For this article, I’ll be referring this comic, kindly translated by Henkka at Wota in Translation. I’ve linked the images here to refer to it easier, but please drop by WoT to check out some entertaining stuff if you haven’t before.
It’s easy to read this comic and link being an otaku to going down a drug-like spiral of meaninglessness. The more dedicated, the more toxic the path. Hell, I’d be a huge liar if I were to deny the more addictive aspects of idols.
I know first hand how awesome that high can feel: fun handshakes, eye contact during concerts, and (at least the illusion of) being appreciated for giving your love and dedication.It is a business after all, and the idols themselves are meant to be the honey that attracts us money bears.
But I also think this comic paints a rather skewed picture.
- A picture of a guy who was already feeling emptiness before becoming an otaku, only finding temporary happiness in idols.
- He holes up in the sanctuary of being an otaku, a fantasy-like land where idols smile at you and friends share your passions.
- A shoddily built sanctuary that crumbled easily with time, leaving him in a position even worse than where he started.
- A picture of a guy trying to run away from reality and his responsibilities, pinned onto the story of idols and otakus.
- A person like him could’ve very well became obsessed with anything else and ended up on the same path.
- Video games. A body pillow. Anime. Drugs. Sci-fi movies. Fantasy sports.
In the end, what truly is harmful is the mentality of needing to latch onto something to feel alive.
Notes Unfiltered (random stuff I kept as a bonus):
These days there are all sorts of idol otakus. I know people who are parents, watching DVDs with their kids and bringing them to events when they get a chance. Couples who have met at concerts or fan club events and ended up dating and getting married. Teenagers who work their ass off to make it to the events that they can, relying only on their hard work, who are a hell of a lot more mature than I was at that age. Otaku does not always mean a depressed loner.
Having such a shallow experience is quite an achievement in and of itself.
You have to be able to experience all the fun with the idols, yet keep no lingering happiness past the venue doors.
You have to be able to make otaku friends while keeping them at enough of a distance so that they don’t become your real friends.
You have to be able to make enough money to see those idols, yet make absolutely no progress in your work life.
You have to be able to watch your idols chase their dreams, yet never feel inspired by them to chase your own.
You have to be able to have this entire experience, yet learn absolutely nothing from it.