Ab Otaku Sciences
Submitted By Senhart
With the advent of the internet and the opening of most national borders in the twentieth
century, it comes as no surprise that much of mankind has already mixed and mingled with each
other, drawing inspiration and fascination from each other’s cultures, customs and traditions.
Whatever it is that a country takes pride in, be it architecture, cinema, cuisine, dance, embroidery,
history, music, pottery, religion, sports, science, technology, theatre and so on, it is already
celebrated by other countries as well, including our own.
Enter the rich culture and history of Japan. You could read for hours on the wonders of
Japanese performing arts or the depressing effects of the atomic bomb on the youth and the
country as a whole and you’d still be left with so much more to explore: calligraphy, enka,
origami, clothing, social hierarchies, etc. There’s so much about the country to fall in love with.
Those who have are called otaku. The term refers to those with an obsessive or above-average
interest in Japanese culture but most especially in the country’s anime and manga.
Naturally, those in our country, and even in our campus have fallen in love with Japan, so
much so that the practice of that love has become a culture in itself, otaku culture, if you will.
Students of the Ateneo are wont to talk about their favorite anime and manga and display quite
prominently how they love that small island country with events, clubs, gathering places, and
what have you. Otaku culture is indeed one of many modern-day cultural phenomena that has
taken a firm grip on Ateneo’s campus in terms of popularity.
It hasn’t always been like this however. Up until the past few years, the industry of anime
and manga was only consumed by niche audience, but now, the medium is consumed by both
children and adults alike. The audience only gets bigger and bigger. As a result, otaku culture is
becoming more commonplace in contemporary youths including our school’s own. Gone are the
days of the “Big Three” franchises of “Naruto”, “Bleach” and “One Piece” published by Shonen
Jump and being the only franchises the fandom and the shonen genre are associated with. More
and more different graphic novels and television shows are being translated and being brought
over into other countries and subsequently earning their own fanbases and followings. Teenagers
can find more of the same action series in “Hunter x Hunter” and the more recent “My Hero
Academia” and hopeless romantics can rest or break their hearts with “Last Game” and “Kimi ni
Todoke: From Me to You.” This advancement is very much apparent in the school’s campus with
students discussing their favorite anime and manga as naturally as they would their favorite
cartoon or movie. “Did you see the new episode of that one volleyball anime yet?” “What do you
think of the latest chapter of that one manga?” “The detail of the art on the food makes me so
hungry!” The culture is finally gaining a bigger identity for itself among students.
Not only that, the student body as well as the school itself supports several outlets for die-
hard fans and even those with a passing interest. As of this writing, there are currently two
unaccredited organizations in the school for furthering interest and activity in the pursuit. There,
one can share their art and literature, join seminars and workshops on the history behind anime,
manga paneling and much more, or just connect with others through their mutual interest of
anime and manga.
We also have numerous events and areas for fans, events and excursions to conventions
by interest groups. The front of the Manuel V. Pangilinan Center for Student Leadership is host to
not just “Magic: The Gathering” players but also those who play card games of Japanese origin
such as “Cardfight!! Vanguard”, “Future Card Buddyfight”, “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and even “Pokemon”
and, because of that, it has become the usual place of our school’s otaku, the nomadic, student-
run restaurant, What’s Japenin’?, promotes love for Japanese cuisine among students with its
lovingly-made servings of okonomiyaki and the unaccredited organization of Toushin regularly
opens stalls in conventions such as Best of Anime and Cosplay Mania and hosts the
aforementioned seminars and workshops.
The spread of what primarily makes up otaku culture has brought about overall
acknowledgement and acceptance among people in our community. As it is, it will only continue
to spread as the mountain of franchises being moved into the mainstream grows and as a result,
the Ateneo’s healthy community of otaku will continue to grow as well.