Otaku No Video

Title:Otaku No Video
1982 Otaku no Video
1985 Otaku no Video
Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: AMANO Yuri
Animation - Gainax
INOUE Kikuko
R1 License - AnimEigo
SONODA Kenichi

A fictional biography ("mockumentary") on the lives of several Otaku and the creation of Gainax. Combines anime segments with live action interview segments of "real" otaku.

Note: Reviews covers both OAV episodes 1982 & 1985. The series was released in 1991.

Two OVA episodes -

  • 1982 - one OVA episode (~50min)
  • 1985 - one OVA episode (~47min)
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 8 8 7 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:190#1552]
My anime buddies called Otaku no Video "the rite of passage for diehard anime otaku." I'm not sure how it's a rite of passage, but it's definitely a treat for those who are well into their years of anime fandom.

This is an anime that explores different aspects of otaku fandom in comedic fashion. The subject of this OAV is Ken Kubo, an ordinary guy whose exposure to otaku fandom takes him on a quest to be the Otaking. The humor for Otaku no Video is hit-or-miss as it pokes fun of different otaku fandom aspects during the period in which it was made which include the obsessions, the negative effects on one's social life, and conventions. Garage kits, anime, cosplay, airsoft guns, among others, are the aspects of fandom poked fun of. In the case of anime fandom, there are plenty of references to past anime titles during the 70s and 80s which include Captain Harlock, Lupin the 3rd, and even the Daicon shorts Gainax made for conventions in the early 1980s. If you are well versed in these older anime titles, then you may enjoy the humor of these references more.

The highlight for me with Otaku no Video was the live-action "mockumentary" shorts called Portrait of an Otaku. These shorts, deemed controversial by some, feature 'interviews' that intrude upon the lives of different types of "real-life" otaku that expose the worst things of being an otaku, a contrast to the happy, hopeful mood that the anime gave off. There were a couple interviews focused on people denying their otaku fandom. Their reactions to when the proof of their fandom being shown in pictures got me a chuckle, especially when one of them decided to eventually don a Char Aznuble helmet. The footage with the geijin whose dialogue was dubbed over and the announcer completely changing the dialogue he spoke had to be a nod to the horrible English dubbing of anime done during the 80s.

Otaku no Video is an anime that will be appreciated by those who are well into their years of anime fandom. It is an OAV that we can relate to with the joys and problems of being an otaku shown in a funny light.

Last updated Friday, July 04 2008. Created Friday, July 04 2008.
Buy 7 7 9 7 9 9 AstroNerdBoy [series:190#436]

Gainax does a good job of not only poking fun at themselves and their own rise to power from being a bunch of otaku, but they poke fun at otaku themselves. More on that in a bit.

The animated segments are the semi-fictional account of how Gainax was founded from a group of otaku who loved anime, sci-fi, special FX, military stuff, etc. When the main character Kubo gets rejected by his girlfriend (as he goes from tennis jock to otaku), he convinces the others to form their own company. Thus we see the rise of GP (the initial company known in the real world as "General Products") and then GX ("Gainax"). So their story is told and after 1991 in the anime, it turns into fantasy with the creation of Otakuland and the elderly founders of GX returning to their roots and thus their youth.

I was struck by how much Lupin III came up in the anime portion. Miyazaki also seemed to be an influence on them. Mecha also played a big part which explains why Anno Hideaki (Neon Genesis Evangelion) went to Gainax.

Since this was filmed in 1991, the live action shots took me back to the time when I lived in Japan (1989-1991). I'm not sure who all the otaku were who got interviewed. Some I think may have been Gainax folks. Others I think were real people. I know the "gaijin" (American) they interviewed was a real person and had worked for GP. This segment seemed to be purposefully mistranslated by the Japanese, possibly as a way taking a jibe at the American companies who over domesticate (ie: mistranslate and/or re-write) anime. What this guy said and what the Japanese voice-over guy said were in many cases not even remotely the same.

One thing that disturbed me about the interviews was the common theme of extreme loneliness. I had a flashback to one of the early Oh My Goddess manga chapters in which Keiichi and Belldandy are looking for a place to crash and stop at an otaku's place. It was eerily similar. I think this video will make some people take a hard look at their own lives, not that being a fan of anime/manga is bad, but if they are so dedicated to it that they've missed out on other things...like girlfriends. All of us will see ourselves in at least one of the interviewed otaku. Some things may make you smile (or even laugh) and others may make you feel depressed. It just depends on the person.

Bottom line: If you are even bothering to read this review, you are enough of an "otaku" to appreciate Otaku no Video. Don't worry if you aren't versed in classic anime, that's not so important (though if you are old school, you will enjoy this a WHOLE lot more).

Last updated Wednesday, March 24 2004. Created Saturday, October 11 2003.

Rent Stretch [series:190#628]
Going in, I really had little idea what Otaku No Video would be like--maybe something like FLCL, perhaps? It turned out to be a mix of animation and live action (in the form of faked interviews with "typical Otaku"). There were also two parts, one set in 1982 and the other in 1985 (I presume). Though it never had me laughing uproariously (largely because I'm not very familiar with pre-1991 anime, or the history of Gainax), I enjoyed it and am glad I rented it. The references to "garage kits" made perfect sense to me, since I belong to a modelling club and know someone who specializes in building these. They are by definition a small scale enterprise, yet they become a multi-million dollar corporation here! Wouldn't it be great if something you would gladly do without pay made you filthy rich? My favorite part was an interview with an Otaku who reminded me of myself. This fellow supposedly records anime wholesale, and when asked how often he actually rewatched the tapes, he admitted not very often: "You see, I just record them for the sake of my collection...I just want the perfect collection". I know where he's coming from--I started out watching anime, then began collecting anime, and now am reviewing anime! I could also sympathise with a remark Kubo made: "If you're into playing tennis, that's just fine and dandy... but if you watch anime, you're weird! Why?!" Nobody I know, neither friends nor family, seems to have the slightest interest in anime... I can't even say for certain why I enjoy it. But it's nice to know that I'm not the only person who feels this way. At least there are a hell of a lot of worse things a person could be addicted to!

I re-rented and rewatched Otaku no Video recently, and with several additional years' worth of Anime experience I think it made a good deal more sense this time around. Anyone who can laugh at themself as an Otaku must see this series at least once!

9/03 #70

Last updated Saturday, March 08 2008. Created Thursday, September 25 2003.
Buy 7 7 10 5 10 Tsunami [series:190#323]
I really thought Otaku no Video was incredably funny. The interviews were great. I doubt i've laughed at an anime as hard as I did the otaku interviews. (the cel theif, *laughs* priceless) The anime was intresting, but because of my lack of knowlegde about anime during the time this movie was made (1980's I believe) I didn't get all of the hidden jokes that I knew were there (I just wasn't exsactly sure what they were). This is a comedy that every true anime otaku should have.

Last updated Saturday, November 09 2002. Created Saturday, November 09 2002.
Buy 6 6 6 8 8 kakyuu_prince [series:190#404]
Otaku no Video was interesting to say the least. The profiles of an otaku ranged from funny (the guy who put on a Char Aznable helmet at the end of his interview), interesting (the military otaku and cell thief), to disturbing (the hentai weirdo). I especially liked the one with the computer programmer who really didn't want to talk about his otaku days. I think he was the second profile of an otaku. The anime portion were very entertaining to watch but I really don't think you'll enjoy them unless you know about Macross, Nausicaa, Captain Harlock, and other 70's or 80's anime. I really liked the way the anime part ended as well, there really SHOULD be an anime themed amusement park. The opening song was really good too, it's catchy and pretty funny if you're used to the lifestyle of an otaku. Fight, fight, otaking! All in all, if you at least know and have seen some of the famous early anime stuff then Otaku no Video is really something you can't miss out on.

Last updated Monday, October 14 2002. Created Monday, October 14 2002.
Rent Pete Rocha [series:190#271]
The live video scenes are really more amusing (and useful) part of the whole movie. Some seem like they might have been scripted, and I know for certain in the part where they interview the American, the subtitles COMPLETELY don't match what he's actually saying, but compared to the animated scenes these are much more interesting.
Personally, I just don't understand what some people see being so hilarious about the animated portions of the movie. "Oh look, they're watching Macross just like I do". "Oh look, they're buidling models just like I do". "Oh look, they're dressing up as their favorite character just like I do". BIG DEAL! Just what is so funny about that?? Now, if they animated 300lb. teenage boys watching Sailor Moon in their rooms and touching themselves, THAT would be funny (if not disturbing).
I still recommend watching it, especially if you've watched a lot of anime in your lifetime, but as far as the cult-like worship this gets in some circles... blah.

Last updated Wednesday, February 13 2002. Created Wednesday, February 13 2002.
Buy 6 7 7 6 9 Midnighter [series:190#94]
OK, this movie ruled. By far the funniest anime I've ever seen, and one of the funniest MOVIES I've ever seen. So true, So horrifyingly true. I know people who are like this.
Anyway, back to the point. The animation was pretty decent, and the music was good, with the truly excellent Fight! Otaking! opening theme, but what made this show was the live interviews. They were so well done, just completely deadpan and realistic that the weird and frightening answers were just that much more hillarious. Of course, newbies will be scratching their heads at all the in-jokes, so wait till you've got a few 1980's animes under your belt and you'll enjoy this one more.
There was also genuine warmth in this show. You can tell that the writer(s?) really loved their subject. While it may seem like a mockery at first glance, I think it may be more of a tribute.
The new DVD release from AnimEigo looks spectacular, with crisp colors and extensive linear notes to help explain some of the jokes.
Definately a buy, especially the new DVD, Otaku No Video deserves a place in every fan's collection...and every fan's heart.

Last updated Sunday, May 26 2002. Created Wednesday, March 21 2001.
Watch 6 6 6 4 6 Kaitou Juliet [series:190#137]
Watching this, I couldn't decide whether I was more amused or scared by the portraits of "Otaku." I would probably have liked this better if they had stuck to the animated story portion ... though now that I've said that, I start chuckling at the memory of some of the live interviews. The animated portion covers the ups and downs of Kubo, a normal guy who gets sucked into the Otaku lifestyle and never looks back. With his friend Tanaka, he founds his own business and sets out to "otakunize" the world! The ending is surprisingly touching, while never losing the comic feel. Give it a shot—but not until you've seen plenty of anime from the 1970's and 80's, so you can get the in-jokes!

Last updated Friday, March 16 2001. Created Friday, March 16 2001.
Rent 6 5 6 5 6 Dingle [series:190#35]
This is a really funny show, but only for people who can relate to the Otaku shown. Other wise you just think that these guys are really big losers. Some of the jokes go to far and some of the Otaku show are probably only found in Japan, but over all it is cool. As long as you are able to laugh at your self you should like this show.

Last updated Tuesday, August 22 2000. Created Tuesday, August 22 2000.

Community Anime Reviews

anime mikomi org