This is more or less the first time I’ve ever seen CNN run an otaku-based feature on cable television (news article in the link above). I’m quite sure there ‘were’ more I have not seen, because really, the report seemed to emphasize not only on the recent “maid cafe boom”, nor the otaku, but also the unknown fact that this so-called “otaku economy” is a 4 BILLION DOLLAR industry! Investors… we’re talking to you.
That aside, this seemed like a pretty lighthearted feature. Less emphasis was made on otaku being the social misfits. Otaku = geek is a bit right on the money, as opposed to anime = pr0n (media people know more stuff than politicians sometimes). Casual viewers of CNN may have been in shock seeing geeky people being served by skimpy-outfitted maids, but I guess this is one way of showing the world that there is this whole reverse side of Japan other than being the ‘cool’ nation of Asia. But who knows, as maid cafes go mainstream in Japan, maybe these otaku stuff will also become ‘cool’ to other cultures around the world… and even follow suit. Densha Otoko wasn’t a wasted show after all.
So what would be purpose of the report, other than people going to Japan, wait 30 minutes on a maid cafe queue and try to be otaku for a day? Me? No matter how much I like anime and those other semi-otaku stuff, I just couldn’t/can’t/won’t fit in that kind of crowd. I’d laugh all the way through inside the cafe. Even if I don’t intend my genuine laugh to be insultive, those otakus will transform into yakuza gang members and give me a heavy beating. Wouldn’t want that to happen right?
(I was half-hoping Atika Shubert to try one of those maid outfits during the report… so… er… just kidding.)