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Thursday, March 7, 2024

Otaku Checklist: Become A True Otaku In 28 Days


Are you a true otaku? Even if we see ourselves as old enough not to care about what we'll call ourselves, we sometimes wonder how high we are up in the otaku tier list.

But if you're the all-or-nothing or career type, you might want to become a full-fledged anime fan, so here's a checklist on how to become a REAL otaku. 

This 28-day otaku checklist guides newcomers and even those who have been fond of the culture for some time but have not delved deep enough to be considered a hardcore otaku.

With this anime resource checklist, you will be walked through the essentials of anime, manga, and beyond. After reaching the 28th day, you'll gain a deep appreciation and understanding of otaku culture. Whether you're into the intricate stories, the artistic styles, or the passionate community, this guide will help you embrace your inner otaku.


  • If you've done an item on this checklist before, replace it with more suggestions before the conclusion of this article. You may also extend a day's activity if you're short of time (e.g. Day 2: Dive into Studio Ghibli Films).
  • These activities are organized based on every otaku segment: anime, manga, culture, and community. Feel free to mix everything up or skip one if it isn't convenient with your schedule.
  • Adulting otakus can do this after work. You do not need to extend the activity to the next day, but if you feel out of time and unsatisfied, do so.

Day 1-7: Immersion in Anime

It's best to begin your otaku journey with the most accessible activity that can easily draw you into the culture. Since most of our readers are from the US, and people outside Japan are the ones who will most likely read this guide, we thought that anime would be the best starter.

Fun Fact:

Japanese otakus are entirely different from those in the West and other countries. They are more inclined to read manga in hard copy than to watch anime. In Japan, you can see manga readers on trains, in schools, in coffee shops, and everywhere. They even have The Meiji University Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subcultures, a home to approximately 410,000 manga and magazines.

But we're not in Japan, and we had to tread this path to the pinnacle of weabooness with the facilities that we have.

Without further ado, let's begin with day one:

Day 1: Explore the Classics

Start with foundational anime series like "Naruto," "Dragon Ball," or "Sailor Moon." These classics offer a glimpse into the themes and styles that have shaped anime culture.

Check this collection of anime starter shows for different demographics:

Day 2: Dive into Studio Ghibli Films

Watch at least one Studio Ghibli film, such as "Spirited Away" or "My Neighbor Totoro," to experience the beauty and depth of anime cinema. You can start this journey on a Friday, so it is possible to binge-watch Studio Ghibli films on weekends. 

Check this list of Studio Ghibli Films on Netflix

Day 3: Discover Different Genres

Anime spans various genres. Watch an episode of a mecha series like "Neon Genesis Evangelion" and a slice-of-life anime like "Clannad" to appreciate the range.

Day 4: Attend an Anime Streaming Party

Join an online streaming party or watch with friends to share thoughts and insights on episodes. Social viewing enriches the experience.

Day 5: Learn About Anime Production

Read articles or watch documentaries on how anime is made. Understanding the process deepens my appreciation for the art form.

Day 6: Explore Anime Music

Listen to anime soundtracks or opening and ending themes. Music is integral to the anime experience, often capturing the essence of a series.

Here are articles on anime soundtracks: 

Day 7: Participate in Online Anime Communities

Engage with anime fans on forums or social media. Share your experiences and get recommendations for what to watch next.

Day 8-14: Delving into Manga

No matter how deeply you are hooked on anime, step back for a while and remind yourself of the goal to become a real otaku in 28 days.

As mentioned, Japanese otakus read manga more than they watch anime. Indeed, the black and white panels emanate the mangaka's spirit, which is a must-experience. We recommend that you read the manga version of your favorite anime to connect deeply with the soul of the series.

Day 8: Read a Classic Manga

Choose a classic manga like "Akira" or "Astro Boy" to start. Notice the storytelling techniques and how they differ from or inspire anime.

You should avoid discontinued manga, as they will leave you hanging.


Day 9: Visit a Manga Café or Library  

If possible, visit a manga café or a library with a manga section. The atmosphere and physical volumes offer a unique reading experience.

Day 10: Explore Manga Genres  

Just like anime, manga covers various genres. Read a shoujo manga like "Fruits Basket" and a seinen manga like "Berserk" to experience the spectrum.

Day 11: Try Drawing Manga

Attempt to draw your favorite manga character. Drawing helps you appreciate the artistry and skill involved in manga creation.

Day 12: Attend a Manga Artist Talk or Workshop

Look for events where manga artists discuss their work. Gaining insight into their creative process is invaluable.

Day 13: Start a Manga Collection

Begin collecting volumes of your favorite series. Physical books offer a tangible connection to the stories and art.

Day 14: Create a Manga Review Blog or Vlog

Start a blog or vlog to share your manga reviews. Articulating your thoughts helps refine your tastes and connects you with like-minded fans.

Got no time to create? Consider reading manga updates instead:

Day 15-21: Expanding into Japanese Culture

Now that you've exposed yourself to plenty of anime and manga let's plunge into the depths of Japanese culture. You'd want to do this for many reasons with some of them being: 

  • You want to learn the language so you can watch anime without subtitles.
  • Being able to understand Japanese and speak a little will make travel in Japan a lot easier.

Day 15: Learn Basic Japanese Phrases

Knowing some Japanese enhances your understanding of anime and manga. Learn greetings and common phrases used in the series.

Day 16: Cook a Japanese Dish  

Try making a Japanese dish featured in an anime or manga. Cooking brings you closer to the culture and adds another layer to your otaku experience.

Day 17: Study Japanese History and Mythology

Many anime and manga are influenced by Japanese history and mythology. Understanding these references enriches your viewing and reading experience.

Day 18: Attend a Cultural Festival or Event

If possible, attend a Japanese cultural festival. Experiencing traditional art, music, and dance deepens your appreciation for the culture behind anime and manga.

Day 19: Explore Japanese Fashion

Learn about fashion trends influenced by anime, such as Lolita or streetwear inspired by anime characters. Fashion is a vibrant aspect of otaku culture.

Day 20: Play a Japanese Video Game 

Play a video game developed in Japan, especially those with strong narrative elements like "Final Fantasy" or "Persona." Video games offer interactive storytelling experiences akin to anime and manga.

Also read:

Day 21: Practice Origami or Calligraphy

Try your hand at origami or calligraphy. Engaging with traditional arts offers a meditative break and connects you with Japanese aesthetics.

Day 22-28: Becoming Part of the Otaku Community

Finally, meeting other people who share the same interests as yours would complete the journey. Consider a personal immersion instead of staying behind your PC or phone screen. 

Day 22: Visit an Anime or Comic Convention

Attend a convention if you can. The communal experience of celebrating anime and manga culture is a cornerstone of being an otaku.

Day 23: Cosplay as Your Favorite Character

Cosplay at a convention or a local event. Creating or wearing a costume of your favorite character is a fun and immersive way to express your fandom.

Day 24: Join a Fan Club or Society

Become a member of an anime or manga fan club. These communities provide support, friendship, and deeper insights into otaku culture.


Day 25: Contribute to a Fan Project

Participate in or start a fan project, such as a fanzine or a fan art compilation. Contributing to fan-made content is a creative way to express your love for anime and manga.

Day 26: Host an Anime or Manga Discussion Night

Organize a discussion night with fellow fans. Analyzing and debating themes, characters, and theories enhances your critical media appreciation.

Day 27: Support Creators and Studios 

Purchase official merchandise or subscribe to legal streaming services. Supporting creators ensures the continued production of high-quality content.

Day 28: Reflect on Your Otaku Journey  

Reflect on your experiences over the past 28 days. Consider how your understanding and appreciation of anime, manga, and Japanese culture have grown.

There are more otaku activities to do, but if you're worried about crossing the weaboo level, let's discuss why you shouldn't be bothered.

The Weaboo Route

Generally, the word otaku is a Japanese term for nerds. It has an anti-social feel to it, and at some point in history, the word was tainted with negative connotations due to crimes of a nerdy murderer in Japan. But now that being an otaku is seen in a positive light, a new urban slang has emerged, confusing some community members for a short time – the weaboo tag.

Also called weeb, "weaboo" became a buzzword in 2020, alongside the pandemic. With social media platforms breaking boundaries and people left with nothing to do, new terms emerged here and there. Unbeknownst to many, the word weaboo was first mentioned in the early 2000s, so it is not that new anymore when it peaked.

So what's the difference between otaku and weaboo? 

Otaku has a mild to strong liking for Japanese culture. The Western world sometimes uses "a man of culture" to describe adult otakus with good taste in content, while others consider themselves otaku if they grew old enough and still watch anime or play games.

Meanwhile, weaboo is a derogatory term for people with an unhealthy obsession with anime, games, or anything about Japanese culture. This interest and their activities affect their personal lives, social interaction, and perception of reality. However, internet users purposefully misuse the term and call everyone weaboo for fun or probably out of spite.

You don't need to bother yourself if someone calls you a weaboo. Haters gonna hate, so don't let them waste your time. As long as your otaku activities aren't drastically impacting your life, continue achieving milestones to become a full-fledged otaku. 

If you're an adulting otaku, we highly recommend that you read this:

Other Otaku Milestones And Activities To Make You More Otaku

Here are other suggestions for activities you can do to become an ultimate otaku. They serve as good replacements for things in this list you crossed out a long time ago.

#1 - Travel To Japan

Visit the famous anime spots inspired by real places. Don't forget to shop for goods in Akiba. Moreover, try every ramen shop, theme park, and anime cafe in Tokyo.  

You can also do an anime pilgrimage. Plan a virtual or real-life pilgrimage to locations featured in your favorite anime, often referred to as "seichi junrei" or sacred site visiting.

Aim to visit a major anime convention outside your country, like AnimeJapan in Tokyo, to experience the global otaku community's diversity.

Here are some articles you can read about Japan travel:

#2 - Try Anime Fashion

Learn about Lolita fashion. Understand the intricacies of Lolita fashion, its history, and its representation in anime.

Dive into the idol culture through anime like "Love Live!" and real-life J-Pop idol groups to understand its impact on Japanese pop culture.

#3 - Collect Enough Anime Merchandise

Set aside enough money to buy figures, shirts, cards, DVDs, vinyl soundtracks, and plush toys. You might also need to renovate your boring sleeping area and turn it into a lively otaku bedroom to give plenty of space to this amazing stuff.

Here are some articles to read about this:

#4 - Start An Otaku Business

Adulting otakus might want to turn this activity into a productive money-making machine. You can become a blogger, run a ramen store, or sell anime and gaming merchandise.

Some of our guides to the otaku business:

#5 - Find An Otaku Disciple

One of the most fulfilling deeds as a senpai is to nurture a herd of younger prospects who will follow your otaku steps. Tell them stories of our struggles from when there was no internet and how we feel it's the end of the world if we miss an anime episode. Advise on how you kept yourself sane because your parents will only let you play the Famicom or GBA during holidays.

Like what you've read? Suggest more activities that can make one a true otaku. Follow our social media channels for more!


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