The Only Guide You'll Need

Introduction

Ok, so you have clicked on this post. I am guessing that you are brought here by anime and wish to learn more about its community. If this is the case, then congratulations! Because you are in the right place.

The question of How To Be An Otaku? is often asked. In this guide today, I will teach you all that you need to know about what it means to be an Otaku. Show you the way around our niche community, and get you used to the slang and common phrases we use.

So whether you are completely new to anime, or have perhaps only binged around 20 anime series or so. Worry not! Because there is always something new to learn within the Anime community every day.

Now, let’s begin this Ultimate Beginner’s Guide on Becoming and Understanding the Otaku Culture!!

how to become an otaku



Otaku’s Term

I would like to get us started with some of the most common phrases and words that we Otaku uses on a daily basis.


Common Words

An Overnight Comprehensive Guide Of The Otaku Culture - kuroneko - oreimo
  • Otaku: Otaku is literally translated into ‘nerd’. Although in Japan, Otaku means a person who is generally obsessed with a niche hobby of some sort. In our Otaku context, this term generally refers to a huge anime fan.
  • Weaboo: Weaboo is a somewhat more extreme version of Otaku. Generally, the word refers to a person who is in love with Japanese culture. Ultimately, a weaboo tries his/her best to become Japanese by watching anime and learning the language.
  • Kawaii: Kawaii translates to ‘cute’ in English. Exactly what it sounds like, the term refers to characters who us Otaku finds cute.
  • Aho/Baka: The two words mean the same thing, and they translate to ‘stupid’. These terms are also very common in romance anime… Where anime couples often use this term during their arguments.
  • Loli: Loli refers to the young/cute female character in anime. They are also characters who are oftentimes sexualized by their fanbase.
  • Chibi: Chibi refers to cute anime drawings with deformed body proportions. Which is due to their bigger-than-average head size.
  • Fan Service: This term refers to a scene in anime that is erotic or sexy to further engage in its audience. Fan service is also used as a way to promote anime merchandise.
  • Bishoujo: Bishoujo translates to ‘a young beautiful girl’ in English. These girls are usually in their teens. The term is oftentimes associated with fan-service.
  • Bishounen: Bishounen translates to ‘beautiful young men’. The term can be used for guys of all ages. However, they oftentimes refer to younger men. The term is also associated with fan-service.
  • Nani?: Translates to ‘what’ in Japanese. In the newer and modern context, it is also used as a reference to an old meme.
  • Tsundere: Refers to a character who tends to deny sensitive emotions to preserve their prideful attitude. But they secretly love the attention…
  • Waifu: The term refers to the anime crush of us Otaku. This specific version refers to female characters.
  • Husbando: The term refers to the anime crush of us Otaku. This specific version refers to the male characters.
  • Yandere: An anime character who would inflict harm onto others to be with their loved ones. They also tend to be very possessive towards their partner.

Otaku’s Honorifics

An Overnight Comprehensive Guide Of The Otaku Culture - common otaku honorifics
  • Kun: Oftentimes used to refer to a younger guy.
  • San: Used in a more formal setting for both males and females.
  • Sama: Used to refer to a person or being of high rank such as a God.
  • Senpai: This honorific refers to an upperclassman. Or in the workplace, refers to one with more experience.
  • Kouhai: This honorific refers to an underclassman. And in the workplace, it refers to one with less experience.
  • Sensei: Translates into ‘teacher’. And typically used to address teachers, or sometimes artists and writers.
  • Onee-chan / Onee-san: This honorific is used to address a younger / older sister.
  • Onii-chan / Onii-san: This honorific is used to address a younger / older brother.
  • Chan: This term can be used in many situations. Typically, we use them to address younger females, loved-ones, children, family members, and so on.
  • Tan: The more glorified version of ‘chan’. It is the cuter and more affectionate variant and is used in a super informal setting.

Take Away

Hopefully, from this list of the Otaku’s terms, you are now able to hold a decent conversation with a fellow Otaku. You will no longer be confused by that one friend who constantly addresses you as -kun or -chan. And you will finally be able to offer them love advice whenever they begin their daily Notice Me Senpai!~ rant…

Now, let us venture to the next topic. Where I will be discussing the common terms that you might hear or see while watching your favorite Anime. Let’s begin!




Anime’s Terms

An Overnight Comprehensive Guide Of The Otaku Culture - common anime terms

Let us move on to the more anime-related terms that you might find yourself questioning about. These are the terms that all Otakus will inevitably come across as we explore our anime taste. You will often see these terms in Anime discussions and Episodic reviews. Hopefully, by the end of the guide, you will finally be able to understand what they actually mean!

We shall begin!~

Common Words

  • OVA: Stands for Original Video Animation. These are episodes or parts of a series that go straight into merchandise without being released on TV. You can often find them in anime DVDs and Blu-Rays.
  • ONA: Stands for Original Net Animation. They are anime series that are first released on the internet rather than on TV.
  • OST: Stands for Original Sound Track. These are usually a compilation of all soundtracks used within an anime or video game. And are specifically distributed through DVDs and merchandise.
  • Special: They are somewhat similar to OVA, except… they are more special. Specials have little to do with the plot and are generally shorter than their OVAs counterparts. Think of specials as parody, and OVAs as epilogues.
  • Fillers: A filler is often seen in anime as a time-waster. And they are made especially for that purpose. If the anime original source, such as a manga, has yet to update. Then a filler is made to fill in that space. However, these fillers often time do not relate to the main story whatsoever.
  • Sub/Dub: These are two different versions of aired anime. Sub is when the audio is in Japanese, and the subtitles are in a translated language. Dub is when the anime audio itself is in a translated language.
  • Fansub: A fansub is when an anime was subtitled by a group of non-licensed people. They are oftentimes amateurs. As opposed to professionals who have official licenses to translate and distribute the content.
  • Yaoi: Yaoi is the genre referring to the romance between boys.
  • Yuri: Yuri is the genre referring to the romance between girls.
  • Doujinshi: Doujinshi is the artistic work of an indie author who based their work on some external source. They are essentially fan-made manga/novels with possibly different stories and settings. One thing to note is most of the doujins are made by an amateur.

And that is it for some of the most common anime terms that you will come across. Hopefully, you are now able to understand anime discussions and participate with fellow Otakus. Know the difference between the episode types. And enjoy your anime as best as possible.




Common Anime Genres/Recommendations

how to become an otaku - recommendation for anime genres

Now that you are equipped with both the common Otaku and Anime terms, it’s finally time to move on to the more fun stuff. And that is, of course, Anime!!

Anime is a medium. And within that medium is a variety of its own genre. Whether you are a lover of Romance, Action, or Horror, there is always something for everyone. Below, I will be introducing what I think are some of the MOST IMPORTANT and FUNDAMENTAL anime genres you must know!

And though there are a lot more subgenres out there… Just know that the most fundamentals ones are what will introduce you to the rest of them.


Romance

anime recommendation genre - romance - shigatsu wa kimi no uso - your lie in april

Romance anime are exactly what they sound like. These anime typically focus on the love life between the protagonists. They are oftentimes filled with Drama, HeartBreaks, and even Sweetness.

Recommendations (Click Me To Scroll Faster)

Toradora

anime recommendation - romance - toradora

Ryuuji Takasu is a high schooler deemed for his delinquent-like looks. Taiga Aisaka, on the other hand, is a frail-looking girl yet possesses a ballsy personality. One day, the two accidentally crossed paths.

Coincidentally, Ryuuji discovered that Taiga has a crush on his best friend, Yuusaku. And Ryuuji himself has a crush on Taiga’s best friend, Minori. Surprisingly enough, they decided to help each other conquer their loved ones. How will their romantic life play out?




Clannad

anime recommendation - romance - clannad - vn

Tomoya is a delinquent who describes his life as utterly mundane and boring. One day, he crossed path with Nagisa, a strange girl who out of nowhere exclaim her favorite food: ‘Anpan!’

As the two get to know each other, their feelings slowly developed. Soon after, Tomoya realizes his life is not as boring as he initially thought. How will their relationship develop in the future? Only the couple can answer this question.

Related: Top 25 Romance Must-Watch Anime Recommendations


Shounen

anime recommendation genre - shounen - fairy tail

Shounen anime, literally translated as ‘young boy’, are usually anime that are targeted towards the teen’s age group. They are very action-based. Yet are not too gory. Think of them as PG-13 shows!

Recommendations

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

anime recommendations - full metal alchemist : brotherhood - shounen

Edward and Alphonse are two brothers who are extremely well-versed in Alchemy. Using their skills, they attempted human transmutation: a strictly forbidden act of alchemy. The price they must pay? Edward lost a leg, and Alphonse lost his entire human body.

Years after, the brothers are back with their constant search for a new Alchemy technique of Human Transmutation. How will their next attempt turn out? And what are the prices that the two must pay?




Shingeki no Kyoujin

anime recommendations - shingeki no kyoujin - shounen

After being driven out by colossal monsters called Titans, humankind has surrounded themselves with tall and rigid walls. For a century, they have finally managed to lead peaceful lives. However, one day, the Titans abruptly appeared, and terror struck once again.

Having lost his loved ones to the Titans, Eren, a young boy amidst the chaos, vows to drive the Titans to extinction. After joining the Survey Corps, an elite military unit, Eren is finally on his first step to take revenge for his friends.


Comedy

anime recommendation genre - comedy - aho girl

Comedy anime are made with the pure purpose of providing laughter. In most cases, this genre tends to not be plot-driven. But rather contains different contexts per episode.

Recommendations

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

anime recommendations - danshi koukousei no nichijou - comedy

The story revolves around 3 boys from the Sanada North High School. Unsure with what to do with their seemingly mundane daily lives, the trio must find ways to entertain themselves. And what betters ways to accomplish that through role-playing their wild and ridiculous imaginations?




Gintama

anime recommendations - gintama - comedy

After the invasion of aliens from outer space, Japan has long prohibited the use of swords and similar weapons. However, one samurai still stuck to his core. And that person is no other than Gintoki Sakata. As an errand boy, Gintoki’s life is in no way easy. He has to deal with cops, gangsters, assassins, and often finds himself in unfortunate yet ridiculous events. In short, Gintoki is always running to his next errand!


Thriller

anime recommendation genre - thriller - re: zero

Thriller anime is the genre that will keep you on the edge of your seats. It usually invokes strong feelings of some form, such as surprise, fear, and anticipation. Be prepared!

Recommendations

Death Note

anime recommendations - thriller - death note

High schooler Raito receives a Death Note from a Shinigami named Ryuk. With this notebook, he is able to kill people from afar by simply writing in their names. Realizing the scary power of this note, Raito then formulates a plan to transform the world and become its GOD.

Using the notebook, Raito begins serving justice by mass-murdering criminals from all over Japan. However, his actions are quickly caught on by the Policer. Soon after, an infamous detective named L has joined the investigation. His goal? To figure out the real identity of Kira. And so begins the fierce competition between the two young men.




Steins;Gate

anime recommendations - genre thriller - steins gates

Okabe Rintarou, along with his lab members Daru, has one day created a machine he named the “Phone Microwave’. Apparently, the microwave can transform regular bananas into Green Jelly Bananas. Unimpressed, Okabe simply ignored it.

However, by total coincidence, Daru somehow manages to use the machine to send a message into the past. Excited by these results, Okabe continued sending messages into the past: without realizing the mysterious strings of events that are occurring around him.


Adventure

anime recommendation genre - adventure - anime

Adventure anime is exactly what it sounds like. It illustrates a long-winded journey of the protagonists to achieve their goals. These could range from a physical to an emotional journey of some sort.

Recommendations

Dr. Stone

recommendation for anime genre adventure , dr. stone

One day, mankind was petrified into stone by a mysterious green light from the sky. Senkuu, a young high schooler soon wakes up to find himself 3700 years past modern civilization. Ironically, the world has reverted itself back to the stone age. Senkuu, along with his scientific knowledge and comrades, vows to rebuild humanity from scratch. Will they be able to do it? Only time can tell.




Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

recommendation for adventure genre - anime is guren lagann

Simon and Kamina were born in an underground village. Every day, their daily tasks are to dig for valuable artifacts. One day, while working, Simon comes across a mysterious shining object. He soon realizes that it is the key to an ancient war machine buried deep underground.

After a disastrous event struck, Simon and Kamina were inclined to escape underground and aim for the sky. However, their difficult journey has just only begun; as they soon after learn more about the dark side of the surface and its residents.


Slice of Life

anime recommendation genre - slice of life - k-on

Similar to the comedy genre, Slice of life anime rarely contains a progressive story. Rather, it usually contains episodes each with different contexts. In addition, these genres tend to teach you a significant life message of some sort. Therefore, this makes a perfect watch for those seeking something more laid-back and relaxing, yet extremely meaningful!

Recommendations

Violet Evergarden

violet evergarden thumbnail - slice of life

Violet, a young female soldier, is one of the survivors of The Great War. Her last significant memory is Lieutenant Gilbert’s last words: I love you. As a former war machine who only knows to kill, Violet fails to understand the meanings of such confession.

Now that the war is over, and Lieutenant Gilbert is nowhere to be seen, Violet is ultimately left alone. She must embark on an emotional journey of PTSD self-recovery and discover her true self. Only then will she be able to decode Gilbert’s message and live a peaceful life.




3-gatsu no Lion

3-gatsu no lion - march comes in like a lion - slice of life anime recommendation

Rei Kiriyama is an elite Shogi player who reached his status ever since middle-school. Perhaps, this is due to the constant pressure from both his parents and the Shogi world. As a result, Rei tends to avoid others in addition to neglecting his own well-being.

However, when Rei moves to a new residence hall, he met compassionate people who change his life forever. Through their selfless and caring nature, these people are willing to provide the young man guidance to a happier life. Finally, Rei is now able to face his true emotions once and for all.


Horror

anime recommendation genre - horror- hi garushi no naku koro ni

Horror anime, unlike other mediums, are very subtle in comparison. They rarely feature jumpscare, but rather focuses on the psychological and gory elements of a horror film.

Recommendations

Shiki

shiki - horror anime

In a remote village of Sotoba, a strange disease has begun to take the lives of multiple villagers. However, Toshio Ozaki, a local doctor, knew better. He begins doubting the cause of the disease, even goes as far as to deem it as supernatural. Will he be able to figure out the truth before the strange pandemic wipe out his entire village?




Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

higurashi no naku koro ni - horror anime

Keiichi Maebara has recently moved to a quiet village name Hinamizawa. Along with his four new best friends, Keichii is able to enjoy every second of his new life. One day, however, Keiichi learns of the village’s annual festival and its connection to past mysterious deaths. After questioning his friends to no avail, strange events started occurring around Keichii. Sure enough, his life is about to be turned upside down.




Useful Planning Websites

otaku culture guide - anime list / planning websites

Perhaps you have begun watching a few anime episodes. For now, you will probably do fine coming up with a list in your head. However, as time go on, there would be too many anime to remember. And this is where Anime Planning Websites come in handy!

So what are they?

Basically, anime planning websites will allow you to come up with your own anime lists. Such as having a Plan To Watch, Completed, Watching, etc… You will never lose track of your anime ever again!!

Below, I will try to list some of the most famous Anime List Sites. Hopefully, you can now come up with your ultimate Anime Watch List.

Sites List

MyAnimeList

myanimelist planning websites

MyAnimeList is a straightforward anime planning site. It will provide you with anime basic information, such as community rating, number of episodes, and genre. In addition, with the Advanced Search option, you can filter out anime by different genres, and add them to your own list.

MyAnimeList compromised of these list options:

Watching
Completed
On-Hold
Dropped
Plan To Watch



AniList

anilist planning websites

AniList is similar to MyAnimeList and they work the same way. However, personally, I find the UI interface less intuitive and user-friendly than MyAnimeList. Despite this, AniList offers some of its own unique features. It allows you to see the score distribution of an anime, and also show you some extra detailed statistics of the anime as well.

AniList distributes their list into the following:

Completed
Planning
Current
Paused
Dropped

And there you have it. These are some of the best anime lists websites. Please do go crazy, learn the inside outs of these websites, and update them regularly. In no time, you will be the ultimate Otakus who consume anime like all of us!




Where To Watch Anime?

otaku culture guide - where to watch anime - free legal anime streaming sites - sakura trick

Ok, now that you have a solid anime list, let’s answer an important question…

Where to actually watch the anime?

Below are some of the best and common anime sites to watch your favorite shows. Remember to turn off your ad-blocks. And also, some anime are region protected. So if you have a VPN, do switch them on for either Japan or America.

Welp, here goes~!


Streaming Sites

Crunchyroll

crunchyroll - best play to watch anime , streaming sites

Crunchyroll offers you a large variety of free anime to watch. Unlike other streaming services that only include past aired anime, with Crunchyroll, you can now finally catch up to the MOST CURRENT anime season. Of course, having a premium account comes with unique perks. But in reality, a free account will still provide you endless hours of entertainment.




Funimation

funimation - anime streaming site

Funimation is yet another streaming site with a huge list of anime to watch. In addition, it is also a great platform that hosts DUB anime. What’s more? It’s FREE! That’s some great news for y’all DUB fans out there! However, again, you will still have to put up with ads. So the choice is definitely up to you!

And there you have it. Now you can go and watch some of your most favorite anime within your list! Also, if you are interested, you could click here to learn more about the other anime streaming site.




Anime Merchandise

otaku culture guide - where to buy anime merchandise -

Anime merchandises are a must-have of every Otakus. And they are some of the most important possessions that you would ever obtain. But where to actually find them?

Below, I will list out some of the best anime goods stores that you could start browsing today!!

Shopping Stores

Tokyo Otaku Mode

tokyo otaku mode - anime shopping store

Every Otaku should know this website. I mean, the company even has the word Otaku in it. Tokyo Otaku Mode sells goods straight from Japan, and their Action Figures never fail to captivate me. Though they are somewhat pricey, at the end of the day, their products are definitely worth the cash.

In addition, they also have a wide array of Otakus items such as:

Clothing
Cosplays
Manga / Light Novels
Accessories

Definitely go check them out!




Good Smile Company

good smile company - anime shopping store-  best for figurines - action figures

Good Smile Company is yet another anime merchandise store that sells mainly Action Figure. Just from browsing through their products, I can definitely 100% guarantee you top-notch quality and aesthetics. Since nowadays, we Otaku are in need of a glorious shelf filled with action figures.

Also, Crow from Crow’s World of Anime recently did a product review of the character Ram from Re: Zero. He bought it straight from Good Smile Company, so definitely check out his reviews!

P.S. Also, Crow, if you’re reading this, thanks for reviewing that fantastic Ram model 🙂




Right Stuff Anime

right stuff anime - best for blu ray, dvd - also sell figures / action figures

Right Stuff Anime! is a place where us Otakus can get our hands on those scarce DVD and Blu-Ray. They also sell typical anime merchandise like action figures and cosplays too. With a twist of those products being much cheaper than the companies mentioned above. Win-win for everyone!


Have fun shopping everyone~~

Related: Christmas Shopping List – ANIME EDITION




Follow Up

otaku culture guide - final words / follow up - fairy tail

I have passed to you all the basics to help turn you into the ultimate Otaku. Now, it is up to you to explore the wonders within this industry. And go BEYOND it! Below are some useful links to help you in your exciting journey. Well… hopefully, I will see y’all someday at an Anime Convention.

Perhaps we could talk about anime… I mean, what else is there to talk about between fellows Otaku? Right?


That’s it from me. I really do hope you learned a lot from this post today and turn into an ultimate Otaku!! Till next time. Peace ~

Keni
An anime enthusiast who writes about things he likes