The vastness of otaku is really quite amazing. We have enthusiasts of so many things in America, but nothing quite equivalent to the otaku.
In particular, I think it will be very interesting to see how otaku and non-otaku interact at the Anime Central convention next weekend. Granted, the type of otaku at the convention will probably be limited (manga, anime, J-Pop), but based on the number of Americans that attend conventions like this one, it seems safe to say that the obsession is working its way west.
As demonstrated by “Genshiken,” otaku don’t have as much an outlet here in the U.S. — we don’t have districts devoted to electronics or anime, and we definitely don’t have otaku dance clubs or butler/maid cafes. I think that conventions like ACen are one of their only chances to really let loose and express their interest in things like anime and manga.
Even based on what Annie said about her roommate, people take months or years to create the perfect cosplay outfit. It feels like the otaku in “Genshiken” — coming up with the perfect outfit, scanlation, game, or print doujinshi is what otaku live for. They must find great satisfaction in becoming known as the best translator or creator of a specific media (whether it be a computer program or a comic) — just like any other enthusiast. However, as can be seen in our presentation, they definitely take it to the next level.
We hope you enjoyed the presentation, particularly the links to videos we included. The PowerPoint itself is posted on the Chalk discussion board; and if you are interested, YouTube is a great source for finding more examples and information.