Ok, I figured that it would be fun to right something that would be informative to otaku as well as those who aren't. I haven't written anything epic in a while so I guess this may be a good start.
So let's start with what an otaku is. Though in Japan, it may be considered a tad different, but from anywhere else, it means that it is a person who is widely infatuated or obsessed with anime, manga, or the Japanese culture in general. This can go from one extreme to the next, which I will talk about in the article later. In actual fact, most people don't realize that otaku can be normal just like non-otaku folk. I said "can" in that sentence because there are a few exceptions to that. Of course, most people only know about the "Weirdos" or "weaboos", which only make up maybe < 10% of the population of the otaku. That's over 90% of "normal" than most people thought. To prove my point, I'm going to point out the 3 major stereotypes of otaku and shoot them down one by one.
Stereotype 1 - Otakus can function in society.
Most people think that otaku can't be sociable or go outside because they are so used to being stuck up in their basements watching anime or hentai or reading manga. I can't tell you how much far from the truth this really is. While there are some exceptions to every stereotype mentioned, most otaku are very friendly and enjoy time going out with friends. Of course, most of these "friends" will probably get together and watch anime or talk about anime, it basically kills the whole stereotype without even meaning to. In my opinion, some of the most friendliest people I've ever met were otaku. And that isn't because we "got along" or had "something in common". Half of the time, I didn't know they were otaku until much later on in the friendship. People that have gone to anime conventions would agree that otaku are very fun and easy to befriend and be socialble with. At conventions especially, you are quicker to make friends there than anywhere else. Thinking about going to any other public event. Could you ever imagine just walking up to someone and suddenly talking the night away or slipping onto your DS and play each other in Tetris while you wait for the line to get smaller? No, chances are it wouldn't happen often anywhere else.
Stereotype 2 - Otakus don't shower.
This one is a big one. It's actually gotten so big, that most conventions actually post "please shower" as one of their rules of conduct. Of course, I can't argue that there are some terribly smelly people I've met at conventions, the fact that most of us do in fact shower proves that this statement is naught but a stereotype. I see it as otaku is a like a clique. Other cliques include jocks, preps, and gothics. There are definitely smelly jocks, definitely smelly preps, and gothics are smelly too. Thought are some, but not all. And just because a few otakus are smelly, it shouldn't be right to say we all don't shower. There is a lot of points to shoot this stereotype down.
Stereotype 3 - Otakus are fat and ugly.
This is one that utterly disgusts me when it is clearly not true. I can waste my time to try to shoot this stereotype down, but it may be better to see for yourself. Try googling "Tifa Cosplay". My point has been made.
Otakus are no different from either of the "cliques" or "subcultures" around. You may be friends with someone right now that you may not even know is an otaku. That's because though there are a small handful of those that practically started these and many other stereotypes, there is a whole nation of otaku that's fits the definition of "normal".
I'm going to write another article tomorrow about the levels of otaku-ness, so stay tuned!