For Great Justice – A Commentary on the Otaku Revolution

by eternal on November 9, 2009

Otaku Elimination Game

What does it take to change the world?

A now-famous anime character by the name of Light Yagami once asked himself that question when he witnessed the horrors that humans are capable of. If you’ll allow me to take things out of context and talk about a story I haven’t read in 3 years, you’ll see where I’m going with this.

He was just a kid, ultimately. A genius, maybe, but still only human. But even so, did he stop? Did he hold back? He dared to do something that few of us could ever do – and he paid the ultimate price because of it.

Was he a hero? I’m not quite sure. An anti-hero, maybe; or at least that’s the term we use for people like him. But practically speaking, every reader finds a different answer to that question. Some would sympathize with him, understanding his hatred for the scum of society; others would despise him for his self-righteous attitude. Like Hakim and Hachi from Planetes, it would be unfair to paint one as right and the other as wrong.

…Are you tired of reading yet? Wondering why I’m talking about Death Note when I barely even remember the story? Maybe your ears will perk up when I mention the Otaku Elimination Game.

Whoa, wait! Don’t start scrolling yet. You heard me? Don’t scroll to the comment section and start ranting. You don’t even know what I’m going to talk about yet! There’s been a lot of hate for these guys, and understandably so, but leaving your rage-filled comments here certainly won’t do anything about that.

So, let’s go back to square one. Square one being Light and the messed up world, not the self-proclaimed ota-kings and the blogosphere.

Are we agreed that Light wasn’t necessarily good or evil? He might have been twisted, and it’s hard to deny that he lost a good bit of his sanity by the end, but I don’t think his intentions were evil. Whenever I remember his last moments, clawing at the ground and begging for life – or the day he decided to kill the investigator who was pursuing him – I force myself to think of the first chapter. I force myself to remember the innocent hostages who were saved, the young woman who was about to be raped. I remember the horrible world that Light lived in – that we live in – and I realize that he had a point.

But when you look at Death Note in retrospect, it’s pretty obvious that Light suffered a fatal deterioration. Part of this was because his means were wrong.

Before you say it, I’m not trying to preach. In all fairness, is there anything else he could have done with the power of a death god? Killing criminals might not be the most effective method, but ultimately, the world can’t change without sacrifice. He made the conscious decision to hurt the minority to save the majority, and we know for a fact that he made a positive impact on at least a few lives out there, even if his plan ultimately failed.

Otaku Elimination Game (1)

Now, for the topic at hand: the puppeteers behind this cyberspace battle royale. They want, in short, a finer world. Sound familiar? It should, because it is. Even to its residents, the blogosphere is often the topic of debate and criticism. There will always be at least one person to represent every different view: a casual fan, a troll, a loudmouthed hentai-addict, a gushing moe fanboy…the list can go on and on. But by and large, the good bloggers are able to recognize the flaws of the community and solve those flaws through their own blogs.

So, where does that put the Elimination team? For argument’s sake, let’s say that they aren’t lying. If these people have indeed been going to Comiket since before I was born, then I’m willing to admit defeat to their superior knowledge. A lot of people don’t like that concept, but I’m fine with it. Facts are facts: a more experienced fan is indeed more experienced. But what about their goal, their mission statement? Is it just? And do the ends justify the means…?

I think it’s time I drew some conclusions, so I’ll lay things out as plainly as I can.

  1. From the looks of it, the Otaku Elimination staff have a point. The blogosphere is one of the most public communities in Western anime fandom, and they have a right to challenge us.
  2. Despite the fact that they have a right to challenge us, nothing will change. Like campaigning for fanart rights, the use of such an aggressive tone isn’t conductive to change.
  3. While the writers aren’t mincing their words, they seem satisfied to make their point only with words, and nothing more.

So where does this leave us? It leaves us with a group of self-proclaimed kings of otaku-dom who want to dethrone the community that misrepresents themselves and their kin.

It goes without saying that their methods are harsh, and that the majority of the sphere will hate them. That’s a given. I don’t think they care, and I’m not about to tell you to forgive and forget, either.

But, come on. Let’s think about this for a moment. Do you really think an issue like this would arise if the problem didn’t exist to begin with? Would a straight-A student have thrown away his sanity if society wasn’t corrupt? People are bashing the Eliminators for not providing constructive criticism and for playing the semantics card on the word “otaku”, but while both of these arguments are legitimate, I think they’re both missing the point.

The real point – and correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the feeling I’m getting – is that the knowledge and experience of many anime bloggers doesn’t match with the way they sell themselves, and it’s a misrepresentation that runs rampant to the point that it’s considered appropriate. Now, being an anime blogger does not in any way require you to be an otaku, but looking at the big picture, is there not a problem here? Surely some of you – perhaps the older and more experienced who aren’t on the victim list – realize that these flaws are not the fabricated propaganda of a trolling teenager?

The way I see it, the Eliminators are a wake-up call. Unlike Planetes’ Hakim, I don’t believe that the world’s problems can be solved by blowing things up; and thankfully, these guys don’t seem to either. While their methods might still be extreme, I think they can tell us something: they’re a harsh stab where it hurts, a reminder that the blogosphere is not just a pointless circle-jerk and that we fulfill a purpose within the community as a whole. It’s a reminder that passing ourselves off as dedicated fans while taking pictures of figures bought with our parents’ money will earn us harsh words from certain internet-dwellers, and rightfully so. However, regardless of what their intentions are, we can use this as an opportunity to step up our game and respond with our keyboards instead of the caps lock button or a cowardly DDoS.

And as long as the Otaku Elimination Game keeps it clean and argues objectively, we might genuinely be able to learn something.


{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

zzeroparticle November 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm

I’m definitely approaching this from the “OK, I’ve written for awhile now and no one’s tossed any real criticism my way so I have a guidepost on how to improve” sort of deal as well as learn from other’s mistakes on what not to do. Furthermore, if they can bring any good blogs worth my time, all the better. Big assumption though is that they’ll do it right instead of making baseless comments (which hasn’t been the case so far).

I really don’t understand those who have a gripe against what they’re doing though. It’s as if they’d wilt at the first sign of criticism.


RP November 9, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Based on their impeccable ability to rile up the aniblogosphere, I’ve tapped into my inner L to deduce that there is a 87% chance that the staff of KyoAni are the one’s behind the Otaku Elimination Game.


digitalboy November 9, 2009 at 11:30 pm

I’m just pissed that I’m not on their list. With all the posts I’ve done in trying to better the use of the word ‘otaku’ in western fanbase, you’d think I’d be right there. ‘Not notable enough’ my fucking ass.


usagijen November 10, 2009 at 7:59 pm

LOL digiboy. Go comment on their post and they’ll add you. That’s what I did hahahaha


Owen S November 10, 2009 at 1:08 am

The Eliminators just sound like a cool plot device in a story, no matter how you look at it.



ETERNAL November 10, 2009 at 11:49 am

My thoughts exactly! It would make for an awesome cameo in CCY17, like some sort of secret society of alumni.


lolikitsune November 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm



Martin November 10, 2009 at 1:57 am

Their idea is fundamentally flawed so it’ll be a flash in the pan that’s soon forgotten. Enjoy the lulz and shitstorm while it lasts!


Xerox November 17, 2009 at 2:33 am



Scamp November 10, 2009 at 2:14 am

Well, the whole fanart debate did actually lead to people crediting fanartists. A lot of people obviously still don’t but the debate did bring about some degree of change because there was a genuine point behind the argument. Hopefully the same should happen with OEG.

And yeah, I hate Colony Drop. Whinge about the blogsphere while doing nothing to change it why don’t you.


moritheil November 14, 2009 at 11:44 am

Wait, you think these guys have a valid point but Colony Drop doesn’t?


Miha November 10, 2009 at 7:15 am

Yet, as do these guys, Colony Drop has a point.

Why I’m not thrilled about the OEG is the way they handled their execution so far. The only people who can really understand them at this point are the people who have already stepped outside of the cave. The OEG so far hasn’t made any effort to take a torch back to the cave, and bring some people out of it. I think comparing the OEG to wildarmsheero is appropriate.
I’m suddenly reminded of how fansubbers switched from AVI to MKV in years from 2005 to 2007. It was a long process, but reasonable arguments about MKV’s merit prevailed in the end. The discussion among encoders was fierce, MKV had the consumer market against it, but sound arguments eventually convinced encoders across the board to start using MKV.
Martin Luther King proposes unarmed truth and love for the final say in reality, but can armed truth be that much more effective, so that we can neglect love for a second or two for us to improve our ways?


Panther November 10, 2009 at 7:28 am

Take off every zig.

That aside I am going to really laugh if the ones behind OEG are a bunch of random peeps in the aniblogosphere with past influence that one day go, “Hey, dudes, let’s do something for the lulz, how about this otaku elimination game?” And they all go “Yeah!”


super rats November 10, 2009 at 9:31 am

It’s not a big deal. I think those who are pessimistic or optimistic about what this will do are making it out to be more than it is. I guess there’s also the entertainment value of seeing someone else get taken down.


ETERNAL November 10, 2009 at 11:45 am

@ zzeroparticle: Yeah, they definitely won’t get anywhere with baseless criticism. I hope they’re reading things like this and making some revisions to their future plans. If we’re the “audience” of their blog, then we’d better be allowed to have a say :P

@ digitalboy: They said you weren’t notable enough? Now that’s weird. I was wondering why you weren’t on the list, but you’re definitely more notable than half of the people on there. I actually only recognized about half of the names, maybe less…

@ Scamp: I was going to mention the resolution of the fanart debate, but it wasn’t fitting into the paragraphs I had down and I didn’t really want to tl;dr more. Needless to say, I agree: that’s one of the reasons why I brought it up, and I was hoping someone would notice. It’s a gut reaction to resist such harsh words, but in retrospect, most people realize that the harshness was there for a reason.

As for Colony Drop, I feel like they’ve been doing a good job lately, but I hated them at first. Same goes for Wah’s rants: I don’t particularly care whether he hates us or not, but my ears perk up when a post with real content surfaces on my feed reader. I hope I’m not being too optimistic in saying this, but I think that they’re on the track to proving their point with content instead of insults.

Panther: It would be the best April Fools joke EVER.

super rats: There’s no doubt that it’ll fade away after a while, but I think it’s significant for the time being. At the very least, it’s a good incentive to keep aiming for the top and not slack off.


Martin November 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Eh, I’m back from work now so have time to write a more meaningful comment.

I think you’re dead right that there’s a lot of noise and trash in the blogosphere, so it’s useful to have a firm critical voice to pick out the wheat from the chaff. That’s why I was never too enthusiastic about the Anime Blog Awards: mutual back-slapping is fine but it didn’t really encourage people to improve. Rather that be told how great I am at writing, I’d prefer advice from others about how to be even better!

So yeah, the idea itself is a good one. Nobody reviews other blogs as far as I know (9Rules selection rounds excluded) so a site like this could be helpful if it stays mature and constructive. What I still need convincing on is whether the wisecracks and posturing will be backed up by genuinely constructive criticism – right now there’s one list of names, a confrontational attitude and a promise to judge the blogs using their own, made-up, criteria. I can see myself getting a laugh out of this but I’ll wait and see before declaring that they are actually achieving anything.


kadian1364 November 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Based on the one “real” post they’ve done, they talk about blog criticisms on imaginary criteria and harp on this “otaku brand” 50/50. It’s all mysterious aggression and an inordinate amount of focus on representing the otaku label “correctly”. They present themselves in a way hardly anyone of intelligence would take seriously.

Also, other than ANN and other commercial news aggregators, which I doubt would even bother to dignify this project with a response, the majority of those listed are one man/woman fansites run by teenagers, sites made and run for fun and recreation. Hardly a murderer’s row of established and influential pro anime sites. How about J-list, Anime World Order, Colony Drop, Reverse Thieves, or Baka-Raptor? Pick on people that will put up a fight.

The way they’re going about their business is like bullies on the playground picking on nerds and little kids.


Miha November 10, 2009 at 1:29 pm

@Martin: As they have demonstrated with round one, I believe that they won’t be criticizing blogs based on how their authors are selling the blog, they will be criticizing the merit its authors have as anime fans/otaku. This is what’s riling up controversy – these guys want to deny others their fandom. As I’ve said elsewhere, for some people, even myself, this is a very personal issue, and it can get really ugly really fast.


moritheil November 14, 2009 at 11:48 am

Not just that – they want to deny others fandom based on their own criteria. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you match your own definition of a fan, you have to match theirs (which they helpfully haven’t articulated except to say it’s truer and more hardcore.)

I know the proper use of the term “anime otaku” but that doesn’t mean I necessarily think forcing people to adhere to a stereotype means progress for the community.


7 November 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm

I’l agree with Kadian on this one. For some entity who refers to themselves as ‘the authority on otaku,’ they sure like to exploit on the irrelevant aspects of their target blog. Criticizing somebody just because they have in their possessions the same gadgets as Danny Choo? Come on. I never would’ve expected this from the so-called authority.

Also, I find their claims on their ‘incredible google skills’ a joke. While petty things like these are usually negligible, it counts a lot when you’re imposing an atmosphere of elitism. And just like that, their image of supremacy is thrown out the window.

Haven’t they realized yet that having the name, ‘Otaku Elimination’ meant they are acknowledging each and every blogger they’ve eliminated as an otaku?


TheBigN November 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm

It will be an interesting experiment, in my opinion. Both on where OEG will end up going with this, and also on the response to members of the anime blogging community. We’re already seeing an apparent net negative response to the concept, and from my observations, it’s mostly on a “HOW DARE THEY DO THIS CONSIDERING X” level. And I look at is as “well, why can’t they do this?” and “who are we to respond in such a way?” And it makes me think that at least one thing the OEG could be doing is making us look at ourselves or others more closely than perhaps we’d like do. Who knows?


wah November 10, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Parent’s money? Shit dude, I work for this stuff.


Owen S November 11, 2009 at 12:37 am

You work? What as, exactly? Could’ve had us all fooled (this is news to me).


TheBigN November 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Is it that serious? :P


ETERNAL November 11, 2009 at 9:33 pm

That which we call a dakimakura, by any other’s money, would feel as sweet?


wah November 15, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I don’t have a job right now which is why I have no money. I work on and off during summers.


usagijen November 10, 2009 at 9:27 pm

“Trashtalking blogs like I’m squirting my juice all over it, not wiping a single trace of my cum shots for people to see the magnificent stage of my performance(s). This is my justice. FEELS SO GOOD.”


omo November 11, 2009 at 12:58 pm



ETERNAL November 11, 2009 at 9:31 pm



ETERNAL November 11, 2009 at 9:31 pm

@ kadian1364: Their list of contenders got me thinking since I first saw it. It seems like they’re picking on the people that they actually have the problem with. I honestly don’t know if they’re against the whole sphere or just most of it, but I think a lot of that will be revealed as they continue reviewing. I’m very interested in seeing how they plan on bashing JP’s “lack” of otaku knowledge and experience.

@ Martin/Miha: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Since I haven’t actually spoken with them, I can’t comfortably say that I’m giving them the thumbs-up for this project, but it should be fine as long as they limit themselves to offensive blog posts and don’t do anything really abusive. It simply comes down to the fact that they’re extremists. I don’t think their attitude is very encouraging or productive, but I feel as if there’s merit to their message, even if we have to take it out of context.

@ 7: I think it’s just a matter of time. If they’re truly an authority on the matter, they’ll do something to prove it – and if they don’t, they’ll risk losing whatever support they may have gained. This whole post pretty much hinges on the assumption that they’re not bluffing, because if they are, it’s only a matter of time before their plan falls apart.

@ TheBigN: My point exactly. Even if it’s in bad taste, I don’t think they’re doing anything wrong as long as they keep their negative comments on their own blog. If people hate them, they can just treat them like a bunch of forum trolls and ignore them.


moritheil November 14, 2009 at 11:50 am

Okay, I’ll bite.

Part of what it means to be a subculture is to resist the calls of others to conform. What is Otaku Elimination asking for? Conformity.

You can dress it up how you like, but in the end that’s all there is to it. “Fall in line.”


ETERNAL November 15, 2009 at 8:31 pm

I dunno, it seems more like they’re trying to clear the otaku name. Remember, before people started “nominating” blogs, about 75% of the contestant were generic offshoots of Danny Choo. A big part of my opinion of them will depend on how they review some of the big-name bloggers like JP and Super Rats, but for now, all they’ve really said is “buying figures does not automatically make you an otaku.” For better worse, there’s still a lot of wait-and-see going on.

As far as their ideals go, though, I don’t think their intention is to criticize the average anime fan. They just want their “word” back. Or to take that one step further, since I don’t think this is really about semantics, they want the internet to recognize – and remember – what it really means to be an otaku. Nothing can change the fact that their views are extreme and that the blogosphere would be pretty boring if we all listened to every word they say, but practically speaking, they’re just trying to draw a line between “hardcore” and “even more hardcore,” just as the community has already drawn an invisible line between casual and hardcore. They’re not forcing us to join them, they’re just forcing us to live up to our names as anime bloggers.


Skribulous November 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm

And as long as the Otaku Elimination Game keeps it clean and argues objectively, we might genuinely be able to learn something.

Unfortunately, they’re not. Not by a long shot.


lightningsabre November 14, 2009 at 5:57 pm

It seems one of their criteria for being an instant elimination is if one is associated with Danny Choo. At least from what I can see in the last post.


ETERNAL November 15, 2009 at 8:35 pm

@ Skribulous: I’m a little disappointed at some of their arguments, but it doesn’t quite feel like they’re picking things at random. I think they’re intentionally trying to be harsh, which results in some shallow criticism. Still, they haven’t done anything worse than a forum troll, so I don’t think you can accuse them of playing dirty by internet standards.

@ lightningsabre: That’s pretty much the case, and that’s also why I don’t think they’re trying to change the heart of the average fan. Actually, their hatred for the the otaku icon of the internet backs up my belief that their goal is to remind us of what it means to be an otaku, not necessarily to force us to change our ways.


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