Sunday, March 29, 2020

nawaami ナワアミ

In manga, nawaami ナワアミ, "rope net," is the term the ropes drawn in the background of panels.

They're also called kake-nawa カケナワ, "thrown rope," guriguri グリグリ, and hebinawa ヘビナワ, "snake rope." Some of its names come from the fact that they're drawn using the same technique as kakeami カケアミ.

・・・おくやみをつたえてください まことに残念ですと・・・・・・・・・・・・
Manga: Black Jack, ブラック・ジャック (Chapter 1, 報復)

kakeami カケアミ

In manga, kakeami カケアミ is a cross-hatching pattern used to shade objects and backgrounds using lines that form "webs," "nets," ami 網, which are "thrown over" each other, kake 掛け.

For example, in the panel below, the top part of the background features a single kakeami pattern, while the boat is shaded using a gradation of increasing layers of kakeami.

Example of kakeami カケアミ.
Manga: AQUA (Chapter 5, 希望の丘)

odoro おどろ

In manga, odoro おどろ are lines drawn on the background of panels that look like an ominous dark smoke, or shadow-tentacles, coming out from the edges of the panel into whatever bizarre thing is in the panel, or into a character who feels all weirded out.

They're also called odoro-sen おどろ線, "odoro lines."

Kageyama Shigeo 影山茂夫, example of odoro-sen おどろ線.
Manga: Mob Psycho 100, Mobu Saiko Hyaku モブサイコ100 (Chapter 55, 知らない)

Focus Lines

In manga and anime, "focus lines," shuuchuu-sen 集中線, are lines used to give focus or emphasis to an element. They're drawn coming from the corners and edges of a manga panel or screen, and go toward the focused element, which is usually at the center.

Manga: School Rumble, スクールランブル (Chapter 61, A Star is Born)
Saturday, March 28, 2020

Shaking Lines

In manga and anime, lines are drawn surrounding an object when it's supposed to be wobbling, trembling, or shaking, or, alternatively, lines drawn around a character when they're trembling or shaking because they're afraid, startled, shocked or excited.

In Japanese, they're called yure-sen 揺れ線, "wavering lines," or furue-sen 震え線, "trembling lines."

Agatsuma Zenitsu 我妻善逸, scared.
Anime: Kimetsu no Yaiba 鬼滅の刃 (Episode 11)

Motion Lines

In manga and anime, "motion lines," dousen 動線, are lines used to show the motion of an object. They're particularly used in manga to make otherwise static panels appear dynamic.

Example of motion lines, ryuusen 流線, showing the trajectory of boxing punches.
Manga: Ashita no Joe あしたのジョー (Volume 1, Page 89)

taresen たれ線

In manga and anime, taresen タレ線, "dripping lines," or tate-sen 縦線, "vertical lines," refers to parallel vertical lines drawn on the background or on a character's face when the character feels down, feels sad, feels disgusted, among other negative feelings.

It's also spelled taresen 垂れ線, because it "drips," tareru 垂れる.

Example of vertical lines used to show a character feels down in manga. The text reads zuun ずーん, which is a sound effect used in such cases.
Manga: Yotsuba to! よつばと! (Chapter 8, よつばとおえかき)
  • zuun
    (sound effect used when a character suddenly feels down.)

In anime, these are often rendered blue, but blue lines can also be used in a number of other ways. See the article on Blue Lines for a complete list of meanings.
Thursday, March 26, 2020


In manga and anime, when a character has a "nosebleed," hanadi 鼻血, it's often because they're thinking something perverted, lewd, indecent, sexy, and so on.

Nike ニケ, example of "nosebleed," hanadi 鼻血.
Character: Nike ニケ
Anime: Mahoujin Guruguru 魔法陣グルグル (2017) (Episode 6)

seiteki na imi de 性的な意味で

In Japanese, seiteki na imi de 性的な意味で, literally "with the sexual meaning," or "in the sexual sense," is a handy phrase used to clarify a possibly ambiguous statement, making sure a double entendre is understood with its indecent meaning, as opposed to its innocent meaning.

さきが好き・・・ 性的な意味で
Manga: Mahou Shoujo Ore 魔法少女 俺 (Chapter 4, 魔法少女☆増えた)
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Peko-jita ペコ舌

In Japanese, Peko-jita ペコ舌, literally the "tongue," shita 舌, of Peko, refers to drawing characters with a tongue sticking out at the corner, and sometimes with eyelashes, resembling or parodying the iconic candy character Peko-chan ペコちゃん.

The word shita した becomes jita じた as a suffix due to rendaku 連濁.

Nyaruko ニャル子, parodying Peko-chan ペコちゃん.
Character: Nyaruko ニャル子
Anime: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 這いよれ!ニャル子さん (Episode 7)

Snot Bubble

In manga and anime, a character is drawn with a snot bubble coming out of their nose when they're sleeping, taking a nap, or just dozing off, sleepy.

This is called hana-chouchin 鼻提灯 in Japanese: hana 鼻 means "nose," and chouchin 提灯 means "paper lantern."

Miyauchi Kazuho 宮内一穂, example of snot bubble.
Character: Miyauchi Kazuho 宮内一穂,
Anime: Non Non Biyori のんのんびより (Episode 2)
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Soul Coming Out of Mouth

In manga and anime, sometimes a character's soul comes out of their mouth, as if they had just died and were about to go to heaven. This expression is used when a character figuratively dies of something, like dies of shame, or dies of shock, or dies of exhaustion, dies inside, and so on.
  • tamashii ga kuchi kara deru
    [Someone's] soul leaves of [their] mouth.
  • kuchi kara tamashii ga nukeru
    From [someone's] mouth [their] soul comes out. (in the sense of being cut loose, separated, extracted.)

Dino ディーノ, soul coming out of his mouth.
Character: Dino ディーノ
Anime: Blend S, ブレンド・S (Episode 5)

Hair Strands Sticking Out

In manga and anime, when a character's hair is suddenly drawn disheveled, with strands sticking out of their hair, it generally means the character is overwhelmed, at loss, stupefied, or not knowing how to deal with an incredible situation.

Not to be confused with ahoge アホ毛, which is when the hair strand sticking out is part of the design of the character.

Akaza Akari 赤座あかり, example of hair strands sticking out of an overwhelmed character.
Character: Akaza Akari 赤座あかり
Anime: Yuru Yuri ゆるゆり (Episode 1)
Sunday, March 22, 2020

tameiki ため息

In Japanese, tameiki ため息 means a "sigh," like a sigh of relief or a weary sigh. In manga and anime, these are generally rendered as a little cloud of smoke coming out of the character's mouth.

It's also spelled tameiki タメ息, tameiki 溜め息, or tameiki 溜息 without okurigana.

The "red blood cell," sekkekkyuu 赤血球, AE3803, sighing.
Character: AE3803
Anime: Hataraku Saibou はたらく細胞 (Episode 2)

Realization Mark

In manga and anime, when a character realizes something, notices something, is surprised by something, or has their attention directed at something, a mark is drawn banging away from their head or eye to symbolize their sudden realization.

The exact mark varies. It can be an impact mark, three or more lines, a flash, or a lightning flash, depending on the style and situation.

A mark symbolizing a character has noticed the presence of someone.
Anime: Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai ぼくたちは勉強ができない (Episode 1)

Laughter Lines

In manga and anime, a segmented arc crossed by perpendicular lines drawn over a character's head means they're having fun, laughing, or just being cheerful and lively in general.

In Japanese, these are called niko-sen ニコ線, "smile lines."

Hiraga Saito 平賀才人, example of laughter lines.
Character: Hiraga Saito 平賀才人
Anime: The Familiar of Zero, Zero no Tsukaima ゼロの使い魔 (Episode 3)


On the internet, orz (or OTL, OTZ, szo, among others) is someone on all fours, fallen on their knees with their hands on the floor. It's used when someone feels defeated, dejected or hopeless about something.

Sakuranomiya Maika 桜ノ宮苺香, orz.
Character: Sakuranomiya Maika 桜ノ宮苺香
Anime: Blend S, ブレンド・S (Episode 4)
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Blue Lines

In manga and anime, parallel black or blue lines on a character's face, forehead, eyelids, under their eyes, or in the background, typically vertical and downwards, but in some cases horizontal, are used when a character is distressed, anxious, vexed, unwell, depressed, dispirited, despondent, alienated, gloomy, nervous, disgusted, disconcerted, disappointed, apathetic, shocked, dumbfounded, or something along those lines.

Basically, all sorts of negative feelings.

Sakura Chiyo 佐倉千代, example of blue vertical lines on a character's forehead, background.
Character: Sakura Chiyo 佐倉千代
Anime: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun 月刊少女野崎くん (Episode 2)
Friday, March 20, 2020

Head Mushrooms

In manga and anime, sometimes mushrooms start growing on a depressed character's head, or the character starts growing mushrooms in some dark, lone corner.
  • atama ni kinoko ga haeru
    Mushrooms sprout on [someone's] head.

Alphonse Elric アルフォンス・エルリック, Winry Rockbell ウィンリィ・ロックベル, and Edward Elric エドワード・エルリック, the latter with mushrooms growing on his head.
Left: Alphonse Elric アルフォンス・エルリック
Middle: Winry Rockbell ウィンリィ・ロックベル
Right: Edward Elric エドワード・エルリック
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Episode 21)
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Blue Face

In anime, sometimes a character's face turns blue due to shock, fear, disgust, or other sort of distress. The reason for this is mostly that when someone seems unwell, we usually say that they're "pale" in English, but in Japanese they're said to be "blue" instead.

Togashi Yuuta 富樫勇太, Tsuyuri Kumin 五月七日くみん, example of sweating blue face.
Anime: Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 中二病でも恋がしたい! (Episode 2)
Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sweat Drop

In manga and anime, the sweat drop, or "sweat mark" in Japanese, ase maaku 汗マーク, is a large teardrop-shaped symbol representing sweat, that has basically nothing do with actual sweat, generally used when a character is perplexed, bewildered, confused, or otherwise at loss of words.

Maria マリア, example of sweat drop, ase maaku 汗マーク.
Character: Maria マリア
Anime: Hayate no Gotoku! ハヤテのごとく! (Episode 11)
Thursday, March 12, 2020

Anger Mark

In anime, the "anger mark," or ikari maaku 怒りマーク in Japanese, is a symbol used when a character is angry, mad, or irritated. It's shaped as a concave triangle or quadrilateral drawn with red lines that don't connect, symbolizing the contour of a popped vein.

Basically, the anger symbol pops up when a character pops a vein.

Edward Elric エドワード・エルリック, example of "anger mark," ikari maaku 怒りマーク.
Character: Edward Elric エドワード・エルリック
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Episode 1)
Monday, March 9, 2020

doyagao どや顔

In Japanese, doyagao どや顔 refers to someone's facial expression when they're proud of themselves, of their own ability or work. It's generally a smug, triumphant grin of self-satisfaction.

It's also spelled doyagao ドヤ顔.

Yazawa Niko 矢澤にこ, example of doyagao どや顔.
Character: Yazawa Niko 矢澤にこ
Anime: Love Live! School Idol Project (Episode 10)
Saturday, March 7, 2020


In Japanese, ///, three slashes or more, may mean someone's blushing face. For example:
  • minaide///
    Don't look [at me]. *blushes*

Naturally, this originates in the parallel diagonal lines used in manga to render blushes, called teresen 照れ線, "embarrassed lines," or shasen 斜線, "oblique lines."

Watanabe Tooru 渡辺通, blushing.
Character: Watanabe Tooru 渡辺通
Anime: Excel♥Saga, エクセル♥サーガ (Episode 4)

It may appear in manga text balloons when the character that is talking isn't visible in the panel where their text balloon appears.

sekimen 赤面

In Japanese, sekimen 赤面, meaning "red face," refers to someone's face as it's red with embarrassment or something like that. It's how you say "blushing" in Japanese.

Fujiwara Chika 藤原千花, example of character blushing with shame, "red face," sekimen 赤面.
Character: Fujiwara Chika 藤原千花
Anime: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-Tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen かぐや様は告らせたい~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~ (Episode 9)

mune-kyun 胸キュン

In Japanese, mune-kyun 胸キュン, or mune ga kyun to suru 胸がキュンとする, is an expression used when someone falls in love or finds something adorable, cute, moe 萌え, and so on.

Literally, it means for one's "chest," mune 胸, to "tighten," with kyun キュン being a phenomime for that *tightening.*

It's also spelled kyuun キューン, with a long vowel, as if it were an onomatopoeia with a longer sound.
Friday, March 6, 2020

nakigao 泣き顔

In Japanese, nakigao 泣き顔 means somebody's "crying face." That is, somebody's "face," kao 顔 (gao is rendaku 連濁), when they "cry, "naku 泣く (naki is ren'youkei 連用形).

Not to be confused with nakigoe 鳴き声, which is the sound an animal makes.

Nami ナミ, wearing the straw hat, crying.
Character: Nami ナミ
Anime: One Piece: Episode of Nami: Koukaishi no Namida to Nakama no Kizuna, ワンピースエピソード・オブ・ナミ~航海士の涙と仲間の絆~ (Special)