When a new asteroid is discovered and its orbit is established, the right to name that floating chunk of matter is given to the astronomer who found it. And, somewhat unsurprisingly, a lot of the people who dedicate their lives to astroscience exhibit other nerdy hobbies as well! At least, we have to assume so given the number of space rocks with apparent ties to anime, manga, and other mainstream media. Who would have thought that the heavens are so full of otaku references!?
What would you say if someone were to call you an otaku? These days, people’s responses would likely fall into one of two extremes: “Hell, yeah! I’m a huge [insert hobby here] otaku!” or “Screw you! I have a life!”
Some might argue that the latter response is more likely to come from a true otaku, but very rarely do you hear someone admit to being an otaku with the nonchalant cadence of someone saying, “I’m a claims adjuster.” There’s always at least hint of bias in their tone whether its pride or embarrassment.
And yet such an emotionally charged label is still in debate with regards to its definition. To try to make sense of what an otaku is and whether it’s a good or bad thing, let’s start by looking at reasons people might say they aren’t an otaku. The following are four types of denial you might hear when calling someone an otaku as concocted by Japan’s Excite News.
As waste gasses from fossil fuels continue to choke our planet and money-grubbing businessmen propose plans to frack (and that’s not some coy euphemism) the very ground we walk on to get at even more of the stuff, more and more people are doing their bit to be kind to the environment. Solar panels can be seen up on the roofs of residential buildings, people separate their waste so that as much of it can be recycled as possible, and more consumers than ever are choosing electric or hybrid vehicles.
And now, Japanese motorists have another reason to go green: Evangelion-themed electric car charging stations!
The Japanese stereotype for otaku is far from pretty. Hardcore fans of anime and video games are largely regarded as social outcasts and are characterized as unkempt men in button-up plaid shirts, high-waisted pants and running shoes, carrying around backpacks and shuffling quickly through the streets of Akihabara on the hunt for the latest game, hardware or erotic 2-D merchandise.
The Japanese text board 2channel appears very well acquainted with this skittish sub-section of society, so when someone asked why it is that otaku walk so fast, the anonymous responders had a lot to say, and it certainly opened our eyes!
Moms are the best, right? No matter how old you get, your mom will still be there to cook you a heartwarming meal and get your clothes clean like no one else can. But sometimes, your mom tries to “help” too much. Like this one who went through the trouble of washing her son’s dirty towels. But even though these towels are little too dirty to be seen in public, this mother decided to hang dry them outside for the neighbors (and Twitter users) to see. Oops!
Last month, we posted an article capturing the changes in anime art style over time. These adjustments in overall style can come on so slowly, but when laid out side-by-side, they become so blatantly apparent, it’s amazing that such a large breadth of drawing styles could all come under the umbrella of Japanese anime. It would seem that with every passing decade there comes an attraction to a different art style.
In the special interest magazine, Febri volume 19, there is an interesting report called Portrait of a Modern Otaku, which classifies these trends in popular Japanese anime according to “generations,” starting with Space Battleship Yamato and all of its fans falling into generation one. Generation two is represented by Gundam, while fans born of Evangelion and erotic dating simulators belong to generation three. Today’s twenty-somethings likely identify with the fourth generation of fans frontlined by The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. And finally, the youngest bunch, teenagers and below are classified together with none other than Kagerou Project.
But wait. How could it be that an offshoot of Vocaloid, the computer voice simulator, is the poster child for this most recent generation of otaku? The development of Vocaloid fandom itself, holds the answers.
Japan’s idol industry is a unique beast of a moneymaker. The girls who succeed on this cut-throat career path are supported entirely by their fanbase. While they may sing and dance, their live shows have more to do with their idol image than their actual talents, and it is ultimately their popularity which determines their level of success. These girls are famous for their popularity, rather than popular as a result of their fame and talents.
Supporting this industry at its core are the idol otaku, men and women who are obsessed with the girls in idol groups. Functioning as a sub-set of otaku culture, which is already criticized by greater Japanese society, one might expect these idol fans to band together tightly, and share in harmony their mutual love for miniskirts. But, this has not been the case. In fact, a large rift has apparently formed between long-time supporters of the idol industry and newcomers to the scene. According to the old-timers, it would appear that these fresh, new fans don’t understand what it really means to be an idol otaku. Just look at what they had to say about these newbies infringing on their turf!
If you’ve been scouring the net looking for ways to experience the most unique things Japan has to offer, then dock your wireless device and hang up those bunny ears because we’ve found the list for you. These 11 experiences are so unique you’ll be amazed they even exist. From crazy, subculture adventures to mystical, secret classes, now you can fill up on a unique blend of pop and tradition thanks to the activities on offer from new travel website Voyagin. We’ve picked the best courses for you to enjoy.
Originally a particularly polite way of saying “you,” the Japanese word otaku evolved into a label for anyone with an obsessive, passionate devotion to their hobby. While most commonly associated with anime fans, the term is also applied to hardcore video gamers, technology buffs, and even auto enthusiasts.
Much like “geek,” otaku was initially a derogatory term, but has lost a lot of its sting and become largely co-opted in recent years. Still, it’s important to not let yourself get too wrapped up in your hobbies. Conveniently, there’s now a mathematical formula to determine if your otaku-ness has become too much for your own good.
The word “otaku” in the Japanese language is a general term for anyone who is passionate about a hobby. But in English, “otaku” has become a term that refers to people who are obsessed with Japanese culture, particularly anime and manga. But the world of the otaku is sometimes misunderstood. That’s where JH Lab, a group of “otaku of the highest caliber” comes in, hoping to demystify the world of anime and manga fans and bring the culture of Akihabara to people everywhere.
To do this, JH Lab has created Akiba Anime Art (AAA), “a brand new pop-culture magazine from Akihabara, featuring cool OTAKUs, advanced technologies, kawaii-cosplays, Dojins and much more!” They’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to make their dream a reality and have quickly surpassed their initial goal, raising over US$42,000. Supporters of the project will receive special edition illustrations from featured Japanese artist, John Hathway, and have a chance to be drawn into his amazing Akihabara picture jockey cityscape. Let’s take a closer look at this rapidly growing magazine’s “ultra otaku power.”
As you’re surely aware, Pokémon is serious business in Japan, with tournaments and competitions for the myriad playable variations so viciously competitive that many resort to illegally acquiring and modifying Pokémon.
In that sense, it’s odd that one of the most valuable pieces of Pokémon memorabilia, the Pokémon Illustrator card from the Pokémon Trading Card Game, serves absolutely no in-game purpose. It is, however, considered to be one of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.
I’m sure that many of our readers are acquainted with the Japanese word otaku and its assimilation into English. For those that aren’t, it is a special label given to people who are especially obsessed with what might be considered nerdy hobbies, particularly those related to Japanese anime and manga. In Japanese, it can refer to any person with an obsession, whether it be half-naked figurines or interior design, but it almost always carries the negative connotation of being obsessed to the point of anti-social behavior. In the Western world, however, being an otaku is a badge of honor for many. People who like Japanese manga, anime, and games will often self-identify as otaku and join together with others of like interests over the Internet and other social outlets.
For better or worse, this circle of online anime fanatics has adapted a small vocabulary of Japanese words, creating a sub-set of Internet slang that bridges the language gap between these two similar cultures. Japanese pop culture enthusiasts worldwide cling to words like baka, moe, hentai, and more. But is this particular aspect of otaku culture a healthy thing to have spread? For example, there’s also the potentially disillusioned concept of “mai waifu.”
As the birthplace of modern anime culture, Japan has more than its fair share of hardcore anime fans, or otaku. But what starts someone out on the potential path to wall-to-wall DVD box sets, shelves of figures, and a bed full of love pillows? An online survey asks Japanese people to reveal the series that showed them the light.
A video of attendants entering into a recent comic exhibition held in Taipei, Taiwan has surfaced online, causing cheers of encouragement from sympathetic anime fans and laughter from everyone else.
Okay, so there isn’t an official event called “The Running of the Nerds” in Japan, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, but what else would you call this biannual spectacle of Japanese otaku frantically clamoring off a crowded train, sprinting up the platform stairs, rocketing past the turnstiles, and…patiently waiting in line for five hours? Read More
What better way to brighten up a rainy day than with a cute girl shielding you from the downpour? And if you can’t find a girl to hold your umbrella, then maybe a girl on your umbrella is the next best thing…
Anime and manga fans outside of Japan tend to view the country as being a safe haven for otaku, assuming that everyone loves the stuff. And while comics and cartoons certainly are a popular and essential part of mainstream Japanese media, it doesn’t mean everyone in Japan approves.
Here’s one story detailing the marital problems that have befallen a family whose wife simply couldn’t understand her otaku husband’s interests.
From countries and camera lenses to burgers and government corporations, Japan has a vibrant moe culture of personifying inanimate objects – in other words, turning them into cute, giant-eyed anime characters. The latest addition is a game populated by beautiful, shapely “warships”, which seems like a very modern idea but may actually have its origins in the prewar era.
Ever wanted to take your favorite anime/TV/movie character to bed with you? Of course, Japan has the answer in dakimakura covers, essential items in any otaku home that usually feature cute anime girls (bishōjo) splayed out and staring up with wide, innocent eyes. Dakimakura comes from daku, meaning “to embrace” and makura, meaning “pillow”. They are sometimes referred to as “love pillows” in the West (I’ll leave you to figure out why).
Taking inspiration from Japanese dakimakura, some Western fan artists have decided to create their very own covers featuring some well-known characters. Now you can see Marvel favorites Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America as you’ve never seen them before – in your bed!
Warning: Some of the pictures below might not be safe for the workplace, or those averse to a bit of (male) bare flesh.
After teasing a release of “something” for a month on their website, Bandai unveiled this painstakingly detailed figure of the iconic robot from Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky, to the delighted squeals of Ghibli geeks everywhere.
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