Every person or culture has an evolution, and so does the otakus as well. Otaku is not a stereotypical representation, as portrayed in various memes and those facebook groups. It is a whole community of people who are enthusiastic about animes and the japanese culture. However, even if you only watched just a few of anime titles out there, you immediately start calling yourself an otaku (about which mostly people don’t even care).
But we rarely think about how otakus get evolved and change over the course of time. If you had been continuosly watching animes for more than a year and you look back at your anime-watching journey, you will see how much of a changed person you are.
Let us see the stages in the life of an otaku and how does he/she evolves over the period of time.
Stage 0 : You start hearing about “animes” in your friend circle
This is called stage 0, because after this stage, it is not necessary that you will eventually start watching animes, so it’s a 50-50 situation. At stage 0, you will hear your friends talking so much about animes, characters etc., to the point where you will start thinking about watching one or two. However don’t worry, you will get enough guidance about which one to watch first from your friends itself.
There are a lot of animes that can help you start without ever thinking of the quality of what you are going to watch. These animes are completely good for beginners, out of which Death Note is the one I would personally recommend. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to beginners. However, first impression is always important!
Stage 1 : You complete watching mainstream animes
All the major titles out there, you have watched them all. But it might happen that you might not have completed some of them due to their length/genre because it does not resonate with your style/taste.
But the real truth is that mainstream cannot be completed. Every year new animes get released, out of which 2 or 3 become so famous that they become mainstream. So every year there is rise of new mainstream animes and completing each one of them will definitely start feeling more of like a ‘work’.
Stage 2 : You start watching anime related content on YouTube and Social Platforms
This will happen automatically and you won’t even notice it. Google is very smart when it comes to content consumption. It starts showing you anime related content on google news and YouTube. Being an anime fan, you will continuously watch such videos.
Stage 3 : You purchase anime streaming website subscription
You start thinking that it is finally the time to invest in some good subscription to save yourself from those annoying ads on pirated websites. You want to be able to watch animes on the go, able to download it without any fear of computer viruses, and track them like never before.
You want to stay updated with new releases and at this point, you have become a regular anime watcher, watching almost 2 to 3 episodes daily.
Stage 4 : You start creating content on animes (Blog/Memes/YouTube)
So you have finally fed up with just consuming? Well now it is the time to get your hands on the keyboard and write out your thoughts about anime isn’t it?
At this stage, you will be heavily involved in creating anime memes, YT videos or a full-fledged blog. You must have also started getting a good following and recognition in your community. People have started noticing you on the internet and the way you are providing content. You must have also tried to collab with other bloggers/memers as well on various platforms.
Stage 5 : You start purchasing Manga/Anime Toys/Anime Tshirts etc.
You have become an avid fan of anime, which clearly has hijacked your shopping experience. You have started purchasing your favorite figurines, manga, books, webtoons, manhua and a lot more. You are also purchasing clothes that have anime characters on it! From bracelets to shoes, most of the things you own in somehow related to anime.
At this point, mostly you will be trying to make a collection of your favorite anime. Let’s say you love attack on titan, so you will purchase AOT related products the most.
Stage 6 : Your room starts describing how much of an Otaku you have become.
Since you have done so many purchases, now is the time to decorate the house in a perfect way. Your room is full of anime products and it has started to depict how die hard anime fan you are. You have wallpapers on every wall, you have anime figurines on your study table.
At this point, you will avoid people coming into your room, so that you can’t be judged. Because now it is clear to the whole community around you that you are an Otaku and you are crazy about animes and the japanese culture.
Stage 7 : You participate/get featured in Anime Events (Online & Offline)
You have continued your work from stage 6, due to which, top event managers have noticed your efforts and approached you via emails. Now it is upto you whether you want to attend such events or not.
Mostly you will attend them because you are already a fan of animes. You will also try to approach such events from your end.
Stage 8 : You start doing cosplays (built your own attire or purchase it)
Just attending anime events were not enough, and now you have ascended one step further and find yourself participating in cosplay events.
Lakhs of anime fans attend such events all throughout the world. It is very interesting to see how so many people all over the world, with different race, religion come together and share the same interest and that is ‘animes’.
Stage 9 : You start creating your own events and you have got a huge following.
You have got a huge offline and online following, and you have enough financial status to be able to host your own events. Your followers come along in the journey, because you have got a lot of them. Once you come live, you bring thousands of your fan with you as well.
You start creating your own events, if not big, then local events in your locality would be enough to get a head start. You will try to invite other event managers and collab with them to get the funding necessary to host the entire event.
Stage 10 : You travelled all over the world and attended major anime events there.
After doing it locally, now is the time to invest the amount into even bigger anime events. You are travelling all over the world, meeting new people and new anime fans with different language, styles and religion.
You host your events in major countries on a large scale like stadiums and podiums in USA, Japan etc.
Stage 11 : You have your own anime studio/manga publication
You are famous all over the world, now is the time to get into some serious business by opening your own anime studio. You start hiring animators, directors and everyone required to run an anime studio. You purchase branches at different locations throughout the world or at a single location, depending upon your investments.
Very few anime fans, roughly less than 1% of them are capable of reaching at this level, though you don’t necessarily need to be an anime fan to run an anime studio.
Stage X : You are addicted to Animes (and you have mental issues)
Anime addiction is a widespread topic, and a lot of people are suffering from it throughout the world. More cases emerge every year, especially in Japan, the birthland of animes.
Limiting yourself to watching small amounts of animes will help you avoid getting into the trap of anime addiction. Animes are refreshing, due to which dopamine gets released in the blood, which causes you to watch more and more of it. Make sure you focus on your social life equally as well. Have a job that makes you focus on real life problems and interact with family more often. Try helping your parents/siblings in carrying out everyday tasks (even little would suffice), if you do this you don’t have to worry about anime addiction as you are balancing your life perfectly!