I haven’t made any posts about the Otaku Elimination Game yet because all of the posts I’ve read about it were completely lame. All the same either butthurt or celebratory commentary – I don’t care about that stuff. Bitching about it is just feeding the troll anyway – however, OEG has proved, I think, that they are not trolls. They are assholes, sure, but not trolls, because they really are strictly adhering to their message of purging the incorrect usage of the word otaku, whether they like the users or not. Because they have shown several times that unlike trolls, they actually read the comments and posts directed at them, I decided to do a post that should make their job somewhat easier, and set in stone whether or not they can be called real practitioners of their cause.
I am going to take this opportunity to prove myself as an otaku, and as someone who understands the correct usage of the word. I will prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt, and therefor the OEG will have to pass me. Why? The OEG at first didn’t include me on their list because I flew under their radar, but they finally added me after much begging. Now, I’m pretty confident that the OEG wouldn’t like my blog – no one does, unless they are a super nice guy or something. However, by passing me as an otaku even if they don’t like me, they would prove that they are solely seeking the correct usage of the term ‘otaku’ and nothing else – no one will be able to contest them anymore, because they will have proven themselves and can carry out their business unhindered. And if they didn’t pass me, it would prove that they don’t know what they are talking about.
So, here we go. I know that an otaku is someone who is obsessed to the core. To be an otaku goes beyond merely having a hobby – it’s a way of life. A true otaku cannot claim to be defined by anything more greatly than their otakudom. What is that obsession? The customary use of the phrase is for someone who is obsessed with things revolving around anime. However, as expressed in Otaku no Video, it gets more specific based on your taste. If you aren’t obsessed with all anime, but are completely obsessed with mech shows just as much as any anime otaku might be with anime in general, then you would be a mech otaku. What really matters is the strength of your obsession rather than the thing you are obsessed with.
I have once made a post about how there are things you can be ‘otaku’ about that have nothing to do with anime on the basis that your obsession is as deep as an otaku’s, but this isn’t really a post about the true use of the word – yes, you could say that ‘obsession is otakudom’ if you play word semantics, but ‘otaku’ is more thought of as the title of a cultural movement (in the same veins as ‘punk’ or ‘goth’) that is specific to a more anime-related range of interests.
So, an obsession within the range of anim-related interests would be considered an otakudom – however, you can’t do it halfheartedly. Sure, there can be a broad range of otaku from those that are obsessed with all facets of anime to those who are maybe sci-fi otaku or figure otaku, but you have to be true to the core. Just owning a whole ton of figures or a whole ton of posters or running an anime blog or whatever doesn’t make you an otaku – merely a hobbyist. Otakudom is all about your feeling.
I own a small collection of 20 or so figures – I didn’t buy them because they were the latest release or so that I could take pictures of them and put them on my blog, I bought them because they were some of my favorite characters who I am quite obsessed with. But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy all the latest figures and be a ‘figure otaku’ – it’s about the real depth of your feelings and obsession. I think Super Rats of Happysoda is probably what you’d call a ‘figure otaku’, though I don’t know him well enough to say so.
So, to recap, otaku is a cultural movement centered on people who are fundamentally obsessed with things that revolve around anime. So am I an otaku?
I could not be called anything except an otaku. I eat, sleep, shit, and breath anime. Literally, the ONLY thing on my mind at all times is shit involving anime, manga, or anything related to them. There really is nothing else to my existence. I don’t have a job or a life – all of my friends online are anime bloggers and all of my friends offline are either otaku or people interested enough in anime that we can discuss is most of the time. All of my money goes toward anime merchandise, and I do mean ALL. Most of the time that I’m not watching anime or reading manga, I’m blogging it, often while listening to anime music – it IS my life, my existence. Sure, I go to college, but I spend most of my classes writing posts and remembering the last episodes I watched.
You can call me anything you want – pathetic, silly, childish, immature, attention-seeking, stupid – but more importantly, I am an otaku through and through. And it feels pretty powerful to type this while listening to the epic second Gintama opening.