To start off a new post segment, I figured we would tackle a rather rough issue. That issue in tale being for those who openly say and express to others that they are an Otaku, a nerd, a fan. This is something that has been a bit of a rough spot for some, while for others it isn’t as bad. Whether we like it or not, it is something that is seen a stigmatizing and rather off putting in society. More so in the United States than elsewhere. (Although it is something of an issue in social Japan.) I mean, generally speaking most people who say they like anime get the usual odd looks and uh-huh’s from people who hold preconceived notions about anime culture in general. However this really isn’t going to be a post that tries to help change the social view and structure on Otaku culture, rather this post will be directed in talking about my experiences and successes in identifying openly as an Otaku.
Now before I start I don’t openly tell people right off that bat, I have told others from time to time simple bits of it such as, “Yeah, I like Japanese Anime and I have a few wall-scrolls. The art style is really well done and the narratives of some of the anime are rather deep.” I attempt to play it off casually and to give others the impression that while I like it I don’t let it consume my life; which is ironic considering I now operate a site devoted to it. However the reaction may still be the same. You can play it off as casually as possible and you can still get the backlash for it. So what do you do? You smile and continue onward. Being an Otaku is not a bad thing, being a passionate fan is not a bad thing. Being someone who allows their social life to be ruined and destroyed by their loves and passions is another thing entirely… I was always identified as a Star Wars nerd through out middle school and my high school years but, It wasn’t everything in my life, I just happened to see similarities in things and would find a way to tie it back into Star Wars.
Because of my willingness to tell most people bits of information, I have been able to discover others who share similar interests. Ones who have helped with this website, who have helped get me into figure collecting. Going to Naka-Kon this past March was a refreshing experience, especially when you can go and you tell yourself that you won’t let what others outside of your group tell you, let you down. Instead you wear that badge proudly and experience like an anime convention become something very phenomenal and exciting. You turn that love into a passion and expression of yourself that others can see. You don’t turn into a Gollum and covet anime like some sort of rare gem, you will only end up hurting yourself. Now this is by no means a guide book by yours truly on how to operate and go about living or identifying as an Otaku, rather this post should help you feel and realize that you can live how you want to but you have to take everything in with a bit of realism dashed onto it. Some on lookers will judge you yes, but in all honesty do they have much say if their den is plastered wall to wall with sports memorabilia? What about the Barbie or Beanie Baby Collectors? Same boat, just a different packaging.
Being an Otaku has allowed me to meet individuals who share similar passions and likes. It’s allowed for amazing games to be developed by individuals who like anime, though not all were made because of their love for anime, they see it as an awesome story telling medium. My passion for anime has developed into this website. Sometimes living the way you choose to live can be both humbling and rewarding in certain aspects. Just try not to get worked up and obsessive over something because then you will only show to others that the preconceived notions of what an Otaku is, is all but real. Instead you challenge it and you reform the perspective. Others have already began doing just that. Talking to staff at Naka-Kon’s hosting hotel chain all were excited to see what type of costumes people would be wearing, many had done cosplay themselves and admire the work that these passionate fans put into their cosplay’s. Though, that doesn’t mean the ones I did talk to also didn’t have snide comments of their own about a few select fan groups.
In the end, what it boils down to when publicly noting your love for anime, do it as you would do with anything else in your life. Love it, love how happy it makes you feel, let others see that without scaring them off or having them lean on preconceived notions of who an Otaku is. You’d be surprised how far this can go for you. So a question for my viewers, have you ever experience a form of criticism or alienation because of your love? Have you had times where you were able to show others how wrong the notions they were taught about Otaku, are? Or what were your experiences in general. Or maybe you have a topic in mind that you would like to see discussed further in a new Discussion Point! Feel free to comment below!
Also as per the fan’s request that no name be listed, Thank you so much for the first piece of fan mail! It was an awesome and encouraging gift to have received!