Of R-R: Otaku – stereotypes and perceptionJune 20, 2008
Alright as you can see this entry is specially written for the Round Robin and the title I chose was Otaku-stereotypes and perception. And I have been writing this down while trying to finish up my crappy workload from my workplace, so please don’t expect this to be one with very rational arguments or whatever. I am not sure my brain is even working properly now. Right.
Now, before we all begin, allow me to explain (or rather, wiki) what exactly is otaku. According to wikipedia Otaku (おたく or オタク) is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime and manga. Hmm…ever wonder why otaku is a term referring to people that is obsessed with anime and manga? That is because we have subconsciously stereotyped the word Otaku. Our mind is biased and our perception on the word otaku is distorted. Most of us learned the word otaku from watching animes and because of that we immediately assumed otaku means someone who is obsessed to things regarding animes and genres alike.
But in reality, otaku has a much more bigger meaning than just a word we use when labeling someone as an obsessive fan of anime and manga. Otaku basically means obsession in something, anything. You can be obsessed in classical music and still be called an otaku. It’s just that you’re not an anime otaku but rather a classical music otaku. You can also be a fashion otaku where you know all the latest fashions available…you fly around Milan, Rome, New York, Tokyo and etc to watch fashion shows. However, since we are all people who are more familiar with animes and genres alike…let’s just stick back to discussing about anime otaku shall we?
First and foremost, if you want to be an anime otaku, you must be knowledgeable about lots of animes and most importantly, obsessed about anime. These are the two most important points to have if you want to consider yourself an anime otaku. But hey, what about anime otaku’s fashion and habits? Like dressing in jeans/slacks and t-shirts most of time, walking around with a backpack containing a laptop and staying away from most social events? No…if you think those are the requirements to be an anime otaku..chances are…you are wrong.
The so called anime otaku’s fashion and habits are just typically what the public stereotype anime otakus to be like. And of course, this very idea is strengthened by fictional works regarding anime otakus such as Akihabara@DEEP, Densha Otoko and NHK ni youkoso and the fact that most japanese otakus dresses in such a style and they also tend to be a hikkikomori. But that doesn’t mean that if you want to be an anime otaku, you need to follow the majority and start acting like them. It’s not that I have anything against the typical “anime otaku styles and habits” but rather, I just strongly believe that we can always choose to like something…to do something in our own style, our own way.
I mean, if you are a bubbly person in nature, you don’t have to force yourself to hide inside your room 24 hours a day and 7 days away to be an anime otaku. You can be an anime otaku even though you party during weekends with your friends as long as you really love anime and you have good knowledge in it. Being an otaku doesn’t mean throwing all other aspects of your life out of the window. You yourself just have to know how to handle your time and life properly as you see fit.
If you were to ask me what do I think of someone who is a full time anime otaku, I probably just shrug and give no comment. You have control on your own life and you are free to do whatever you like so as long as you don’t start stalking people or harm people around you or do something illegal like chopping people up Kotonoha style, who am I to perceive whether whatever you are doing is right or wrong? What right do I have to condemn your hobby?
So, after all the blabbering about anime otaku, you may ask…so is this weirdo “Townberry” an otaku…or rather an anime otaku? The answer is no. I am not an otaku what more an anime otaku.
The reason? Because I’m one bloody lazy bastard. To be an otaku, one must have deep knowledge on the topic or subject that they like and they are willing to dedicate their time in researching for latest news and more knowledge regarding the topic or subject. As for me, a lazy person in nature, I don’t bother to even know what’s happening in the anime industry. I don’t go search around about what anime is going to be released next season, nor do I watch every latest episode of current season’s anime. I only watch anime whenever I feel like it and usually I am one season late because I tend to wait for the full batch of anime to come out before obtaining it. And whenever I watch anime, I only go for those with comedic elements or something like a slice of life. So yay…to be an anime otaku one must have wide knowledge about anime and clearly I don’t. I only watch what I want to watch and that’s it. I don’t even know when their character song singles are being released and whether there’s even a character song single in the first place. Sure I watch anime like Pani Poni Dash and Zetsubou Sensei and understand most of the references they make on Japanese culture, anime and stuff…but I am quite sure if anyone has been watching anime since the age of 5 year old, they will get a little bit knowledge regarding the anime world and the cultures. That still doesn’t make me an anime otaku.
But oh Townberry, what about those constant blogging about seiyus and stuff like that? Well, I admit I splash money on seiyus’ CDs and DVDs particularly on Hoc-chan’s, Nana-chan’s and Minorin’s. But that’s because I am a fan of their music and as a musician, I appreciate good music. And buying their CDs and DVDs just make me a shopaholic who does not really know how to handle her financial condition well. I’m flat broke every single month and I still buy on. And another reason I like them is because I’m a narcissistic/sick person and I think Minorin is yummy, Nana-chan yum yum and Hoc-chan yum yum yum. Lol. Good for you if you know what I mean.
All in all, I don’t think there’s nothin to be proud of or ashamed of if you really think you are an anime otaku. In the end, it really just boils down to how you perceive and stereotype yourself to be. If you feel you are an anime otaku and you are comfortable with your current lifestyle, do go ahead in being one. You have my full support (which is probably useless anyway). As for me, I’m just going to continue being a lazy person who enjoys occasional anime session but at the same time too lazy to go too deep into it or anything regarding it. Even my friends don’t think I am an anime otaku and here’s a snippet of conversation between me and my friend kur0gan3 the other day.
Me: So do you think I am an (anime) otaku?
Me: So what am I?
kur0gan3: You’re a stalker.
With that I rest my case. And enough crapping about this topic. I think I just screwed up every single readers brain and I probably don’t even make sense in almost every sentence I wrote. And if you manage to read until this line, congratulations, I don’t know how you survived the boredom and the nonsense I wrote lol. I’m just gonna resume my work and continue preparing for a meeting due later this afternoon (yes, I’m slacking off in the office to finish off this entry. Whee.) So till next time, ciao.
Other much better entries, less brain screwing up regarding the topic of ‘Otaku – stereotypes and perception’ can be found here:
- Susie Q
- A Day Without Me