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
Someone who believes they are Japanese, despite knowing only about four words of the language. Often reuses the same words over and over within the same sentence.
omg neko-chan THAT IS SOOO KAWAIIIII! ^____^ BAKA BAKA
by AndyAML February 10, 2004
Anime FANBOYS AND FANGIRLS WHO KEEP ON USING THE DEROGATIVE TERM "JAP" to mean Japanese.
by Anonymous September 13, 2003
The Anime Eletists or Anime Leet. People with years of "expirience" in anime-watching. To be an otaku, you must have at least 5 years of watching, 300 series & OAVs watched, more than half of them have to be subtitled or raw, you have to own at least 1 fansub, 1 ufo catcher doll, 1 doujinshi, 1 untranslated manga, 1 shitajiki, been to at least 1 con in full cosplay, one anime ost, knowledge of Japanese popular subcultures, a fleet of Japanese slang words, plus the ability to read katakana, hiragana, & instantly reccognize a few kanjis.
Someone who only watches dubbed anime on TV or borrows dubbs from their friends will never become Otaku.

Otakus have little to no tollerance for noobs, but will take one under their wing & teach them how to properly enjoy all Japan has to offer.

An anime fan is just a n00b, but an otaku is l33t. (noob/newbie) (leet/elite).
by Allaiyah September 09, 2006
A female who is, in one manner or another, completely obsessed with anime, manga, and generally all things having to do with japan. They generally focus on these things to the exclusion of all else, including getting laid.
Back away, I am an Otaku and will pwn you with my bento! >.**
by Tess teh amazing and great December 25, 2010
A non-Japanese person who has an unhealthy obsession with anime or manga. See zealot, Wapanese, fanboy.
by otaku killer June 23, 2003
japanese for geek or nerd. Someone who will remain a virgin ( well very likely) and lives in a computer world. Social retard!
" Mervin, is way otaku!"
translation: "Mervin is a geeky, outcast to society and an embarassment to modern civilization!"
by the_rebsiqueen August 28, 2005
The word, "otaku," is often used to describe die-hard fans of anime and manga, meaning that these hard core fans live and breath to read Manga and watch anime.

as defined by wisegeek.com, see www.wisegeek.com/what-is-japanese-anime.htm for details
otaku isn't just a negative definition , but atleast this source can be trusted to be unbias.
by Bettermann March 10, 2005
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