There are manga and anime fans, and then there are otaku, the super-fans who eat, drink, shop, collect and obsess over every facet of Japanese comics, animated TV shows, movies, toys and video games.
A slang word derived from the Japanese word for "home," otaku generally refers to people who are passionately interested in any sort of hobby, but in Japan, it is popularly used as a derisive term referring to obsessive fans of manga (comics), anime (animated movies, videos and TV shows), gemu (video and PC games) and pop idols.
The stereotypical otaku is often depicted as a teen to twenty-something male, a social misfit, a bit of a slob and a geek who hangs out in Akihibara, a district in Tokyo famous for featuring the latest electronic gadgets, videos, manga and anime collectibles. There are also female otaku or fujoshi.
Otaku take great pride in their ability to purchase and hoard hard-to-find collectibles, being the first one on the block to get the latest and greatest releases, or knowing the most obscure bit of trivia about their favorite anime or pop idols.
As Japanese anime and manga has become increasingly popular around the world, male and female fans of all ages have proudly adopted the word otaku as the preferred way to refer to themselves as members of an elite tribe of Asian pop culture aficionados.
- Sasahara, Kousaka, Madarame, Kasukabe and Ohno in Genshiken; The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture) by Kio Shimoku(Del Rey Manga)
- Saiki in Train Man (Densha Otoko) by Hitori Nakano, manga by Machiko Ocha (Del Rey Manga)
- Akiba-san in Inu-Baka: Crazy For Dogs by Yukiya Sakuragi (VIZ Media)