[Editorial Tuesday] How to Flirt with an Otaku

If you ended up reading this article, it means you have been lucky enough to fall in love with an otaku, and you would like to know more about how to deal with someone obsessed on anime and manga’s world in order to be ready for a fling! Indeed, for someone unused to Japanese pop culture’s peculiarities, flirting with an otaku could seem like walking on shaky ground, especially if you are not even familiar with the latest series or the cult shows that have shaped Japan’s sub-cultural history. Before flirting with an otaku you must, in fact, first understand that otaku’s is a complex universe, more so than you might think.

Although an otaku’s passion is often considered to be childish or “uncool”, not everyone is aware of how important products such as anime and manga are in Japanese society, and how significant the role they had in history have been in order to tell the world about Japan’s traditions, accounts, beliefs, hopes, and dreams. Manga such as Hadashi no Gen (better known in Western countries as Barefoot Gen, 1973) by Keiji Nakazawa, for example, are certainly not made just for people’s entertainment, but tells us the tragedy of the post-war Japan after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Also, Studio Ghibli’s Hauru no Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004) is certainly not an anime for innocent children, since it was Hayao Miyazaki’s way to protest against the 2003 Iraq War.

Now that you have found out that manga and anime are not products meant only for child entertainment, we can move forward to the various steps which will make you appear irresistible in the eyes of an otaku! Are you curious to know what to do when your heart was stolen by a fangirl or a fanboy? Then, keep on reading and then get ready for a great adventure!

Know More About Otaku’s World.

The first step to flirting with an otaku is being informed on his/her passion enough to be able to carry on an interesting conversation at the time you meet him/her. Indeed, as we already specified in the opening paragraph, holding a conversation with an otaku is not a piece of cake as you might think, but requires a deep knowledge of at least those well-known series that every self-respecting otaku has watched or read at least once in their life. Masterpieces like the Evangelion, Patlabor, and Sailor Moon, for example, absolutely shouldn’t be missing from your repertory, and if you don’t know much about them, then you should probably try and catch up before starting to chase for an otaku.

Thus, the best thing to start with is doing some research about the most famous manga and anime available on the Internet, or collect information about the series of the moment – especially by joining fandom websites where people are always up to date with the latest releases. There are so many which come out every season, but don’t worry because following fandoms will help you to understand what is worth watching and what is nor. An interesting anime that could become a good subject for a conversation could be Shingeki no Kyojin, for example, or if you prefer less bloody stories, popular anime such as Touken Ranbu, Natsume Yuujinchou, or the evergreens One Piece and Dragon Ball could do for you. After you find the one that catch you the most, start watching or reading it. In this way, not only you will be prepared for the next step, but you could also find out that you are actually interested in this type of Japanese sub-culture.

Consider New Possibilities.

The second and most obvious step to flirting with your otaku is… to find a place to meet and flirt with your otaku! When put that way, it might sound like a simple task to accomplish, but it is actually pretty hard to figure out which kind of places otaku prefer to meet new friends. Indeed, if most of the people like to hang out in bars or pubs and pick up the cutest guy available, otaku are different due to their private personalities. Without wanting to lapse into stereotypes, otaku are known to be shy, introverted, and often scared by prejudices some people might have on their naïve and youthful side. That is because most otaku have had it rough throughout their lives due to their love for Japanese anime and manga, so they are less than sympathetic when it comes to complying with common social rules.

That is why you will need to open up your mind and change your perspectives and more imaginative if you want to be able to find and impress your otaku so to be able to win his/her heart. A good place to start with could be conventions and otaku events held all over the world and basically every month, but if you feel unsure about showing to him/her in person while s/he is immersed in his/her world, then you should consider shutting down reality and turning your computer on. Why? Well, because when someone is not particularly fit for real life, the easier and safest place to make new friends who s/he know they won’t judge since sharing his/her same passions is the Web, and when it comes to the Web otaku are great experts. Many are the communities that otaku have created to share love with their peers; RPG-dedicated groups, fandom’s forums, opinion websites, there is plenty of them that suits all tastes. So, if you want to flirt with your otaku, be sure to find out what kind of websites s/he likes to navigate. Then get prepared to log on and start chatting with your dreaming love!

Never Judge If You Can’t Understand.

The third step to flirting with an otaku is to approach him/her and show yourself enough prepared to carry on a conversation capable of being intriguing, so if you did your homework and you already know your target’s tastes, you should be perfectly fine with it. However, only being informed about which manga and anime are your otaku’s favorite doesn’t make you prepared enough to approach your target properly. Indeed, the most important thing you should always keep in mind in this phase is the importance of leaving stereotypes out of the door, especially if you don’t fully understand what anime and manga mean to that person you got interested into, why s/he likes a particular genre, and why staying at home on Friday night for him/her is preferable than hanging out with friends.

Otaku are people and all people have a background and a story to tell. In particular, an otaku’s past could have been particularly hard since it is not rare to have stories about otaku been mistreated or alienated due to their interests. Thus, you should be aware that if you can’t agree with the kind of lifestyle otaku lead, it doesn’t mean it is wrong and s/he should be the one to change and adjust to society. Instead, let him/her be, give him/her a chance to express him/herself and his/her own feeling, and above all let him/her believe what s/he wants to.

Show A Real Enthusiasm for Otaku’s World.

However, if you are already free from prejudices and you want to have an even better chance of winning the heart of the otaku of your dreams, then you could directly skip to the fourth trick, that is also the most exciting – offering yourself to be his/her cosplay partner. Everyone knows that otaku are fond of conventions and enjoy taking part in them every time it’s possible, but participating in conventions is just the tip of the iceberg, as all otaku dream to be able to perform their favorite character’s cosplay in pair with someone very special to them.

Showing enthusiasm in an otaku’s world and lifestyle will make you special in the dreaming eyes of your target, who will probably accept your proposal with great excitement. This will give you a chance not only to spend time with him or her projecting about the cosplay you are going to do together and the best way to assemble it, but also the chance to meet him or her anytime you want after the first official chat and enjoy long evenings together in the real world. This will also give you the opportunity to know about his or her world better, what s/he likes, and what other things s/he loves except from anime and manga.

Don’t Take Anything for Granted.

If you were able to catch your otaku target’s attention, congratulations, because you are officially one step closer to your initial objective and also to the possibility of building a long-lasting relationship! However, even though you could make yourself attractive in your otaku’s eyes, that doesn’t mean you have won the war and succeeded. There are some little things you would be better keep in mind if you don’t want to risk becoming boring after the first thirty minutes of conversation.

Showing off by talking about manga and anime, and proposing as a cosplay partner just as an excuse to get close to your target isn’t enough to make yourself an otaku’s ideal candidate. Indeed, if your passion turns out to be just a pretext to impose yourself and what you like on him/her in the hopes that s/he likes you and forget about his/her interests, you are on the wrong trail. For an otaku, his/her passion can’t just be sidelined and forgotten for someone else. Would you ever renounce talking about your favorite team’s match on TV last night, or about the concert of your favorite band that was in town last week if someone would ask you to? Well, then why should an otaku shelve what s/he loves while having a conversation with you?

Being an otaku doesn’t mean having no right to express yourself only because most of the people can’t understand your passion, but it means seeing the world from a different perspective and enjoy things ordinary people can’t find interesting. Thus, it is extremely important to keep in mind that no one can be changed the way we please and that if you really want to be with that person you have to accept his/her vision of the world, and be willing to give him/her space talk about what s/he likes every time s/he needs, enjoys his/her hobbies, and so on. If you are ready for this, then don’t hesitate and run to him/her to confess how you feel!


Final Thoughts

Alright, these were the steps to properly flirt with an otaku without running the risk to miserably get shot down. As you could see, flirting with an otaku is not an easy task as it requires knowledge of Japanese literary sub-genres, acknowledgment of the peculiarities of the otaku culture, and above all open-mindedness toward the otaku’s universe. That you will be able to conquer your otaku is not a foregone conclusion, but if you are creative and imaginative enough you have a very high chance to get in good with every otaku on this Earth! See before believing it!

Good luck, and don’t forget to let us know your progresses with a comment!

Dareka Nobody

Writer

Author: Dareka Nobody

I’m an Italian dirty little girl obsessed with Japanese language, culture, literature, anime, manga, games, but also with writing, reading, and travelling, in general. I lived in Japan and I’m about to be moving there forever. When I’m not working, I translate yaoi light novels for a hobby. I’ve recently started a partnership with the website Novelleleggere.org where I publish my works. I run a page on Facebook about my translation and I’m also a blogger who likes to write about her experiences in Japan. Akiba addicted and enthusiastic Honeyfeed’s writer!

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