Otaku may be used as a pejorative; its negativity stems from the stereotypical view of otaku and the media's reporting on Tsutomu Miyazaki, "The Otaku Murderer", in 1989.
According to studies published in 2013, the term has become less negative, and an increasing number of people now self-identify as otaku.
The subculture's birth coincided with the anime boom, after the release of works like Mobile Suit Gundam before it branched into Comic Market.
The definition of otaku subsequently became more complex, and numerous classifications of otaku emerged.
In 2005, the Nomura Research Institute divided otaku into twelve groups and estimated the size and market impact of each of these groups.
Other institutions have split it further or focus on a single otaku interest.
These publications classify distinct groups including anime, manga, camera, automobile, idol and electronics otaku.
The economic impact of otaku has been estimated to be as high as ¥2 trillion ( billion). This word is often used metaphorically, as an honorific second-person pronoun. For example, in the anime Macross, first aired in 1982, the character Lynn Minmay uses the term this way.
Animators Haruhiko Mikimoto and Shōji Kawamori had used the term among themselves as an honorific second-person pronoun since the late 1970s.Supposedly, some fans used it past the point in their relationships where others would have moved on to a less formal style.