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This section has everything you need to know to get you started on your way to otaku-dom. Don't know what an otaku is? Perfect, because you can learn here on this page ~_^

What is it?    F.A.Q.    Where to find it    What to watch

What is it?

Here are the basic words that describe anime, the various genres, and the people involved with it.

anime (ah-ni-may): A distortion from the English word "animation" It is the word for Japanese animated shows (cartoons).

fansub: Anime that been subtitled by an fan (non-commercial). more on this>>

manga (mahn-gah): Japanese graphic novels (comics)

manga-ka (mahn-gah-kah): The author/artist of a manga series.

mecha (me-kah): Large armored machines or robots used in combat. It is also a genre of anime that focuses on mechanized combat as a main part of the series. It could be considered a subset of the 'shounen' anime genre (see below)

otaku (oh-tah-ku): an obsessed fan.

seiyuu (seh-i-yu): The Japanese word for voice-actor

shoujo (show-u-jo): Literally means 'girl'. It also describes a genre of anime where one or more young girls, sometimes with special powers or abilities (magical or not), are a main part of the series. This style often focuses on romantic relationships or character development throughout the series. A subset of shoujo anime is 'mahou shoujo' meaning 'magical girl'. This focuses on one or more girls with magical powers that use these powers to overcome a challenge, complete a quest or journey, or defeat 'the bad guys'

shounen (show-u-nen): Literally means 'boy'. This is also a genre of anime that focuses less on relationships and development and more on action and fighting. Even in shounen anime however, the characters are certainly not 'flat' or 2-dimensional.

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Why don't anime characters look Japanese?
Anime characters have been largely influenced by the styles of Disney. Not all characters have the huge eyes and tiny noses and mouths that most people think of, but for the most part, characters are drawn to look more western (western, in the scope of the world).

Why do some characters suddenly shrink down really small and have exaggerated features?
This is known as 'super-deformed'. This often happens when the character has had a sudden surprise, fright, or other strong emotion.

Where do those nosebleeds that guys get come from?
When a guy gets a nosebleed, it's usually around a girl, and means the guy is attracted or turned on by her. Its basically the same effect as when a girl blushes.

Where do those sweat drops come from?
A character will get a sweat-drop in reaction to another character or a situation where they don't quite know how to deal with it at first. For example, this can be a reaction to feeling nervous, frustrated, surprised, or confused.

Why do some characters seem to close their eyes and squint when they smile?
This is what is known as 'fox eyes' This indicates a greater degree of happiness than just a plain smile. Some characters are even designed to always have these 'fox eyes' and can sometimes mean they are mischievous, like the fox.

What is with that hair?
Honestly, there is no single reason. Its just the design of the character that the artist likes. Sometimes, it is done to give the character more personality or uniqueness.

Isn't all anime porn?
No, it's not. No matter what anyone tells you, there is plenty of anime out there that is not NC-17 or above. There is such a wide variety from shows aimed at children to shows aimed at adults (due to violence or tough issues, just like any other show) but are all still clean.

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Where is it?

Anime can be found everywhere, you just have to be looking for it. Movie/music stores like Suncoast and Sam Goody's, or stores like them in other parts of the country, often have an anime section. Sometimes there will be merchandise as well. They are convenient but are on the higher end of the price scale. Lately, Walmart in my town has started to carry a limited number of selections but at very good prices. Of course, there are plenty of places online. Amazon has a good assortment. Online auctions like eBay and Yahoo! Auctions are great places to find anime and anime merchandise. However, with this, make sure the quality and authenticity is what you are expecting before you bid for anything. Places like Anime Nation and Chibi Tokyo are also great online stores where you can order DVDs, videos, and all sorts of merchandise like posters, books, toys and CDs.
Often, book and comic stores carry manga. Sometimes its translated and sometimes not. So far, I don't have a preference for translated or not, but when in doubt, I always go for the original. You can also find manga just about everywhere online that was mentioned for anime.

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What to watch?

Anime comes in many genres, just like live-action. There is comedy, action/adventure, suspense, sci-fi etc. You've really just got to decide what you're in the mood for. Although 'shoujo' anime is directed at girls, and 'shounen'is directed at guys, that doesn't mean shoujo anime is always full of frilly hearts and rainbows and shounen is full of blood and muscle. As mentioned above, shoujo anime more often focuses on relationships or characters developing themselves and shounen anime is more about action. Action doesn't always mean massive fights; it can be completing a journey or solving a mystery. Even if you know what genre you're looking for, or even if you don't, you still need to select an actual series that interests you. Short descriptions of over 30 anime series can be found here which may help you decide what you might enjoy.

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