My Academic Personal Interest in the Portrayal of Otaku and Fujoshi

You may have noticed that I avidly pursue manga and anime about otaku, and enjoy writing about the topic. Ever since Genshiken and the Densha Otoko boom (and arguably before that with Comic Party), I have been trying to expose myself to as many similarly themed works as possible. You might ask, “Do you think that stories about otaku are a superior genre compared to others?” or even, “Do you have a fetish for fujoshi?” I will tell you that I do not, and that furthermore, these questions are irrelevant.

There are those who will watch a show and desire more of the same. They will become fans of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and be disappointed when every anime they see does not turn out to be like SAC. I have no such illusions. I may love Genshiken, and may even compare other works to Genshiken, but I will never expect another work to be just like Genshiken because I know how unrealistic an expectation that is.

Instead, what I am fascinated by is the very portrayal of otaku in anime and manga itself. I want to see the optimistic and the pessimistic, the highs and the lows, the strong and honest works and the exploitative cash grabs, and everything else in between, to get a better sense of how they are seen and how creators want otaku to be seen. The Fujoshi Files are a result of this desire, and also to track the extent to which the “fujoshi character” and “fujoshi personality traits” have become prevalent in anime and manga. I like Ogiue very much, yes, but it is not due to her fujoshi attributes, but rather the way in which they are indicative of her deeper personality and thoughts. It is an academic pursuit, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get personal.

That is why I dedicate myself to finding these works. I want to know more, and if I so happen upon a particularly powerful and moving story then I am all the better for it. If not, at least I learned something.

3 thoughts on “My Academic Personal Interest in the Portrayal of Otaku and Fujoshi

  1. Yeah keep the fujoshi files coming! I discovered your blog via Khursten. hehehe I really like how you write and I get a lot of insights from it.

    Also If I am not mistaken you have not featured Tonari no Yaoichan yet , have you?


  2. I really love your Fujoshi files, in fact I was thinking of drawing them all together, based on your project if that is ok.

    Not to mention I’m very attracted to your insightful writing, can’t stop reading.


  3. Neat! I’m not sure how much this is really telling us about anime and manga fans, though.

    Much as I appreciate the Densha Otoko manga I own, and much as I laugh at the otaku in Paranoia Agent, these strike me more as stereotypes than as accurate portrayals of otaku. How much research went into these portrayals? How much is based on Japanese media reports of young adults living with their parents, surrounded by half-naked moe models?

    Granted, it’s interesting in itself that anime/manga chooses to portray its fans this way. But I wonder if it’s at all accurate.


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