If you are new to the anime world, you have probably come across various new words. Otaku must be one of them. It simply means someone who loves watching anime or playing video games. However, the meaning does not end here. The definition of the word Otaku has been different for various people. So let’s look into the meaning of the word in detail. What is the literal meaning of the term? Why does it have a negative origin? How has the influence of social platforms affected the definition of the term? Let us look into the answers to all these questions in detail.
Definition Of Otaku
As I have mentioned before, Otaku means someone who has a deep interest in anime or gaming. The literal meaning of the word is “your home” in western Japanese. However, the literal meaning isn’t related to the usage of the term at all. Akio Nakamori was the first person to use the word. He mentioned it in an essay she wrote for the hentai magazine, Manga burrikko.
An Otakus life comprises of watching one-piece or playing genshin impact all day! If you did not know, Genshin impact is a role-playing video game set in an anime world. You might have also heard of the “otaku subculture.” It consists of anime and manga research, including video games related to it. There is at least 12 group classification of the term.
Another such thing otakus love to do is cosplaying! If you use the social media apps “Instagram” or “TikTok,” you are likely to find more than hundreds of cosplayers showcasing their talent. Although Otaku did have a negative origin, it started becoming popular due to increased social media influence.
How Has The Meaning Of The Word Otaku Has Changed?
You have probably noticed how “nerd” or “geek” in English are considered shameful. Likewise, the word “Otaku” in Japanese used to be thought of the same. You have probably noticed that in some animes like “love is hard for an otaku.” Since the word used to be made fun of, the main characters in the anime hide that they are otakus. However, recently, due to the influence of social media, the term has become rather popular and is regarded as a trend. The word received all its fame with the release of the anime series Gunbusters! It was the first series where anime lovers were referred to as otakus.
Nowadays, people who have watched many anime series, including the top 3, are considered proper otakus. You must be wondering what the top three are. One-piece of 981 episodes, Naruto of 720 episodes, and Dragon ball Z of 291 are considered the legendary three animes. Anime lovers who have watched these are considered top-tier otakus.
Weeb Vs. Otaku
The term “weeb” or “weeaboo” is also considered the same as otaku. Initially, it referred to people who did not appreciate their Japanese culture and dressed in weird clothing. They were considered an embarrassment to the anime society. However, the term weeb isn’t used to refer to them anymore. People who enjoy watching anime can be called weebs too.
Unlike otakus, who watch anime at an average speed, Weebs would probably finish the entire season in one night! The aforementioned is considered the main difference between an otaku and weeb. However, this extreme behavior is one of the reasons why calling someone a weeaboo is regarded as an insult. They were also bullied by being called “obsessive geeks.”
The Negative Aspect Behind The Term Otaku
You must be wondering what exactly triggered the community to believe that Otaku should be considered an insult. To understand this, let’s head back to the year 1989. Tsutomu Miyazaki was a Japanese man held responsible for the murder and sexual abuse of four young girls.
He was also called “The Otaku Murderer.” Unfortunately, Miyazaki had a collection of horror and rather uncomfortable videotapes that were said to be of manga and anime. This incident made people disgusted, and the term naturally became derogatory. However, it was later found out that the videotapes had nothing to do with manga or anime and were just an excuse. It was a terrible mistake of the media. Although this was revealed, the mindset of the people did not change. Now let us come back to 2021. Although the derogatory meaning of the word has almost come to an end, people still use it to bully kids who consider themselves otakus.
Many say that otakus are people who are not satisfied with their heritage or reality. They live in their fictional world, imagining things that cannot be possible in real life. The concept behind it is also the reason why otakus have been disrespected. However, I refuse to believe that is enough reason for someone to get bullied. People should always respect their community or background, but we cannot force them not to imagine how things would be if the scenario were different.