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 term taken from Japanese and used in the United States amongst anime afficionados to show their obsessive love for their hobby, further changed by innocent mispronunciation to mean people who, subjectively, have no taste.
Oh, ew, here comes Harold--he's going to talk to us about DragonBall Z, and we'll never escape. What an otaku.
by spiraling February 14, 2005
Japanese word for meaning "your house".
Another person's house.
"Watashitachi wa otaku ni ikimasu."
by Moo November 01, 2004
In it's current, "Americanized" context: Social parasites. Usually fat, white Americans (with some exceptions) who, for whatever reason (unclear even to themselves), have chosen to become Japanese Nationalists based on their preconcieved notions of a non-existent Japanese utopia-- Notions which are developed from a lack of socialization and over-exposure to (mostly fantasy-oriented) Japanese animation (i.e., Anime, i.e., cartoons-- FROM JAPAN!)
Honesty is a bitch, huh?
Otaku: "DESU! POCKY! RAMEN! DURRRR!"
by Escapism Rots Your Brain August 29, 2008
Unfortunately an extremely hated word, the definition for Otaku is, when you get right down to it, an anime obsessor. These (us) are people who love anime. They're obsessed, they're nerds, and they know it (True, from personal experience as an Otaku, and I still am a proud one!).

This doesn't mean that they have no social life. In fact their social life is about the same, if not better, than non-Otakus since there are just so many other Otaku out there to talk with!

Another myth is that they have no social life. WRONG! I have a fioncee` and we're both Otaku. I know guys who are Otaku who have girlfriends, too. Pretty good ones at that.

Just because you're an Otaku and will do pretty much anything for anime does not mean that you have no social life or ever will have one. True that it's mostly on the computer but not always, definitely not always.
I'm an otaku and proud of it! Anyone want to say otherwise? Let me reprase: Anyone want to have their bodies blown out on to the pavement?
by Alex W October 12, 2005
the proper term for an anime addict is otaku (which means an extreme fan).. but most anime addicts are considered otaku
Joe is a total otaku.
by pinguino September 21, 2005
Someone who watches alot of anime!
Are you an otaku? No, i have only seen 2 anime's.
by Snickflip February 12, 2010

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