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Otaku no Video is a comedy anime spoofing the life and culture of otaku, or Japanese media fans, as well as the history of Gainax, its creators. It is noted for its mix of conventional documentary film styles (with actual film, no less), with a more traditional anime storytelling fashion.

The main character is an average Japanese male, Ken Kubo, living quite happily with his girlfriend Yoshiko and being a member of his college's tennis team, until he meets one of his former friends from high school, Tanaka. After Tanaka brings him into his circle of friends (all of them being otaku, too: a female illustrator, an information geek, a martial artist, a weapons collector...), Kubo soon makes the wish to become the Otaking, the King of all the otaku.

He manages to create his own anime, open shops, and even build the equivalent of Disneyland for otaku. Later, he loses it all when one of his rivals (who's also married to Yoshiko, who never fully forgave Kubo for abandoning her) takes control of his enterprise, but after Kubo and Tanaka make peace and Kubo falls in love with the manga author Misuzu, Kubo successfully takes over the anime industry with a magical girls show, "Misty May". Ken and Tanaka return to Otakuland in a post-apocalyptic submerged Japan and find a robot piloted by their old otaku friends. Then they fly off to space in search of the planet of Otakus.

A particular humorous and controversial part of Otaku no Video was the inclusion of the documentary excerpts, titled "A Portrait of an Otaku". In these segments, the documentary crew would interview an anonymous otaku, typically ashamed at being a fan and whose face are censored with a mosaic and have their voices digitally masked. The mock documentary segments serve as a counterpoint to the anime: while the anime emphasizes the camaradrie, creativity, and dreams of mainstream acceptance of otaku, the mock interviews exaggerate its negative qualities. The subjects run the gamut of the otaku subculture: the interviews cover a cosplayer who now works as a computer programmer and outright denies his cosplay days, even when presented with photographic evidence, an airsoft otaku, a garage kit otaku, and a shut-in who videorecords television programs for trade. It is believed that all the subjects in the Portrait of An Otaku segments were Gainax employees at the time of filming.