A Happy Peach

Things that make my heart smile…

Watashi Wa Otaku Desu…

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Translation, at least to the best of my knowledge, is “I am an Otaku”. Otaku means fan, but has more of the essence akin to the word fanatic, and is usually in reference to Anime, Manga or Video Games genres. In modern-day Japanese vernacular I think it can be used the same way we use the term geek today. Although the term geek can be traced back to the idea of circus geeks which was referring to the side-show (oddities and the like). Alright, that’s enough of the idiomatic corner for today. Moving on…

Back on track, I do enjoy Anime a lot, and while I don’t really collect anything nor do I partake in any of the cosplay I do consider myself a bit of an Otaku. Personally I enjoy it as an art form. In Japan animation plays a larger part of their cultures entertainment. One reason is that after World War II the cost for live action films were higher than animation so it was more feasible to create animated films. I believe I heard this on an NHK special on Anime a few years ago, and it seems logical. Since Anime is such a big part of Japanese entertainment, the types of Anime created are quite vast. There are some meant for children, some for teenagers, and some which deal with adult topics. And within each audience demographic there are a variety of genres. Odds are there is one series that you may enjoy.  I forewarn you, the Japanese aren’t as desperate as we are to have a happy ending, it is less likely for them to carve up a happy ending just to placate their audience. For the most part don’t expect a dues ex machina to come along and save the day (they may do it for the kids shows, who wants to depress children). I think if they series is progressing in a certain way, the ending may not be that Hollywood ending, but after a while you can get used to it. I think it may be due the bushido (the way of the warrior) philosophy which believes in honorable death. And an honorable death includes seppuku (ritual suicide), which has the samurai disembowel themselves while another samurai stood overhead to cut off their head (so they wouldn’t suffer, yikes, either way sounds gruesome to me).

My personal introduction to Anime was through the series Cowboy Bebop, and to this day the show still remains one of my all time favorites. In one sentence the premise is a group of bounty hunters who travel through space in the year 2071 in order to collect their bounties. Hmm…that one ridiculous sentence does it no justice and if we were to condense each movies, TV shows, and written work into one sentence it would be a disservice to each of them. Like saying the Mona Lisa was a painting of some chick who kind of smiled. So let me elaborate as to why I love it. The art work is beautiful, great attention was paid to the details of the background and the use of color to create and enhance moods was very well done. The characters are interesting to watch, each of them had their own personality with a back story which made you understand them and how some of their personal issues developed creating that human complexity which draws you closer if not into the character. Each of the story were interesting, they held a balance of humor and action throughout the series. The music for the series was amazing, Yoko Kano scores went from jazz to rock to ballads with other classical pieces thrown in. Each one played so well against the scenes they were used in. Absolute perfection. The topics covered ran the gambit, from existentialism to the stresses of human interaction. There were clever little details added, such as the titles of each episode were song titles, as well as scenes that paid tribute to part of popular culture present and past. You can’t help but smile when you realize the main character practiced Jeet Kun Do, the style of martial arts developed by Bruce Lee. Oh man I love Bruce Lee!!! And lastly, here is how you can tell it was a great program, it was developed in 1998 and I can still enjoy it just as much as the first time I saw it.

In closing, Anime is a way of telling a story. I think it’s integral to put aside any sort of bias you may have when viewing it in order to really enjoy it, once you have done that you allow have to open up your imagination. You need to accept the world created by the animators and be a part of it. Once you do that you can enjoy the story thoroughly. If you think about it, isn’t that what every story, be the media film or written, asks of you? And when you saw or read something you thoroughly enjoyed weren’t you glad that you did? I hope you would give it a try or if you are already a fan let me know what you’ve watched and enjoyed. Or if you want any recommendations, let me know…

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4 thoughts on “Watashi Wa Otaku Desu…

  1. I haven’t watched anime in ages, but I used to watch lots of it. Starting with Pokemon (I still love the games), I graduated up to Dragon Ball Z and then embarked on more serious fare culminating in Neon Genesis Evangelion which is still one of the greatest things I have ever seen.

    And I always wanted to watch Bebop, just never got around to it. Perhaps I should get back on the merry go round.

    • It’s fun and I think addictive. If you get caught up in a long running series, it can be hard to get off. But most aren’t long running series, I think there are just a handful.

      I think you need to watch Bebop. And when you’re done I have got a list of other good ones that you may enjoy.

  2. Don’t mock me but I was really into Sailor Moon. I watched the Japanese version of all the seasons, special movies and then rewatched in English dub, then back in Japanese. Then I even got hooked on the ridiculous live-action PGSM.

    That’s as far as my knowledge of anime goes, though! I know there are some amazing ones out there, but I haven’t been exposed to any up close and personal, and I don’t love the form enough to go out in search for them. But I definitely appreciate and respect the love that the fans have for anime. They (you) are a loyal bunch.

    • There is no mocking inside the Otaku Teepee. For some reason I can picture otakus enjoying a teepee. I don’t think I ever had a chance to watch Sailor Moon. It looks really kawaii. I think I’ve watched so much anime I speak anime Japanese now.

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