LOL what is normal LOL

“Hey, are we really that depressing? Are we really that weird? Is it a crime to love anime or SFX movies? Why should it be a reason to set us apart? If you’re into playing tennis, that’s just fine and dandy, but if you watch anime, you’re weird? Why?!”

“Kubo…”

“Dammit… Dammit… Dammit… DAMMIT! Tanaka! I quit! No more job-hunting for me!”

“Huh?!”

“If Otaku are going to be discriminated against, then so be it! I’m gonna be a total Otaku!”

“What?”

“I’m not just gonna be an Otaku, but the Otaku of Otaku… THE OTAKING!”

“Otaking…? I like it! I like it! Alright, I quit, too!!”

“Let’s both become… OTAKINGS!”

So goes the end of the first Otaku no Video OVA. Possibly one of the most epic pieces of work ever made by Gainax, even more so than Evangelion and Gurren Lagann. I recently re-watched it a month or so ago, and that re-watch was the first time that I could really tap into its spirit. Viewings years prior weren’t bad, but the show made me feel alienated. I’m not sure if it’s because now I’ve seen more old anime, thusly I can get more of the references, or if it’s just because I’ve become more of an otaku. Probably both. Anyway, I thought I’d preface this post with that small bit of dialogue since it highlights a rather old and tired question, but one I’ve kept meaning to address: What does it mean to be normal?

This question hit me recently as I was laying down with the good Miyamoto-sensei. While staring into her adorable, flat, printed-on-100%-polyester eyes I wondered to myself, “wow, just how low have I sunk?” It struck me that I had spent $200 dollars out of my personal expenses last month on this pillow cover, another of a certain adorable spiral princess and a small figure. Then, it also struck me that rich kids spend roughly that much on Newberry Street weekly, so I felt a little better. But I guess it comes down to just what you spend your money on, right? Spending money on clothes is fine, but spending money on pillow covers with 2D pretreens on them is a touch perverse.

But it could be normal. If everyone was open minded enough. Having a 2D-complex isn’t that weird, right? RIGHT?

Yeah, just a small bit of rambling. Had to get it off my chest. Sorry Mom :(

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22 Responses to LOL what is normal LOL

  1. IcyStorm says:

    If only everyone was open minded enough… but unfortunately we may be ridiculed or insulted by others because they actually aren’t open minded enough =(

  2. roast-beefy says:

    Dude. You’re a fucking freak.

  3. 3x as random says:

    Ah, the wide range of interests that humans hold… remember, “normal” is a VERY relative statement, and defined by the mass populace. In fact, we regard life here as “normal”, but to the people in say, desolate parts of Africa hunger and famine is “normal”, even though depressing.

    So in a sense, we are all normal and we are all weird. Or something like that, I’m not sure what I’m typing right now…

    Everyone is free in pursing their interests, at least that’s what I think. So odn’t worry, you’re just as normal/mad/wtf as the rest of us. Or I’m just plain insane.

  4. digitalboy says:

    that anime sounds fucking amazing.

  5. roast-beefy says:

    It is man. It’s even got live interviews with REAL PEOPLE. In Anime! Crazy, right?

    Need to rewatch it in a year when I’m further educated.

  6. 3x: Yeh. Please note this post wasn’t really meant to be completely serious, I was just brain farting.

    digiboi: It’s pretty essential, or at least it used to be… probably been replaced by Genshiken in the heads of fanboys of today.

  7. TheBigN says:

    “that anime sounds fucking amazing.”

    The OP alone kicks much ass. It’s a fun OVA.

    We could say that the obsession over anime that drives some of us to become Otakings might be why people don’t consider us as normal. That and the whole adults liking cartoons thing. :P

  8. rikchik says:

    I haven’t watched Otaku no Video since, what, 1994? I’m so old.
    And yes, Genshiken is definitely the modern equivalent.

  9. harakiri says:

    “Possibly one of the most epic pieces of work ever made by Gainax, even more so than Evangelion and Gurren Lagann.”

    As much as I adore Gainax, that OVA was one of their weakest works in my opinion.

  10. GreatSG says:

    Ahh, Otaku no Video, how much fun you are. This reminds me, I need to get back to watching Genshiken 2 and all that.

    As for spending, you buy moe moe pillow cases, I spent money on materials to make costumes of animu characters, at least you’re having fun with what you have, right?

  11. kojioe says:

    Meh, I watched Otaku no Video over the winter break and I found it to be horribly mediocre and not as fun as say Comic Party or Genshiken that touched on the otaku lifestyle or an aspect of it. Maybe Otaku no Video was awesome for its time, I guess?

    Madarame and that one chapter in the manga where he buys stylish clothes helped me realize that it really doesn’t matter what you spend your money on as long as you deem it worth buying. It was something like that. It’s been a while since I read it.

  12. rikchik: Man… I was 6 in 1994. That was before DVDs! Oh, the days of VHS…

    harakiri & kojioe: You probably just felt alienated, same way I did on my first viewing. Otaku no Video is laden with references to a lot of shows that people don’t really pay attention to anymore. Once you partake of the most of those, you start to appreciate it more and more. Also, reading a lot of writings about fandom from the period which it is set (early 80s) helps, too. Things were wildly different back then. I don’t really blame you guys for not getting it. Otaku no Video is still very awesome, it’s just a matter of “getting” it.

  13. 3x as random says:

    I was 4 years old in 1994 lol.

    Found a torrent, but only 4 seeders T.T… must find another mean.

  14. TheBigGSN5 says:

    Another Otaku no Video is what Gainax should do instead of this other stuff they’ve been doing. This OAV shows how far off the track otakudom has fallen in recent years. As for Genshiken in relation to this, I certainly like Genshiken, but it totally dumps the otaku focus it should have had into becoming a generic animu “Japanese can’t express feelings directly” plot with otaku flavoring. Welcome to the NHK does something like this too, though I haven’t read all the manga or finished the novel.

    SPOILER
    SPOILER
    SPOILER

    By the way, you get that they die at the end of Otaku no Video, right? I’ve read somebody saying somewhere that they didn’t like the happy ending and I was struck that they didn’t get that what happens at the end is not what really happens.

  15. I always thought of the last scene of Otaku no Video to be symbolic more than anything. I didn’t really come to the conclusion that they had bought the the farm, though.

    Also, I think you got Genshiken all wrong, but whatever.

    I don’t think it’s so much that otakudom has fallen, so much as it has changed. I like both the old and new, though.

  16. rikchik says:

    You whippersnappers! Get off my lawn!

  17. Generic_Mistake says:

    Man I have not watched otaku no video in a good long while. I should grab my DVD and pop it in. Also in no way was that one of Gainax’s weaker works, it was brilliant.

  18. tomoyo says:

    Heh, I got into anime in the late 70’s/early 80’s *wheezes on respirator*.

    I’d recommend Animation Runner Kuromi-chan as an other good OVA in this vein. It’s totally wrong to try to compare the impact of Otaku No Video to recent shows like Genshiken (not to say anything against Genshiken, it’s one of my favorite manga EVAR), it’s all about context.

    Back when ONV was released, the whole idea of an anime that was about anime fans was unprecedented and pretty fucking awesome that things had gotten to the point that the camera could be turned back on itself like that. Heck, this is the video that popularized the term “otaku” with US fans to begin with–before it, the majority of us hadn’t heard of the term yet. Afterwards, it spread like wildfire across rec.arts.anime (LOL, pre-world wide web information superhighway and 1200 baud modems FTW). A lot of stuff in ONV won’t have the same relevance to newer fans because it made fun of a lot of things that were sacred cows to fans of the day. Of course it also is a total autobiographical mockumentary of Gainax’s early days (including the whole mess with General Products and the founding of Wonder Festival) and meant particularly to lampoon Okada on top of all that, but more importantly there was a certain thrill to seeing one’s contemporaries in Japan waiting in line “back in the day” for the Nausicaa theatrical premiere, getting scoffed at by “normals”, and getting the first sneak peak at the Macross 1984 movie in production… (with a reference to Anno’s Elintseeker mecha in the process) Both in its spoof of Gainax history and in the live action bits, it still serves as a good historical record of the state of otaku fandom in early 90’s Japan (and earlier).

    (And tell me that “moe” didn’t exist back then, if not in name…even in Gainax’s earliest days, moe appeal was pretty much key to getting noticed by fans, as this video clearly demonstrates.)

  19. 3x as random says:

    Wah: May consider that, but the problem is I live in NZ, and I kinda just spent a lot of money… (my parcel came today, Now time to go dragon questing with Hurahee)… I hate Amazon overseas shipping, its gonna cost jsut as much as the damn DVD lol.

  20. Yes, Tomoyo gets the point about Otaku no Video across better than I can, probably because he/she lived through it.

    3x: Ah yes, that does pose problems. Well, feel free to pirate then! hah

  21. just passing by says:

    well just pondering here…but isn’t the term ‘normal’ just confining to conformity? frankly i would prefer to be a bit more publicly expressive of my interests i.e. anime etc. why should i be ashamed of something i like? normal can have different interpretation to different groups of people :) to me and some of my friends, i would walk straight past an otaku without thinking they’re not normal :D but some of my other pals are sadly those ‘close-minded’ people you were referring to :( eventually i’ll let them see the light!