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Old 10-27-2010, 09:31 PM   #9
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Re: Japan's thoughts on creepy otaku

Originally Posted by Mollybibbles View Post
We automatically apply a negative connotation to the word "otaku". Frankly, such a stereotype can't be singularly male, seeing as I've seen more than my share of females guilty of a lot of what was described above.

You could make that argument, sure, but this survey was specifically asking women about male otaku. I'm sure if you asked men to describe their issues with female otaku there'd be much different answers (although quite frankly I'd be hard-pressed to guess what they'd be; women here are generally less open about it than men or at least better at hiding it, except when they're tearing through the doujinshi racks at Mandarake).

I think what many American otaku (particularly the younger generation who have grown up with it being so readily available) also fail to realize is that there's a HUGE difference between how the concept "otaku" is percieved by the US and Japan, mostly because the barriers for entry are so different. In Japan, you can read One Piece or watch Macross F or see the Eva movie in theaters and, to your friends, still be considered a normal dude who simply likes that particular show. If you get a K-ON! cellphone strap or change your ringtone to the theme from Lucky Star, your friends may make a joke or two at your expense. If you proudly show off your collection of figures and talk about how you're spending your year-end bonus at Comiket? That makes you an otaku, and that's when girls stop returning phone calls and it's all downhill from there.

No matter how far the West has come in terms of distribution and quality of releases (even getting into simulcasting and the like w/ CrunchyRoll etc), some people don't realize (or refuse to realize) that anime is and probably will forever be a niche subculture. However, it's a successful subculture because it exists in a society that permits it. America's had large-scale science fiction conventions forever. Geek is the new cool, cons flourish because they allow nerdy kids to make friends without shooting up the school, and the normals at the hotel get a fun story about the goofy kids in costume to tell your friends.

But that sort of event doesn't exist in Japan, where conformity is encouraged and nonconformity that cannot be controlled to some extent is the root of all that plagues society. Comiket is basically an Artist's Alley the size of several football fields, and the industry events run by studios are nothing more than canned interviews and preview rolls. Anyone remember AX 2004 Tokyo? They tried to export the US concept of an anime con to Japan and got around 4,000 attendees. This, in a country whose biggest convention (Comiket) gets 200,000 attendees per day. What's wrong with this picture?

The article is an accurate picture of male otaku in Japan; you could probably write a similar-sounding one for otaku in America but with a few changes allowing for differences in environment. We've all seen That Guy at anime cons, and we all generally understand that That Guy isn't the ideal. The question is, should That Guy be praised and encouraged (which is what some in this thread apparently think), should That Guy be shunned and permitted to do his thing as long as he does it by himself (which is pretty much what happens in Japan), or is there a third way?

tl;dr Molly gets the point (or is at least the closest to it), everyone else strikes out hard. I weep for the future of the fandom.
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