Otaku no Video
"Hey... are we really that depressing? Are we really that weird? Is it a crime to love anime or SFX movies? Why should it be a reason to set us apart? If you're into playing tennis, that's just fine and dandy, but if you watch anime, you're weird? Why?! I quit! No more job-hunting for me! If otaku are going to be discriminated against, then so be it. I'm gonna become a total otaku! I'm gonna be not just an Otaku but the Otaku of otaku... Otaking!"
Legendary early Gainax feature telling the story of Kubo, a college student in 1982 who is drawn into a group of rabid, obssessed anime fans ("Otaku") by his old high school buddy Tanaka. He eventually becomes just as obsessed as the others, and sets his sights on becoming the ultimate fan of all -- the OtaKing!
Despite the rather warped-sounding premise, this is actually a youth drama, which ends with what is either a world-changing epiphany or an uplifting Dream Sequence. Interspersed among the animated footage is a live-action "documentary", Portrait of an Otaku, which showcases several extreme examples of the type in excruciating detail.
The animation is high-quality, and the sharp-eyed fan can spot literally dozens, maybe hundreds, of references to almost every pre-1980s anime, with a handful of early 80s shows. Despite the occasional tongue-in-cheek approach, the story is surprisingly serious, and many believe that it is a fictionalized autobiography of the key members of Gainax.
As an aside here, American anime fans call themselves "otaku" as a perverse mark of pride, and many of them are under the impression that it means "enthusiast". Not quite. Because of the obsessive nature of otaku and some heavily publicized news reports, in Japan, the word is often used in an extremely insulting way (bordering on obscenity). Many think of "otaku" as someone who's not simply so obsessed with something that he refuses to leave his home, but someone who's mentally ill. By contrast, the American usage is little more than a synonym for "Geek".
Either way, be advised that calling yourself an "otaku" in front of Japanese people is likely to result in spit-takes or worse.
- Converted Fanboy: Kubo
- Cosplay Otaku Girl: Yuri Satou. Including wearing Lum's Fur Bikini.
- The Danza: Yuri Amano plays the Cosplay Otaku Girl Yuri Satou.
- Distant Finale: Complete with a mecha spaceship
- Fun with Subtitles: Whether unintentional or Manipulative Editing, the subtitles for the American Otaku interviewed are clearly different from the English he actually speaks.
- Mockumentary: Especially the live-action stuff.
- Names to Know in Anime: Kouji Tsujitani (Kubo), Yuri Amano (Satou), Shigeru Nakahara (Hino), Yuko Kobayashi (Misuzu), Kikuko Inoue (Yoshiko and Misty May), Masami Kikuchi (Miyoshi), Junichi Kanemaru (Inoue), Toshiyuki Morikawa (Iiyama)...
- Playboy Bunny: And it's a Bare Your Midriff variation
- Second Love: Misuzu the artist, for Kubo. Awwwww.
- Shout-Out: Many, many, many...
- Tomato Surprise: With a bit of a Take That. The "historical" scenes are separated from the "interviews" by text cards listing a "real world" date and event (usually not Otaku related). The last one (before the "future sequence"), lists a "future date" (the 2nd show was made in 1991).
September 17 1999. A nuclear waste dump on the far side of the moon explodes.
- The Great Politics Mess-Up: The Iron Curtain still exists and Gorbachev is still in power in 1997.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair
- Zettai Ryouiki: Misty May