Okay, so a lot of people kept asking us for a definition of the word ‘Otaku’ and giving a bunch of crap about how we don’t have a leg to stand on. We intended to give a definition before the project actually started, but we did also mention we’d do it in the previous post. Come on, how do you expect us to take your dramatic comments and opinions seriously when you can’t even read properly? This also applies to a whole wealth of subjects we’ve already discussed but still get questioned about. Thankfully a few others saw it; props to you.
As you probably know, the word ‘otaku’ in popular culture has been flying about since the 80s, we’re not entirely sure what wikipedia or any other so called ‘expert’ has to say on the matter of it’s origins, but allowing for a fallacy here, and incorrect information over there, everyone can come to the same conclusion that the term ‘otaku’ (in the context we know it) is a psuedo-offensive word used to describe someone who has such an obsessive interest in a particular subject that they don’t leave their house because they are too engrossed in it. Of course we’re always referring to anime otaku when we use it here. It would be unfair of us to comment on any other type because we simply don’t know enough about their field.
We saw someone reference 中森明夫 and his 「おたく」の研究 ‘essay’ he wrote in 1983 for 漫画ブリッコ magazine. It was interesting they brought it up; like a few others at the time you could probably credit him for spreading the term, but much like a lot of these other so-called social scientists, they’ve not actually lived the life, they just sat on the fence and wrote articles about what they thought was happening. If you want to know what the scene is about, look towards the writers etc. that have been right in the center of the culture and experienced the life, such as 宅八郎 or 本田透. 宅八郎 actually went on to write a slightly pretentious book about the subject later on down the line, but he did know what he was talking about, so it’s forgivable.
Speaking of which, we used to laugh at 本田透 when one day it seemed he decided he’d start preaching the word “otaku” and try to make it something cool, it was never going to happen. By it’s very nature there really is nothing ‘cool’ about the otaku scene at all. However, by some strange twist of fate, he developed a small following who were proud to call themselves otaku and it became something that was strangely cool, yet perverse about being otaku (And to be otaku was to really be otaku). Logically it was quite the insult, but you couldn’t help but feel as if you belonged to something special.
After all the Trainman/電車男 crap, the scene seemed to get global recognition, the word was being splashed around like gasoline and EVERYONE was ‘otaku’ as long as they were interested in anime, there was a real love/hate thing going on. Now with foreigners flooding Japan, game companies getting negative attention from western activist groups, the word ‘otaku’ is degenerating into not just an insult, but an insult that we can’t even take pride in anymore. In other words, these so called ‘otaku’ blogs that are spreading all kinds of crap are ruining the scene and the corporate giants are moving in and using it as a marketing technique to earn some quick cash (See: Danny Choo’s relationship with GSC). Books like ‘Otacool’ and ‘The otaku encylopedia’ are not just bullshit, they’re also ruining the original Akiba spirit by compartmentalising fans and encouraging the big cash-cows to overtake the smaller, more unique shops in Akihabara with their wallet-milking, soulless merchandise.
So there’s some history and a bit of a rant. But where does that leave you? Well, there are no strict guidelines. I think there was a comment somebody made asking what the ‘Figure-per-week’ limit was before you become otaku. That’s the completely wrong approach and it’s one people take all the time. While the comment probably wasn’t 100% serious, the point does still stand.
A lot of you complain that we haven’t given you any guidelines on what is otaku, and that’s where you’re going wrong, there are no real set guidelines, although if you’re at the point where you can honestly say that it dominates 90% of your waking thoughts, you’re halfway there.
> Oh and calm down Commix, it was funny to read, but we’d hate for someone to have a stress-induced cardiac arrest and die all over our blog (but we’d get some serious hits). Their roles were ‘Administration’ and project planning respectively. You should know all about the latter. But hey, it beats being a civil servant.
Danny choo will subtly sell you the idea through his blog that ‘otaku’ is buying x, playing y and watching z but he would, he’s a good businessman (business otaku maybe?) so it’s natural. We’re selling you the idea that otaku is just 100% pure concentrated passion. And we are otaku, we’ve been on the real scene for years; we know what’s up and we see what does and doesn’t get reported.
Logically, who are you going to trust? Next time you meet Danny Choo and he ever starts to use the word ‘otaku’ to describe himself or his peers, get up and ask him what position he is in to stand infront of you and insult your intellect by using that word as if he is the raging authority on it, when most, if not all of the figures he owns were given to him as gifts for his business.
You’ve got two options really:
You can stop using the word ‘otaku’, stop harming the real otaku scene, stop the destruction of the good, original Akihabara and think up some other word, or just refer to yourself as a fan or something (Nothing wrong with just being a fan. We’re not elitists, we just care about what’s relevant).
Or you can become otaku. Colour, creed, nationality, gender is all irrelevant as long as you have a burning passion that doesn’t succumb to mindless fandom (And it’s our job to distinguish that with the elimination game itself). Everyone loves the classics, but when your anime interests are limited to the same old same old, then there’s no way you can call yourself anything more than a fan of the mainstream, and that’s not the otaku spirit at all. Not at all. As we mentioned before, otaku can be sick, twisted and totally perverted at times, many times. But as a label, you have to run with it and hold on, you can’t be a part timer when it suits you.
To be a real otaku you have to be completely obsessive beyond simply collecting merchandise. Live it, breathe it and love it. Don’t let some moron with more cameras than posters on his wall tell you what to buy or what is or isn’t ‘otaku’. Get it from the underground and get it while it’s fresh. Most western fans seem to be limited to watching whatever chartfag puts on his latest charts. We respect the guy because he works hard on them and they are both eye-pleasing and informative (That’s a real skill) but inevitably some slip through the net, look for them yourself and don’t use wikipedia as a base.
>We love narutards, they’re about a million miles from otaku, but the passion is real and sometimes borderline psychotic, what more could we ask for?
Well, we’ve really rattled on here but we hope we made our point clear. Those who think we are simply trolling do so because they cannot accept ideals aside from their own. We didn’t want to have to waste our time on something like this in the first place, but because of this polluted scene we decided we’d do it if nobody else would.
So, to finalise: The fact of the matter is that the blog/site ripping is simply a means to an end, you know just as well as we do that if we were to drop a small comment in a blog about the use of the word, a tiny internet drama would erupt and nobody would be any the wiser. This blog is one big attempt to reclaim the true meaning of the word and stop the scene from degenerating altogether, and it seems like endless debate isn’t the way to do it. If you wrongly call yourself ‘otaku’ of course we’re going to verbally bash your blog/site, if you don’t then you’ll get away with a few jabs and an ‘approved’ rating. Every case is different and we acknowledge that.
Moving away from the subject and heading elsewhere; we’ve seen a few comments complaining that we’re anonymous (And quite a few saying that we should remain anonymous). Flashy internet names? That’s an idea, but what difference would it really make? This argument just seems like a weak attempt at trying to divide us and single each one of us out when our ideas are collective anyway. United we stand, divided we fall; and we’re not about to let anyone use that against us.
Oh yeah, lolikitsune made an interesting point about language constantly changing, and he is totally right; about 5-10 years ago you guys (the bloggers) wouldn’t have been using the word ‘Otaku’ much, if at all, so there’s a demonstration of that right there. However, it’s the same here and because all of the above genuinely means something to us, so it’s our crusade to take back to word and keep it for those who gave it a small dosage of pride (as opposed to it being a throwaway fashion label, because that’s basically what it has become).
One way or another, the project will continue. We do 4 blogs a week and we select them on the day/day before. We have a bunch of documents of near complete posts for the majority of the blogs that we did before the project even started; then we finalise and tweak for any updates/changes and add a few screencaps and so on. It’s friday most of the time, but sometimes saturday if we’re busy.
People are waiting for this to die, but as long as people are submitting their blog, it’ll keep going. Right now we predict it’ll take about two thirds of a year to finish. We’re more of a volcano than a flame; who knows when we could lash out and destroy bloggers with burning lava? Who knows when we’ll erupt and block out the sun with a black cloud? Who knows when we’ll stop using ridiculous metaphors to describe ourselves? Until next time.