THE LADY AND ANIME

Exploring the World of Anime

I Am Not an Otaku

otakufemaleI love anime. I tend to watch it daily some weeks. I will marathon it, create wallpapers, read aniblogs, lurk on anime forums, purchase DVDs, figurines, and talk about it to anyone who listens. But I am not an otaku. Depending on where you look, otaku is a derogatory term, meant to insult those with an obsessive interest in anime.  An otaku cannot possibly have a significant other; because where would they find the time? Admittedly, my interest in anime has freaked a couple of guys out.  One even asked me why couldn’t a just be a “normal” person. Another told me it was “creepy”.  Keep in mind, I don’t watch hentai; these individuals watched porn a lot but I didn’t call them creepy pervs which they were. However, it is a false assumption to presume that otakus don’t have significant others.

Another  image that comes to people’s minds when they think of an otaku, is an overweight,pale, disheveled, glasses wearing male. Granted, I’m sure many otaku look this way but there are many others who do not. Some people do fit the stereotypes as these two males who work at a non-anime store that I frequent. I pegged them at first glance as anime geeks.  One had on a Naruto wristband and the other had on a mini-drill necklace from Gurren Lagann. They were neither pale or overweight; quite the opposite actually. They were also extremely awkward and made terrible jokes.  And upon further conversation, they played card games. They didn’t pick up that I was a serious anime watcher until I noted they were and it surprised them. Because I don’t match the stereotype.

Seeing as I am a serious anime fan, I view otaku as a term of endearment for those who take their love of anime to the next level. Those whose lives revolve around anime and will save money to spend it on anime and anime related goods. Is that weird? Its no different than someone who buys all the paraphernalia to their favorite television drama. Granted, there are some weird otaku but that’s humanity in general. There are always your outliers.

I do have other interests outside of anime; I’m a reader.  I don’t read much manga because its expensive to buy and my local library doesn’t stock up on it. The manga I own has come from second hand bookstores.  I also own a few figurines; with two on my desk at work.  They are of Gintoki, one of my favorite characters next to Vash. Would I have more figurines if I could afford it? Absolutely. Would I own more of my favorite series? Absolutely. However, I’d rather not go broke because of a hobby.   But a girl can still dream.

Do you consider yourself an otaku? Do you think it is an insult or a term of endearment?

13 Comments

  1. I suppose I think of “otaku” as a term of endearment. I place myself under the plain “anime fan” category. I have too many interests to pour all my time and money into otakudom. I’m not even sure how “serious” of a fan I can be considered, but I try not to get too sucked into categorizing myself. 🙂

    • Categorizations, boxes, whether we try to or not; we are in them. I try to avoid being categorized as human but alas, I am one. I prefer to be called an alien.

      • True. I’ve just noticed that I start to measure myself by how much I’m really in a box (like anime fan), how I compare to others in the same box, etc. That’s not always constructive.
        … yeah, the human category is kind of unavoidable. XD

  2. Awesome Post!
    (This is Carrie @DivineBlkPearl from Twitter btw) I grew up with the understanding that “Otaku” was a term of endearment. It was also a term to identify others who loved anime. When I watched the Princess Jellyfish anime I learned that the word “otaku” doesn’t JUST apply to anime. Actually, otaku was used to describe a person who liked or loved something to a whole new level that was associated with obsession. (For example, one character was a “train otaku”, she loved model trains and loved watching tv specials. Yet another character was an “Jellyfish otaku” and so forth and so forth..)

    Would I consider myself an otaku?

    Sure, for the sole purpose of identifying with another fan , like myself that loves anime, manga, etc. Even with this new knowledge of the word Otaku, I will still use it ( I recently tweeted a friend on twitter about an anime series she told me about that I now love. I used #OtakuMode hastag as a joke in said tweet but also to show my fellow love for anime.)

    I totally see your point, though. Loving anime is just one of the many facets of my interests under the nerdysphere: I also love Marvel comics, yet if I’m not wearing one of my many comic book t-shirts, I may not be pegged as a fan.

  3. I see it as more of a term of endearment, but I can see how it can go the other way too. I’m sure whenever I go into my favorite local comic book stores, some might think I don’t fit the description of an anime, manga, or whatever fan. Either way, I don’t like assumptions made about me. There’s nothing wrong with liking these things, and who says you have to look a certain way to have the fan cred?

    • There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I don’t mind people making assumptions because I know that is what humans do. We all make assumptions; its when assumptions are based off stereotypes and are used in a prejudicial way is when there is an issue.

      I prefer not to refer to myself as an otaku. Though I am a fan, I don’t consider it to the point of obsession. I’m just an enthusiastic fan; a really enthusiastic fan.

  4. Well, everyone can see that I consider myself an otaku! I think of it as a term of endearment, almost synonymous with “anime junkie.” Of course, I know better than to tell a Japanese person that I’m an otaku. I have very large collections of anime DVDs and manga, a few posters, an anime blog, no girlfriend, and have somehow earned the nickname “the anime pope.”

    But, I do fall out of the stereotype in a few ways. Playing video games too long tends to excite my scruples (I could be reading books instead), and I currently own no figurines; but, I am tempted to purchase a figurine of Shiki from Kara no Kyoukai–whenever I can convince myself that it would be more worthy to spend that kind of dough on a figurine than a bottle of single malt scotch. 🙂

  5. In the broad sense of the term, I consider myself an otaku simply because I am a fan of anime (and other things). I understand the negative connotations the term has, particularly in Japan, though I understand it’s getting a little better. Otaku is perhaps becoming a little more mainstream, the way our geekery is here in the US, which makes me happy because I’ve grown tired of the stereotype of the socially inept, SO-less freak in mom’s basement that makes people look down on my beloved passed times.

    I wear my fandom and geekery badges more proudly now, and not just within my comfortable social circle.

  6. thank you.
    i am an old writer, old enough to remember that ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ are insults.
    also, i respect japanese language, and i think you are making the basic point, here.
    this post is from five years ago. but i was wondering: ‘am i the anti-otaku?’ and your clear and simple words here confirm my hunch.

    of course,
    i also don’t blog, and view ‘blog’ as an ugly word combining blockage and clog.

    different grids for different kids.

    finally:

    Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki says the anime industry’s problem is that it’s full of anime fans
    the, um, “white boy” who wrote the article misquoted Hayao, because I think he does not understand or respect words as well as you do, here. Hayao, the esteemed senior artist at Ghibli, said the prblem was that it was full of OTAKU. as you have pointed out, it is not the same thing.

    one understanding the history of the last seventy years can see that in very real ways, Japanese are afflicted by Americans, as if like a curse, a millstone, or a boot on one’s vehicle.

    arrogant americans who presume to tell japanese what japanese words mean.

    https://soranews24.com/2014/01/30/ghiblis-hayao-miyazaki-says-the-anime-industrys-problem-is-that-its-full-of-anime-fans/

    “You see, whether you can draw like this or not, being able to think up this kind of design, it depends on whether or not you can say to yourself, ‘Oh, yeah, girls like this exist in real life.’”

    “You see, whether you can draw like this or not, being able to think up this kind of design, it depends on whether or not you can say to yourself, ‘Oh, yeah, girls like this exist in real life.’”

    “It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans.”
    “And that’s why the industry is full of otaku!”

    you know what the word actually means.
    the socially retarded will never have the power to pervert thousands of years of evolution of japanese language. arigatou.

    • Hello Dobbs, I did indeed write this post a long time ago. In fact, I have not been active on this blog for quite some time and am surprised that people still drop by to read it.

      You mentioned being an “old writer” and I am unsure of what that means as old these days could be “over the age of 30”. I remember reading that article by Hayao Miyazaki who is an interesting person to say the least. He is not one I think would approve of the mainstream acceptance of the term “otaku”. It is of note that you pointed out that the terms “nerd” and “geek” were uncool until I would say the last five years. There are those who still find those terms to be words that describe “uncool” individuals. However, it has become acceptable to refer to oneself as a “nerd” or a “geek”, though I do wonder if people are truly those terms or if they are jumping on the bandwagon. I appreciate you reading and commenting on this old post.

  7. For_The_Love_Of_Otakuism

    I love all anime and I do in fact consider myself otaku. But I am not that old, in fact I am only 12. So I don’t exactly have a boyfriend.

    • Good for you! Your name certainly implies that you are an otaku. And a boyfriend can absolutely wait. Thanks for reading and commenting on this old post.

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