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By Saito Tamaki, Hiroki Azuma, J. Keith Vincent, Dawn Lawson

From Cutie Honey and Sailor Moon to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the worlds of jap anime and manga teem with prepubescent ladies toting lethal guns. occasionally openly sexual, regularly intensely lovable, the gorgeous scuffling with lady has been either hailed as a feminist icon and condemned as a symptom of the objectification of younger girls in jap society.

In Beautiful battling Girl, Saito Tamaki bargains a much more refined and convincing interpretation of this beautiful and able determine. For Saito, the attractive scuffling with woman is a posh sexual fable that sarcastically lends truth to the fictitious areas she inhabits. As an item of hope for male otaku (obsessive enthusiasts of anime and manga), she saturates those worlds with that means at the same time her fictional prestige calls for her ceaseless proliferation and replica. Rejecting simplistic moralizing, Saito is familiar with the otaku’s skill to eroticize or even fall in love with the attractive battling woman now not as an indication of immaturity or maladaptation yet because of a heightened sensitivity to the a number of layers of mediation and fictional context that represent existence in our hypermediated world—a logical final result of the media they consume.

Featuring broad interviews with eastern and American otaku, a entire family tree of the gorgeous battling lady, and an research of the yank outsider artist Henry Darger, whose baroque mind's eye Saito sees as a big antecedent of otaku tradition, Beautiful combating Girl used to be highly influential while first released in Japan, and it is still a key textual content within the learn of manga, anime, and otaku tradition. Now to be had in English for the 1st time, this publication will spark new debates concerning the position performed by way of wish within the construction and intake of well known culture.

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A search on the Internet turns up nearly seventy thousand pages containing the word otaku in roman letters. Of course, most of these are the work of individual anime fans, but not all of them. Many universities, including elite ones like Harvard and MIT, have anime fan clubs, each with their own homepage. There are also Internet-based publications like AM Plus that post excellent critical articles. The term otaku has thus achieved a certain level of familiarity along with anime. But despite its widespread diffusion, or perhaps because of it, the contours of the word otaku remain quite vague.

Their talk does not stop at the work itself but also extends to include their own relationship to it. When otaku engage in critique, their passion also merges with their enthusiasm for possession through the creation of new fictions. To put it very dramatically, the only way that otaku have of acquiring the objects they love is by fictionalizing them and turning them into their own works. This inevitably leads to the creation of new fictional contexts. 20 . T H E P S YC H O PAT H O L O G Y O F T H E OTA K U It was not his extraordinary intelligence or the accuracy of his information that made possible Okada Toshio’s status as the Otaku King.

I never answered the question I posed earlier: How is it that we experience “everyday reality”? Distinguishing it from fiction is always a function T H E P S YC H O PAT H O L O G Y O F T H E OTA K U . 23 of the Imaginary. In concrete terms, this has to do with our image of the degree to which experiences are mediated. 17 Thus the media have no other function vis-à-vis experience than to provide this kind of consciousness of being mediated. Or to put it the other way around, “everyday reality” is nothing more than a set of experiences that emerge from a consciousness of not being mediated.

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