What theOtaku.com is to Me
I’m Hayato, a 14-year-old Japanese-American otaku. I’ve lived my entire life as an avid anime fan, with my first anime experience dating all the way back to when I was two, when my family still lived in Japan. As I grow older, so grows my ability to comprehend the art involved in anime and manga, and how much time and effort is put into it. With my last trip to Japan in 2006, I realized how integrated manga is with the Japanese culture. There were many restaurants with manga stands for people to read while waiting for their food to come. Many markets and department stores also had game machines scattered through the buildings with a slot to insert collectible cards into. Each card is based off an anime character and, when put into the machine, would unlock the corresponding character on the game. After seeing how accepted manga and anime are in Japan (although it probably should have been obvious), I too wanted to live in a community where such a thing is common. That’s when I found theOtaku.com.
theOtaku.com is a community of online “worshippers” of Japan and its culture. There are countless fans and junkies scattered throughout the website who post fan fictions, doujinshis, artwork, and essays like this one on a daily basis. The people on the site are friendly and easily accept any new members who register at the site. You can give your opinion on almost anything in the form of a comment; you can participate in the weekly caption contest, leave a message for a member on their profile, or even discuss the latest podcast as soon as it’s posted. Speaking of the podcast…
Podcasters Ichigo and Batou give light to every Thursday with their weekly discussions of what’s new on theOtaku. From what’s happening in Japan to the winners of the week’s caption contest to what new anime shows fans can expect to see, they cover just about everything an otaku needs to hear at the convenience of iTunes. The podcast also gives some members of theOtaku.com motivation to participate in the caption contest; they want to hear their names and posts on the weekly podcast every member listens to, sometimes as a way to let their name become known, and sometimes just for a sense of self-satisfaction. I personally subscribe to the podcast and listen every week. It’s sort of like the newspaper of theOtaku.com, and the casual air to the podcast gives the listeners a way to relax.
theOtaku.com is constantly updated and improved. Adam, the creator of the site, posts a couple of extras almost every week. At the same time, Adam still shows that he’s a fun guy; this was most recently shown with the fun (if not extremely annoying) cupcake incident. I’m always pleased to see how well the site is maintained. SomeGuy is also the one in charge of posting many things, including the caption battles and podcasts.
After Adam decided to take that extra shot of sake, the cupcake incident was born. Small cupcake sprites started appearing next to random users’ names. Adam called it an invasion and an attack on otakus, despite the clear fact that the whole thing was his doing. Once many users (including and particularly Ichigo of theOtaku podcast) were driven to the point of insanity, Adam posted a cupcake game, in which a brave otaku sought to eat a thousand cupcakes, multiplying in size ten times over. Soon after, Adam finally revealed that the icing-covered possible cause for homocide was all a teaser for the coming subscriber’s feature, which adds new features to members who are willing to pay an extra-modest fee.
I love theOtaku.com and all its features. It quickly became not only my homepage, but my home. I go to theOtaku every time I go online, and I always check back before closing my browser. theOtaku.com has given me yet another life online. I’m glad I stumbled onto the website and I don’t know what I’d do without it. This site definitely passes on as a 5-star website to me. So thanks for reading my essay, although I’m sure it’s not the first of its kind.
I’m going to Japan for 2 weeks in July. Our plane takes off on July 16th, and it should take a good 16 hours to get to Okinawa, our final destination. We’ll be leaving on the 30th. I’m taking my friend with me, so we’re both really excited. If anyone wants a picture or video of anything from Japan, send me a message while I’m there and if it’s available around the area, I’ll be more than happy to film it for you!