August 14, 2010

Words I Found Interesting from The Otaku Encyclopedia

Been reading The Otaku Encyclopedia recently (buy link US and JP). I met the author briefly once, though he was missing his Goku outfit.

Thought I would post a sample of some of the interesting words from the book. I did my own research on the meanings and origins of the words, because the book, being concise as possible, doesn't get into a lot of detail.

伏せ字/伏字 fuseji (cover+letter): Those symbols that show up whenever someone swears in an anime. Though we are talking about Japanese here, a language with few swears, so what the book fails to mention is they are often used for many other things such as unintelligible utterances. Also used to mention the names and intellectual property of others, like the G○nd○m franchise, without fear of legal retaliation.
Bonus related term from uncle Claytonian: チョメチョメ/xx: A blankety-blank.

じょそこ jyosoko (from 女子, girl+ child, and 女装, girl+clothes): A dude that cross-dresses as his favorite anime girl characters. Oh no! I've summoned IT!

間 ma (physical, temporal, or metaphorical space):  A thing where the reader/viewer has to fill in what's happening. I think the book is talking about those beats where the camera pans to a bamboo garden pipe filling up, or a glass of ice and beverage, and they suddenly move due to being full or having an ice cube melt respectively. This is the biggest cliche in Japanese media, but it works well to let you know time is going on while seeming profound. Deeeeep.

漫符 manpu (cartoon+sign): Those wacky manga conventions like nosebleeds, big sweat drops, and pulsating angry vein lines that let us know what characters are thinking. One manpu I have never understood is Osamu Tezuka's little pig guy manpu. What is that?

ヲタク (w)otaku: I like this alternative spelling of otaku (seriously, I don't need to define this one for you, right?) a lot, because the older generations just don't get it. The hard core kids use this one. Maybe.

In the book, there is an interview with Okada Toshio, one of the otaku ledgends behind daikon. By his definition I am an otaku, studying Japanese culture and language. Yay?

オタ芸 otagei (otaku+performance art): Those dance moves and shouts that the audience performs during idoru shows. If you get a chance, check out the otagei at the end of the movie Kisaragi or the movie Densen Uta (both are awesome).

Look up the book! In the meantime, enjoy the Daikon IV video to get yourself in the right mindframe:

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  1. Maybe I take it too seriously, but the whole "otaku culture" is something I have trouble getting behind. I can understand liking manga or anime or video games or whatever, but some people really take it

    And there are way too many foreigners who think that "otaku" is just the same thing as "nerd." In American, being a nerd has become more acceptable and even trendy in recent years, in Japan there is a social stigma associated with being "otaku." It's not just the guy who really likes Dragon Ball and Final Fantasy, it's the guy who spends half his paycheck every month on Gundam models, still lives with his parents, and would rather play a dating sim game than go out on an actual date.

  2. Hahaha Otaku give me the creeps... and that dude with the beard looks exactly like my father...omg *unsee unsee unsee* x\


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