Otaku Coin says it wants to help fans support the anime industry. A cryptocurrency developed specifically for the Japanese industry and its fans sounds like something anime viewers would be happy about. However, as new details come out about Otaku Coin, fans in Japan and the west are increasingly skeptical. Otaku Coin is a digital currency under the purview of Tokyo Otaku Mode (TOM), a shop and anime news site with 20 million Facebook fans. According to a concept paper TOM released in May, Otaku Coin will be a derivative of open-source cryptocurrency Ethereum.
I've only once ever been addressed by someone using the pronoun "otaku." Taken literally, the word refers to "someone else's house or family," and on rare occasions it is used as the second-person pronoun, "you." The only time it was used to address me was by a police officer in Roppongi, Tokyo, and while it's probably best not to get into the particulars of that sordid episode, it's typical that it was a police officer who used it. In this instance the use of otaku is super-formal, but it still felt weird. At the time I was delighted to hear the word used in its original sense.
Although it's grown enormously in size over the years -- more than 100,000 attendees are expected this year -- the Anime Expo has remained faithful to its original spirit. It's first and foremost a place where people who love anime and manga hang out together and celebrate their favorite films, series, books and characters. There are screenings, panel discussions, workshops, lectures, concerts, contests and maid and butler cafes. But the principle attraction remains the chance to meet fellow otaku (fans). The World War II family drama won the Japanese Academy Award for animated feature this year, beating the megahit "Your Name."
There's a scene in Tokyo Idols where Rio Hiiragi, a pop star trying to make it big, bikes to small provinces as a publicity stunt to meet her fans. She's wearing a cute yellow helmet and live streaming her trek. Trailing behind her are a handful of older men. They are her biggest fans. The documentary premiering at the Sundance Film Festival spotlights the world of young female performers -- "idols" -- who dress like anime characters and sing and dance for adoring crowds, even though many aren't very good at singing or dancing.
HAVANA – Cuba may be one of the world's least connected countries but that is not stopping the Japanese subculture of animated movies, manga comics and video games from spreading feverishly among its youth. More than 1,000 otaku (geeks), or fans of such fantasy worlds, descended on Havana last week for the country's third otaku festival, defying the sweltering heat to sport the costumes of their favorite characters. Some performed scenes from animated movies on stage, while others belted out songs in Japanese with Spanish subtitles projected in the background. Others did role-playing dance choreographies. A prize was awarded for best cosplay, or role-playing in costume, and for best manga drawing.