Have you seen the new ad for anime on Disney Plus? “It’s not about being otaku, it’s about being… you.” Even now it is exhilarating to me to see this formerly obscure and misunderstood loan word used in a mainstream setting. Because when I launched Otaku Journalist on November 14, 2009, I had to explain what it meant every single time.
Though I’m mostly still quietly withdrawn from blogging in favor of snuggling my newborn daughter, I couldn’t let Otaku Journalist’s first decade pass without a word.
If you’ve been around for a while, you know the whole story, and my sixth-anniversary post outlines those early years well: my journalism school professor strongly encouraged each of us to have our own domain name and portfolio website. I initially named it the eponymous LaurenRaeOrsini.com and tried to keep my content as general as possible in order to show my range and widen my appeal to the largest possible audience. Fast forward just a few months and I’d narrowed the scope to the topics I like best—with a name to match.
At the time, “Otaku” was appealing to me not only because it was generally unclaimed among blog titles. It also seemed to express a more invested form of fandom. Today, mainstream discourse uses “otaku” and “fan” fairly interchangeably in English when discussing interest in anime and manga. The part about increased intensity has mostly disappeared. It’s been incredible to watch the language we use to talk about fandom evolve in real time.
In a way, the passage of time has been the theme of my Otaku Journalist content this year. Obviously, it’s been a year of immense change for me as I prepared to meet my daughter. I wrote about returning to cosplay as a woman in my 30s and how I made sure not to be creepy while interacting with much younger cosplayers. I wrote about growing out of my terrible opinions even as I chose not to grow out of anime fandom. I wrote about how making money online has changed since I started working remotely around the same time I started this blog. I didn’t do this intentionally, but it’s clear that this ten-year milestone has been on my mind.
This will be the 905th post published on Otaku Journalist (though 214 early posts are now private, and here’s why). I no longer keep a regular blogging schedule and I’m not exactly prolific anymore, but it’s been wonderful to have a platform to publish my writing, one on which I don’t have to answer to anyone. Whether you’ve been here for 10 years or 10 weeks, I appreciate you reading this. See you in this blog’s next decade!