji it’s based upon, 萌, mean sprout. It’s the budding romance or the feeling that you’d get the first moment you realize you’ve fallen in love with someone. I think the most similar English word for this would be a “crush”.

Many would say that a cutesy art style is what moe is, however, that’s simply not true. A cutesy art style can help you induce moe, however, you can also feel moe from a character that isn’t cute at all. You can even feel moe for a guy. Sometimes you won’t feel moe for a cute character even. Moe is a feeling you may feel, but that not everyone else will necessarily feel for the same character.

The definition I’ve gone with is the original definition as it was intended. The word became widespread here in the west around the time of Lucky Star and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. However, while the term has been used in the west since then, back in Japan, it was already a dead meme, probably already when Lucky Star aired. If you look at modern anime, you won’t see the term being used much anymore.


Otaku vs. Weeaboo/weeb

In very recent time, I’ve been hearing the word weeb being misused a lot, and for any of us that have been around for a while (doesn’t even need to be that long!), the term is really rude. Weeb is short for weeaboo and speaks of someone that denounces their own culture for the Japanese culture, however, ending up being rude and making a fool of themselves. They tend to be the ones that learn Japanese words from anime and replace English words with the Japanese equivalent. It’s very rude to call someone a weeb if they aren’t one.

Otaku, however, is usually what people mean when they call someone a weeb. An otaku is someone that spend an extensive amount of time on any particular thing. In the west we only use the term for someone that spends most of their time watching and consuming anime, however, in Japan it can be used for anything. We’ve got train otaku, plane otaku, anime otaku, whatever. Anyways, it used to have a negative connotation to it, but in recent times it’s become less so. Some otaku may proudly announce themselves an otaku, but it can be frowned upon outside the anime community. The English equivalent would be something like nerd or geek.


These words may be vague, but as long as you go out of this post knowing that moe is a feeling and weeb is an insult, then you’ve at least learned enough to justify the post 🙂

This post became pretty short, as there weren’t really that many words that would fit into it. If I find other words, I may repost it with those added to it.

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