Anime Glossary

Anime (ann-ee-may) Japanese for "animation".
Bishoujo (bee-sho-jo) The Japanese equivalent of "pretty girl". Bishoujo are female characters that are usually quite cute. The cast of Miyuki-chan in Wonderland are good examples of bishoujo.
Bishounen (bee-sho-nen) The Japanese equivalent of "pretty boy". Bishonen are male characters with soft or sometimes very feminine features. The male cast from Fushigi Yuugi are good examples of bishonen.
Doujinshi (doe-jeen-shee) Manga created by fans or amateur artists.
Ecchi (ehtch-ee) A slang term for erotic or sexually suggestive anime; not as heavy duty as "hentai". Also, means "pervert" in Japanese.
Fan Service In general, fan service refers to scenes designed to excite or titillate the viewer. This can include scantily-clad outfits, cleavage shots, panty shots, nude scenes (shower scenes especially), etc. Some broader definitions also include things like cool mecha, big explosions, battle scenes, etc. Basically, if it has little plot-redeaming value, but makes the viewer sit up and take notice, it's probably fan service in one form or another.
Fansub Fansubs are anime that are translated and subtitled by fans. This is usually done for anime that have not been commercially licensed outside of Japan, and is a way for fans to view anime that they normally wouldn't get a chance to see. While fansubs are technically illegal, they are usually tolerated by companies as long as the titles have not been commercially licensed and are distributed on a non-profit basis.
Hentai (hen-tai) Hentai means "pervert" or "perversion" in Japanese. It is usually associated with erotic or sexually-explicit anime.
Kawaii (kah-wah-ee) Japanese for "cute".
Manga (mahn-gah) The Japanese term for comic book. In Japan, manga are targeted at all age groups and cover a wide range of genres. This is in contrast to Western comics which are typically based around superhero themes.
Mecha (meck-ah) Typically means giant robots, but can also refer to any mechanical or robotic devices used in anime.
OAV OAV stands for "Original Animated Video". Another term also used is OVA, which means "Original Video Animation". This is basically the same as a direct-to-video release, bypassing theatrical or television markets.
Otaku (o-tah-ku) In Japan, otaku is a fairly derogatory term used to describe an obsessed fan of something (not necessarily anime). In North America, however, the term is often a badge of honor for hard-core anime fans. Sometimes also used to refer to anime fans in general.
Seiyuu (say-yu) The Japanese term for "voice actor". Typically used by Western fans when referring to Japanese voice actors.
Shoujo (sho-jo) Japanese for "girl". Anime referred to as being "shoujo" are targeted at females. Examples of shoujo anime include Fushigi Yuugi, Sailor Moon, and Vampire Princess Miyu.
Shounen (sho-nen) Japanese for "boy". Anime referred to as "shounen anime" are targeted at males. Examples of shounen anime include the Dirty Pair, Dragonball Z, and Street Fighter II.
Yaoi (ya-o-ee) Stories in anime or manga which focus on male homosexuality (not necessarily erotic in nature).
Yuri (yu-ri) Stories in anime or manga which focus on female homosexuality (not necessarily erotic in nature).