An Otaku Project

I’ve been thinking about this project quite a lot recently, and for the final phonar task is seems pretty perfect.

The culmination of this module will be the production of a “trans-media portrait”.

You should source and develop a subject whose story you tell through the production of a ‘photographic project’; a phrase that we will investigate over the course of the module. Your decisions throughout this process should build upon and further develop the work we’ve begun in creative workshops and the lecture series. This process should be evidenced explicitly and succinctly in your sketchbook, as a 500 word reflective summary.

Grading will take into account your responses to all of the creative workshops and reflections on the lecture series.

– Phonar task

So whats the project?
It involves spending just a day with someone who fits into the social group of “Otaku”. I’ve written before about what an otaku is you can read the post by following the link below.

Defining Otaku

For a more visually interesting take on Otaku take a look at this snippet from the ‘Otaku’ episode of the BBC’s ‘Japanorama’ series.


I haven’t watched “Train Man” before (mentioned in above video) so I reckon it would be a helpful bit of research. The last thing I want is create a story which is like an outsiders view in, like a wildlife documentary, I am hoping my love for Anime and Manga and sometimes geeky obsessive nature will help me achieve an unbiased project. So I aim to learn as much as I can about Otaku culture.

It would also be interesting to explore the term “Moe” I have briefly looked at it for my symposium task.

See the interview here

I’ve also been trying to look at other ways of naming the project because the word Otaku is surrounded by much debate. In Japan it is quite derogative, the term became part of every day language after a manga and anime obsessed grown man killed young girls, the headlines surrounding this event labelled him as Otaku, so the then sub-culture became tainted with negative connotations of that one horrific event. The geek cultures recent popularity in the West has lead to the term Otaku becoming less about an unhealthy obsession and more of an alternative word for geek. Therefore it’s hard to determine who is really an Otaku and I also don’t want to offend someone by labelling them Otaku when the word in it’s original context can be quite degrading. However “Moe” is always positive, it’s a word which originated from Otaku culture so is specific to them, and also has a more inside positive outlook on their interaction with fantasy worlds. Therefore would probably be more appropriate as a project title.

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