Why grow out of being an otaku when you can glow up into being a beautiful one?

Most fans of anime, cosplay, and other otaku-oriented fields come into the community in their teens. As with a lot of youth-oriented hobbies, though, sometimes people who started off with intense interest find their passion wanes after a year or two.

But what if instead of growing out of being an otaku, you glow up into a slightly older otaku?

▼ “I changed from watching anime to wearing anime.”

That’s the scenario at the heart of Japanese Twitter’s #otaku glow-up championship 2020 (#オタク垢抜けた選手権2020) hashtag, which has self-professed otaku sharing before-and-after pictures documenting their visual evolutions and revolutions.

▼ Cosplayer @izayoi0523 in junior high (left) and yesterday (right)


▼ Third year of high school vs. fourth year of college

Participation isn’t limited to those actively cosplaying in their photos, either. While many of the “after” photos show some definite anime aesthetic influences, they’re also indicative of current Japanese fashion trends.


There are even otaku whose glow-up has nothing to do with changes to their wardrobe or hairdo.

”The results of my weight training.”

Once again, though, a change in physique isn’t a prerequisite.

There’s definitely some impressive makeup and hairstyling going on, but it’s also worth pointing out that many of the time lapses are from mid-teens to early 20s, with some of the changes attributable to growing into young adulthood.

▼ A transition from age 18 to 24

▼ From 18 to 23

Some of the most dramatic differences displayed came when male otaku developed an interest in josou, cosplaying in women’s clothing.


Even some non-Japanese otaku have joined in the fun.

Of course, despite the name, #otaku glow-up championship 2020 isn’t a formal competition. However, if it were, and we had to pick a winner based on the criteria of the biggest change between their submitted photos, this guy would be tough to beat.

But really, the hashtag isn’t about competing with others, but celebrating the joy of looking like you want to look.

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