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Otaku no Video

a.k.a. A Fan’s Video

otakunovideo-2
Genre: Comedy
Company: Gainax
Format: 2 OVA
Dates: 9/27/1991 to 12/20/1991

Kubo is just another male college student. He likes sports, clubbin’ with his friends and going out with his sorta girlfriend Yoshiko… until the day he meets up with his old high school classmate Tanaka, and then his life changes forever. You see, Tanaka is an otaku; he lives and breathes anime, manga, doll kits and cel trading. Kubo learns, especially when it comes to anime, that resistance is futile. He also learns that to delve into the world of the otaku means to forsake all other pleasures in life, and thus he chooses to leave behind his past to achieve one goal: to become the otaku of otaku… the Otaking!

summary by Kain

 

Reviewed: 04/28/2004 by
Grade: 82% av-Kain

Highs: Humorous, sarcastic jab at ’80s Japanese pop culture and the fans who loved it

Lows: Outdated; some interviews feel intrusive

Ah, Otaku no Video. Considered a classic by anime otaku back in the early 1990s, and not completely understood by recent ones. Most of this is because of the fact that this OVA has not aged well over the years with much of its source material being fads and anime that enjoyed its popularity during the 1980s. Nevertheless, the “essence” of being an otaku has not changed over the decades, thus this anime still has much to say.

Let’s face it. The word “mockumentary” has been thrown around so much lately that its meaning has lost some luster. For lack of a more original term, Otaku no Video is the best mockumentary around that sarcastically depicts the “fictitious” lives of otaku. And not just anime otaku, either; everyone from weaponry otaku to manga otaku to doll kit otaku has their share of the, erm, “spotlight”. Divided between anime scenes and live-action “interviews”, this anime’s best and most humorous parts are following the adventures of Kubo as he strives to become the Otaking. The interviews are more hit or miss; the ones that either try to unmask former otaku in denial or poke fun at hentai had me laughing, while the others were just a waste of space. One interview in particular showed an American who moved to Japan because of anime. With a Japanese translator overlay, listening to the American’s words with English subtitles that show him saying something completely different had me rolling in the aisles.

With most recent otaku’s preoccupation with newer anime like Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop, many of the references and sight gags that focus on older phenomena like Macross, Lupin III and early Gundam anime will likely not have the same effect on these otaku as they did for an old codger like myself, who was born soon after that renowned peanut farmer from Georgia, Jimmy Carter, became President of the United States (don’t laugh).

 

Otaku no Video can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.

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