Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Does Dragonball Z Make You An Otaku?

Sometimes I talk with a guy I work with talks with me and I end up talking about anime sometimes, though when I do, the only anime he talks about is Dragonball Z.  I've tried to get him open to other series, like Durarara and Eden of the East, but he thinks that Dragon Ball is the only one worth watching, aside from Death Note.
I watch Dragonball Z and Fullmetal Alchemist.  I'm an otaku!
 Do not get me wrong, I do not have a problem with people who like the Dragon Ball series.  I know there are a ton of fans of the series out there, but I am definitely not one of those people.  I've tried several occasions to watch it, but I could never get past a single episode.  However, that does bring me to a point.  People who only watch a series like Dragonball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, or anything to that effect sometimes calls themselves otaku and I have a problem with that.

Do I run an anime blog?  Yes.  Do I consider myself an otaku?  No.  "Why?" do you ask.  Simply, I don't think I have ingested enough culture for me to call myself a hardcore anime fan.  I don't have any desire to go to Japan or cosplay as a character, and I don't really watch any anime before 2003.  I just feel the term otaku is being overused just like the term gamer is being overused.  Surely you know people who only play Halo, Call of Duty, and Madden.  Would you call that person a gamer?  I wouldn't, because that person is not trying to at least look at all aspects of the culture.  I feel the same way with otaku.  Just watching Dragonball Z does not make you an otaku any more than just playing Halo makes you a gamer.

Am I getting hung up on labels?  Perhaps.  I just feel that anime has so much more to offer than Fullmetal Alchemist or Bleach.  When is the last time you enjoyed a more niche series or movie?  I look over at my shelf and I would say 90% of what I own would be considered niche.  Not as many people have heard of My Bride is a Mermaid or Oh! Edo Rocket, both great series in their own right.  I just think that you need to at least enjoy more than one genre and also enjoy a series that may be obscure to most people to be called an otaku.  Sure, other things like desiring to make a pilgrimage to Japan, buying figurines, covering your walls with wallscrolls, buying every limited edition of your shows make people otaku too. However, I could also call someone an otaku who doesn't even watch anime simply based on their hobbies and passion for them.

So long entry short, I feel that simply watching a few gateway anime series does not make someone an otaku alone.  If you feel you lack something, then find someone who is more ingrained in the culture and ask for recommendations.  I try to give you as many as I can on here, so please look in to them when you can.

How do you feel about the term otaku?  Do you think it's overused or do you think the criteria is too harsh on it?

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