Sometimes being an otaku is difficult. My Lovesick Life as a ’90s Otaku opens in 2021, where 42-year-old Megumi is stunned her 16-year-old daughter is able to live so openly as an otaku. Megumi muses that things were different in her day, and then most of the manga flashes back to her life as an otaku in 1995.
Then, being an otaku wasn’t so mainstream, and Megumi is trying to keep it hidden from the other kids at school. She’s infatuated with the class president, Masamune, who reminds her of her crush, Rukawa from Slam Dunk. Masamune even also plays basketball! He’s a nice guy, and he and Megumi end up hanging out together for various reasons . . . but he also says he despises otaku, which makes Megumi feel all the more certain that she needs to keep her interests in anime and games a secret. She does have an otaku pen pal, but this person isn’t whom she thinks they are.
A classmate who is openly otaku says to Megumi at one point, “One anime can change a person forever. One manga can stir a person’s soul . . . or even save their life. When something has such power . . . why is it bad to love it so fiercely?”
Words many otaku can relate to. My Lovesick Life as a ’90s Otaku is fun, charming and relatable, and full of ’90s nostalgia, some of it specifically otaku related, some of it just the ’90s in general. Megumi is an empathetic main character, and her struggles over her true self versus what society wants is relatable not only to the otaku realm, but to many things in general. While the manga shows heart, it is also regularly very funny. This is a great read for otaku celebrating otaku, especially if they want a nostalgia aspect to go along with it.
Story & Art: Nico Nicholson
Publisher: Kodansha USA
Translator: Matt Treyvaud
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.