Posted by: Ji-L87 | June 11, 2008

Otaku no Video is doing it wrong

I actually didn’t know much about this, just saw some clips from it and thought that “Hey, this might be nice”…and I was wrong. Very wrong.

I know it’s very well known (some say it’s a GAINAIX classic), but since I became a fan of anime & manga during the time of digitally released fansubs, I’m pretty lost when it comes to older shows.
(Which I still tend to enjoy, once I find them & dig them out)
The thing that bothers me the most about this 2 episode OVA is that I’m not even sure what I wants to say.

But before that, some explanation for those of you who (like me) don’t (didn’t) know very much about this OVA. It’s basically an anime about a young man, Kubo, who slowly goes from being in the Tennis club to become a hardcore otaku, divided into two episodes running 50 minutes each and there are lots of old-school anime references. Every now and then, they throw in something they call “Portrait of an Otaku”, which are segments in which they interview real otaku.
That sounds good…but it would soon turn out to be the exact opposite.

To start things off, the anime itself is kinda weird. While the first part of the anime is alright, the second is not. Not to mention the ending just confuses me.
If you ask me what I didn’t like about the 2nd part, I’d probably say that it’s the fact that too much happens without being properly explained and there’s quite a bit of jumping.
To make things worse, the otaku interviews are pretty sad most of the time…sometimes downright creepy. All of them had their faces mosaic’d/covered/turned away and their voices distorted, except one and he doesn’t speak japanese but english, so a japanese narrator talks in his place instead.
The guy playing that eroge-like “game” and the guy watching pr0n throughout the interview definitively belongs to the creepy category.

Well, there was one guy that they didn’t put mosaic or voice distortion on…and they stalked him(!).
…And then ran after him for an interview…way to go there, and of course the interview didn’t go well at all. Really good job there. Not. ¬_¬

I really can’t say I felt that these interviews put otaku in such a good light…and thus I don’t think they fit in, since the anime parts are about doing the impossible, beating the unbeatable (row row fight tha powah) whilst the interviews just leaves a feeling of HORROR and FAIL. My thoughts after watching was “I hope I don’t end up like that o_o;”, which I believe contradicts the message the anime was trying to convey.

Classic or not, I’m not sure I can recommend this to anyone and if you want to see an anime about otaku, go watch Comic Party, Genshiken or maybe even Doujin Work or Cosplay Complex instead, I’m sure that will be a much more rewarding experience. I can’t help to wonder if I missed something vital, saw it with the wrong mindset or something…other people seems to have liked it pretty much…
The only redeeming points Otaku no Video has is that it’s not half bad drawn (loved the style) and it’s got a pretty sturdy, not to mention fitting, soundtrack.
The opening song; “Fight, OtaKing” makes me think of older mecha anime (the good way) and there’s some more fine tracks in there.
Otaku no Video is from the early 90s (91 according to ANN) and that can certainly be heard throughout, which makes me happy because I kinda like those old-school soundtracks. ❤

…I wonder if the interviews would be any different if done today tho’, I mean, since it’s an older anime, maybe the modern otaku has changed in some way…I’m not sure…hm….

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Responses

  1. I too was thinking “I hope I don’t end up that way”…

    And truthfully…”Otaku no Video” scared the heck outta me! ^_^’ Because of those interviews I actually started watching less anime! Though, it didn’t take long before I went back to my old self! ^_^

  2. Doujin Work ftw! Manga is better than the anime but that’s pretty much a given. ;p

  3. @ Uthek
    I really want to read the manga. I got the 2nd chapter of tokyotosho quite awhile back but could not get hold of the first….or the rest : /

  4. http://www.blahsoft.com/
    They’re working on it, albeit slowly.

  5. I stumbled across your review about Otaku no Video by accident and was surprised by the negative comment.
    Otaku no Video is more an anime for Otaku than it is an anime about otaku, because it is packed with references which probably most won’t even notice. It is loosely based on the beginnings of Gainax so it’s a bit of a auto-biographical work and a self parody and not really ment as a coherent story. Also the “Portrait of an Otaku” parts are meant to be a bit creepy while still retain a bit of recognition. Because they essentially are mockumentary, characters played by the animators, for the purpose of Self-depreciation. Yes Otaku no Video is definitely not for every one, but it’s a tittle which you will enjoy more with more knowledge and insight you have about the matter. So I highly recommend AnimeEigo’s release of Otaku no Video and reading there extensive line notes while watching.

  6. @Kahless

    I didn’t know the interviews were mockumentaries, knowing that makes me feel a little better about this. Regarding the notes from AnimeEigo, I’ve acquired them now and skimmed through a little. The sheer amount of parodies and references are staggering yet…I’ve not even heard of many of the shows listed in there.

    I admit, I’m impressed. I guess Otaku no Video came out as kinda weak for me since I haven’t seen many of the old shows on which it based it’s parodies.
    Yet…I don’t think it ever will be a good title for me. I know I won’t be checking out most of the parodied titles so most of the more subtle hints will be wasted on me (if I’m not pausing to read the notes) as I’m not oldschool enough. I guess Otaku no Video have the potential to be a real blast if one is though.

    That said, this is old, maybe they should do a sequel for younger anime fans? 🙂

  7. […] already seen it once and I admit I was quite harsh, mostly because I wasn’t really aware of that the […]

  8. Otaku no video is one of my all time favorite OVAs, for some strange reason I find the opening song “Tatakae Otaking!” quite motivating and it had helped me a couple times to go back on my feet when feeling down.

    Yes, the interviews are sometimes scary and sad and portraited a moment in time, I’m sure the answers would be quite different if done at this day.

    • Yeah, the music is the stuff made of awesome.

  9. Sorry to say this, but you cant judge this OVA, you didnt live as an otaku back in the 90s your just some random fansub kid. It is a classic and it focuses on many on the main points of the otaku scene back in the 90s.


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