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We all have heard about them in some way or another. They come in all different forms and they are utterly passionate about the things they love. I am of course talking about the infamous Otaku of the world. Many people knows them as Nerds. The word Nerd used to have a bad ring to it, but in recent years it has become a good thing, and in most cases also a cool thing.
People who are classified as an Otaku usually are very passionate about their hobbies and often make a living of it. They come in many forms such as; Anime/Manga, Cosplay, Games and so on. And I suppose that’s why these titles came to life. Sometimes it’s for the better as well. Otaku used to have a really negative cling to itself because it used to refer to someone who didn’t have a life, stayed home all the time, did not have a love life or had a difficult time getting into the normal kind of social circles. But because of the West, the Otaku meaning has changed into a very positive thing.
You could say that Otaku has received the same meaning as a Guru, a person who has lots of knowledge regarding one specific subject. But it always depends on what environment you’re in as well. I know from experience, if you say you love a certain anime or manga, you can be labeled pretty fast. But it’s a question of interest and some surprise too. In most cases, it’s very difficult to point out the different kinds of Otaku that roam the streets.
We'll now dig a little deeper into some of the most popular kinds of Otaku out there in this beginners guide to what an Otaku really is. So keep those reading glasses on and continue reading about "What is an Otaku" and maybe you’ll discover you happen to be one.
1. Anime/Manga Otaku
We first have, perhaps the most famous kind of Otaku, the anime and manga Otaku. Many people will fall into this category because it’s not that difficult to be placed into this of Otaku style. What an Anime/Manga Otaku is basically about is the love for anime and/or manga. It can be that you love anime and/or manga by reading it, watching it, collecting it, etc. But it doesn’t always mean that you love all anime or manga out there.
In some cases, we also have an anime Otaku who only likes a certain anime, a specific style, genre, etc. But the most common Otaku regarding anime and manga is a person who really loves it all. You might have seen meme’s, articles and so on, saying that you have to know this many characters or watched this many different kinds of anime and etc., if you want to be able to call yourself an Otaku. Which isn’t true because from experience, you can be called an Otaku just by mentioning an anime that you love or even watch.
An Anime/Manga Otaku is the most popular kind of Otaku you can be referred as and people who hear about these Otaku, often have a positive look about them. It’s a normal thing these days, while some years ago, it would have been a little more taboo. Now, because almost everyone you’ll meet will say they have at least watched some anime series or movie, it’s much more easy to be accepted as an Anime/Manga Otaku.
With manga, it’s perhaps a little less popular outside of Japan to understand what’s so good about it, and when talking to a much older person, you’ll definitely raise some eyebrows. But with the so called youth, it is as accepted as anime.
2. Cosplay Otaku
Here is where it gets interesting, an Cosplay Otaku is basically a person who loves anime, manga, video games, etc. so much that they want to dress up as them. It doesn’t always have to be that black and white. Normally it means that this Otaku loves roleplaying and to dress up as different kinds of made up characters.
They have existed for so long and I can most definitely say that everyone has been an Cosplay Otaku in some way or another at some point in their life when growing up as a child playing dressing up as a cowboy, Batman, Spiderman, a princess, etc. A Cosplay Otaku does this for pure joy to actually having this as a hobby and loves dressing up to be able to feel like someone else.
A Cosplay Otaku has it a little more tough though, because they'll always get a strange look if they walk around with their outfit. But, what’s great about this is there are tons of events and shows where it’s much more appreciated to see die hard fans (Otaku) dressing up as their favorite character, or in most cases, dressing up as any character from a popular or unpopular movie, anime, comic, or video game.
They have become more accepted lately because some take it really serious, and some are very talented Cosplay Otaku's.
3. Game Otaku
Anime "No Game No Life"
Similar to Anime/Manga Otaku, a Game Otaku is also one of the most common kinds of Otaku. Simply put, a person who love games. It can be a computer game, console, or an action, drama, adventure game, etc. It might be one of the more expensive type of Otaku to be a part of because, as we all know, video games aren’t cheap. When it comes to the actual Game Otaku, they come in different styles.
Some love to collect old games or new games, but also they can be very fond of one specific kind of game series or platform. Outside of Japan, I believe the right term is Video Game Nerd?It might have a bad ring to it, but it has become more popular with most of these Otaku actually being the founders of some of the greatest companies in gaming, who have made some of the best titles that we all love.
The Game Otaku is a kind of person that is growing in popularity by being more recognised, making it more accepted. It used to be that a Game Otaku was a person who only sat at home with no life and just played games all day. Well it has become more and more accepted making it much easier to find events or tournaments that exists all over the world. Today, just because a person is a Game Otaku, doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t have a social life. Sure in some cases that’s true, but it’s easy to come together with like minded Otaku these days.
Anime "Welcome to the NHK"
Hopefully, the whole confusion surrounding Otaku will be a lot clearer now. So be passionate about what you love. And of course, never be afraid to be proud of the things you like, such as Anime, Manga, Games, Cosplay, Trains, Robots....the list goes on and on. What kind of Otaku are you?