Some years ago, the definition of what might be called music changed. It wasn’t announced, and there was no fanfare. Previously, it was always described loosely as vibrations that caused sounds. These are then placed into an ordered state.
With the rise of electronic music, that definition had to change somewhat. And, with changes in how music is used and created, and the types, it is something that continues to change. One of those types of music is Otacore music. But, what is Otacore music?
The Every Noise at Once Project
This is an attempt to classify music by genre. It is an algorithmically-generated series of plots that place all the genres and their distinctions on a musical map. There are nearly 6000 included.
Otacore was one of these genres that were “discovered,” if that is the right word. It was used to describe music that is fan-community based. One such example is Japanese anime.
The Emergence of New Genres
In recent years, there has been a surge of new, what are described as, genres. In most cases, genres we are familiar with, like Rock, Folk, or Jazz, can be identified. They can be placed into a ‘little box’ for want of a better description. But, with some genres, like Otacore, you can’t do that so easily.
What Does Otacore Mean?
Otacore is a style of music that is heavily influenced by the anime culture of Japan. The actual word ‘Otaku’ translated into English is close to the word for ‘geek.’ The suffix ‘core’ is a word applied to any form of music that has a hard core of fans.
In other words, “super-geeks.” However, that’s a simple definition of Otacore music.
The translation to ‘geek’ is only partially accurate. The word ‘Otaku’ has far more meanings. Otaku means people who are obsessed with something that is computer-based. In Japan, if you call someone ‘Otaku,’ it has two meanings depending on the age of the person you are describing.
If You Are Under 30 years
If you call a younger person, even up to the age of about 30, “Otaku,” they would see that as a positive comment. It is considered almost a badge of honor amongst that age group.
Japan has always had a philosophy regarding hard work bringing its own reward. ‘Otaku’ kicks against that because those people are obsessed with gaming and anime. So obsessed that the more extreme of these rarely even leave home.
Those that understand Japanese culture will know that not interacting with others disgraces the person. It is considered offensive in some people’s eyes.
If you are over 30, then it is considered you should have ‘grown up’ and away from computer games and anime. To be referred to as ‘Otaku’ is a derogatory remark and an insult.
What Is Anime?
We are using the word, but perhaps we should just explain what it means. Anime, in its most basic sense, is any form of Japanese cartoon.
It covers a wide range of subjects from children’s cartoons, comedy, and crime dramas, to science fiction. Some of the subjects can be quite graphic in their depictions of the storylines.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (Original Japanese Version) (English Subtitled).
- Battle Athletes TV Series & OVA SDBD [Blu-ray].
Needless to say, there is a whole industry surrounding Japanese anime:
- The Master Guide to Drawing Anime: How to Draw Original Characters from Simple Templates (Volume 1).
- My Hero Academia Hoodie Anime Cosplay Mha Shirts.
These cartoons can have enormous appeal amongst many in Japan. They sometimes express the anger and frustrations of everyday life in cartoon form. Something that most Japanese don’t have the chance to express owing to their busy lives. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is one such example.
An Extra Obsession
Not only are these ‘Otaku’ obsessed with cartoons and associated games, but they also have their own music preferences. These are linked to the anime they happen to be watching and participating in.
What might be apparent is that the subject matter is quite wide, from children’s cartoons to crime and science fiction. Each will have different Otacore musical styles to suit the visuals.
The music associated with each style of anime is, therefore, widely different in context. So, how can it be a genre? I will come back to that very soon.
A Big Part Of Japanese Life
We have seen then that Japanese anime and its associated music are very important to the Otaku generation. But what is this music we keep mentioning?
What Is Otacore Music?
Let’s try and identify what we are talking about descriptively in terms of western music. If you are a fan of Heavy Metal, then it is likely you will not only play the music constantly but also live the lifestyle. The same applies to Gothic music.
If you are a Jazz or Country music fan, it is likely to be what you will listen to most of the time. And, with Country music, there might be some “dress codes” as well. That might be cowboy boots and Stetson hats. Although, this is not obligatory, just something you see.
If we continue to use Metal and Country as examples, they each have their own sound. You can recognize it almost immediately when it starts playing.
The music can be distinguished by things like chord structures. Even the melodies and the instruments used, and the content gives it away. You hear it, and the clues are assessed in your brain, and you decide what genre it is.
That doesn’t apply to Otacore music…
The Otacore genre is defined by its fan base rather than any music style. As I said, the fans who love the cartoons also love the music that goes with them. There are some very popular Otacore songs, such as Omae Wa Mou.
Snail House Hot Milk is instantly recognizable because of its unusually high-pitched vocal line. It has jazz-like chord structures and some very Latin-like rhythms. This is a big favorite amongst the ‘Otaku.’
This is a good example of what we talked about when considering genre association. There are little bits of different things involved. It is electronic, but it has a hip-hop beat and little melodies going on.
Want to Learn More About Musical Genres?
We can help. Take a look at our detailed reviews of the What Genre is Gorillaz, What Genre is Nirvana, What Genre are The Beatles, the Top 10 Genres in the Music Industry, and the Frank Sinatra Genre for more information.
And, if you are a gaming fan, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Gaming Headset, the Most Comfortable Gaming Headsets, the Best PC Gaming Headsets, the Best Razer Gaming Headsets, and the Best Nintendo Switch Gaming Headsets you can buy in 2023.
What Is Otacore Music? – Conclusion
That was a question I asked at the outset. But, as you can now see, it cannot be described by linking it to a genre. Otacore music doesn’t work that way. It can not just be put in a little box and labeled. It covers too many styles to do that.
But, now you know what it means, and where it comes from, it will be easier to accept that and just say it is Otacore. That’s all that needs to be said.
Until next time, happy listening.