Otafu Susume 05 – Love is Hard for Otaku Spouses (Rough and Wotakoi)

Jenn and Wes a look at two romance manga published roughly 30 years apart!
The older Japanese classic Rough and the more modern Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku.

They discuss not just the manga but the cultural context and translation approaches.


Rough (ラフ) by Mitsuru Adachi

Otafu Susume 05 - Love is Hard for Otaku Spouses (Rough and Wotakoi)

Weekly Shonen Sunday originally published Rough between 1987 and 1989. It is 12 volumes long but we got a 6 volume re-print from 1994, which Wes picked up on a trip to Japan. Because he’d already forced Jenn to read Cross Game, Rough seemed like a logical follow-up.

Rough is about young swimmer Keisuke Yamato and competitive diver Ami Ninomiya. And what might seem like a typical romance / sports manga turns into a slow burning, unexpected story that takes you on many twists and turns.



Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
(ヲタクに恋は難しい) by Fujita

Otafu Susume 05 - Love is Hard for Otaku Spouses (Rough and Wotakoi)

Wotakoi was originally an online comic on Pixiv written by Fujita. It then became an instant hit with its witty characters and otaku references and joke. When the manga went to print it was so popular it sold out instantly!

The story follows a series of otaku characters each with their own niche and their dynamic relationships with one another.

Jenn first came across this manga during her MA in translation in 2015, and even translated volumes 5 and 6 (Kodansha volume 3) into English in 2018.

Love is Hard for Otaku


In This Episode…

8:31 – A unique point to this manga and the mangaka’s hand.
12:35 – Breaking the fourth wall.
16:34 – A product of it’s time and a dicussion of fan service.
27:20 – Back to Rough.

30:19 – Wotakoi.
32:20 – What is Wotakoi?
35:25 – Translation and the anime adaptation.
43:00 – Unhealthy relationships in Wotakoi, Japan and media.
51:30 – Something for all otaku!
53:35 – Stereotypical otaku in anime, manga and real life.

Anime Feminist: The diversification of otaku in Japanese media


About Otafu Susume

Otafu Sususme is the nickname for Recommendations for my Otaku Spouse. It comes from the Japanese “otaku” (geek), “fufu” (husband & wife) and “susume” (recommendation).

Wes and Jenn are married otaku and translators. They have been trying to recommend things to each other for YEARS. Now they HAVE to watch / read / play each others recommendations for this podcast.

Want more? Check out Recommendations for My Otaku Spouse and other great otaku podcasts on Anibros Creative!


Let us know what you thought in the comments!

Do you like Wotakoi or Rough? Or are you now interested in checking them out?

Got something you think we’d should recommend next?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *