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The Asian ApertureOtaku Summer Reading
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, May 6, 2012    Share

In an age of tons of electronic gadgets that can engross the mind for hours on end, sometimes it’s nice to pick up a book and hit the beach. There are many advantages such as you don’t have to depend on a Wi Fi connection, no batteries to charge, and you can stimulate your imagination. Just give the text a couple of hours and you’re off on a magnificent mental journey. Now the right book can make a big difference, especially in you are sitting in a comfy beach chair, near the water, with the hot sun blazing down. Recently I read The Otaku Encyclopedia by Patrick Galbraith and it has something for old and new fans alike. There is a lot to like about this book.

First, Kodansha International went all out on the front cover with fantastic colors and a hot anime girl named Moe, who guides the reader through the otaku world. The cover has a nice plastic feel that is smooth to the touch. Long time manga guru, Frederik L. Schodt, author of Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics and Dreamland Japan, provides an interesting forward that sets the reader up for good things to come.

There is a brief introduction by Galbraith, where he recounts his first time experience of being in Japan that is touching. Then it is all encyclopedia. The Otaku Encyclopedia alphabetically lists topics pertaining to otaku subjects such as moe, chogokin, and cosplay. For anyone with any interest at all in anime, manga, and video games that originated in Japan, those three words should be understood. If they are not or misunderstand that is where the value of having a lightweight book is needed. Each subject is packed with history, Japanese culture, humor, and fun. I was so impressed with the wealth of knowledge that I literary could not put the book down for a week.

Now having a collection of just entries would be boring so you also get interviews with Jpop sensation Shokotan aka Shoko Nakagawa, Anno Haruna, the Queen of Retro games, who can beat Super Mario on the NES without looking at the screen, Akihabara Idol Star, Sakuragawa Himeko, and many many more. All the interviewees are not afraid to answer the big scary question, Are you an otaku? For readers who may not know an Otaku is the Japanese word for “nerd, geek, or fanboy,” (thanks to the back cover for that quote.) Anything that you could possibly want to know about cool Japanese stuff has a special place in this book. Reading this book could cause you to attend cons in your area to seek stuff out like my personal favorite, toy robots. It can also led you to buying a ticket, getting on a plane, and actually flying to Japan to see it all for yourself.

The Otaku Encyclopedia is an essential edition to any fanboy’s bookshelf, right next to Batman comics, Star Trek novels, and D & D manuals. If it doesn’t covert you to the wild world of Japanese pop culture, it will make you want to go online and look up some stuff.

Ok, after reading The Otaku Encyclopedia, Patrick Galbraith, followup book, is also great Summer reading called Otaku Spaces.
Featuring tons of interviews and breathtaking pictures, readers are treated to how fandom exists in Japan by looking at Otaku rooms. Some still leave at home and others are in apartments but they all have tons of manga and anime on Blu Ray. One girl even threw her bed away to make room for more manga. That is dedication. If that isn’t enough there is more.

Otaku Spaces also has articles on the key areas in Japan to check out for buying Japanese good.

Perhaps the most insightful aspect is the last part of the book that contains in depth interviews with hardcore Japanese otaku experts who exceed all others with knowledge on all things otaku.
So don’t wait until the Summer is over, pick up or order online The Otaku Encyclopedia and Otaku Spaces by Patrick Galbraith today.

Both Books are Highly Recommended

5 out of 5 Stars

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2012 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2012 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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