The other side of shaking glowsticks and singing pop songs.
On the surface the life of an idol otaku seems kind of silly. Buying thousands of identical CDs for prizes and attending concerts intended for little girls make idol otaku seem even more ridiculous than the average anime or manga otaku.
But behind all the silliness and teasing, the life of an idol otaku can be a dark one. Japanese Twitter artist @ha739 recently posted a comic showing off their life as an idol otaku. And quite different from the idols they worship, it’s not pretty.
Here’s the original tweet:
▼ “I wrote about myself. ‘I am an 18-year-old idol otaku.'”
自分の事を描きました。 『俺は18歳のアイドルヲタク』 https://t.co/Lv9nUNfc7u—
はなさく (@ha739) August 31, 2016
(comic translation below)
(Reminder: panels are read from right to left.)
Idols are the best.
They smile at me even when I’m not loved by anyone else in my life.
And I have great friends who really help make me feel complete.
I am an 18-year-old idol otaku. I’m a student, but I’m not good at studying at all.
I spend my days at handshake events and hanging out with friends. You only live once, so I’m doing my best to enjoy the now.
It’s thanks to idols that I see the world as a shining place. I want these bright days to continue forever. I don’t want to think about the future now. If a time comes when I have to work hard, well, I’ll work hard then. But for now I just want to enjoy my youth as much as I can.
…or at least, that’s what I thought.
I was 25 years old when I realized something was wrong.
These past years I’d spent not following my own dreams, but only supporting the dreams of others (idols).
The former otaku friends from my youth had all returned to reality.
“Well I’ve got a girlfriend now.”
“I’ve gotten a job.”
“It’s more fun hanging out with my hometown friends.”
But I’d done nothing but continue to walk down the otaku path without thinking of the future.
The sweat on my back wouldn’t stop.
At that point I started to think maybe I’d chosen a horrible way of living.
The idols who I’d given all of my time and money…
…had returned to being normal girls, enjoying normal college lives…
…marrying some no-name guy and becoming mothers.
And yet I hadn’t grown or changed at all, nor had I achieved any sort of happiness.
All I’d done was spend my time waving glowsticks at girls on stage as hard as I could.
“If a time comes when I have to work hard, well, I’ll work hard then.”
I suddenly realized that those times had come, time and time again, and each time I’d only ever chosen the fun and easy path. And now, to show for it, I had no girlfriend, no savings, no qualifications. Nobody even cared if I was alive or dead. I’d spent my life ignoring life.
“W… what’s going to happen to me?”
I felt myself wrapped in uneasiness.
On the staircase of life that I’m now walking up…
…there is no light of hope waiting for me at the top…
…there is probably only a rope hanging down.
Yikes. I mean… yikes. The brutal honesty and pessimism here is intense. We knew going into this that we were going to see the dark side of an idol otaku’s life, but we didn’t expect black hole levels of depression.
Here’s how Japanese netizens reacted:
“No. Stop. Please stop!”
“As an otaku idol myself, thank you for making this.”
“At least you realized your mistakes now when you’re still young.”
“And you do have one great skill: drawing!”
“Everyone questions their life decisions. If you don’t like what you’re doing, change it. It’s scary but it’s better than the alternative.”
If you want to see more of @ha739’s work, then give them a follow on Twitter, and remind them that they have nothing to worry about because being an idol otaku is a great thing to put on your resume.
And if you’re in the mood for more depressing Japanese life comics, check out another Twitter user’s comics depicting office-lady life. Although we might recommend taking a break to do something happy first.