21 Warning Signs That You Are an Otaku

By Donald Ash | Anime Corner

Karen is A Classic Otaku

Ever heard the term otaku before? An English student of mine once explained that オタク translates to mean mania or enthusiast, and later became associated with those endaring expressions “geek” or “nerd.”

You probably know the traditional nerd stereotype already: the glasses-wearing, fashion-aloof, pocket-protector wearing, Mark Zuckerberg-ish (sorry, Mark), man or woman who keeps to themselves and is so into a subject (usually, but not limited to, academic or electronic) that they barely notice the world around them. They are, more often than not, considered to be a bit awkward in social settings, they’d rather be absorbed in their own worlds than socializing in this one.
(Donnie palms his own face and sighs…”I’m so guilty.”)

The idea for this post came about because I remember that I would religiously, every single Thursday without fail, check online to find if the latest Naruto manga & anime episodes had been posted. After the Naruto manga ended (honestly not a fan of the ending) I felt so empty inside. What would I do to fill this void? Drugs? Sex? No…I, uh (cue the lip quiver) stepped out an Naruto with another anime…”NARUTO, I’M SORRY! YOU WEREN’T AROUND AND…”

binge the other day I started to wonder…am I transforming into an Otaku?!?

Here are the

21 Warning Signs That You’re An Otaku:

1. If you’ve ever had an anime night that’s lasted more than 2 hours

This means you’ve watched more than about four anime episodes…in one sitting.

If you’ve watched more than this, with no break…I suspect it may already be too late for you.

2. If you named your son or daughter after your favorite video game character

“Hi, I’d like you to meet my daughter, Robeast!”

3. If you own a giant robot that can only be controlled from a command center inside its head or chest

A la Voltron, the Power Rangers, Evangelion, etc.

4. If you live in Japan and voluntarily go to Akihabara (Electric Town) more than once a week.

Yep, even if you’re going just to pick up parts for you computer (every week?) that still counts. It probably counts even more if you’re out there building computers on a regular basis, Bill Gates.

5.If you’ve paid more than $100 for a Halloweeen costume or cosplay

I think paying more than one-hundred dollars to REALLY become that anime, manga, or video game character you want to be just for one day screams “OTAKU! Right here!”

6. If your Ipod or smart phone currently has more than five songs from an anime, video game, nerd-proven sources.

My guilty list of songs in my iTunes Library RIGHT NOW:
“Simple & Clean by Utada Hikaru”
“Megaman 2 Guitar Medley”
“Final Fantasy X – Piano Collections”
“Dragon Quest VIII Soundtrack,” “Yes the full soundtrack..” Donnie whispers as he hangs head in utter shame. LOL”
“All of the Samurai Champloo Music” (Those beats, though!)

7. If you exercise or go running to aforesaid video game music/anime music and imagine yourself being that video game or anime character…

When I’m running, I’m L’il Mac training for my match with Mike Tyson and there isn’t a damn thing you can say to tell me different

8. If you’ve ever cried during an anime or, even more extreme, got emotional during a video game cut scene

Let’s say like when —– dies in Final Fantasy VII. If you’re so into the story that it drives you to tears, it might be an indicator that perhaps you may have a one-way ticket to Otaku Land in your back pocket.

9. If you haven’t been to a social gathering of some form in 6 months or more

This means that you’re not leaving your house. You work, go home, and stay there…which potentially means more personal time for all things nerdy. Don’t feel bad if this is you…eye-twitch…I haven’t left my house in three days :O

10. If you pay more attention to your video games more than your girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband, or significant other.


11. If someone makes you angry, and you glare at them really hard and say…”Sharingan.”

12. If you watch Japanese anime in the original, Japanese voices but have no intention of learning the language.

13. If you missed your friend’s wedding to watch Attack On Titan.

14. If you’ve ever had a cartoon crush, or fantasy about a cartoon or comic book character

I’m sure it’s more common that people think…ahem…not that I’ve done it or anything. But if you’ve “masticated” to a cartoon or comic, you are on a whole ‘nother level.

15. If you’ve ever written the name of a person you don’t like on an eery, black notepad in hopes that something very “unfortunate” would happen to them.

16. If you snort when you laugh.

17. If you’ve ever been to any form of convention or event related to video-game, comic book, manga, or anime.

YES, This includes Comic-Con! Don’t think you get a pass just because cool actors are there. You ain’t slipping through the cracks there, sister. Or, in my case, it was this: the PLAY! Video Game Symphony that I went to back in 2006 (and kinda want to go to again). Having a date at this event would’ve made me feel a lot less geeky.

18. If I say “One-Winged Angel” and you-know-who, pops in your head…

19. If you got an erection, or got hot-in-the-pants, from the excitement of a nerd-related movie or game.

We can run a test really quickly on this one. If you watch the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer below and at 0:53, some magic starts happening in your shorts, then you already know.

20. If you can name 5 Ghibli Films (particularly if you’re not Japanese) in under 10 seconds, without skipping a beat

Go ahead. You know you want to…I dare you.

21. If you’ve ever sung an AKB48 song

Yes, even if you’ve sung one in the privacy of your own home.

**You may be an otaku if you understood any of the references on this list**

The Wrap-Up

How’d you do? Did you see any similarities? Did any of these warning signs apply to you? It’s okay, you can tell the truth 😀

If one or two of these apply to you may have a very mild case of otaku poisoning,
But if the “オタク-ness” circulates through your system for too long, you may end up being an otaku…forever.

It’s not as bad as you think. You can still live a normal life.
Donnie flashes an evil, knowing, geek grin as he straightens his pocket protector and pushes his reading spectacles higher on the bridge of his nose.


Please share how many of these applied to you in the comments section below.
Any you want to add? You can write those in the comments section, too!!


About the Author

Donald Ash is an Atlanta, Georgia-born, American expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last eleven years. While in that time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator of thejapanguy.com blog. Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.

  • Kayla says:

    I used to work for an anime convention. 🙁 Funny thing though, I’m that big of an anime fan. I’ll watch a few series here and there because I actually like the premise and the plot, not just because it’s anime.

  • LanceT says:

    Guilty of #1, #6, #7 and #8.

    Probably the most insane task was #1, when a friend back in college showed me his first VHS copy of Martian Successor Nadesico (http://anidb.net/a180). I couldn’t stop watching it, except for the fact that he only had the first tape and had lent the rest to his friend who lived about an hour away. Needless to say I wasn’t satisfied with that response and we all immediately set out on a 2 hour journey to get the tapes at around 10pm. Got back at around 1am and with friends in tow then proceeded to burn through the entire 26 episodes which took just about 10 and a half hours. It was awesome and the anime did not disappoint. 🙂

  • Maree Not-Curie says:

    1, 6, and 8 :). I do often watch in the original Japanese, but I am learning the language so that one doesn’t apply.

  • Itachi Fabia says:

    hohohoho…..funny thing………….I THINK I DID ALL OF THESE ROUTINES…XDDD cept 2 and 13..TROLOLOL

  • Persephone says:

    I think most of the people who watch an anime in the original Japanese language wants to learn about Nihongo. lol Or maybe they just want to feel the original “feel” of the character because sometimes the English-dubbed ones are crappy and take out the characters… “character”.

    1, 6 and 8. :))

    • thejapanguy says:

      I totally agree, Persephone (cool freakin’ name by the way).
      I’m starting to use anime more as a learning tool these days, but I originally started watching when I saw how different the voices were. The difference was astounding…hmm, I smell a post idea! Thanks Persephone! 😉

    • Jade Daly says:

      Or maybe the episode didn’t come with subtitles

  • Chiru Kai says:

    I do all of these! XD lol well I don’t have a kid yet..but you bet I’m going to add some kind of anime/manga name! lol

    • thejapanguy says:

      Uh oh! Well, I guess that means that you are now an official member of the Otaku crew. Don’t worry, I’ve been a member for years 😉

    • Ivan Špehar says:

      I decided if i get a son to name him Victor after watching Jikan no Shihaisha !!!

      How Victor got his name by his parents made a loot of sense to me so its carved in my mind !! IDK what ill do if future wife i didnt met yet dosent like it tho…… O.o

  • Ren says:

    Me = Otaku
    But I have other hobbies and do sports so I have a life…I think o_O

  • NightcoreTheCat says:

    Wait, isn’t Otaku a term used for female Anime lovers? I don’t think it can be used for male fans.

    • otaku123 says:

      lol otaku literally means geek and are mostly used for people that are into manga/anime doesn’t matter which gender. but there are also travel otakus who likes to travel there are many different just search for otaku and read on wikipedia or something

    • iWonderWho says:

      Nope , otakus are otakus no matter what their gender is but if youre talkig about female otaku then thats fujoshi (rotten woman) , they love to read yaoi manga , sorry for my crappy eng xD

      • Name?What Name? says:

        Being a female otaku myself, who watches mostly shonens and seinens, with the occasional shojo once in a while, I find what you said kind of rude, iWonderWho.
        Not all female otaku are fujoshi or read yaoi (me being living proof of that), so yeah, please don’t put me in the same boat as the others, cause that’s just discriminating against regular not-as-fangirly-otaku-females. ^^
        Thx 🙂

    • Hmm…I thought it could be used for men and women.

  • Kairu Kobayashi says:

    Haha, every song in my music playlist is a song from anime. :3

  • OTKNOLAIF says:

    I know im addicted to it but I never thought myself as an otaku =
    No.1, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 14

  • Marc Perez says:

    The best thing about this is that most of these are true for me, except for 3 and 4.

  • Marc Perez says:

    For #1 I’ve watched full seasons in one night several times.

    • pachex says:

      I once watched…all 37 episodes of Death Note…in one day.
      And also…there was the time I started One Piece…

      • Kurosu says:

        how do you watch death note in a day each episode is 20 minutes 20 x 37 is 740 min put in hours is 12 hours and 40 minutes you are by by far crazy thats half a day, well I cant say anything i’ve watched both magi anime’s in a day so what ever xD

  • For me to know... says:

    For number 1 I thought, “4 episodes? that seems awfully small.”

  • Leeroy Jenkins says:

    I’m guilty of being supreme justice!!!! Because I am not a GRAMMAR NAZI!!! oh yeah 1,2,7,8,12,14 and 15

  • Jeff says:

    1,5-7,9 12 and 14. ESPECIALLY 6……OH GOD. WHAT HAVE I BECOME?

  • bri chan says:

    lol. totally me, i think i caught all the references….and ive done just about everything listed above… i may or may not have a deathnote coming in the mail for my L cosplay… haha

  • dat random OSt luver says:

    Um, the #6 one got a bit out of control 😀 but nothing major, its not like it reached 3 zeroes or anything, yet…

  • Minor Weakleg says:

    I got down to numbers five and six, and I guess I really can’t deny it anymore. I’m a freaking otaku.

  • Nick skills says:

    I marathoned the both season of magi in two days and then the first season of physcho pass the very next week in one day. just last week alone, I watched all of parasite, Tokyo ghoul, akame gr kill, an amagi brilliant park.

  • Serenity says:

    once i sat in my room for like 7-8 hours straight over the summer to watch like idk 1-2 entire seasons of sailor moon (more than 20 episodes in 1 season i think)

    • Yep, been there before. I remember when I started watching Naruto, I binged until my eyes were hurting. Couldn’t figure out for the life of me what was wrong with my eyes. Ended up having to go to the doctor because of eye strain. Had to pull back after that LOL

      • Seriously?? Are you wearing glasses or contacts or none now? If none your so lucky!! I have to get glasses, I can barely see without them. My eye doctor said that I might lose my sight before turning 50, now I think that the chances are seriously high… But I can’t stop watching anime! ?????????????????????


    ive watched all of code geass in one day.. and it was the best day i’ve had all year. seriously idk how i went so long without seeing that amazing anime.

  • Hailey-chi says:

    Agghhhh I got 7 of them help meee!

  • Nanami says:

    Still working on #3.. I’m totally not revealing how many of these fit! =3=!!

  • Serebyani says:

    So… well… Is 18 out of 21… good, or bad? (especially for a 40-ish lady)

  • AussieJo says:

    I got about 18 of them.

  • Lucas J Langin says:

    i’ve watched 3 seasons of attack on titan in 1 night so i thought 4 ep is awfully small

  • Dax Tackett says:

    i can call myself a pretty big otaku myself because of one, i love my otaku-ness, 2 i have the elucidator (kiritos sword) from sao, i have a an anime shirt (an ouran highschool host club shirt to be exact) an anime poster (also from OHSHC) so yeah, i’d call myself a proud otaku

  • Noxyd says:

    There’s at least 5-7 thing here that don’t apply to me, but i understand every reference in all 21. Is this bad?

  • Katsumi Yanashiro says:

    Okay, I got to admit that i’m guilty of some of these things. xD

  • anon says:

    22. Its an insult or don’t call Anime’s cartoon’s without actually knowing what the fucking word means.

  • SPAM BOT says:

    lmao this list is relatable to a degree but, i spend more time outside than my house. and about that 4 episodes of anime, i dont watch anime, manga is better (beside dbs)

  • Sakura ^-^ says:

    haha… it’s to late for me >..< I'll show you Brittney that I, a proud otaku can be and will be happy home schooled!!! Fellow otaku let us show the world we are NOT weird an we just so happened to devote some or most of our time appreciate the work of art called "Anime"

    (p.s. I am a girl who moved to japan from California so there was about tow things I couldn't relate to it was 18 and 19 although I know its from an anime called final fantasy I just don't like that anime ^-^ any who I love ALL otaku)

  • Fart Collector says:

    Im an otaku since I was 7 years old (not kidding , was watching Gundam,Zenki,Magic knight ray earth instead of tellatubies and Sesame street) and I have never been ashamed of it (ouo)v

    by the way Im turning 24 now (- -,)v

  • Sofia says:

    I tick some boxes, but I don’t think I’m worthy of the title Otaku xD

  • Harulynn says:

    Haha…haha… Oh my… I am one… Most of it is true… The others aren’t due to me not being able to because of my parents… And actually nobody in my house knows I do this kind of thing.

  • I name all my stuff animals from animes… I watch at least more than 2 hours of anime… I get a lot of comments from my parents always saying I’m in my own little world… And I always have one anime crush on every anime I watch… And I’m pretty much guilty, wonder when the cops will take me to court… Lmao! Thank you for putting this website so we could know if we are one or not!

    P.S. Haruka Samaki is my anime name! I’m an otaku so much that it shows! ???

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