I recently got around to reading Beautiful Fighting Girl by Tamaki Saito (originally published in 2000 as 戦闘美少女の精神分析, lit. ‘A Psychoanalysis of the Beautiful Fighting Girl’). Despite its status alongside Hiroki Azuma’s Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals as one of the landmark publications on “otaku theory”, Beautiful Fighting Girl has made considerably less inroads in English-language scholarship, partly because the English translation only came out in 2011, and partly because Saito’s scholarship is very obviously flawed.
Nevertheless, I thought Beautiful Fighting Girl was a really fascinating read that helped stimulate my own thoughts about otaku sexuality. Saito’s argument that otaku culture is rooted in sexuality is something I find intuitively appealing, not least because I’ve made some similar observations in the past. So in this post, I’d like to critique Saito’s analysis directly, while also building on his more interesting ideas. In this way, I hope to develop a more workable theory of otaku sexuality, or Why Do People Love Their Waifus/Husbandos?