will the real Otaku please stand up?
It’s Saturday, June 20. I’m going downtown on the Metra train with Ai to see Michigan avenue and walk around, maybe do some window shopping. Sounds like fun, right? Well, you have no idea just how fun this was going to get. Why? Well, today was no ordinary day in the city of Chicago…
We got downtown and I began to feel uneasy… why are the streets so empty? Where is everyone? Its 80 degrees outside, sunny, we’re in downtown Chicago, and theres no one here. You could hear your own footsteps on the sidewalk, that’s not supposed to happen in the city. We start to notice a lot of people congregating near Millenium park as we headed farther east.
“Should we go check it out?” I said.
“Sure, I want to see the bean anyway” She said. I like the bean. We went to see the bean. For those of you “non-Chicagoans”, if you exist and are actually reading my semi-entertaining blog, the bean is exactly what its called: a bean. A big metal one. Why is this attractive? It reflects the skyline nicely. Is that cool? sort of.
Anyway, we got to the bean, and what do we find? Literally, hundreds of people dressed up as anime characters. Full costumes. Adults. Dressed up as Anime characters… little more needs to be said than I felt like I was in Akihabara. There were even girls dressed up as Maids like from “Maid Cafe’s” (places where somewhat lonely guys or guys with an otherwhise apparent “Lolita Complex” get served by girls with high pitched voices dressed up as… maids). Thats not even Anime, its just something creepy that happens in Akihabara (Tokyo’s electronics district).
I began to wonder, as any normal person would, “what’s going on here?” So I asked someone, a girl, dressed up as Cloud from FFVII (I’m not an Otaku just because I know the character… its a famous character). She said to me “tsk, sighhhhhhh…. it’s an ANIME conVENTION” as if it was absurd that I wouldn’t know that. And come to think of it, it kind of is. So, being the idiot that I am, I asked her “what convention?” as if it made a difference or as if I would recognize it by its name anyway. She answered me, and I didn’t listen, naturally.
It was at that moment that the world ended. Five Naruto’s walked by, followed by one Sasuke and an Ichigo. I wont lie, I recognize these characters, not because I’m an Otaku (hey, I’m not the one dressing up), but because I DO read this stuff in my free time. Even if you say you don’t, you probably do if your reading my blog anyway.
I took a picture of this phenominon, so for your viewing pleasure, here you go:
Oh, and I saw a Pikachu too.
I heard Pikachu talking, not just saying its name, so needless to say I was disappointed. She dashed all my hopes and dreams that there could be a real Pikachu.
So, what’s my opinion on all this? However much I’m making fun of these people, and I won’t hide it, I am, to a certain extent I’m also proud of them. Why? Because these people are truly… Happy. Happy with CAPITAL “H”. They actually care so little about what people think of them, that they’re willing to go outside in the morning, dressed in a full body Pikachu Jumpsuit, or wearing a rediculous Maid costume, get on the train like that, talk to regular people doing business (selling tickets, selling food, what have you) and then spend the entire day in public dressed like that. I’m impressed. It’s incredible, and I’m jealous. How many people in the world love something SO MUCH that they will go to those extents to participate? They face riducule and humiliation with a smile. They like what they’re doing and no one can stop them. Otaku’s are in their own world, they have each other, and they’re fine like that.
So, what’s my conclusion here? All the power to them. Go OTAKU’s. I’m not one of you (please don’t ask me to be) and even though I make fun of you (because you ARE funny, just admit it) , but I respect you. To quote an Anime: “GROW GROW, FIGHT THE POWER!” (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)…
Jeez… am I an Otaku?
(PS, for all of you who are interested in finding out exactly what an Otaku is, go to http://www.mysoju.com and watch the Japanese Drama: “Densha Otoko”)