In the book Japanamerica, the lives and habits of some genuine otaku are documented, almost like a tribute to Otaku no Video. Now the word “otaku” gets used in a wide variety of ways in the States. To some extremes, I’ve heard corporate marketing people mention it in interviews with press, saying it interchangeably as the in word for “fans” with us anime/manga people. It felt like he’s gotten the 1-sentence low-down on it and decided to use the word as if it gives him some cred (see: stupid Sakura-con commercial! Sushi! J-rock! Otaku! Etc.) To that end, Japanamerica also documented the term and its definition over time, of the transformation from its normal verbiage in Japanese to its first, sci-fi, roots. The continuing transformation of the term to today’s uses by the Japanese, is briefly documented in the book. And…it’s all just to point out the delicious irony on how Americans totally watered down the term, despite how some Japanese folks referred to the old school geeks here, who may fill the halls of a SCA meeting or a Leonard Nimoy autograph line, as the first otaku.
But is it really so different? I think some of us (Americans) use the term that way still, and it fits. I find myself using the term “Akiba-kei” or the branched-out/derogatory versions of otaku (fujoshi, kimo-ota, etc) in the place of how some calls plain-vanilla “otaku” more and more, but that’s probably because there grows a necessity to distinguish, and those words became available and acceptable in recent years.
Honestly, I have no claim to any otaku fame compared to those who calls themselves that in Japan and East Asia. They are just that much closer to the source, to the scene, to the culture, that unless take, you are no match. The full plunge here means you go live and breathe Japan for a while! And by doing so you might just well earn the right to call yourself otaku in the eyes of the world, even to the Japanese. A few transplants were interviewed in the book too, and you can tell they are likely to take the term otaku like I do.
Which, if you’d ask me, the word otaku is more like "The Scarlet Letter" than a "Metal of Honor." And I think the problem between these varying definitions of the word otaku arises from that impression–it’s not something to be wore with pride, to some! But alas, this is as “Japanamerican” as it gets–they take our culture, we take it back, and so on, and so forth. The end result is probably not anything we should be worrying about.
However, this leaves people like me in a bind–we’re too “otaku” to
call ourselves otaku, but we’re not at all like normal folks, or even
like the people who would call themselves otaku! Ah well. Who cares?
1. Always Wear Makeup
This is number one for a reason
Even if it’s just a little foundation, put some on. A small amount of makeup in the right places can make a simple costume pop (L from Death Note for instance). Also If you're wearing a fantastical costume with bright hair in any color, your face looks really washed out in photos without a little help.
This tip is for men as well. I know it’s embarrassing, ask your girlfriends for help if you must, I’ve seen too many pimply Could Strifes for me to abide anymore. You’ve got a cool costume, and usually a really awesome weapon, don’t let your skin ruin pictures for you.
2. Iron Your Costume
Many photos of amazing costumes are ruined because of wrinkles (Unless the character wears it that way, which is rare), I’ve been a victim once or twice myself. There are very few hotels now-a-days that don’t include irons with the rest of the amenities. Take the time to iron it before you wear it. You can even do it the night before if you hang it up or fold it nicely.
3. Check Yourself
Let’s face it, you don’t cosplay to blend into the crowd, you want your picture taken, so do yourself a favor and check yourself first before leaving the hotel room. Is your wig on straight, makeup look good, and go through a few poses in the mirror.
Next if someone does ask for a photo, look around, if you’re in the middle of a walk way, or there are too many people, find a better spot and just say, “How about we do it over there?”
Third take all the stuff that doesn’t have to do with your character off (i.e watches, purses, glasses, convention badge) and set if off somewhere you can see it. Or better yet hand it to a friend.
And last POSE, don’t sand there like a lump, if your from Naruto look up photos of Ninja and mimic them, if you’re a princess character ask yourself, “would a princess just stare at the camera or would they look dreamily off into the distance (again depends on the character).
4. Don’t Use Satin
It’s really ugly for photos, even really good costumers can’t make it look good. I do make an exception for low sheen casa satin, but I personally wouldn’t use it for a whole costume.
5. Wear a Wig
If you’ve got a costume where your haircut is similar but the characters hair is bright pink for goodness sake don’t dye your hair. A good wig (made of Kanekalon) is usually better looking than your own hair when it’s healthy, it will look ten times better than hair that’s been dyed within an inch of it’s life.
6. Bring a “Quick Fix Kit”
Several convention have places you can fix your costume if something happens. Some are free, some require payment, and some are specifically for the cosplay show only. So just in case, it’s usually a good idea to bring a scaled down version of what you would normally use to fix things. Your fix kit might include, but certainly wouldn’t be limited to.
Needles, and several different colors of thread.
Glue (fabric and/or plastic)
Markers (great for covering up shoe scuffs, making fake tattoos, and using on your wig.)
7. You’re too big to go in there!
I’m a big stickler about this, a lot of people who cosplay are quite young and forget that the world doesn’t revolve around them, or older and think they deserve special treatment,
If you’re costume involves large wings (Ah My Goddess), large unwieldy props (Trigun), or large dresses (Tsubasa), steer clear of heavily populated, or confined areas (game room, manga library, dealers room). It annoys people to have to circumvent your costume, there is also the very real possibility that someone could get hurt, which would mean more rules for the convention and a possible limit on the size and scale of props. Also these lovely items that you worked so hard on could be damaged and you’d only have yourself to blame.
120-PAGE PREVIEW OF NARUTO MANGA VOLUME 45 ONLINE FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Monthly Manga Anthology In North America Offers
7 Chapters From NARUTO Volume 45 For Free With Special Password Available Only In May Issue
31, 2009 - VIZ Media announced today
SHONEN JUMP magazine has a special treat for readers—an invitation
a free preview of the upcoming NARUTO manga Volume 45 (rated
‘T’ For Teens)—online at www.shonenjump.com, for a limited
time only. These chapters will not run in the magazine and will
not be available in graphic novel form until July 2009.
The 120-page preview will be available online beginning today through May 5 exclusively at www.shonenjump.com. A preview link appears on the homepage. Visitors must type in the password that appears on page 20 of the May issue of SHONEN JUMP to access the chapters.
is one of the hottest series from Japan and continues to be one of VIZ
Media’s most successful manga and animated properties. Back in February,
VIZ Media unveiled an accelerated publishing schedule for upcoming editions
of the best-selling NARUTO manga series. Between February and April
2009, 11 volumes have been scheduled for publication, moving the series
from Volume 34 (February 2009) to Volume 44 (April 2009) before returning
to a quarterly release schedule beginning with Volume 45 (July 2009).
depicts the adventures of a young boy named Naruto Uzumaki who trains
to become a ninja, and through his exciting adventures, the young ninja
learns the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity,
ingenuity, and right versus wrong. Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO
was first introduced in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s
most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens, and more than 85
million copies to date have been printed. The manga series has captivated
millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America. More
information on NARUTO is available at www.naruto.com.
In NARUTO Volume 45, Sasuke and Naruto find that their powers are ever increasing. Sasuke can now use the Mangekyo Sharingan in multiple ways, and Naruto may have become even more powerful than his fallen sensei Jiraiya! But is anyone powerful enough to stop the ultimate attack as the Pains of the Akatsuki launch their deadly strike against Naruto's home village?
NARUTO animated episodes are also currently available for free on NARUTO.com and through a variety of web-based, video streaming outlets that have partnered with VIZ Media, including HULU and JOOST. More information on NARUTO is available at www.naruto.com.