Otaku Dad is a 55-page web-comic which ended this past Monday. It is the brain-child of artist/author Ronnie Filyaw who also writes the comic strip Whomp. Otaku Dad is the story about a parent-child relationships on two different levels. That of a father and daughter, and that of a father and son. But, let me take a step back.
Otaku Dad is the story about Jack Nelson and his daughter Hana. Jack decided he wanted his daughter to have an authentic education similar to what he believed education would look like in Japan…based on his understanding of Japanese culture from anime and manga. So, with a small loan from his father he creates a private school in the image of anime and manga. The story then follows Jack as he manages the school and his daughter trying to deal with regular teenage drama while having her Otaku Dad as the principal of the very school she finds rather cheesy. The plot basically follows a semester long arc before ending at page 55 with a “One Year Later” wrap up.
Hana is a Tom-boy who loves sports and finds her Dad’s love of all things anime to be a bit embarrassing, especially considering he doesn’t speak a lick of Japanese (she does). It leads to some awkward moments, but in the end their relationship is genuine, close, and sweet. Jack may be a bit of a goof, but he’s a loving father who respects his daughter, recognizes her needs as an individual, and wants her to thrive in the best educational environment she can. Oddly enough, this anime-infused private school ends up being one of the best run schools in the region leading to a growth in student enrollment.
There is also the relationship shown between Jack and his father. His father never really understood Jack very well. But, he loves and trusts his son. This is on display throughout the series that while he doesn’t understand his son’s fascination with Japanese culture, he does see how intelligent and skilled at business his son truly can be. He may find Jack odd, but his love and pride he has for his son comes off the page. He’s an old fashioned man, so it doesn’t always come across the way a more mushy Dad may show it, but his love is real and present.
The art is anime/manga inspired and it shows. It’s all in black and white as is traditionally done for manga. It’s easy to read through and the art style works for this story. Despite its goofy and, at times, reliance on anime/manga tropes, Filyaw creates a cast of relatable characters in this short run. It was a well done story and I’m glad I read it.