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Undergoing the Otaku Transformation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 20:47

Back in 2006, when (former?) game designer Will Wright was entertaining questions about how awesome Spore would be, he talked for a decent amount about: his inner otaku.

Oh yes, was he an otaku.  He loved him some crazy Russian space ships and rocked books about astrobiology a little too hard.  And we all loved him for that.

During both his Comic-Con and GDC talking stints that year, he encouraged people/game devs/creative types/aliens to "develop your inner otaku."

Me, well...!  There's a whole lot of otaku in me.  Or rather: otakus.

(Yes, I know you don't add an 's' to make Japanese nouns plural, but I needed it for the effect there, see...)

I've got the anime otaku and the game otaku, sure, but then there's: the music otaku; the camera otaku; the audio otaku (who is always at odds with the music otaku); the computer otaku; the food otaku; the sports otaku; the HCI otaku; the gun otaku; the dollar store otaku; the... the...

I'm sure there's more, but they're probably hiding in here, somewhere.  Probably pretty close to the anime and food otaku, who seem to have shrunk as the months have passed.

Yeah, I'm just not the anime otaku I used to be.  It's been years since I've downloaded a fansub.  My most recent anime purchases were merely series I had watched long ago and felt the need to buy to show some modicum of support for the since imploded US anime industry.

Now, back in the day, I probably would have chalked it up to me deciding to be "mature" and forego the "otaku lifestyle" or some other nonsense that my younger self would have only a vague idea about.  Honestly, I buy in to what Will Wright was saying back then.  Even now, I can see him in some thousand dollar suit echoing shades of Gordon Gecko, proclaiming, "Otaku.  Is.  Good."

Ultimately, the problem lies in me: I'm just not that awesome enough to sustain continued development of all my inner otaku.  Which is okay.

In 2010, I'm no longer the heatsink otaku I was back in 2001.  Back then, I could get into a debate about cold-forged heatsinks (such as those from Japanese manufacturer Alpha... remember the 6035?!) being better than skived fins (was never the biggest Thermalright fan... and you could never have one big enough to deal the CFM those things needed for performance).  Nowadays, I just use the heatsink that came with my Shuttle PC and I'm done.

Back in 1998, I fit way too many facts about anime and game seiyuu into my brain.  I could rattle off all the voices for the Sotsugyou Saturn games... never mind that I didn't have the games, or even if I did, I wouldn't understand a lick of what they were saying.  (Not that I can now, but that's another problem...)

Back in high school, I prided myself on reading almost entirely non-fiction.  Now I've got Haruki Murakami's Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman sitting on top of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities and Max Brooks's World War Z.

Curses on my memory, that keeps me from realizing the path that I've taken to become this shell of VINCENT DIAMANTE that houses such different otaku within it today...

...and... oh.

Oh.  I'm okay.  I guess I'll hang around the way I am for now... until some other otaku decides to take up residence.  Maybe I should redevelop that cosplay otaku that used to be in here... hadn't seen him in more than a decade.  Or maybe I should find that Scriabin otaku that used to dominate my musical personality...

In the Richard Linklater film Waking Life, a woman in a cafe talks plainly about the earnest fiction of identity in the simplest, most comforting biological terms one could conjure with regard to the human condition: "Our cells are completely regenerating every seven years.  We've already become completely different people several times over... and yet we always remain quintessentially ourselves."

Seven years, eh?  Let's see if I can get it to the point where I can at least remain the same person from the beginning of writing a short blog post to the end...

Hrm...

Ah well.  No can do!

Here's to a good 2010: one that finishes stronger than it starts. 

 

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