Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jellyfish - We Are All a Bit Otaku

Jellyfish: such an annoying being in an open environment, once you put it in a tank - illuminated by a blue light - it becomes one of the most fascinating sea creatures.
That' s not a suggestion to try and do the same with all the annoying people you know, of course!

One would almost think it belongs to an imaginary world, with its hypnotizing elegant fluctuation, its tentacles being like the "laces of a princess' dress" in perpetual motion.

episode 1 from the anime

I wonder whether the author of the manga Kuragehime (the Princess Jellyfish) shares with me a similar fascination for jellyfish tanks: the manga begins with a flashback of the protagonist gazing at jellyfishes (which should explain her later fixation) and the plot revolves around the life of a group of otaku girls who isolate themselves from the world and exclude men from their dysfunctional utopia, each fully immersed in her own obsession.

But what is an オタク (otaku)?
The word generally means geek, so if you are a techie, a groupie, or you can entertain yourself talking exclusively about a certain subject, you have the requisites to be an otaku. 
The level of this geekiness, though, varies from the genuine and healthy enthusiasm to the obvious, all pervading obsession which - at least in Japan - throws a light on a society with a strong alienating force, or sometimes extreme malfunctioning relationships between sexes. Or both.

You can get a clearer explanation of what otaku means at Facts About Japan and at Kotaku
More about the manga Kuragehime

Some interesting articles about alienation and the otaku culture
Revenge of Japan' s Nerds
Love in 2-D

Jellyfishes shown to be Effective Predators