The term "otaku" seems to have been introduced to anime fans in the US and other countries via Studio Gainax's "Otaku no Video 1985," a self-parody film.
Otaku, meaning probably "venerable house," refers to someone who has a devotion to a subject or hobby (not necessarily anime) to the point of not leaving home. For instance, an otaku fan of a particular movie star could quite possibly know all of the films s/he has been in, their birth date, time of birth, shoe size, favorite toothpaste, etc. Generally speaking, calling someone an otaku in Japan is an insult, implying that their social skills have atrophied or never even developed, due to their manic involvement in their chosen fandom.

In America, the term is used to denote a zealous fan, usually of anime and/or manga. Due to its introduction to most people's vocabulary through its tongue-in-cheek use in Gainax's film, "otaku" tends to have a much less dire definition overseas.

When dealing with Japanese people, however, it may be best to keep in mind the modern Japanese image of an otaku -- Someone who only leaves their home to eat or shop, if at all, with an overwhelming and unhealthy obsession about something. It can as easily refer to a stalker or sociopath as it can to a harmless anime buff.

Best to avoid the word altogether if one is not sure of the context in which it will be received.
Positive: "Oh, wow! Check it out: Neck-through, Floyd Rose locking tremolo and an optional push/pull coil tap!" (slaps forehead and laughs) "Man, I am such a guitar otaku, aren't I?"

Negative: "Stay clear of Toshi, man. He's such a RQ otaku, always online. Bet he's never actually even talked to a real-live girl before... You never know when he's gonna' snap, right?"
by Cobweb February 23, 2005
Japanese for "zealot" or "fanatic". Most common with those who are fanatics of popular (dubbed) anime shows. It is also used to describe said fanatics who go to the point of imitating EVERYTHING that relates to Japanese culture.
When going to college, beware of the otaku nerds who will rant about which episode of Pokemon or Dragonball-Z was better.
by AYB February 10, 2003
1. An American term that is used to denote a zealous fan, usually of anime,manga and video games.

2. Refers to someone who has a devotion to a subject or hobby (not necessarily anime) to the point of not leaving home.

3. Some one who social skills have atrophied or never even developed, due to their manic involvement in their chosen fandom.
That kid is so Øtakü. He won't leave the basement unless it's to eat.
by morepowerr January 10, 2008
In Japan: an otaku is someone without a social life whatsoever and is an insult of the highest regard. There is a negative stigma associated to the phrase otherwise that involves a Japanese murderer who killed women because "they didn't have smooth faces like women in anime."
In America: a badge of honor worn by fans of anime, in lieu of simply calling themselves anime fans. Overused slang that has lost its meaning to many fanboys and fangirls.
In Japan: "With the amount of pornography that man buys, it's no wonder they consider him a disgusting otaku."
In America: "Dude, I love Sailor Moon and Utena because they have lesbians in it. I'm such an otaku! ^___^"
by Maikeru November 28, 2003
Calling yourself an otaku IS bad, as half of the definitions already state. It is the equivalent of a nerd or a shut-in, one of those people with skin the color of pasty white potato innards that obviously never leave their rooms. They speak badly-pronounced Japanese with broken phrases and improper words... like... say... OTAKU. American 'otaku' take pride in being nerdy pale-skinned freaks, and often scan over the latest hentai, yaoi, and yuri just to get off... most don't even know the ENGLISH LANGUAGE that well.

Most otaku sport a collection of Pokemon DVDs, trading cards, and pocky.
"Dood wuz ^ Im an otaku."
by Oh the insanity... November 06, 2003
anyone who don't like to go out have fun,instead,he or she spend time at home doing stuff like watching TV,surfing online. In other words,indoor people.
Yang is really a Otaku boy,he even spends his spare time at home instead of having fun outside the house.
by hmmbmm April 09, 2010
Rediculous 50 bigots in the universe who say that everything from Japan is superior JUST because it's from Japan, and everything elsewhere (mainly American) is horrible. They tend to bash America in every way possible, and blame America for 'ruining' things such as anime and videogames with minor things such as poor voice-acting skills. There is a big difference between otakus, hermits, and people that are actually interested in the country of Japan for it's cultural value. The difference is that all otakus do is complain about how Japan does not rule the world and how they believe that everything Japanese is perfect. People, usually otakus, however, tend to get these words confused, unfortunately. They act as Japanese as possible when they really aren't, but it really just makes them look even more retarded. Idiots.
Perfect example of something you'd hear from an otaku: "lol im an otaku and i preffer subbed anime than dubbed anime bcause itz more japaneeese and america ruinz everything even tho i phail 2 understand japanese"
by Dr. BaconStein August 04, 2006
A person, mainly a fat American girl, that loves anime/manga and a few Visual Kei bands such as Dir En Grey and An Cafe(possibly the only bands they know). Someone who thinks that just because they watch anime, eat very few Japanese food(pocky snacks also) and know the word "kawaii", they are also Japanese, despite how terrible they look. Someone who can't use chopsticks for shit but uses it anyway. Someone who eats cereal with a Chinese spoon and save Ramune bottles. A very ignorant person indeed.
Otaku: "THAT'S SUCH A KAWAII HELLO KITTY PURSE! Can I glomp you?!"
Me: "Stfu,gtfo."
Me:"Here's a true fact: The Japanese HATE you...."
by jesscookie February 17, 2009
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