I had been wanting to watch Otaku no Video for a little while now, but it was never really high on my "must watch" list. I had heard that it was a pretty good mocumentary of otaku culture, so I gave it a look.
While the story was interesting and had a great concept, it just seemed to fall flat for me. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really that good either. It starts out with our main protangonist Kubo meeting an old friend he had in high school named Tanaka. Tanaka introduces Kubo to the otaku culture and he becomes addicted to the culture. This has some consequences on his life but he vows to overcome these and become the "Otaking". While this sounds like a good premise, it wasn't executed that well. Throughout watching it, I never really felt all that connected to the characters and I wasn't emotionally vested in the story line itself. I never experieced a high point or a low point, it was all just kind of "meh".
Also sprinkled in with the anime, there was also some live action "interviews" with otakus. These were all right, but I feel that they got in the way of the main story and they didn't add enough to the piece to justify putting them in there.
Overall the animation was pretty solid, and it looks good for 1991 animation. One thing that bugged with was the amount of static establishing shots. These are only a problem however when there are people in the establishing shot. People are not static, so they should not be static in establishing shots.
The characters in Otaku no Video were alright, but they didn't really get me emotionally vested in the story or make me laugh. Kubo goes from being a normal guy to an otaku, but along the way he becomes very egotistical. Tanaka was very interesting to me either.
It was an ok watch, but not really anything that I would recommend to anybody who wasn't into mocumentaries or otaku culture. If you really want to watch an anime that deals with the Otaku culture, I suggest Genshiken.
Otaku no Video is awesome. It pretty much tells the story of Gainax in animeted form while having interveiws of various Otaku in between. The Gainax people are cool, the interveiwed... not so much. The message here is that being obsessed with anime in an unhealthy way is well... unhealthy and will lead to unhappiness. but if you can apply that love to productivity in your life you can find fulfilment. The ending is epic. I think that any person who likes or loves anime will enjoy this! I love the animation style because it reflects the time period of anime I like best and I am partial because I like Gainax a lot. Really cool, interesting video. Watch it! And it's funny. The animated parts are more interesting than the interveiws in my honest opinion. STRIVE TO BECOME THE OTAKING, OR GO HOME AND GET A REAL LIFE! lol.
Otaku no video
I've been looking foward to watch this anime. For a while I was having trouble finding it on the Internet. Finally one late night I decided to give it another shot, and here we are. Otaku no video. This delight comes from the wayback machine of 1991 but has the feel and budget of 1988. Especially coming from the anime house of Ganiax. (Evangelion).At first I felt the premise was simplistic,that it was an aged Genshikenseries . After I started watching I changed my tune. Part one start with our main characters at school. Growing, learning, exploring who they really are.(quite the basics),but from out of nowhere there are these little live action accounts of otaku life from real live otaku! The voices are altered and their eyes pixelated. Almost giving it a creepy yet sad feeling for our culture. It almost made me regret liking anime but that thought was short lived. These little vinettes make there way through parts 1 and 2 of this OVA. When reading the plot it says that it is a "mockumentary" and losely based off of the origins of Ganiax itself. With further research I would have to say that part 2 would be it's origin story. When I thought this OVA would lose me it submerged me even more indepth into otaku culture. Even part 2 felt like the buisness side of a Mad Men episode. Opening theme music very 80's, and very misleading to the plot. The inisde soundtrack has hints marching band and 80's mall musiak, I won't complain. Animation is 80's which finds it's relavance in the plot. If your looking for a older comparison to genkensin then you got it. If you want an anime to keep the otaku inside you in check,you got it. Not for everyone. You may not be able to tell the difference between entertainment or high school awareness video.For the intermediate to the die hard otaku.<div style="text-align: left; ">
What I Liked: The focus on different kinds of Otaku that were prevalent in the 80's and 90's (Military Otaku, SF Otaku etc.). Nice lampshading of "MC looks dramatically up at the sky" cliche. The amazing soundtrack full of bravado. Animation is quite impressive for an early 90's production. The cross-referencing of Kubo / Gainax's story with historical moments (oddly, they're mostly conflicts like the Falklands War or moments of upheaval like the death of Emperor Hirohito).
What I Didn't: The jump between the anime and Portrait of an Otaku segments can feel a bit jarring at times, and take some getting used to. The conflict in the middle of episode 2 feels stupidly ridiculous. Just like every other Gainax production, it tends to be incredibly self-indulgent at times (see: the last quarter or so goes straight into celebratory circlejerk territory). Kubo can be a really unlikeable and needlessly over-the-top character sometimes.
Final Verdict: Otaku no Video is a strange beast - essentially functioning as part parodic mockumentary, part dramatisation of the founding of Gainax and part cultural time capsule. It's very Gainax - down to the brilliant animation, dramatic soundtrack and even more dramatic plot that goes overboard at the last minute - but with some interesting social and cultural commentary added in. A good watch if you're interested in the history of Otakudom.