Otakus & Geeks Origins (Justin's How I Became An Otaku Story)

As I stated on Twitter the team will be giving our readers a glimpse into our world. The site is going to be taking a more serious tone. Before we start tackling the serious issues. I thought I share you with a 3 part origin story. The first two are fun and the third will reveal more about me. My hopes for part 3 is to uplift other geeks who are still in that situation. Well here is the story of how I became an Otaku.

How did you become an Otaku?

My brother used to watch "Dragonball" on Channel 11 in NYC. It used to come on around 5:30 am. Besides "Robotech" that was the only Anime I ever knew at that age of 7. I really didn't know the difference between cartoons and Anime. I was watching shows like "Thundercats", "Rugrats", "Darkwing Duck", "Superfriends", and "The Real Adventures Of Jonny Quest." Just to name a few. However what attracted me to Anime was the mature themes of the shows. "Dragonball" and "Robotech" had something that "Jonny Quest" didn't. These shows had more heart and a better story. Even at a young age I was always attracted, to stories that had real human emotions. Characters that had obstacles or personal issues such as love, death and insecurity. The stories is what hooked me to Anime. I remember always waking up early to catch the next episode of "Robotech." Sadly Channel 11 stop running Anime shows in the morning. That is when I started watching the Sci-Fi channel's Anime Block.

On the Sci-Fi channel, is the first time I watch "Akira." When I first saw "Akira" I was blown away and feel in love with it. The animation, the story and that cool ass bike that Kaneda rides (I still want that bike). Just like any young boy what I really love was the violence. I loved every minute of Tetsuo's rampage especially when he turned into the giant body parts. It just blew me away. Sadly Sci-Fi stop airing Anime soon after. Then I had to actually buy import Anime VHS tapes. Yes I said import VHS tapes. My friend and I would go to Jamaica Ave and buy all the DBZ movies they had. For only 5 bucks a tape can you really beat that? Plus DBZ was no where dubbing Broly yet. I would also watch Anime on the International channel and that was without subtitles. I didn't care all I wanted to do was study the animation, try to figure out the story and get to know the characters. Trust me younger readers when I tell you this. You have it really good, when it comes to Anime. Anime is everywhere now. In the early 90's it was hard to get Anime. It wasn't that popular in the USA or at least near my area.

What do you love about Anime?

What I love about Anime is that it brought me to another culture. It introduced me to J-Pop, J-Rock and other forms of storytelling that I didn't know. If you watch Anime, chances are you will read Manga. I remember it took me five minutes to realize I was reading the Manga wrong. I have a huge respect and love for the creators over there in Japan. The way they do their storytelling and how they approach a character is so unique.

How did people such as friends, family and classmates treat you as an Otaku?

I only had one friend at that time who liked Anime. A lot of people didn't get it. Many people thought I was some African American kid trying to be Japanese. At that time mostly everyone was focusing on the boy bands. This was also the time period where I was getting my ass kicked at school. Yeah getting bullied was fun (will explain that in part 3). Anime was kind of a way for me to escape that and a tool to explore my creative power. It wasn't till Toonami when people consider me cool. I loved Toonami but also hated it. You know the feeling you get when you have a gem, then others discover it and it's not a gem no more? That's how I felt about when Anime became huge in the USA. My classmates would come up to me and say "Did you see SSJ Goku?" I would laugh and say "Did you see SSJ 2 Gohan?" I was always ahead of everyone in Anime. When they were watching The Cell Saga, I was watching GT.

Are you more of an Otaku today than you were yesterday?
I'm more an Otaku today because there is endless material to watch and study. There are Anime's and characters that I haven't seen yet. I want to know these characters and see what issues they have. I want to see what makes them tick or what makes them happy. As a writer and soon to be author Anime plays a big inspiration for me. I will be studying Anime till the casket drops.

As an Otaku what is your favorite genre? How did you get into it?

My favorite genre is the Mech/ Sci-fi genre. For some strange reason I'm drawn to Mechs. I think it's in my blood, since my Grandfather was in the Air Force. Ever since I was little I've had this desire to fly. You'll find out in part 2 that I' am a natural pilot in flight games. I got into Mech because I love the ability to control a huge cyborg and destroy stuff. Plus "Robotech" really made me love Mechs. I also feel that the Anime's that focus on Mechs, have a better conflict, love story and emotional build up. There is always something going on in Mech Anime's.

Finally what were some of the challenges of being an Otaku?

Growing up I just had to face the ignorance of the people who didn't get it. People would say to me "Oh how old are you again and your still watching cartoons?" People didn't understand why a lot of us love Anime and Manga. I also had to deal with my own culture calling me a sellout. "Oh you trying to be Asian, you need to be more Black." "I guess this means you only going date Asian girls now." Finally the big Otaku stereotype. "You like Anime, eww your a pervert." I had to explain to people time and time again that Anime is not Hentai. Other than that I had no real challenges of an Otaku. However being a geek overall I had some hurdles which you will read in part 3.

Thanks for reading part 1. Next is part 2. How I became a Gamer/Movie Geek.