And kanji with manga
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

shota

NSFW: this article may contain words or images you'd rather not have your boss see.

In anime, a shota ショタ is a little boy, or, more generally, any male character that's underage. The female variant of shota is loli ロリ. Sometimes, Shota is someone's name instead, specially Shōta with a macron, which is another way to romanize Shouta.

Warning: this term is often associated with pedophilia.

Yamada Pochi 山田ポチ (a dog boy) and Okamoto Tama 岡本タマ (a cat boy) eating cake.
Left: Yamada Pochi 山田ポチ
Right: Okamoto Tama 岡本タマ
Anime: Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasen ka? うちタマ?!~うちのタマ知りませんか?~ (Episode 1)

The term shota is also romanized syota.

Definition

In the narrow sense, a shota is a character that's a little boy. In the broad sense it's any underage male character.

Little Boy

Since most anime is set in high school, most characters are underage, so if we went by the broad sense, most anime boys would be shotas, and there would be little meaning in using this term.

  • shounen 少年 is a term that means any underage male person, and, in legal contexts, any underage person of either gender.

Instead, a shota typically refers to a character who is of elementary school age or younger, although which characters are considered shotas, and why, varies from person to person.

For example, if the term refers only to prepubescent characters, a character can stop being considered a shota if his voice changes through the series.

  • shota-goe
    ショタ声
    A shota voice. A voice typical of a shota character.
    • It seems in most cases such voice is done by a female voice actor.

Another criteria is for a character to only be considered a shota if shorts, or rather hanzubon 半ズボン, "half-pants," suit him, due to the term shota coming from the name of a character that wears hanzubon.

vs. Shotacon

The terms shota and shotacon refer to different things.

A shotacon is someone who likes shota characters. A shotacon character is a pedophile who likes boys. It makes sense to think the term could also refer to a pedophile in real life, although it's mainly an anime slang.

Ran Luckmolde, ラン・ラックモルデ tries to put her hands on Pat Campbell, パット・キャンベル.
Left: Pat Campbell, パット・キャンベル
Right: Ran Luckmolde, ラン・ラックモルデ
Anime: Mugen no Ryvius, 無限のリヴァイアス (Episode 8)

In English, the term shotacon is also used as a genre for drawn pornography (hentai 変態) featuring underage characters (shotas).

Due to this, some people may believe the term "shota" to be exclusively NSFW.

ショタBL本 18禁
Anime: Centaur no Nayami, セントールの悩み (Episode 2, Cropped)
  • Context: a fujoshi 腐女子 holds an adult book.
  • shota bi-eru-bon
    ショタBL本
    Shota BL book.
    • BL - Boys's Love, refers to gay fiction in Japanese.
    • hon becomes ~bon due to rendaku 連濁.
  • juu-hachi-kin
    18禁
    Eighteen forbidden. (literally.)
    • Not for children, i.e. people under eighteen years old.

In Japanese, shotacon doesn't refer to a genre, and shota can refer to a character of any series, NSFW or not.

  • In Shinchou Yuusha 慎重勇者, a shotacon calls Mash マッシュ a shota.
やはりチビとショタは組み合わせが悪い やはりショタはエロいお姉さんと組み合わせるべきなのか?
Manga: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! (Chapter 144, モテないし名前を呼び合う)
  • Context: Kuroki Tomoko 黒木智子 ponders on pairings.
  • yahari chibi to shota wa {kumi-awase ga warui}
    やはりチビショタ組み合わせ悪い
    On a second thought, between a chibi and a shota {the combination is bad}.
    On a second thought, a short person and a little boy don't pair well.
    (double subject construction.)
    • yahari - used when reevaluating something.
    • chibi - a shorty, someone small.
    • kumi-awase - to put two things together, to combine, to pair.
  • yahari {shota wa eroi oneesan to kumi-awaseru} beki na no ka?
    やはりショタはエロいお姉さんと組み合わせるべきなのか?
    Thinking again, it's best for {a shota to be paired with a sexy oneesan}?
    Thinking again, a shota should be paired with a sexy oneesan?

Underage Boy

Since a shotacon likes shotas, if a character is called a shotacon, a "pedophile," for going after underage male characters, logically that makes the underage characters shotas, regardless of how old they are.

I've never seen this actually happen, mostly because this term is less common, but since it happens with the female counterpart, lolicon, it should be possible to happen with this term, too.

いいか? ショタコン女とは低年齢層や童顔男に説明し難いトキメキを覚えてしまう女の事だ 俺の分析によればそれは「ロリ系」「やんちゃ系」「虚弱系」などに分類され 例としてはハニー先輩がこの「ロリ系」に該当する!! ・・・たぶん!!
Manga: Ouran High School Host Club, Ouran Koukou Hosuto-Bu 桜蘭高校ホスト部 (Chapter 6)
  • Context: host Suou Tamaki 須王環 categorizes shotas.
  • ii ka?
    いいか?
    Is [it] okay? (literally.)
    • Expression used to call someone's attention before explaining something. "Listen here," "pay attention," "hear me," etc.
  • shotakon-onna towa {tei-nenrei-sou ya dougan otoko ni {setsumei shi-gatai} tokimeki wo oboete-shimau} onna no koto da
    ショタコンとは低年齢層童顔男に説明し難いトキメキ覚えてしまう女の
    A shotacon woman refers to a woman [that] {experiences a {hard to describe} joy toward baby-faced and low-age-range guys}.
    • tokimeki - noun form of tokimeku ときめく, for one's heart "to beat with joy," love, etc.
  • ore no bunseki ni yoreba sore wa "rori-kei" "yancha-kei" "kyojaku-kei" nado ni bunrui sare
    俺の分析よればそれ「ロリ」「やんちゃ系」「虚弱系」などに分類され
    According to my analysis, that's divided into "loli type," "rascal type," "feeble type," etc.
  • rei toshite wa Hanii-senpai ga kono "rori-kei" ni gaitou suru!!
    例としてはハニー先輩がこの「ロリ系」に該当する!!
    As example, Honey-senpai fits this "loli type."
    • In the sense of loli-like shota, because Honey-senpai carries around a pink bunny plush, likes eating cake, and has other cutesy features, like referring to all sorts of things with the diminutive ~chan ~ちゃん suffix.
  • ...tabun!!
    ・・・たぶん!!
    ...probably!!

Origin

The origin of the term shota is the character Kaneda Shoutarou 金田正太郎, from Tetsujin Ni-juu-hachi-gou 鉄人28号.

Kaneda Shoutarou 金田正太郎, whom the term shotacon was named after.
Character: Kaneda Shoutarou 金田正太郎
Anime: Taiyou no Shisha Tetsujin Ni-juu-hachi-gou 太陽の使者鉄人28号
  • Context: the eponym of shota.

More specifically, there was a character called Lolita, who became an eponym, and from which originates the term Lolita Complex, abbreviated lolicon, and the term shotacon was created as a male counterpart abbreviating Shoutarou Complex instead, meaning shota comes from Shoutarou.

I don't know when the term shota was first used, however, this is where the term shotacon was coined:

  • Context: a question-answer corner in a magazine published in 1981, in which Hamamatsu Matsuki 克樹浜松 unintentionally coined the term shotacon.
  • Q: {{otoko no hito ga chiisana onnanoko wo suki na} no wo rorikon to itte-iru} imi wa wakaru no desu ga, sore jaa, {onna no hito ga chiisana otokonoko wo suki na} no wa nanto iu no deshou ka......
    Q 男の人が小さな女の子を好きになのをロリコンといっている意味はわかるのですが、それじゃあ、女の人が小さな男の子を好きなのはなんというのでしょうか・・・・・・。
    Question: [I] understand that {[you] call {a man liking little girls} lolicon}, but then, what do [you] call {a woman liking little boys}?
  • (in parentheses is the name of who asked the question.)
  • A: {onaji imi de soushou shitemo ii} hazu desu. somosomo rorikon wa, {{{roriita to iu} onnanoko wo suki ni natta} koto kara kita} meishou desu ga, {{Shoutarou-kun wo suki ni natta} shotakon toka iu} no wa, nantonaku goro ga warui dewa arimasenka.
    A 同じ言葉で総称してもいいはずです。そもそもロリコンは、ロリータという女の子を好きになったことからきた名称ですが、正太郎クンを好きになったショタコンとかいうのは、なんとなくゴロが悪いではありませんか。
    Answer: [It] should {be okay to use [it] as a general term (i.e. in both cases)}. To begin with, lolicon is a term [that] {came from {liking a girl {called lolita}}}, but {calling {liking Shoutarou-kun} shotacon or something like that} doesn't ring well, don't you think?
    • goro ga warui
      ゴロが悪い
      To not ring well. To sound bad, aesthetically speaking.
    • Although the answerer made up the term shotacon as an example of a term that wouldn't work because it sounds weird, the term started being used nevertheless.
    • In 2017-06-05, it was confirmed on Twitter that Shoutarou referred the 1980 series Tetsujin Ni-juu-hachi-gou 鉄人28号, as opposed to the 1960 adaptation that had slightly different designs.

The long vowel in shouta was shortened in shota.

In Japanese, ~tarou ~太郎 is a common suffix for one's first born son, so it's possible for a character to be called Shouta, or Shoutarou, in reference to the shota archetype.

Quetzalcoatl ケツァルコアトル and Magatsuchi Shouta 真ヶ土翔太, example of oneshota おねショタ pairing.
Left: Quetzalcoatl ケツァルコアトル
Right: Magatsuchi Shouta 真ヶ土翔太
Anime: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon, 小林さんちのメイドラゴン (Episode 7, Stitch, Cropped)
  • Context: Lucoa ルコア next to Shouta-kun 翔太くん, not to be misheard as "Lucoa next to shotacon."

Types

For reference, some terms for types of shotas.

Most of them are subversion of the typical shota, making them examples of gap moe ギャップ萌え. And many of them are just the terms for types of lolis replacing loli with shota, so it's not really certain that such character exists at all.

A legal shota, or gouhou shota 合法ショタ, is a shota character that's canonically over 20 (or 18) years old. This is an anime slang made by anime fans, not by lawyers, so it has nothing to do with the actual legality of anything.

The legal shota trope happens for various reasons. It could be that he just looks like that, or that he's immortal and doesn't age. There's also been several isekai 異世界 series in which an adult salaryman or NEET is reborn in another world as a baby or as a young boy, I guess that counts, too.

Tet テト, example of "legal shota," gouhou shota 合法ショタ.
Character: Tet テト
Anime: No Game No Life, ノーゲーム・ノーライフ (Episode 1)
  • Context: Tet, the "god of play," yuugi no kami 遊戯の神, is, literally, a deity, so he doesn't age.

Illegal Shota

An illegal shota, or ihou shota 違法ショタ, is a shota character that's canonically underage, which is your typical shota character.

Shotajiji

A shota-jijii ショタジジイ is a shota character who is an "old man," a jijii ジジイ. It's the female counterpart of rori babaa ロリババア, which in English is typically romanized lolibaba, so I guess shotajiji would be the appropriate counterpart.

Such character looks like a shota, but speaks or thinks like an old man, so he's probably a legal shota who is a hundred years old or something.

Clef, クレフ, who looks like a young boy, is actually 745 years old. Example of shotajijī ショタジジイ character.
Leftmost: Hououji Fuu 鳳凰寺風
Center-left: Shidou Hikaru 獅堂光
Center-right: Clef, クレフ
Rightmost: Ryuuzaki Umi 龍咲海
Anime: Magic Knight Rayearth, 魔法騎士マジックナイトレイアース (Episode 1)
  • Context: Clef, who looks like a little boy, gets mistaken by Umi for a young child, but, canonically, he is 745 years old.

Exceptionally:

Masaru マサル, Kiyoko キヨコ, and Takashi タカシ, a trio of ESPers from Akira.
Left: Masaru マサル
Middle: Kiyoko キヨコ
Right: Takashi タカシ
Anime: AKIRA アキラ (Movie)
  • Context: the ESPers from Akira underwent laboratory experiments that stopped their physical growth. In spite of having the stature of a child, and being mistaken for a child sometimes, they're all of advanced age, having white hair and shriveled skin. They're voiced with children voices, however.

Illegal Jiji

An ihou jijii 違法ジジイ, literally "illegal old man," i.e. an illegal jiji, is a character who is an old man, but looks like a shota, or, more extremely, a character who doesn't look like a shota in spite of having the canonical age of one.

Given that Pixiv doesn't even have a dictionary page for this term, I'm not sure there's any character that fits this definition at all.

Trap Shota

A boy that looks like a girl is called an otokonoko 男の娘 in Japanese, or a "trap" in English. Some of these characters also count as a shota, although not all of them do.

Tsutsui Akane 筒井あかね didn't like being bullied for looking like a girl, so he drastically changed his appearance and became a delinquent. This included changing from large irises to tiny, non-cute irises. The text reads moto otokonoko 元男の娘, "former boy-who-looks-like-a-girl."
Character: Tsutsui Akane 筒井あかね
Anime: Handa-kun はんだくん (Episode 3)
  • Context: Tsuitsui felt bullied for his unmanly appearance in middle school, prompting him to become a battle-hardened delinquent.
  • moto otokonoko
    元男の娘
    Former trap.

女装ショタ

A josou shota 女装ショタ is a crossdressing shota. The word josou 女装 means "[wearing] female clothes." The opposite term is dansou 男装, "[wearing] male clothes."

Makoto マコト, Minami Touma 南冬馬, example of characters crossdressing.
Left: Makoto マコト
Right: Minami Touma 南冬馬
Anime: Minami-ke みなみけ (Episode 10)
  • Context: a josou shota drags a dansou loli to behind the curtains.

Shotafication

The term shota-ka ショタ化 means "shotafication," the process through which someone, or something, becomes a shota character somehow. This includes:

  • A character turns into a little boy for some magical or sci-fi reason.
    • e.g. the protagonist of Case Closed, Meitantei Conan, 名探偵コナン.
  • Fan art of a character features a shota version of them, in a sense similar to peachification, Piichi-hime-ka ピーチ姫化.
  • The gijinka 擬人化, "anthropomorphization," of something is done by drawing it as a shota character.
    • e.g. the male platelets in Hataraku Saibou はたらく細胞.

If a character is gender bent to male in the process of turning into a shota, that's also called nantaika 男体化, "male-body-fication."

Miketsukami Soushi 御狐神双熾, child fox boy form.
Character: Miketsukami Soushi 御狐神双熾
Anime: Inu x Boku SS, 妖狐×僕SS (OVA, Stitch)
  • Context: a multi-tailed fox boy with heterochromia, the shotafied version of one of the main characters.

ケモショタ

A kemoshota ケモショタ is a shota character who is also a kemono ケモノ character, that is, a furry character, in the sense of an anthropomorphized animal, e.g. Klonoa コロノア.

ロボショタ

A roboshota ロボショタ is a shota character who is also a "robot," robotto ロボット. Examples include:

  • Megaman, also known as Rockman, ロックマン.
  • Atom, アトム, from Astro Boy, アストロボーイ.
  • Reg, レグ, from Made in Abyss, メイドインアビス.

筋ショタ

A kinshota 筋ショタ is a shota character that has "muscles," kin'niku 筋肉.

Characters that fall into this trope tend to be high school characters from sports anime that happen to look younger than their peers, so they're not the same age as the average shota.

Younger characters with muscles tend to be child soldiers, e.g. Jonathan Mar ジョナサン・マル, from Jormungand ヨルムンガンド.

Does the body improvement club from Mob Psycho 100 モブサイコ100, who are supposed to be in middle school, counts as this trope? Does Kujou Joutarou 空条承太郎, who is canonically 17 years old, counts as this trope?

I'd guess not, considering they're indiscernible from your average adult character.

デブショタ

A debu shota デブショタ is a shota character who is a "fatty," debu デブ.

Makabe Masamune 真壁政宗, his mother, Hayase Kinue 早瀬絹江, and father, example of lolibaba, ロリババア.
Top-right: Masamune's father.
Left: Masamune's mother, Hayase Kinue 早瀬絹江
Bottom-right: Makabe Masamune 真壁政宗
Anime: Masamune-kun no Revenge, 政宗くんのリベンジ (Episode 9, Cropped)

Pairings

Terms likes oneshota are sometimes used to refer to scenarios in which a shota character is paired with another character archetype, in this case, with an oneesan character. See the article about oneshota おねショタ for terms that follow this pattern.

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