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.