Is "Otaku Week" on MTV2 All About Dissing the Nerds?

Illustration for article titled Is Otaku Week on MTV2 All About Dissing the Nerds?

A few bloggers say MTV's "otaku week," featuring anime convention videos, does nerdkind a disservice. But actually it's a surprisingly non-judgmental look at a misunderstood bunch.

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The controversial video for most people looking at MTV's seven-video series seems to be this one, showing a bunch of young guys goofing around while playing card game Yu-Gi-Oh. Or this one, showing a cosplayer describing his Legend of Zelda costume, then playing his character's flute-like instrument.

I get why people think these clips could be construed as embarrassing, partly because their subjects are so unabashedly enjoying themselves. But to me these films seem pretty respectful. Unlike many vids I've seen on MTV, there are no sarcastic hipsters commenting on how ridiculous or repulsive geeks are - and there are no little popups zooming onto the screen that say "NERD!" We're seeing these gamers and anime lovers the way they are among each other, goofing around and geeking out over costumes.

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In fact, if you watch the video I embedded above, from the same series, I think you get a flavor of what the videomakers were trying to convey. They show us an appealingly frenetic scene of people from all backgrounds getting together, dressing up, and having fun.

Illustration for article titled Is Otaku Week on MTV2 All About Dissing the Nerds?

Sure the videos could have brought in an even more diverse group of otaku - sophisticated collectors, people who write about anime and manga professionally, academics, creators - but instead they capture only the regular fans. These are the people who make up the bulk of most conventions, and I like seeing them here, looking into the cameras, unashamed.

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

What I don't understand is how it's acceptable for a middle-aged fat guy to strip to the waist, paint himself with team colors, get piss-pants drunk and bellow incoherent nonsense about a football team on national television but somehow cosplay is beyond the pale.