Friday, September 5, 2008

I, Otaku: Struggle in Akihabara

Overall Rating: C+
Summary: a Shōnen comedy created by Jirō Suzuki, which follows Sota, your average highschool guy. He's pretty popular, and has an attractive girlfriend, but Sota has a secret life as an otaku. Particularly, he is obsessed with a character called Papico, and he will cancel all of his plans for the chance to buy new collector's items for the character.

This leads to the bulk of the plot when one day he can't find the latest Papico release, the Ultra Limited Edition Wonder Digital Dokidoki Doggy Papico figure. As a result, Sota ends up in a store called Otakudo, where the owner (Mano Takuro) has the hard-to-find item. However, in order to buy the item he has to admit that he is an otaku. Somehow, Sato's girlfriend, Eri, has shown up at the store after following Sota, and Sota ends up confessing his obsession to her. Hilarity ensues.

I picked this one up, because I saw some of myself in it. When I was in high school, I wasn't that popular, hadn't even kissed a girl, and hadn't figure out A) my hair, B) black is a good color on me and B) women like men in eyeliner. I looked like a preppy kid who was trying too hard. I was also hiding my geekiness in the desperate hope that I could become popular. By hiding it, I meant I only played Magic: the Gathering before school in the science classroom and in front of the band room (I wasn't in band, but I was a geek). All of this is to say I really wanted to like this manga. The series seems to focus more on being a parody of otaku than on the trials of being a closet geek. I still enjoyed it, but the characters aren't very deep, and the plot mostly focuses on the small group of otaku and their hijinks. If you're looking for a fun, light read, then this is worth checking out, but if you want a plot and interesting characters, then I recommend you pass.

Check out a preview here.

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