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CheatSheet: Anime

CheatSheet: Anime




As a former luddite to the world of anime  I couldn’t help feel a little bit out of it when my friends would discuss their passion for anime and what they were watching, not to mention get nervous when they cosplayed as a character that I hadn’t the faintest about. I know there are many out there who were like me once. So to all you anime children, I feel your pain, but fear not! I will help you get past the Anime Fear with CheatSheet: Anime

What is Anime?

The word anime — pronounced “ah-knee-may” — is an abbreviation of the word animation and is used for animation made specifically for Japan. The look and feel are unique in all aspects, by the storytelling, artwork, theme and the concept. It has, over the last 40 years become a worldwide phenomenon, attracting millions of fans and resulting in multiple translations worldwide.

What’s So Special About Anime?

Two Words: It’d Different! There are so many aspects that are different that the American cartoons that we all know and love.

The Artwork ranges from out there, to simple. That being said though even the shows that are more “simple” in their artwork can still be striking. Anime has the ability to make everything striking and new.

Anime is not afraid to delve into epic massive storylines, making them potentially last  many episodes. The most important thing as far as the storyline goes with anime is that it demands great emotional investment from the viewers.

The Range of material means that whatever your viewing preferences there is an anime for you, romantic comedy (Fruit Basket), crimefighting ( Ghost in the Shell)

The History and Culture of Japan is integrated into Anime in a big way. Sengoku Basara for example is a takeoff of Japanese history.  

Help ! I don’t understand the lingo

Not to worry buddy here is a few terms and their meanings

Ahoge: A single strand of hair that sticks out of a character’s head. It literally means “stupid hair” and usually indicates that the character is stupid

Chibi Japanese word meaning “shorty” or “little one”. Chibi characters are generally drawn in such a way that they look cute

Cour: The way the episodes are allocated across each season of an anime

Dubtitles: Subtitled anime where the text is transcribed from the English dub and not the Japanese audio. This makes it easier for people to follow the storyline without knowing the Japanese cultural references.

Hentai: An adult form of Anime

Josei: Anime for the female adult

Kawaii: “lovable”, “cute”, or “adorable” – it is the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture. It is commonly used by Anime fans in an everyday context!

Manga: The print version of anime

Manhwa: Korean form of comics

Mecha: A term from Japan adopted to define a type of genre of anime and manga

Otaku: A term used to define anime and fans of anime

Sakuga: Animation that stands out particularly for its exceptionally high quality from the rest of the production it is in

Seiyuu: Japanese term for voice actors

Senpai: Rough equivalent to the Western concept of a mentor, often used to describe teachers or instructors; a popular internet meme ‘I hope Senpai notices me’

Other terms can be found here

OK so what should I watch?

Well, how long is a piece of string? This may sound like a bit of a cop out but it really is the same as saying I’m new to TV or new to Movies. It’s not a genre, moreso a medium. You have your romance genres, science fiction, comedy, horror.. the list is endless.

So given that, it probably is best to think about the stories and the genres that you are interested in. Yes I’m afraid some of the work will be up to you, but don’t worry my friends, I’ve listed a few that might help you get on your way

Cowboy BeBop

Bounty Hunters Spike and Jet Black do their best to keep their calm while all types of problems lands on their laps. This is a classic that doesn’t bow down to just one genre but because it has great characters and is great fun throughout.



 Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward and Alphonse Eric end up crippled after trying to bring their mother back to life. They join the Military as alchemists in the hopes that they can return to their full glory. They soon discover greater danger than they could have thought of. Its quite a good piece of alternate history, steam-punk and fantasy. The series has been revised to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which follows the original story brought to us in manga so it is probably the best place to start.

 One Piece

If you were to look into the minds of children playing Ninja Pirates this would be a good starting point for this epic story. The story follows Monkey D. Luffy, a kid pirate with a magical stretchy body. Its super fun fantasy with friendship thrown in the mix. The manga makes for equally compulsive reading.