Originally, calling someone an otaku is a neutral term, which “is define as a variety of geek specializing in Manga and Moe stuffs” (Wikipedia, 2012). However, after a famous scene showing film depicting that a timid unkempt otaku has never dated a girl in “Densha-Otoku” (Japanese otaku movie) is released, a negative image has been made in the society. Some people may think that otaku are just socially inept, while some may even think that they are Hikikomoris—“people who refuse to leave their house for a long period” (Wikipedia, 2012). According to Mr. Kaichiro Morikawa, an associate professor at the School of Global Japanese Studies at Meiji University, “the otakus are shying away the mainstream culture. This kind of culture is a disposition towards “dame”; which means that their self-indulgence appears socially unacceptable “(Otaku talk, 2004). So, in his opinion, he strongly agrees that the reverse side of “mainstream” is equal to “unacceptable”.
In the reality, the concept of “unacceptable” are so narrow. People may agree that “acceptable” is to have a stable job and to conform to the society. So, without these elements, otaku will be discriminated. Going to maid café, obsessing with bishojo games, chasing for high quality electronics and idling at home, these actions are totally opposing the traditional value of the public. More seriously, people may think that otakus are a hopeless and parasite crowd, same as those who addicted to gambling or drugs, as they may affect the correct social values. Therefore, in their mind, otaku culture is a culture of negativity.
Far be it from me to doubt that otakus shy away from mainstream culture, but I would like to raise some questions: Is otaku culture really a culture of negativity? Do they really want to be “no good”? People may over-state the meaning of “negativity”, any opinions differ from those of the majority are regarded as unacceptable. Thus, judging the otaku culture as “dame” is not because that otakus are really bad, it’s because they are different from the fact.
As people tend to believe in media and professional opinions, they may already have their own perspective in this topic. However, I am not going to find out the psychological problem or the social effect of this culture. In this essay, I am going to orientate the culture of otaku using “Top 10 popular anime of otaku” and classifying them into 2 parts: 1. Story , 2. Characters.
According to the chart of top 10 most popular anime,” Fullmetal Alchemist (TV) and Death Note (TV) are two irreplaceable anime in otakus’ heart. “(Top 10 anime, 2012) Why they are so attractive to otakus? Through these animes, we can see what actually are missing in otakus’ lives or what spirit they are seeking for.
For the Fullmetal Alchemist, “the background of the story is about war and revolution and the story follows the brothers, who want to restore their bodies and to make their mother alive through alchemy. The main idea of the story is about”equivalent trade”, for example, the brothers have to change their bodies into robots to exchange his mother back to live.” (Fullmetal Alchemist, 2012) Actually, this story wants to satire on people who are no match for temptation of materials nowadays. If otakus can see through this issue and refuse to follow the “mainstream”, how can we say that they are “dame”?
For Death Note, “it’s a suspense story about a teenager suddenly get a notebook from devil which can kill people in any way he desires. So, the character decides to create a perfect world, a world without crime and criminal. However, he has to suffer all the pains and lose all his reliable friends and partners, as he loses trust on people and his attitude became more evil than those criminals.” (Death Note, 2012) This anime is different from any other fictions or TV shows in the mainstream, as it shows the underside of human—idealism and...