The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi is a short anime about a high school boy who likes fictional homosexual romance manga and other related media. It’s a genre that has a small but strong following in Japan. But with this fandom comes a whole lot of internet lingo and slang. Much of it has no proper equivalent in English–something that can make this anime more than a little confusing at times.

© Atami Michinoku/Ichijinsha, Fudanshi Production Committee 2016

So, if some of the words in The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi are a mystery to you, this little otaku/boys-love lexicon from the series may be able to help you out:

Anumate: A parody of the famous chain of Japanese anime merchandise stores, Animate. While most Animate stores cater toward fans of all genres, the store in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district in particular carries mostly goods aimed at women. Instead of labeling a corner with boys love products as “Boys Love Corner,” however, most Animate stores label the section as “For Girls,” just as seen in the anime.

BL: An abbreviation for boys love media.

Circle: In the case of the anime subculture, circles are usually a group of people who with similar interests who produce dōjinshi, or fan-created books (fanzines, if you will).

Fudanshi: A boy that likes BL. It is very rare to see this kind of fan in public.

Fujoshi: A girl that likes BL. They are not rare in the anime subculture and many are very, VERY active on Twitter, as you can see in the anime.

Normal: Some people watching the anime might have been thrown off when they heard Sakaguchi referring to himself as normal in terms of sexual preference. In Japan, the word “normal” refers to someone who is heterosexual. While it could be considered discriminatory in the west, homosexuality is not as much of an open subject in Japan as in the west. The term is not normally used with malice.

Neko no Ana: Literally “The Cat’s Hole,” this is a parody of “Tora no Ana” (Tiger’s Hole), a chain in Japan that sells anime and manga goods alongside dōjinshi. 

Only Event: Also known as just an “Only,” this term refers to events where dōjinshi is sold for a specific series. An event that is not an only event, for example, is Comic Market (Comiket), which sells dōjinshi for hundreds of different series.

Seme: A character in a relationship in a BL manga or anime that is more agressive than his partner and takes the lead in the relationship. The so-called “man” of the couple.

Tachi: Another word for a “seme.” It’s not used nearly as often, hence why even the knowledgable Sakaguchi was confused when Shiratori referred to himself as one.

Uke: The opposite of a seme, an “uke” is the partner in a boys love relationship who is the more submissive one.

Yaoi: A term used mostly in the western fandom to refer to boys love. However, the word is seldom used in the Japanese fandom except in the case of certain dōjinshi.

The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi is available on Crunchyroll to watch with English subtitles.

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