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In the anime Steins;Gate 0, the male otaku-character Hashida Itaru calls female characters with suffix -し.

For example:

Makise Kurisu - Makise-shi
Kiryuu Moeka - Kiryuu-shi

What does this suffix mean? Is it an otaku version of -さん?

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Is it otaku version of -さん?

Yes...sort of.

Originally, -氏【し】 is a honorific and highly formal name suffix used to refer to someone with high social status. There are several existing questions regarding its non-otaku, "proper" usage on this site:

So basically 氏 is not something you will hear in casual situations. However, 氏 is now also known as a stereotyped, funny, otaku-ish way of addressing people. It is believed by some that hardcore otaku people call one another using -氏 (or even -[殿]{どの}) instead of -さん. In reality, very few real otaku speak like this on a daily basis, so you can think of it as part of the role language of stereotyped hardcore otaku like Hashida. Another famous user of 氏 in fiction is Saori Makishima.

Oh, 氏 is a gender-neutral suffix also among otaku. If you thought Hashida uses 氏 only towards girls, that's simply because the only male friend of Hashida in the story is Rintaro Okabe. Okabe and Hashida are very close friends, and Hashida doesn't need any name suffix to address Okabe.

  • "the only male friend of Hashida in the story is Rintaro Okabe" Have you forgotten that Lukako is a guy? :-) I can't immediately come with an instance of Daru referring to him, though I would expect -shi. – Vladimír Čunát May 23 at 11:23
  • @VladimírČunát Yes, my memory is vague but perhaps Daru was using ルカ氏. But Luka is a type of character who may well be called even ルカちゃん, so this fact doesn't prove 氏 is gender-neutral. – naruto May 23 at 17:41
  • Right, it wouldn't be a very strong argument with a character whose gender is kind-of ambiguous. Especially with events like Daru joking about the Mayuri+Luka pair being "so yuri" (SG1, even though being perfectly aware of the genders). – Vladimír Čunát May 24 at 12:08

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