okada toshio

Should otaku come out of the closet?

There is an interesting comment by relentlessflame over at Major Arcana about how criticizing outgoing fans like Danny Choo is tantamount to refusing progress towards social acceptance of our hobby. He argues that some of us cling onto marginality out of some immature sense of rebellion against mainstream culture, and that we should be open about things. That, as respectable human beings, we should not be ashamed of our idiosyncracies.

I have several issues with this line of reasoning.

The confusion about moe

Pondering the meaning of moe 「萌え」 sounds a bit 2005, back when the word qualified as a popular phrase in the Japanese media. Nowadays, it's become pretty uncommon among otaku to say that you're moe for such and such, as the term has been somewhat bastardized by mainstream exposure, or has simply fallen out of fashion (angry rants of English-speaking bloggers notwithstanding).

Still, there are no convenient replacements for at least some uses of the word moe. For example, the most concise answer I can give when somebody asks what kind of manga or anime I like is moe-kei. It's quite precise and widely understood (well, not in the general public of course, but the right answer if a Japanese person that isn't an otaku asks about your tastes in anime is more along the lines of “I've heard about that Studio Ghibli thing and what they do looks pretty cool”).

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