Anime Talk – Vocabulary Found in Anime

I mentioned in a previous post how you can use anime and manga to practice Japanese. This is a vocabulary list of some of the most common words and phrases found in certain animes. If you learn these before you start watching a certain show you’ll probably notice them cropping up. This is a great technique as you’re understanding of Japanese will begin to increase in a more natural way as you incorporate learning with practising in a natural environment.

Japanese used in anime and manga is often very informal Japanese. This makes it incredibly different from the style you’d be learning in a classroom or from a text book. Keep that in mind as this is the style of Japanese you’d use speaking to people the same age and lower. If you spoke like this to someone older than you it could come off as being very rude. (This is also standard Japanese, some characters have dialects like Osaka)

Before I bombard you with a massive list I suggest you get out whatever flashcard program/papers you have right now. Do it. Now you can work through the lists. I’ve broken them down to make it easier to digest and so you can work through the vocab for the type of show you’re currently watching. And if it’s too much I recommend learning 5 a day. Might not seem like much but it’ll start building up and won’t fry your brain.

It’s all in hiragana/katakana to help you practice (if you’re really stuck I suggest downloading rikaikun for chrome/rikaichan for firefox that allows you to read Japanese script including kanji by hovering your mouse over it). This is a list of my own creation compiled from shows I’ve been watching and notice these phrases turning up.

General Anime (language based in the very nature of daily Japanese)
いただきます – Let’s eat (or literally “I humbly receive this grub” said before you eat EVERY TIME)
ごちそうさまでした – Thank you for the meal (said EVERY TIME you finish a meal)

ookami to shichinin no nakamatachi

おはよう!- Morning!
おはようございます!- Good morning! (The longer the Japanese the more polite it is)

こんにちは – Hello!

あったりまえ – Of course
むり – Impossible/No way!
ちがう – No! (literally “that’s different” because the word for no in Japanese in too strong. This is used more often)

ばか – Idiot (or かば which means hippo)
あほ – Idiot (also the sound Japanese crows make – like in Naruto)

どうして? – Why?
なぜ? – Why? (more informal/masculine)
なに? – What?
どこ? – Where?
だれ? – Who?
ここ、どこ? – Where am I? (literally “this, where?”)
なにそれ – What is that?

School/Slice of Life Anime
やった!- Yes!/I did it! (Think of Hero in Heores. I know it’s not an anime!)
もう – Geez! (said by girl a lot and sounds more like “もううううううう”)
ええええ – Ehhh (a sound made indicating surprise and understanding – sounds like a motorbike)

すき(です)- I love you! (Literally I like you. Often said during confessions scenes)
あいしてる – I loooooove you! (A stronger feeling of love)
こくはく – Confession (of loooove)

Azumanga Daioh

ともだち – Friend
かれし – Boyfriend
かのじょ – Girlfriend (when a Japanese person holds up their little finger it means girlfriend)

かわいい – Cute

ゆめ – Dream

うそ – Lies O_O
うそつき – LIAR! (literally “with lies”)

すごい – Wow

わからない – I don’t get it (“I don’t understand” often has わけわからない in anime for “I really don’t get it”)

Sports/Fighting Anime
なかま – Friend/Companion
なまけもの – Lazy bum (literally “a good for nothing person”)
うらぎりもの – Betrayer (literally “a thing that stabs in the back”)

おれ – Me (guys speak)
おれさま – The amazing me (really full of yourself. NEVER use in real life you will sound like an arse)
きさま / てめ / おまえ – Bastard (very very very rude way of saying “you”)
なんじゃ それや!? – What the hell was that!? (A very informal masculine way of saying なにそれ? “what is that?”)

かった!- I won!

まけた!- I lost!

Free anime

あいて – Partner/Rival
ちから – Power (it’s over 9000!)

はやい – Fast
おそい – Slow

うるさい!- Shut up! (literally “noisy”)

さすが___ – Typical [name] (carries more of a “just as I expected” admiration feeling)
なるほど – I see/of course (“I understand what you’re saying” meaning)

まさか – There’s no way… (also “it can’t be!” or “could it be!?”)
もちろん – Of course!

Fantasy/Adventure Anime
あぶない!- Watch out! (literally “dangerous!”)
やばい – Dangerous/Awesome (similar to “that’s sick” in English with both a good and bad meaning)
こわい – Scary (not to be confused with かわいい which means cute)
いたい – It hurts

あくま – Devil/Demon
ばけもの – Monster (not to be confused with ばか)
てんし – Angel
にんげん – Human(kind)
かみ(さま)- God(s) (The さま adds elevation, you add it to the name of someone who’s highly respected. That’s why おれさま is only said by people who are full of themselves)

まほう – Magic

Sword Art Online

まほうじょ – Witch (literally “magic woman”)
まほうつかい – Wizard (literally “magic user”)
まほうしょうじょ – Magical girl (literally “magic young girl”)

うんめい – Fate/Destiny (a horse -_-)

しねえ!!! – DIE! (A really informal/masculine and should never be said in real life)
にげて!!! – RUN! (literally “please run”)
にげろ!!! – RUN! (more of a command but also means “let’s run”)
いこう – Let’s go

And there is so much more! But I think over 50 words that are now on your list of vocabulary to learn is more than enough for now. If you want more you can google them (lots are romaji lists) but I hope to make some more of these. Perhaps in the future I will get a 10 min episode where you learn all the vocab and grammar and social implications of the informal speak while watching the episode over and over to learn it?

Memorising lists like these won’t get you understanding anime and manga straight away but it certainly helps build up your vocabulary. You just need to work more and more at it. A good goal is probably JLPT N3 level, which will give you a strong base of a lot of topics in Japanese that means you can watch anime without subtitles.

Update (12/3/14) Memrise Courses: If you’d like to learn more anime vocabulary there’s a great Memrise course by Risgrynnsgroet I have also put this list on as a J-Talk Memrise course with extra vocabulary.

Any other words you think should be on this list?
If I write a vocabulary list for a particular anime, which one should I do?
Did you find this useful? Better with just the kanas or should I include romanji?
Please feel free to post your comments bellow.

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  1. This is great, thanks! I've put together a J-Talk deck on Anki now so I can practise the ones I don't know.

    I would love it if you did more like this! I'm fine just having the kanas (gives me more practice) but I can see the romaji being very useful for anyone who hasn't started studying the kanas yet. I don't know how much 'who' is used in Japanese but it's the only question word missing from your list. I imagine maybe words like kore and sore would be useful too, but they're not necessarily 'anime talk' so I can see why you didn't include them!

  2. These are awesome! Great work Jen!

  3. Very informative blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing. Anime

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