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
One who obsesses about something or someone to an unhealthy extent, sacraficing most, if not all, of their social life.

Often used (incorrectly) by American anime fans as a trendy term to describe themselves.
Correct usage: anata wa otaku desu. (You are a nerd.)

Incorrect usage: I like anime, so I'm an otaku. (This is, however, correct if the person saying it has no life outside of anime.)
by Nosferatu June 20, 2003
1. A person who is a big fan of anime.

2. An anime fanboy or fangirl.
Person 1: "Are you an otaku?"
Person 2: "Yes."
by TheAnimeLover1 October 17, 2014
a 12 year old that watches Bleach and Naruto and thinks they are completely immersed in japanese culture. See Weeaboo
Bob: I know all about japan because I watch Naruto!
Bill: no u are a weeaboo
Bob: No I'm otaku and proud
by sylveon November 24, 2013
A Manga, Anime, and video game (particularly RPG) fan who is obsessed with anything Japanese and Japan in general because of anime and manga. The literal term in Japanese is derived from home, so basically it means a person who stays at home all the time. They shut themselves away from the world as their ability to socialize to normal people slowly deteriorate and even if they are not Japanese they want to be Japanese so badly. they learn Japanese so that they can watch raw anime episodes and read raw manga. This is the main golden achievement an Otaku can do especially when other Otakus are jealous of this amazingness. They wear clothing with Kanji and their favorite anime characters. They collect anime figurines, fill their walls with posters of their fav anime/manga, life size anime characters, manga library collections, and DVD boxsets (there is much more trust me). They probably have played every single Final Fantasy Game out there. Their favorite food to eat it Ramen, Ramune soda, pocky, sushi, and other various foods that come right out of an anime. They include words like "baka" and "nee~" or "Kawaii" in their everyday lives, yes, even if they do not speak Japanese. Basically just picture a creepy dude with glasses reflecting the glare of light from his HD TV in a dark room, eating ramen and everything anime filling the room. But not all otakus are like this! there are different levels of otakuness.
Otaku hentai dude
by nerdwad3000 May 21, 2010
Otaku is a Japanese word used for foreigners who are obsessed with Japanese culture. A lot of confusion has been made over the years, and people are starting to think Otaku is someone who stays home all day and does nothing but watch anime and jerk off to pictures. This is called a Hikikomori. The difference is that Otaku get out, and have a life, and pass in school, regardless by how much, and talk to other people, depsite the topic. Hikikomori are shut ins, and do leave the house for anything and don't socialize. For any reason. Whatsoever.
*Knock Knock*
Delivery Man : You there?
Hikikomori : *Fap fap fap fap*
Delivery Man: I have a package for a Mr. Smith
Hikikomori : *Opens door naked* Thanks! *closed door and faps*

Otaku 1: Hey, did you hear? They're coming out with a new season for Naruto!
Otaku 2:Naruto is gay, you have to watch anime that deals with Japanese life, like Clannad. You're a fake.
Fake-Otaku 1: No way, Bleach is better than anything.
Otaku 2: Whatever.
Japanese Guy 1: God-damn-it. I hate those Otaku's
Japanese Guy 1: Fuck.
by ReaperFi April 12, 2010
In Japan, the term OTAKU is normally deragatory, meant as an insult. It basically means 'lifeless loser who never leaves their house'.
In America and Canada, though, it is used to refer to anime/manga fans and sometimes video gamers. It is used to refer to somebody as a geek, opposed to a loser, and is not a deragatory meaning.
So it is important that if you go to Japan that you do not use the word without clearly stating what you mean.
Canadian: I could tell you ANYTHING about anime!
American: You are such an Otaku!
Candian: I know, right!
Japanese: Canadains and Americans are a little...odd...
by in-the-stars February 28, 2009
A person who spends most of his/her life watching anime, reading manga, playing video games, staying up on the computer and the such.
Most people would say that an Otaku would have no social life except for online communications.

B. The Japanese word for "House"
Samantha: *types furiously without looking at keyboard and playing an MMO*
Elizabeth: *waiting for samantha to pick up phone*
Samantha: *talks to herself* "Sooorrryy Elizabeth, i'm kinda busy here!!! *says to self*: right-left-SPACEBAR!!! SPACEBAR!!! JUMP!! JUMP!! NOOO!!!! *still talking to self*: Yeah thanks a lot Elizabeth! You ruined my whole frikin game!
Elizabeth: *leaves a voice message* -sigh- Samantha, you're such an Otaku.

Joe: I'm moving into an Otaku in Japan and going to college there next year.

Bob: You're moving into a crazed computer freak?!?!

Joe: -_-'
by SamanthaTehPwner July 10, 2008

Free Daily Email

Type your email address below to get our free Urban Word of the Day every morning!

Emails are sent from We'll never spam you.