Review of Otaku no video (1991)

Moving picture, 100 minutes

Higuchi Shinji (storyboard artist).

In the animated story, an ordinary man is dissatisfied with his bland yuppie existence and becomes a subculture fanatic thanks to a chance meeting with a blissful old buddy from school. It’s not all sunshine: the man is soon overweight, stubbled and left to rot by his girlfriend, who later returns as his corporate nemesis. However, nothing is impossible for a crack team of geeks whose inane vision of the future turns out to fit quite well. They enter the industry, in a parallel to the creation of Gainax itself. The animated story is interrupted from time to time by fake live-action interviews with geeks, and charts mapping related subcultures empirically in the wake of the Miyazaki Tsutomu murder panic.

OVA series with about 20% live action. An allusive parody and defence of Japanese fandom in the ’80s, by Mori Takeshi. The first installment (“1982”) is objective about fanaticism. The second (“1985”) becomes increasingly extreme in its deliberately counterfactual celebration of the subject, which is also entertaining. The title, based on Machiyama Tomohiro’s 1989 book Otaku no Hon, is readable as Your Video or Nerd Video.

References here: Comic Party (2001).

moving picture Gainax animation Japanese production fiction series anime about anime production