THIS JUST IN! There is going to be a reality show based on the otaku fanbase, as Tokyopop will travel all across the country for “America’s Greatest Otaku”.
You can view the article and an interview with Tokyopop about the premise here.
All I can say is whoever they pick from each region in America, they better not live up to the stereotypes that the Western anime fanbase is accused of. I do respect Tokyopop though for trying something like this. Maybe it’s about time that the otaku take the spotlight here in America. I mean we’ve covered many types of people in reality shows. Though the problem is being an “otaku” isn’t actually the best thing in the world. People tend to forget that “otaku” are looked down upon in Japan. I do admit that I’m a bit of a “otaku” myself, but I do not let those interests do not completely consume me. Then again, this is America and we have shows like Jersey Shore on the air.
With Viz Media cutting their workforce and with anime sales going down the drain, there needs to be something that sparks a revival of the anime/manga industry in America. The reality show could have huge ramifications on whether the industry flourishes again. It will only flourish if the contestants are portrayed as good people, live meaningful lives, and have outgoing personalities. Combine that with good product placement and you might have a hit & generate newfound or renewed interest in anime/manga.
Stay tuned, folks. This could get really interesting over the summer and anime conventions everywhere.