Not everybody will complain about being called a nerd.
Otaku is the Japanese word for nerd, but there are people who have embraced the word and taken to calling themselves one.
Two of them are starting an Otaku Club at the Pearl River Public Library, where the first meeting is from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday in the community room.
"It has a bad connotation in the mainstream, but it's embraced by those who are actually Otaku," said Alanna Heraghty, one of the club's organizers along with Charlotte Tracey. "It is used among Otaku for anyone who is obsessed with Anime, video games, Manga or Japanese culture."
Anime is short for animation and generally refers to Japanese animation, which is extremely popular in Japan and has a strong following in the United States as well. Manga is Japanese for comics and is used in English-speaking countries to refer to comic books and graphic novels produced in Japan or in the Japanese style.
"They are really more in-depth," Heraghty said of Manga books compared to more mainstream comics in the U.S. "They are more novels than comic books. The library has a great selection and they keep adding more."
Manga is written for all ages and much of it is not appropriate for young kids. One series, Helsing, is so graphic the library won't carry it.
"It's about Nazis and vampires and lots of blood and gore," Tracey said.
The Otaku club is for ages 16 and older because Heraghty and Tracey want to be able to look at the more mature works as well.
"We are starting this club so we can watch anime, read Manga and play video games and all that nerdy stuff," Heraghty said.
"We will geek out to the mainstream stuff, but our main thing is Manga and Anime," Tracey said.
Heraghty and Tracey have already been coming to the library on Fridays. Young Adult Librarian Christina Linder approached them to ask about Manga and their interest in the books.
"(She asked), 'Can you tell me more about it? How can I get more people excited about it," Heraghty said. "We came up with this idea to encourage people to read the Manga and talk about it and get people into it."
Anime also includes movies that are for adults.
"Think about the average cartoon, like Spongebob," Heraghty said. "I love SpongeBob, but it's a 15-minute, nonsensical. Sometimes there is a light storyline. But Anime, there are ones that will make you cry. There are ones that are very graphic. Half are made for adults."
Otaku also have conventions, similar to comic book conventions like Comicons.
"You dress up, which is called cosplay, which is short for costume role playing," Heraghty said. "You dress up as the characters and at like them. There are events at these conventions like the dating game and cosplay chess. It's this whole subculture that is absolutely fabulous. Charlotte and I have been part of it for years and years."
Heraghty and Tracey said they will see what the response is Friday to determine how often the group will meet and what it will focus on. Their primary interest is Anime and Manga, but they will also watch and talk about more mainstream science fiction like "Star Wars" and "Star Trek."
For more information, check out their website, RoyalNerd.com.