my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

January 12, 2012

i am otaku

maybe it's because there is so much crap going on in my life at the moment. or maybe it's i'm stressing about all the crap i have no control over, all the things i want to happen, or not to happen, or wish would stop happening. there are days i wake up and ask the fates to be kind. but they in their mystical wisdom continue to give me trials to overcome.

so i'm turning my mind to happy thoughts. to this summer and all the things to look forward to. much is planned, with family and friends, but the one great distraction that has always been an obsession is otakon.

obsession is a great way to describe my relationship with otakon, as it derives from "otaku convention." and for those that don't know, an otaku is a fan obsessed (used in this context) with anime and manga, to the point where it takes over their life. it was originally a derogatory term, but true otaku have embraced that term as a badge of honor, setting up MAL accounts to compare their watch lists with other fans. they find fansubs of the latest and greatest not a day after the show airs in japan. their playlists are filled with j-pop and OP's and ED's. they are passionate and proud and a little off in the eyes of the rest of the world.

i will admit, i am not so over the top as all that. i follow along with the culture, but i'm seasons behind. i prefer dubs over subs. i'll wait for an american release. i like the style but don't loli it up in public. i wish i had the time to watch everyday. or the money to buy all the manga and dvds and figures that i love.

still, the last weekend in july, it's a magic time. away from my kiddies, i get to make my hubby's head spin. he never thought he'd get into it, and only went along last year to see and try to understand what i kept babbling about. and i was smart, i introduced him slowly, getting him to watch shows i knew he'd like. sadly most of those shows are shonen, but at least it's something.

and we took friends along, to show and to share. because it's always more fun in a group. and even those that have never watched an episode loved it. (or they marathoned "hetalia" on netflix as a crash course to the genre, and then went to panels by themselves and had a wonderful time.) and one day i hope to take my boys, because they love it as much as me. even lumpy can recognize that johnny young bosh is the voice of ichigo and bumble bee, which makes me the most proud ota-mom ever.

so i'm not in it as deep as some. but i'm sharing my love of the culture with others. and they, in turn, are telling their friends. and hopefully we can eventually spread the word to the masses.

because anime isn't porn, it's old school "transformers." and it isn't all drawn out fights that last 30 episodes like "dragon ball," it's shows like "nana" that are slice-of-life. and just because some of the most popular shows to crossover are aimed at kids ("pokemon" and "bakugan" and "beyblades") it doesn't mean there aren't epically gar shows like "gurren lagann" and "cowboy bebop" for adults.

i guess the reason i look forward to otakon so much, the reason i think about it months before it happens, is because there i feel free to be me. walking into the baltimore convention center, surrounded by thousands of people, i feel home. those people, they're my people, strange and quirky and passionate. and i know i don't really have to hide my love of anime throughout the rest of the year, but after awhile i get tired of defending myself to people who only know what the mass media has portrayed. and so i just wish july would hurry up and get here already.

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