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Visual Vocabulary: Otaku

Otaku: One with an obsessive interest in something, particularly anime, to the detriment of their social skills. As in:

“You couldn’t have torn him away from any movie or TV show or cartoon where there were monsters or spaceships or mutants or doomsday devices or destinies or magic or evil villains. In these pursuits alone Oscar showed the genius his grandmother insisted was part of the family patrimony. Could write in Elvish, could speak Chakobsa, could differentiate between a Slan, a Dorsai, and a Lensman in acute detail, knew more about the Marvel Universe than Stan Lee, and was a role-playing game fanatic. (If only he’d been good at videogames it would have been a slam dunk but despite owning an Atari and an Intellivision he didn’t have the reflexes for it.) Perhaps if like me he’d been able to hide his otakuness maybe shit would have been easier for him, but he couldn’t.”

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

Visual Vocabulary: otaku, Julie Rado Design


Not to be confused with seppuku, a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment, which is also in the original edition of Cards Against Humanity and needs to be explained to at least one player every time. Otaku > seppuku. In my opinion. Mostly because I had so much fun illustrating the Otaku Club card, but also because I would never consider suicide by disembowelment, if you must know. A better look at the card for good measure, why don’t we?

Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.