This article is written by three of our writers, all otaku girls in their own rights!
Otaku Girls in Anime- Littoface
Quickly, think of an otaku (extremely geeky) anime character. Chances are, you're thinking of a male, probably wearing glasses, who spends his time in a dark room in front of a computer screen, surrounded by toy models of his favorite female characters forever frozen in compromising positions. Maybe he even takes this to the extreme by speaking to his favorite characters as though they were real, like Takumi Nishijou from ChäoS;HEAd, pictured above.
Despite the stereotypes, there are quite a few otaku girls in anime, but their perception is often different. What comes across as sleazy as a guy turns into endearing when a girl does it. A girl staying up all night to play adult games is funny, but when a guy does it… Hentai! Otaku girls are also often portrayed as more outgoing and social than male otaku, and their obsession is less of a loser's pastime and more of a passion.
Otaku girls in anime generally fall under one of the following categories:
The Passionate Otaku Girl
Some otaku girls are not shy about their love for geeky things, and they want to share their love with the world. These girls get riled up when you mention things like manga, like Erika Karisawa from Durarara, who loves yaoi and manga-inspired torture (who doesn't, right? ..Right?).
Moeblob Geek Girls
Love them or hate them, moeblobs are a staple of anime. They're so disgustingly adorable that their cuteness becomes their most prominent personality trait.
Moeblobs are often "quirky," like the anime version of "manic pixie dream girl," and what's more unusual than a girl who loves anime, video games, and erogames? Characters like Konata Izumi from Lucky☆Star can commonly be found staying up overnight to play the latest eroge release, or making pilgrimages to the latest doujinshi convention.
The Closet Otaku
Not all girls want to be associated with socially inept live-in-your-mother's-basement geeks (gee, wonder why). Thanks to that stereotype, some girl otaku characters try to hide their obsession with all things nerdy.
Kirino Kousaka from OreImo is a perfect example of a closet otaku girl. She keeps her love of anime and cute girl games a secret from her friends and even her family. Umaru Doma from Himouto! Umaru-chan also manages to hide her otaku tendencies from the public, instead unleashing them in the privacy of her own home.
Cosplay Otaku Girls
This brand of otaku girl is not not only obsessed with anime, but she's also obsessed with dressing like her favorite characters (and, often, dressing all her friends as well).
Kanako Oono from Genshiken falls neatly under this umbrella, being more than a little obsessed with cosplaying (and yaoi depicting middle-aged balding men, but that's a whole different story). And then, of course, there's everyone's favorite oddity Haruhi Suzumiya from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, who loves to dress the beautiful Mikuru Asahina in all sorts of outfits. (Remember: cosplay in Japan doesn't just refer to dressing up as specific characters; it also refers to dressing up in generic maid, bunny, or schoolgirl costumes!)
Sometimes, though, being a female otaku is not much better than the male stereotype equivalent. Some girls are so far into their otaku obsessions that they don't really fit into society anymore. These outcasts have trouble fitting in with others, and are considered odd by their peers.
There are quite a few examples of the outcast otaku, from Chuunibyou's Rikka Takanashi to WataMote's Tomoko Kuroki. These two take the trope to an extreme, becoming caricatures of that weird kid no one really liked in high school (you know the one).
A more realistic portrayal of the otaku outcast can be found in Princess Jellyfish, where all the girls have their own otaku obsessions, like trains and traditional Japanese dolls.
Stereotypes versus Reality- Melodius
Now, it goes without saying that cliques aren't accurately described by the stereotypes that surround them. You've only got to meet a so-called otaku girl to realise that they aren't all necessarily rabid yaoi or cosplay fanatics (although there will always be some extreme ones). As is often the case with anything, reality is more even-keeled than what we're led to believe by word of mouth or rumour. All it takes is a few in-person experiences to set the record straight.
Without further ado, let's debunk some stereotypes about female fans:
"Female otakus are socially awkward and have bad hygiene"
Honestly, that's not something limited to female fans. Men have this image too. In either case, this stereotype isn't true! The average fan does wash themselves and has no problem going out and socialising with their friends. You only have to look at an anime convention to see plenty of normal - clean! - folk hanging around.
"Female otakus only like girly genres such as shoujo and romance."
Definitely not true. The tastes of girls are far more varied than sparkling romances or harems of bishie men. This is the same incorrect assumption that plagues many other forms of media. No, girls don't all like sweeping romances like "she falls in love with him". Give us action, horror - anything! Preferences aren't defined by gender.
"Female otakus tend to speak in hyperbole. E.g. Keysmashing, type in capslock about 'the feels' etc."
I can't deny that there is truth to this, but it's not something limited to female otakus. Those in other pop culture fandoms exhibit the same kind of speech and behaviour. Perhaps most importantly, those speech patterns aren't necessarily brought over from the internet into real life. Even if they are, can you say they're any different to a sports fan chatting animatedly in slang to fellow mates? The average otaku knows when and where that way of speaking is appropriate.
"Female otakus are all fujoshi (yaoi lovers) or geeks."
There's certainly a large market out there catering to this clique of fans but there are just as many women who don't push the yaoi angle. While it's probably not hard for you to find someone who's into the boylove culture, they're also not generally as rabid as one might assume from seeing massive collections of yaoi fanart.
It's also worth mentioning that fujoshi aren't the only subcategory of otaku out there. There are also rekijo (history fanatics) and train fanatics. These subcultures definitely qualify one to be called a "geek", strictly speaking, but if you
think the usual geek stereotypes apply here then you're dead wrong.
All in all, female otakus come with varied interests and tastes. Apart from the generic otaku stereotype, they have to fight the additional assumptions which come with their gender. All I can say is that if you ever meet one, think before you say something like, "You don't look like what I imagined."
(And of course, never ever belittle their interest by saying it's "just anime".)
Places in Japan for Otaku Girls
A nice thing about Tokyo is that each area has its own identity. Fashionable people to go Daikanyama and Cat Street, well-to-do people shop in Aoyama and Yuurakucho, and geeks go to Akihabara. Akihabara is widely known as the otaku mecca, and while that's true, otaku girls might also find their interests better catered to in other places. The most famous of which are:
Otome Doori (Otome Road)- Ikebukuro, Tokyo
Otome Road isn't much of a road. It's more of a small block, where a bunch of anime/geeky shops are located. Nearby you'll find Animate, a large chain store that caters to both male and female anime otaku interests, carrying everything from BL to Yuri, Haikyuu! to Love Live! You'll also find several K-books, each with a different theme. K-books is a bit of a deceiving name, as they don't just sell books. Each store is only the same in name, as the K-books Anime-kan sells anime goods/books, the Doujin-kan buys and sells doujinshi, and the Male Seiyuu-kan only deals in fan goods and male voice actor related products! Their official site lists eleven K-books in the Ikebukuro area, each with differing specializations!
It's not uncommon to see otaku girls dressed in cosplays, both crossplay and not, wandering around Otome Road.
Aside from the main Otome road, otaku girls and boys will want to check out the multiple arcades in Ikebukuro. The main one being Adores, which you can see in Durarara!! Shameless plug for my article about anime set in Ikebukuro for Durarara!! and more. Fashion-forward otaku girls will also like Ikebukuro Sunshine. Located next to Otome road, Sunshine has several floors of clothing stores, notably earth music&ecology, which releases clothing collaborations with different anime such as Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica!
Nakano Broadway- Nakano, Tokyo
Further out from the center of Tokyo lies another otaku central. Nakano not only caters to anime fans and figure/good collectors, but it also boasts an impressive amount of camera stores for kameota, camera otaku. There's a handful of maid cafes as well! While Nakano Broadway does not cater specifically to otaku girls, it is much less threatening than Akihabara might be, being smaller and containing less shops proudly announcing their erogame wares.