I went to COMIKE about a month ago, along with about 500 thousand others, and it always amazes me just how massive this amateur comic market is. I've been four or five times now and the manga on offer this time were the usual piles of comic-porn. Naked manga honeys assaulted and exalted by a mass of sweaty otaku. This shocked, and to be honest kind of titillated me the first time I went, but it now seems boring, and a little sad. It never seems to change. The same drawing styles. The same themes. The same cum-covered girls fighting off the same invisible, censored, phallic-somethings. And it is still mostly young women drawing and buying this stuff—which is the one thing that does still raise my eye-brows.

But in the car park this summer were a group of otaku I hadn't seem before. Standing proudly beside their cars these guys reminded me of rev-heads back home in the 1970s, who declared their machismo by airbrushing naked-chicks on their muscle-cars. The modern Japanese approach however is to splash hot-anime-babes across the bonnet to display just how much "moe" you feel.

Now moe (a key term for otaku, and pronounced "mo-ay", like Moet champagne ), is kind of a hard concept to grasp. But basically, imagine that you seriously have the hots for a girl — probably a young teen girl — and that you are literally burning up inside to express your passion. Only, that passion is coupled with the somewhat awkward, slightly embarrassing, knowledge, that the object of your budding love is... a cartoon character. And that's moe.

These otaku say that living this kind of life is somewhat painful (no kidding), so these cars have been dubbed "Itasha". "Ita"= pain and "sha"= car. It used to mean "Italian car", but they've made it their own.

Walking around the carpark the one word I kept overhearing as people looked on at these chariots of moe was "mottainai!" (what a waste!) And seeing the Mercedes with the rather cheap looking decals stuck to it, I have to agree.

p.s: roll your mouse over the image on the right....."moe!"

No comments: