Friday, January 27, 2012

[TOG] Dakimakura- Japanese Hugging Pillows

Ah! Hello there in the nettaverse!! Welcome to my brand new series "the otaku guide" where it is my humble goal to teach you some things about being otaku you may or may not have known about. For this entry I will be teaching you about the infamous hugging pillow aka dakimakura. Now please do not judge, these soft pillows are perfect for male and female otaku alike! I myself have 3 of them (as you can see in the picture below). My favorite one is my over-sized dakimakura (which has been recently named Shelby) which is perfect for resting my head on when watching anime, playing some World of Warcraft or even when friends come over and need a nice big pillow for bed time ^_^ The one to the right is Sebastien (but I call him Sebas-kun) from Black Butler and the one to the left is Nia from Gurren Lagann (but she is often called pedestrian by my friends). I love them all!!!

Let's break the word dakimakura down:
daki 抱き- to embrace or cling
makura - pillow

Now a lot of otaku come to the misinformation of thinking dakimakura's only have anime females pictured on them and are exclusive to anime, manga, bishoujo games, etc BUT they are very very wrong because this type of pillow has been around in Japan since before being heavily influenced by otaku culture in the 1990's. During this time many galge (aka bishoujo or "pretty girl" games where the goal is to interact with attractive anime style girls) and anime received official dakimakura pillow covers through Cospa (a cosplay store in Japan that also specialized in goods such as dakimakura covers) and other companies. These pillows are also sometimes referred to as dutch wives.... but I am not here to explain to you what that is! Find out on your own if you really want to know...

A screen from the galge game Sakura Wars V.

While the main sources for these life size pillows are that of galge games, manga, anime, light novels and other properties with girls you can get dakimakura with male characters and even some odd ones such as Gundam or if you so desire comics book characters such as Iron Man, Spider-man and even Wolverine. In fact if you so desire you can get just about anything made into a dakimakura pillow cover these days thanks to websites that specialize in customizing a pillow just for your otaku flavor. I personally would love to have one of Archer from Fate/Stay Night or Satoshi from D.N.Angel.... or even Deadpool!

Example of male dakimakura using the
twins from Ao no Exorcist.

Dakimakura are infamous for being made from naughty images, but you can also get ones that aren't so naughty that are really just pictures of your favorite characters (as seen in the ones I have and the Ao no Exorcist one pictured above). Or if you want to get creative you can get covers made for your original characters! I have censored out the one below because it is an example of a naughty dakimakura. To see an uncensored one any of the sites listed in the if your interested in buying list will have some but most of the time online the pillows are censored but will not be on the actual product depending on the retailer.

Obtaining dakimakura can be as easy as asking one of your local anime goods shop if they carry the item (such as El Paso's own Robo Gato of which I bought my Sebastian pillow from) or asking to special order one. Now bear in mind there are two main types of dakimakura; the ones that are a printed pillow or the ones that are a case that you have to buy apillow for. The ones that are already printed can run anywhere from $20 up to about $45 while the covers depending on if you want them custom start at $30 and can go up to $90 depending on the retailer. The "innards" aka the pillow itself is usually around $10 to $25. I've even seen the proper size at Walmart for only $10! Which is a steal considering you won't need to pay for shipping.

If interested in buying your own dakimakura I recommend these sites:
Milanoo (Shelby is from this site)
E-bay is good as well if the seller is verified

Next time, we'll go over galge games, visual novels and the like.

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