Hardcore anime fans like to travel and snap pics like anyone else, but there’s something that’s always just out of frame.

Japan loves to travel, and that goes for the country’s otaku as well. Sure, hardcore anime and video game fans may spend a lot of their time indulging in their hobbies at home, but even they sometimes feel the urge to get out of town and see a world that’s not being projected through a TV or monitor.

Just like other tourists in Japan, traveling otaku like to take photos on their trips, too. However, Twitter user @enco2001 says he’s noticed a unique characteristic of otaku travel photography:

Otaku themselves don’t show up in their own travel photos. Seriously.


60,000-plus likes imply that a lot of other Twitter users agree with @enco2001’s observation, with multiple self-proclaimed otaku sharing photos they took on recent trips that conform to the “don’t show up in your own photos” protocol.

“The only time you can see me in my photos from Australia is one shot where my legs are visible.”


But why are otaku absent from their own travel photos? One theory commenters proposed is that otaku don’t want to spoil their landscape photography by including anything other than the primary subject, which, considering the importance of aesthetics in otaku media, sounds like a plausible explanation.

“There’s no reason to mess up a shot of the view you came to see by putting some other unnecessary element in the photo.”
“I never have myself in my travel pictures. It’d be pointless. The natural scenery and buildings are beautiful enough on their own.”
“I don’t even like taking group photos with other people at the end of events.”

▼ Some commenters pointed out that it’s not just the otaku themselves, but people in general who’re absent from otaku travel photos.


Another possibility is that otaku aren’t particularly confident in their looks, even if they don’t necessarily have a standard aversion to other people being in their photos.

“I don’t add any value to a photo.”
“I’d just make the photo of beautiful scenery uglier. I don’t know what sort of expression would work with the background, and it’s not like I’m handsome or anything.”
“I try taking photos of myself, but I don’t usually take many selfies, so they never come out looking good.”

Yet another commenter mused that maybe the phenomenon has something to do with many otaku not having a particularly large group of friends, which results in them going on trips by themselves. Especially if they’re in a rural location, there might not be anyone around to take a photo for them.


And finally, yet another commenter observed that even when otaku themselves don’t appear in their photos, they’ll sometimes slide a figure of their favorite anime character, or maybe a snapshot of their favorite idol, into the frame.

And finally, we should mention that @enco2001’s initial tweet wasn’t an attempt to poke fun at otaku. “Looking at my digital photo folder,” he later said, “there are hardly any photos of me.”

Of course, as the photos here show, it’s entirely possible to take beautiful photos that don’t feature the photographer. As a matter of fact, landscape photography itself is a deep and fascinating subject, which tends to be just the sort of hobby otaku can get into.

Source: Twitter/@enco2001 via Hachima Kiko