Via Crunchyroll, a translation of a 2chan chart which shows which kinds of otaku are the craziest and cause the most trouble.
In case you’re wondering about the “train” part that occupies the Michele Bachmann spot on the chart, it does not refer to various colloquial meanings of the word “train.” It means fans who like…trains.
You know, toot toots.
Just what is it that makes them so crazy? Known as tetsudo otaku, train fans have long been looked on with suspicion by the Ahakibara crowd — Irvine Welsh is universal, it seems — but a band of younger, more energetic trainspotters has revitalized the subculture:
…a new “Train Boom” started in 2007, when events such as the Great Railway Expo began to capture the popular imagination, and famous folk started to openly gush about love for trains. The Nomura Research Institute has suggested the number of train otaku today might be closer to 140,000. At any station in the Tokyo metropolitan area, there is inevitably a young man (or woman or family) at the end of the platform openly snapping shots of incoming trains.
The charismatic “train talent” Masumi Toyoka was among the first to embrace this trend, lending her voice to the wildly popular anime Tekko no Tabi (“Train Girl’s Journey”), which helped legitimize and bring train otaku into the mainstream in fall 2007. In fact, no longer are these fans included in the dark ranks of “otaku,” but rather as the much cuter tecchan (for males) and tekko (for females). Following Toyoka’s lead, Yuko Kimura based her entire idol persona on her love of trains, inventing her own category of tetsudoru, or “train idol.”
After digging around a little, we even found links to videos of hot girls crushing tiny train villages. The Japanese know how to do everything the best.
Confidentially, we’re big train fans here at Stately Beat Manor. It’s our favorite mode of transportation and a viewing of RUNAWAY TRAIN or EMPEROR OF THE NORTH is a great way to relax. But even so, we’re not quite sure why so many people in so many cultures get so darned excited about keeping their train journals.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.