America’s Greatest Otaku to Debut on Hulu

Otaku(1) Americas Greatest Otaku to Debut on Hulu

Stu Levy, the guy who founded Tokyopop, the American manga distributor who introduced titles like Cardcaptor Sakura, is hosting a reality series called America’s Greatest Otaku. In it, he’ll be traversing the United States, 20 cities to be exact, interviewing different fans of the subculture at cons and such. For those who might not know what an otaku is, the American definition is someone who is really into manga, anime, video games, etc. But not every fan of the popular culture can be considered an otaku; this person lives and breathes the stuff.  The term “otaku” doesn’t have any really negative connotations here like it supposedly can in Japan where the word (which means “your house”) is sometimes associated with someone who never leaves home and obsesses over any number of hobbies, including all those things mentioned.

The last couple of years has seen Tokyopop fall on some hard times as manga sales plunged and they had to lay off a third of their staff. In an effort to boost sales, this production will hopefully introduce the subculture to a wider audience. As Stu Levy told Publisher’s Weekly last May: “The Tokyopop Tour is actually two things with one united purpose. It is an outreach program and also a reality show called “America’s Greatest Otaku”. It’s purpose is to meet fans nationwide…We have the “Otaku Six” (a group of die-hard otaku themselves) on the bus with myself and our crew. These six are college students who were selected in an online competition amongst fans to intern on the bus for this tour. Another group is supporting from our offices (called the HQ Crew). We will be selecting a Greatest Otaku to represent each city we visit. These Greatest Otaku will apply online and then will be filmed in the America’s Greatest Otaku show. At the end, fans will vote for the ultimate winner.Of course all fans can come out to meet us, play some contests and get swag.”

This tour was originally scheduled to have run from July 1 through the end of August of 2010. According to ANN: contenders will be judged based on six “core qualities”–pride, personality, passion, participation, expertise, and imagination. From cosplay costume designers, to manga artists, to custom anime toy designers, contenders express their otaku love in many fascinating and entertaining ways. In the season finale, four prominent industry judges vote for the winner–but fans will also be able to vote for a “Fan Favorite” winner on after Episode Seven airs.

I’m kind of wondering how much weight they’re going to give the different qualities.  I mean, does someone necessarily have to be the most talented costume designer or illustrator in order to be considered America’s Greatest Otaku?  I guess we’re about to find out.

The winner of the 19 contenders will get a trip to Japan. The 8 episode documentary series/reality show is set to debut on on Thursday, February 24.

America’s Greatest Otaku Trailer

0 Americas Greatest Otaku to Debut on Hulu

A Look at the HQ Crew

0 Americas Greatest Otaku to Debut on Hulu

[Sources: ANN]

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