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Otacracy Lives PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Wednesday, 20 August 2008 15:18

Anime Expo 2008I have this habit of collecting domain names.

Some of the lesser ones I've grabbed include tranceanddental.com, almostparadigm.com, and instinctgratification.com. Some of the better ones? Forcedfeedback.com, personalhijinks.com, and my absolute favorite: ApocalypseWow.com. I doubt that I'll be able to top that last one.

Otacracy.com (along with otakracy.com) was a very recent addition to the collection. While the other domain names were born out of pun or humor value (I know, limited as it is), otacracy became its own thing. The name itself got me thinking about the types of web sites, blogs, writings, and journalistic endeavors out there on the web. Especially the stuff from the generation that recently discovered Japanese culture (through anime, games, manga, and music).

And how one becomes a fan. Or: an otaku.

Everyone out there is a fan of something. It might be sports, or cars, or women (if you've got all three of those, you can talk to nearly any guy out there). Or it might be manga. Or video games.

But how does one become a fan?

People become fans all the time. Sometimes a guy wakes up in the morning and realizes that the meal he had last night didn't fully extinguish his desire for Beef Wellington, and sometimes someone decides that the sight of a perfectly soldered capacitor is something that needs to be seen again and again. Usually one doesn't control what one is a fan of.

Fujifilm Finepix F50 SEBut then you have more and more of these superfans, extreme fans... otaku. It's not just about understanding that Beef Wellington tastes awesome; it's about the individual details of the cooking process and the materials, from the actual raw food items one starts with to the shape of the knife used to carve a slice of the finished dish. Being good at servicing electronics is one thing; knowing about a secret formula for aluminum electrolytic capacitors that got stolen and miscommunicated twice being the cause of a bad computer motherboard is something else entirely.

Perhaps it is ridiculous or over-the-top or absurd... but this sort of knowledge is the realm of the otaku, and the otaku are growing in number with each passing day. Where once there were enthusiasts and afficionados, there are now thousands of otaku: poring over the french curves in a sculpture, the numbers in a datasheet, or the suggestions of offline body language in an online chat transcript.

Now, more people than ever actually want to be otaku. Yes, the old otaku was someone who didn't get out of the house, jacked off to hentai, and ended up doing some sort of violent crime. The new otaku, however, is detail-oriented, smart, attentive, diligent, and successful. Will Wright, creator of the famed SIMS series of games, insisted, "Everyone has an inner otaku." At Game Developers Conference 2006, he suggested that game developers everywhere would do themselves well to harness that inner otaku.

The big difference between the old and the new otaku? The old otaku was defined by what he consumed. The new otaku is defined by what he makes.

So now I've got this site: otacracy.com. I'm not totally sure what I'm going to make of it yet. I've mentioned to a few people that they should come along for a ride, and hopefully you'll see some of them in the coming weeks. I know I'm going to do a couple of more "serious" things: a few articles on some cameras I've used recently, some stuff on phones, some stuff on video games. I'll try to do some random stuff as well.

I'm not too good at being random.

In any case, this introductory article has gotten long enough. Hopefully the stuff that follows will be educational and entertaining and all that good stuff.

Here's to the otaku in all of us...


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