What is truly otaku?
So everyone and their mother has heard about the Otaku Elimination Game and what they do (or claim to, anyway). And everyone probably knows what they claim to defend. Or at least, their definition of what they claim to defend.
Which got me thinking. What then, defines an otaku?
If it’s not about posting tons of pics about figures, scenery porn, cats, food, and starting your own business trying to sell a social network platform 1, then what is an otaku?
I don’t know all that much, but I think I can narrow it down to two things: obssession, and Japanese supremacy. I’ll get to those in a few minutes.
So what defines an otaku?
If not posting pictures of your swag and writing inane things about your life isn’t “otaku” 2, then what in the world defines an otaku? The answer, I believe, lies in two things: Obssession and Japanese supremacy.
One of the two things that would separate an otaku from the masses is his obssession over a certain subject or hobby. In our case, it’s about anime and manga.
Being an anime/manga otaku usually means you’re obssessed with anime/manga and everything related to it, like eroge and figures. And that you probably know enough to be considered an “expert” in this field 3. And maybe you really like all them moe shows that are being made every season. And maybe you’d want to either score or do dirty things to the 2D girls shown. Hey, I don’t know. But I do know that obssession is one of them. It’s, um, not about screaming “MOE!” in the streets. Or singing MANLY PASSIONATE songs in public (okay, maybe that, but it’s only restricted in scope).
For example: The reason why I chose to sing the medley of Fire Bomber songs at AFA was because I really, really love the songs. It’s passion thing, but it can get into an obssession if I’m not careful. 4
The other thing that defines an otaku is that s/he thinks that Japan is superior, etc.
…Yeah, you’d have to actually believe that Japan is the best country ever.
If Patrick “Patty Mac” Macias 5 is to be believed, and 2ch to be used as concrete evidence, then unfortunately, you’d actually have to think and believe that Japan is the best country in the world. No kidding.
Most otaku are self-absorbed, xenophobic and ignorant nationalists who think Japan is the best country ever due to the advent of anime and manga and erotic stuff they are free to consume and all. And some of them can go so far as to be decidedly normal. You wouldn’t know that they are otaku until you actually get to know them. 6
“Normalcy” notwithstading, due to the fact that Akihabara (that geek paradise) was created by Japanese geeks, for Japanese geeks, by Japanese geeks, and without any form of foreign intervention, one could say that being otaku could actually construe as being patriotic. More patriotic than your average Japanese, even.
If one wants to claim to be truly otaku, are you obssessed enough with the medium to cross the first line: obssession? And once you’re past that (which would define you as a “geek”, not “otaku”), are you willing to admit that Japan is superior to any other culture, even in the face of overwhelming historical and current evidence?
If you cross both lines, then congratulations, you’re otaku. Japan hates you.
1 Yes, Danny Choo is trying to sell us something, and yes, it’s his Facebook-like social networking platform. He said it himself. At AFA. After his silly Storm Trooper Dance. I really should put my offline twitter up.
2 Yes, Danny Choo and a bunch of Japanese do this all the time. In fact, all people who own blogs do this at one point in theirblogging careers/time/experience.
3 This is recommended reading.
4 I totally did. It was the second best thing to happen to me at AFA.
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