Digital Culture

The world is not only stranger than you know…

…it is stranger than you can imagine. And this is never more true than on this wacky series of tubes we call the Interweb.

Exhibit One: I give you….Otherkin.

Otherkin is a subculture made up of people who describe themselves as being non-human or having a connection to a mythical archetype in some way, usually believing themselves to be mythological or legendary creatures. The word is a neologism primarily used by members of that subculture, and is somewhat fluid in definition, and in its broadest sense includes those who consider themselves to be animals, aliens, extradimensional beings, and any other non-human entities.

These are people who believe that they are dragons, werewolves, and elves.

Yes, really.

No, I’m not joking.

You want even wackier? Ok…you asked for it: Otakin!

A sort of crossbreed between fans of anime and otherkin, Otakin believe that they are actually the reincarnation of an anime (or occasionally game) character and that the worlds depicted in popular animes such as evangelion and games like final fantasy exist in another dimension. Unlike their otherkin counterparts, otakin are relatively rare and tend to limit their activities to obscure message boards and livejournal communities. >>from the Urban Dictionary

Otakin (sometimes Otakukin) believe that they have the souls of fictional characters, usually from Japanese anime. Let me say this again, slowly: They believe that they contain within them the souls of cartoon characters.


The obvious question seems to be: Why those particular sets of things? That is, why is there a group of people who believe they have within them the soul of elves, but not, oh…trolls? Or Goblins? Why are Otakin just anime based, and there’s no one running around believing they are the “reincarnated” soul of Woody Woodpecker? I’m not saying this is any more rational than believing, oh…that there’s an invisible man in the sky who watches everything I do…but on the “weird” meter, this one goes to 11.

Oh, and just for you, dear readers…one last special site that involves both dragons AND invisible men in the sky.

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

One reply on “The world is not only stranger than you know…”

Yeah, I’ve heard of these scary people before. They get made fun of on alot. Creepy people…on a positive note, ValleySchwag 4 showed up today! Did you get Perplex City cards with yours? That game is out of control, I used to hear about it from Macek and McKelvey…

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