I’m gonna be not just an otaku, but the otaku of otaku…
Title: Otaku no Video
Episode Count: 2
Director: Takeshi Mori
When Ken Kubo reunites with an old friend it catapults him headfirst into the world of otaku culture, a world he embraces and eventually endeavours to rule with his newfound circle of otaku friends. Together, they build a business empire that takes the culture by storm, but not without their fair share of ups and downs along the way.
Otaku no Video is Gainax’s parodic autobiographical work, telling the story of their start in the toy industry and rise into the anime industry, with plenty of artistic license (It makes an excellent companion to The Notenki Memoirs). In addition, however, it’s also a love letter to otaku culture, an attempt to capture the quirks, passion, shamelessness, and ambition of otaku, as well as cover some of the hardship they can encounter.
It’s the story of every anime fan’s introduction to anime: A normal person gets pulled into a world of visual culture, cosplay, toys, replica firearms, and much more. And as they embrace it, they turn more and more like the people around them, and begin to adopt the ideals and ambition of an otaku.
The OVA is also infamous for its “Portrait of an Otaku” segments: Staged live-action interviews with Gainax staff and friends of the studio, posing as various different kinds of otaku, which break up the sections of story. They serve as a humorous antithesis to the storyline, playing up the negative, antisocial, and shameful aspects of otaku and otaku culture to counter the anime’s hopeful message.
And a hopeful message it is. Kubo and his associates build a business empire, with the goal of making the whole world into otaku. Then they eventually blast off in a starship to find the planet of otaku. The OVA also speculates that we’d have moon bases by 1999.
The series initially saw VHS release in the US in 1993, followed by DVD release in 2002. 2016 saw the release of a Blu-Ray version, complete with liner notes, a poster, three commentary tracks, and artwork galleries, a culmination of a Kickstarter campaign by AnimEigo.
Otaku no Video is, in no uncertain terms, a must-see for otaku.