Skip to main content

Manga Glossary aims to be the premier graphic novel resource for readers, educators and librarians. Our goal is to provide the information you need so you can fully enjoy the best that the industry has to offer whether you are a comics novice or a lifelong fan. If there's anything specific that you'd like to see in this section, please let us know!



Anime: Animation from Japan. Animation from other countries that follows the style is sometimes also called anime, although purists disagree with this use.  Japanese animation commonly appears as feature films, television series, and direct-to-video releases (see OVA.)


Bishoujo/Bishounen: Beautiful girl/beautiful boy (respectively).


Dōjinshi: Independent or self-published manga works.


Ecchi: Manga (or anime) that is sexually suggestive without being overtly adult. (What constitutes merely “suggestive” can be debated, but books of this type shouldn’t contain nudity or explicit sexual content.) Ecchi works usually feature very tight and/or very skimpy clothing at the very least.


Face fault: The exaggerated movements that show emotion in manga characters' faces.


Fanservice or Fan service:  Sexual content for the amusement of the reader. Fanservice panels are usually not integral to the plot or character development and are often simply gratuitous nudity or situations that get characters scantily clad.


H or Hentai manga: Manga with sexually explicit content.


Japanimation: Anime. This term is largely outdated.


Josei manga: Manga for adult and older teenage women.


Kodomo/Kodomomuke manga: Manga for young children.


Mangaka or manga-ka: A manga artist.


Manhwa: Korean manga.


Mecha: Manga with mechanical items, particularly robots. The term is used pretty generally with most mechanical things in manga.


OEL: Original English-Language. This term refers to manga-style comics created in English and put out internationally.


Otaku: A generic term applied to anyone who is an avid enthusiast (or obsessive) of manga, anime, and video games.


OVA: Original Video Animation. (Also sometimes called OAV.) This refers to anime that goes directly to video without first being released as a movie or television program.


Seinen manga: Manga aimed at adult and older teenage men.


Shōjo/Shōujo manga: Manga aimed at girls, usually between 10 and 18 years old.


Shounen (or Shōnen) manga: Manga aimed at boys, usually between 10 and 18 years old. Sometimes


Shōnen-ai: Literally translated as “boys’ love,” and considered out of date in Japan, this term is used in the United States to refer to nonexplicit male/male romance. (See also Yaoi.)


Steampunk: Works with a Victorian-style setting (with steam-powered engines) mixed with science fiction.


Tankōbon: Used to describe a complete story in one volume or a book that isn’t part of an ongoing series. It can also refer to a trade paperback collection of a series.


Yaoi: Manga that depicts male/male romances (it is often targeted at a female audience). In the United States, this term usually implies explicit sexual content.


Yuri: Manga that depicts a loving (often but not always sexual) relationship between two females.