Sunday, September 30, 2018

gijinka 擬人化

In Japanese, gijinka 擬人化 means "anthropomorphization," the process of adding human traits to something that's not human. In anime, moe-gijinka 萌え擬人化, "moe anthropomorphization," refers to the practice of turning things into cute anime girls, or cute anime guys.

Anthropomoerphism: examples of things turned into cute anime girls: a serval, a sword, a girl, who's a warship, and a couple of guys who are train stations, from the anime Kemono Friends けものフレンズ, Touken Ranbu 刀剣乱舞, Kantai Collection 艦隊これくしょん and Miracle Train: Ooedo-sen e Youkoso ミラクル☆トレイン ~大江戸線へようこそ~. The first three anime are based on online games for some reason.


You might have heard of anthropomorphism or just "anthro" as a term related to furries before. In this case it has (almost) nothing to do with furries.

Anthro means "human," morph means "to change into," so anthropomorphism means "to change into a human." Therefore, moe anthropomorphism would mean "to change into a moe human."

In other words, the practice of drawing things, any things, as humans who are moe. This includes turning them into cute girls, or boys as well, or maybe not even "cute," but something else entirely, like "cool," etc.

Things that can be moe anthropomorphize include: animals, mystical creatures, objects, vehicles, websites, yes, websites, organizations, and basically every single last thing in the whole universe including the universe as a concept itself. (see Examples below.)

So this practice includes turning animals into cute girls, which might be "furry," kemono ケモノ, (might not, too,) and it also includes turning mystical creatures, objects, vehicles, websites, yes, websites, organizations, and literally every singe last thing in the whole universe into a cute girl.

Overlapping Terms

A number of terms overlap with moe gijinka 萌え擬人化.

First, moe anthropomorphization of animals can sometimes be considered "furry," kemono ケモノ.

A Kemono ケモノ furry character from the anime Flying Witch

Sometimes, however, the characters end up with just ears and tail, which, by some, wouldn't be called furry. For example:, cat anthropomorphized into a girl can have just "cat ears," nekomimi 猫耳, or, in the case of other animals, kemonomimi ケモノ耳.

Various types of "beast ears," kemonomimi 獣耳.
Anime: Kemono Friends けものフレンズ (Episode 6)

Okamoto Tama 岡本タマ, example of anthropormorphized cat boy.
Left: Okamoto Tama 岡本タマ
Right: (same character.)
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, OP)
  • Tama is drawn as a cat when interacting with humans, but drawn as a cat boy when interacting with other animal characters.
  • By the way, the animal design is the original design of the Uchi Tama franchise, they just decided to anthropomorphize everything out of nowhere.

Such characters are also sometimes labelled jingai musume 人外娘, "non-human girl," which labels any girl character that's non-human, including monsters and chimera created from crossing humans with animals.

A specific type of jingai musume are "monster girls," or monster musume モンスター娘, which refer specifically to the anthropormophizations of monsters of RPG and fantasy games.

Lastly, Super Mario characters that have been turned into princesses by donning the Super Crown, like Bowsette, are said to have undergone "peachification," Piichi-hime-ka ピーチ姫化.


Some victims of moe anthropomorphism and the anime which targeted them include:
  • Kemono Friends けものフレンズ
    An entire zoo of animals.
  • Kobayashi-san Chi no Meidoragon 小林さんちのメイドラゴン
    Mythological dragons.
  • Kantai Korekushon (Kancolle) 艦隊これくしょん -艦これ-
  • Robot Girls Z ロボットガールズZ
    Giant robots.
  • Kaiju Girls 怪獣娘
    Giant monsters.
  • Upotte!! うぽって!!
  • Touken Ranbu 刀剣乱舞
  • Houseki no Kuni 宝石の国
    Gems, minerals, Marie!
  • Hataraku Saibou はたらく細胞
    Red blood cells, platelets, macrophages, pathogens, etc.
    Even cancer. Yes. Cancer.
  • Miracle Train: Ooedo-sen e Youkoso~ ミラクル☆トレイン〜大江戸線へようこそ〜
    Train stations (no, not trains, train stations, The buildings. Yes, really)

The above are just examples. They have anthropormorphized a whole lot more. More than the mere human mind can ever hope to imagine. They have anthropormorphized... everything.

A "cockroach" girl, gokiburi ゴキブリ, complete with a set of hair antennae.
Manga: Gokicha ごきチャ (Volume 1, Page 9)

  • A "cockroach," gokiburi ゴキブリ, can't be this cute!

Anime Doki Doki Unko Danshi ドキドキうんこ男子, brothers Korokoro Unko コロコロうんこ兄弟

There are anthropormophizations of so much stuff that now there's even an anime episode talking about how there are anthropormophizations of so much stuff. (episode 04 of Shinya! Tensai Bakabon 深夜!天才バカボン, 2018. Thanks for the tip, azureverse.)

-Chan & -Tan Mascots

A trend surrounded by moe anthropomorphism is the creation of moe mascots to represent brands. This is often done without the acknowledgement of said brand. People on the internet just take a logo of the brand or something and use as basis to design a whole cute girl from it.

In other words: it's a meme.

These made-up mascots usually receive the name BRAND-tan or BRAND-chan. The -tan suffix is used mostly by otakus toward cute characters and idols. It's like the -chan ~ちゃん honorific, but a bit weirder.

Some notable examples of moe anthropomorphized mascot characters include:
  • Windows 10-tan
  • Mac OS X Leopard-tan
  • Linux-tan
  • Wikipedia-tan

Pretty much every browser, too.

And, everybody's favorite:
  • ISIS-chan.

Yep. That happened.


Of course I couldn't leave this out: Earth-chan, the moe anthropomorphization of the whole planet Earth.

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