Otaku (オタク) is a Japanese term for people with an obsessive interest, commonly associated with fans of anime and manga.
Now, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am obsessed with anime and manga, some may argue that, and given the evidence, they would probably be correct. I prefer to think of myself as being a fan of stories. Anime and manga just happen to be my favourite format.
It all started when I was a child. Like most children of my generation, I loved He-man and the Masters of the Universe. Alright, that’s not anime but stay with me. At this point, I loved cartoons and would watch anything that was animated, anything. As I got older my friends started to get into shows like Neighbours and Grange Hill. I didn’t care for them. Not cartoons.
Luckily for me, Channel 4 did a late night series of Japanese cartoons. Anime. The first to air was Akira. It was animated. There was adult content like swearing and nudity. Most of the amazing social commentary was lost on the early teen version of me, but needless to say, I was hooked. And best of all, I didn’t need to watch Neighbours or Grange Hill. I had anime!
At that time the selection in the UK was very limited. I bought every VHS I could and had a subscription to Manga Mania. One of the great things about anime and manga is that it covers every genre you could image, and some you should probably keep to yourself.
For years I just plodded along, grabbing whatever I could from the UK market, but when I moved to New Zealand things got a lot more interesting. New Zealand is closer to Asia. It has a large Asian population and one huge benefit of that is… more anime and manga. There are other benefits, but this is what I’m talking about right now.
Things were good, but they were about to get better. I moved to Canada and finally had access to the anime holy grail – Netflix and Funimation. Suddenly I had access to more anime than I could possibly consume… well, that’s what they think…
I am currently working my way through One Piece, one of the longest running anime series. There are over 800 episodes. Yeah! Eight-hundred. To make things more interesting I have made it into a challenge where I am trying to watch at least one episode a day. I have given this challenge the audacious name One Piece A Day. You can follow my progress on Twitter.