Are You an Anime Fan, Otaku, or Weeaboo?

I’m sure almost everyone has heard of an anime fan, but if you spend some time on anime sites, you may have come across the terms “otaku” and “weaboo” as well. So what do these words mean and what do they have to do with anime, you ask? Well, luckily for you I’m going to teach you the general meaning of each term and who they apply to in the rest of this article.

First off, lets start with an anime fan. Like I said before, most people already know what an anime fan is so I won’t get into much detail. Anyone who watches and likes an anime can be considered an anime fan. This can be any type of anime from simple children’s anime like Pokemon to more complex ones like Evangelion. Anime fans may also buy a few anime-related trinkets like key chains and cell phone straps, but simply said, if you’ve watched an anime and liked it, then you’re a fan.

An otaku is a step up from an anime fan. The term otaku actually has a negative connotation in Japan, usually being applied to people who are so obsessed with anime/manga/video games that they barely have any real social interaction. Outside of Japan, however, otaku is usually used to describe people who like more than just 1 or 2 anime. They are usually also interested in manga, Japanese video games, and Japan in general. Otaku may buy or collect items related to their favourite anime, attend anime conventions, and try drawing their favourite characters, but if you spoke to an otaku, you would not know they were one unless you asked about their interests.

Weeaboos are basically otakus taken to the extreme; they are what the Japanese are usually referring to when they call someone an otaku. While an otaku (not the Japanese kind) would probably not stand out on the street, weeaboos can easily be identified. While many otaku may have cosplayed before at anime conventions, weeaboos will dress up as their favourite characters in public or wear something that can only be related to anime. They also try to learn Japanese and use it every chance they get. While I applaud the courage and commitment it takes to wearing an anime costume in public and learning a new language, sometimes people go a bit too far. I’ve seen a guy wearing a maid outfit and others ordering coffee in Japanese when it’s obvious no one else knows the language.

So there you have it, the three main classifications of anime watchers. I know that these terms overlap with each other, but generally speaking, obsession increases as you go from anime fan to otaku to weeaboo. If you feel I’ve left something important out or disagree with my classification, then you’re welcome to leave comments with your thoughts.


  1. says
    I figured it would grab some people’s attention.

    You’d be surprised at how many people understand that picture even though they don’t consider themselves an otaku.

  2. says

    I had heard of anime fans and otakus, but I had never heard of weeaboos until I read this article. I have to say, I’ve met lots of otakus, but never a weeaboo. I kinda want to see someone dressed like an anime character walking down the main street in downtown. It would make for a very interesting photo!

    • Gabby says

      You’ll only get it if you have seen Haruhi Suzumiya.
      The white, red and blue stripes resemble their school uniform, while the brown is Haruhi’s hair and the gold is her ribbon.

  3. Ettie "Otaku" says

    to be honest, i do consider myself as otaku, but i still did not really understand this picture until i searched “anime characters” into google and it came up with Huruhi, then i realised that it was the colours from her outfit and hair that came up in this photo. that is all the photo is, the colours of an anime character, it is not a optical illusion or a subliminal message, just colours so don’t spend hours of your time trying to work it out (like me), but probably the main reason why i couldn’t work it out at first is because i am from England and have not really had the chance to see that many manga/anime programs.

  4. Miranda says

    okay, so get the hole otaku pic i agree it is just colours there are many more like that and this is the one the mojority of people get. I can be a weeaboo at times but heres the sad part im only 13.

      • Someone says

        Me too, I’m only 11
        I consider myself an otaku and perhaps a weeaboo but not entirely a weeaboo
        Only 1/2 cause I’m trying to learn Japanese, but I don’t dress as my favorite anime character
        I only use Japanese where its obvious that the people there knows Japanese
        But it saddens me when there r pictures that says “if ur an otaku…blah blah blah”
        Because there r a lot of animes and mangas in this world and just because one of them is popular, doesn’t mean everyone knows it. But they still might be an otaku
        Just saying.

        • TPP says

          Just because one is trying to learn Japanese does NOT mean they are a weeaboo. The weeaboos are the people that are obnoxiously obsessed. They basically worship Japan, Japan can do no wrong (um, yeah they can, read a history book), use Japanese phrases out of context, and do other generally annoying and obsessive things. These are the people you cringe to be around, the “nerds that other nerds throw rocks at”. They think that Japan is the best and everything else is simply inferior.

          You’re not a weeaboo. Liking anime doesn’t make you a weeaboo. Learning the language doesn’t make you one either. Hell, even taking a vacation in Japan and going down to Akihabara because you think it’s really cool doesn’t make you one. Being obnoxious and obsessive does.

  5. jimmy says

    UHM OKAY WHATTEHELLL. i thought it was haruhi from … melancholy or something! and i got it right… and i dont even watch that anime, just saw that character a couple of times LOL

  6. Me Myself and i (angelique) says

    Yes to bad i under stand that ppicture but i don’t watch that anime thats rare XD but i know i’ts haruhi *cries*

  7. Sarah says

    As soon as you see the picture, I think the blue “collar” stripes are supposed to remind you immediately of “school uniform!” which is in almost every good anime. The hair thing is just extra for Haruhi, which is immensely popular. I haven’t watched a single episode but I know her well.
    So I guess you kinda’ do have to be an otaku to get it. And being an otaku is something to be PROUD OF! ♥♥

  8. says

    I’d disagree with your def of weeaboo. From what I understand, it originally came from the term “wapanese” and transformed to weeaboo, and is applied usually to non-Japanese who try to act Japanese.

  9. Saya says

    hey i know! that pic is Haruhi !! xD oh btw i’m a german.. otaku? i don’t know :] but ive got some figures, mangas and other merchandise oO so i think i am ^^” and of course i like your classification, but ive never heard about Weeaboo’s before!!? but hey i’m just happy that this SailorMoonMan isn’t my father x)

  10. Steve says

    I do consider myself an otaku, but not exactly how it’s described here… Like a mix between what’s here and what it means in Japan. Though, I really didn’t catch on to the “Otaku” picture. But… that could be because I’m not interested in THAT kind of anime and manga. Honestly I’ve never heard of or seen Haruhi until now. But I don’t think that changes anything. Like I said, it really all depends on what genre you read or watch if you know the character, but that doesn’t make someone NOT otaku, right?

    • Kyoka says

      I agree with you on that one about it depending what genre you watch or read. I know who Haruhi is but I didnt get the image until I googled the name XD Although I have noticed it is more acceptable to be a ‘female’ Otaku but there is a difference between really liking something and gathering a few bits of merchandise and collecting manga to being completely over obsessed and letting it dominate every day life.

  11. vanessa says

    ahhhh… fuck…
    i saw the colour and haruhi poped up in my mind..
    then i shrugded it off. beacuse i couldt possibly be right …
    im a girlygirl otaku-____-

  12. doodledoo says

    my sister used to watch that anime .
    soooo….. i was like ” wtf , i reconize those colors , OMG WTF BBQ !!! i know what this is ……. i will burn in hell …. LOL”

  13. Melissa says

    I didn´t even have to look 1 second and I tought of Haruhi xD
    well I was a anime fan all my life with an obsession for pokemon even since my family in japan showed it to me, age 10 began watching other anime. now 17 and watched over the 300 series en 200 manga´s… I always say it kinda proud but then people remind me that it´s not really healthy xD! Think I´m one of Holland´s biggest otaku´s, funny part is that people think i´m completly normal :P!
    Can still proudly say that i´m a otaku, it´s like a possesive, addicting kind of hobby ^_^!!!

  14. otakugrl says

    I’m an otaku and that pic was Haruhi Suzumiya… er running realy fast? well it fit her colors so i saw it and immediatly thought haruhi. i guess im sort of a weeabo tho considering im from america. dang it. T.T

  15. says

    LOL xD I googled otaku and this is what came up xD
    I’m a weeboo. I totally wear cosplay out in public, but, that’s the normal for me. Plus, i’m a girl and 16 xD Totally can pull it off >:D

  16. says

    “In its original context, the word “weeaboo” doesn’t signify anything but something undesirable and deserving punishment. Since then, many 4chan visitors adopted the word “Weeaboo” in replacement of Wapanese.”
    I didn’t know the terms “Wapanese” or “Weeaboo” til today. I think that these names are ridiculous and disrespectful to people who like anime/manga/Japan/Javanese culture. However, it is very nice to know the names and what they mean so I will know if someone is talking to me or not. XD

  17. Trainbow says

    I actually think I saw a weeaboo at Walmart once…. I think they were between 35-40. They had a handlebar mustache and were wearing a full Naruto costume… I’m actually glad I don’t watch the anime because if I did I’d have a hard time seeing it from then on (o.o)

  18. Gin Inuzuka says

    I believe you slightly mixed up weeboo and otaku. Otaku generally are the anti social hardcore fans who would rather not make contact with 3-d (the npcs) While weeboos are annoying anime fans who are always talking to npcs about anime, annoying people, and tnd to know little about the topic they are talking about.

  19. Rain says

    The Otaku picture is Haruhi, but that wouldn’t consider you an otaku. Simply because most of the anime fans know Haruhi. She is one of the popular animes around..1 to 2 level otaku picture. That’s what the order said c:

  20. Shaylee says

    it took me a second, but afterwards, I understood… though I’ve never watched the show, i’ve seen Haruhi in multiple captioned pictures…

  21. Miss. Vile says

    Some people just take things too far and become obsessive. *shrugs* I have figures, but they’re from video games, and I have a lot of manga and anime, but I live in the asia pacific. Most of my friends these days are anime fans or Asian, so it would be hard to fit in if I didn’t know this stuff.

  22. HetaFan says

    It is possible to go from anime fan to weeaboo and then move down to otaku. I would know I’m living proof. *nod*

  23. Honey Boo Boo says

    Good good, I am still a sane, worldly person who is not compulsive about 2D incarnations of Chinese cartoons.

  24. Omg... says

    Bought and seen both series of Haruhi Suzimiya and didn’t understand the picture. Guess I am one of the sane fans that’s not an idiot Otaku or a retarded Weeaboo. Go figure.

  25. JRM says

    After conferring with my friend living in Okayama who is Japanese…she says that “In Japan most ppls thought about Otaku is who really likes Anime or cosplay or figures. Thats it :3 simple..”.
    Notice that she did not say anything like “they are creepy obsessive urchins that have no lives that do not involve anime”
    I think there are different levels of otaku and non Japanese people decided for themselves that because some anime depict that some characters dislike that aspect of someone…that all of them feel that way…it would be like someone in the US saying…”oh…you are into Comics and Cartoons?…Creepy”…and then everyone in a different country thinking that we all think like that.
    I could be wrong…But the general idea I get is that the ones that are to be avoided are the guys that go to all the signings and hand shake events and have posters in a bag that they always carry with them…Camera around the neck in case of a Panty shot opportunity…they have a “Waifu”…etc etc…not the average collector / reader/ gamer otaku…But yea..if there were no Otaku or it was thought of as a negative too much.. the anime industry would shut down pretty quickly…because we are the ones buying and supporting each other in keeping it alive and then going from being fans to creators…etc
    It just saddens me that the damage is already done from this article and others like it assuming and spreading the assumptions that there is pretty much no difference in Otaku and Weaboo in Japan

  26. Juan Smith says

    Well, I’ve watched around 8 anime, but I’m planning to watch much more. I’m not that obsessed with it that it influences my social life. I usually only watch during the holidays, 1 or 2 episodes a night. I don’t have anything anime related (keychains and that sort of stuff) and I’ve never attended an anime convention and I’m not currently even thinking of going to one. I guess I’m an anime fan for the most part, but I do watch more anime than just 1 or 2. Am I a regular anime fan or an otaku?


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