If you visit the Lumine Man department store in Shibuya you’ll find something pretty cool: a huge display of Evangelion props, including 1:1 scale figures of Rei and Asuka as well as all the Evangelion mechs from the series. It’s part of the department store’s “LumiNERV Men’s Instrumentality Project” campaign, and they’re selling all manner of trendy Eva goods for all the fashion-conscious otaku out there. It’s really a media event to attract attention to the store’s brand more than anything else, but it’s kind of cool to see Eva getting so much attention. Which kind of makes me wonder, if being an otaku is that trendy…what’s the point of being an otaku? One of the themes of the past decade in Japan has been the slow embrace of “underground” popular culture by the mainstream, with TV personalities like Shoko Nakagawa creating a unique sub-genre of “talent” (a generic word for any comedian or singer who appears on TV) called otaku idol, whose knowledge of anime and manga makes them interesting guests on variety shows.
What do you think about anime becoming the new hipsterism in Japan? Think it’ll spread to other countries?
You can visit the trendy Men’s Fashion Instrumentality Project.