Thanks to Shiroganenosuiren constantly praising this manga I eventually gave it a shot and read the first volume in one go. How did it fare? Let’s take a look at the first volume of “Don’t become an Otaku, Shinozaki!”
Expect several Oreimo season 1 references because the manga is similar…the exploration of otaku culture part not the “other” stuff.
Genres: Comedy, School Life, Yuri
Number of chapters: 7 + 1 extra. Ongoing
Plot Summary: Akina Shinozaki is an attractive girl who was part of a sexy posse in middle school. However, the posse was disbanded, each going to different high schools. Akina’s loneliness doesn’t last long as she meets a cute girl named Kaede. Unfortunately for her, Kaede is a Precure (Prepure in the manga) otaku and Akina has a very negative image of otakus and the otaku culture. Determined to “save” Kaede and getting her out of otakudom, Akina begrudgingly enters the otaku world in order to get closer to Kaede and hopefully get her out of it.
“Dramatic” Plot Summary: Akina is a sexy high school girl who meets and slowly starts falling for a cute girl named Kaede, who happens to be “held captive in hell”. Determined to “save” Kaede, Akina ventures into the darkest depths of “hell” to “rescue” Kaede and then travel to Iono-sama’s kingdom in the hopes of making many lesbian daughters together.
As my fellow nation member so eloquently explained, Shinozaki-san takes the best parts of Ore no Imouto, mainly the exploration and inside look at the otaku culture and removes the silly het rom-com stuff, replacing it with the superior yuri fantasizing. Like Oreimo, Shinozaki-san takes a comedic, yet plausible look at both the good and bad side of otakudom without using stereotypes. The otakus in the manga, besides our three leading ladies, are humorous and harmless. One of the manga’s main points is that Japanese otakus, like any other hardcore fandom, are all fanboys and fangirls at heart with their own opinions and ways of expressing their love for fictional characters and the like. Otakus (As far as I know) are NOT demonic rapists or pedophiles who will prey on the innocent. The manga also has female otakus who are just as dedicated to “eating” and “breathing” 2D bishounen and stuff. Yes, I still do not get what the appeal is behind seeing little girls wearing revealing outfits (Utsutsu is an exception) but I do not judge people who do, not anymore. I used to but now I leave them be do their own thing.
The story mainly follows our “tsundere-ish” heroine Akina’s descent into “madness” ala Kyosuke. In order to get closer to her beloved Kaede, she engages in whatever activity she sees Kaede doing such as secretly marathoning Prepure or playing video games. She initially does not get what the big deal is with enjoying anime, manga and video games but she is slowly sucked in by all of them. Of course because Akina’s a proud girl she refuses to admit enjoying this stuff in front of anyone other than Kaede and her other otaku pal, the calm and blunt Micchy.
In short, Akina is “descending the deepest parts of the Netherworld” for the sake of true love.
The yuri, as mentioned above, comes in the form as Akina’s yuri fantasies born from her fascination with Kaede’s cuteness as it slowly becomes lust and then…you know. I also find it amusing the manga making minor hints about the eternal yuri vs yaoi “Which is better” debate. I do not take sides but my personal preference should be obvious.
Overall, this manga is a most enjoyable read so far. The girls are all awesome, even Akina’s old sexy girls posse who get their own chapter. The male otaku were not as bad as I initially thought. Chubby Onii-chan has my respect. If any of my readers had no initial interest in Oreimo but would be fine with something similar that also has yuri in it, give this one a go. It doesn’t go as deep (as of yet) but it has a similar depiction of the otaku culture.