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
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
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
Otaku 2: OMFG A REAL LIFE JAPANESE GUY!!! HIIIII!!!!
Japanese Guy 1: Fuck.
by ReaperFi April 12, 2010
This word is often misused by white nerds. Apparently they think that it means "Anime Fan". They are so grossly wrong. In reality it is the Japanese equivalent to nerd. In Japan the Otaku is the lowest social rung.
White Nerd: "I am an OtAkU!!!1111!!!!!1111"
Actually Japanese person: "I laugh at your obvious non-japaneseness"
by looeee-kun March 27, 2008
Many people assume that one who enjoys Japanese anime and manga is automatically labeled as an 'Otaku'. This is completely untrue. Cosplay and the love of anime and manga does not make you an otaku.

An otaku is simply one who over-obsesses a certain hobby, in most cases anime and manga. Typically, this is a negative thing to be called in Japan, although North Americans have begun to take a liking to the word.
American person one: Steve knows everything about Love Hina. He's such an otaku.
American person two: Yeah, he'd be so glad to hear that.
---
Japanese person one: That Tsutomu Miyazaki sure was an otaku.
Japanese person two: Yeah, what a psycho.

by Kchan March 06, 2006
fanatic; this Japanese word is used in the common language of anime fans to denote themselves.
She's more of an otaku than I could ever be; she's seen over 26 anime series!
by Vertigo September 02, 2002
Otaku means OTAKU. Those who don't search for the definition will understand the true meaning of Otaku.

Created by the Genius of Zeus and Hades
Get the Otaku out of here!
All the ladies are lining up for my Otaku!
Your argument is Otaku!
I would like to Otaku you.
by MasterOfOtaku September 09, 2012
There's two different meanings to this word. The English one and the Japanese one. Who knows how otaku got translated to huge anime/manga fan. I do have a shirt that says Otaku...
Anyways.

English: Huge anime/manga fan. (Me)
Japanese: Insult. Someone who perfers staying inside all day. (Still me)
English: I am an otaku.

Japanese: ...I'm somewhat of an otaku. Yes, I need a life. Though I will do something with my life once I'm old enough to get my own house.
by ~Jay~ January 04, 2006

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