Yaaaaay Otakus! We love ’em, and most of the time relate to them immensely, unless you’re one of those who believe they know anime after watching Sword Art Online and Naruto, in which case I hate you and wish for us to never meet. As fellow anime watchers, it’s always nice to find shows in which we can somehow relate and feel a personal attachment to as no other commoner ever would. Shows featuring Otakus and their culture sometimes involve tough genres to handle for lovers of conventional, normal anime, but usually end up parodying what we love most in a way which makes us feel like part of a big inside joke which no one else will understand. It’s awesome. Please enjoy these shows, as they are precious to me and I secretly hope to spread the Otaku culture even more with these shows.
Episodes: 2 seasons + first season alternate ending, amounting to 29 episodes total
Synopsis: Kyousuke Kousaka, a normal seventeen-year-old high school student, hasn’t gotten along with his younger sister, Kirino, in years. For longer than he can remember, Kirino has ignored his comings and goings and looked at him with spurning eyes. It seemed as if the relationship between Kyousuke and his sister, now fourteen, would continue this way forever.
One day, however, Kyousuke finds a DVD case of a magical girl anime entitled Hoshikuzu Witch Meruru (Stardust Witch Meruru), which had fallen into the entranceway of his house. To Kyousuke’s surprise, inside the case is a hidden adult video game titled Imouto to Koishiyo! (Love with Little Sister!). Kyousuke attempts to fish out the culprit who dropped the case by bringing up the topic of magical girl anime at the family dinner table. All that comes out is a strong negative reaction from his parents, especially his anti-otaku policeman father.
That night, Kirino bursts into Kyousuke’s room and, in perhaps the first conversation she has initiated with him in years, says they “have things to talk about.” Kirino brings Kyousuke to her room and shows him an extensive collection of moe anime and lolicon bishoujo games she has been collecting in secret.
Imagine if you suddenly discovered that your really, really hot sister was a huge otaku? Not only that, but it turns out that the main girl of the story, Kirino, has a focus on imouto eroge games and ends up confiding in her brother, of all people. Yeah, we all know where this is going. Despite this fact, however, it is impossible not to enjoy Oreimo as a dramatic comedy about Otaku Culture in which all of us will be able to somewhat relate to one level or another. Whether it is about Kirino’s fangirling over one eroge or another, her extremely amusing arguments with Kuroneko about anime or even Kyousuke’s helplessness towards her sister when she goes in fangirl mode (we’ve all met/been those kinds of people), Oreimo is a nice, heartwarming comedy where we find ourselves laughing at what we love most without feeling ashamed one bit.
What truly makes Oreimo shine, however, is the fact that not only is this extremely entertaining, but also has a solid storyline in which friendship, family and love are challenged, then repaired until it is challenged again, in a heartwarming combination of comedic moments and dramatic scenes. The main characters have depth and character development, and manage to capture our hearts by being extremely cute in one way or another, bringing harems to another level. Oreimo managed to features all the genres I hate most and put it into an anime which I ended up absolutely loving due to its great production and solid plot. The show is funny, discusses Otaku culture in quite an amusing fashion, brings out solid characters and has a great plot. Moreover, the animation is great. What more could you ask? Oreimo needs to be watched by all otakus. Even with that weird ass ending.
Synopsis: Satou Tatsuhiro, 22 years old, thinks that everything that happens around him is a conspiracy. He even figured out who is behind it all: The NHK, an evil secret company.
“When you think anime, you think otaku. When you think otaku, you think people that dislike other people. Those people become hikikomori (people who shut themselves in)”. So Satou manages to uncover the plot of The NHK (stands for Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai), after three years of shutting himself in (and rapidly approaching the fourth).
In reality, he is nothing more than a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training), desperately in need of a cure from that “disease”. He wants to break out from the curse, but going out and getting a job is frightening enough for him. That is until he gets selected for a “project”; it is a plan to help hikikomori like him in facing the reality of this world.
Where Oreimo admires otaku culture and promotes going against taboos in order to do what you love (in their case, a sister), NHK ni Youkoso portrays it as a shameful hobby, one which will lead you nowhere in life and only serve the purpose to entertain NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) when they’re bored at home. The show introduces us to the world of hikikomoris, NEETs who have an incredible fear for the outside world and people, causing them to stay in their room without jobs or education. Our main character, Satou Tatsuhiro, is suddenly forced to go outside by Misaki, a random girl wishing to complete her “project” of helping out hikikomori get out of their reserved lifestyle.
What we end up getting then, is an incredibly depressing show about a main character hating himself and hating his life for 24 episodes, leaving us with a pretty darn depressing ending and a sudden realization that our lives may not be as shitty as we sometimes think it is. In a way, NHK ni Youkoso manages to open our eyes to another person’s world, one whom we would normally judge or, worse, feel extremely ashamed to be similar to. The hikikomoris in Japan are numerous and extremely looked down on; looking from Satou Tatsuhiro’s point of view then allows us to actually get into that person’s mind and see what is actually happening in their heads, giving us a quite different perspective on things. Many Otakus actually find themselves somewhat similar to the main character and manage to relate to him, and the others get to view a point of view which is so easily forgotten because outcasts in Japan tend to be too shameful to portray.
The only downside to the show, really, is that it targets mostly guys. As a girl, I myself have found it somewhat ordinary, as Misaki’s point of view is not viewed enough and I found myself unable to relate to most of the show since my Otaku-ness is quite different from theirs. Despite this, I can still acknowledge that it is a great show, and I’m sure quite many of Otakus would enjoy it as a very unique, deep show with pretty original plot twists and great (but weird) character development.
**Thanks to MAL for the summaries and info!**